I’m sure you have received many letters since publishing this article (“Sister Hell,” May 1996). I can completely relate to Terrye Newkirk’s experience, and I want to add my yea and amen to her observations about the circumstances she endured. I have no doubt she was victimized because of her orthodox Catholic stance. My husband and I experienced a somewhat similar persecution while my husband was a worship pastor in a Conservative Baptist church, although the issues involved were different. Our persecution was in another arena of our lives, not directly in response for making an apologetic for Catholicism, but it seems to me the motivation and action were the same.
If I were a better communicator I would try to recount it for you, but I’m not sure it would be that interesting for you to read, not knowing me from Eve, so to speak. Also, the issues surrounding our injury were intricately linked with so many personal details that it is still hard for me to be sure that I am objectively relating the incidents.
I am writing because I felt as I read the article by Ms. Newkirk that this is a tactic from the enemy of which it behooves us to be aware regarding future persecution. I am new to Catholicism, so perhaps this kind of ostracism is new only to me and has actually been around for along time. My point is that should any of us find ourselves enduring calumny and defamation of character and especially having our mental and emotional stability questioned in light of our devotion to Jesus and our Catholic faith, blessed are we, and great is our reward in heaven, and superior is the company in which we now find ourselves (Matt. 5:11–12). May the Lord give us the grace to live up to whatever trial with which he blesses us!
Via the Internet
I question the statement “the Vatican has ruled that the Real Presence ceases when particles are so small that they no longer have the appearance of bread and wine,” which unfortunately appeared in This Rock (“Quick Questions,” November 1996). According to the Council of Trent, “for Christ whole and entire is under the species of bread and under any part whatsoever of that species; likewise the whole [Christ] is under the species of wine and under the parts thereof.” The aforementioned statement that was published in This Rock would therefore appear to be contrary to the Catholic Faith.
Via the Internet
James Akin’s reply: A canon lawyer informed us that early in this century the Vatican issued a document which stated the doctrine as we presented it. Thus far we have been unable to turn up the document, but this is the standard teaching of Catholic theologians (cf. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 387). When transubstantiation occurs, the Real Presence is present wherever the species of bread and wine are present. Hence, when the species of bread and wine are no longer present, neither is the Real Presence. Obviously, the Real Presence must cease at some point, or else Christ would remain present all the way through the digestive process, which no one believes. The question is not if but when the Real Presence ceases, and the answer that is given is that it ceases when the species of bread and wine cease.
This is, in particular, the teaching of Thomas Aquinas, who states: “If the change [in the species] be so great that the substance of the bread or wine would have been corrupted, then Christ’s Body and Blood do not remain under this sacrament; and this either on the part of the qualities, as when the color, savor, and other qualities of the bread and wine are so altered as to be incompatible with the nature of bread or of wine, or else on the part of the quantity, as, for instance, if the bread be reduced to fine particles or the wine divided into such tiny drops that the species of bread or wine no longer remain” (ST III:77:4).
I just wanted to let you know how great your progress has been. If this is a comfort to you, you’ve been a blessing to the Catholic Church and to Catholics around the country. You’ve definitely got my attention—I’m a very strong conservative. I support pro-life, and I condemn the FDA for approving RU-486, the “safe” method for abortion. It’s truly a disgrace. It’s simply another diplomatic move by the government to pacify extreme liberals. I’m also against allowing so many immigrants to come into this country. I think that our Western Christian influence in this country is slowly deteriorating. Certainly, I support a unity among the ethnic groups, but I also don’t want to live in this country for sixty or so years and see the Christian faith disappear.
I’m pretty young—seventeen—and, from a teen’s point of view, more young people are straying away from Jesus Christ and putting their faith in drugs and false gods. It’s time for a revolution, one that will give people a clearer vision of purpose and fate. Many of my friends, for example, don’t have much faith in God, and they even go so far as to insult the Church and say things like “Grace doesn’t exist. It’s simply a state of mind.” Let me ask this: How can we change this attitude?
Los Angeles, California
The Good Book
I am writing to express my admiration for Catholic Answers’ new edition of Henry Graham’s Where We Got the Bible. It is a fine apologetic work (if not perfect in every detail), and you have really turned out a fine-looking edition (if a paperback may be so called). Best of all (and a pleasant surprise) was the inclusion of Bishop Graham’s conversion story—very interesting and inspirational and a perfect fit. You have set a high standard with this work. I look forward to other such captivating publications from Catholic Answers.
William M. Klimon
Winning Cradle Catholics
I love the book Winning Converts! I am applying some of the tips to teaching religious education to cradle Catholics who know as little about Catholicism as non-Catholics.
The February 1997 issue of Bible Review carries an article about the ancient library of Alexandria. J. Harold Ellens starts out by accusing St. Cyril of Alexandria of murder and terrorism (well, he writes, maybe not personally, but the way he wrote about heretics . . .) but the article does try to stick to the facts.
One of them is that we don’t know where the books in the library ended up. For one thing the Romans would occasionally ship huge caches of books to Rome (an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 volumes that Julius Caesar was going to ship to Rome burned in Alexandria’s docks in 47 B.C., during his battle with Pompey.) The writer suggests that many of those volumes “may later have been incorporated into the Vatican’s holdings. Is it possible that a good portion of Aristotle’s library still rests unknown in a corner of the Vatican Library?”
I don’t think so. Anyway, in A.D. 391, after Theophilus of Alexandria obtained permission from the Emperor to convert a temple of Dionysus into a church, “the highly respected Neoplatonist philosopher Olympius took up the challenge, leading a mob to prevent the Christians from pillaging pagan temples. Olympius and his men were driven by Christian rioters into the Serapeion, the shrine of the god Serapis, which also served as the public lending library of the Alexandria Library. The slaughter on both sides is reported to have been enormous, and 50,000 volumes were reported destroyed.”
But the main library itself survived and was still in existence in 642, when the invading Muslim army destroyed it, along with most of Alexandria. The books they probably saved; what we do know is that the Islamic world knew more about the writings of the ancient Greeks than Christendom did in the eleventh century (than the Roman Christians, as opposed to the Greeks, at least).
This isn’t what they’re teaching school kids nowadays. Our “multicultural” educators claim that the entire library was burned down by a Christian mob, while the Muslims promoted learning. It’s true that Muslims did encourage scholarship, but so did Christians, especially the ones who lived in monasteries. One “educational” TV program that I watched went to great lengths to praise the libraries of Moorish Spain, pointing out that they existed while Christian Europe was making scratches on leather.” (Muslims made vellum manuscripts some other way?)
Whatever classical learning survived the Middle Ages, we were led to believe, did so because non-Christians preserved it, and the main cause of the Renaissance was the Spanish acquisition of Muslim libraries during the reconquest of Spain. This isn’t history. This is an attempt to, as current educational jargon would put it, “destroy the self-esteem” of Christian schoolchildren and make them self-loathing. It’s a hate crime.
Experts on the Web
Enjoyed your article in This Rock on Web sites that you enjoy. I would add a couple to the ones you recommended:http://www.ewtn.com/ewtn/experts/conference/cfm is the EWTN experts page where one can get answers to all types of questions from experts including Karl Keating. I head there first when I get on the web as there are often twenty to twenty-five new questions and answers each day.http://www.catholic.net./RCC/Periodicals/mags.html has all the great Catholic magazines that are not printed in San Diego. I get Catholic Faith and it is on the web within a few days of when I get it. Some mags are not updated as quickly. One (Homiletic and Pastoral Review) is a year old and needs to be updated immediately. It is a great place to read the better orthodox magazines for free.
The revised format is fantastic! It looks a lot cleaner typographically! Great job! By the way, I had been to all but one of the links listed in Terrye Newkirk’s article (“Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Web?”, February 1996), Pax et Veritas. That is a good one too.
Van Wert, Ohio
In the name of our Lord and Savior, I salute you and the dedicated tireless contributors of This Rock. I would also like to compliment you for managing and producing such a high quality product. I look forward to reading This Rock every month. It is the best Catholic apologetics magazine I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Please keep up your good work.
Pablo S. Gutierrez
Via the Internet
Thank you for including all those Web sites. I have just finished loading many of them onto my “hot list” and plan to begin browsing them at my leisure in the next few days as I convalesce from my back treatment. I’ve been a subscriber since the days of the coverless newsletters.
Phillip R. Mathes
Blue Line Special
Hi! I just wanted to say that I found your site today after a religious discussion on the metro blue line (light rail/train) with a Protestant and another Roman Catholic. Very nice and interesting. I looked at Heaven [Catholic Digest’s Web site] earlier, it was quaint . . . a little cute even, with the older ladies against the sky, and just now I went to This Rock and read the article on Mormon temples. This is a good resource (yeah, even for a “traditionalist” like myself).
Long Beach, California
Just had to write a note to say how pleased we are with the new format of This Rock. I’m especially intrigued with the “Raisin’ Saints.” Looking forward to some really helpful articles. Also, loved the quote from St. Augustine on the proper ends of marriage!
Teresa and Paul Tillotson
Enjoyed Terrye’s piece on Web sites, I would just like to advise you of one more great site within America Online; it’s called the Catholic Community. I like it because it is actually a series of message boards and forums covering topics from Legion of Mary to diocesan news, individual parish news, right to life, Knights of Columbus, etc. There are also many scheduled chats such as Catholic Priest Online, Bible study, and youth chat. All areas are strictly controlled and monitored. The site also includes links to many of the other sites listed in the article, including Vatican Library and EWTN. Also, love the new look of This Rock!
Via the Internet
Don’t like it [the new design of This Rock] . . . prefer you considering going back to the other type format. Too cute . . . not enough meat.
Likes the Look
Heaps of praise upon you all at Catholic Answers for This Rock’s new look. I’ve just finished the latest issue. Truly outstanding. I’m sure much “fine-tuning” and “detail work” are to follow, but you seem to have successfully adapted the old format. A new and improved This Rock, more solid than ever.
Thank you for the wonderful remembrance of Fr. Earl La Riviere (February 1997). It is one of the blessings of my life that I had the privilege of getting to know Fr. Earl during my time at Catholic Answers. He was truly a man of God.
Catholic Dossier & The Catholic Faith
San Francisco, California
Well, this isn’t about an article, although I like them all. I just wanted to applaud you on the new look of your magazine. It’s now the coolest magazine design I’ve ever seen. I hope you will keep your current graphic designer for a long, long time! I would just have one suggestion, though. My brother also receives This Rock, and he is colorblind. So, for him your new look is rather drab (it being all in blue and black, etc.) Could you add some more color to your magazine for people who are colorblind?