If a rising Nigerian Musician can give his mom a gift, why can’t Jesus?

2 10 2022

According to an online magazine, Dice Ailes, a rising Nigerian musician, recently purchased a home in Canada for his mother. This is the video in which Dice gives his gift to his mother while she prays and dances for joy.

Dice who posted the video on his Instagram feed wrote: “Anything for you mom.” Indicating that there is nothing he would not do for his mother.

It’s heartwarming that the aspiring singer spends his first paycheck on a house for his mother.

And if you asked Dice why he did it, I’m sure he’d say, “Because she’s my mother, she gave birth to me, and that’s all.”

It makes sense; people like to honor their mothers. I’m sure Dice would buy his mother some spiritual gift (if he could) that would make her even more beautiful, such as freedom from original sin. The issue is that money cannot purchase such a gift; only God can. Because he is God, Jesus can. As a result, Christian tradition holds that Jesus protected his mother from original sin from the moment she was conceived. He bestowed the spiritual gift of the “Immaculate Conception” on her solely because she is his mother.

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception was officially declared on December 8, 1854, by Pope Pius IX, in the Bull Ineffable Deus. This document states:

The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin’”

Some may wonder, “Where is the bible?” It’s in the Bible, but only in an implied sense. For example, after Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden tree, God told the serpent, “I will make you enemies of each other: you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring.” It’ll crush your head, and you’ll hit its heel.” ‘

Given that Christians agree that “the woman” is an allusion to Mary, and “her offspring” is an allusion to Jesus, who would crush Satan’s head, this implies that the “enmity” between this woman and the serpent was predicted right from the start, and thus the woman was sinless from the start. In his encyclical “Fulgens corona,” Pope Pius XII says:

“If at a given moment the Blessed Virgin Mary had been left without divine grace, because she was defiled at her conception by the hereditary stain of sin, between her and the serpent there would no longer have been -at least during that period of time, however brief,- the eternal enmity spoken of in the earliest.

Furthermore, Jesus did not just make his mother sinless; he also filled her with grace, as the arch Angel Gabriel confirms in Luke (1: 28): “Hail, full of Grace, the Lord is with you.” Furthermore, Christ died for Mary because, even though she was born sinless, she needed to be saved just like everyone else, but Christ saved her in a unique way. Everyone else was saved by Christ pulling us out of the ditch into which we had fallen, but he “preserved” his mother from sin by preventing her from falling into the ditch through a unique privilege. Because of her important role as God’s mother, the merits of Christ’s passion and death were applied to her in advance, preserving her from sin from the moment of her conception.

Many Christians recognize Mary as Jesus’ mother, but some would hesitate to call her God’s mother. Why is this case? They argue that treating her like a goddess would be idolatry, something absurd. However, if they took the time to examine the evidence, they might discover that it is not so absurd.

In Galatians 4:4 we read, “But when the appointed time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman”. And in Philippians (2: 6) we read “His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God, but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as men are

As a result, Jesus has both human and divine natures. Nonetheless, because mothers give birth to people rather than natures, Mary is the mother of Jesus, who is God. As a result, we can conclude that Mary is God’s mother. Indeed, to conclude otherwise would be to commit the error of either denying that Jesus is both true God and true man. This is what happened in the fifth century, when a certain Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople, argued that Mary only gave birth to Jesus, the man, and not Jesus, the God. The reason for this is that a mere mortal cannot give birth to God.

The Nestorian position was rejected or condemned by the council of Ephesus (4:31), which affirmed that Mary is indeed the mother of God because Christ is both true God and true, man, and is one person of God.

As a result, Christians, particularly Catholics, revere her because she is the mother of God. In fact, in the fourth point of the tenth commandment, God expressly commands that we honor our father and mother, and God himself expressly obeyed this commandment. Christ honored God, his heavenly father, and Mary, his earthly mother, bestowing graces on her and protecting her from all sin from the moment of her conception until the end of her life.

Furthermore, Mary is known as the ever virgin because it is believed that she was a virgin prior to, during, and after the birth of Christ otherwise, people may question if Christ’s divine. The prophet Isaiah predicted in Isaiah 7:14 that the messiah, Christ, would be borne by a virgin. This demonstrates that Mary was a virgin prior to the conception of Jesus. In Luke (1: 34), Mary asks the Angel, “How can this be, since I do not know man?” This is further evidence that Mary made a virtuous act by remaining a virgin from her earliest youth. Finally, when the Angel appeared to Joseph in Matthew (1: 20), the Angel said, “Do not be afraid, Joseph son of David, to take Mary home as your wife, because the Holy Spirit has conceived what is in her.”

Genesis (3: 16) provides evidence of her virginity during childbearing: “God said to the woman: ‘I will multiply your childbearing pains, and you will give birth to your children in agony.’” As a result, since ruptures of the organs of child bearing are the cause of pains, which scripture tells us consequences of the original sin. Hence, it is reasonable to assume that Mary, free from original sin, was also freed from pain in child bearing and remained intact and thus a virgin even during child bearing.

Evidently, the fact that Jesus entrusted Mary to his disciple John at the moment he was drawing his last breath on the cross is sufficient proof that had no other children after Jesus. Moreover, it is fitting that Christ, as the only son of God, should also be the only son of Mary, his human mother. Similarly, just as Eve participated in the disobedience of the first Adam, ushering sin into the world, Mary, the new Eve, participates in the obedience of the second Adam, Jesus Christ, by dying on the cross, ushering redemption into the world.

Hence, Mary is co-redeemer of humanity with Jesus, through her conception, and birth of Christ, the son of God. By her gift of him to humanity, she reconciled humanity with God, and thus making us children of God. Her corroboration with her son’s death on the cross resulted in the great gift of our redemption, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in man, making us Children of God and Temples of the Holy Spirit. Similarly,  Mary is also the Queen of the Universe because she is the Mother of Christ the King. Just as Jesus’ earthly life culminated in his death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven, Mary’s earthly life concluded with her bodily assumption into heaven. As Christ, her son, reigns as king of the universe in heaven, she reigns as queen of the universe in heaven. In the book of Revelation, St. John writes, “And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head.” She bore a male child, one who will rule all nations with an iron rod, but her child was taken up to God and his throne [Revelation 12:1, 5].

Finally, if Dice Ailes can give his mother a house simply because she is his mother, the fact that Christ would give his mother the gift of the Immaculate Conception simply because she is his mother should not surprise anyone, but rather makes logical sense.





Deborah’s victory over her killers (Vidoe)

30 05 2022




The Martyrdom of Deborah Samuel

17 05 2022
Deborah Samuel

Many Nigerians are understandably shocked by the death last week of Deborah Samuel, a beautiful 25-year-old female student at Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto., who was mobbed by her classmates for alleged blasphemy against Islam. However, instead of mourning, Christians should rejoice because Deborah has given her life for her faith, the surest proof that she possesses the truth, and that her love for God is mightier than the power of darkness and terror, for greater love than this no man has that he lays down his life for his friends(John 5:13). Furthermore, from ancient times to the present, it is the blood of Christians that waters the seed of the faith ( LaBanca, 2018). This is our faith and the law that our founder, Jesus Christ, who died on the Cross for us, established, and Deborah conquered death by dying.

According to reports, the trouble started in a class WhatsApp group when Deborah was asked how she passed an exam, and she replied that it was because of Jesus. Her response irritated some male Muslim students, who mocked her Christian faith and advised her to remove that statement. In a knee-jerk reaction to the attack on her freedom, she refused and went on to remind them that the class WhatsApp group was created to discuss class assignments and tests, not all the “religious nonsense” they had been posting here.

The Muslim students, enraged by her dismissal of the Islamic articles they had been posting, demanded that she apologize for insulting Islam and, specifically, the Prophet Mohammed (AWS) by calling the Islamic articles “nonsense.” Deborah refused, claiming she had said nothing wrong and had insulted no one. When the Muslim student insisted, they threatened to deal with her if she didn’t. Deborah responded to their threats by leaving a voice message that said, “Holy Ghost fire, nothing will happen to me,” and reiterated that the WhatsApp group was created for class assignments, tests, and academic pursuits, not for religious purposes. However, she had unknowingly signed her death warrant as the Muslim student went outside the school grounds to hire some Islamic executioners and led the men into the school grounds looking for her. Pandemonium erupted, and her classmates fled to the school security room to hide her, but the men arrived armed and ready to deal with anyone who stood in their way, and they overpowered the guards and dragged Deborah out. “What do you hope to accomplish with this?”  She asked the killers, and those were her last words, according to her classmates, as the men and several Muslim students beat, stoned, and clobbered her to death, and the video of them setting her corpse on fire has long gone viral on the internet, shocking not only millions of Nigerians but people all over the world.

The acts have been condemned by Muslims and Christians alike, and no one can think of a justification for such behavior. Who appointed those Muslim classmates to the positions of judge, jury, and executioner? According to Nigeria’s current Chief Justice, Justice Tanko Ibrahim Mohammed, “Islam is not a primitive religion in which followers can take the law into their own hands and commit jungle justice.” Rather, there is a judicial system in Islam that hears and decides cases, including criminal trials, and anyone accused of committing an offense against the religion or a fellow citizen should be brought before a court (either a Sharia or a secular/common law court) for adjudication” (Shuaib, 2022).

Furthermore, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, a respected and learned Islamic cleric, offers a powerful refutation of those who believe that Islamic tenets call for bloodshed when he says that even the Prophet Movement (Peace be upon him) was insulted while he was alive and he did not kill anyone (Alamu, 2022). According to Bello Shagari, a Muslim business consultant, the mob killing of Deborah is un-Islamic and repugnant and would end up giving Islam a bad name. This was posted on his Twitter feed:

The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammed Sa’ad Abubakar, condemned the killing in its entirety on Thursday in a message from the Sultanate Council, urging Sokoto state authorities to bring the killers to justice. The message is displayed below.

( Courtesy of Sahara reporters, 2022)  

On Friday, President Buhari reacted to the incident, calling the killing illegal. He stated that, while Muslims all over the world demand that the Prophet be respected, no one in this country has the authority to break the law. The President offered his condolences to the deceased’s family and demanded an impartial investigation into the incident (Ailemen, 2022). According to critics, the President’s tardy response came only after the British High Commissioner demanded justice and the arrest of Deborah’s murderers. However, the point has been made. Surprisingly, some critics argue that Deborah had crossed an Islamic red line and thus deserved what she got. Shehu Shagari, on the other hand, condemned such clerics and urged them to wake up and educate the public about the truth(Orupe, 2022).

Furthermore, Shiekh Gumi contends that mob actions tarnish Islam’s white sultan’s reputation as the religion of peace, and he urges those who stain their hands with blood by engaging in extrajudicial killings to repent because they were perverting the name of Islam by using it to justify their bloody deeds. Furthermore, he reminded everyone that Nigeria is a secular state and that when Muslims and non-Muslims coexist through mutual agreements, they must be respected, and anyone who harms them is breaking Islamic law and will be unable to smell the fragrance of paradise for 40 years, according to the Quran.(Alamu, 2022). In addition, he argues that if Muslims want all men, particularly non-religious people in this country, to convert to Islam, then they must shun mob action and violence which will only alienate people from Islam by portraying Muslims as killers. Furthermore, the cleric claims that such mob actions contribute to an increase in insults and not less (Odunsi, 2022).

Adewale Martin, the Archbishop of Lagos, condemned the killing as barbaric, diabolic, and satanic, and urged authorities to find and punish the perpetrators (Eyoboka, 2022) while urging Christians to remain calm. Similarly, the youth wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the murder and petitioned the Inspector General of Police to leave no stone unturned until the killers are apprehended. The Christian Journalist Association of Nigeria, as well as Catholic communicators and Christian groups from across the country, have also condemned the killing (Jannamike, 2022).

Regardless, Deborah may have erred and should have apologized for disrespecting the Islamic faith, but none of her actions justified the brutality of the death meted out to her, and what is clear is that the people who carried out this dastardly act acted wantonly and do not have the support of Islamic scholars or law enforcement, as Sokoto police have arrested some of them while the rest remain at large. The subsequent mayhem that ensued following their arrest is further evidence that these are the works of thugs who should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

However, Christians must understand that it is not uncommon for them to perish at the hands of those who despise them. Those Muslim students despised her for being a Christian and wished to teach her a lesson to show her that her Christianity cannot protect her against their power. However, they are mistaken because a Christian lives through death. We Christians are not only anti-violence; we are a religion of love, and our founder, Jesus Christ, teaches us to love our enemies and do good to them.

Instead of mourning, which is understandable, Christians rejoice when they give their lives for their faith because that is the surest proof that we love God, for greater love than this no man has that he lays down his life for his friends, and additionally, from ancient times to the present, it is the blood of Christians that waters the seed of the faith, and Christianity has always grown deep roots and wider spread as long as it is persecuted. This is our faith and the law established for us by our founder, Jesus Christ, who died on the Cross.

Deborah’s assassins have only her body and can do nothing else because she is now immortal and with God, and everything, as Deborah’s parents stated, is in God’s hands. And, while pleading with the authorities to do everything in their power to bring justice and bring the perpetrator to justice, let it be known to them that Deborah has conquered death and defeated them precisely by dying at their hands, just as Christ her savior conquered death and the devil by dying on the cross, and similarly, Deborah will rise again seated with Christ.

by Chinwuba Iyizoba

Editor, Authorchioce.

References

 Ailemen, A.(2022) Buhari condemns killing of Deborah Samuel in Sokoto. Businessday.ng Retrieved from https://businessday.ng/news/article/buhari-condemns-killing-of-deborah-samuel-in-sokoto/

Alamu, T.(2022).Blasphemy: Deborah Parents Breaks Silence Over Death Of Their Daughter And More .Ngnews247. Retrieved from https://www.ngnews247.com/blasphemy-deborah-parents-breaks-silence-over-death-of-their-daughter-and-more/

Eyoboka, S. (2022). Archbishop Martins wants perpetrators punished. Vanguardngr. Retrieved from https://www.vanguardngr.com/2022/05/murder-of-deborah-yakubu-archbishop-martins-wants-perpetrators-punished/

Eyoboka, S. (2022, May 13). Catholic Communicators Condemn the Killing of Deborah.  Vanguardngr. Retrieved from https://www.vanguardngr.com/2022/05/catholic-communicators-condemn-killing-of-deborah-yakubu/

 Jannamike, L. (2022). Sokoto blasphemy: CAN’s youth wing petitions IGP over Deborah Yakubu’s murder.Vanguardngr. Retrieved from https://www.vanguardngr.com/2022/05/sokoto-blasphemy-cans-youth-wing-petitions-igp-over-deborah-yakubus-murder/

LaBanca, N. (2018). Blood of the Martyrs Is Still Seed for the Church. Ascensionpress. Retrieved from https://media.ascensionpress.com/2018/09/17/blood-of-the-martyrs-is-still-seed-for-the-church/

Odunsi, W. (2022). Deborah Samuel: Prophet Muhammad never killed despite insults – Sheikh Gumi condemns murder.  dailypost.ng. Retrieved from https://dailypost.ng/2022/05/15/deborah-samuel-prophet-muhammad-never-killed-despite-insults-sheikh-gumi-condemns-murder/

Orupe, T. (2022, May 13).Deborah crossed Islamic red line; her killers were right- Imam of National Mosque. Idomavoice. Retrieved from  https://www.idomavoice.com/2022/05/deborah-crossed-islamic-red-line-her-killers-were-right-imam-of-national-mosque.html

Sahara reporter (2022). Sultan Of Sokoto Condemns Killing Of Female College Student For Alleged Blasphemy. Retrieved from https://www.ngnews247.com/blasphemy-deborah-parents-breaks-silence-over-death-of-their-daughter-and-more/

Shuaib, Y. (2022).Blasphemy: Positions of Justice System and the Holy Quran. Theworldnews.net. Retrieved from https://theworldnews.net/mw-news/blasphemy-positions-of-justice-system-and-the-holy-quran-by-yushau-shuaib





Angelic example in suffering: AGT 2021 Golden buzzer Jane Marczewski (Nightbirde)

13 06 2021

“You cannot wait for everything to be perfect before you decide to be happy,” these were stunning words from Jane, a 30 year old young woman recently won a golden buzzer for her original song “it’s Ok” But what captivated and captured hearts of audience and viewers around world was that she has advance cancer and yet smiles shares happiness all around.

The judges and audience at the American got talent (AGT) where taken aback when she casually told them she has been dealing with cancer. “When they last tested, I had cancer in my lungs, spine, and liver,” she said, “but I want all to know that I am much more important than all the bad things that has happen to me.”

And a lot has happen to her including the loss of her husband of 5 years who abandoned her in 2020 because of her illness which started two years after their marriage.  She is presently going through chemotherapy with the resultant weight and hair loss and the cancer keeps recurring, doctors says she has just two percent chance of surviving.

“Yet two percent is not zero, and people don’t know how amazing that is,” she said.

 “I have had cancer three times now, and I have barely passed thirty” she said. “There are times when I wonder what I must have done to deserve such a story. I fear sometimes that when I die and meet with God that He will say I disappointed him, or offended him, or failed Him.”

 On the contrary, God must be rather pleased with her ability to be happy in spite of all and right now she is an inspiration to millions who perhaps do not know how to be happy.

“You cannot wait for everything to be perfect before you decide to be happy,” she said to the lead Judge Simon who was struggling to find words to describe her courage and cheerfulness in the face of so much suffering. Words many people around the world would forever remember when they have to deal with one trouble or the other in their lives. And for that Simone gave her the golden buzzer even with the stunning rendition of her original song to a standing ovation

 As for me, Jane Marczewski is a most inspiring young woman, an angelic example to many who bulk in the face of inexplicable suffering and losing their happiness become a prey to the vicious wolf of sadness and depression. This woman shines a brilliant light through the tunnel of darkness. I love her

Article by Chinwuba Iyizoba





When would modern day Hollywood ever portray the Catholic priesthood right again?

10 04 2021

In Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “I Confess (1953)”, a priest, Fr. Michael Logan would rather face death than violate the sanctity of confessional when falsely accused of murder. In such movies, one learned something of the dedication and firmness of the conviction of those who are called to the catholic priesthood. In today’s Hollywood however, all a priest has to do is open his mouth and you realize he knows nothing about the priesthood, the church or the Christian altogether and his words are filled with shallow and pathetic clichés. Today, Hollywood script writers feel no need or obligation to truthfulness and accuracy regarding the priesthood and bend over backwards to present priest as fools, clumsy and dimwitted.  Thus when I watched Bishop Baron sterling review of a movie “Calvary (2014), about a priest who threatened with death went on to offer his life as an offer of love and forgiveness, I wanted to watch the movie “Calvary” to see if Hollywood has finally got it right.

The story is set in Ireland, a priest, Fr James Lavelle (Bleedon Gleeson), is accosted in confessional by a very bitter man who threatens to kill him in 7 days time, because he was abused by a priest, and thus wanted revenge. The angry man would not give his name but told the priest that he will give him seven days to put his affairs in order at the end of which he would meet him at the beach for the kill. The next seven days tried the nerves of the priest who had to resist the temptation fleeing and brace up to meet the killer on the appointed date.

Yet, in spite of Bishop Barron’s excellent review, and in spite of great cinematography, I was left once again with a hint of disappointment by the scripts portrayal of Fr James character. He comes across as a frustrated man. Granted that post sex abuse scandal Ireland is a difficult place for a priest, and his cynical parishioners often mocked him, nevertheless, he lacks deep knowledge of theology and ability to refute errors so beloved in St. Thomas Aquinas and he is often tongue tied when he comes up against the postmodernist arguments of his cynical parishioners.

In the movies opening scenes, Fr. James worries about a very promiscuous woman parishioner who was often beaten by her lovers, in one instance she comes to church with bruises on her face, he tries to get her to say who did it but she wouldn’t tell, so he asks her husband who is a butcher but he says it wasn’t him but a black man who is her latest boyfriend. So he confronts the black man and tells him not to do it again, but the man gets angry and throws a cigarette butt at him practically telling to shove off and mind his own business. It can be argued that as a priest, Fr. James overstepped his boundaries there and should not have taken the path of confrontation, of playing the neighborhood policeman but rather should have restricted himself to praying and administering the sacraments of penance to this woman, hoping that she will of her own accord change her ways.

That is what Jesus would do isn’t it? Take for example the case of Mary Magdalene. Jesus did not go chasing down all the men with Mary Magdalene and having a word with them. Rather he spoke to Magdalena, and his words brought her peace and encouragement and she finally decided to change her ways. Similarly, Christ spoke in dept with his flock and was not afraid of telling them difficult truths even if they wished to kill him. It is not difficult to see that there were many of Fr. James’ parishioners who needed to hear healing but Fr. James seemed strangely incapable of providing that healing perhaps out fear of rejection. This perhaps denotes a lack of faith typical of the modern clerics as well as too much reliance on human logic.

In another scene, Fr. James goes to visit a serial killer in prison, yet again he failed to initiate the type of conversation that could lead to repentance and in the ended up screaming accusations at the sinner. He should have helped this killer ask God’s mercy or does he not believe in the power of prayers himself? Then there is the issue of the drinking. Towards the end of the movies, when his time was almost near, and knowing that time is running out, Fr. James  took to drinking, this is of course is very bad for a priest, whisky and prayers aren’t the best of friends; it is either one or the other. Compare this with what Jesus did during his last hour, Christ rejected the cup of sour wine offered to him on the cross, but even more, he prayed for those who where crucifying him. This is what I would have expected Fr. James to do if he wished to portray the image of true priest rather than a caricature.

I believe a priest can triumph even in an environment of great cynicism through prayers, fasting and penance bringing about the conversion of hearts because the Holy Spirit is the one that acts. That is how Cure of Ars was able to covert his whole parish in post- French revolution France. He had long conversations in spiritual directions with his parishioner helping them examine their souls and resume a relationship with God.

Finally, the theme of Calvary is forgiveness, a much underrated virtue in modern society, as father James told his daughter, Fiona.  Christianity brought forgiveness to the world and it is the first thing the world chunks out when it throws Christianity out the window and thus its cities are full of people locked in a vicious circle, men like Jack Brennan (Chris O’Dowdy)  threatening to kill Fr. James,  because he cannot forgive, and has grown old in angst because of an evil that happened years past, when he was a child and which he has allowed to consumes his  present, such that he is ready to kill, not just the guilty party, but anyone. As unspeakable as the clerical abuse scandal in Ireland and elsewhere was, it is still staggering that in a society where sex is promoted as a commodity for recreation, its abuse by a minority of unfortunate clerics calls for the killing of the name of every good priest to satiate the thirst of unforgiving hearts, yet to err is human and to forgive is divine. Thus Fiona’s visiting him in prison after he had killed her father embodies for him the superiority of Christian forgiveness and hope. 

By Chinwuba Iyizoba





Francis and Homosexuals: What is the Pope saying?

25 10 2020
Pope Francis blessing a woman

Many are troubled by recent utterances of Pope Francis about homosexuals deserving a family as he call for their freedom and choices to be protected by law. There is no doubt that for many, this may be disconcerting, perhaps even alarming since we all know that this act is explicitly condemned in the  bible and the teaching authority of the Church right from the beginning. Thus, many may be asking, what does it mean and what is the Pope saying here. Well for those looking for answers on what the Pope is saying, they need look no further than his newest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti. In the first few pages, he makes it clear that he is calling all Christians back to the fundamental primacy of charity as the distinguishing mark of the Christian.  In all things, and especially to those most in need, the poor and the wounded of this world, Christians must show charity.

He narrates in Fratelli Tutti, the story of the Good Samaritan who of all the people that came alongside the man dispossessed by robbers was the only one who had it in his heart to help him. The Samaritan realized that this man needs a friend and a family and decided to be one to him. What is a family but people who accept and a company one another in their wounds, take care of one another, spend time with one another.  Time is one of the most challenging things to give to others, the Pope continues, and for sure, the Samaritan must have had other plans that day, and had to give them up, making drastic changes in order to accommodate the wounded man, pour wine and bandages on his wounds, he had to make a u-turn and find an Inn.

The Samaritan became a neighbour to the wounded Judean. By approaching and making himself present, he crossed all cultural and historical barriers. Jesus concludes the parable by saying: “Go and do likewise” (Lk 10:37). In other words, he challenges us to put aside all differences and, in the face of suffering, to draw near to others with no questions asked (pg. 21).

Fratelli Tutti

In Fratelli Tutti Pope Francis carefully draws our attention to those who Jesus said rejected the wounded man, those who on sighting him crossed to the other side. They were religious people! The very people with an obligation to help, to live charity, and they failed miserably in this regard.

It shows that belief in God and the worship of God are not enough to ensure that we are actually living in a way pleasing to God. A believer may be untrue to everything that his faith demands of him, and yet think he is close to God and better than others. The guarantee of an authentic openness to God, on the other hand, is a way of practising the faith that helps open our hearts to our brothers and sisters (pg. 19).

Fratelli Tutti

The Holy Spirit is calling Christians to return to the roots of Christ charity, which came, not for the righteous, but to call sinners to repentance. Christ condemns sin, but never the sinner; ask that we do not judge.

Perhaps in their hearts, those Levites, priests that passed to the other side were judgmental like those disciples who asked Jesus whose sin it was that made blind the man born blind. Jesus gives the answer, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, rather it is so that God’s power may be made manifest” (John 9:2). Those born blind to the true nature of sexuality, can be likened to the man born blind. Many homosexual are so not by their own choosing, and yes each is born with his melancholy basic temperaments, ill temper, and sanguine. But born that way has never means living that way. We all have the obligation to struggle against self defeating urges, and the adulterous, must cease using his passion, and the glutton desist from gluttony.

Consequently, charity demands a moderation of language. Homosexuality is an issue so many people are so passionate about today unlike in the 19th century when homosexuality was relatively hidden and obscure and considered by a wide section of people as wrong and improper. Things are totally different today, and it’s accepted by most advanced societies, and even celebrated in the media, thus charity demands that the sensitivity of so many people be taken into accounts when issuing statements at the risk of antagonizing, and hence closing hearts permanently to the saving word of God. It must be kept in mind that meeting someone midway may be the beginning of leading him out of it as long as you bear the light and know the way. And thanks to the unchanging teaching of Christ and his Church, every Christian bears the light and knows the way.

Those who fear that concessions are slippery slope to changing the church’s teaching on homosexuality often cite the gradual caving of civil laws in different countries in West as evidence of how concession to civil union ends with full endorsement of homosexual acts and even acceptance of homosexual marriage as the equivalent of marriage between man and woman. Those who entertain this fear need to make an important distinction between Church and civil society. The church is a supernatural society whose laws come outside of her and revealed by God and thus no one can change those laws. Civil societies have laws coming from within men prone to change. Thus the Church has nothing to fear in getting as near as she can to the sinner to save them because she is well anchored on solid rock.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba





Molokia: True story of courageous Priest and Queen working in Leper’s colony

23 10 2020

“I see another law in my member warring against the law of my mind, for when I wish to do go, I find that evil lies at hand.” These words of St. Paul are ever relevant in the life of all men no matter where they find themselves to be. Even in the leper’s colony of Molokia, among the lepers, the law of sin still holds sways, and men still hunger for sex amidst the flies and decaying flesh, as Fr. Damien would find out.

The movie Molokai (1999) is a true story of a young priest, Fr. Damien who volunteers to minister to the leper’s colony off the Hawaiian island of Molokai. He gets there to find not only decay and abandonment, but, worse, sex brothels! Men and women with half rotten limbs, soaking themselves in alcohol and sexually cavort with each other even though they are unsure that they would live to see another day. Fr .Damian instantly sets about rebuilding the broken Church and cleaning up to celebrate the Eucharist, and despite, his bishop’s repeated warning not to touch the lepers,  he warmly shakes the hands of a young boy who came to offer himself as his as altar boy.

As soon as he gets the chance, Fr. Damian rushes into the sex brothels and rescue the children among the inmates and starts a small clinic, and with some other healthier women volunteers, begin taken care of the sick and dying, but more important, he reawakens the love of God in the hearts of the inhabitants of the colony, most of whom have fallen into the despair, tormented with enormous doubt of the existence of God. Fr. Damien reminded them that, He, Jesus, who died on the Cross, bears their pain and isolation and suffering, reminded them that they should unite their torments with His, as atonement for the sin of the world. In short order, joy and singing could be heard in the community and people who have long given up all basic instincts of human decency begin to pick themselves up and clean up and sing. Though there was no cure for their illness, Fr. Damien’s love and compassion helped bring the light of God’ love piecing through the darkness and gloom in their hearts.

News of the revival at the camp soon reach the all Hawaii and the Governor and bishop are full of praises for Fr. Damien, yet when he began making demands for better housing, clothes and most important,  Christian nuns to come to the colony, he was met with severe opposition from the greedy Governor who was unwilling to lose his sources income he usually diverted for personal use, to the lepers colonies, and using the pretext of quarantine and  preventing infections, he bans  Fr. Damien from ever leaving the lepers island, such that he could not even come to make his confessions, and his bishop had to hear his  confession at sea.

When news of this incident reached the crown queen of Hawaii, Queen Liliʻuokalani, her heart was rent with sorrow, and in a magnificent display of love, she decides to visit the leper’s colony herself. It was the high point of the movie, a rare and almost unbelievable scene, and like, Theresa of Calcutta, this queen not only came to the leper’s colony, but picked up and hugged and kissed leper children, children with rotten limbs. Having seen for herself the good work that Fr. Damien was doing, she becomes his advocate and with her help and support he begin receiving more support from the governor and even from the ecclesiastical authorities.

Queen Liliʻuokalani of Hawaii

But the devil had more in stock for the young priest as he finds himself the object of intense sexual attention of one a young woman, Malulani who had been helping him with care for the others. One day, unable to control her passion, she bursts into his dormitory  pretending he seemed sad and dejected and she wished to comfort him cuddled up to him, but Fr. Damien, emphatically, ordered her to leave, saying to her, “You wish to destroy my life’s work?”  For a plate of beans, I would add.

How does the devil offer so little in exchange for Eternal life? For the undoing of  happiness of paradise, for which Fr. Damien  worked all his life,  the cleaning, scrubbing, smell and flies, he had endured for years, all that would have gone up in smoke in minutes for a few minutes of canal pleasure with a half dressed young woman. Yet countless men and women would take that deal. They give up the happiness of paradise, in marital fidelity for the passing pleasure of adultery, and extramarital sex. Innumerable priests and nuns abandon the prize of heaven for passion and license. Countless youth, toss unending happiness out the window at the behest of sex. Yet as Dr Peter Kreeft puts it, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot long keep for what he can never lose.” Many of the patients in that colony knew that they had but a short time before the disease consumed them, and that the time they had was a gift, a chance to get well prepared to pass the entrance exams of into life that never ends which for them was sure to come so soon. Yet even this imminence was insufficient and many still chose to hang on to whatever they could get from fleshy pleasures. Thanks to the courage and perseverance, by the time he lay dying of the leprosy he cleaned up in others, of Fr. Damien’s Molokai leper’s colony was blessed with a community of nuns to care for the sick and continue his life works. He died in 1936 and went like St. Paul to receive his rewards in paradise having fought the good fight and kept the faith.





You are “Chosen”

22 10 2020

 

Chosen

Approximately one year ago, I visited the Jerusalem and the holy land for the first time. One of the feelings one experiences during visits to the Holy Land is the desire to see Jesus, to get a behind the scenes, to turn back the hands of the clock and be there. There comes a time when the rocks aren’t enough, you wish to be transported back in time, to smell Mary’s cooking and watch Jesus  and laugh and play, and sorrowful, you wish to help him with the cross on Calvary. Sadly is only the imagination left to fill in the gaps of centuries, and recreate the scenes and atmosphere and only very few and very gifted people are able to use their imagination so prodigiously, as for the rest of us, any means, or anyone who can assistance us see what happened there many centuries ago is more than welcome. It is craved. Thus you can imagine my joy when I came across the film, Chosen, directed by a young man named Dallas Jenkins recreating the life of Jesus so that the less imaginatively endowed can get close up view of the greatest story ever told.

Chosen

Jenkins must have inherited his father’s knack for telling stories, and I must add, for using stories to try to spread the word of God. Jenkins’ father was a Christian novelist whose bestselling novel, Left behind, sold over 60 million copies and has been adapted to serial television programs. Both father and son, teamed up to start a movie company and intent on producing family friendly Christian movies, they launched several attempt that has been successful such as “What if” a 2010 international bestseller staring Kristy Swanson, a film about a business man whose guardian Angel appeared to him to show him what he would have become if he followed the will of God for his life, a story that is so relevant to all.

Nevertheless, Chosen would appear to be the most successful of Jenkins endeavors and the one that will endear him to the hearts of millions of Christians he would have helped to get to know God and Jesus Christ even if it is only one inch better. The project started as a short film clip called The Sheppard which Jenkins made to help his church members visualize the birth of Jesus from the perspective of the Sheppard. He shot the entire movie clip at a friend’s farm, but the clip was so go that it caught the attention of VidAngel, an online streaming service looking for original content, who encouraged Jenkins to post it up on Facebook to see if people would be interested. The clip received 15million views around the world and gave birth to a multi season series  about the life of Jesus called Chosen, and it is said to be the to be the highest  crowd funded movie of all time.

“I’m trying to justify the faith of those who invested in this project and I’m also trying to, of course, please my Savior, and make sure that we’re doing this project for Him,” Jenkins said.

It’s sad that Christians has been edged out of the competition in the movies to the disastrous consequences and missed opportunities of bringing life savings and healing doctrines too the lost and often deceived people whose only means of knowing the most important truth of gospel comes from what they glean from poor scripts and bad acting in most Christian movie, or from the ideologically manipulated and religiously hostile Hollywood blockbusters. Jenkins has shown a good example of how to use motion pictures to bring the gospel to the hearts and minds of many.

It is the same zeal that burned in the heart of Monsignor Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, when he wrote in 1959, “I found my love for God enkindled by considering Jesus’ zeal to set the world ablaze with his fire. I couldn’t contain the irrepressible ardour that welled up within me, making me cry out with the very words of the Master: I’ve come to set fire to the earth and what will I but that it be enkindled?… Here I am, for you have called me! He encouraged good people, Christians to get involved in the movie industries.  Recalling the first time Escriva saw a color television in 1972, those who were with him wrote this account:

“At Civenna, just over four kilometers from the Swiss border, and less as the crow flies, they could get Swiss television channels. Their house had a color television set, and the first time they turned it on Monsignor Escrivá was as surprised as everyone else. “Isn’t it good?” he exclaimed. “I had no idea the image would be so clear and the color so natural. The color’s so attractive that you’re captivated no matter what program is on.”

After the television set had been turned off, he reflected aloud, “All this progress, great and small, has to bring us to give great glory to God. All noble human work, done well and used properly, is a fabulous instrument for serving society and sanctifying ourselves. I suppose the same thing happened to you as to me a moment ago when we were watching television: it was easy to raise one’s heart to God, thanking him for the technical perfection of the image and the color. And then there’s an idea which is always going around my head. I thought of the good and the evil which can be done with television and with all the media. Good? Yes, because it’s a wonderful vehicle for reaching out to so many people, capturing their attention in such an attractive way. Bad? It’s that too, because images and words can be used to spread bad doctrine and false morals. And people swallow these errors and falsehoods without realizing it, they welcome it like pure gold. That’s why I insist so much that the apostolate through the media will always be very important. And Catholics who have a professional vocation to the media, journalists, people working in the press, radio, and television, have to be present and active: to be absent would be a shameful act of desertion.”

Thus, any Christian who is not eager to share Christ with others, to make his humanity known and loved, using whatever talents, few or many, is not doing well, in fact he is lukewarm. Jenkins striving to use his talents as a movie maker to make Jesus better known is commendable. Jenkins urged on by the burning desire to tell Jesus story the way it should be told, with the pump, brilliance and genius of great masters of the big studios has come up with the brilliant master piece Chosen and on behalf of many millions of Christians the world over, I would like to say a very big thanks to Jenkins for making this effort, for not giving up and for helping us see even if minutely a little more background story of Jesus life. His adaptation are brilliant, his ability to help us visualize the real environment most of us are only able to conjure and some with great difficulty is inestimable.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba





I love the movie “Fatima”

7 10 2020
Fatima

I must admit that I have always been fascinated by the story of the 1917 apparition of Mary at Fatima, Portugal to the three little Sheppard children, Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco in the forest and I was excited that a film about the entire episode was released in August 2020.  Though, a bit apprehensive about religious films, especially those that involve Angels and apparitions because somehow, Hollywood directors never seem to get the supernatural aura right,    I finally get to watch the movie and I think it was a great movie. The children were perfect, though I think the woman that played the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary seemed to have a bit too much powder on her face. I guess when you have spent an entire life imagining how Mary looks like; no screen image ever gets close. How wonderful it is to see our Lady. I guess I will have to wait till heaven to find out.

In any case, the movie Fatima tells the story from the point of view of Sister Lucia; one of the surviving children who saw our lady and who later became a nun, as she was interviewed by a journalist (an Atheist)

I liked the banter between Lucia and the Journalist, during the interview. At one point the journalist asked her, “Do you have any regrets?”

Sister Lucia paused for a brief moment before replying, “Does it seem that the world has heeded the words of our Lady?  My only regret is not doing enough to spread her message.”

And that message is to say the Rosary, daily for the conversion of sinners. Such a simple request but so important. According to Fr. Don Collaway, the rosary is so important, that Jesus sent his own mother to Earth to remind us earthlings to say the rosary, and yet many Christians are ever so forgetful of such a powerful weapon.

The rosary has been a bone of contention between Protestants and Catholics. Protestant claim that the rosary is not scriptural yet every single prayer of the rosary can be found in the bible. The Hail Mary is the greeting of the Angel Gabriel to Mary when he came to announce to her that she will be the mother of Jesus. Since the Angels are God’s messengers, then, it truth it is God who addressed Mary. Again, many find the repetitious nature of the prayer irksome, but the truth is that the recommended way to say the rosary is to meditate on the mysteries of the rosary which cover the entire life of Jesus from his birth to his death on the cross. Thus a Christian who says the rosary well each day would be meditating on the life of Christ each day, what better way to grow in love of God.

 Nevertheless, this is not the forum to delve into all the polemic. If you wish to know more about the rosary, you can watch the video below where Fr. Don Collaway speaks about the Rosary as the sword of Christians.  

Fr Don Calloway Rosary, sword of Christians

 I would say that watching the movie Fatima is the closest thing to being there at Fatima when all it happened, although the crowd at the apparitions sites (in the movie) where a bit too rowdy and perhaps not too prayerful (I wish the director had added more prayerful moments) but then, this was a country at the grip of communist at that time and.

There was another scene I found a bit disconcerting. When it was time for the second apparition, Lucia’s mother tried to stop her from going to the apparition site, but Lucia resisted her mother, snatching her hands away and retorting, “I have to go, Mama, because the lady told us to come.”

I thought God would not permit a child to disobey her mother, but then after due considerations, I think she (Lucia) did the right thing. Obedience to God supersedes obedience to parents and that’s what many parents perhaps nowadays fail to grasp. Children are a gift from God, and a parent is nothing but a God’s care taker for a while for the souls of children entrusted to them by God. Hence a parent’s authority ends where God begins. Parent must not stand between their children and God, but rather stand beside and support them. It’s always unfortunate when a parent is opposing God’s call. True, they have the duty to ensure that at least, the call is authentic, but once that is done, they must leave them free to follow their vocation, but even more, they should actively support them. This is common all over the world. In Africa, though Africans have lots of children parents sometimes oppose their children’s vocation simply out of self preservation, because children are a sort of pension scheme for parents due to lack of social security, a child’s vocation, especially when it limits their ability to contribute to parents upkeep can be a real problem. Nevertheless, at the bottom of such opposition lies a lack of faith in God. In Western countries, it is a bit different; parents resist their children vocation by not having children or limiting the number of children by birth control, again out of selfishness or misguided   attempt to save the world from over population. In any case I love the movie Fatima and I encourage you to watch it.





The sex agenda: Hollywood attack on Judeo-Christian sexual ethics

17 08 2020

Research shows watching onscreen sex and pornography is more addictive and harmful than tobacco, yet Hollywood keeps escalating use of onscreen sex and pornography in blockbusters. Why? This article would argue that the permissive attitude of Hollywood and other social media to onscreen sex, nudity and pornography, is a deliberate attempt to supplant Judeo-Christian sexual ethics with moral relativism, in addition, this paper would argue that the promotion of the theology of the body of St. John Paul II as the best measure to counter this agenda.

According to George Gerbner’s Cutivation theory, people often imitate what they watch. To avoid imitative smoking by their teenage viewers, big studios prohibit cigarettes smoking in PG-13 rated movies. Paul (2013) citing studies conducted by Annenberg Public Policy Center and the University of Pennsylvania claims that Hollywood successfully cut onscreen smoking down from roughly 68 percent in 1985 to 21.4 percent in 2010 and onscreen Alcohol use from 89.6 percent in 1985 to 67.3 percent. Unfortunately, onscreen sex and pornography remained at 80 percent high all through the period (Paul, 2013).  

Why is Hollywood determined to ignore science when it comes to onscreen sex and pornography? Research confirms that onscreen sex and pornography harm teenagers. Brown & Newcomer, (1991) found that teenagers who watch intense sexual contents begin having sex earlier than that those who do not. While Eyal & Finnerty, (2009) confirm that among public health professionals,  escalating sexual content in movies and   social media as a growing concern driving the surge in teenage risky sexual behaviors. In addition, research by Institute of Medicine (1997) confirms that one in four sexually active teen in US have STD, and of the 19 million STD infections diagnosed annually, half of them are teenagers and young adults between ages 15-24. 

Pornography fuels human trafficking. Peters, Lederer and Kelly (2012) cites instances where women are kidnapped, coerced and forced to perform sex  acts while being filmed and uploaded to porn sites for real time views. Cybersex camps springing up in Philippines with kidnapped and indigent girls are enslaved for commercial sex, live streamed to paying customers in the US.

The authors’ allege that pornography is the leading cause of objectification of women and violence against women.”A study by FBI researchers of 36 serial killers revealed that 29 were attracted to pornography and incorporated it into their sexual activity, which included serial rape-murder (Peters, Lederer and Kelly, 2012 p. 13).”

Furthermore, they assert that pornography is breaking down in marriages, men addicted to onscreen sex and pornography wishing to replicate their fantasies, finding their wives on willing, seeks out prostitutes, leading to family problems. In addition, law of diminishing returns demands that addicts often require more deviant form hardcore pornography to get the same level of arousal, leading to greater and greater perversion (Peters, Lederer and Kelly, 2012). They also claim that pornography fuels trafficking of women to produce pornography and consumption of pornography escalates deviants sexual appetite in men who seek out trafficked prostitutes to live out their fantasy, thus pornography drives prostitutions and prostitution fuels sex trafficking.

One common theory that tries to explain the use of sex in movies is that it makes movies profitable, in other words, sex sells movies. However, studies by Cerridwen & Simonton (2009) disprove this theory, showing that there is little correlation between a movies box office performance and sexual content. Egan(2000) however disagrees, arguing that pornography is indeed a multi-billion dollar industry, tied with many American corporate names. The author claims that DirecTV, a General Motors subsidiary buys nearly $200 million a year in pay-per-view sex films. Egan confirms that international brands like AT&T Corporation are neck deep in selling hard-core sex channels to millions of hotel room in Marriott International and Hilton. Mahlburg (2020) discovered that each year, 42 billion users visit the largest pornographic site in the world called Pornhub, where research has revealed every type of criminally deviant porn can be found even with minors. While Asher of Vivid Entertainment Group argues that obsessed people are sources of income, and hotels make up to 90 percent profit from streaming in-room porn.

Nevertheless, it can be argued that profit alone fails to explain the proliferation of onscreen sex.  After all, Hollywood and other social media willingly loose out from $8.4 billion dollar bounty that the US tobacco companies spent in 2018 in advertisement and promotion because of their anti-tobacco stands.

Thus, Charles (2014) asserts that the primary objective of Hollywood’s proliferation of onscreen sex is to subvert the Judeo Christian morals of their viewers. Alberto and Eliana (2009) details other research supports the use of onscreen sex to undermine Judeo-Christian sexual ethic. The authors cites the Brazilian military government’s agenda of legalizing divorce, in the 70’s, using television series inundated with sex to little by little deform the consciences of millions of viewer, this successfully resulted in a spike divorce rates among women across Brazil municipal areas.

Furthermore, Charles (2014) cites Michael Catt, senior pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany saying, “We’ve always heard that Hollywood is about making money, but I think it’s really about an immoral or amoral agenda to promote lifestyles, relativism, compromise, and shades of gray with no black and white. There is a force in that community. Michael continues, “more important than making $100 million is to plant seeds in the minds of young people that will take them away from Judeo-Christian ethics.”

Gordon Pennington, successful marketing consultant in Hollywood adds, “Whoever controls the image of culture controls culture.”

In addition, according to West (2014), they are willing to risk everything, even lawsuits from the #metoo movement of female actors forced to perform sexual content, as conditions of employment. Back in 1953, In an era when an NC-17 rating for X-rated films well known to lead to box office failure, West argues, Hugh Hefner was willing to lose money to destroy by founding playboy magazine, and the adult movie industry to spite Judeo- Christianity. Lucky, the invention of the video cassette recorder (VCR) ended up making him a lot of money, because “The first thing that a lot of people did when they got their VCR was rent or purchase an adult movie (Porn in the USA , 2003).”

Furthermore, other evidence of anti-Judeo-Christian bias emerges with a cursory look at Hollywood’s blockbusters over a thirty-year period. Greydanus (2020) claims that Hollywood consistently links Christianity with murderous violence, like the rosary-clutching villain in the Legend of Tarzan and murderous villain called “the Butcher” who wears T-shirt with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Wanted (2008). Again, you have Tom Hanks’, Irish Catholic hit man packing a rosary and automatic weapons in the Road to Perdition (2002). Going further, recall the butchery and cold-blooded murder in Gangs of New York (2002) and The Godfather (1973) all carried out by religious people.

Even more scandalously are depictions of ordained ministers, priest, bishops, and popes as bloodthirsty murderers (Greydanus, 2020).  The Albino monk assassin in The Da Vinci Code a block buster released in 2006 as another poignant evident, and V for Vendetta (2006): a depraved bishop who is complicit in Mengele-like human experiments and who indulges a sexual penchant for very young girls or the Catholic-themed killings in Seven (1995) and The Glimmer Man (1996) (Greydanus, 2020).

It can be argued that onscreen sex and pornography in particular strikes at the heart Christian sexual ethic. Houck (2009) asserts that Christian moral code exalts decency, modesty, and purity of heart as a basic perquisite to see God. “Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). However, on screen sex and pornography excites lustful thoughts and attacks cleanliness and purity of heart. Seghers (2018) argues that for a Christian, sex is holy and linked generation of new life.

According to West (2015), in John Paul II teaches in the theology of the body that Christ spilt blood on the cross gave Christian life to believers within the Church, in the sexual act, a husband’s spills his blood within his wife, and gives new life, a new human person. Furthermore, Christians consider the human body as the dwelling place of God, not to be degraded as a sexual object for commercial consumption. West (2015), expounding on the Theology of the body of John Paul II said that if Heaven is the dwelling place of God, then a woman’s womb is heaven on earth since God took flesh on womb of a woman, Mary. Thus, the author continues, it is by God’s design that in the sexual art, man enters the heaven of a woman’s womb and spill out his life the way Christ spilt his blood for the Church (West, 2015). “Coming together in the profound partnership of marriage, man and woman live for the other in mutual love and deference. This union is expressed concretely in the couple’s bodily sexual bodily gift of themselves to one another in sexual intercourse. Here they speak a profound language of total self-gift and unconditional fidelity (Grabowski (n.d).”

Onscreen sex and pornography breaks the fidelity between marriage and sex, introducing  complexity, selfishness, lust, into a perfect act mutual and exclusive self-giving between married spouses.

In summary, with pervasive onscreen sex and pornography, Hollywood is not showing too much sex, rather they are showing too little, and they do not go far enough. Sex is much more than physical bodies, it has eternal dimension. They treat sex pornography as a consumer product because of the huge profit coming in from it, but also with a primary agenda of   subverting the Judeo Christian ethics. Yet the remedy to this destructive distorted view of sex lies in the proper understanding of the Theology of the body of John Paul II

References

 Alberto,C., & Eliana, L. (2009).Television and divorce:Evidence from Brazilian Novelas( Working Paper No. 651). Retrieved from Inter-American Development Bank Research Department website:https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/51502/1/591278979.pdf

Charles, C. (2014). Hollywood’s Immoral Agenda Entertainment Industry Accelerates Attack on Biblical Values. Retreived from https://decisionmagazine.com/hollywoods-immoral-agenda/

Cerridwen, A.,& Simonton, D.K.(2009).Sex Doesn’t Sell—Nor Impress! Content, Box Office, Critics, and Awards in Mainstream Cinema.  American Psychological Association, 3(4),200-210. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/aca-3-4-200.pdf

Egan,T.(2000,Oct.23). Wall Street Meets Pornography. The Newyorktimes .Retreived from https://www.nytimes.com/2000/10/23/us/erotica-special-report-technology-sent-wall-street-into-market-for-pornography.html

Eyal, K., and K. Finnerty. (2009). “The portrayal of sexual intercourse on television: How, who, and with what consequence?” Mass Communication & Society 12: 143-169. Retrieved from https://www.kff.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/sex-on-tv-4-report-introduction.pdf

Greydanus, S. D. (2020). Let’s face it: Hollywood’s got a “religion problem”.Retrieved from http://decentfilms.com/articles/hollywood-religion-problem

Grabowski, S. J(n.d) The Theology Of The Body AccordingTo Pope John Paul II. Retreived from https://www.foryourmarriage.org/the-theology-of-the-body-according-to-pope-john-paul-ii/

Mahlburg, K. (2020, June 26).Tell Pornhub and Planned Parenthood that Black Lives Matter. Retrieved from https://mercatornet.com/tell-pornhub-and-planned-parenthood-that-black-lives-matter/64162/?preview_id=64162

Paul, B. (2013).Study: PG-13 Films Combine as Much Violence, Sex and Alcohol as R-Rated Titles. Retrieved from https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/study-pg-13-films-combine-663899

Peters, R.W, Lederer, L.J and Kelly,S.(2012).The Slave and the Porn Star: Sexual Trafficking and Pornography. The protection project: Journal of human right and civil society

Retrieved from https://www.rescuefreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/slave-and-the-porn-star.pdf

Porn in the USA, part 2.  (2003, Nov 21). [Video/DVD] New York: BBC Studios Americas, Inc., Columbia Broadcasting System. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1822822291?accountid=188730

Seghers,J.(2018). Theology of the Body: An Overview. Retrieved from https://www.totustuus.com/essays

West, C. (2015, Oct 24). DCC Lecture Series [Video/DVD] – God, Sex and the Meaning of Life. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHUsnDwB8Ww&t=33s





The Four Last things: What happens after our death

3 08 2020

The Four Last things

Last month, I read about Eschatology, a Greek term that refers to the four last things in everyone’s life: death, judgment, heaven, and hell. Among these, the one that we are all familiar with, because we see it often, is death.  Still, most of us, perhaps out of fear, do not consider what happens after we die.

Death

Well, according to Catechism of the Catholic Church, death is the separation of soul from body. The soul, being spiritual cannot die. The soul is immortal, self-reflective, and aware and knows.  It possesses the ability to move from one place to another, passing through walls and things like that. More important, as soon as we die, God grants our soul light to see with perfect clarity, the good or evil aspects of the choices we have made throughout our lives up until the moment before our death. Death makes these choices permanent, and the soul adheres to these choices, and can neither change nor repent any longer.  Thus, the soul of the dead perseveres in choosing or rejecting God forever.  Death irrevocably fixes the good or evil we have chosen in life and we cannot change. Put another way, death is the end of testing process, what remains is either reward or punishment.  God immediately judges and rewards the good soul with heaven, and judges and punishes the evil soul with hell. If the soul is in state of grace with some imperfections, it goes to purgatory for purification.  This immediate judgment is the particular judgment and it is differs from the general judgment at the end of the world.

Immediately after death, the soul is Judged in the Particular Judgment

At the particular judgment, the soul of the dead appears immediately before God (even as the relatives are weeping or preparing the decomposing body for burial). God grants the soul light to see the choices made while alive. If it has chosen God (good) it rushed towards God who is infinite love, beauty, happiness, joy eternal blessedness and the very source of all that is lovely. If it has chosen evil, it rushes away from God, towards hell: hatred, evil, misery, emptiness, and eternal separation from God. The truth of the particular judgment and the immediate retribution or punishment at the moment of death is borne out in sacred scripture by the words of Jesus on the cross to the good thief “Today, you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

Regarding the fittingness of immediate judgment after death, it is argued that, since a dead man cannot choose good or evil anymore, there is no reason to wait until for the final judgment at the end of time, to reward the just or punish the wicked. Besides, such a “waiting” or “delay” will only punish the just, keeping them in a state of permanent anxiety, not knowing their fate, while at the same time it would be a reward for the damned soul whose punishment is put off as it where for a very long time till the end of the world.

Purgatory

If the soul is imperfect, having no mortal sin, but retaining imperfections, it goes to a place of purification we Catholics call purgatory. This is because, before a soul enters heaven, every trace of imperfection must be eliminated, and all attachment to sin or evil destroyed, and purified.

Though many people (mainly Protestants) argue that there is no purgatory, for it is not explicitly stated in the bible, and since we are saved by faith Christ in alone, we are perfectly ripe for heaven when we die. Yet, the Church teaches that purgatory is in the bible, even though it is not explicitly mentioned.  The sense of purgatory is clear from the Old testament, second book of Maccabees where Judas Maccabee took and gathered a collection of money for the sin offering for the souls of the his dead men to be released from their sins.( Mac  12:39). In the New Testament, purgatory is even clearer.  1 Corinthians 3:10–15, talks about two fires, there is one fire to examine the good or evil of men’s deeds and another fire to purify them before they are saved. Experience tells us that there are different shades of perfection, and we all can grow in perfection. Thus, purgatory answers the question, “What happens to the soul of the imperfect who dies.”

This is why the Church offers the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass, during the funereal and encourages all to offer suffrages for the souls in Purgatory. The souls in purgatory by the nature of their state can no longer merit graces for themselves and are wholly dependent on the people on earth to pray for them.

Pain of loss & pain of the senses

The souls in purgatory suffer two kinds of pain. The pain of loss consists in a certain delay of seeing God. The souls in purgatory no longer desire material things; they only have one consuming desire, to see God. That delay is pain, but it is much unlike the pain of loss suffered by the damned souls, in that they have the joy of knowing that it is only a temporal delay and they are sure of seeing and uniting with love of God. In addition, there is the pain of sense that some call fire. This fire purifies them of their imperfections. This suffering is not a meritorious act because it is not performed freely but with compulsion. Yet, the souls in purgatory gladly accept this fire and impatiently await the end of their trials so that they can be with God.  The duration and intensity of their suffering is dependent on the amount of suffrages we on earth offer for them through our good acts and Eucharistic devotions. It is a duty of Charity to pray for the souls in purgatory, since they are our brothers and sisters. It is a requirement of justice, since souls can be unduly detained because of our negligence, and finally it is obligation of piety that we owe members of our supernatural and natural families who might be in purgatory.

Hell

Truly, many do not understand what hell is, if they did, they would be anxious never to go there. Strictly speaking, the Catholic Church does not talk about those in hell because they are considered to be outside of the Church. They are no longer a part of the Church. The souls of people who die in the state of opposition to God through attachment to evil go straight to hell. Hell is the ratification of the choices they freely made up until the moment of death. Death makes the opposition to God permanent and eternal. In Hell, the separation from the all-loving God is permanent, irrevocable and without end. It is a life of complete frustration and emptiness. Hel is the opposite of love; it is hatred, darkness, and eternal punishment. It is eternally living with evil, and knowing that it is forever, without end. Recalling that we are going to die and that there is an afterlife could help us keep focus

Hell involves two kinds of pains. Pain of loss and pain of sense.

The pain of loss is the most intense and in enormity, surpasses every other suffering imaginable because it is the loss of the ultimate end, happiness, and eternal bliss desired by every creature. The souls in hell experience intense remorse, but not because of repentance from their sin, but because of the enormity and the eternal duration of their punishment .They also experience the pain of the senses, which some consider to be unquenchable fire, burning sulfur. Even if they do not know it, all men are created in the image of God, to live with God forever. Every soul hungers for this union of love and happiness with God. To be eternally deprived of ever achieving this is the most terrible suffering a soul can have, a loss of all meaning and purpose and a permanent state of frightful misery

This pain of sense on the other hand is comparable to dying but never dying, hence the name “eternal death.” Apart from this two pains mentioned above, there are other pains, such as the suffering of being in the eternal company of the wicked and the damned, where all is misery and vile, the permanent company of the devil and all his demons, where hatred and evil is the only rule. We should truly pity those who do evil here on earth.

Heaven

The existence of heaven is explained in the same way that the existence of hell is explained. It is proper and fitting that those who die in the state of grace, without sin, and in union with God, having kept and obeyed his laws in this life be rewarded. That reward is the immediate and eternal possession of God who is love.

The metaphor of heaven as the dwelling place of God in the sky can be misleading, but through faith, we know that heaven is not a place but a living relationship with the Holy Trinity in Christ. Happiness of heaven is the enjoyment of all good, all love and beauty and bliss in God in a permanent eternal way without any fear of loss, forever. This eternal vision of God cannot be unless God grants the soul a light of glory that illuminates and unites with God. This light of glory called lumen Gloriae enables the creature to see and know God. Since love comes from knowledge, this act of seeing and knowing God is immediately followed by an intense love of God that produces immense joy, happiness bliss that nothing in this world can describe.

Thus, the soul participates in all joy and happiness of the blessed. Moreover it is in the blessed company of the saints, Mary and all the blessed. It is also know all creatures through the mind of God. It is able to communicate with his loved ones on earth and rejoices as they progress towards heaven. 

The final judgment

Unlike the particular judgment that comes immediately after death, the final judgment comes at the end of the world. It is the public ratification of the irrevocable sentence of the particular judgment. Moreover, is in keeping with the justice of God that just as many people do good without reward because no one sees them and many people do evil and are never caught, the final judgment will be the universal acclamation of hidden good doers and universal condemnation of hidden evildoers.

It is also the time for the resurrection of the body. The same body that participated or even aided in the good or assisted in the evil done while on earth, will resurrect and re-unit with the soul for the universal judgment of body and soul. The final judgment will show that God’s justice prevails over all the injustices perpetrated by his creatures, and that God’s love is stronger than death. Our hope does not look forward to the eternal life of the soul alone, but to the eternal life of the whole human person, body and soul. There is an eternal life of salvation, as a participation of the entire man in the glorious Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In addition, there is an eternal life of damnation, in which the separation from God becomes eternal.

by Chinwuba Iyizoba





Hilarious Debate: Cardinal Pell vs Richard Dawkins

26 12 2019

Debate between Cardinal George Pell and Richard Dawkins turned comic when someone asked Dawkins to explain how something can come from nothing.

The audience roared in laughter at his rambling attempts and a visibly angry Dawkins asked, “What is so funny?”  

“It is funny when you try to explain nothing” retorted the half amused Cardinal

 The debate is masterpiece for learning how to debate on difficult topics and against those who deny first principles and those who claim that two contradictory propositions can be true and false at the same time in the same manner.

A master on the art of convincing, Pell’s humor and wit create a light hearted ambiance that helped the audience connect. This debate will benefit students of literature. Watch the video below  or read the transcript her https://scrapsfromtheloft.com/2019/03/01/debate-richard-dawkins-cardinal-george-pell-transcript/





Gay Jesus funny? Netflix is stone cold crazy!

20 12 2019

Movie streaming giant, Netflix, has lost its coconuts by streaming a third rate movie that portrays Jesus as gay.

 The movie, “The First Temptation of Christ,” offends more than 2.18 billion Christians around the world, by depicting Jesus as a homosexual and Mary as a weed smoking trollop?

 According to Citizen.org, the film presents Christ as having relationships with a homosexual while the disciples are alcoholics and unruly. The Virgin Mary is presented as an adulterous woman who has sex with God the Father. Until recently, the anti-Christian works by the small Brazilian producers of the movie were published on their YouTube channel. But this year, Netflix has decided to buy their production and distribution rights in a clear agreement to the group’s blasphemous works.

Why would Netflix want to promote a film that they know offends so many of their customers? A movie based on lies and falsification of historical facts about the life of Jesus Christ? Jesus lived and died in the 6BC-33AD, there are historical records people who lived with him and no such record exist that he is a homosexual, but quite on the contrary, homosexuality is a sin against Christian norms. Not even the Pharisee who hated Jesus so much as to kill him charged him with such. So why would anyone, 2000 yrs latter wish to offend billions believers with such an obvious lie?  But it’s only a movies, they say, nothing serious, a satire, no one should get upset. Really?

Christians have lost lives and properties defending their faith, thousand have died at the guillotine; tens of thousands were thrown to the lions for not denying their lord and savior Jesus Christ. Netflix and Porta must be stone cold crazy.     And their past streaming of hundreds of genuine Christian movies doesn’t make them less culpable for pandering this false narrative, much like a man is not less culpable when he commits murder because he saved hundreds of lives.

They wouldn’t do that to Muslims though

Netflix’s recent outrage has sparked the age-old debate on how Christian can get people to respect what they believe. Muslims have successfully won a fearful respect for their sacred through violence and bloodshed. Christians on the other hand are bound by cast iron rules of non-violence, exploited by vicious men bereft of decency to trample on their feelings with impunity.  CitizenGo, a Christian advocacy group has received two million signatures condemning the movie– significant, but hardly enough. Christians must stop and contemplate Jesus holy anger, when he sees people misusing the things of his Father. What a lesson for us never to be indifferent or cowardly when others fail to treat the things of God with due respect.

Of course violence has been tried by emperors and kings in centuries gone by and it utterly betrayed the Christian faith in spite of the good intentions of the people who deployed it.

Yet a man has the right and duty to defend the honor of his mother even if it means coming to blows. Those who go about heaping scorn on the values people cherish best beware that every man has his limits and sooner or later patience wears thin and they must have themselves to blame for what happens.

If being civilized means behaving reasonably and politely, avoiding hurting other people’s feelings, then Netflix actions are barbaric  

Two sides of the same coin

A woman writing in the punch newspaper, in words couched with thinly veiled disdain for the Christian said that the uptick in false narrative about Christianity is tit for tat for century old false narratives pandered by Christian to destroy ancient pagan religions.

But that’s a muddle up understanding of history of pagan religions. Most pagan practices actually rely on of satanic powers to achieve their purpose, and not a few practice sacrifices of blood of animal or even humans. Their code of ethics is nothing but primal instincts that often strays into outright errors, even evil.  Truth does not molest falsehood when it corrects it, knowledge cannot tolerate ignorance. The Christian faith does not denigrate pagan religion, but perfects and purify them from error to lead men to truth. The Christian faith by purifying pagan rituals from twins, virgin sacrifices and cannibalism brought about civilization.

Women the world over are enjoying the fruits of the untiring of works of Christian missionaries in educate young girls and give them opportunities denied them in traditional pagan societies.

Voodoo Afro-Brazilians pagan religions are replete with fetishes and unhygienic cavorting with dead bodies that sanitary laws demand censuring such practitioners. Still it must be pointed out that Christian ethics demands that errors of paganism must be corrected with charity. To do otherwise would go against Christ’s teaching. Truth is sacrosanct, and promoting a deliberate falsification of historically verifiable facts about Jesus’ life and teaching even as a joke is being mischievous.  When art misrepresents history, it is not illuminating but confusing.

Breaking a norm of decency is not freedom and progress, but that is a caricature of true freedom. A motorist, who thinks he is freer when he breaks traffic laws, is most likely to eventually kill himself and others.  Those applauding the wholesale ditching of good manners may find out that they have ditched civilization itself.

The Christian faith never needed to resort to violence because she never needed violence. Rather, she has been a counterforce against the violence in every man, urging the imitation Jesus Christ who, like lamb that was led to the slaughter, opened not his mouth, who though being God, became man, and went lower still accepted death on the cross, in other to redeemed man.

Those who do violence in the name of the Christ know they are violating the faith they profess. Nowhere in Christ’s teaching is any form of violence toward others encouraged, rather Christ commands love of enemies and doing good to those who hate. The power of the Christ message is the only valid defense of the Christian faith. When Christians put the teachings of Christ into practice, Christians will convert the world, and today’s Christian must convert the world– by truly striving to be saints, for this world’s crisis are crises of saints.

Chinwuba Iyizoba








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