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  #1  
Old 7th June 2009, 06:25 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Default Against Pharisaism (Pharisee-ism)

[Matthew]
{3:7} Then, seeing many of the Pharisees and Sadducees arriving for his baptism, he said to them: “Progeny of vipers, who warned to you to flee from the approaching wrath?
{3:8} Therefore, produce fruit worthy of repentance.
{3:9} And do not choose to say within yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God has the power to raise up sons to Abraham from these stones.
{3:10} For even now the axe has been placed at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that does not produce good fruit shall be cut down and cast into the fire.
{3:11} Indeed, I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who will come after me is more powerful than me. I am not worthy to carry his shoes. He will baptize you with the fire of the Holy Spirit.
{3:12} His winnowing fan is in his hand. And he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor. And he will gather his wheat into the barn. But the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

The Pharisees regarded exterior works as the path to salvation, ignoring interior works done in cooperation with grace. The Pharisees came to John for his baptism, an exterior act, but they were unrepentant interiorly.

The Pharisees of today are like the Pharisees of yesterday. These are the Catholics who think that they are saved by exterior works; they take pride in the fact that they are practicing Catholics, who say certain prayers, attend Mass, donate to charity, etc. These exterior works are good, but not sufficient. No good deed is truly good before God without the interior cooperation with grace.

The Pharisaical Catholics thinks that being a practicing Catholic is sufficent for salvation, just as the Pharisaical Jews thought that being a practicing Jew (and descent of Abraham) was sufficient to be saved. To the contrary, all of the praise-worthy exterior acts of the Catholic Faith together cannot save, without the accompanying interior acts of love, faith, hope. Excessive emphasis on what is exterior, ignoring the interior life of grace with God, leads us to the error of the Pharisees.
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  #2  
Old 7th June 2009, 06:50 PM
Climacus Areopagite Climacus Areopagite is offline
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I've noticed too that some 'devout' Catholics are pharisaical in their understanding of different aspects of the Faith such as the liturgy, theology, how to pray, how to interpret canon law, etc. Their understanding is infected.

They are bad example to young people as well as non-Catholics.

Fortunately, I think they are the minority. I think the opposite those living the Faith lukewarmly is the majority, however I get the sense that the lukewarm Catholics will take the coming corrections from God much better than the Pharisaical Catholics.
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Old 8th June 2009, 02:46 AM
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Sacredcello Sacredcello is offline
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Originally Posted by Ron Conte View Post

The Pharisaical Catholics thinks that being a practicing Catholic is sufficent for salvation, just as the Pharisaical Jews thought that being a practicing Jew (and descent of Abraham) was sufficient to be saved. To the contrary, all of the praise-worthy exterior acts of the Catholic Faith together cannot save, without the accompanying interior acts of love, faith, hope. Excessive emphasis on what is exterior, ignoring the interior life of grace with God, leads us to the error of the Pharisees.

Ron, could you be a little more specific about the type of person you are talking about?

Of the Catholics whom I know personally, who might be in this category, are those Catholics who are also dissenting from Church teaching in some way. But, wouldn't this type of person properly be called a dissenting Catholic, even though they might attend Mass weekly and donate to charity, etc.?

Perhaps this is not the type you are referring to. I am thinking of those who attend weekly Mass, serve in Ministry in some capacity, give to charity, but do not repent of certain sins. They are not political leaders, just ordinary people who believe that practicing the Catholic faith, but without repentance, is enough for their salvation. Some are even very involved in their faith, for example, a family who has become Benedictine oblates, but still do not repent. Is this the type of person you mean?
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Old 8th June 2009, 12:07 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Originally Posted by Sacredcello View Post
Ron, could you be a little more specific about the type of person you are talking about?

Of the Catholics whom I know personally, who might be in this category, are those Catholics who are also dissenting from Church teaching in some way. But, wouldn't this type of person properly be called a dissenting Catholic, even though they might attend Mass weekly and donate to charity, etc.?

Perhaps this is not the type you are referring to. I am thinking of those who attend weekly Mass, serve in Ministry in some capacity, give to charity, but do not repent of certain sins. They are not political leaders, just ordinary people who believe that practicing the Catholic faith, but without repentance, is enough for their salvation. Some are even very involved in their faith, for example, a family who has become Benedictine oblates, but still do not repent. Is this the type of person you mean?

I would compare Catholics who reject numerous different teachings of the Church to the Sadducees (who did not believe in Angels or in the resurrection from the dead; who thought that a man should be able to divorce his wife for any reason at all).

I'll be going through the various passages in the Gospels that mention the Pharisees and Sadducees for other posts in this thread, and comparing them to Catholics today.

The Pharisees were very conservative, and so they are like those conservative Catholics who err in various ways; and the Sadducees were very liberal, and so they are like those liberal Catholics who err in various ways. This is said not to condemn or criticize all Catholics, or all those who are conservative or liberal, but to point out errors common in those groups.

Some conservative Catholics overemphasize exterior acts of devotion; these should be done with the interior acts (which are more important).

It is not sufficient for salvation to believe all that the Church teaches, and to follow all of the rules. The interior cooperation with grace is absolutely essential for salvation. Faith alone does not save; following all of the exterior requirements does not save. For example: If you confess all your sins in confession every week or every month, you are not forgiven unless you are repentant.

[Matthew]
{5:20} For I say to you, that unless your justice has surpassed that of the scribes and the Pharisees you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

I'm not putting every Catholic who errs in some way into either the Pharisee or Sadducee category. A Catholic who has difficulty accepting one teaching or another, but who otherwise practice the Faith interiorly as well as exteriorly would not be a Pharisee or a Sadducee (but would still be in error). A Catholic who rejects many of the teachings of the Church would be comparable to a Sadducee.
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Old 8th June 2009, 09:32 PM
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How can you recognize this unless one has the gift of reading hearts like Padre Pio? Do you look to their disposition to know if they love God inwardly?

I personally know practicing Catholics who are politically very conservative, but who reject certain Church teachings. When it comes to the Church and the liturgy, however, these people have a very liberal view, especially on the role of women in Church. They go to Mass every week and the women are lectors and Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist. I have no way of knowing if they love God in an interior manner, but I assume that they neglect their interior life because they have rejected Church teaching, even though they are politically very conservative. According to your last post, would this be an example of Pharaseeism or Saduccee?

Here is yet another example: at my former parish in another city, the music director seems to be a humble Catholic and he and his wife have several children. At this same parish, there is a very creative and energetic woman who is director of RCIA and the Art and Environment. She is a single woman who is also striving to be a good Catholic, but, I happen to know, identifies herself as a lesbian who is celibate in order to lead a holy life. She leads many people back to the Catholic faith, in her very warm and personable way that shows her cooperation with God's grace. When I come back to visit this parish, the music director, who now has seven children, is obviously very annoyed that I would visit with this woman whom he looks down upon with contempt. In this case, would it be the conservative music director who is the Pharisee because he only does the exterior acts, but ignores the interior? Whereas, the woman who is director of RCIA is cooperating with God's grace in both an interior and exterior manner, though she makes the same error as my earlier example, in that she believes it proper for women to be lectors, etc.? Or, is she a Saducee?
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Old 8th June 2009, 11:57 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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I'm not suggesting that we judge others and categorize them as Pharisees or Sadducees. I'm pointing out particular types of errors that we all should avoid tending toward.

Perhaps some persons have some of the errors of the Pharisees and some of the errors of the Sadducees. Recognizing the error is important; knowing which category to place the error in is not so important.

The music director should not look down on anyone for their faults and/or sins, as the Pharisee did when praying in the Temple. I am not saying that he or anyone else is a Pharisee. I'm pointing out a particular type of error. Perhaps on that one point, he has made an error like that of the Pharisee. It does not mean that he is properly described, in his whole spiritual life, as a Pharisee.

If someone thinks that it is acceptable or good for women to be lectors and emhCs, I believe that this is an error, but I would not condemn or judge or categorize the person. I think that this error results from the tendency that we all have to be over-influenced by secular society, even without realizing it.
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Old 9th June 2009, 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Ron Conte View Post
I'm not suggesting that we judge others and categorize them as Pharisees or Sadducees. I'm pointing out particular types of errors that we all should avoid tending toward.


Right, I didn't think that you were suggesting that, but I was having difficulty with identifying the type of person you were talking about, so that's why I asked.
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Old 18th June 2009, 09:56 PM
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Default Who would Jesus bomb?

I just returned from a week long trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico where I stayed in the home of a retired lab technician of the infamous Los Alamos laboratories where weapons of mass destruction are made. The homeowner is the father of my friend whose wedding I was attending over the weekend. In the basement of this home were many guns and portraits of the nuclear bomb exploding in the New Mexico desert.

While in New Mexico, I had an opportunity to attend Mass at an old Mission church and to visit Santa Fe and the Loreto Chapel which has the Miraculous Staircase.

I also reflected on this post about Phariseeism and tried to ponder its meaning, as it is perplexing, why someone would think that by simply going through the motions of saying certain Catholic prayers, etc. that this would make them better than others, or that they have all the answers or even the right answers.

At the local Catholic bookshop in Albuquerque, I picked up a book by John Dear, SJ. called A Persistent Peace: One Man's Struggle for a Nonviolent World. It is a wonderful memoir of a Jesuit priest who has publicly denounced all violence and war, even when he was the pastor of a parish in New Mexico that was largely attended by military personnel and their families. On 9/11, Rev. Dear was having breakfast near Central Park in New York City and later became one of the coordinators of the Red Cross chaplain program during this tragedy. You may read his book online at:

http://www.loyolapress.com/johndear/johndear_sj.html

After reading this book, I concluded that a Catholic Pharisee is one who erroneously believes he has all the answers in that he believes his political beliefs are the only ones that are correct and he misuses the Catholic faith to justify himself and believes that all others are ignorant and wrong. He goes to confession to confess his sins, but he is not at all sorry for voting for a candidate who would escalate the killing of innocent Iraqi civilians. He is sorry for some sins, but not others, but believes he is righteous and thanks God that he is not like some poor Catholic who voted differently than him.
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Old 19th June 2009, 01:18 AM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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I don't think that description fits the condemnation of the Pharisees by Jesus, nor the application of that teaching against the Pharisees to the present day.

[Matthew 12]
{12:1} At that time, Jesus went out through the ripe grain on the Sabbath. And his disciples, being hungry, began to separate the grain and to eat.
{12:2} Then the Pharisees, seeing this, said to him, “Behold, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbaths.”
{12:3} But he said to them: “Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him:
{12:4} how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?
{12:5} Or have you not read in the law, that on the Sabbaths the priests in the temple violate the Sabbath, and they are without guilt?
{12:6} But I say to you, that something greater than the temple is here.
{12:7} And if you knew what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would never have condemned the innocent.
{12:8} For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

The Pharisees put following rules for exterior acts above the interior acts of love and mercy. They used rules to exalt themselves and to put down other persons. Rules are of course useful and exterior acts are good, when accompanied by interior grace. But rules and exterior acts by themselves are not pleasing to God.

{12:9} And when he had passed from there, he went into their synagogues.
{12:10} And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand, and they questioned him, so that they might accuse him, saying, “Is it lawful to cure on the Sabbaths?”
{12:11} But he said to them: “Who is there among you, having even one sheep, if it will have fallen into a pit on the Sabbath, would not take hold of it and lift it up?
{12:12} How much better is a man than a sheep? And so, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbaths.”
{12:13} Then he said to the man, “Extend your hand.” And he extended it, and it was restored to health, just like the other one.
{12:14} Then the Pharisees, departing, took council against him, as to how they might destroy him.

The Pharisees became angry that Jesus healed on the Sabbath not so much because this act violated their misunderstanding of the law concerning the Sabbath, but more because it meant that Jesus was not under their authority. They cared more about their own power and reputation than even about whether or not rules were followed or broken. They did not care at all that someone was miraculously healed; in fact, it made them more angry because Jesus would then be seen as the person with authority from God (as evidenced by miracles) and with a reputation among the people as holy. And so they decided to destroy him.
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Old 19th June 2009, 01:39 AM
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The Pharisees put following rules for exterior acts above the interior acts of love and mercy. They used rules to exalt themselves and to put down other persons. Rules are of course useful and exterior acts are good, when accompanied by interior grace. But rules and exterior acts by themselves are not pleasing to God.

Perhaps I didn't state it very well, but I agree with your assessment that the Pharisees put exterior acts above interior ones and above love and mercy. And, rules. Rules about voting, for example. As in, The Catholic Answers Guide to Voting which erroneously states that one must vote for the most pro-life candidate and misleads Catholics into believing that a vote for a candidate is a yes or no vote on abortion. And, then, those Catholics who fall into the trap of following these rules and looking down on others for not doing the same, is Pharisaical, in my view.

It's not that I disagree with them about the issue of abortion. It is rather, the blind allegiance to the misinterpretation of rules set down by politically motivated apologists with their arrogant attitude toward anyone who would dare to disagree. They assume that God is on their side, when, in fact, God more than likely sees that there is truth and goodness in the hearts of those motivated to vote for a third party candidate. Just as God saw the goodness in Jesus healing on the Sabbath, though he broke the rule.
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