The Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. The diocese was elevated to a full diocese, as the diocese of Nassau in June 1960. On June 22nd, 1999, the diocese was again elevated as the new Archdiocese of Nassau.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Review of Day 1: Catholic Biblical Scholar "Fr Arnold Francis" at St Cecelia's Parish

During the week of August 9th - August 13th, the St Cecelia's Parish community has had the privileage of hosting a week long talk session with well known Biblical Scholar "Fr Arnold Francis". Antigua-born Fr Arnold Francis uses his in-depth knowledge of biblical theology along with his passion for God and his Church.

Having missed the first day, I wish to thank Mrs Colajean Butler of CMS Learning Center and a member of St Cecelia's Parish for giving her perspective on the great session talk my Fr Arnold on the subject Topic: Natural and Revealed Law.
(It is my hope that those who are anti-Catholic will refrain from posting negative remarks about the Catholic Faith or leaders in this post. Through discussion among Roman Catholics, we can honestly share our Catholic experience and thus, develop a 'truth' that we better prepare our children and grandchildren with an 'abiding' faith. As said, impropriety about Church leaders who are non-Catholic and married is even more prevalent than the cases publicized about Roman Catholic priests. Sadly, it is the mission of many to 'shame' and 'bring down' the Church by 'up-playing' the wrong the Catholic Church and 'down-playing' the wrongs done by youth leaders in Scouts, schools, and others faiths. Here we realize that we all have a personal responsiblity to 'seek for ourselves' for our Church leaders may not in all cases give us what we need. Our 'seeking' need not qualify us to leave the Church, but help to build the Church. This post is written in Good Faith and in a spirit of Love for my Church.) Fr. Arnold Francis 
Catholic Understanding

The world is not only asking the Church to shape up but destroy the church. The world seeks to destroy the Church and Catholics allow it because of the lack of Catholic Understanding.

CCC1998 Our development of society is very much involved with the moral law. It tells us the rules of conduct that leads us to promised beatitudes. We cannot build a nation that is apart from God. The moral law that tells us how we are supposed to live with the rest of creation. The Moral Law resupposes the rational order that presupposes our final end. Our final end is our union with God. If we want to build the economy here, it must be in terms of our final end which is communion with God. There are different expressions of the moral law.

Natural law and Revealed Law

No society has a right to make a law that is against Natural Law and Revealed Law and these laws are the foundation of the human society. If it is not our foundation, we are in the wrong direction. The Natural Law expresses the original moral sense. Everyone has some moral sense. We can sense that certain things are wrong. Wrong is something that we can instinctivelysense because that law is a part of us. It enables to discern by reason the good and the evil, the truth and the light.

The Natural Law is written and engraved in the soul of each and every human being. That is why we have a sense of it. It is engraved in us. It is reason that is ordained in us that had forbidden mankind to sin. It directs us to what human life is. It is like instinct so that we can live. Natrual Law causes us to reason and allows us to know what is right and wrong in order to find are real destiny.

The Higher Reason

The Higher Reason is the power to which our spirit and will must be submitted. Most of the Liberals believe that there is no God. As humans we cannot be our own law. We acknowledge the presence of Higher Reason and we acknowledge that this Higher Reasons is God.( See Deut. 30:10-14) “If only you heed the voice of the Lord, your God, will again take delight in your prosperity,, even as he took delight in your forefathers….”

What is this desire for God?

All human beings have a desire for God… It is the passion for something that is going to bring fulfillment. All of those people in Hollywood and in Politics seek fulfillment. All of us in general want to be fulfilled, but in the long run, the movement for these things is a desire for God. Our desires are really pointing us to Him and submission to Him who is the source of all that is good and one that is one’s equal.

Universal Precepts

The Natural Law is universal in its precepts. Just because we are Christians, does not mean that we have monopoly on Natural Law, because Natural Law is revealed to all people.

Why is it that not everybody is not finding it?

Many are finding Natural Law. Look at the principle, “Do unto others as you would want them done unto you.” In all religions, there is the same sense and law. They did not copy from each other. This expresses the dignity of the human person. It is a basis for one’s fundamental rights and duties. Most of us talk about our rights, but seldom talk about our duties. This law is God’s law and it is written in our hearts. If we do not know it, we are not going to ‘order anything.’ In the Catholic Church, the Church knows it, but how do we teach it? We never explain how we get there. We say adultery is wrong. Abortion is wrong. It seems as if the Church is making rules ot give us a hard time. The ‘no’ of God is the ‘yes ’ to life. It is time for us to talk in a positive light. This is a Catholic thing. We are supposed to know it because we have to organize our families so that they can know how to do certain things. We have to show them the way to life. Natrual Law is the view of all people. It is eternal. To replace with it with contrary law is a sacrilege. This is where the Church and society gets into problems. If the the politicians want to pass a law for Pro-Choice, the Catholic Church has to say that it is wrong. (The same holds true for Capital Punishment and Contraceptives.) In Hollywood, they have a lot of money and they want to maximize their pleasure. Everybody wants to do what they are want to do - irregardless of Natural Law. The Church is considered behind the times. People look upon what the ‘popular’ is doing but they don’t know that they are replacing the Natural Law with another law that is going to bring destruction.

Do you see why the Catholic Church and the governments do not get along?

Even the media is against Catholicism. God made a man to marry a woman, He did not make Adam and Steve. Homosexuals say that they are not hurting anyone. Same-sex relationships are social thing. The time is coming for us to consider marriage as a social thing, but marriage is a place for bringing life into the world. If we change it, we change the Natural Law. Those who want 'their own law' say to everybody that the Church is behind the times. We as Catholics have a stance. We believe in certain things that are immutable and these are the things that we promote. We say yes to life – not just to some things – but to everything. The Pope that we have is wise and intellectual, but he cannot change the Natural Law. Every Catholic in each pew should know when a priest talks nonsense; we know when he is in contrary to Natural Law. He cannot preach himself, but the law written in his heart.. This is what we bring to society, but many Catholics do not understand the position of the Church. We do not vote dependent on the person, but we vote base our allegiance on the road that leads to life and the promised beatitude. As I say, the church does not always tell us so. We (The Church) can no longer refrain from forming the people.

Moral Choices in Ordinary

A Question from a Female in Tonight's Audience Since the Church is against Pro-Choice, what is the Church stance if a woman has to choose between saving her own life and that of her unborn child? If only one can live, what is the Church's stance for the doctor and the family?In the Natural Law as it was between saving her life and that of her child , the Catholic mothers sometimes says as seen in previous cases, " I have lived my life for a while, but I want to give a chance to the child>"but the Church says that the doctor must work on the life of one, and do not terminate the life of any. Whatever happens to the other, comes naturally. It places all people under the Natural Law. No one is above it. It does not say that because I am the ruler, I can screw up your life or because I am the mother, I can deny the unborn child his or her life.

A Moral Sense

So far , what we realize is that the law is written in our hearts, that is why we have a moral sense. The revealer is in the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Natural Law is a rule the resides in the heart of man. The Chinese, the African, the Eskimos and people fromall cultures and countries cannot say that … the rule is in everyone’s heart. Even with the evitable differences, we are able to live together. These common principles( if they are acceptable) will prevent war. If we accept them and live them, warfare is not a part of the game.

The Creator's Good Work

Natural Law, the creator’s very good work, provides the structure to guide choices. We can have moral rules to guide our choices, but they must be based on the Natural Law. It also provides an indispensable moral society based on the Natural Law that God has revealed. The very law that all people must be seen as equal. Finally, it makes a necessary basis for civil law Nature expresses a desire life and truth. It has been given to us by God. If we do not live by it, we will destroy ourselves. If we are going to have a good life, we have to live by the Natural Law. Our life cannot have a proper purpose unless the treasure of the Natural Law is revealed to us. We have to seek to know it. The precepts of the Natural Law is not perceived by everyone clearly and immediately. What we cannot know immediately because of sin, we know through ‘grace’. The work of Jesus is not merely about keeping away from sin and going to heaven. God reveals that treasure that is our hearts and we organize our lives accordingly and thus are able to live out the beatitudes. It is only by grace that The Natural Law will be revealed to us properly. No human being can know these things without grace.

The Old Law

The Law of Moses is naturally acceptable to reason. God started to reveal the Natural Law through Moses. The moral prescription is laid down in the Ten Commandments. The Decalogue – becomes a light to our conscience. God wrote on the tablets of law what people could not read on their heart because of sin, but they were already inside. According to Christian tradition, the Law is holy. (See Romans 7:12 ) It is holy, perfect and good. (See Galatians 3:21) That law is good but does not give us the grace to do what can be done. Only grace can remove sin. That is why Jesus had to come.

The Law of Concupiscence

[In Christian theology, concupiscence is selfish human desire for an object, person, or experience. Although the idea of concupiscence is Latin in origin, it has been co-opted and our understanding of it has been developed by Christianity." For Christians, concupiscence refers to what they understand as the orientation, inclination or innate tendency of human beings to do evil (in the sense of fleshly appetites) - the Soul always searches for the truth therefore no sin = perfection.] There are certain things that you cannot say to children We arouse curiosity and they want to discover it. It is a law of bondage, not that is not good and holy. That is precisely why Jesus had to come. The Old Law is preparation for the gospel. The work of liberation from sin, now we have the power to live the law. We live according the >b>Natural Law for it is written in our hearts. (See II Cor 3-4)

Types and Symbols

Types and Symbols are for expressing the life of Christians.Sabbath in the Old Testament is a type and the real Sabbath is life in Christ. It is not about a day, but the life of the Christian.

People under the New Covenant

Even though we have the New Law we still are not able to live it, because only God alone can reveal the mysteries of the kingdom. We, then, know how to live. We do everything we can to find this truth. The Spirit will lead us thus. If we never come there, we never arise to the occasion. We come out of the tradition, and feeling replaces the life of tradition. The Church is teaching us that it is not how we feel, but unless we organize our lives with God’s law, nothing we can do change things. Nobody is really organizing their lives that so that they and their children will discover the Natural Law.

Sunday is a day of ‘yes’ to life. We come on Sunday to discover something of that law so that we can organize our lives and live properly. They will know they are Christians by their love for one another – to show Charity to one another. (See Romans 5:5)

Intrinisic and Extrinsic Motivation

We do not live from the outside, but from the inside. We have to be active. It is 'me' that is important. Whatever the world is to become, it becomes from what we do from the ‘inside.’ Laws only remind us of what is inside. We follow the traffic light, because we respect the lives of people. We think of preserving the life of other people who are equal to us. Why do we obey a traffic light? We do not obey because we can get a ticket or get caught. We are internal beings – The laws reflect what is inside. The church cannot bring up laws that are foreign to us. We obey th traffic light because it is the best thing to do for the good of others. Slavery is wrong because it is foreign to us as humans. That is why murder is wrong, because it is foreign to the law. Discipleship is something that is lived from within. Just as God is outgoing and reaches out to us, we reach out to others. We also reach out because we are made in His image. If we are not reaching out, something is wrong. Tuesday, August 10, 2010 Topic: The New Law: The Law of the GospelHow do we make decisions in terms of family, schooling, etc. Formation of Conscience Wednesday: August 11, 2010Topic:Making Decision: Clarifying our Relationships with People in terms of Values Thursday: August 12, 2010 Topic: Moral Law Civil and Ecclestial Law Friday: August 13, 2010Topic: Closing If you missed Day One, there's a reserved seat waiting on you at St. Cecilia's every night this week. TIME: 7 PM to 8:30 PMGet the message 'first hand.' My notes only pertain to what was important to me. Fr. Arnold said a whole lot more.
Article and Photos courtesy of Mrs. Colajean Butler.

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