Saturday, February 23, 2013

Jeremy Keong

Hello and Happy Saturday!
First up I wish to thank William Wright for his informative and very interesting interview. I very much enjoyed reading and learning more of your faith. Thank you so much William!
Today we have a new interview so please welcome Jeremy Keong. Jeremy is a Roman Catholic and I know you'll enjoy his interview as well!
Here Is Jeremy Keong's Introduction:
I was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. I went to Catholic elementary school for grades 5-7, and went to a Catholic high school. I've been involved in a lot of Catholic youth ministry, including coordinating the ministries at two different parishes. I graduated with a Bachelor's of Arts degree from the University of British Columbia in 2012 with a major in English Literature and a minor in Psychology. In August 2012 I moved to Washington, DC to study at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, working towards my Masters of Theological Studies (MTS) degree.
I love movies and travelling, and have a passion for music and improv theatre! You can find me on Twitter at @jeremykeong, and you can read my blog too:

1) What religion do you practice?
Roman Catholicism


2) Are you a convert/revert or were you raised within this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
Although all of my extended family in my home city were Catholic, I only converted to the Catholic faith, along with the majority of my immediate family, when I was 11 years old. In the Catholic faith, it is most appropriate to enter into communion with the Church at the Easter vigil (celebrating Jesus’ Resurrection), and I underwent a general process of instruction in the months leading up to the vigil, in order to learn about the faith. This was called RCIC (Rite of Christian Initiation for Children).
At the vigil, I received two out of the three sacraments of initiation – Baptism and the Eucharist. It would not be until the following year that I received the third sacrament of initiation, Confirmation.

3)Within your religion are there degrees of observance (ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal)? What are the defining differences between the degrees of observance?
 To be a faithful Catholic, one must believe in all the dogmas and doctrines that the Catholic Church holds to be true. Now everyone, being different, can faithfully follow these teachings while still coming to understand them and express them in a very personal way – it’s one of the reasons why the Church has so many lay movements, orders of Priests, and orders of sisters and of brothers. There are degrees of observance however, in that some Catholics have come to have a deep understanding of the faith and a very personal relationship with Christ through the Church, while others only practice their faith with an attitude of simply following a bunch of rules.
When people describe themselves with the term “Liberal Catholic” they usually mean that they do not believe all the teachings of the Church (which, by the way, is guided infallibly by the Holy Spirit in matters of faith and morals). Strictly speaking however, there are no degrees of observance in this sense. You either believe all that the Church has proclaimed to be Truth, and thus you are Catholic, or you think the Church is a liar, and thus you are not.

4)Within your religion what degree of observance are you ((ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal) ? Why did you choose this degree of observance?
 If I had to choose one, I would say that I am conservative or Orthodox. But as described in question #3, these terms do not really fit if we are speaking of Catholicism in its truest sense.

5)What is the Afterlife within your religion? For example: what happens when a person dies? Are there places for reward/punishment? (such as a Heaven/Hell concept)
 There exist “the Four Last Things;” four possibilities for every person (of which everyone will experience 3): Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell. Everybody dies, and at this point, spirit is separated from body. Catholicism teaches that the human person is a unity of spirit and body; we are embodied spirits or spiritualized bodies. However, because of Adam and Eve’s Original Sin, the unity between spirit and body is imperfect (the reasons and theology for which is too lengthy to get into for this question!).
After death, everyone gets judged, for either Heaven or Hell. To all those people who die in communion with Christ and who have totally accepted him as his or her Redeemer – Baptism is necessary– will go to heaven, which is where souls will be in participation in the very divine life of God (who is Himself a divine community of persons: Father, Son, Holy Spirit). The people who, when they die, are in an imperfect communion with God go to Purgatory, where they will then be completely purified from the punishment for their sins in order to enter the Trinitarian life. But to be clear: this is a kind of “transitional” period; those persons who “make it” to Purgatory will definitely come to share in the divine life.
Those persons who wholly reject God by their own free will, will at the end of their lives, die, be judged, and go to hell, which is a person’s free choice to reject God’s mercy and forgiveness.
At the Second Coming of Christ, body will again be reunited with soul, whether that soul be in heaven or in hell.


6) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
 See question #5


7) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
 It’s the Truth.


8) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
 ALL of our Holy Days? Well, every Sunday is a holy day of obligation, and the biggest most important way to honour these days are to attend mass (actually, the best way to celebrate ANY of our Holy Days is to attend mass). Not all of the feasts are days of obligation. Some of the bigger feasts include:
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (January 1st)
Feast of the Annunciation (March 25th)
Easter Sunday
Trinity Sunday
Pentecost (50 days after Easter Sunday)
The Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary (August 15th)
All Saints Day (Nov. 1st)
The Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8th)
Christmas Day (Dec. 25th)
In addition to these days, every canonized saint has a day to honour them. And there are a lot of canonized saints.

9) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?

10) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
As long as nothing in the religious celebration directly contradicts the Truth of the Church, then I would not have any problems attending. I would participate out of respect, and not out of belief.


11) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
(I don’t know enough about these things to accurately comment on them.)

12) Are women allowed to hold religious office (priest, minister, rabbi, iman etc) in your religion and how do you feel about it?
 Women are called by God to marry, to remain a lay single person, or to consecrate themselves to Him through a particular religious order and become sisters. But no, women are not allowed to become priests, since priests are meant to stand in persona Christi: in the person of Christ. And Christ was a man. Hence, he appointed his 12 apostles to be the first priests, and their successors continue to follow this Tradition (again, there is too much to get into for this question). Those people who fight for women ordination say they are fighting for equality between the sexes. In truth however, they are not fighting for equality as much as they are fighting for sameness. Women are not men. Men are not women. Each has been ordained by God to have certain roles within the Body of Christ, the Church.

13) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
Is there segregation during the Catholic mass? Nope, except perhaps for those families with very young children who need to sit in the crying room!

14) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
 Although I still need to pray daily in order to more readily and willingly receive Grace from God in order to listen to Him, my faith in God’s truth as revealed through the Church affects everything I do. And besides all this, there is the fact that my existence is not necessary. God needn’t have made me. So to the extent to which I believe the Catholic faith to be true (ie. 100%), my religion affects my life because my religion is my life.
And yes, it affects my decisions on things such as abortion and gay “marriage.” The Church has said that both of these things are intrinsic evils that do harm to the dignity of the human person, made in the image and likeness of God, predestined in Jesus Christ, in order to participate in the divine life.


15) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?
I wouldn’t feel so much upset as I would feel saddened. Knowing that the Catholic Church has the fullness of Truth, I would be sad that my child would be leaving that fullness.


16) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
Not necessarily. While the Catholic Church is the fullness of Truth, and while God works through his Church and her Sacraments, God himself is not bound by them. Those outside the Church are still willed by God to be saved by the Church, by the merits of Christ’s death and Resurrection (which is what birthed the Church in the first place). The Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium(Light of the Nations) states that there are those who can attain salvation “…who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His Will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience” (16). “The Church is the universal sacrament of salvation” (48).
Furthermore, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s declaration Dominus Iesus (Lord Jesus) states that while “for those who are not formally and visibly members of the Church, salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which…enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation” (20), it is also false to say that the way of salvation through the Church is only one way of many. No other religion can claim to have a divine origin, and thus a divine authority. Even though those formally outside Church can still receive God’s grace, they are in a gravely deficient situation, deprived of the fullness of grace that the Church can give.

17) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
(I prefer to not answer this question).

18) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
No, I have never been the target of a hate crime, but I have been persecuted for my faith everywhere, from the university campus, to the government (Barack Obama is president).

19) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?
Of course not. Catholicism does nothing to devalue me, or anybody else for that matter. Catholicism doesn’t devalue a person, it invalues them. Catholicism has shown me how much every human person is truly worth. The Church constantly reminds people of how beautiful and precious each person is, telling them that they are worth more than what society is willing to give.

20) Does your religion give you peace of mind?

21) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
No, I do not. Reincarnation, the way I understand it, is the spirit of a person being given a new body in next life on earth, perhaps either with full knowledge of a previous life, or with no knowledge of the previous life. Either way, this undermines what the Church has always taught about the intrinsic goodness of the human person, a being that is a unity of spirit and body. This includes things such as personality, temperament, etc. In short, human beings are good, and our core identity does not change. Reincarnation, in whatever form it takes, says that either the body or the soul is not good enough, and instead of sharing in divine life at the end of earthly existence, a person must repeat an earthly life. The definitive proof of this goodness is Christ Himself and His Resurrection. He died, He resurrected, and He ascended to the Father in heaven.

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