The Catholic Defender: Transfigure our Hearts

Posted by John Benko - February 24th, 2013

(Editors note) Today the Catholic Church remembers St. Clair. I repost this in her honor! The story of Jesus transfiguring before Peter, James, and John is recorded in Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke.

St. John does not mention the Transfiguration of Jesus even though he was one of the three Apostles who witness the event.

The Transfiguring of Jesus reminds me of Moses who had a similar experience.

Moses asked our Lord, “Do let me see your glory” (Exodus 33:18).

Consider that Moses makes this request after speaking to the Lord “face to face, as one man speaks to another (Exodus 33:11) yet Exodus 33:20 the Lord says, “But my face you cannot see, for no man sees me and still lives”, Moses was able to see the Lord’s presence, but not his face.

Being in the presence of the Lord, Exodus 35:29-30 states, “As Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands, he did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant while he conversed with the Lord. When Aaron, them and the other Israelites saw Moses and noticed how radiant the skin of his face had become, they were afraid to come near him”.

This scene is very similar to the event the Apostles witnessed at Christs Transfiguration. This sign is not by accident, Deuteronomy 18:15 states, “A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kinsmen; to him you shall listen”.

It is also not an accident that Moses along with Elijah both appeared with Jesus. Moses is about to witness the glory he had asked God in Exodus 33:18.

It is a revelation that the whole world will see at the appointed time. With Moses and Elijah appearing with Jesus, where did they come from and where did they go after this vision?

Were they with Samuel and the rest of humanity that were not damned (1 Samuel 28:13-14)?

Were they waiting in this “prison” St. Peter refers to (1 Peter 3:19)?

Were they among the “many Saints who had fallen asleep” (Matthew 27:52-53) who were raised at Christs resurrection?

This is very interesting to me as this reveals something of the teaching on Purgatory and the saved.

It is important to see the connection between Moses and Jesus.

They both radiated brightly after being in the presence of God. Jesus reveals his own divinity:

“After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. The Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, This is my beloved Son. Listen to him. Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them. As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant” (Mark 9:2-10).

Matthew in his Gospel adds that Jesus “came and touched them, saying, Rise, and do not be afraid”.

This scripture place the transfiguration of Jesus six days after the first prediction of his passion and death and his instruction to his disciples on the doctrine of the cross.

Jesus reveals insight into the divine glory that he possessed. His glory will overcome his death.

The cloud and the heavenly voice prepares the disciples to understand the divine plan that Jesus must die before his messianic glory is made manifest. Moses and Elijah represent the law and the prophets in the Old Testament and are linked to Mt. Sinai.

They now appear with Jesus as witnesses to the fulfillment of the law and the prophets taking place in the person of Jesus. The shadow covering them reminds us of the Old Testament indicating the Lord’s presence in the midst of his people (Exodus 40:34-35).

A comparison between Jesus and Elijah is that both were taken into heaven in a cloud. Elijah in a fiery Chariot in a whirlwind!

The Apostles were not to reveal what they witnessed until after the resurrection. The Catholic Church recalls this revelation of the Lord so we can spiritually follow this glory of the Lord, just like Moses. Jesus shows us the true path!

The road leads to Jerusalem. It leads to Calvary, a place called Golgotha, the place of the skull.

The human race is intently watching the events unfolding.

Everyone plays an important part in what occurred on this hill outside Jerusalem.

It was for us all that Jesus made this journey. By his stripes we are healed.

It was for us all that Jesus made this journey. The true Lamb of God! “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing. To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever. Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne and from the Lamb. For the Lamb who is the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life giving water” (Rev 5:12-13, Rev 7:10-17).

Jesus States, “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice” (John 18:3).

During this season of Lent, we should hunger for his voice. We should want to rid ourselves of the vices that separate us from that close personal relationship with Christ.

Like Moses, we should want to see his glory.

Jesus speaks of another group of people warning, “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in Heaven. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name? Then I will declare to them solemnly, I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers” (Matthew 7:21-23).

Let the truth lead us to do these good works and take advantage of this lent to live free of sinful lives.

What Moses and Elijah was given a glimpse of, we have the blessing to see at every Mass. We receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus, and participate in the glory of Christ.

A Eucharistic Miracle occurred through St. Clare of Assisi. She was a friend of St. Frances! St.Clare took advantage of Lent her whole life giving herself totally to God as St. Francis had done. On one occasion when the army of Frederick II was devestating the Valley of Spoleto, some of the Soldiers threatened to sack Assisi.

The Towns people surrounding the convent where St.Clare lived were fleeing the countryside fearing the worst for their lives. As the Soldiers came upon the walls of the city, they placed ladders against the walls.

St. Clare prostrated herself before Jesus in the Eucharist. Her prayer was heard as she took the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament and went to the wall before the enemy.
As the Soldiers were climbing up the ladders with crowbars, axes, bow, and spears, the town appeared lost. Then Jesus in the Host illuminated brightly before the Soldiers. The Host became dazzling white blinding the attackers.

Due to a sudden panic, the Soldiers subsequently fled in terror. This lent let Jesus transfigure our hearts so that our hearts will beat a little faster when we receive our Lord in the Eucharist.

If you do, then surely when you stand before Jesus on “that day”, He will say, “Well done good and faithful servant, you listened to my voice”!

Father’s you all need to hear this!

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*BEST OF DTB #170* The Catholic Defender challenges the Mormons

Posted by John Benko - February 22nd, 2013

The Mormon teachings are derived from four sets of scriptures they recognize as “divinely ‘inspired,” are:
1. The Book of Mormon
2. The Doctrine and Covenants
3. The Pearl of Great Price
4. The King James Version of the Bible
These writings are the foundation to the Mormon faith. The Mormon teachings began officially on April 6, l 830, after Joseph Smith claimed to have had visions of God the Father and Jesus Christ. He claimed they told him the “true church” was not on the face of the earth.

From age 14 he claimed supernatural occurrences would come to him. Eventually, he claimed to have found golden plates through the help of an angel called “Moroni.” Eleven other men testified they had seen the golden plates “by the gift and power of God” and published the Book of Mormon.

From Fayette, New York, the Mormons moved to Kirkland, Ohio in 1831. Here ex-Campbellite, Sidney Rigdon and part of his congregation became Mormon adding strength to the new group.

By 1839 the Mormons were fleeing Kirkland and moved up the Mississippi River settling at Commerce, Illinois, which they renamed “Nauvoo“.

The practice of polygamy began by the 1840′s and continued until 1890 when then president ‘Wilford Woodruff” issued a manifesto overturning this lifestyle. Still, several small groups even today, defied the threat of ex-communication.

Black men were never ordained to the Mormon priesthood despite the fact thet all “worthy males” at the age of 12 received such ordination. This policy was reversed in 1978, when the President stated that ordination would he granted “without regard for race or color”.

Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were assassinated in 1844 while serving at Illinois Carthage Prison.

Joseph Smith III, only 11 years old at the time, was challenged by individuals like Lyman Wright, James J. Strang, and William Bickerton. This led to more than 20 different splinter groups.

In 1860, when Joseph Smith III decided to accept leadership of the largest branch of dissidents, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (RLDS), was established making its headquarters at Independence, Missouri.

The majority of Mormons led by Brigham Young, who was head of the “twelve” since 1847, traveled and stayed at Salt Lake City, Utah.

Eventually, more than 300 settlements stretched from California to Colorado, from Mexico to Canada. The Mormons, like the Catholic Church, is hierarchical and authoritarian. At the top of this hierarchy is the president referred to as “The Prophet.”

The President and his two counselors regularly meet in conjunction with the “Council of Apostles.” (there are 12 Apostles) New apostles are chosen by the “apostles” themselves.

When the president dies, the senior “apostle” becomes the next president.

Local groups are called Wards, they are headed by a Bishop and two counselors. Above the Wards are Stakes, a collection of several wards make up a Stake, very similar to our “Parishes” and “Dioceses.”

Despite the resemblence, there is no actual recognition or acceptence be each Church. The Mormons, who teach the doctrine of authority, helped my Mother in seeing the rightful authority of the Catholic Faith.

This would become very important for my life as my Mother would desire to raise my Brother and I into the Catholic Faith.

Four generations ago, a lot of my Father’s family background were involved with the establishment of the R.L.D.S. at Independence, Missouri.

Before going to Saudi Arabia, my Father calls me concerned about the potential of war, He began to lament the fact that I was the first eldest son in four generations not practicing Mormonism.

I responded that my being Catholic was a matter of conviction, not chance. I told him that there is only one God in three persons, not three distinct persons, but one in substance and nature. Similar to h20 (water) which can be used as liquid, steam or ice.

That Jesus is the second part of the Blessed Trinity, truly God and truly man.
Mormons reject the divinity of Jesus. I also reject Mormon teaching that God the Father was once a human being now living on a planet called “Kalob.

We can never be his equal nor will we ever own a universe. Mormons believe if they live the commandments of God to the full, attain the status of godhood in future eons. In short, they believe they can become God.

They believe in prenatal existence of human souls to include that Jesus and Satan were once brothers.

This I totally reject. John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son so that who ever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life”. 

I then told my father that I do not believe in what Mormons call the “Great Schism” that indicates the destruction of the true faith.

I believe in “Apostolic Succession”, where Jesus confers authority upon the Apostles (Matthew 28:16-20), and they appoint successors (Titus I:5-11).

I do not believe the “True Church” was ever lost as Jesus promised his protection (Matthew 16:18), and his continued presence until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). It is important for Catholics to understand this because some of us have been susceptible to Mormon missionaries that periodically will come calling on you.

St. John instructs us to test the spirit (1 John 4:1) and St. Paul warns us not to follow even an angel from heaven with a gospel different from that handed down from the Apostles (Galatians 1:7-9). Pope Francis today is the 266th successor of Peter. This authority did not begin in 1830, nor 1917. It began in approximately A.D. 33.

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* BEST OF DTB #36* The Catholic Defender discovers the "Church of Christ"

Posted by John Benko - February 19th, 2013

I went to Chicago to see Pope John Paul II at Grant Park in October 1979. There were an estimated 2,000,000 people that was there.

That was really an awesome pilgrimage. I went with a group from Springfield Missouri.

After this great pilgrimage, I moved to Harrison Arkansas and began working at a Pepsi plant. This was definitely different from my college days as I rented a small apartment down town Harrison Arkansas in a small duplex.

One day there was a young man who moved next to me. I befriended him and invited him in to talk. I found out that he was running away from home as he was having problems with his parents. I was able to talk him into going back home to work things out.

His parents were very thankful to me and invited me to stay with them for free. I helped out with some chores so that was a good arrangement to me. I found out that the family were members of the Church of Christ.

They were interested in what denomination I was and I told them I was Catholic. It was recognized by them that the Catholic Church was old, that it went back to Constantine. They maintained their Church was established by Christ himself.

This led to a series of friendly debates as I maintained the Catholic Church was founded by Christ. I had a historic line to Christ from St. Peter to Pope John Paul II (1979). They were very nice people and I was glad to have helped them with their son. I began to investigate the Church of Christ as this was not a denomination I recognized from College.

I discovered through research that this movement was founded in the early 1820′s by Alexander Campbell, his Brother, and a friend named Barton Stone.

These men were formerly members of the “Calvinist” or “Presbyterian” church. Different groups would emerge from them as division took place such as “The Disciples of Christ”, the “First Christian Church”, and the “United Church of Christ”.

The family I was with were from the original Church of Christ most known for not having musical instruments in their church. The church itself are very simple, not much to it.

They challenged me on having instruments in the Church such as an organ. I told them it took the Catholic Church a thousand years to accept an organ because the Church held a certain bias against it going back to the Coliseum in Rome when Christians were thrown to the lions.

There was an organ like musical box that played at these bloody events. My first response to the music issues was based from Psalms 150 which states, “Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty firmament! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his exceeding greatness! Praise him with the trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with timbrel and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that breaths praise the Lord”!

That did not go very far with them because I was told it came from the Old Testament. I learned from them that the Old Testament was not really an authority, it has to be from the New Testament. That was interesting to me.

I came back with Revelation 14:2-3 which states, “And I heard a voice from heaven like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder; the voice I heard was like the sound of harpers playing on their harps, and they sing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders”.

I was also able to share Revelation 15:2 which states, “And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing besides the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb”.

This was the way we would go back and forth with point after point. One night while I was still living there, I was reading from the King James version of the bible and happened to read Matthew 6:7 which states, “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words”.

When I first read that I felt my heart stop.

I recalled the Rosary and how that was “repetition“! Just the way this was worded disturbed me. I recalled back in my college days when I heard people attacked the use of the Rosary.

I decided to check this out in a Catholic Bible (New American Bible) and this translation said, “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words”.

Reading this translation seemed more accurate to me. To me, the phrase “do not babble like the pagans” was far better than “do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do”. I began to feel that King James and his interpreters had an agenda and it was not “pro” Catholic?

Eventually I would part company with them, but I am very thankful for their kind hospitality and support for me. I began working at a large warehouse back in the early 1980′s was called “Mass Merchandisers”. I worked in the receiving department picking up pallets with a hand jack. Those were used to unload and load trucks to store and ship throughout the Country. One of my fellow workers was another member of the Church of Christ.

I found myself being challenged in the same way as before. This time, I was a bit more researched in this area. He wanted me to join his pastor in a bible study and for a while I did participate, but that didn’t last long as we never did agree on core principles.

Like Catholics, the Church of Christ believes Baptism is necessary, but that is about it. They believe they were the “true church” because they “rightly divided” the bible. They would re-baptize those who converted to their church.

One Sunday morning before Mass, a strange visitor knocked on my door and claimed he was from Israel. He said he was specifically from Jerusalem. I felt honored that somebody from the Holy Land would suddenly drop by to see me.

He was a member of the Church of Christ and told me he had heard about me from members of a local congregation. I could only think this was coming from my friend at work but I knew where this was heading.

I told the visitor I had only 30 minutes because I was getting ready for Mass. The Stranger wanted to sell me the idea that the Catholic Church was a cult and that I should consider his church.

I spent the rest 25 minutes explaining why the Catholic Church was not a cult as he termed it and that the Church was the True Faith handed down historically from the Apostles. I continued my argument by giving detail how the Catholic Church is the Church of the New Testament.

It began outside Jerusalem as Our Lord Ascended into Heaven. The Apostles were instructed by Our Lord to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit would come to them.

Some would say this was the first Novena. The Visitor left and I felt thankful to God for such an opportunity. From time to time, I would run into people from this tradition.

My first duty station in the Army at Fort Stewart Georgia (1985), my Battalion Chaplain was a United Church of Christ and I found them to be very liberal. Not just the music issue but in politics and morals.

All of this opportunity to witness for the faith helped me become more solid in my faith. This is the mission statement of deepertruth, to help equip Catholics to encourage and strengthen their faith.

I prefer ten Catholics with conviction as opposed to 100 who are Catholic by chance.
Bruce Sullivan is a friend of mine who worked along with me for the “Youth 2,000″ project in Kentucky. What an honor it was in those early years as we worked to give young people a foundation in the Catholic Church. Bruce would come and speak for our Parish in Oak Grove KY at St. Michael s Parish.

My Sons, Nathan and Jason played a warm up show before Bruce gave his testimony in becoming a Catholic.

While visiting family in Alabama, guess who was appearing at EWTN’s “The Journey Home” with Marcus Grodi? Yep, my friend Bruce Sullivan! He brought one of his Daughters and what a great time it was to visit with them once again.

Mother Angelica, founder of EWTN once interviewed Bruce Sullivan who was a former Church of Christ Minister who converted the the Catholic Faith. On this show, Father Luther, from Peducah Kentucky, was formerly raised in the Church of Christ, was helping Mr. Sullivan transition to the Faith. Very inspiring! The following was the interview that I was able to watch live on EWTN!

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*BEST OF DTB #91* The Catholic Defender: First String

Posted by John Benko - February 18th, 2013

Being raised in middle America I was always interested in Sports.
I remember when I was 5 or 6 years old my Dad said he would put up a basketball goal for me and I just thought that was crazy.
The next year, my interest in sports became real and it has stuck with me ever since.
I grew up in Blue Springs Missouri and in the 1960′s they had a good little league program.
I will always be grateful for those early years where I played baseball. The coaches and volunteers helped shape me growing up. I held a desire to play professional baseball all through those early years.
My Mother sent me to a Catholic School there (St.John La Lande) where I was given some of the best role models growing up. Our coach was our Parish Priest.
I credit him with instilling in me desire to do better, to never touch drugs, smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol. During all this time I was always “first string”, I never rode the bench. I was always among the first to be picked when choosing teams.
There was always great competition and I was always involved with these little league programs all throughout my grade school years. My Mother was in a terrible automobile accident in 1969 breaking her back in two places. It took her a year or more to recover.
So, for a time, my Brother and I lived with one of our Aunts in Southern Missouri. I was able to continue playing sports in the school.
I loved the football program as that was my favorite sport. All throughout my high school and college years I continued playing “first string” to include my military unit’s teams.

All my life, I have never rode the bench. I worked hard developing my skills and I enjoyed playing all those years.
This morning, I was just thinking about this idea of first string, most valuable players, leaders on the field. One thing I am so thankful for is being on God’s “first string”!

Through my athletic prowess growing up, I have learned some important attributes that have helped me being a disciple.

Confidence in my self, believing and having a grasp on my potential have helped me alot.
To be a good example and role model in getting things done right, to work as a team I found very important.
Growing up in my Catholic Faith, I have learned the virtues of faith, hope, and love (charity). These are central for all of God’s “first string”.
I love how the scriptures many times will use athletic prowess to make a spiritual point.
Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the racethat lies before us, while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith”.

1 Timothy 4:7-8 says, “Avoid profane and silly myths. Train yourself for devotion, for, while physical training is of limited value, devotion is valuable in every respect, since it holds a promise of life both for the present and for the future”.

St.Paul says, “Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race,but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we am imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

The key for us is to imitate the apostolic tradition (1 Corinthians 11:1), we are to hold fast to the traditions that were handed down to us (1 Corinthians 11:2).

By doing so, you are developing the correct values and virtues to be on God’s “first string”.

All it takes to be on God’s “first string” is to be a faithful Catholic!

Apathy, sin, lukewarmness and rebellion will get you knocked off your “high-horse” quicker than you can say snorkel!

With this in mind, I encourage you to train yourself for the ways of His righteousness, to do His will. Surround yourself with committed teachers of the Catholic Faith who do not compromise their faith for the way of the world.

To be “first string” for God, we must want to be a “Godpleaser”, not a “manpleaser”.

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*BEST OF DTB #255* The Catholic Defender: Contraception

Posted by John Benko - February 16th, 2013

After I returned home after Mass, I turned on the television to see what was on the News.

I came home inspired to write an article covering Artificial Birth Control as our Priest, Father Downey gave an excellent sermon on the subject.

It is very refreshing to see a Catholic Priest taking on the social issues today.

I can’t help but see this is positive and I know many Catholics are crying out for sound Catholic orthodox teaching to be given from the pulpit.

I locked on the Fox Channel to see any news updates.

I was watching Fox News when this debate ensued between Southern Baptist Dr. Richard Land and “Catholic” Jon O’Brian.

As I watched the debate unfold, I was struck how the Southern Baptist representative was defending the Catholic position while the “Catholic” was defending the Obama position?

Dr. Richard Land is the President of the Southern Baptist Convention of the Ethics of Religious Commission and John Obrian is the President of “Catholics” for choice.

During the debate, O’Brian was critical of the religious groups siding with the Catholic Bishops. Well, Mr. O’Brian, were is your support behind the Catholic Bishops?

There are times I might be frustrated because some Bishops have been silent on things. Communion for Pro-Abortion/Pro-Gay Marriage politicians come to mind, but to take offense of the Bishops for doing the right thing is a public scandal.

We need to pray for our Bishops and religious as they are under attack.

When I served in the Army, I was our Unit’s CFC representative collecting the charitable contibutions for various causes. There are thousands of organizations competing for donations.

“Catholics for a free choice” is one of the organizations seeking donations through the CFC.

I feel that this organization is using the title “Catholic” to decieve Soldiers who see “Catholic” in their title who might donate money thinking they are Catholics in good standing with the Church.

They should not be allowed to advertize to Soldiers that they represent the Church and Catholic Values.

This is exactly the same situation with John O’Brian and “Catholics” for choice.

St. Paul warns that in the last days, there would be traitors to the Faith (2 Timothy 3:4).

Jon O’Brian views Artificial Birth Control as “American” as “Apple Pie”? I wonder what kind of “apple pie” he has been eating?

Dr. Richard Land was far more informed of the contrast between religious rights of conscience and a liberal fiat against the freedom of religion.

Mr. O’Brian actually sees the Catholic Faith’s opposition to Contraception to King George III oppression of religious freedom. He fosters a freedom from religion in society.

So, if your a Catholic charity, hospital, or organization, and if you have employees, you have to offer them Abortion and Contraception free of charge as “medical care”.

“Catholics” for choice is no more Catholic than “Catholics” for a free choice, which I think of them as the same thing.

They fall under what Jesus warns stating, “Whoever listens to you (The Catholic Church) listens to me (Jesus). Whoever rejects you (The Catholic Church) rejects me (Jesus). And whoever rejects me (Jesus) rejects the one who sent me (The Father).

I respect Dr. Richard Land who from my observing of him, is a man of integrity. He compared the Obama attack on the Catholic Faith with the Jews being forced to eat pork at a Jewish celebration.

Could you imagine the outcry if Obama wanted to force the Jews to eat pork, yet this is exactly what he is doing against Catholics.

Remember, the Obama Administration wants to frame the debate into women’s rights vs religious rights. However, women can get Artificial Birth Control anywhere.

Women who were barren in the Old Testiment were seen as a curse. A child is seen as a blessing. There are examples when God blessed a woman who was naturally barren with a supernatural pregnancy.

Sarah (Genesis), Hannah (Samuel 1:1-20), Manoah’s wife (Judges 13:2) and St. Elizabeth (Luke 1:13) are prime examples.

The killing of children are seen as tragadies (Jeremiah 31:15), as punisment (Isaiah 13:16-18), as a curse (1 Samuel 15:3). To kill an unborn child was evil (Exodus 21:22). Exodus 23:7 states, “You shall keep away from anything dishonest. The innocent and the just you shall not put to death, nor shall you acquit the guilty”.

The foundation of the Old and New Testaments were that Marriage was supportive of the rearing of children.

In fact, it was not until 1932 that any group supported Artificial birth Control. Before 1932, all Christianity opposed ABC on Biblical grounds. The Anglican Church opened it’s doors to Contraception.

Protestantism basically caved in for the secualar modernist progressive view and this sparked the Sexual Revolution.

The Catholic Church continues upholding this Apostolic Tradition and Obama seeks to force the Church to bend to his Progressive ideology. He wants to frame the argument into a “women’s rights” argument, but this is not the real issue because any woman has total access to ABC.

The issue is that Obama wants the Church to subsidize ABC as part of “health care” as if pregnancy was a disease.

If your a Catholic who have in the past used Artificial Birth Control, Jesus healing of the paralytic man who was brought in through St. Peter’s roof is an important grace.

Jesus has the power to forgive you no matter what you have done, and through the Confessional, instructs you to pick up your mat and go.

The Gospel of Matthew, Mark, and Luke describe this miracle to encourage us in our sin.

For me, this is what angers me about John O’Brian and Company who think that you can be a good Catholic and dissent from official Church teaching.

That is the wrong message to be giving to anyone. Jesus warns that all of us will stand before him in judgment and he is clear about those who call evil good and good evil. He is clear about those who cause a child to sin, and to cause others to sin. Those who push for Abortion, Gay Marriage, and Artificial birth Control will have to give account for themselves, but it will be much worse for those who “not only do these things, but give approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:32).

I was just taking a break deciding to flip through the channels and what did I find? The 1948 movie, “Joan of Arc”! It was right at the scene when the French were storming the walls of “les Tourelles”, an English stronghold. St. Joan was wounded in this battle but kept going to inspire the troops. St Joan’s making it to the wall became the battle cry! Well Catholics, we must bring this fight to the wall!

Do we have renegade “Catholics” willing to trade their required loyalty to their Shephards for the promise of a political victory with Obama? Yes, unfortunately, Jon O’Brian reminds me of this fact this very day. Do we have some “Catholics” who are embedded with the enemy? Consider who burned St. Joan to the stake? It was a “Catholic Cleric” who was entrenched in political bed with the English.

We must submit to the sovereignty of God and His Catholic Church! To the Wall! This scene is really powerful. Of the Catholics today, which crowd do you stand, those who are loyal to the Church, to Jesus Christ? Or those who follow their own paths like the jesters in this scene? Again, to the Wall! If you ever get the chance to see this scene from the Movie “St. Joan of Arc, it is very inspirational as God performs a great miracle here. But You Tube placed this scene as “private”? So instead, I want to challenge you with another scene. Will you promise Deepertruth and God to stand against sin and give God your best, for his glory? Let this scene inspire you to do so because nothing is impossible with God!

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*BEST OF DTB #254* Sackcloth and Ashes

Posted by John Benko - February 14th, 2013

One of the nice things about having a blog is that you get to stand on a soap box any time you get an urge to string more than 140 characters together. So, I’d like to take a moment to pretend all the network and cable media are out there listening so that I may educate them about what they either do not know, don’t care to know, or pretend not to know: the Catholic Church is not a political entity or a democracy. It is neither a denomination nor a bunch of sinless saints either, though that last one is something it really ought to be.

No, the Church, most closely, is a family, a big one. The members, past, present, and future are in various stages of sanctity from the most depraved sinner who refuses to step foot in the door, to the grossest hypocrite enthroned in the pew front and center, to the saintly old lady offering her sufferings unnoticed from the back pew.

Like any large family we squabble. This one with the beam blinding him wants to take the mote out of that one’s eye. You know how it goes. Some of us are best buddies, some of us best enemies, and some of us just can’t stand sitting in the same car with others of us, much less the same pew. “His politics are touching me!”

The only thing we have in common is Christ, the Eucharist. Well, Him and sin. We all fall short in some way and we all need Him. I guess that makes three things we have in common. But that’s it.

I forgot the other Sacraments. We have Baptism in common and Marriage, Confirmation, Last Rites, Holy Orders, and Confession. Some of us really need to make that list way more common, but I digress.

We don’t even speak the same language, aside from Latin, so it really is hard for us to have a decent conversation across the dinner table or the Altar. Who needs it anyway? We go to Mass to hear, not to be heard, so really, that’s not as big a problem as it could be.

Our biggest problem is ourselves, that “falling short” business. Our second biggest problem is that whole “bear wrongs patiently” injunction. Nobody but a saint could manage that with people like *insert name here* around.

Oh. Right. Sainthood. Holiness. That’s what we’re supposed to be shooting for. That’s that mark we keep on missing.

Which brings us to today. It’s that time again, time for repentance. It’s time to fast, rend our garments, get all ashy and penitent. Yes, my sweet Evangelical friends, of course we could do this any time and on our own initiative just like David did. We can also do it when the Powers That Be call us to do it just like Nineveh did. Or we could do it this way, too, the way most of us are much more likely to do it, just like our elder brothers and sisters, the Jewish faithful, do each year, we can be called to a scheduled and seasonal ritual of repentance.

Which brings us to Mass and Ashes today and you, my usual audience of people who read to the last paragraph or so. You’re used to endurance, so this season may just be your kind of thing. This year it you may be called to offer up your regular seat and parking space to someone new showing up for their Ashes. You may be called to offer up the knee jerk response of jerks just because our faith happens to be in the news. And hardest of all you may even be called to give up a gentle and faithful Papa to ill health and old age long before you are ready.

It’s going to be a long haul this year. We’ve got a lot to offer this year. Might as well get to it because it seems that now is a very acceptable time, like it or not.

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*BEST OF DTB #253* The Catholic Defender: The Holy Father Resigned

Posted by John Benko - February 11th, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI on Monday said he plans on resigning the papal office on February 28. The following is the full text of Benedict’s declaration:

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.

However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013


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The Catholic Defender: The Sacraments

Posted by John Benko - February 10th, 2013

Why do Catholics believe in seven sacraments, while Protestants believe in only two?

Exactly what is a sacrament, and what does it do for a person?

Catholics believe in seven sacraments because Christ instituted seven; because the Apostles and Church Fathers believed in seven; because the second Ecumenical Council of Lyons (1274) defined seven; and because the Ecumenical Council of Trent (1545-1563) confirmed seven.

In short, the enumeration, seven, arises from the perpetual tradition of Christian belief–which explains why that enumeration is accepted not only by Catholics, but by all of the other ancient and semi-ancient Christian communities–Egyptian Coptic, Ethiopian Monophysite, Syrian Jacobite, Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox.

To understand what a sacrament is, and what it does for a person, one must know the correct, the traditional Christian, definition of a sacrament.

Properly defined, a sacrament is “an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace” (holiness) to the soul . . . that is to say, it is a divinely prescribed ceremony of the Church in which the words and action combine to form what is at the same time both a sign of divine grace and a fount of divine grace.

When this special grace–distinct from ordinary, inspirational grace–is imparted to the soul, the Holy Spirit of God is imparted to the soul, imbuing the soul with divine life, uniting the soul to Christ.

As the Scriptures point out, this grace is the grace of salvation–without it man is, in a very real sense, isolated from Christ. And as the Scriptures point out, Christ gave His Church seven sacraments to serve as well-springs of this ineffable, soul-saving grace, the grace which flows from His sacrifice on Calvary:

BAPTISM–the sacrament of spiritual rebirth through which we are made children of God and heirs of Heaven: “Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5. Also see Acts 2:38, Rom. 6:2-6).

CONFIRMATION–the sacrament which confers the Holy Spirit to make us strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ: “Now when the apostles, who were in Jerusalem, had heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John. Who, when they were come, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost…. Then they laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:14-17. Also see Acts 19:6).

The EUCHARIST–the sacrament, also known as Holy Communion, which nourishes the soul with the true Flesh and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus, under the appearance, or sacramental veil, of bread and wine: “And whilst they were eating, Jesus took bread; and blessing, broke, and gave to them, and said: Take ye. This is my body. And having taken the chalice, giving thanks, he gave it to them. And they all drank of it. And he said to them: This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many.” (Mark 14:22-24. Also see Matt. 26:26-28, Luke 22:19-20, John 6:52-54, 1 Cor. 10:16).

PENANCE–the sacrament, also known as Confession, through which Christ forgives sin and restores the soul to grace: “Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. ” (John 20:22-23. Also see Matt. 18:18).

EXTREME UNCTION–the sacrament, sometimes called the Last Anointing, which strengthens the sick and sanctifies the dying: “Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord . . . and if he be in ,ins, they shall be forgiven him.” (James 5:14-15. Also see Mark 6:12-13).

HOLY ORDERS–the sacrament of ordination which empowers priests to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, administer the sacraments, and officiate over all the other proper affairs of the Church: “For every high priest taken from among men, is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins…. Neither doth any man take the honor to himself, but he that is called by God, as Aaron was.” (Heb. 5:1-4. Also see Acts 20:28, 1 Tim. 4:14). Also: “And taking bread, he gave thanks, and broke; and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me.” (Luke 22:19).

MATRIMONY–the sacrament which unites a man and woman in a holy and indissoluble bond: “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Matt. 19:5-6. Also see Mark 10:7-9, Eph. 5:22-32).

There you have it, the Word of Christ and the example of the Apostles attesting both to the validity and the efficacy of the seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church. In truth, every one of them is an integral part of Christ’s plan for man’s eternal salvation.

There is so much good coming from Catholics such as the above article that I publish with permission from Susan J Melkus. If your Catholic out there wondering in the land of the internet, you can find some good things out there. we would love to see you make a place of frequent visitation! God bless you all!

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The Catholic Defender: The Talking Dead

Posted by John Benko - February 9th, 2013

There is pollution in the air that is effecting the hearts and minds of many people all over the world. Children often are the target of much of the pollution taking place which is seated in the deepest recesses of the heart. Rebellion digs deep into the soul when it turns away from God for the beautiful side of evil.

Ephesians 5:1-5 says, “So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma. Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is fitting among the holy ones, no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place, but instead, thanksgiving. Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolator, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God”.

St. Paul takes this deeper writing to the Galations 5:16-21, “I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want. But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warned you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God”.

St. John 5:16-17, refers to these as “deadly sins” from which the Catholic Church calls “Mortal Sins”. St. John states, “If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will give life. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a thing as deadly sin, about which I do not say that you should pray. All wrong doing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly.”

When St. Paul speaks about sin that will prevent a person any “inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” that is a mortal sin.”

Consider Jesus (Matthew 12:36-37) clear warning. “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak. By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Basically, the Lord is saying, out of the heart, the mouth speaks. I will say, garbage in, garbage out. It does matter what a person accepts and brings in. The sad thing is that many are being raised by this standard from their own parents. Children will imitate whom they admire and grow into what they imitate.

Jesus gives a clear warning on this as well, Matthew 18:6 says, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of things that case sin! Such things must come, but woe to the one through whom they come!”

How sad it is when it is from the parents that a child learns to sin. It is especially important that Fathers lead by example, the good things of God.

Consider Colossians 3:5-8, “Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient. By these you too once conducted yourselves, when you lived in that way. But now you must put them all away: anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths.”

Ephesians 4:29 states, “No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear.”

Is there a constant theme in all this? It is clear that we must reform our lives and transform our lives to the way of the Lord. The Church calls us to constant conversion. Bad habits is a choice, it is important to see yourself as a work in progress and work on cleaning yourself up. To cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit implanted in your life through Baptism and Confirmation.

Hebrews 13:1-2 states, “Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels”. When I see a small child, what an opportunity for God’s grace and yes, God’s angels are present! Which leads to another warning of Jesus. Matthew 18:1-5 states, “At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, ‘Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.” Jesus would continue, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”.

Consider the Angels at Sodom to get Lot and his family out of the city, do we respect the messengers of God or do we cry out for evil upon them?

How terrible it is to teach a child to sin, and there is great evil out there. Just this morning, I was at the Thomas Moore Troop Medical Clinic and CNN was talking favorably of a singing artist who has a song about a man with a love for another man. How terrible this is and woe to those who promote this kind of sin and place it in the hearts and minds of the young.

The Culture of Death is far more reaching than abortion and the killing of innocent human beings. It is also anything that leads to death.

The Talking Dead is very dangerous because they seek only selfish desires from the recesses of their heart.

1 Samuel 15:23 states, “For a sin like divination is rebellion, and presumption is the crime of idolatry. Because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he too, has rejected you…” Romans 1:32 echos all of the above saying, “Although they know the just decree of God that all who practice such things deserve death, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

Hosea 4:6 warns, “My people perish for want of knowledge! Since you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you from my priesthood; Since you have ignored the law of your God, I will also ignore your sons.”

That is scary, I do not want the Lord to ignore my Sons and Daughter, not at all.

If we think about it, hopefully, none of us would. By virtue of your baptism and confirmation, you can truly echo Isaiah, “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord and a day of vindication by our God…”

The Catholic Church is celebrating this “Year of Faith” to inspire hope in a hopeless world, to inspire faith in a faithless world, to inspire love in a perverted world.

Let us aspire to the true gifts of God, “The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon you, a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.” Let us seek out the higher gifts of God!

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