The Catholic Defender: The David French Story, His Conversion To The Catholic Faith

Posted by Donald Hartley - May 21st, 2016

David 9I met David French one Sunday Morning at Mass as he and his wonderful family were sitting in the pew right behind me. What really struck me about David was that he could really sing. After Mass, I asked him if he was a convert to the Catholic Faith which at first surprised him. I then (jokingly) told him most Catholics can’t sing like he does. It turns out that David was in fact a convert to the Catholic Faith. David will appear on Deepertruth (5/21/2016) sharing his story of conversion.

David’s parents raised him in a Protestant home where he learned about Jesus. His Father served in the Army (we at Deepertruth want to thank him for his service to our Country) and as a result, like many military families, moved a lot.

David would go to various churches growing up as his Mother ensured that they religiously went to church. It was during these years that David developed a love for music, his senior year he began singing for his high school.

David 6David went to Auburn University majoring in Engineering but his love for singing continued to grow, so did his talent. Something else happened to David while at Auburn University, he found himself interested in the Catholic Faith which led to his conversion. David will share his conversion story, but after college, David continued singing in musical theater.

Today, David works as a software developer for Army Aviation at Red Stone Army Base in Huntsville Alabama, mostly dealing with training devices. That is his work, but his most cherished love is following Jesus Christ in the Catholic Faith and his wonderful family. He will share all of this beginning 20:30 (8:30) Central 5/21/2016 and you can hear it live here or archive following show.

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The Catholic Defender: Revisiting The Five Solas

Posted by Donald Hartley - April 18th, 2016

christ-is-the-stoneWhen a person, any person is pushing Sola Scriptura, what they are really pushing is their personal interpretation. That’s why those who maintain Sola Scriptura have morphed into 40,000 plus divisions that are incompatible to the teaching of Scripture. Consider John 17:20 “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.”

From time to time Catholics are frequently challenged by those using the bible against them, which is always interesting to me because the bible itself is a Catholic book. The Catholic Church was founded by Christ to proclaim His Gospel to all the nations (Matthew 28:18-20).

The following I wrote in response to what are called “The Five Solas”:

The Five Solas are:

five solas1. Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone)

2. Sola Fide (faith alone)

3. Sola Gratia (grace alone)

4. Sola Christus (Christ alone)

5. Soli Deo Gloria (glory to God alone)

All of the above were the rallying cry of Protestantism during the time of the Reformation.

Since then they have mutated and adapted to different varying forms of Protestantism, but this is the basic tenant of what these “Five Solas” are founded. Let’s take a look at these Solas one at a time.

Sola Scriptura:

Sola Scriptura is the baseline belief that the bible is the only authority and inspiration of God’s word. No doctrines are accepted without the Bible’s definition or foundation. From the Catholic response to this, all doctrines are either explicitly or implicitly found in the bible. But it is deeper than that.

protestantsThe Protestants were rejecting the Catholic authority directly opposing the Papacy, redefining the Sacraments even calling them “ordinances” thus denying their relevance. When looking at the history of God’s people, Sola Scriptura did not exist either in the Old Testament nor the Apostolic Tradition.

The Old Testament and the Jewish history verify the Catholic position perfectly, namely; Scripture has always required an interpreter. From Moses to Pope Francis, God’s people have always held an office of “teacher”. That is what the Magisterium of the Catholic Church is, the office of “Teacher”.

The Jewish oral law is very similar to Catholic development of dogma and historical growth. The Jewish oral teaching was stored in the “Mishnah“ that became the baseline for the “Halakhuh“ (legal teaching). This was practical due to the Palestinian and Babylonian Talmuds:

“The Talmud (התלמוד) is considered an authoritative record of rabbinic discussions on Jewish laws, ethics, customs, legends and stories. It expands on the earlier writings in the Torah and Mishnah, and is the basis for all later codes of Jewish law). The Talmud is a combination of a core text, the Mishnah and a later commentary, called the gemara (“completion”). There is only one Mishnah, but there are two distinct gemaras, the Yerushalmi and the Bavli. Both gemaras were developed by many rabbis over a few centuries.”

Disciples 1The “Halakhuh” for the Jewish tradition is comparable to the Canon Laws for Catholic Authority and tradition. So the Old Testament analogy is closely in line with Catholic traditions and foundations. The Catholic Church is based from Scripture. Consider how the Old Testament books were processed in time.

The Torah was written by Moses, prior to Moses, the Genesis story was maintained through oral tradition. The “Pentateuch”, the “Torah” are the first five books of Jewish and Christian scriptures, these books were gathered 500 years after King David. During this time, God moved through the authority of Moses, the Priesthood of Levi, the judges, the prophets, and the Kings. In comparison, the Catholic Faith was founded by Christ, His Apostles, the Priesthood of Christ.

It took nearly 370 years before the Catholic Church finalized the New Testament Canon of Scripture (393-396 Council of Hippo). Tradition played a major role in handing down truth through all generations. St. Paul states (2 Thessalonians 2:15), “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter”.

KnightSt. Paul also wrote St. Timothy (2 Timothy 1:13-14), “Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us”.

This primarily had to be carried out orally as it would take the Church nearly 400 years to comprise the New Testament. The Holy Spirit was imparted to the Catholic Church on Pentecost, which by the Time St. Paul wrote this letter, would have been about 40 years. Taking a look at Jewish Tradition, Christ and His Apostles recognized the Jewish oral tradition raising some of it literally to the level of written revelation. Here are some examples:

Matthew 2:23 says, “and he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene”. This prophecy was passed down orally rather than from scripture. It is not in the Old Testament.

Matthew 23:2-3 says, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice”. The Seat of Moses is not found in the Old Testament, but it is found in the “Mishna“. This is clearly the teaching succession from Moses on down. Christians today have “Apostolic Succession” which is the legitimate authority of Christ passed down through the Catholic Church.

rock1 Corinthians 10:4 says, “…and all drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ”. The movement of the “Rock” is not found in the Old Testament, it is through Jewish tradition that St. Paul was speaking from making his point.

1 Peter 3:19 says, “…in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison”. St. Peter is describing Christ’s journey to “Sheol” (prison) is not in the Old Testament writing, it is taken from the Jewish apocalyptic book 1 Enoch (12-16).

Jude 9 says, “But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgement upon him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you”. The issue of the body of Moses is not found in the Old Testament.

Jude 14-15 says, “It was of these also that Enoch in the seventh generation from Adam prophesied, saying, ‘behold, the Lord came with his holy myriads, to execute judgement on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness which they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him”. This is not in the Old Testament, but refers to 1 Enoch 1:9.

Bible 3There are more, but I wanted to show that the new Testament writings literally placed into writing Old Testament traditions not found in the (OT) Scriptures. These were placed to the order of divine scripture.

Sola Scriptura cannot and did not have a place in any of God’s teaching authority. The Jewish authority was centered from Moses, “the law giver Levitical Priesthood” carried down the “ordinances” of the Lord which were a “type” of the New Testament authority.”, David, the household of David’s kingship and Elijah, the prophets.

Jesus fulfills Moses, David, and Elijah as He is the Priest, Prophet, and King. The Priesthood of Christ carries the Sacraments of grace centered in a new Covenant.

One last case against Sola Scriptura, coming from the biblical text itself:

2 Peter 1:18-20 says, “First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God”.

peter 22 Peter 3:14-17 says, “Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without blemish, and at peace. And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this, as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your own stability”. This is exactly what “lawless men did in creating these “Five Solas“.

Martin Luther, the founder and “Father” of Protestantism, refereed to Sola Fide as the doctrine that the Church stood or fell. Since he placed such importance on this and contemporary Protestants continue Sola Fide’s belief system, let’s take a look at it.

Sola Fide

Protestants declare we are ‘being declared right by God”, and they assume this means salvation. Faith is the means by which we are justified by God. Martin Luther once said “sin valiantly, but believe more valiantly”, this is not exactly what the scriptures or the tradition of the Church.

Galations 5:21 St. Paul warns, “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things (sin) shall not inherit the kingdom of God”. St. Paul exposes Luther’s example above as what “lawless men” have processed in the doctrine of Sola Fide. Taking a look at the scripture, what does it say referring to “faith alone”?

luther-inkwell-4Martin Luther referred to the book of James in the New Testament as a “gospel of straw”, that James had “no backbone” because it differed from Luther’s “Sola Fide” doctrine. James wrote, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone”.

Matthew 25:31-46. Jesus clearly states, “out of my sight, you condemned, into that everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels… As often as you neglected to do it to one of these least ones, you neglected to do it to me. These will go off to eternal punishment and the just to eternal life”.

As important as faith is, Jesus doesn’t speak to that issue, He is speaking of works that He fully expects His people to conduct. The Lord hears the cry of the poor, we become His hands when we seek to do His will! The real issue is the Protestants rejection of the Sacraments and the work that God does through them. The Sacraments could not be “life saving” or “necessary” because they would be the products of “works”!

Philippians 2:16 states, “As I look to the day of Christ, you give me cause to boast that I did not run the race in vain or work to no purpose. Even if my life is to be poured out as a libation, over the sacrificial service of your faith. I am glad of it and rejoice with you”.

paul heals man at lystraSt. Paul also says (Philippians 2:12), “So then, my dearly beloved, obedient as always to my urgings, work with anxious concern to achieve your salvation…”

I’ve made this point before, if you are studying for a test and the teacher during review stomps his foot or pounds his hands on the desk to insure you get the point, what should you do? You should take note of the essential information! Well, what does God tell us about Judgement? Our finals, the test we should all want to pass!

Jesus states, “But he who ACTS in the truth comes into the light, to make clear that his DEEDS are done in God (John 3:21)”. Romans 2:5 states, “In spite of this, your hard and impenitent heart is storing up retribution for that day of wrath when the just judgement of God will be revealed, when He will repay every man for what he has DONE…”

1 Peter 1:17 says, “In prayer you call upon the Father who judges each one justly on the basis of his ACTIONS. Since this is so, conduct yourselves, reverently during this sojourn in a strange land”. Hebrews 13:21 states, “Furnish you with all that is good, THAT YOU MAY DO HIS WILL. Though Jesus Christ may carry out in you all that is pleasing to Him. To Christ be the glory forever! Amen.”

Revelation 22:12 states, “Remember, I am coming soon! I bring with me the reward that will be given to each man as his CONDUCT DESERVES.” John 3:36 says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever DISOBEYS the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him (Romans 5:9)”.  Scripture after scripture tells us we will be held accountable to our deeds. We must do the will of the Father! If you KEEP His Commandments, you SHOW you love Him! The Catholic Church recognize that we must be obedient in faith. The skull has what we call “infused joints” that keeps our brain protected and intact. We need each part for it to function properly. Likewise, faith and good works are infused, both are essential. Jesus tells us to “store up heavenly treasure that no one can steal”.

faith-God-wallpaper_1920x1200Our faith must produce fruit! Don’t take your faith and bury it in the backyard (Matthew 25:24-28). Faith is a gift! Good works are the product of our response to that gift. Salvation is not earned so that we can punch our own ticket, but good works that pleases God and are God ordained makes that ticket complete. “The harvest is plenty but the workers are few”!

Sola Gratia

The Protestants development of this new gospel says that grace is always ‘efficacious” without the cooperation of man. That salvation comes by God’s grace alone. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God–not because of works, lest any man should boast”.

Grace is a free gift of God not merited by man. The Catholic Church maintains that a person must “cooperate” and accept the free gift from God. Grace and faith must be nurtured, fed or it will die. To live in sin is to live in bondage. That is in essence, throwing God’s gift right back at him. We should never place our selves in that position, but the Lord is forgiving and merciful. That to is grace from God!

works 1Continuing with Ephesians 2, when you get to verse 10, it says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”. Again, we must “cooperate” and accept this free gift and nurture it with love, with devotion, with the Sacraments which God imputes grace, He showers His grace upon us. The Protestants use their theology of Sola gratia as a way to show the Sacraments are not necessary.

Solus Christus

Catholic and Protestants can agree who Jesus is, but there is major disagreement over Christ’s teaching and authority. The basic question is: “Is the Catholic Church the one true Faith founded by Christ, commissioned by Christ and sent by Christ to go to all the nations with the true Gospel or are the Protestants correct in rebelling against it? It all boils down to that!

Through Christ establishing the Catholic Faith, all the systems of the Faith, the Sacraments, the liturgies, the Scriptures, the traditions, are governed by an authority Christ gives the Church. Protestants will challenge you why you need to go to a priest when you can go to Christ “alone”.

confession 3They fail to realize that it is in obedience to Christ that we go to “Confession”or “The anointing of the Sick”! Christ established the Papacy giving us a visible head, a chief steward in holding fast to the “Deposit of Faith” entrusted by Our Lord to His Apostles.

This includes Mother Mary and the Saints as well. Jesus is the mediator between God and man and it is through this mediation that the Saints in heaven can pray for us here on earth. Mary is not competing with Jesus, she is leading people to Him! The Saints are not declared ‘god’s’, they are given for us as role models, the Catholic ‘Hall of Fame” as their lives point the way to Jesus.

Tom T. Hall, a Country singer, use to sing, “Me and Jesus have our own thing going, me and Jesus, got it all worked out”. That is not the Church of the New Testament.

Soli Deo Gloria

1 Corinthians 2:9 says, But as it is written, ‘what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man concieved, what God has prepared for those who love him”. Rich Mullins, in his journey to the Catholic Faith recognized that his Protestant foundations were beginning to crack when he discovered that the Catholic Church did not overrate the Saints. He recognized that his upbringing did underrate the Saints and this was a revelation to him. Jesus is the king of Kings and Lord of Lords and there is none besides him. Yet, he offers us a crown of immortality forever with him in His Father’s house. When we honor Mary, the Saint’s we are really honoring God!

running 1In closing, we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses marked with the sign of faith who are praying for us, pulling for us, loving us as they intercede for us. “Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith…”

O my God, I firmly believe that you are one God in three divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; I believe that your divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because you revealed them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.

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The Guardian Angel: The Eucharistic Miracle of Meersen Netherlands 1222 and 1465

Posted by Donald Hartley - April 13th, 2016

ignatius 1“Consider how contrary to the mind of God are the heterodox in regard to the grace of God which has come to us. They have no regard for charity, none for the widow, the orphan, the oppressed, none for the man in prison, the hungry or the thirsty. They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead.” “Letter to the Smyrnaeans”, paragraph 6. circa 80-110 A.D.

When you take the words of St. Ignatius of Antioch and consider them with the over all text of Scripture, this helps bring into perspective the miracle of God’s word being handed down.

Notice as St. Ignatius writes the Smyrnaeans, the unique similarity with Matthew 25:34-40, “Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ There is no question that St. Ignatius ties Jesus Christ with the Eucharist and the Bishops of the Church.

ignatius“Come together in common, one and all without exception in charity, in one faith and in one Jesus Christ, who is of the race of David according to the flesh, the son of man, and the Son of God, so that with undivided mind you may obey the bishop and the priests, and break one Bread which is the medicine of immortality and the antidote against death, enabling us to live forever in Jesus Christ.” -“Letter to the Ephesians”, paragraph 20, c. 80-110 A.D.

It’s interesting looking at the words St. Ignatius writes the Ephesians reminding them of their one faith in Jesus Christ. St. Paul wrote the Ephesians just a few decades before, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” St. Paul said that he was made an Apostle for our benefit, just as St. Ignatius exhorts us to obey the bishops and the priests today coming from that one faith.

ignatius 2“I have no taste for the food that perishes nor for the pleasures of this life. I want the Bread of God which is the Flesh of Christ, who was the seed of David; and for drink I desire His Blood which is love that cannot be destroyed.” -“Letter to the Romans”, paragraph 7, circa 80-110 A.D.

St. Ignatius was a disciple of St. John the Apostle, as He writes his letter to the Romans, notice the very unique influence in what St. Ignatius writes from what he learned from St. John, ” Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal.” John 6:27

St. Ignatius gives us a deeper clue to what St. John was saying to his listeners. We are to hunger for the Bread of Life which is Jesus who established the Covenant on his precious body and blood (soul and divinity).

“Take care, then who belong to God and to Jesus Christ – they are with the bishop. And those who repent and come to the unity of the Church – they too shall be of God, and will be living according to Jesus Christ. Do not err, my brethren: if anyone follow a schismatic, he will not inherit the Kingdom of God. If any man walk about with strange doctrine, he cannot lie down with the passion. Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: for there is one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the union of His Blood; one altar, as there is one bishop with the presbytery and my fellow servants, the deacons.” -Epistle to the Philadelphians, 3:2-4:1, 110 A.D.

There is so much scripture here to consider that shows no doubt the knowledge of St. Ignatius retained from what he learned from the Apostles.

Last supperRegarding the unity of the Church, Jesus prayed these words at the Last Supper with His Apostles, “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world.” John 17:20-24

St. Ignatius speaks about the concern of schism. Schism comes from the root word skizam or skitso meaning without division. The scriptural text here comes from John 21:11, “So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.” The 153 fish represents all the nations, peoples and tongues. The whole Church in all the nations in one net, undivided.

paul 4St. Paul speaks of those who follows “strange doctrines”, “Have nothing to do with godless and silly myths. Train yourself in godliness;” 1 Timothy 4:7

Anything that takes us away from the true Sacrifice of Jesus Covenant is in truth godless. I’ve seen this where a person will denounce the Catholic Faith now claiming a personal relationship with Jesus. They come to deny the very Jesus they think they now know better than the Saints of God. Strange doctrines rooted from heresies like Sola Scriptura have led many down a wrong path. Jesus continues to point to Himself and the truth of the Catholic Faith which is based in Scripture. Jesus gives us great signs and wonders of His true presence among us in the holy Mass.

The Eucharistic Miracle of Meersen Netherlands 1222 and 1465

The people of the Netherlands over the years suffered greatly due to foreign invaders from the fourth century Barbarian to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century. In 1421, a terrible flood drowns nearly 10,000 people. Despite the calamities, Jesus has always maintained a remnant of believers in the Netherlands. The past few years the Catholic Church in the Netherlands is about 23% of the population, nearly 4,000,000. It has been slowly decreasing as Secularism continues to plague Christian Europe. Islam is on the march there growing at 6%. Jesus has never taken His hands away from His Catholic Church in the Netherlands.

Gerberga of SaxonyAt the middle of the 10th century, the wife of then King Louis IV of Outremer, Gerberga of Saxony, enlarged their chapel in Meerssen. This place became an important place of pilgrimage due to Jesus giving a great sign among the people. In 1222, during Holy Mass on Sunday, as Father was consecrating the Holy Eucharist, living Blood began to drip from the Large Host staining the Mass corporal. This event was recognized by by the ecclesiastical authorities and the blood stained corporal was placed in the church for veneration and honor. In 1465 a massive fire broke out which ultimately destroyed the church. A brave farmer who happened to be near the church was able to rescue the relic. The blood stained corporal was completely unharmed.

The bravery of the faithful man who saved the miracle that happened 243 years before the fire, the people remembered this event as the “Miracle of the Fire”. The Church of Meerssen was rebuilt and in 1938 Pope Pius XI raised this church to a minor basilica. Despite the save of Secularism and Islam reaching the Netherlands, today, there is still major pilgrimages that are centered in the Netherlands and the miraculous blood stained corporal is carried each year on the octave of Corpus Christi.

bleeding HostIt is appropriate to recall the words of St. Ignatius, “I have no taste for the food that perishes nor for the pleasures of this life. I want the Bread of God which is the Flesh of Christ, who was the seed of David; and for drink I desire His Blood which is love that cannot be destroyed.” -“Letter to the Romans”, this is a great reminder that despite all that the world denies. St. Paul wrote of the Roman Church, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.” The Eucharist is taken to all the world at every Catholic Church and Tabernacle. Hebrews 13:10

O my God, I firmly believe that you are one God in three divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; I believe that your divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because you revealed them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.

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The Catholic Defender: The Catholic Church Was Established Necessary For Salvation

Posted by Donald Hartley - March 21st, 2016

AbrahamRecently, I spoke with a lady who is from Poland who told me that she is Catholic, but has been going to a Non-Denomination church because of where they live. I asked her if she looked for a local Catholic Church, she replied that she did not. After talking with her about the importance of the Catholic Faith for Salvation, she quickly went to correct her current situation. She did not understand the consequences of not going to Mass. I run into this kind of situation a lot because many people take faith like a smorgasbord, Christ is not comparable to McDonald’s or Burger King. He is the King of kings and his truth is not subject to our opinion. We are subject to his Will. Like a colorful snake that draws your attention, if you get to close you just might get bit.

It seems that every now and again, Apostates like Mike Gendron and others want to raise their voices to reach out after Catholics. Just coming home from a mission in Kentucky, I found on the internet Mike Gendron continues to promote his attacks of Catholics on his website “Proclaiming the Gospel”.

Abraham 1The whole debate over the bible, faith, works, really are side trails that steer people down a wrong road. One lady promoting Gendron’s website started to respond to me by saying that she does not see anywhere in the bible that teaches the need of the Catholic Church?

Think about that very question. In the Old Testament, the very nature of the Catholic Church was foretold by God to the Patriarchs. Genesis 17:5 God changes Abrams name to Abraham depicting this truth. Abram spiritually means “Father”, while Abraham means “Father of a host of nations”.

This change from Abram to Abraham is very significant because it points to the seed that would ultimately come, it is a foreshadowing the Messiah: Isaiah 11:1, “But a shoot shall spout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him”.

Jesse: David’s Father. Stump: After the Babylonian exile, only a stump of the Davidic Dynasty will remain; from it will arise the new shoot, the Messianic King. Also the root meaning of the word bud refers to the word NESER which hits the root of NAZIR which translates to NAZARETH. Jesus would be called Jesus the Nazarene!

Jesus Himself fulfills the prophecies of the Old Testament. What I am addressing at this point is the work that Jesus did. Isaiah spoke of the Lord’s servants: “no weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, says the LORD.” Isaiah 54:17

pickCan you pick out your own scripture and cherry pick them to formulate your own way of Salvation? No, that is certainly not the ordinary means of Salvation. Jesus did establish a Church giving it His Authority. Consider the following: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:18-19

“He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” Luke 10:16

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” John 20:21-23

Am I cherry picking verses to build a case? No, not at all, I can share scripture that relates to a spiritual truth, but it is clear that Jesus did in fact founded a Church. The fact that Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter is very significant. The giving to Peter the Keys adds even more foundation to this truth. Consider the following:

“and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your girdle on him, and will commit your authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. (Isaiah 22:22)

keysrevelation (1)“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:18-19

In the household of David, the one who held the keys of the kingdom was the Royal Steward. Jesus as the Son of David, has the power to transfer the keys to His Church, the office he founded upon Peter.

Let’s take a quick look at a verse that the Gendron Clan might throw out to attempt to confuse a Child of God. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17

It is common for the Gendron Clan to pull out a scripture like Romans 10:17 that when taken out of context, they will challenge you to find the Catholic Church there. I will respond that I am hearing the word of God that is teaching me and building in me the Faith of the Apostles. I am not bound by the false application of your interpretation Mister Gendron or Jason Hauser!

Romans 10:17 is very simple, The word of Christ has been faithfully safeguarded by the Church that Jesus established. It is that Church that presents the word of Christ as it has been handed down from the Apostles. It is interesting that when I went to Gendron’s Baptist church in Tyler Texas, that they would not allow us to refer to the Apostolic Authority. That is because they have none. If you ask them pointblank for someone of the second or third century that reflects their faith, THEY DO NOT EXIST.

Everything that the Catholic Church teaches was embodied in the Great Commission by Christ: And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

This command of the Lord cannot be usurped by Mike Gendron through his own personal interpretation of scripture. The Catholic Church is the arbiter of truth: “My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” James 5:10-20

graceThe Catholic Church is the dispenser of Grace for our benefit: “For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles–assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly.

Stewardship of God’s Grace? Very interesting. Not only was St. Paul called by God to dispense Grace, but all the ordained: “Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophetic utterance when the council of elders laid their hands upon you. Practice these duties, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress. Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy 4:14-16

So, we see the Church being the arbiter of truth and grace is very significant. Anyone who challenged the Apostles authority in the New Testament went off the bandwagon: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel–not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:6-9

What the Gendron Clan does is to misrepresent what the Catholic Church teaches. They do that in pamphlets and booklets. Ms. Jane, who I later was told was Mike Gendron’s wife, handed me their pamphlets that they handed out to Catholics on Christmas Eve. Just to give you an example how they are deceptive, Mr Gendron, when looking at Jesus the Savior, he points to Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not because of any righteous deeds we had done, but because of his mercy.” That is how he quoted it.

baptizzedNow, check out the actual quote, “Here is Titus 3:5 in it’s full context, “But when the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life”.

Do you notice that Mike Gendron is not giving the fullness of the truth of Titus 3:5! This is typical when you start digging into Mike Gendron’s teaching.

Why would Mike Gendron purposely leave out the phrase, “He saved us ‘THROUGH the BATH of REBIRTH and RENEWAL by the HOLY SPIRIT?”

What Mr. Gendron is doing is reshaping the format. All Catholics recognize what Christ accomplished on the Cross for our salvation is sufficient, but we are to be baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Faith.

As for the name of the Church being in the bible, I like the Greek text of Acts 9:31:

TOPSHOTS-VATICAN-RELIGION-POPE-CANONISATIONActs 9:31 “Then the church throughout all* Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord. “

*In the original Greek, it is:  Acts 9:31 ἡ μεν ουν εκκλησια καθ᾽ ὁλης της ιουδαιας και γαλιλαιας και σαμαρειας ειχεν ειρηνην οικοδομουμενη και πορευομενη τω φοβω του κυριου, και τη παρακλησει του ἁγιου πνευματος επληθυνοντο.

The term in bold commonly translated as ‘church throughout all’ is in Greek ‘”εκκλησια καθ᾽ ὁλης”—pronounced “Ekklesia Kath olos” or the Church Universal or some might say The Catholic Church, since Kath olos is the same term used by St Ignatius for the Church in his letter.

The Catholic Church is necessary for Salvation, it even helps extends God’s grace to those who reject it by offering forever the Prodigals who return home to the Sacraments. The reason why the Catholic Church has this power and authority is through the founder of the Catholic Faith, Jesus Christ.

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The Catholic Defender: Conversion Stories Inspire, The Dale And Alan Rodberg Story

Posted by Donald Hartley - March 7th, 2016

catholic-digest-cover-nov-2011As a young teenager, I remember one of my favorite readings came from the “Catholic Digest” as I would be interested to look at the conversion stories that were being told in the periodicals. I have always loved conversion stories. Because of this, naturally, I love to share conversion stories on this Website or on our Internet Radio Show. All this is a great calling for the Catholic Church, it is the Great Commission; “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 Alan 1Dale and Alan Rodberg, both Facebook friends, gives this testimony: In 1964 I (Alan) converted (to the Catholic Faith) in Los Angeles as a 22 year old after seeing the movies “Going My Way” and “The Bells of St Mary’s”. I left the church for some years. Fast forward to 1988. I was visiting my cousin in New York and Dale lived down the hall from her. Five months later we got married. We moved back to Los Angeles for 2 years.. In 1990 we moved to Phoenix and in 95 I wanted to go back to church. Dale was the driver at that time and went with me to Mass. nike air max flyknit ultra 2.0 After a few times at Mass the Holy Spirit struck her and she decided to convert so we both went to RCIA. And in 96 she received the whole boat and I was confirmed. The rest is history! alan 2In our correspondence, between Dale and Alan there is a Jewish background who today both are very excited about their faith in Jesus Christ and His Church. Dale and Alan’s conversion story reminds me that the Catholic Church originated from it’s Jewish roots. Just as the Apostles who followed Jesus nearly 2,000 years ago, today, many are being called. Another thing I love about Dale and Alan is how they share their faith together, growing together, that to me is very inspiring. ugg australia If you want to really have a great marriage, you can’t get any more closer than having the spiritual as well as the physical aspect of marriage. ugg bottes Faith has a way of nurturing the soul, the Holy Spirit brings us closer through a deeper love for each other. I love Acts 2:38, St. Peter, the first Pope, states, “And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Forward to Verses 46-47, “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” We see faith as a journey, and we can see this in Dale and Alan’s testimony which their story begins in 1964, and today, they are growing strengthened by the Holy Spirit through the Sacramental life. basket new balance Each year through the RCIA “Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults” thousands are received into the Catholic Church from all kinds of backgrounds, much like the first 3,000 added on the first Pentecost (Acts 2:41). confirmation_sponsor_cardI want to take this opportunity to encourage you, who are in good standing with the Church, to prayerfully consider supporting the Sponsorship program in the RCIA. I have spoken with countless people who have grown so much through sponsoring someone into the Church. How important it is to keep a good re-pore with those you have Sponsored. It is easy to loose track of time and space especially in a military like environment where you move a lot. I try to lift up those whom I have Sponsored that I have lost touch with because of transfers and years of separation. air jordan soldes Despite that, you can still pray for those who are on journey.

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The Catholic Defender Receives A Phone Call

Posted by Donald Hartley - February 29th, 2016

phoneRecently I woke up one morning and began my day like most ordinary days getting myself together, waking up just having a lazy kind of day. I didn’t have to work that day, sitting back enjoying an episode of Daniel Boone. Boonesborough was under attack by Indians and could Daniel save the day. Just as two Indians were about to attack Mingo, the phone rang and I answered it wondering who might be calling me this early on a Saturday morning. I answered the phone:

Hello, how may I help you?

The response: Is Mrs. Hartley available?

I responded that she was not present. She is not home at this time.

I was asked, are you the husband of Mrs. Hartley?

I responded “Yes”, most certainly, how may I help you.

caller 1The Caller asked me for my Wife’s last four of her Social Security Number. I was able to give it.

With all the traveling that my Wife was doing trying to work as a traveling Nurse, we were late for a payment. In talking with the Caller, I was quickly able to make the appropriate response taking care of the problem.

Because the Caller was so helpful and courteous, I came right out with it: “Your Catholic are you not”?

The Caller paused for a second and admitted, “Yes” he was.

I asked him why he had not been practicing his faith as he should?

His response was that he tried to get to Mass as often as he could.

I asked him when he last went to confession?

confession 3He admitted that he had not gone to confession since he was a sophomore in high school, he was now 31 years old.

I told him that in the past couple of weeks I met a woman who had made he first confession in 55 years. She was a survivor of the Nazi occupation of Poland and escaped to the United States through the efforts of Pope John Paul II who at the time was studying to become a priest. Through the years, in American Culture, she had lost her Catholic identity only to finally re-discover it.

I then told the Caller the importance of going to confession and getting his life totally in line with Christ’s Church. I told him the scripture, James 5:19-20: “My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”

The Caller became very interested in what I was telling him and asked for our information. I went back to the Apostles, their successors right down to today.

CD 1 (1)I told him that I was known as the “Catholic Defender” and he could find me simply by Google. That he could find www.deepertruthblog and listen to our radio programs and read our articles. The Caller became very interested and promised to me that he would follow through and re-discover the roots of his faith. We must of talked on the phone for more than 20 minutes as we talked about the Catholic Faith. I
also encouraged him to ask about Cursillo  in his Parish and Diocese. That would be a great shot in the arm!

Ladies and Gentleman, the Caller reminds me that you may not always know when the Lord might send someone to you to help them in their footsteps. The Lord’s mission could come to you through a million different ways, just like this morning’s Caller! How easy it could have been to either let it ring or even hang the phone up.

HEB opened a new mega-store in Copperas Cove that just opened up this weekend. There were thousands of people and so I went there to get some odds and ins getting ready for the Superbowl Sunday. Even Deepertruth needs to be ready for the Superbowl! While looking through the cheese and meats section, a staffer was planted near by so I struck up a conversation with her. She was from another area HEB who was helping out with this opening weekend. She was a strong believer in the “Non-denomination” groups, but by the time I left the scene, she had a much better understanding of the Catholic Faith! How wonderful it is to give witness for the Faith of the Apostles.

Spiritual-hungerThere is much hunger out there and the Lord is calling us to be His hands, His feet, and His voice. At the end of the day, it has been a good Deepertruth day as hopefully, the seeds of faith were sown and the Lord most glorified. Jesus said, “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 18:37). “Jesus also said , “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:8).

Jesus speaks through His Church. St Paul wrote, “But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). May the Lord bless us this Easter Vigil with many conversions and reversions! Amen!

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The Catholic Defender: Early Military Units And Faith

Posted by Donald Hartley - February 17th, 2016

Army (1)I reported to my first duty assignment at Fort Stewart in June of 1985. After Basic Training and (AIT) Advanced Individual Training I received orders for Fort Stewart Georgia. From the Replacement Center I was attached with the 1st Support Unit, 24th Mechanized Infantry.

Being in a Medical Support Company, I was assigned as a Medic with the Ambulance Section and given responsibility for a track M113A2 vehicle. Out in the field, you have not experienced anything until you get the chance to put up Camouflage netting over a Track vehicle.

There are a million places that the net catches on the Track and you have to set up your poles and butterflies to hide your track from the air. Plus you have to set up quickly but proficiently. Then when you do get set up, they call a move out where you have to break it down and go.

IMG_1874When I first arrived into the unit, my first night there, my roommate took me around the post to show me where the gym was and other places to go.

While standing on a sidewalk next to the gym, a group of black guys walked towards us yelling obscenities at us. I did not pay them much attention as they called us “white trash” and “honkies”. One of them hit me in the mouth as they taunted us.

It totally surprised me. He knocked my hat right off my head. I had a bloody lip but kept my cool. They taunted and threatened us some more. They laughed at me because I had a bloody lip. It became a tense moment. They challenged my roommate wanting to fight him.

They used vulgar and vile language at us. As the night went on, other people began to gather and wanted us to win the fight. There was a crowd that gathered who recognized these individuals as trouble makers.

IMG_2417When it was all said and done, I walked through the crowd and went up to the one who punched me in the mouth and told him, “I forgive you in the name of Jesus Christ” and reached out to shake his hand. With the crowd looking on he shook my hand and I left the scene.  Editors note: There is bigotry from every group and I never held any bias against any race.  These guys would have been wrong no matter what color.

There would be many times that the Lord would place me in situations where he would have to be with me in times of hardship.

On 10 April 1986, a terrible training accident happened late at night when a Black Hawk helicopter collided with a Chinook over the swamps of Fort Stewart Georgia.

It was not far from the on post housing complex where we lived. The wreckage was spread out over a fairly large area in the woods. JP 4 fuel had leaked out all over the place. You could have lit a match and the whole place would have blown up.

crashJust wading the swamp my boots had to be thrown away, my BDU bottoms had to be thrown away, and I had sores on my legs that lasted for months. As Medics, I was among the first on the scene in retrieving the bodies of those who had lost their lives in this tragic accident.

We had to carry them at least 100 yards out of that swamp to where we could take them to the ambulances. As we carried them, all I could do was pray for them. I was praying the ‘Rosary” and the rosary for them as we carried them. There were 8 of them who died in this accident. May the Lord shine his perpetual light upon them and may they rest in his peace.

A continuation of this story takes place while I was in Iraq during OIF 06-08 deployment. Another friend of mine, Steve Ray, a Catholic Apologist, convert to the Catholic Faith, asked me to send him a story of my conversion (reversion) to the Catholic Faith.

The Diocese of New Orleans had encouraged me to write an autobiography so I have the rough draft of this story on Steve’s web-site, “Defenders of the Catholic Faith”. One day, Steve’s message board sent out flags trying to get my attention on the board.

IMG_2422A gentleman was reading through Steve’s conversion stories and found my story. Now, my story is more than 200 pages and when he reached page 80 he read this story about the helicopter crash. Upon reading this he reached Steve Ray wanting to get a hold of me.

He relayed the story that his Brother was one of the Soldiers who had died that day. Even though it was more than 20 years after the incident, it meant something to him to know that someone was praying for his brother at the scene of the accident.

That was very humbling to me that this meant that much to someone. I guess it would be like reading from a magazine to find an article that spoke about a loved one. My faith has always been very important to me. I have been challenged many times in 25 years of Military service and I have been graced to have played a part with many conversions.

IMG_2412Going back to Germany, 1987, I was given a lateral promotion to Corporal. I was now an NCO with my first squad. After nearly two years in two different units, I was finally leader of the Track Pack! I was someone that my Commands loved when it came to going to the field. I could set up and tear down a GP small or medium and help set up a defensive position.

Camouflage was always a challenge, but we always set up well after arriving to new sites. Those all night operations were always a challenge. When we were set up, the war games were always fun. We would always look to steal the guide arm (flag) from the opposing units.

I remember staying up 72 hours straight because I was having so much fun capturing opposing Soldiers. I particularly loved tying young officers to trees or dunking them in the creek! One thing about being in the field, people were more than willing to be philosophers.

IMG_2415I was able to witness the Faith daily with those we met. It was great and I’ll always cherish those times. I received a new Soldier in my squad who would become very important to me. He was drawn to me because of my apparent love for God. He was confused because I was Catholic. He thought that this situation was a contradiction. One night he and a friend of his came to visit me. They wanted to challenge me with this question?

“What about the contradiction that you call your leaders ‘Father’ and the fact that the bible states in Matthew 23:9 ‘and call no man your Father upon the earth; for one is your Father, which is in heaven’. Surly you can not defend this command of the Lord, can you?”

IMG_2421I responded, “Yes I can”! As it was in much of the bible, you must look into the context in which Jesus stated this. This is why Jesus left an authority as a teaching Church, to handle these kinds of questions. 2 Peter 1:20 states, “Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of Scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the Holy Spirit under the influence of God”.

If the Apostles would have taken Matthew23:9 literally, you would see by their example and teaching an obedience to that fact. However, when St. Paul writes to the Corinthians (1 Cor 4:15) he describes himself as a “Father” to his followers. St. Stephen referred to those who persecuted him as his brothers and Father’s (Acts 7:2). St. John refers “Fathers” as those knowing Jesus from the beginning, the leadership (1 John 2:14).

paulSt. Paul writes about “Fathers” as heads of households. I love this picture of the Prodigal Son. The image of the Father is really God the Father receiving all of us home!

St Paul writes, “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named”.

Jesus referred to Abraham as “Father” Abraham. Abraham’s original name means “Father”, Abraham means “Father” of many nations.

The question you might want to ask is , “What did Jesus mean with Matthew 23:9″?

What Jesus was addressing here was the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Jesus at this time really lowers the boom on the Pharisees calling them hypocrites, blind guides, blind fools, and whitewashed tombs.

They did acts in public for all to see, wore titles of honor to demonstrate how important they were.

Jesus pulling Peter upIn comparison to God in heaven by contrast, this would be an insult. Jesus saw them as hollow shells without substance.

What I find interesting is why you do not apply the same standard to Matthew 23:8? which states, “Do not be called rabbi” (teacher), and verse 10 says, “Do not be called Master.”

If you try to justify calling any of your leaders anything that refers to “teacher”, you have broken your standard.

The problem is that your standard was not the ruler or gauge the Lord used. This is the problem with “Sola Scriptura”  because things get taken out of context. My Soldier would be received into the Catholic Church before the end of the year! Praise the Lord!

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The Catholic Defender: Basic Training Was A Character Builder

Posted by Donald Hartley - February 16th, 2016

dth33February 7, 1985 I was on the bus from Harrison Arkansas to the Little Rock Military Enlistment Processing Station (MEPS) to begin my Military career.

I memorized the “Code of Conduct” along the way. I wanted to start my new career with the right motivation.

I remember staying at the hotel waiting for the plane taking us to Ft. Jackson South Carolina for Basic Training (Boot Camp).

The only thing I recall from this short stay in Little Rock was that some of the other applicants had hookers come to their rooms. I was not one of them as I would not have condoned that kind of activity.

dth31I had been practicing my faith solidly for a good while, thankfully, by this time. From the very beginning of my Military career, I felt it was important to be faithful to God. This would be important to note because this was my position throughout my military career.

I would have many schools and field problems where infidelity was rampant. I tried to be a Soldier for Christ first and a good example for those who were away from home for the first time.

Basic training started out just like you see in the movies and the classic stories. We were “herded” on the ‘cattle trucks” and we were quickly placed into platoons.

I’ll never forget the drill instructors bringing it on from the outset. Just getting off the trucks was an interesting experience.

I quickly got the nickname “Padre” because of my strong faith. I encouraged everyone to go to church on Sunday, especially if they were Catholic.

drill 1It worked good for most of them, but still others would drift off as some were tempted by females assigned to nearby barracks.

Late at night they would find places to get together.

I tried to discourage that but for some, the temptation was just to strong.

James 1:12-15 states, “Blessed is the man who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proved he will receive the crown of life that he promised to those who love him. No one experiencing temptation should say, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God is not subject to temptation to evil, and he himself tempts no one. Rather, each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire conceives and brings forth sin, and when sin reaches maturity it gives birth to death”.

I come from a strong patriotic background, I have always believed in what the Red, White, and Blue of our flag represents.

flagThe red stands for the blood shed in defense of our freedoms.

The white stands for the purity of our actions.

The Blue stands for the truth by which we stand.

This is why I stand up against those who would burn the flag.

For those who would alter and dishonor the truth from our foundations. This is why Secular Humanism is a danger to freedom. They want to take Christ out of public life making our nation a Secular State.

One of my Brothers joined the Marine Corps because of the problem with the “Hostages of Iran”. He felt like he should do something about what was on the news for so long. He had an influence over me.

On one occasion, we were shown a video of how the Russian Soldiers trained. This was while the “Cold War” was still in effect, at the end of the video, the Drill Sergeant invited us to ask questions from what we saw. After a number of troops asked their questions, I raised my hand to make a statement.

Drill 2The Drill Sergeant gave me permission to speak. I then stood up and said, “Drill Sergeant, we have been watching how our counterparts train. One major reason why I prefer this uniform that I’m wearing now is because it protects our right to worship God in freedom and preserves our liberty to do so. On the other hand, these Russian Soldiers do not mind taking clubs and beating old men, women, and children because they were hiding in a barn to worship God. These people have to worship God in secret”.

At that point an immediate round of applause and cheering followed my words which surprised the Drill Sergeant. He was taken off guard with what I said and the response it got. This went on for another 30-40 seconds until the Drill Sergeant regained his composure.

When he gave that look everyone went back to their sitting at attention leaving me standing their alone. The Drill Sergeant looked at me for a moment and said, “That’s all Private” and I sat back down.

Drill 3Everyday was a new challenge as we passed every part of Basic Training. The road marches, The obstacle course, the field exercises, the mind games were all challenges that we had to meet.

At the end of the day, often times my Platoon would ask me to say a prayer. I felt that was an honor because they respected me and felt it was important.

On one occasion one of the Drill Sergeants had us in a formation at ease as we watched a demonstration on marching.

The Drill Sergeant was frustrated from what he was seeing. He screamed out, “Who do you think I am, Jesus Christ”? I responded, “Drill Sergeant, I’m not Jesus Christ, but I am a representative of his”. That got me a few push ups!

As I reflect back to the time I was in Basic Training, I am so thankful that my faith was solid. My Faith has served me like a compass for over 26 years.

During my time in the Army I have had the chance to witness to thousands of people from all over the world.

God has blessed me far beyond any expectation I can have. The good news is that He is still doing so!

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The Catholic Defender: Planning Major Support In The Land Of The Morning Sun

Posted by Donald Hartley - February 15th, 2016

dthg9One late night during the summer of 2007, I was abruptly awaken by a Currier with a message that the Battalion Commander wanted to see me ASAP.

I quickly got myself together and made a mad dash to the Battalion Headquarters where the Commander was awaiting.

My Platoon Leader, a young Lieutenant, just went on a 30 day leave so I was acting Platoon Leader, Platoon Sergeant, and because we were short of Medics, I would go out on missions with the Scouts (PSD) and who ever else needed support.

The Battalion had been given a late mission from Brigade coming from Division. It always seemed that we would always have short notice for critical planning, but, sometimes this is the nature of our business. We must be flexible especially in an environment such as in Iraq OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) 2006-2008.

dth9It was my task to provide a plan for Brigade the medical support for an up coming mission that would require a main push of our Battalion assets. All the Company elements will play a role given areas of responsibilities.

This will be a door to door seek and find mission of enemy elements in an area where Americans had not been. This was going to be potentially dangerous. Of course, before I was to present my plan of support for this mission, I would have to give the plan to the Battalion leadership first.

That is a smart move because we all must be on the same sheet of music. Of course, before I shared the plan to Battalion, our Company Commander and First Sergeant wanted to know what my plan was before I did anything.

dthg10As you can see, this was very labor intensive and the plan had to be accepted up the chain. I had already a good plan of support at the Company level as my squad leaders were doing a good job keeping me informed of the missions they had been conducting. This upcoming mission was going to be a major push that would require the Division to move forward.

I had to establish a temporary Aid Station to move to a central location not far from the action.

I would have to ensure a good Evac route from all avenues of approach. I would need a good estimate calculating the supplies I would need to have on hand.

dth7I had to ensure that the logistics supporting this mission was all in place. This would have to be briefed to all the leadership and I would be the one to present it.

Everyday there were the meetings, the preparation of the power point presentations. If your act was not together, it would not be good so everyone tried to stay ahead of the program. You are the subject matter expert and you were expected to know the questions and answers before you presented yourself.

You had to know backwards and forwards what your role was and to know what your team leaders of the other sections were doing. In other words, if the Scouts had a mission, I needed to know what it was and how I was going to support them.

dthg22I had to know from the point of attack how long it would take an Evacuation Black hawk helicopter to arrive at the scene and then how long it would take to get the casualties back to the green zone. I had the Golden Hour incorporated in the plan.

Whenever there are casualties, if you can get the wounded to the Green zone and on an operating table in an hour, you greatly increase the chance of survival for many of our Soldiers. We have the best Military strategy the world has ever seen and I am proud to have played a major role at the tip of the spear.

During all this stress and daily headaches, I was able to keep up with my commitment to the Rosary Patrol. Prayer has always been my shield especially going out in harms way. All along the way to completion, I presented my plans of action and I was able to answer any and all questions relating to the mission.

dthg28I was not usually one of the ones who was held back getting yelled at.

On the morning of the kickoff, I was supporting our Echo Company Elements who was building a JSS in the middle of enemy strongholds. We had three Companies conducting mop up missions which were highly successful.

As we were rolling down the road, we were attacked with small arms fire and IED.

I was riding in a vehicle right behind the hit vehicle. There was a large explosion and the debre, smoke, and dust litterally made it hard to see. The vehicle right in front of me was hit by an IED.

dthg27I was the first on the scene with my Aid Bag as the vehicle Commander gave support ensuring that I was protected under fire.

I had two critically wounded Soldiers and I treated their life threatening injuries first and packaged them at the scene. One of my Combat Medics, SPC Ginther, had actually been in the hit vehicle but he was not harmed, he was able to assist me as we packaged the wounded.

I made the decision to Evac the wounded by vehicle to the JSS where I had a set Helicopter pad available. This was a short two miles away from point of impact.

I could have called for the evac to come to the location where we were hit, but the terrain was not the ideal place.

As far as the plan went, it was picture perfect. My plan worked as planned and the wounded were on the operating table within 45 minutes.

dth8This showed the Command that we had the right plan in place and I was thankful that the wounded survived. Two of them did have to evac back to the States, but they went home alive.

It was another good day, when we did not lose anyone, that was always a good day. I would receive a Combat badge with a star that would make me the old man in the Battalion.

That is rarely seen, but once in a while you will see someone with the badge with a star. Besides myself, I seen one other but for me the most important thing was no body died.

I look back at this today and I am so thankful to God, I don’t know what it would have been like for me without my Catholic Faith. For me, this was more than a healing.

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The Catholic Defender At The Checkout Line At A Local Grocery Store

Posted by Donald Hartley - February 3rd, 2016

hebOne day I was at the local HEB (Grocery chain in Texas) grocery store to pick up some odds and ins for my wife who had made a quick list for me.

The store where I lived is just a couple of minutes away so I usually run up there for my wife when she needs something.

While I was going through the check out line, I was speaking with a lady who was behind me waiting her turn to check out her purchases.

I struck up a conversation with her on the importance of holding on to our Faith. She agreed with me but from a totally different perspective.

She was raised a Lutheran but had for some time claimed to be non-denominational.

She was huge in talking about the Rapture. Well, we ended up taking the discussion outside where we spoke for an hour in the HEB parking lot.

The Lady was surprised to hear a strong rebuttal from a Catholic.

She became interested in what I was telling her and I invited her to check out our website here at

The next week, Sara and her Son  (changed the name)  were signing up for the RCIA and I became the Sponsor for both of them. What a great opportunity this became as they were both very involved in the RCIA.

That Easter Vigil, both of them were received into the Catholic Church. Sara’s Son received the Sacramental Grandslam, Baptism, Confirmation, and received his first Holy Communion.

heb 1What a blessing this was.

Recently her son just began college and he is very involved with the youth campus ministry. He is helping serve in the Mass. What a joy to see this taking place.

Sometimes we plant seeds, and what a grace it is to see the growth and maturity take place that is making a difference.

What a great blessing this was to watch the growth of this family in their Catholic Faith.

As we grow closer to the Season of Lent, I am reminded that this season of the Church Calender is not so ordinary.

You never know when the Lord will call you for one of those HEB experiences at the check out line.

The key is being available to do God’s will at any time a situation presents itself.

This next coming Easter Vigil will be filled with many stories that will inspire us as many more people will accept Christ in His holy Catholic Church.

There is a lot of hunger out there and many people are interested in finding something that is real, something with a strong foundation.

heb 2“Be watchful (keep your eyes open), stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love”. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Proverbs 20:13: “Love not sleep, lest you be reduced to poverty; eyes wide open mean abundant food”.

Matthew 25:13 states, “Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

There is the constant theme that we are to keep our eyes open, to keep watch and to stand firm in our faith.

In today’s world, it seems that compromise is everywhere. People are totally all over the board not caring much for the Word of the Lord. Who is listening? Who is awake?

This is one of the important missions of the Shepherds of the Church, to stay awake and protect the flock from predators.

david (1)Young David told King Saul, “Your servant used to tend his father’s sheep, and whenever a lion or bear came to carry off a sheep from the flock, I would go after it and attack it and rescue the prey from it’s mouth. If it attacked me, I would seize it by the jaw, strike it, and kill it. Your servant has killed both a lion and a bear, and the uncircumcised Philistine will be as one of them, because he has insulted the armies of the living God” (1 Samuel 17:34-37).

Similarly, Job states, “Whoever heard of me blessed me: those who saw me commended me. For I rescued the poor who cried out for help, the orphans, and the unassisted; the blessing of those in extremity came upon me, and the heart of the widow I made joyful. I wore my honesty like a garment; justice was my robe and my turban. I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame was I; I was a father to the needy; the rights of the stranger I studied, and I broke the jaws of the wicked man; from his teeth I forced the prey” (Job 29:11-17).

Job went out and sought the Lord’s work. He was not apathetic to the needs around him and he was a champion to those oppressed.

Like David and Job, St. Peter and his successors are called to protect the sheep even those within the clutches of the lion and bear.

We are to stand up for the Lord’s justice against injustice, even when the evil is coming from those of authority.

wolves 1Jesus states, “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves. But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you”

(Matthew 10:16). Consider Zechariah 4:6, “Then the Lord says, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”

If we had the faith the size of a mustard seed, we could move mountains, we must stay alert and keep our eyes open. To keep watch and not to let go of the wheel.

Our generation has fallen asleep, the Church is seen like a “sleeping giant”.

It is important to be open to do the Lord’s will when ever the opportunities come your way, even should that be in a check out line in a store. You never know when someone who is genuinely searching for the truth might be open to the truth through you.

It is important to strengthen true marriage, to bring back the family unit, to bring back a culture of life and respect and honor of God.

Courageous 2011 DVD English Christian Movie screenshot a christian family prayer before a mealFathers, it is time that we stand up for our Faith, to love our wives and Children.

Children are more likely to hold on their Faith when Catholic Fathers are faithful.

Over 90% of the children compared to about 35% when the Mother is trying to do it all.

We cannot continue to be a sleeping giant if we are going to have a chance of returning America back to God.

Please continue to pray for the Church, that more people will seek to start a flame. It only takes a spark to get a fire going.

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