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Cardinal Collins Takes Trudeau to Task

Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, penned a powerful letter today to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding the Trudeau government’s regrettable recent decision to donate $650 million to international organizations that promote abortion and contraception.

The full text of the Cardinal’s letter is below:

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons, Ottawa

March 10, 2017

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

I am writing to express my deep concern and disappointment at your government’s decision to provide $650 million to support “sexual and reproductive health programs” globally. While it is commendable and necessary to foster initiatives that further the rights of women and young girls worldwide, your public comments suggest that unless a woman has access to abortion or contraception, she is not empowered or able to realize her full potential.

I simply remind you and your colleagues that we have no rights at all unless we are afforded the right to life. That decision was made for you and for each one of us by a woman, determined and committed to bring a new life into this world.

It is praiseworthy to offer international aid; it is arrogant for powerful, wealthy nations to dictate what priorities developing countries should embrace. Pope Francis has cautioned the rich and powerful West against the danger of “ideological colonization,” in which such countries and organizations offer funding to help further a particular social agenda. Do we empower women by making sex selective abortions more accessible? Money spent on promoting abortion and contraception could be spent on vaccinating millions of women and girls against malaria or other diseases. $650 million could help build a lot of schools or universities, pathways to knowledge for future female leaders of our world.

Our country could learn from a number of inspiring examples of outreach and care that support women worldwide. Very often these programs are offered by faith-based, non-governmental organizations, which are usually the first to arrive and the last to leave any area of crisis or need. They understand the reality of the local situation, and respect the dignity of the people who live there.

Canada is blessed with prosperity and a wealth of resources. Surely we can do better than imposing a distorted vision of the empowerment of women on the people of countries that deserve our support to respond effectively to the challenge of their most pressing needs.

I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you regarding this critically important issue.

Sincerely yours,

Thomas Cardinal Collins

Archbishop of Toronto

I have to think that, at some level, this is Trudeau’s response to President Trump’s decision to pull U.S. federal funding for abortion-provider Planned Parenthood on an international level. And if I were you, I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for the PM to give His Eminence a call to chat about this. Ostensibly Catholic, Trudeau is, as one prelate described him, “a 19th-century, anti-Catholic secularist, wearing the garb of a metrosexual millennial”.

Having said that, even Justin Trudeau is not beyond the transformative reach of Christ. We should pray for his conversion, especially this Lent. In the New Testament, Saint Paul urges us to pray for government leaders: “Therefore I exhort first of all that you make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for everyone, for kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour” (1 Tim. 2:1-3). It’s worth remembering who was the Emperor at the time of Paul’s writing: the crazed Nero, who had Christians thrown to the lions and burned as human torches.

Trudeau is not crazed, as Nero was. Let us pray that he reads the Cardinal’s letter with goodwill and openness to reason, and regains belief in the sanctity of all human life, and human rights for all humans. As the noted philosopher Dr. Seuss put it: “A person’s a person, no matter how small”.

 

The Cathedral and the “Kathedra”

"Cathedra" at St Michael'sSaint Michael’s Cathedral was rededicated last night – September 29, the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel (patron saint of the Archdiocese). The word cathedral comes from the Greek word kathedra, which means “seat or elevated throne”. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus uses this word when he says that the Scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses’ “seat” (kathedra). The kathedra symbolized teaching authority. It was a common practice for Jewish rabbis to sit down while teaching, a practice which Jesus himself took up numerous times in the Gospels.

This image of the “seat of Moses” was transferred over to the Church from Judaism, because the Church is the fulfilment of Judaism; it is Judaism with the Messiah having come. Jesus passed his teaching authority to the apostles, who in turn passed their teaching to their successors, known as the bishops. The “cathedral” became known as the mother church of a diocese or archdiocese, because it contained the chair of the bishop.

Every parish church also contains a chair of this sort, which rightfully belongs to the bishop. But, since the bishop cannot physically be in each parish of his diocese to celebrate Mass every Sunday, he delegates some of his powers to men known as presbyters, or priests. When a bishop visits a local parish, the parish pastor must give way – and give his seat up – to the bishop.

A side note: many ask, “Why do parish churches and cathedrals need to be ‘dedicated’ in the first place?” The reason that these buildings are dedicated (or re-dedicated after being rebuilt, as is the case with St Michael’s) is that they’re truly “houses of the holy” (with apologies to Led Zeppelin). They are consecrated, or “set apart” for sacred use. Worship facilities belonging to many non-Catholic groups are often treated like multipurpose community centres. But a Catholic parish or cathedral is not just any building; it is the very house of God. Why? Because Jesus Christ, in his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, is truly and substantially present in the Eucharist reserved in the tabernacle.

The Faith Explained Conference Recap!

Clarke&Madrid2016The Faith Explained Conference: Search and Rescue conference this summer was a great success! Hundreds gathered at Saint Joseph’s High School in Mississauga (in the greater Toronto area) to hear Patrick Madrid, Cardinal Thomas Collins, and yours truly talk about how to bring friends and family who have left the Catholic Church back home. Patrick’s the distinguished looking, mustachioed guy on the right (I call him the Catholic Church’s answer to Tom Selleck). I’d like to thank everyone who attended for being there, along with my amazing Faith Explained team, and all of our sponsors who made this event possible. I’d especially like to thank Cardinal Collins, EWTN, Verbum Catholic Bible Software, The Daughters of St Paul, and the Fulton J. Sheen Society for their support.

If you weren’t able to join us in person, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! Very, very soon, you’ll be able to download all of the great talks from the conference! Keep watching this space for updates. Our own personal Search and Rescue missions are so crucial, that we don’t want you to be without these resources in your apostolic “toolbox”, as it were. We pray they will help you in your efforts to bring your loved ones to Christ.

“Unlocking the Book of Revelation” Conference: Get your tickets today!

ad_rectangleTickets are now available for The Faith Explained Conference: Unlocking the Book of Revelation on Saturday, September 12. You can get them at www.TheFaithExplained.com/Conference while they last! The conference will take place on Saturday, September 12 at St Joseph’s Parish in Streetsville (Mississauga), Ontario.

The Book of Revelation is the Bible’s most mysterious book. How can we make sense of it all – dragons, beasts, a killer lamb, and the end of the world? What’s the connection between the Apocalypse and the Mass? What message about Jesus Christ did this book hold for its original readers, and what does it mean for us today Together, we will discover the answers, as we learn how Revelation reveals Jesus Christ and his plan to us.

Speakers include the great Cardinal Thomas Collins and Monsignor Robert Nusca (Fellow at the St Paul Institute for Biblical Theology and former Rector of St Augustine’s Seminary). Both Cardinal Colllins and Monsignor Nusca are noted Revelation scholars who completed their PhD under the legendary Fr Ugo Vanni in Rome.

Speaking of legends, we’ll also have Dr Craig Evans joining us once again. Dr Scott Hahn calls Dr Evans “the best Bible scholar in the English-speaking world”, and with very good reason. Dr. Evans was recently invited to the Ratzinger Conference for Bible scholars in Rome, where he met Pope Francis. I will also be giving a talk, and we think your faith will be energized and encouraged by what you’ll learn with us. So don’t delay – click here to reserve your seats now! Priests, Seminarians, and religious enjoy complimentary admission.

Please let others know about our Revelation conference by emailing this post, or share via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media! You can use the sharing tools below. See you on Sept. 12!

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Conference Talks Now Available!

I’m very happy to announce today that all the talks from the recent Faith Explained Conference are now available for you to purchase and download in digital format by clicking here:

https://gumroad.com/l/aESf

This resource features a presentation by the great Cardinal Thomas Collins. Speaking as only he can, he enlightens minds and sets hearts on fire with his brilliant talk on discipleship. We are so grateful to His Eminence for taking the time out of his busy schedule to join us and celebrate Mass that day.

There are also two full-length presentations from the incomparable Dr Craig Evans. One talk is on the reliability and authenticity of the New Testament documents, with a special focus on what modern science can tell us. Evans also presents us a talk on Jesus and Archaeology, and how discoveries in this field can shed light on the Scriptures.

This series also includes my talk on the Resurrection of Jesus, which will help you explain the reality of Easter to your friends and family who have fallen away from the faith – or who perhaps have never known the living Christ.

I decided to release these talks as a set first – keeping the costs low, at only $6.75 per talk. Hey, that’s less than a fast food meal, and more nourishing to your faith! Please note that prices are in US dollars.

Happy Easter!

This Saturday’s conference talk topics revealed

imagesFolks, there is still a bit of time left to order tickets for The Faith Explained Conference online at this link: http://goo.gl/Rdgl6M. After tonight, one can only buy tickets at the door.

Here are the topics of tomorrow’s presentations:

Cale Clarke: Jesus, Alive Forevermore: The key question is this: Did Jesus rise from the dead? If this didn’t happen, nothing else matters, as St Paul himself said: “If Christ is not risen, our preaching is useless, and so is your faith”. We’ll examine the evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

Dr. Craig Evans: Talk #1: How Old and How Reliable are the Bible Manuscripts? Many scholars say that one can’t trust the text of the Bible – that it has been hopelessly corrupted over time. Is this true? What do the latest discoveries tell us about the trustworthiness of the Scriptures?

Talk #2: Jesus and Archaeology: Learn how archaeology helps us to understand – and in many cases to confirm what we know of – Jesus of Nazareth.

Cardinal Thomas Collins: Discipleship: What does it mean to truly follow Jesus in the 21st century?

I can’t wait…see you there!

 

 

 

Bible Study (Genesis) Thursday; The Faith Explained Conference this Saturday!

GenesisYou’ve no doubt heard about The Faith Explained Conference this Saturday, Sept. 27, featuring Cardinal Thomas Collins, Dr Craig Evans, and me. If you don’t have tickets yet, grab them at this link: http://goo.gl/Rdgl6M, but hurry, as online sales will end soon.

However, that’s not the only big event we’ve got this week: if you’re in the Toronto area and are looking for a Catholic Bible Study, join us this Thursday night at 7:30 at St Justin Martyr parish in Markham as we begin The Faith Explained Bible Study of the book of Genesis.

The Bible’s first book is endlessly fascinating, and we’ll be exploring a lot of important questions people ask about it. Just what does Genesis teach, for example, about creation?

One of the best Catholic scholars out there, Dr Brant Pitre, has put together a good shortlist of what we need to believe about creation, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). The axiom about Church teaching as an interpretation of Scripture holds here:

Fundamental Catholic Doctrines on Creation

1. Creation is a work of the holy Trinity (CCC 290-92)

2. The world was created for the glory of God (293)

3. God created the world from his free will and divine love (295)

4. God created the world ex nihilo (“out of nothing”) (296-99)

5. God created an ordered and good world (299)

6. God transcends creation and is present to it (300)

7. God upholds and sustains creation at every moment (301)

8. God’s providence guides creation towards its perfection (302-305)

9. God gives his creatures free will to share in his providence (306-308)

10. If Creation is good, why does evil exist? (309)

a. Reality of physical evil (310)
b. Reality of moral evil (311)
c. God can bring good out of an evil (312-314)

(source: BrantPitre.com)

For much more, join us for our series on Thursday evenings.

Cardinal Collins to speak at The Faith Explained Conference Sept 27

Thomas Cardinal Collins will headline The Faith Explained Conference on Sept 27, along with Dr. Craig Evans. Get your tickets right here:

Cardinal Collins is a phenomenal speaker with a rare gift for opening the Scriptures. Check out this clip from the Cardinal’s phenomenal Lectio Devina series on the Gospel of Mark below. See you on Sept 27!

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Cardinal Collins’ Conclave Comments

Toronto’s Thomas Cardinal Collins always has a way with words – and with getting the Church’s message out to, and through, the “Fifth Estate” (and, no, I’m not referring to the venerable CBC program of the same name). Check out his winsome, witty, and wise comments to a journalist before departing for the conclave below. Huge hat tip to Rocco Palmo of Whispers fame for alerting us to the clip. For fun as you’re waiting for the white smoke, check out the amount of alliteration I used in this post!