January 2006

Could You Defend the United States?

by Steve Ray on January 29, 2006

I thought of a helpful illustration to explain why “cradle Catholics” are often unable to explain and defend the Catholic faith. The example has its weaknesses, but it does help get the point across.

As an American I asked myself this question: if some one trained to attack America intellectually approached me on the street and challenged my country, would I be ready and able to defend the USA? Would I know all the historical details, dates, and facts? Do I know the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Supreme Court rulings or even the ancient documents that preceded the birth of our nation—the documents and events that formed the foundation for our government?

The answer is simple: “No, I would not be prepared.”

But I am an American. I love my country. I was born here and believe in the principles and love the freedom that are American. I know my country has many problems and I do not love everything that is American. But I would be unprepared to explain and defend the details and documents of my nation even though I love the USA and would readily stay an American citizen rather than join another country.

This is much the same as a “cradle Catholic” like those in the Philippines. They are often ashamed that they cannot defend the faith, but they are like me as an American. I was born American and never been in a situation where I had to defend my country in a rigorous intellectual debate. Filipinos have been Catholics for 400 years. They love their faith, the Lord Jesus, Mama Mary and the Catholic Church. But for 400 years they have been a Catholic nation and never needed to “defend” it. They only needed to love it and obey it.

But now the wolves are approaching their islands and making great inroads devouring the flock. The attack comes not only from cults and sects, but also from modernism and Americanism. They are pursued from every side. They are pushed to leave the Church, to join the cults and sects or to pursue pleasure, money, and sin.

Just like I would I need to take the time and energy to study my country and its history, so they are now required to learn their faith in a new and enegetic way to defend the faith and their children. The time for comfort is over. The time to study and learn is here. No longer can the Filipinos—or anyone who has been born and raised Cathoolic—sit back and take the faith for granted. It is time for war! It is time for defense! It is time to get to work!

I do not criticize “cradle Catholics” for not knowing their faith. I understand the situation. But now we must begin rigorous study and learning—our children and our faith are at stake. We have no time to to waste. We are called to re-evangelize and defend Mother Church! God bless us all as we serve our Lord.

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High Schools and Seminaries

by Steve Ray on January 28, 2006

Trying to catch up again! Geez, days rush by—talks and gatherings all day and evening and then we crash into bed until the alarm rings and we start all over again. It is not always easy to find internet connections and when I find one I jump for joy.

To make up for lost time, we left Boracay after a few days of rest. The people there, like everywhere in the Philippines, were gentle, joyful and full of faith. My talk with the young people went very well as I ramped it down to a very young audience. They responded with enthusiasm and faith. Tim Staples caught a cold and has been coughing his way through his talks. He’s a great guy and nothing gets him down. The people love his conversion story and all his stories.

It was pouring rain in Manila when we returned and we jumped right back in the saddle. Our special task on this trip was to visit all the Catholic schools and we have filled the auditoriums of about 20 large high schools talking to crowds of cheering and faith-filled young people. After the talks they surround Tim Staples, Janet and I asking for our autographs, treating us like rock stars. It is truly humbling and amazing. These kids love the Catholic Church and have a thousand questions.

About questions—it is very interesting. In America people come up to a microphone to ask questions, but not here! In the Philippines the audience uses their cell phones to TEXT their questions into the moderator’s cell phone and he reads the questions off his cell phone. At one high school we received over 60 text questions in a matter of a few minutes. It is soooo cool.

After a few days of work in Manila, we jumped on a Philippines Air jet and headed for the southernmost island of Mindanao, to the beautiful city of Davao. My wonderful friend Yeti Lim picked us up and we expected to go to lunch. It was 2 PM. But instead of lunch he rushed us right off to the local Stella Maris Catholic School for two hours in the hot and humid outdoor auditorium with over 1300 high school students sitting on the ground.

I LOVED t his group of kids! They were fun, energetic, tuned-in, and serious about their faith. (The picture shows a group of girls from Davao who wanted their picture on my website.) They had excellent questions and even after 2 hours in the heat, after the bell rang to end school on Friday afternoon—these kids did not move! They wanted to hear more and kept asking questions and refused to leave. We could not believe it! We signed more autographs afterwards than we can believe. They were even surrounding Janet asking for her signature and wanting to shake her hand.

After a very late lunch and a gallon of water (it is always about 90 degrees with very high, sweaty humidity), we took off to the seminary to speak to over 200 seminarians, not from all the Philippines, but only from the island of Mindanao! These young men were unbelievable. We even men some “underground priests” who go to other countries but I cannot expose them. They were truly men of God with the courage of St. Paul.

Tim told the seminarians his conversion story and I talked to them about being priests. They loved his story and his theatrics (he is very fun to listen to—and to watch!) and I talked about how the priesthood was not a job but a love affair with the bride of Christ. While we talked I notice a rat run along the wall, a mouse in the corner, lizards on the walls eating bugs and a lucky cat prowling around for his evening snack. It is so cool being here. We talked to the seminarians and priests for two hours—a blessed two hours.

One thing that bothers me: in the Philippines, very few priests wear a collar, or distinct priestly clothes. So, everywhere I go I challenge them to be proud of their position of standing in persona Christi. When I commented on my disappointment with the incognito priests the seminarians erupted with applause. I challenged them to wear their collars to show the world they are priests of the Most High God.

We did not want to leave the seminary. It was great. By talking to over 200 seminarians we actually reached millions of Filipinos through them. They will be the priests and bishops of the Church in the years to come. We challenged them to be orthodox, conservative and to be faithful to the pope and the teaching of the Church.

To bed late again and then up this morning to go to the NCCC Mall in Davao, owned by our host Yeti Lim and his family. This family is exemplary and puts their money where their faith is. We love this family. I just finished my 2-hour talk and Tim is now telling his story. Janet and I are sitting here in the crowd working on my laptop (they have wi-fi here—yeah!) I am writing this blog entry as we listen to Tim. Next I have to join him on stage again to answer questions for 2 hours. There are well over 2,000 good folks laughing and crying and being proud of the Catholic Church.

More later!

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Our Next Two DVDs in the Footprints Series

by Steve Ray on January 24, 2006

We are excited to announce that we have just received the green light from Ignatius Press to begin our next documentary: Apostolic Fathers: Handing on the Faith. We are thrilled to bring to life the story of the first Christians—our brothers and sisters in Christ.

The documentary will be filmed in Israel, Turkey and Italy. We will cover Sts. Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr, Polycarp and Irenaeus.

The topics we will emphasize are tradition, bishops and apostolic succession, the deposit of faith and theological development, persecution and martyrdom, sacraments and relics (bones of Polycarp), to name a few. We begin script writing in March and plan to release this DVD later summer 2007.

In the meantime, David & Solomon: Expanding the Kingdom will be released in March 2006. Keep us in your prayers — it is a daunting job and a wearying schedule.

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Can They Ever Sing!

January 24, 2006

Everywhere we go in the Philippines the young people really sing. They are beautiful and sing like angels. I just spoke at small parish church on the island of Boracay. There were about 150 people, most of them young. What fun I had sharing with them. Then the lights went out — a brown out! [...]

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Tim Staples

January 23, 2006

What can I say about this guy? He met up with Janet and I as we traveled throughout islands of the Philippines. I first met Tim several years ago at a conference, I think in Wichita. We shared the podium before later sitting next to each other as we fielded questions on the panel. I [...]

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Filipinos — check these out

January 23, 2006

Open Letter to the Filipino PeopleBy Steve Ray My Apologetics Friends in Manila PhilippinesDefensores Fidei Foundation

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Catching up in Manila!

January 22, 2006

Wow, did I get behind or what? It is a combination of no internet connections and no time. Tim Staples from Catholic Answers joined us Thursday after we arrived in Manila from Cebu and Bacolod. We have been a great team preaching and answering questions all over the place. There is no way to describe [...]

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Muslims Must Decide

January 18, 2006

I think the Jerusalem Post is absolutely correct. Islam is evolving quickly in our generation. Much depends on who rises to the top and how Muslims define themselves. Will they be moderates and learn to live peacefully in the world, or will they be extremist isolationists who declare war on the world and civilization?  The [...]

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Catching up

January 18, 2006

I have only a few minutes and is it ever marvelous to have a wi-fi spot that I can use in the home of our very gracious hosts June and Genie Vargas here in Bacolod on the island of Negros in the Philippines. We left Guam and flew the 4 hours to Manila — slept 4 [...]

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Sunday in Guam

January 15, 2006

It is 8:00 AM on Guam. As they say, “In the United States the day begins in Guam.” This island is a territory of the United States and it is here where the day begins. While it 8 AM Sunday right now, but back in my home state of Michigan it is still yesterday –  it [...]

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18 Hours on a Plane

January 14, 2006

The connecting flight from Detroit to Tokyo is 13 hours, then another 4 to Guam. We got on the plane expecting 13 hours but due to engine problems we sat for almost 5 hours before we took off. Ouch! It is now Saturday morning in Japan and we are 14 hours ahead of Detroit. We [...]

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Our Schedule in Guam & the Philippines

January 12, 2006

  Here is our schedule for the next three weeks. Keep us in your prayers. The yellow highlighted areas are where Tim Staples will be joining us. We invited him to come along and he is excited for the new adventure. This will be Janet and my fourth “MIssionary Journey“ to the Philippines and our [...]

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Where the Heck is Guam? :-)

January 12, 2006

Tomorrow we leave for the middle of no where – way out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This little island is 1,300 miles east of the Philippines and 4,000 miles west of Hawaii. Besides a few tiny scattered islands there is nothing out there. It has 160,000 people, of which 120,000 are Catholics. [...]

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Alito for Supreme Court Justice

January 11, 2006

I have been watching the Alito Hearings in the background as I'm working. I stop often to listen. He strikes me as the ultimate judge, almost with no opinion of his own but a strong, steady, legal mind. He shows no emotion, no combativeness, but extreme candor and doggedness. It seems that he will be [...]

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Next DVD Poised for Release

January 10, 2006

We are pleased to announce that our DVD documentary David & Solomon: Expanding the Kingdom will be ready for release on March 15, 2006.  “He was just a boy strumming his harp and protecting his flock, but God used David to prepare the way for our salvation and the kingdom of God? Experience the story [...]

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Feast Days – Information

January 9, 2006

Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord “Are you Born Again?“How should a Catholic answer that question? “Yes, in fact, I am born again the Bible way!“ Are Catholics Born Again? You Betcha!Baptism: Pastor Bob Preaches the Word!Baptist at the Door: “Are you Saved?“    Can Infants be Born Again through Baptism? For similar articles by [...]

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