*BEST OF DTB #142* The Catholic Defender: Spirit of the Soveriegn Lord

Posted by John Benko - May 6th, 2013

“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, to comfort all who mourn; To place on those who mourn in Zion a diadem instead of ashes, To give them oil of gladness in place of mourning, a glorious mantle instead of a listless spirit” (Isaiah 61:1-3).

We see this scripture fulfilled at the baptism of Jesus. It is at this point that Jesus begins His public ministry.

The Gospel of Matthew records what happens, “The Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to prevent him saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?’ Jesus said to him in reply, ‘Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed him. After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased “ (Matthew 3:13-17).

This is a most important connection that St. Matthew reveals because Jesus is truly the Messiah that Isaiah bore witness to.

This scene in Matthew is also important because we see a glimpse of the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

We will again see this image at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8). After the Resurrection, Jesus will send the Catholic Church to go to all the nations to baptize in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).

This is important for all of God’s people because we have the means to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit through our own Baptism (Acts 2:38) and receive the power of the Holy Spirit through the “laying of hands” (Hebrews 6:2).

St. Paul instructs St. Timothy, “Do not lay hands too readily on anyone, and do not share in another’s sin. Keep yourself pure (1 Timothy 5:22).

Why do we see this caution from St. Paul? St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians is key!

He writes, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory. It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me” (Colossians 1:24-29).

St. Paul is instructing us to prepare our converts, preparing them to receive the gift and power of the Holy Spirit. St. Timothy is instructed not to “lay hands” too readily.

They must be prepared and instructed in the Faith.

St. Paul says “The aim of this instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5).

 Regardless if you are a catechuman, a candidate, or you are a life long Catholic, the Church calls us to take self inventory.

Jesus was tempted, He began His public Ministry being “led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1).

The 40 days has a symbolic meaning for Christians. We see the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years.

Jonah warned the Ninevites that God would destroy the great city in 40 days (Jonah 3:4) and the people responded by covering themselves with sackcloth and ashes.

God spared them because of their repentance. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, a 40 day season of the Church.

It is at the Easter Vigil that millions around the world are be recieved into the Catholic Faith. Catechumans are baptized and along with the Candidates, are confirmed into the Catholic Faith.

They will receive the Eucharist and share at the Table of Plenty with the whole Church!

Ascension Thursday is so important because it is the birth of the Papacy. 

Daniel 7:13-14 states, “As the visions during the night continued, I saw One like a son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven; When he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, He received dominion, glory, and kingship; nations and peoples of every language serve him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.”

Consider what Jesus Promised to St. Peter, “Blessed are you Simon son of Bar-Jonah.  For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.  And so I say to you, you are Peter (Kapa), and upon this rock (Kapa) I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what ever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:17-19).

Consider Jesus, the Son of Man, giving the keys to his “Royal Stewart” once He received this dominion at the appointed time with the Ascension of Jesus. 

Jesus is the stone that destoys the great statue of Babylon.  “In the lifetime of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destoyed or delivered up to another people”.

Ascension Thursday is a very important feast of the Church!

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*BEST OF DTB #194* Who could be against this guy?

Posted by John Benko - July 8th, 2012

Now I have no interest in reopening a wound put a certain person made the statement on our show that she tries very hard to love the Catholic people but she defiantly is against, and will attack the Catholic Pope. I am paraphrasing, lest I be accused of not giving a direct quote. I am not even going to argue the obvious incongruity of the statement, nor condemn her for her opinion.

However, it does strike me as odd.

There have been a few bad Popes. This article puts it at 10, so let’s go with that. 10 out of 266 indicates a batting average of .962 which I will gladly put up against any Protestant church that has ever stood. Nevertheless, the sin of scandal caused by the worst of the lot is probably responsible for the Protestant revolt. His name was Rodrigo Borgia and infamy will remember as Alexander VI.

It might surprise some that Catholics do not hide from the sad history of these few men. It is right there in the open in our recorded history, just as no history of the Apostles is complete without Judas.
Now, I certainly have no intention of making a defense for Alexander VI, nor for his promiscuous daughter, but I think anti-catholics do have to examine something that is quite worthy of reflection, in my view.

You see, this is 2012, not 1503 and Benedict XVI is in the chair of Peter, not Alexander VI. Truth be told, how could any Christian possible be against this guy? Most (though not all) protestants are social conservatives. This is especially true with Evangelicals. There has been no stronger voice in the world for life than Benedict XVI. There has been no stronger voice for the sanctity of marriage than Benedict XVI. Even on the issues you may disagree with him on- the death penalty, war and a strict, market-based capitalism, you cannot question his motivation is mercy based.

Exactly the same is true of his predecessor, John Paul II, who brought the message of Christ to more people than any other man in human history. The living example of gregarious love and patient suffering. John Paul II was a living saint. Billy Graham once called him the moralist man on earth  and I will be so bold as to say that never in protestant history has there been produced a man or woman who can stand next to him. That is not an attack, it is simply a fact.

John Paul II had the 3rd longest pontificate in history behind only Pius IX at #2 and the Rock upon which the church was built- Peter.

I thought surely his predesessor, (whose name he took) was the shortest at 33 days. Yet, believe it or not, that doesn’t even put him in the top 10 (He is #11). The shortest reign was Urban VII, who reigned for 13 days. John Paul I is an open question, then . We cannot call him a good pope nor a bad pope.

What about Paul VI? No Pope did more to try and heal religious divisions. John the XXIII, his predecessor, was a modern day prophet on issues of sexual sin, abortion and contraception. Pius XII, the man before him, was called the singular voice against Hitler’s madness, saving some 860,000 Jews from the Holocaust.

So, it goes. One must go all the way all the way back to 1534 and the end of the reign of Clement VII to find a Pope who can be plausibly called bad. That is 478 of a scandal free papacy. An broken line of 45 Popes who cannot be plausibly accused of any scandal since the last bad Pope. An unbroken line of 113 Popes before the first bad one (Stephen VII). At least the first 33 of those Popes were martyrs for Christ. That is every Pope from Peter to Pope Saint Sylvester I who died in 335 AD.

Even among the years of the Bad Popes (896-1534), there were these 10 bad Popes and 94 good Popes. This means that even during it’s very darkest years- the dreadful middle ages- less than 10% of the Popes were bad ones.

This is according to recognized historian Russell Chamberlain.

There has never been a Protestant denomination that can claim that only 9.6% of it’s leaders have been corrupt. So, even our worst history cannot plausibly be compared to their best. 76 Popes have been canonized Saints meaning that their place in heaven is confirmed by documented miracles. John Paul II will join the list soon as #77.

Even that list drarfs the record of the bad Popes.

Looking at the history of the Papacy is to judge it in it’s totality. I will take that case any day.

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