18 May 2008

God Our Father, Not Our Mother

Well, I’m glad that I wrote that positive blog post that I had promised. Almost as soon as I had published it, I read in St. Augustine’s May 11th bulletin the following prayer in the Religious Education section.

God, our Father and Mother
Today we thank you for one of your special gifts to us- Our Mother!
Thank you for the love she shares with us in so many ways. We thank her for the warmth she gives to our home, for the cuts and bruises she makes well, for the ideas she gives us when we don’t have anything to do, for all the times she talks and listens to us, for the ways she makes peace when we are mean to each other.
We thank her for seeing good in us that we don’t see ourselves. Help us to love her as she loves us. Keep her close to you always.
May God, who is mother as well as father bless you- The Father who gives life, The Son who nourishes, and the Spirit who cares. Amen.

Besides being, as Anders put it, one of the hippiest prayers ever- the invocation of God as Mother as well as Father is completely out of line with Church teaching. This probably should not have shocked me, since Mr. Tom Rinkoski, the man who brought Gainesville Magdalene, is in charge of Religious Education at St. Augustine’s.

So what is wrong with calling God Mother? Put simply, God has revealed Himself as our Father, not Mother. If we call God Mother, we are fashioning God in our own image- how we would like Him to be. This is idolatry. Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, said while he was Cardinal Ratzinger: “Christianity is not our work; it is a Revelation… we are not authorized to change the Our Father into an Our Mother.” So in calling God Mother, we are not only misunderstanding the nature of God, but the nature of Divine Revelation as well.

Some might say that we may call God ‘Mother’ because the Scriptures contain several references to God using maternal characteristics. Examples include Jesus wanting to gather Jerusalem “as a hen gathers her brood under her wings” (Matthew 23:37) and when God says that he “will cry out like a woman with labor pains.” (Isaiah 42:14) These passages from the Bible, however, do not show that God is a Mother. In fact, Pope John Paul II said that “it is significant that in the passages from the Prophet Isaiah, the fatherhood of God is enriched by images of motherhood.” So it is not attributing motherhood to God, but complementing His fatherhood with maternal images.

The fundamental reason why God is called Father is related to creation. In the procreative process, the father is the source of life. The mother is more or less passive as the father impregnates the egg cell within her, creating new life. In Creation, God is the source of our being. To say that He is the Mother takes away from His role in Creation as Father. Secondly, God created man in His image. Now both man and woman are created in His image in that we have an intellect and an immortal soul. But, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, who quotes 1 Corinthians 11, “for man was not made from woman, but woman from man.” Therefore, God also made man in His image in a way that He did not make woman in His image.

We must then ask the question, why is there the need to make God our Mother? Jesus called God Our Father, we pray the Our Father, we say in the Creed that we believe in God the Father Almighty, and that Jesus was begotten of the Father. Our Lord gave us His own mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, for our mother. Let us pray to her, that she might show us the Truth in Christ’s Church, and the Truth about the Divine Nature. Praised be the Blessed Trinity- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


Blogger Anthony M Piferrer said...

I read an article once that argued, very definitively, that feminism and this "Our Mother" rubbish is a flat-out denial of the Incarnation. After all, why else would God incarnate as Jesus, a male? The argument was far more elaborate, but anyways, 'nuff said.

May 20, 2008 9:41 PM  
Blogger Anthony M Piferrer said...

Wow I just read the prayer in the bulletin...goodness gracious. I think I'm going to write a letter to Gillespie, although it'll probably be the last time I ever go to confession there lest I be ostracized...Thanks for the post, Jon

May 20, 2008 9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How interesting that Mr. Piferrer felt it necessary to mention being ostracized. All sarcasm aside, please be careful with your own ostracizing. You of course have every right to speak intelligently against things which you do not believe in, providing you do it in a way that is respectful. But please remember that perhaps more clear than any other commandment, than anything else he tells us, Jesus told us to love Him and love one another. And I just don't see the love here. I see that you believe you are protecting the church, and that's admirable - but I don't see that you're doing it in love, for the love of your Lord and the love of His people. Newest post aside, I'm just not clear on why you're doing this. Do you want to change somebody's heart? Do you think this is the way to do it? Love changes hearts. Are you looking to love as Jesus loves, or are you looking to stand around in a circle and cluck to yourselves? The second one is surely easier than the first, but how exactly does that defend the faith?

Did Jesus give his disciples swords and send them out to slay the sinners?

I don't agree with everything I see at St. Augustine's. I struggle with the women's book group in particular. I don't understand why they are given the space they are as a ministry. I suppose I need to talk to somebody about it. I don't need to condemn them or think less of them as people. I need to understand them so I can better understand why I believe something different.

You mentioned St. Francis de Sales in a more recent post. Here's something else from him:
"A man given to fasting thinks himself very devout if he fasts, although his heart may be filled with hatred. Much concerned with sobriety, he does not dare to wet his tongue with wine or even water but won't hesitate to drink deep of his neighbor's blood by detraction and calumny."

Again, do what you will if you think you're doing what God wants you to do. I'm not trying to stop you. It's interesting to read your opinions on these things - it challenges and grows my faith because it makes me learn more about why I believe what I do. And that's what we all should be trying to do - trying to lead each other closer to God. It just might not happen in the ways you expect. So seek your Lord how you will, but be sure you're not chasing people away from Him while you're doing it.

May 21, 2008 12:48 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

Welcome (back?) anonymous.

Let's clear some things up here. I am not doing any ostracizing. Those who obstinately persist in behavior and beliefs which are contrary to the mind of Holy Mother Church ostracize themselves. In fact, if they knowingly hold their beliefs with the knowledge of the penalties attached, they excommunicate themselves latae sententiae. That is not my opinion, that is in the Code of Canon Law.

People keep on accusing me of not being charitable, but they never back it up with specifics, which really irks me. I have always closed my posts with "Pray for...." Every night before I go to bed I pray "that all might come to see the Truth in Your Church." That includes people of other religions, Protestants, and dissident Catholics- from RadTrads to Hippies.

Perhaps the issue here is that we do not have a common definition of love. My idea of loving someone is making sure they get to heaven. Not just trying to look for the positive in people or what not. There's a place for that, and I've commended St. A's for the good that has come from there. However, there are certain elements in that church which are leading people to hell. Because I love my fellow Catholic, I do not want to see any of them go down that road. Therefore, I am making sure that people know what is going on, and that those in power (who I know get a hold of these posts somehow) know that it must be stopped.

Satan is using groups such as the Women's Book Club. If I stood by and let them do whatever the heck they wanted, I would be an accomplice to the devil and the Almighty would ask me at my judgment why I sat and watched.

So therefore, I suggest you do talk to Father Gillespie about the Women's Book Group. Let him know that they are spreading heresy. It seems that nobody else is doing anything about it, or getting any results. This group needs to come into conformity with the Church. If they do not, they cannot be considered a ministry at all. At least not a ministry of the Church, but of Satan.

I do not condemn anyone who is innocent or ignorant of the truth. I will, though, point out the errors of this group. It seems that they are fully aware of what they are doing, and partaking in a false Mass by a false priestess is a mortal sin. If they don't know this, their culpability is lessened, but they need to be made aware of it. I think they do know what they are doing, even though they might try to fool themselves. This is what makes it most dangerous for them.

On a final note, I'm not chasing anyone away. I am declaring, to the best of my limited ability, what the Church has clearly defined. There is no room for disagreement with the Church on these matters. If you accept that, then I am doing a good thing. If you think there is room for discussion, then yes, I am scaring people away. Let them go away if they do not want the Truth. Hopefully God will one day give them the grace to want the Truth.

May 21, 2008 4:12 AM  
Blogger Anthony M Piferrer said...

Anonymous, I am going to begin by saying that you're a real coward for not posting your name, and I have no shame in saying that. It shows your insecurity in your own writings.

I have heard the expression of your warped view of love many times before (many, many, many times), most prominently among those who have no idea what Christianity is and always has been. You want to know what love really is?

May 21, 2008 11:43 AM  
Blogger Anthony M Piferrer said...

Look at the Cross! It isn't hippy all-inclusiveness. It isn't hugging everyone and being happy all the time and saying nothing but nice things to people. This, in fact, is the most deceptive mockery of love which in a way is hatred, because it does nothing to edify sinners. It's like these parents who let their kids do whatever they want and they become derelicts, doing drugs, failing school, etc. Do you call that love? Yes Jesus came for everyone, but they will not enter the Kingdom without a true conversion, without a change of heart and true devotion to his LAW.

May 21, 2008 11:45 AM  
Blogger Anthony M Piferrer said...

What is love? It's the Cross. It is unconditional concern and regard for the good of another. What is the good of another? It is their sanctification, that is, their conforming to God's law in such a way as their befitting entrance into His Kingdom. How would sitting on my rear and not telling people, like yourself, that they're screwing up be love? It'd be like watching my brother being slowly dragged into hellfire and not saying anything. And as for the ostracizing issue, it has already happened to a friend of ours who spoke out against the church for its errors. God knows what else the leadership there will do to persist in their depravity.

May 21, 2008 11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is love …baby don’t hurt me…don’t hurt me…no more
baby don’t hurt me…don’t hurt me…no more
what is love…yeeaah…ohhhh

I don’t know…but you’re not there. I give you my love but you don’t care…
So what’s right and what’s wrong give me a sign.

What is love …baby don’t hurt me…don’t hurt me…no more
What is love …baby don’t hurt me…don’t hurt me…no more

and I don’t know what can I do
what else can I say it’s up to you
I know what I want just me and you I can’t go wrong

What is love …..baby don’t hurt me…don’t hurt me….no more
What is love …..baby don’t hurt me…don’t hurt me….no more

what is love ……………mmmmmmm
what is love ……………mmmmmm

What is love …baby don’t hurt me…don’t hurt me…no more
don’t hurt me……………don’t hurt me

I want no other… no other lover…this is our life… I’ll die
We are together …
we two forever……… this is love

What is love …baby don’t hurt me…don’t hurt me…no more
What is love …baby don’t hurt me…don’t hurt me…no more

baby don’t hurt me…don’t hurt me…
no more
baby don’t hurt me…don’t hurt me…
no more

May 21, 2008 12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I just don't get it. I understand that there are things you have to believe in order to be in communion with the Catholic Church. But I don't see how this "if you don't like it then you can just leave" mentality is at all in line with what Jesus told us to do. What does that have to do with living the Gospel? I don't see what's wrong with struggling to learn about your faith. I don't see what's wrong with dialog. I think our definitions of love can benefit from each other. I'm trying to believe that.

And you can call me a coward if you want for not putting my name. It doesn't really matter what my name is; I don't think you'd know me anyway. I don't know that you would care to know me, at least that's the impression that I get from your posts.

And I agree with Anthony Piferrer that the cross is the purest expression of love. I'm sorry your friend was ostracized. Our faith should never ostracize anyone. It's not about that. It's not our place to judge. The cross is about ultimate sacrifice, ultimate love. But Jesus didn't die for us to be angry with one another. I have no problem with you saying what you will. I think you have every right to talk about things you think are wrong. You do not, however, have a right to think less of other people for it, to judge them, to make snide comments about them. It's not constructive, edifying, or mature.

May 21, 2008 1:42 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

The thing I'm trying to get at is that these people know what the Church teaches. They have been told numerous times. What they desire is a change in the Church. The problem is that the Church cannot change, because these things are so integral to the Church's constitution. They have already put themselves out of the Church, and they need to come back. But in the mean time, they can't be spreading their lies in the parish. The Protestants had enough sense to know that they didn't agree with the Church, so they left it. God has brought some of them back, and hopefully all will come back soon.

My only problem with anonymous posts is that I sometimes get the several anonymouses confused! haha. But I'm not going to require that anyone post a name. So if you don't feel like sharing your name, I won't be offended.

And I guess I have to say it again.. I think no less of these misguided people. They are just subscribing to heresy, that's all. My mother, family, some of my best friends do not believe in the Catholic Church. That doesn't mean they are bad people. Just that they are wrong. I've never written anything bad about people here, just identified what they believe and what they are spreading. If it's filth, they are the source of it, not me.

May 21, 2008 3:39 PM  
Blogger Anthony M Piferrer said...

Jesus specifically states in the Gospel that he came to divide, i.e., that his teachings would divide. He stated, "Whoever does not partake of the Body and Blood of the Son of Man will not have life within him". He stated this THREE TIMES and many of his followers left him. Did he say "oh! I'm sorry, didn't meant to offend you, I didn't mean it!" If the Catholic Church is left with nothing but a tiny few that are wholly devoted to Her, it's much better than having a massive church full of heterodox half-wits. And I've heard the whining about "oh why did you judge me, you shouldn't judge" dozens of times. To judge is to make an unfair assertion about the intentions of another before God. I never once did that, although I must admit I've seen so much of the same for so long that it is easy to see what the intentions are at times.

May 21, 2008 3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not doing any ostracizing.

Maybe you are unaware of the magnitude of your actions. I don't want to single you out because it is not just you, but you are the one to whom I am able to write.

All I can tell you is that people have stopped going to Mass because of you. I've spoken with many, and I myself am included. If your attitude is TRUE CATHOLICISM, then I don't want to be Catholic anymore.

I love my Catholic faith because it challenges me to love those who hurt me, to reach out and touch those abandoned and unloved in our society, and to pray especially for those with whom I disagree. It's a tall order, but we are not in it alone. We have Christ, who gave everything for us, who left us Himself as nourishment and His Spirit for guidance.

I've never written anything bad about people here, just identified what they believe and what they are spreading. I beg to differ. The words I find here seem full of malice and disgust. There is a way to confront others with love, and there is a way to condemn. You do the latter. Perhaps it's simply the fact that tone cannot be understood via the internet, but if you are truly a man of God, a man of compassion and love, you may want to consider how your words appear to others.

I understand having a problem with heresy, obviously, it is not a good thing. I don't agree with a lot of the things you have problems with either. But do me a favor---drop judgment, and instead lets allow for human growth and the movement of the Holy Spirit. Because you don't know the will of God anymore than another person.

P.S. I'm Anonymous #3.

May 21, 2008 3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jonathan, this one has nothing to do with you, but I wanted to respond to Anthony. "Massive church full of heterodox half-wits" is one of the most offensive things I've read here. Jesus got angry at people for doing things wrong but he never ever used language like that. Even if you think they are in error, how dare you speak of your brothers and sisters in Christ like that?

May 21, 2008 4:08 PM  
Blogger Anthony M Piferrer said...

Anonymous #3, true Catholicism has never been an arms-wide-open, smiling face, inclusive religion. That's great proof that it is not of this earth, because true Catholics do not care if people are pleased or not or if there are many Catholics or not. That's not the point. Admonishing sinners is one of the duties of a Christian, and it is our challenge to admonish the sin and love the sinner by doing so. So stop with the "stop judging me" talk. If you're wrong or don't agree with the Church on its teachings, you can either leave, or prayerfully conform your heart to the full revelation of God's teaching to us, which is kept by the Church. Anyone who stays in the Church because they think themselves Catholic (but really aren't) are very superficial people, because they prefer to keep the title and lack the substance. I respect an honest Protestant far more than I do a dishonest Catholic.

May 21, 2008 4:12 PM  
Blogger Anthony M Piferrer said...

Our Holy Father the Pope HIMSELF has stated that he prefers a small Church of strong devotees rather than a large one full of heterodoxes (as it is right now, especially in the US). And if you think Jesus didn't use harsh language and actions (whipping the moneylenders, berating his followers) you REALLY need to reread the Gospels.

May 21, 2008 4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently you weren't paying attention Anthony...because I never said that I disagreed with you or the Church.

It's interesting to me that true Catholics do not care if there are many Catholics because it seems to me that Jesus kept telling us to continue calling disciples so that people would come to the flock and know Him. Can you tell me when He changed His mind and decided that we don't actually want people to come to Him?

Love, Anonymous #3

May 21, 2008 4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus surely used harsh language! But "heterodox half-wits" is not harsh with the intention of edifying or correcting the problem, which is what Jesus aimed to do. It's just rude.

May 21, 2008 4:27 PM  
Blogger Anthony M Piferrer said...

Anonymous you are an incredibly uncomprehending person, I must sincerely admit.

Do you think that when Jesus said we should "go forth to all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" that he meant to do some empty rituals with people who only half-believe, if that, to make ourselves feel satisfied? God desires our true love, our deep devotion to Him, which is facilitated, thanks to His Son, through the Church which He has established. If we preach unflinchingly the True Faith and few ears are responsive to it and few hearts converted, are we to blame for their failure to let their hearts be broken? We've done our work as we've been told, but the ears do not hear. Christ himself experienced this during his ministry. Jesus was talking about a qualitatively pure Church, not a quantitatively large one. After all, the New Testament speaks of how, in the end, few will believe in the true Revelation of the Lord.

May 21, 2008 4:31 PM  
Blogger Anthony M Piferrer said...

Ok I'll use vocabulary that doesn't hurt your fragile ears.


There. Goodness gracious I don't know why I pander to people like you.

May 21, 2008 4:33 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

Okay, Anthony, let's not use phrases like "people like you".

I'm closing comments on this thread for a few hours so people can get their cool and pray some instead of posting on a 18 year old boy's blog.

May 21, 2008 4:46 PM  
Blogger Anthony M Piferrer said...

I had a feeling I should not have wrote "people like you". I apologize.

May 21, 2008 10:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apology accepted.

May 21, 2008 11:57 PM  
Blogger Anthony M Piferrer said...

should not have written***

May 22, 2008 10:27 AM  
Blogger Cliff Notes said...


May 27, 2008 4:36 PM  

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