Skip to content

Yucky, or Just Plain Earthly?

By Father J.D. Zatalava ©Catholic Online 2005

Which, dear reader, do you think at the gut level is the defining difference between Protestants and Catholics? Is it the Sola Scriptura issue? How about that Transubstantiation thing? May be the Mary matter? What about Papal supremacy?

Personally, I think Sunday's Gospel uncovered the defining difference. It's the yuck factor, a.k.a. the Incarnation. Spittle, dirt, mud, skin to skin contact ... yuck, indeed!

Prissy Protestants just can't get comfortable with the notion that an aristocratic God really and truly gets down to the messiness of our plebian existence. Cruddy Catholics, on the other hand, obsess over the fact that Jesus makes his real Presence really present in yucky things like bread and wine (Eucharist), water, (Baptism), skin, (Holy Orders), sperms and ovums (Matrimony), sin (Reconciliation), rubbing oils (Confirmation and Anointing of the Sick). Yes, we Catholics love our seven earthly and earthy Sacraments.

What is a Sacrament? CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE. Below is the absolute best and most concise answer given in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1210: Christ instituted the sacraments of the new law. There are seven: Baptism, Confirmation (or Chrismation), the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. The seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life: they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian's life of faith. There is thus a certain resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of the spiritual life.

What's the first thing you notice when you walk into a Protestant church? A large sterile (empty) cross dominates the worship space, right? Inside most Catholic Church buildings the first thing to catch your eye is a large crucifix; a cross with a pretty gross battered and bloody, nearly naked body hanging on it. This infamous gibbet is usually hanging over the Altar of Sacrifice.

The Protestant statement seems to be that Jesus has risen above and beyond the yucky human condition. The Catholic statement very definitely is that Jesus has dragged all that human debris into a sharing of the Divine life of God Himself.

A little over a year ago I found myself being berated by a Fundamentalist Preacher friend for our (all Catholics) failure to get on the band wagon in a big way for Mel Gibson's movie about the Passion. The Minister made the claim that no experience in his lifetime had made Jesus so "present" to him. I honestly tried to resist the temptation, but I couldn't. I said to him, "Why don't you come to Mass tomorrow morning and I'll usher you into His Real Presence, not some theatrical celluloid apparition."

He remained silent.

I went on. I explained the Biblically based Sorrowful Mysteries. I explained Stations of the Cross. I explained Good Friday Services. I explained Holy Land pilgrimages. I even explained the Crusades. I explained all about Fasting and Abstaining. I explained about celibacy and Natural Family Planning.

Catholics are very much in touch with every aspect of their humanity. That's why they not only believe in, but actually acknowledge the real need for the wonderful Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession).

The Incarnation. That's what it's all about. That's what Lent is all about. That's what Easter is all about. That's what our Christian life is all about. Saint Paul says it best in Philippians 2:5.

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death-- even death on a cross.

Contact PA, US
Father James D. Zatalava - Founder, 814 861-5015




More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.