The Distinction Between Humans and Animals

The Catholic position on the distinction between humans and animals can be quite controversial, especially among those who love animals as pets. Debates about whether animals can go to heaven after death have been well-rehearsed, and it should suffice to say here that there can be no certainty. What is clear, however, is that Church teaching does make a distinction between people and animals, a teaching that is clearly backed by Scripture, logic, and common sense. Biologically speaking, we have some characteristics that animals also have, but we must not fail to consider the spiritual side. Spiritual speaking, we are very different from animals because we possess free will, intellect, and creative ability.

God created man in His image, and out of His infinite goodness, He gave man free will. At first glance, animals seem to have free will because they, too, can make decisions, this is an over-simplification of the definition of free will. As human beings, we use our free will to choose either good or evil, and we also use our free will to choose whether to accept or reject God Himself. Animals can choose things, but they do not have free will. They only have instinct. When we hear of a shark attack, do we blame the shark? No – in fact, sometimes it could actually be the fault of the person if he provoked the shark in some way. The shark did not attack the person out of evil intent or malice; it was simply acting from its instincts, and its instincts help it to protect itself and to survive.

Animals also do not have intellect like human beings do. This is not to say they are stupid, because many animals can be intelligent and can even help people in dire circumstances. However, animals do not, for example, gather together in groups and discuss the existence of God! Unlike humans, animals do only what their instincts tell them, or what humans have trained them to do. Much of what animals do is done in order to protect themselves or to survive. As for people, life would be very boring if we thought about nothing except how to survive. We think about topics like the meaning of life or the existence of God, while animals do not. Therefore, animals do not have intellect like humans do. Nor do animals have creative abilities like humans do. Although animals do create things, they only create things out of instinct. A certain type of bird only builds a certain type of nest. A certain type of spider only makes a certain kind of web. As people, because we have creative abilities and free will, we can create whatever kind of home we like. The creative abilities God gave us also allow us to create different kinds of art, architecture, music, or literature.

Scripture shows that human beings are more important than animals. From the very beginning of creation, we were given “dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28). In Matthew 10:29-31, Jesus says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore have no fear: you are worth more than many sparrows.” Catholic teaching re-affirms this: Although it is “contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly,” it is also “unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons” (CCC 2418). Saving human lives is, of course, more important than saving the lives of animals. Scientific experimentation, for example, on animals is morally acceptable as long as it remains within reasonable limits.

Man was created in God’s image, and this is what gives human life a certain dignity that does not pertain to animals. This is not to say, of course, that Catholics believe that animals are not important, or that they can be abused. However, in the beginning, God gave us dominion over all other creatures, and for this reason we are distinct from animals. As people, we possess free will, intellect, and creative ability, while animals do not. It should be clear now that humans are different from animals, but the question mentioned in the beginning still remains: can animals go to heaven? Many theologians have pointed out that if one really needs their pet to be happy in heaven, then one is definitely not ready for heaven! All this is true, but Matthew 6:33 states, “…seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” If we seek God first, then perhaps – someday – God will give us our pets back.

The Christian Reaction to Violence

Watching the news the other night left me utterly speechless. Recently, so many acts of violence have been perpetrated in the United States and around the world. Terrorist attacks and deadly shootings. Suicide bombings. Peaceful protests that turned violent. Religious persecution. Need I say more?

Does it not violate a person’s conscience to commit such despicable crimes? Clearly, many of them thought about their plans thoroughly, and had clear, yet terrible, motives as to why they would ever do such a thing. Even after sufficient reflection, they, using their free will, made the choice to murder innocent people. Is this not contrary to moral law?

Brothers and sisters, this is a time of crisis, and prayer becomes even more important. First, we must pray for the families, both the immediate and extended, of those who have lost their lives in despicable acts of violence. After such a tragedy, many people may be tempted to believe that God has abandoned them, question His mercy and goodness, and turn away from Him. Yet God can give comfort to those who have lost their loved ones. We must pray that those who are grieving will turn to God, rather than away from Him.

Second, we must pray for the victims themselves, so that they may be saved and enjoy everlasting peace and joy with God in heaven. Through no fault of their own, they have lost their lives; some were even in the act of defending and helping others when they died. Third, we must pray for those who are thinking of following the examples of the terrorists. We must pray that these unfortunate would-be terrorists can experience conversion and a change of heart, through God’s grace. And fourth, we must pray that government officials will make morally correct decisions while handling the crisis.

Violence cannot be solved with more violence, but only with peace. As Christians, we need to, at times, fight the temptation of getting revenge on someone who has wronged us. Christ tells us to love and pray for our enemies. Instead of responding to violence with more violence, we need to solve the problem in a more effective way – love. Through prayer, we can help stop future terrorists from attacking, offer God’s peace and comfort to grieving families, and ask for the salvation of the victims of terrible crimes.

Evil exists on earth because God respects our free will, but He still loves us all as His children. Let us pray for the conversions of those who are lost, and let us help those who are in the dark see the “Son” shine!

The Problem of Evil

One of the most common arguments against the existence of God refers to the problem of evil. This can be phrased in many ways, but it all comes down to the same question: If God exists, and He is all-loving, then why is there so much evil and suffering in the world? The idea that an all-good and all-loving God should exist alongside a world with so much evil and suffering in it seems to be self-contradictory. However, while many of Jesus’ teachings seem to be contradictory, upon further contemplation, they make sense in a beautiful way that can only be attained when opposites are reconciled with each other. While it may sound strange, the fact that God permits evil actually proves that He is loving and merciful. We, as mere human beings, cannot possibly understand everything, for God’s ways are so much higher than our own. Only when we accept that everything God does and allows is for the best can we even begin to scratch the surface of the answer to the problem of evil.

First and foremost, it should be made clear immediately that “God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil. He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it” (CCC 311). Here we enter the mystery of God’s will. God has a perfect will and a permissive will; while He does not control everything that happens, His perfect plan is still accomplished nevertheless. He uses His perfect will when He directly wills something, and whatever He directly wills must be good because God is goodness itself. However, He also has a permissive will, and therefore allows certain things – which are contrary to His perfect will – to happen. The aforementioned quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that God permits evil because He respects our free will, and that He knows how to mysteriously derive good from evil.

To explore the reason why evil exists, we must begin by examining the fall of the angels. Of course, God did not directly will for the angels to sin; however, He allowed it to happen. The Church teaches that in the beginning, Satan – the devil – was created by God, and that he was a good angel. However, he and the other fallen angels became evil by their own doing. “It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels’ sin unforgivable” (CCC 393). It is not right to say that God was responsible for this evil, and it also isn’t right to say that because God allowed this to happen, He is not loving and merciful. However, Scripture can give examples of the devil’s disastrous influence upon the earth. In spite of all this, divine providence allows this influence of diabolical activity. This is, of course, a mystery, but “we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him” (Romans 8:28).

God loved us so much that He gave us the gift of free will, which makes man different from other creatures in a certain way. Ever since the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, we all have inherited original sin, that is, all people apart from Jesus and Mary. “How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam ‘as one body of one man’ By this ‘unity of the human race’ all men are implicated in Adam’s sin, as all are implicated in Christ’s justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state. It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called ‘sin’ only in an analogical sense: it is a sin ‘contracted’ and not ‘committed’ – a state and not an act” (CCC 404). Human nature, therefore, “is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin – an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence” (CCC 405). The Catechism continues by stating that,  “by imparting the life of Christ’s grace,” baptism “erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.”

Much of the evil that we see in our world is caused by man’s sins and evil actions. Someone who decides to commit a mass murder – with full knowledge and full consent – has used his free will to turn away from both God and man. To reject God is to reject our neighbor; to love God is to love our neighbor. When terrible things happen, we may wonder why God chooses to respect our free will and allow suffering to happen. Why can’t He simply take away our free will? God knows that our free will is one of the greatest gifts He gave us. While it is true that free will can give us the opportunity to sin and reject God, it also allows us to repent and turn back to Him. We also use our free will to decide whether to love God or to reject Him. Love is a freely made decision. When love is coerced, it is no longer free, and therefore no longer authentic love.

Applying this same concept, would we ever really become “good” if God continuously forced us to do good? This also explains why God allows us to sin and make mistakes. Sometimes, that is the only way we’ll learn. Let’s use an analogy: let’s say you have a son who is in high school. One morning he comes to you and asks you to call the school and say that he is sick. The real reason, however, is that he has not completed a project that was due that very day, because he has been procrastinating for the past few weeks. In this situation, as a parent, you cannot simply let him get away with this action because he’ll learn his lesson if you allow him to fail occasionally. “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them” (Proverbs 13:24). This is why God allows us to sin and face the consequences of that sin; through suffering, not only can we learn from our past mistakes, we can also expiate for those mistakes.

The Catechism teaches that “God would not permit an evil if he did not cause a good to come from that very evil, by ways that we shall fully know only in eternal life” (CCC 324). Therefore, we can be certain that the fact that there is evil in the world does not mean that God doesn’t care about us, is distant, or is dead. He doesn’t just stand by silently and watch us sin; He actively brings about a greater good from any evil in the world. Often times, we cannot immediately see that there is a greater good derived from an evil, but some examples are obvious. After a terrible tragedy, people can come closer together, and there is also an increase in prayer. These tragedies can serve to remind us of our own mortality, and that ultimately, we are not fully in control of our fate. They can also remind us that death doesn’t discriminate and can come at any moment, so that we must always be vigilant and guard our souls against sin.

Many examples of God’s providence – and that He can derive good from evil – can be found in Scripture. “It was not you,” said Joseph to his brothers, “who sent me here, but God… You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive” (Genesis 50:20). The greatest example is found in the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Of course, God did not directly will for Jesus to die; he simply allowed it to happen by using His permissive will. However, the greatest good in the history of the world – our salvation – came about through the greatest evil – the death of God, caused by men.

The fact that there is evil in the world does not prove that God doesn’t exist, or that He is not all-good and all-loving. He is not the cause or creator of any evil. The evil in the world is often caused by the devil’s influence and by man’s sinful actions, but God permits this because He respects His creatures’ free will, and He knows that He can bring about a greater good from an evil act. However, in spite of the fact that God can derive good from evil, evil, in essence, never actually becomes a good. There is hope, however, because although free will leaves room for sin, sinners can still use their free will to turn back to God. Therefore, it is very important that we all pray for all the sinners of this world and ask for God’s forgiveness whenever we have sinned.

Music and the Catholic Liturgy: Are the Sanctus and Benedictus Supposed to be One Section?

Throughout history, people with various talents and careers have found ways to glorify God with their work. Many well-known composers of the eighteenth centuries, such as Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven, wrote mass settings and other forms of sacred music, such as hymns. Even today, there are many Catholic composers who have written mass settings and songs to be sung during the liturgy. However, there are many differences between sacred music today and the sacred music that was used two hundred years ago. The Second Vatican Council encouraged active lay participation during mass, and because of this, liturgical music has changed greatly.

In many mass settings from the eighteenth century, the liturgical section called the Sanctus was often divided into the Sanctus and Benedictus. In the mass, the Sanctus is translated as: “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.” Centuries ago, this was not the case. The Sanctus ended with the first “Osanna in excelsis” (Hosanna in the highest), and the Benedictus ended with the second “Osanna,” usually either a reprise of the first, or a shortened version of the first. However, most modern settings of the mass, especially those in the vernacular, set the entire Sanctus and Benedictus as a single section.

In the eighteenth century, composers began to write long and embellished settings of the Sanctus and Benedictus. The music would often go on so long that a break after the first “Osanna” was necessary, since the Consecration is considered the most important part of the mass. The Benedictus would be sung afterwards. This practice was forbidden for a time in the twentieth century, but in his 1958 document, Pope Pius XII declared that the Sanctus and Benedictus should be sung without a break if Gregorian chant is used. For longer settings, the Benedictus is to be sung after the Consecration of the Eucharist.

To divide the Sanctus and Benedictus would have been necessary because, as Pope Pius X says: “It is not lawful to keep the priest at the altar waiting on account of the chant or the music for a length of time not allowed by the liturgy…it must be considered a very grave abuse when the liturgy in ecclesiastical functions is made to appear secondary to and in a manner at the service of the music, for the music is merely a part of the liturgy and its humble handmaid.”

Music is a great way to worship God in the liturgy, but composers must be aware of their limitations. If the music is too long and embellished, it will distract from the liturgy, and instead bring too much attention to the musicians. Many composers, however, have written mass settings not intended for liturgical use. Why, one might ask, would someone write liturgical music that could not be used for its intended function? Music is, after all, a form of prayer, and throughout the centuries the Church has continued to support sacred art as a form of worship of God.

On Homosexuality and Gay Marriage

“Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person? We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy.”

The media is constantly misinterpreting Pope Francis’s words, and the result is that many people, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, may be confused about what he really meant. Many articles on the Internet claim that this quote shows that the Pope is going to change the Church’s traditional teaching on gay marriage, but this is nothing but wishful thinking from those in support of gay rights. Nowhere is this quote does he say that gay marriage is morally correct, because that is simply not the Church’s teaching. He merely means that Christians should never condemn or be judgmental towards those who are homosexual, and even those who engage in homosexual activity, even if their actions aren’t morally correct. Does God condemn sinners in this world? Does God refuse to love them? Of course not! God loves even the worst sinner in hell. Here is another question: when we meet an atheist, should we judge them or do we help them see the error of their ways? Why should the same concept not apply to all other sins, including homosexual activity?

It should become self-evident that Pope Francis’s opinion is perfectly compatible with the teachings of the Catholic Church. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition” (CCC 2358). The Church’s teachings are clear: those who suffer from same-sex attraction do not sin unless they act upon their desires, which are in and of themselves, morally wrong. Temptation itself is no sin, but giving into temptation or taking delight in it is a sin. Same-sex attraction is, in fact, a cross that God allows some people to bear. In regards to a blind man, Jesus said that the man was born blind so that others may see God in his life. Similarly, we should try to see God in the lives of those who suffer from same-sex attraction, and we should not judge or condemn them. Someone who suffers from same-sex attraction does commit sin, however, if they choose to act upon this desire. As the Catechism states: “Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection” (CCC 2359).

Pope Francis is not going to change the Catholic teaching on homosexuality, and neither is that possible, since the teaching is a divine law and not a merely ecclesiastical or human one. The official position of the Church remains unchanged: although homosexual desires, in and of themselves, are disordered, the temptation of being attracted to a person of the same sex is not a sin. Only when one gives into that temptation and engages in homosexual activity, is homosexuality a sin. And since homosexual activity is a grave moral wrong, we as Christians have a moral obligation to oppose the legalization of gay “marriage”, which will inevitably lead to a greater acceptance of homosexual activity. The Supreme Court may have ruled that gay “marriage” should be legal, but the opinion of government officials cannot overrule the opinion of the God of the Universe. Aside from religious reasons, there are also other reasons why homosexual “marriage” should not be legalized. Simply put, homosexual marriage should not be allowed because it is not a valid marriage, it is not open to procreation, and it can have a negative impact on children.

Gay “marriage” is simply not a true and valid marriage. A homosexual couple would never be allowed to get married in the Church because matrimony is a sacrament, and the Church cannot change the substance of a sacrament. A homosexual marriage can never be a valid sacramental marriage, just as baptizing someone with wine, using gingerbread for communion, or ordaining a woman to the priesthood are invalid. Outside of the Church, however, homosexual “marriage” is also invalid, because God created marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman. God created men and women to be sexually compatible with each other, for the purposes of procreation (to “be fruitful and multiply”). Adam was a man, and Eve was a woman; God did not create two men, or two women. Although in the New Testament, Jesus never outright condemned homosexuality, He did re-affirm what was written in the Old Testament: “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” (Matthew 19:4-5).

When God created marriage, He intended for His people to “be fruitful and multiply”, and therefore sex is a means of procreation. However, because two people of the same sex cannot biologically and naturally have their own children, the legalization of gay “marriage” would be disrespectful to this sacred purpose of marriage. Sex simply cannot be seen as a mere act of pleasure and the sexual act should not be motivated by lust. “Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes” (CCC 2351). Since a “marriage” between two persons of the same sex is not a valid marriage, homosexual activity is obviously sinful because sexual activity should be within marriage only. Homosexual activity does not have any “procreative” and/or “unitive” purposes.

Finally, gay “marriage” is dangerous to people and society because of its harmful effects on children. A growing child needs both a father and mother. Studies show that children who grew up with only one parent are more likely to be suspended from school, have emotional problems, become delinquent, suffer from abuse, or take drugs. It is self-evident that children do best when they grow up in a family with both a mother and a father, in a low-conflict marriage. They live longer and healthier lives, for example, and are more likely to do well in school, graduate, and attend college. They are also less likely to live in poverty, get in trouble with the law, drink, or do drugs. Most importantly, they are likely to have a successful marriage and family life when they are older. This is why, logically, the Catholic Church defends the dignity of marriage and the family.

In the case of homosexual “marriage,” the couple cannot have their own children, and so they must adopt if they want children. These children are denied proper growth and development because they will lack either a father or a mother. As Pope Francis says, “A marriage (made up of man and woman) is not the same as the union of two people of the same sex. To distinguish is not to discriminate but to respect differences… A father is not the same as a mother. We cannot teach future generations that preparing yourself for planning a family based on the stable relationship between a man and a woman is the same as living with a person of the same sex.” In short, a homosexual “marriage” is not marriage and a family cannot be sustained when the parents are the same sex. A child cannot develop properly without both a mother and a father. There are certain things that only a father can teach his child, and certain things that only a mother can. No child should ever be denied proper development, both physically and mentally, because of their parents’ wrongdoings.

Although nowadays the Church emphasizes the importance of treating homosexual people with love, mercy, and compassion, the official teaching has never changed. The Supreme Court was clearly wrong when gay “marriage” was legalized, because is not a valid marriage, it is not open to procreation, and it can have a negative impact on children. Catholics should not remain silent but continue to proclaim the gospel to the world, showing people the error of many worldly ways and speaking the truth. And when we do that, we need to be careful to avoid judging and condemning others. As the Catechism explains, being attracted to a member of the same sex is not a sin, even though the temptation is morally disordered in and of itself. One only sins when one acts upon those desires and/or seriously entertains thoughts of such an action. People who have same-sex attraction still have an equal chance at salvation as everybody else, and this condition is a cross that God allows some to carry. On His Cross, Jesus died for everyone, and paid the price for all sins past, present, and future. Anyone who repents will be forgiven.

What Makes a Blog Successful?

“I am only a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.”

~Mother Teresa

Sometimes people measure their success by human standards. What I mean is, for example, a blogger like me might measure their blog’s degree of success by the amount of views, likes, followers, and comments. However, what seems successful in human terms may not be the reality.

For instance, some people read a lot of blog posts, and even they were extremely inspired, may not be in the right circumstances to click the “like” button or comment on a post. They might be on someone else’s computer, or just not logged into their own account on the same site. On the other hand, to prove that they’re a nice person, other people go around liking every article they read. In the same vein, a follower doesn’t necessarily read every post, and regular readers don’t always become followers.

As you can see, these indications are not always accurate to judge from whether or not the blog was successful. And are we, as human beings, really that insecure? So insecure that we measure our success by what other people think? What about what God thinks?

As site that receives 100,000 likes per month is not necessarily better, from God’s perspective, than one that only receives, say, 50. In fact, there are actually dangers to receiving too many likes! Our human nature causes us to indulge in what appears to be confirmation of our greatness from what other people say about us all over social media!

On the flip side, no matter how many likes we get, we still are envious of those that are receiving more on their sites! (The sins of pride and envy are quite evident here.)

Ironically, the most satisfied bloggers appear to be those that are humble and modest in their views about themselves. One needs to be confident about what they are writing about, and particularly with persuasion, confident that they can explain what is right.

To me, if I can inspire even just one person per day, I’d consider it a success.

Predestination is a False Doctrine

In the sixteenth century, John Calvin introduced the Protestant doctrine of predestination, claiming that before the world was created, God had already chosen who would be saved, and that everyone else was going to be lost forever. In Calvin’s opinion, without predestination no one would be saved; no one can ever be acceptable in the eyes of God no matter what they do, so predestination is necessary, or else all will go to hell. Nothing a person does can change his destiny, and faith and good works has no influence on whether or not a person can be saved. This blatantly contradicts both Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Catholic Church.

The idea that before He even created the world, God had already decided who would be saved simply does not make sense. This suggests that God Himself directly wills sin, rather than simply allowing it to happen (this is the difference between His perfect will and His permissive will). When God created Adam and Eve, they were holy and sinless; this was the way God directly willed them to be. If Adam and Eve hadn’t sinned, then all of us today would still be sinless, which is obviously not true. Hell exists because of sin, so to suggest that God created certain people just to send them to hell would suggest that God wanted us to sin.

Did God directly will for Adam and Eve to sin? Of course not! However, He allowed it happen because He respected the free will of the people He had created. When God creates something, He gives up a certain amount of power over it, and so He does not control everything that happens like a tyrant. Although sometimes it appears that God should simply take away our free will to prevent us from sinning, He knows that respecting our free will is more important because although abusing our free will can lead to sin, our free will is also what allows us to do good rather than evil, but only if we so choose.

If predestination were true, then free will would have no meaning, because predestination teaches that nothing we ever do can change our eternal destiny. If predestination were true, then there may be people who love God and put Him before everything and everyone else, but still face eternal punishment in spite of everything. If predestination were true, would we ever say God is merciful? A merciful God would not create certain people solely for the purpose of sending them to hell. And this simply doesn’t make sense, because God does not choose some of His creations over others: “God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:34-35).

If “God shows no partiality”, then why, you may ask, are some people seemingly more “blessed” with gifts and talents than others? If our God is a just God, how can He choose some of his creations over others? But it doesn’t matter what one’s talents are, for these gifts were not given to us for our selfish intentions or our human desire for fame and recognition in the earthly world. No, God uses them for His divine plan, to glorify Him who is holy. There isn’t a single person who ever existed that had nothing good about him or her, so no, God does not prefer certain people over others in that sense.

And since God does not prefer certain people over others, it is only logical that He wants everyone to be saved. “The Lord…is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus came to earth and died on the cross to save everyone; He paid the price for all sins past, present, and future for everyone. Predestination, on the other hand, falsely teaches that the blood of Christ is not available for all men.

Besides, if God has already chosen who He is going to save, then sharing the faith with other people would be pointless. Predestination claims that nothing a person does in their life is a factor in determining whether or not they are saved. Then why are missionaries traveling around the world to share the gospel with other people, hoping that others can see the truth? After the Resurrection, Jesus came to the Apostles and told them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20). Why did Jesus tell the Apostles to proclaim the gospel and make disciples of the nations if it would all be pointless anyway? (As a side note: the fact that Jesus says that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him does not mean He controls everything like a tyrant does, as explained earlier.)

In conclusion, if predestination were true, then not only does this mean that free will has no meaning, it also means that God is not just and merciful and that the blood of Christ is not available for all men. If predestination were true, then evangelization would be utterly pointless and fruitless, which contradicts what Jesus told His Apostles after the Resurrection. This is clearly a false doctrine that contradicts both Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Predestination and other false doctrines do not reduce the credibility of the Catholic Church, but rather re-affirm the need for the Magisterium, and the necessity of the Church’s correct teachings and interpretations of Scripture.