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All of the persons connected with this website have had considerable experience over many years explaining and defending the Catholic Faith. We try to follow the encouragement of St. Peter to "Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence." (1 Peter 3:15-16).

 

Monsignor Lawrence Moran

Msgr. MoranMsgr. Moran was born May 8, 1927. He was ordained May 3, 1952. His first assignment was as assistant pastor at St. Michael the Archangel, Indianapolis; 1955, assistant pastor, St. Ann, Terre Haute; 1957, assistant pastor, St. Bartholomew, Columbus; 1959, assistant pastor, St. Andrew, Richmond; 1967, pastor, St. Joseph, Rockville, and administrator, Immaculate Conception Mission, Montezuma; 1985, pastor, St. Patrick, Terre Haute; 1991, administrator, Holy Rosary, Seelyville, and continuing as pastor, St. Patrick, Terre Haute; 1997, named prelate of honor; 2002, administrator, St. Patrick, Terre Haute. He retired from the active ministry in 2005.   

Msgr. Moran was the Founding Pastor of John Paul II Catholic High School.  As pastor of St. Patrick Parish, he worked with others in the Catholic community to gain the support of the people of Terre Haute for the establishment of a Catholic high school. He granted permission for the school to be located in the lower level of St. Patrick’s Rectory and named the school John Paul II Catholic High School. He is John Paul II school chaplain and since retirement from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, has served as chaplain to the Carmelite nuns. Monsignor has been very active with Catholic radio station WHOJ since 2000, and has participated in hundreds of interviews and many program series with Ron Eldred.

 

Ronald J. Eldred

Ron EldredI am a graduate of Indiana State University with a B.S. in Social Studies and an M.S. in Comprehensive Social Studies. I was a Doctoral Candidate in History and Sociology at the University of Illinois at Champaign/ Urbana and taught history and sociology for 13 years at Danville Community College (DCC).  I served as Chairman of the Social Studies Department at DCC.  I also taught in the WED Program at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College. Before becoming a college teacher, I taught social studies at Marshall High School for two years and coached Junior High basketball.  I formerly taught religion at St. Patrick Middle School.  I was an instructor while in the U.S. Air Force.  Upon retiring, I taught religion and history at John Paul II Catholic High School as a volunteer for all the years of the school’s existence, and also served as principal before retiring in 2014. I have been a businessman associated with several companies, including two nationally prominent industrial technical training providers.I am married and my wife Lana and I have 9 children and 45 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  We attend St. Patrick Parish in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Although I was raised as a Protestant, I never had any prejudices against Catholics, because many of my father's and all of my step-father's families were Catholics. I didn't convert to the Catholic Faith until I was 21 while in the U.S. Air Force. After having been home on leave, on the way to California in the summer of 1957, I purchased a book in the St. Louis train station entitled The Life of Christ by Frederick David Strauss. Being a young ignorant youth, I didn't know that the author was a young 19th Century German former Lutheran who had lost his faith while attending the university by studying German Idealist philosophers, such as Emmanuel Kant and Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher. The latter was a famous theologian,  philosopher, and biblical scholar known for his attempt to reconcile the criticisms of the 18th Century Enlightenment with traditional Protestant Christianity.  He sowed the seeds of doubt among both Protestant and Catholic biblical scholars to this day.

I lost my faith that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and my personal Lord and Savior as I read much of the book during the 3 day 2,200 mile trip to Los Angeles. After all, I was nothing but a young ignorant young man, and the author had been a world renowned biblical scholar. I had no way of knowing that Strauss was an atheist and sought to explain all of Jesus' miracles as nothing more than natural phenomena. For example, I recall reading in the book tha t Jesus really didn't multiply the loaves and fishes for the 5,000 described by St. John in Chapter 6 of his gospel, but simply appealed to the generosity of the crowd to open up their knapsacks and share their lunches with one another.  Strauss also claims that Jesus didn't really walk on water later that same evening as described in the same chapter, but was simply walking along the shore or in a shallow part of the lake. He proceeds to explain away all of Jesus' miracles in that fashion throughout the book.  Not knowing who the author was and why he interpreted the Bible in the manner he did, my faith was shaken to its very foundation during that trip. I remained an agnostic throughout 1958.

I was sent to Alaska in the summer of that year. While stationed there, I befriended a couple of young Catholic servicemen who acted as servers to the priest chaplains in a nearby base Catholic chapel. I started going to Mass with them on Sunday's  and reading books from the chapel library and came to see the reasonableness of the Catholic Faith.  I joined the Catholic Church during the winter of 1959, and have been studying the history, philosophy, and theology of  the Church since. After being discharged in the summer of 1959, I went back to college, but changed my major from pre-medicine to history. After earning a Bachelor' Degree, I completed my Master's Degree in two years and enrolled as a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Illinois. My major was in the history, philosophy, and theology of Christianity, both Protestant and Catholic, with a special interest in the relationship between religion and science. I also minored in Sociology. The knowledge I acquired while studying under some of the world's greatest scholars in this subject―all of them Protestants―has enabled me to handle contentious topics between the religions with, I believe, sensitivity and delicacy. Meanwhile, I had married and started a family and began my career as a college professor.

Although I have come to believe and teach that Jesus Christ founded a church, and that church is the Catholic Church, and it is there that the fullness of truth can be found, I also believe and have taught that Jesus Christ came into the world to offer salvation to everyone, not just Catholics. Catholics and most Protestants agree on about 90% of the content of faith, its the other 10% where the contention lies. The Catholic Church has always taught that since Jesus founded the church on the rock of Peter, it is logical to assume that he would have deposited all of his teachings and all of the graces he earned by his suffering and death on the cross in his Church. However, Catholics don't have a monopoly on these teachings and graces, because every person in the world who has ever lived and will ever live, whether they be Catholic, Protestant, or non-Christian, can draw upon and benefit from these blessings. Moreover, the Catholic Church recognizes the validity of baptism as found in almost all Protestant churches as long as the intention is to wash away the stain of original and actual sins of the persons being baptized, and as long as the formula Jesus gives us in Chapter 28 of St. Matthew's gospel to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is used.

Many Protestant Christian denominations practice baptism with the same intention as do we Catholics. Although Protestants respectfully disagree, the Catholic Church teaches that all of the graces distributed by baptism flow from the Deposit of Grace deposited there by Jesus himself. As stated above, the Church teaches that since Jesus founded a Church―the Catholic or Universal Church―it is logical for it to assume that he would have deposited all of his teachings there as well as all the graces he earned by his suffering and death on the cross for all to enjoy and benefit from, not just Catholics. 

 Several years ago my sister, who had converted to Catholicism herself, became very alarmed when she read that the Catholic Church taught that there is no salvation outside the Church. She asked me does this mean then that our holy, virtuous mother couldn't be saved and go to Heaven? This is a terribly misunderstood teaching. I assured her that all baptized persons can go to Heaven, whether they be Catholic or Protestant. They are all members of Christ's Mystical Body, the People or Family of God, which is another name for the Catholic Church. “No salvation outside the Catholic Church”, however, does not mean that every person who is saved must be an active baptized member of the Church. God provided other ways for non-Christians to be baptized and saved. The Church recognizes the validity of most Protestant baptisms. I have repeatedly taught this in all of my classes. Protestant Christians that do not practice baptism and non-Christians who do not possess the sacrament of baptism can achieve baptism by desire or blood.God loves everyone and his son Jesus Christ died on the Cross so that all might be saved.

Not only Catholics and Protestants can be saved by a baptism of water, the Catholic Church has always taught that anyone with a sincere heart and a firm purpose of amendment for their sins can be saved through the merits of Jesus Christ.  Although Jesus told Nicodemus one evening that to be saved one had to undergo a baptism of water and spirit, the Church has always interpreted this to mean that God is not bound by his sacraments, such as a baptism of water, but can save whomever he chooses by whatever means he chooses, otherwise the great majority of persons who have ever lived or will ever live go or will go to Hell. The Church teaches that persons can be saved by a baptism of desire, meaning that if they didn't have the opportunity to hear the Gospel and undergo a baptism of water, they could undergo a baptism of desire. That is, if persons tried to live their lives in accordance with the natural law, the law St. Paul calls the law of God written on our hearts, and sought to please and achieve union with God in this life, whatever their idea of God might be, could be saved by a baptism of desire. The Baptism of desire means that all who try to do what they believe to be the right thing in accordance with their consciences and who desire to live in God's friendship (whatever their concept of God might be) and be in union with him undergo a Baptism of desire and as a result are part of the God's Family. They would desire sacramental baptism in the Catholic Church if they knew that it is the true Church of Jesus Christ.

In other words, if they knew Jesus had established a church and the ordinary manner to be saved was through a baptism of water, they would desire baptism and could be saved and go to Heaven. This is true whatever religion they might hold. I have told my classes countless times that probably the great majority of people over the millennia are in Heaven due to a baptism of desire, because almost all of them never had the opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached.

First and foremost it is my duty to teach what the Catholic Church teaches in all of its fullness and purity. John Paul II was founded for that purpose. I will be judged on how well I did this. That being said, I have never tried to convert any of my non-Catholic students to Catholicism, including one Moslem. Nonetheless, over half of my Protestant students ended up joining the Church before they graduated, presumably because they had come to see the reasonability of its teachings. One of my students entered the school as an atheist, but told me that by the time of his graduation he had come to see the reasonableness of Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular due to my teaching. I have tried to share what I have learned over 50 years of my adult life to help give young and old alike meaning and purpose to their lives and give them reasons for hope in a world of darkness and despair. My entire adult life has been devoted to making Christianity reasonable to believe in an age of doubt and unbelief.

 

Charles Johnson

Charles JohnsonMr. Johnson earned a B.A. in History and an M.A. in Religious Studies at Saint Meinrad Seminary. He also attended graduate school at Indiana University for four years where he studied Biology. After having pent many years in various technical occupations, he has taught various science courses at John Paul II Catholic High School since 2009. Also, he has participated in many programs for Catholic radio WHOJ with Ron Eldred.

 
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