*Best of DTB #310* The Catholic Defender: Eucharistic Miracle at Erding Germany 1417

Posted by Donald Hartley - May 29th, 2014

priestchaliceThere once was a poor peasant from the town of Erding, Germany about the time of 1417.

This poor peasant sought to improve his economic status as he would work very hard to get a head. But no matter what the man did, he always seemed to fall short.

Finally, he approached a friend who seemed to be managing much better and found that the friend had a strong devotion to his Catholic Faith. In that time period, it was not uncommon for the faithful to have the Eucharistic Lord in their home.

Well, the poor peasant though that he needed to have a Eucharist in his home and this might provide for him some better luck.

That was in his mind so on Holy Thursday at Mass, instead of receiving the Sacred Host, he hid it in his coat and went home.

As he was traveling home, on the course of the journey, his conscience began to deeply trouble him to the point he began to return to the church and return the Sacred Host to the Priest.

As he pulled the Eucharist out of his pocket, the Host escaped from his hands and flew away in the air. He tried in vain to catch the Sacred Host.

hostThe peasant then went and informed the Priest who came with him to the spot where the Host flew away.

Once arriving to the location, the Priest found the Host sitting on a clump of dirt emitting a bright light. However, when the Priest went to pick up the Sacred Host, the Host again flew out of the reach of the Priest.

Like the Poor Peasant before him, the priest went to the bishop who likewise, went to the spot where the Host flew away from the priest.

The Bishop found the Host and like before, as he went to collect the Host, the Host flew away from his grasp. After this third time, the Bishop and the townspeople then decided to build a chapel in honor of the Eucharistic Wonder.

There were so many crowds of pilgrims that flocked there that in 1675, local authorities decided to construct a new and bigger sanctuary in the baroque style.

On Sept 19, 1677, Bishop Kaspar Kunner of Freising blessed the new church, which was dedicated to the Most Precious Blood.

Various relics were brought to the sanctuary among which was that of the Most Precious Blood of Christ. Since 1992 the sanctuary has been under the care of the monks of St. Paul of the Desert.

miracle 1Eucharistic Miracles come to us in many ways. This particular miracle has its own interesting story as this miracle was seen by three different people at three different times at the same place for the same reason.

At every Mass we are blessed to have such a miracle, in this story, there is the example of the faithful Catholic who is faithful to Jesus.

Then there was the lukewarm Christian who though of the Eucharist much like a good luck charm or amulet. However, his lack of faith the Lord will use to display great faith from the Bishop and the townspeople.

Which person are you? Are you the faithful servant whom the Lord invites, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on his throne.”

Or will you be like the one whose fingers drops the ball and literally burys their faith in the back yard?

May we approach the Altar of God with right reverence and love for him alone. God bless you all!

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*Best of DTB #308* The Catholic Defender Responds to the SDA’s “Amazing Facts”

Posted by Donald Hartley - May 25th, 2014

The following is a response I made to the “Amazing Facts” presentation held at Austin Peay University several years ago. This was a 30 day presentation offered to promote some of the same old misinformation that people throw at the Catholic Church. It really is a great injustice as they spend a great amount of money pushing their agenda.

My response is as follows:

IMG_1468“You raise an issue where great misunderstanding and misrepresentation have been handed down since the time of Martin Luther 16th century. When Luther first left the Church, he justified his exodus with calling the Catholic Church the “Roman Catholic Church”.

This was intended to be an insult and attack on the papacy who Luther called “the antichrist”. Modern day Protestants like Tony Alamo and Jack Chick have worked hard to keep this rhetoric alive. Groups like the Seventh Day Adventists teach that the Catholic Church is the “Whore of Babylon” and that the Pope is the antichrist.

They actually believe the tiria that the popes have worn has “666” written on it. One of the titles of the Pope is “Servant of the Servants of God”.  These people take the Latin translation to equal 666.  Another statement these people will proclaim is that we worship the pope.

I’m afraid many have been influenced by this propaganda. I would get really into the heart of the question and give a detailed answer. I would continue, “the Papacy began with Jesus who established Simon, son of Bar-Jona, supreme authority in the Church. Pope Francis is the 266th successor of St. Peter. Throughout the Church’s history, there have been times when men have attempted to take over the papacy. Emperors and rulers tried to control or dominate the papacy to further their own ambitions.

In some cases, they appointed “anti-popes” to support them. An anti-pope is a man who has been improperly elected as pope. He sets himself up in opposition to the Pope who has been regularly chosen in accordance with Canon Law.

st-hippolytus-of-romeThe first anti-pope was Hippolytus (217 A.D.) and the last anti-pope was Felix V (1440-1449). In all there have been 27 anti-popes none of which are listed in the history of the popes. Hippolytus may have later become the true pope, but not during the time when he challenged the papacy as an anti-pope!  I actually debated anti-Catholics at a Billy Graham crusade in Nashville. I was already familiar with many of their arguments and I specifically wrote a response to the Seventh Day Adventist:

As I looked at the question about Mary, I was thanking God for the opportunity to explain the truth of the Catholic Church. It is always a privilege to share God’s truth with people who are genuinely searching the truth. In response to the idea that the bible reflect’s Jesus as the only intercessor, this is error. The bible does not refer to Jesus as the “Sole Intercessor”. St. Paul teaches “First of all then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions (intercessors), and thanksgiving be offered for everyone, for kings and all in authority…” St John also teaching, “And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours. If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will give him life”. St. James adds, “The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful”. In the book of Hebrews, it states, “Pray for us, for we are confident that we have a clear conscience, wishing to act rightly in every respect”.

The sacred author to the book of Hebrews makes the presumptive point of intercession from the saints in heaven by giving us the faith chapter. Heb. Chapter 11 is called the “faith chapter”, which gives a history of the saints from the Old Testament. Hebrews 12 Vs 1 follows with, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin…”.

Jesus picJesus himself solemnly confirms a warning stating, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father (Matt 18 Vs 10)”.

Jesus states that leading children into sin, “it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and drowned in the depths of the sea”.

I personally do not want that kind of witness against me on the day of judgement.

Rather, I prefer the saints prayer of support. St. John clearly reveals heavenly intercession stating, “Another angel came and stood at the Alter, holding a gold censer.

He was given a great quantity of incense to offer, along with the prayers of all the holy ones, on the gold alter that was before the throne (Rev 8 Vs 3)”.

Altar 1 This Alter is pictured in heaven, not an earthly one. This is in the “third” level of heaven that St Paul reveals in 2 Cor 12 Vs 2.

St. John’s text continues, “The smoke of the incense along with the prayers of the holy ones went up before God from the hand of the angel”. Revelation Chapter 4 gives a glimpse of heavenly worship. You have the 24 elders with gold crowns on their heads. You have the four living creatures exclaiming, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come”. Plus you have the whole heavenly host of angels and saints around the throne. This is certainly confirming the belief that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the God of the living, not the dead.

From the Apostles Creed, we profess the Communion of Saints. “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins…”. This is part of that tradition of 2 Thessalonians 2 Vs 15 born out of the scriptures.

Communion of SaintsMuch of the Sacred Scripture discusses this wonderful power of prayer! Mary, the saints, and all of us are intercessors, and should be understood in this light. This power of prayer stems from the fact that Jesus is the Mediator between God and man. This is where the confusion is coming from. Some people have misunderstood the teaching of the Church, and misrepresent the Church. They speak as if they are an authority on the Church. This is where many non-practicing Catholics are wrong. We do NOT worship Mary! Bishop Sheen once said that,” there might be 100 people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. But there are millions who oppose what they think the Church is”.

Hense all the confusion. The Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) and others have put out seminars and booklets depicting the Catholic Church as the “WHORE OF BABYLON” and the Pope as the “Anti-Christ”. This can be
traced to the 16th century Protestant reformers who sought to destroy the Catholic Church. They failed miserably because they then put themselves in direct opposition to God Himself. To the question “Who is the Anti-Christ” they say, “The bible says he (Anti-Christ) is alive today”.

who-is-the-antichristThis is to get their prospective followers to understand that the Anti-Christ has been revealed and they (SDA) know who it is. In reality, has this Anti-Christ truly been revealed? Is he alive today? Maybe, maybe not, there are many signs that would prelude the arrival of the Anti-Christ. Jesus told his apostles, “See that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name saying, I am the Messiah and they will deceive many”. Around the world today, there are 5,600 “messiahs” with a following of 40,000,000.

The Pope certainly does NOT refer to himself as a “messiah”. These Protestant friends of ours greatly mistake who the Pope is. He has several titles, which denotes his office; Vicar of Christ, Servant of the Servants of God, The Shoes of a Fisher of Men, The Chief Stewart, and Christ’s Prime Minister, all of which depicts the Biblical language of his office. St. Peter was the first Bishop of Rome crucified upside down on a cross at Vatican Hill in 67 A. D. Pope Francis is the 266th successor to Peter.

Some of our friends mistakenly depict the Catholic Church as the “Harlot” believing that the Church is an apostate church. Let’s examine who this whore really would be. The Old Testament at times refers to the nation of Israel as a whore (Ezekiel Chapter 23). The Prophet Hosea’s wife, Gomer, the adulteress, symbolized faithless Israel.

Israel’s infidelity took the form of idolatry. So when Israel was in sin, they could be overcome by foreign nations (Judith 5 vs 17-18).

BabylonArtThe “Whore of Babylon” is specifically found in the 17th chapter of Revelation. St. John speaks of a great harlot who has committed fornication with the nations. She is covered by blasphemous names identified with the devil. She was drunk with the blood of the saints. Can this “harlot” be the Catholic Church? No it can’t. In fact, St. John tells you who “The Great City” is and it is not Rome. It is Jerusalem. The 13th book of Revelation identifies the First beast (the Anti-Christ) and the Second Beast (the False Prophet). It clearly states there will be an event that will lead many non-Christians to this “First Beast”. This Second Beast will be identified with “two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon”.

This False Prophet will perform great “miracles” by authority given through the Anti-Christ. The horns of a lamb identify with Christ, but yet he spoke like a devil. This will deceive many people into following this Anti-Christ.

This leads to the apostasy St. Paul speaks to in 2 Thessalonians 2 vs 3-8. Those people who have abandoned the Catholic Church make up this “Whore”! It will not be the faithful adherence to the faith, but the rejection of it that will bring on the terrible tribulation. Jesus warns us not to be misled. Any group of Christians not in union with the Catholic Church are subject to false doctrines and are mislead, more on this later. Jesus also said, “You will hear of wars and reports of wars…Nation will arise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom”. This certainly appears true in our own century. We have seen more bloodshed in this century, 1 out of 4 Christian martyrs have been killed in this time period.

Taiwan Earthquake Kills ThousandsJesus then states, “there will be famines and earthquakes from place to place”. There are over 26,000,000 men, women, and children suffering from starvation due to drought in East Africa alone. Earthquakes that measured 6.5 on the ricter scale between 1900 and 1969 there were 48 such earthquakes. Between July 1990 and October 1992, almost a three-year period, there were 133 such earthquakes. A 2300% increase! Jesus then states, “All these are the beginning of the labor pains”. These signs suggest a possibility that the end of the age could be near. However, this time period has not arrived yet! The Anti-Christ would not be revealed until the time of his presence.

St. Paul answered the concerns of Catholics of his time (we were called the Way 33-37, Nazarene 37-42, Christian 42 till present, and Catholic 67 till present) who worried about the Second Coming of Jesus stating, “do not be shaken out of your minds suddenly, or be alarmed either by a “spirit”, or by an oral statement, or by a letter allegedly from us to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand. Let no one deceive you in any way. For unless the apostasy comes first and the Lawless One is revealed, the one doomed to perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god and object of worship, so as to seat himself in the Temple of God, claiming that he is a god”. This scripture certainly speaks of an Apostasy prior to the coming of the Anti-Christ.

During the reign of this Anti-Christ, Jesus states, “then they will hand you over to persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of my name”. Today there are over 26 countries that persecute Christians, and several more that are straying away from their Judeo-Christian roots. This includes the United States. Is this preparing the foundation to this Anti-Christ? If so, still, the anti-Christ has not been revealed.

St. John writes, “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the Anti-Christ have appeared. This we know this is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was our number”. This defection from the faith implies that these “FALSE PROPHETS” will deceive many creating the foundation for THE “False Prophet that will cause the world to worship the “BEAST”, the Anti-Christ.

Revelation 1St. John states, “Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon (Satan), with seven heads and ten horns, and on its head were seven diadems. It’s tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth”.

According to the Old Testament Prophet Daniel, he states that the “stars” signify teachers (Daniel 12 Vs 3-4). St. John implies that a third of the teachers will defect during those times! Who are these teachers? Jesus built the Church on the foundation of the Apostles; the 21st century successors are the continued line of bishops ordained in direct succession.

Is this a depiction of disobedience by bishops to the Pope? Very possible! St. Paul writes “Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the last times some will turn away from the “faith” by paying attention to deceitful spirits and demonic instructions, through the hypocrisy of liars with branded consciences”.

Obviously there will be a defection from the Catholic Church in the last times. Not counting the Protestant revolt, which was more political as it was over religion, many did defect from the faith. This shook the Church to its very foundation!

However, the Catholic Church more than recovered for today 75% of Christianity still profess the faith of the Apostles. There are over 17 million fallen away Catholics in the United States. This is more people as a group than the largest Protestant Church in America. Sometimes the most Anti-Catholic group was former Catholics! Yes, we see millions of converts due to the RCIA program, but our loss is tragic. Jesus reaches out to each one as a lone sheep! I believe we can identify with the Scripture and its implication as a sign of apostasy in our midst.

Lets take a look at the SDA for comparison for a moment, they were established in 1863 near Battle Creek Michigan. This group is a leading opponent to the Catholic Church. In 1960 there were 400,000 SDA members. Today they number over 7,000,000. Where is this Apostasy? They have increased 500%. And where are they zeroing in for converts? You’ve guest it, Catholics. There are a lot of groups out there preying on the ignorance of people with a warm smile and a handshake. We need to do better in educating our young people warning them of all this sheep stealing going on.

Francis 2A question posed by the SDA asks, “It is not possible to understand last-day prophecies unless you have correctly identified the Anti-Christ”. They want to establish in your minds that the Catholic Church was man made. The SDA wants you to identify the Church with the “HARLOT” of Revelation chapter 17. Jesus established the Catholic Faith in 33 A. D. Currently, Francis is the 266th successor of St. Peter. This is an historical fact! Of this faith Jesus divinely established, he promised the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matthew 16 Vs 18), that he would be with us until the end of this age (Matthew 28 Vs 20), and that the Holy Spirit gives life to the Church until Jesus returns (John 14 Vs15-26).

Those who imply that the Pope is the Anti-Christ reject this authority. Let’s take a look at their argument for a second. Daniel chapter seven depicts four world kingdoms with their representations. The kingdoms are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. A beast which ten horns appear on its head represents the Roman Empire. These ten horns represent ten kingdoms that will emerge from the basis of the old Roman Empire. Three horns are rooted up. From the SDA perspective, these ten horns were the Visigoths, Anglo-Saxons, Franks, Alemani, Burgundians, Lombards, Suevi, Heruli, Ostrogoths, and the Vandals.
The SDA believe the last three kingdoms listed were “rooted up” by the Catholic Church.

To respond to this, my first point is simple. These various peoples could not be those depicted by Daniel for the end days. Daniel chapter 12 Vs 4 states, “As for you, Daniel, keep secret the message and seal the book until the end time; many shall fall away (Apostasy) and evil shall increase”. The conclusion here is obvious; the information in Daniel’s book would be “sealed” until the last days. The situations with the tribes listed above took place over 1500 years ago. These were certainly not the “last day” as time continues on. Plus key prophetic events had not taken place yet, more on that later.

statueI want to take a closer look at the ten horns, what does this really mean. We must back up to Daniel 2 Vs 41-44. King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream, which Daniel was able to reveal. It was a huge statue representing the world kingdoms of the future. The ten horns are revealed in this dream as the ten toes of this statue. The feet were a mixture of iron and clay. Because Rome was depicted as the legs of iron, the feet naturally becomes the extension. St. John writes (Rev. 17 Vs 9-10), “Here is a clue for one who has wisdom.”

The seven heads represent seven hills upon which the woman sits. They also represent seven kings: five have fallen, one still lives, and the last has not yet come…. The five fallen kingdoms were Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. The kingdom that was in power during the time of Jesus was the Roman Empire. There is one final kingdom that is to come that will arise from the old Roman Empire. This organization is where the Anti-Christ will emerge.

Obviously, this kingdom must preexist the Anti-Christ. I believe it is more likely that the clue given by St. John and from Daniel’s revelation that this future Kingdom has been organized. In 1948, the organization most likely depicted by Daniel finally materialized. The European Community now referees to the European Union (EU) began with Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxemburg. In 1957, Italy, France, and Germany joined the EU. THE TREATY OF ROME ratified these! In 1973 England, Ireland, and Denmark joined the EU. Then in 1981 Greece became the tenth nation to follow into the EU. This quite possibly makes up our ten horns and much more. There is still the strong possibility that the whole prophecy was already fulfilled during St. Johns time. More on that later.

Flag_of_the_United_States_of_EuropeThe earlier tribes thought to be the ten horns by the SDA, never went worldwide. The Anti-Christ will have world dominion when he does arrive. Brussels Belgium is where the executive branch headquarters are located. Parliament is located in Luxembourg. The EU is working for a United States of Europe that will resemble the United States of America! They already have a European currency. Each country will forfeit national security for the sake of Europe as a whole. This is a Federation that has already begun to go worldwide. This organization when the Anti-Christ comes will go worldwide. In January 1995, Austria became the 13th nation. The “rooted up” kings (horns) will be a political compromise of national sovereignty for EU goals that will be in control of the Anti-Christ. These become the catalysts that will finally usher in the “NEW WORLD ORDER”. Groups like the Trilateral Commission have been working towards a one-world government.

From the book “THE LAST DICTATOR”, it describes the world set into ten regions: (1) The United States, Canada, and Mexico (2) Western Europe (3) The Japan Islands (4) Australia and New Zealand (5) Eastern Europe (6) Latin America (7) North Africa and the Middle East (8) Main Africa (9) South and South East Asia and (10) Central Asia. Reflecting on this book, St.Pope John Paul II warned, “by the end of this decade (2,000), we will live under the first one-world government that ever existed in the society of nations, the one-world government is inevitable.” That is a very scary proposition, though it did not emerge by the year 2,000, St. Pope John Paul II’s point still is a cause of concern especially since our current Administration is seeking to turn everything over to the ways of European Socialism.

benedict-xv-smPope Benedict XV (1922) stated about this one-world government, “This State will vanquish all national loyalties. If these ideas are put into practice there will inevitably follow a reign of unheard of terror”. No other century have we seen this push for this one-world government? Revelation chapter 13 states, “Fascinated, the whole world followed after the Beast because of his healing from a mortal wound”. The whole world will be led to worship the Anti-Christ.

The previous position is in line of scripture being a set of typologies, that is possible. Traditionally, Notice that John says (Revelation 17:10), both of this beast, and of the particular head, that it was, but now not is. In other words, it is (in John’s time) dead.

Verse 10 states “they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he comes he must remain only a little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to perdition.”

So, let’s break this down. The now dead, but soon to be “resurrected” specific beast, is a head of the larger Roman beast, which is a type of the ultimate beast- Satan. Therefore, the specific beast is not only one of the seven heads, it is one of the five that have fallen. This important fact is shown over and over again so that the people of John’s time would not miss the identity of the specific beast who is a specific person who existed as one of the first 5 heads of the Roman beast.

They are: Augustus, Tiberius, Cladius, Caligula, and Nero. John emphasizes this by telling us that the seventh King (Othos), once he came, would reign only a short while. Indeed, Othos reigned only 6 months.

Let us be clear. Whatever conclusions we draw about John’s words that the beast would later rise from hell, be they figurative or literal, be they fulfilled shortly or in the end times or both, we cannot escape the fact that it was a specific person of John’s time that the people would have been able to deny by the clues given.

number-of-the-beastRevelation 13 states, “And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, ………….. 18 This calls for wisdom: let him who has understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty-six.”

Many argue that the book of Revelation shows that this particular beast rises from the dead (either figuratively or literally) as Anti-Christ or one of his agents. Others say that his rising from the dead refers figuratively to his being a type of Vespasian who, through his son Titus, destroyed the city of Jerusalem. Still others see a dual fulfillment, in which Jerusalem is actually destroyed twice- in 70 AD and in the end times. All of these explanations are plausible.

What cannot be denied is the original identity of the Beast as a man, one of the first five Roman Emperors, who died and whose number in Genatria add up to the required sum of 666.

There are only two qualified candidates; Caligula or Nero, traditionally, this is Nero. It is not the Catholic Church or the Papacy that represents this anti-Christ, it will be the forces of darkness who oppose it.

The SDA and others who believe the Pope is the Anti-Christ confuse Christ’s command to GO to all nations with His truth, and this tribulation period and reign of Anti-Christ. From Daniel’s writings, can we find a glimpse of the Catholic Church? Daniel 2 Vs 34 states, “while you looked at the statue, a stone which was hewn from a mountain without a hand being put to it, struck it’s iron and tile feet, breaking them in pieces”. Jesus refers to himself as “the stone, which the builders rejected, has become the cornerstone (Luke 20 Vs 17)”. Daniel continues Vs 44, “In the life time of those kings, the God of Heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people; rather, it shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and put an end to them, and it shall stand forever”.

light 2The Catholic Church survived the Roman Empire which fell in 476 AD. The Church has survived through 2000 years of history despite all Satan’s tricks. Jesus established the Church giving it His protection (Matt 16 Vs 18), His promise (Matt 28 Vs 20), and His seal (John 14 Vs 15-26).

Let’s take a look at what the SDA claimed uprooted, the Heruli, the Ostrogoths, and the Vandals. These were barbarians who lived in northern Germany. In 406 they crossed the Rhine River and attacked the cities of Gaul and the Romans in Spain. By 439 they had won all Roman North Africa including Carthage. These people were fanatical Arians who rejected the Divinity of Jesus and the doctrine of the Trinity. They harshly persecuted the Catholic Church where they took power. The SDA also wants to tie these “uprooted” groups with the Saturday Sabbath. They want you to see that the Catholic Church subdued Vandals because of their keeping the Saturday Sabbath. There is no truth to this accusation whatsoever.

In 455,they captured Rome and pillaged the city. Belisarius, a Byzantine General who served under the Roman Emperor Justinian, finally over threw the Vandal Kingdom in the 530’s. It was not the power of the Pope or the Church that won the day, it was the civil authority! The defeat of the Barbarians were an answer too prayer as the Vandals and their partners were cruel and ruthless. Concerning the final empire that is to come, St. John reveals, “It forced all the people, small and great, rich or poor, free and slave, to be given a stamped image on their right hands or their foreheads, so that no one could buy or sell except one who had the stamped image of the beast’s name or the number that stood for it’s name”. Despite the cruelty of past tribulations, nothing compares to what awaits us in the final showdown.

The technology of the computer age makes everyone totally accessible to whomever in power requires. In Utah, there is a computer refereed as the “beast” that has the ability to run 2200 bits of information
per second for every human being living today! With satellite capability, our very own privacy is at risk, even now! When this Anti-Christ does appear on the scene,much of the technology will be available.

AD1Jesus states, “When you see the desolating abomination spoken of through Daniel the prophet standing in the Holy Place, then those in Judea must flee to the mountains… Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days”. This sets the stage for the next point. The Holy Place refereed to by Jesus was the Temple in Jerusalem. According to Catholic Tradition, in the final days, this temple will be rebuilt and the Anti-Christ will blaspheme the name of God and call himself god (2 Thess chapter 2).

On May 14, 1948, the Nation of Israel was established. After 2500 years, the Jews finally have self-rule. This fulfilled Amos 9 Vs 15. Jews from all over the world returned to Palestine. They came from 120 nations speaking 83 languages. In 1989, many thousands of Jews from Russia left for Palestine fulfilling Jeremiah 3 Vs 18. If you were to take a ruler and trace directly north of Jerusalem, you would line through Moscow.

Pope Pius XII announced to the world on Easter Sunday 1957 in front of a large crowd at Vatican City that the capture of Jerusalem would be one of the last major prophecies in the bible to be fulfilled. Jerusalem would no longer be in the hand of the Gentiles, but the Jews (Luke 21 Vs 25).

The State of Israel and it’s capital (Jerusalem) must be in place so the Temple can be rebuilt, and so the Anti-Christ could make his blasphemous boasts in this temple. For those who believe that the Pope is the Ant-Christ, here is a fundamental truth to consider. The Anti-Christ must have Jewish roots. He can not be a Gentile because the Jews will not except a Gentile as their “Messiah”! This Jew could not be Christian because the Jews reject Jesus as their Messiah. The Anti-Christ will deceive the Jews who are currently awaiting a messiah. Jesus warns the Jews stating, “You do not except me, but you will follow the one who comes after me”.

The SDA points to the book of Daniel to make the connection between the Catholic Church and the Anti-Christ.  This is their whole foundation.  What is Daniel teaching and warning:

“Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and for your holy city:

The transgression will stop and sin will end, guilt will be expiated,
Everlasting justice will be introduced, vision and prophecy ratified and a most holy will be annointed.

Know and understand this:

From the utterence of the word that Jerusalem was to be rebuilt
Until one who is anointed and a leader, there shall be seven weeks. During sixty-two weeks it shall be rebuilt, With streets and trenches, in time of affliction.

After the sixty-two weeks an anointed shall be cut down when he does not possess the city;
And the people of a leader who will come shall destroy the sanctuary.

Then the end shall come like a torrent; until the end there shall be war, the desolation that is decreed.

For one week he shall make a firm compact with the many;
Half the week he shall abolish sacrifice and oblation;

On the temple wing shall be the horrible abomination until the ruin that is decreed is poured out upon the horror.”

The above is a prophecy that presents a very important time-table to very key events concerning this debate. I want to begin that seven is regarded as the perfect number of Christ. Seven represents God’s action in the things He has made. It has symbolic meaning throughout scripture. In the above scripture, What is factored in is that every seventh year on the Hebrew calender was a sabbatical year. After every seventh set of seven years there would be a year of Jubilee (read Leviticus 25:1-17). Daniel’s prophecy will focus around the seventy sets of seven.

In Hebrew, shabua is the word for seven. This calculates to dozens which is best understood as “times” or “times periods” or seasons. To the Jews of Daniels time, this would be easily understood. The groups of seven are refered to as “weeks”. The seventy weeks that Daniel referes to is then seen as seventy weeks. In this prophecy of Daniel, the sevens appear four times.

In this text, a week is viewed as a decade representing ten years. The sixty-two weeks in this context is seen as 430 years. The whole complete prophecy of Daniel then covers 490 years. This covers:

daniel604 B.C. Daniel is deported to Babylon
539 B.C. Babylon conquered by Medo-Persian empire
457 B.C. Persian decree to rebuild Jerusalem
444 B.C. Nehemiah begins the rebuilding
167 B.C. Greek Antiochus desecrates the Temple
142 B.C. Jews win independence
54 B.C. Roman Pompey sacks Temple
10 B.C. Herod’s Temple completed
4 B.C. Incarnation, the birth of the Lord
30 A.D. Passion of the Lord
64 A.D. Nero torches Rome
67-70 A.D. Titus destroys Temple
136 A.D. Jerusalem destroyed
476 A.D. Rome fell

Currie Historical Timeline

This is very important because this covers from Daniels deportation to Babylon to the fall of the Temple of Jerusalem. That is the seventy-weeks predicted by Daniel at great accuracy.

Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and for your holy city:
This is the Jews under the Covenant and the Holy City is Jerusalem.

The transgression will stop and sin will end, guilt will be expiated, Everlasting justice will be introduced, vision and prophecy ratified, and a most holy will be anointed.
This is the ministry and coming of Jesus Christ, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”.

From the utterence of the word that Jerusalem was to be rebuilt Until the one who is anointed and a leader, there shall be seven weeks
From Daniel to the rebuilding of the Temple (604 B.C. to 444 B.C.) Jesus is the anointed one. This will be seven weeks.

During the sixty-two weeks it shall be rebuilt, with streets and trenches in time of affiction.
This takes us from Nehemiah rebuilding the Temple in 444 B.C. to Antiochus who desecrates the Temple 167 B.C.

After the sixty-two weeks an anointed shall be cut down when he does not possess the city;
Jesus has arrived in the first advent and his entry into Jerusalem will end with his death. This is marked 30 A.D. for His passion.

And the people of a leader who will come shall destroy the sanctuary.
This is when Titus destroys the Temple in between 67-70 A.D.

Then the end shall come like a torrent; until the end there will be war, the desolation that is decreed.
With the destruction of the Temple came the fall of Jerusalem. The war lasted three and a half years bringing great anguish on the Jews.

For one week he shall abolish sacrifice and oblation;
Jesus ends the Old Covenant’s animal sacrifice as His sacrifice begins a New Covenant in His blood (Matthew 26:26).

On the Temple wing shall be the horrible abomination until the ruin that is decreed is poured out upon the horror.
The Jews are then scattered and the Romans set up their eagle over the ruins of the Temple.

As the Old Testament is being literally destroyed by the Roman army, the Catholic Church had survived the Great Tribulation that our Lord had warned His people to take flight, the Church was not in Jerusalem when it fell, it had moved out setting up it’s headquarters in Rome! Wow! Now this is going to be fascinating!!!!

 

Pius XIIPope Pius XII died in 1957 so he didn’t see the reality he spoke of. In 1967, Israel reclaims Jerusalem as a result of the Six-Day War. All this coinciding with the establishment of the EU makes things very interesting to follow. I hope this may help anyone who wonders where some of the attacks on the Church are based. The above describes the difference between Catholics and Protestants on who the Pope is, but there are a few other issues to address.

The SDA have created what they call nine identifiers they proclaim points to the Anti-Christ. Other hard-core Protestants will concur amen. With that in mind, I want to respond so that people searching for
His TRUTH, can be better informed.

The SDA’s first point: They believe the Church began in the 530′s and forced the three kings (horns) to collapse. The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ around the year 33 AD. The writings of the Old Testament foretold it. Read the Psalms, how the name of God will be worshiped and praised by all nations. The seed of Abraham as outlined in Geneses. The Protestant worldview on the other hand is very sectional to individual locations. The Assembly of God for example, was founded in 1917 from Arkansas. Their headquarters is in Springfield Missouri, and three-fourths of their following is in the Bible belt. They are not universal nor are any of the other groups. The Catholic Church alone celebrates this world unity in every nation.

Remember Daniel’s prophecy, “In the life time of those kings the God of Heaven will set up a KINGDOM that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people”. This will be a universal kingdom encompassing every nation. Peter went to Rome because it was the center of the Roman civilization and the persecution was the worst. By 530 AD, their had been over 50 Popes in direct line! The first 34 popes were all martyrs up to the fourth century. This is one reason the SDA wants to sell you that the Catholic Church was founded by Pagans from Babylon. They have to deny St. Peter as the Lord’s foundation.

The second point they declare: “It would have a man at its head who speaks for it”. Will the Jews except a female messiah? I don’t think so. There are many organizations and countries that are headed by men. It is hard sometimes to take this seriously. To have women priestess and pastors would be a break from the Apostolic Tradition. Don’t be surprised to learn that the SDA are opening up to women pastors.

VandalsThe third point: “It would pluck up or uproot three kingdoms”. The Barbarians whom SDA are thinking about were subdued by a civil authority, the Church was in hiding from these groups because of their cruel persecution of Christians. This took place 1500 years ago. This was never a Reformation argument but rather an SDA creation. Much of the anti-Catholic jargon by most Protestants today have long since dropped. There is no basis for it.

The fourth point: “It would be diverse or different from the other kingdoms”. The SDA want to describe the Vatican as “diverse” because our kingdom really is not of this world. The Vatican truly would be Jesus’ royal embassy and the earth it’s mission field. This should not be confused with the deception of the Anti-Christ and his world conquest. The Anti-Christ will appear to be a man of peace; however; his kingdom will be exposed through New Age teaching. The more you see Christian values deteriorate world wide, the more you see the Ten Commandments ignored. It was the Catholic Church that built the Judeo-Christian culture that society has been rebelling from.

All these non-Catholic groups had no influence prior to their existence! These are but a few churches for examples; The Lutheran Church 1517, The Church of England 1534, the Presbyterian 1560, Episcopalian 17th century, Congregationalist 1582, Methodist 1744, Unitarian 1774, Mormon 1829, Baptist 1605, Dutch Reformed 1628, SDA 1863, The Church of Christ 1820, Jehovah’s Witness 1879, and many more. The Catholic Church was not man made, but God made almost 2000 years ago.

constantineThe fifth point: “It would emerge from the fourth kingdom of iron-The Pagan Roman Empire”. The SDA believes that “Pontifex Maximus” was the first pope. This was a title used by the Roman Emperor Constantine. He was not a pope, he was the first Catholic Head of State. The current Pope in Constantine’s time was Sylvester I! The SDA wants you to believe that Constantine was the first pope, but that the Catholic Church was founded in ” 538″. Constantine ruled 306-37. How can Constantine be pope in 306, but his apostate church created in 538? Can we say Oops? Constantine became a convert to the faith. The real anti-Christ will possibly head the EU, possibly the real Revived Roman Empire. Again, there is strong evidence that what St. John wrote about in Revelation was fulfilled with the 1 Century Roman Emperors.

The sixth point: “God’s people would be given into his hand for a time and times and the dividing of time”. The SDA imply that the Catholic Faith began in 538 AD and then died in 1798 when Napoleon of France hijacked the Pope to France. They want to tie 1260 days to 1260 years so you can see a resurrected papacy. From the 12th Chapter of Revelation, St. John referees to 1260 days when the woman was taken by God and protected by Him from the dragon. This would be more in line to Mary’s Assumption into Heaven than to the Arian Barbarians to Napoleon.

The seventh point: “The rule of the papacy began in 538 AD”. The SDA has a purpose in mind for this date. The current Pope in 538 was Pope Vigilius. He was the 59th successor of St. Peter! The SDA misunderstands the notion of papal authority. In 755 AD the popes were given lands called Papal States that measured about the size of New Hampshire. In 1860 these Papal States became subject to Victor Emmanuel II, King of Italy. Then an independent Papal State was created in 1929 called “Vatican City”. If you wanted to use a date that the pope was given land, this was 755, not 538! The Papal rule continues this very day. A spiritual rule that governs more than a billion people. One out of six living persons today profess the faith of the Apostles. From the Vandal to Napoleon, I think its interesting to note that both forces were barbaric and cruel to the Church. Napoleon wasn’t the first Emperor who tried to steal God’s authority by force. Emperors and rulers tried to control or influence the papacy to further their own ambitions. In some cases, they appointed anti-popes to support them.

An antipope is a man who has been improperly elected as pope. He sets himself up in opposition to the pope who has been regularly chosen in accordance with canon law. The first antipope was Hippolytus (217 AD) and the last antipope was Felix V (1440-1449). In all there have been 27 antipopes none of which are listed in the history of the popes. It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that in the final days prior to the Second Coming of Jesus, there will be a final antipope. He is the infamous False Prophet who will defect from the Catholic Church and cause the apostasy St. Paul warns of. Rev. 13 Vs 11 states, “it had two horns like a lamb but spoken like a dragon”. This False Prophet will be false because of his defection, not his adherence to the faith. The papacy itself has Jesus’s protection and has survived all attacks since 33 AD.

CONFESSION_1The Eight point: “The papacy further undermines Jesus by setting up a system of confession to an earthly priest, thus by passing Jesus…”. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a stumbling block to most non-Catholics. St. Paul writes in his second letter to the Corinthians “We have the ministry of reconciliation”. This is the heart of the New Covenant that the Church preaches repentance throughout the whole world. When we go to confession, we do so in obedience to the WILL of Jesus. St. John states, “On the evening of that first day of the week (SUNDAY), even though the disciples had locked the doors of the place where they were for fear of the Jews…. Jesus came and stood before them, Peace be with you, He said. When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. At the sight of the Lord the Disciples rejoiced. Peace be with you, he said again. As the Father has sent me so I send you. Then he breathed on them and said. Receive the Holy Spirit, if you forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven, if you hold them bound, they are held bound”.

Through this great Sacrament, Jesus gives His Apostles the ministry of Reconciliation. This authority should not be confused with the moral obligation to forgive ” seventy times seven”. St. James 5 Vs 13 states, “Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the priest of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be FORGIVEN”. St. James further states, “Therefore, confess YOUR SINS to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed”.

In this great sacrament, Jesus chooses to forgive in the action of His ministers. He calls his priest’s to work as intercessors representing the whole Church in the body of Christ! Just as God may heal someone through a pastor, Jesus established through His Apostles, the priesthood for the purpose of spiritual healing. The confessional is not of man made origin, but ordained by Jesus, an action of the Holy Spirit. Beginning with the New Testament, this has come down the ages through the Church that Jesus built. When you go to confession to the local priest, a bishop ordained him. The bishop was ordained by a previous bishop that can be traced all the way back to the Apostles. You cannot say that in the forth century the Church invented this teaching, for it supersedes the 4th century, 3rd, 2nd and first century. It was part of what Jesus commanded teaching, “Teach them to carry out everything I commanded you”.

jesus_washing_apostles_feet_parson_lThe Apostles are to teach the world not merely the doctrine of the Resurrection but the historical teaching of Jesus as well. This contains the entire Gospel message that has been safeguarded by the Catholic Church for nearly 2000 years! Many Protestants must demonize this to build themselves up. In truth Jesus established the Catholic Church as the authority. The Webster’s II dictionary describes safeguard as “One that SERVES as a guard or protection”. Control has the definition, “to exercise authority or influence over”. Both aspects are gifts to the Church so that orthodoxy (right praise) can be maintained.

Today there are so many man made churches (40,000 plus variations of Protestants), that it would be difficult to sort out the truth without Jesus’ gift of infallibility to the Catholic Church. Some groups quote Luke 5 Vs 21, and “Then the Scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves, who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins”. They did not recognize Jesus own authority. Jesus asks what is easier; to tell this man your sins are forgiven or pick up his mat and walk. Jesus astounded the crowd when the man picked up his mat and walked.

Jesus states, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”. When I read John 20 Vs 23 I find that Jesus did instruct his Apostles to “FORGIVE MEN’S SINS, AND HOLD THEM BOUND”. This is an authority commanded by Christ! It’s Jesus who forgives in the action (obedience) of his ministers. The question is, “do you believe in Jesus, and does he have the power to forgive sins”? Yes he does! Can he use his Church, Yes he can! He has commanded it.

The SDA will often quote John 10 Vs 33; “The Jews wanted to stone Jesus because Jesus refereed to himself as one with the Father”. They called this blasphemy. What they want you to believe is that the Pope refers to himself as God. They want to sell to you that the Pope is the Anti-Christ. They want to tie this in with St. Paul’s warning of the Anti-Christ. The first time a Pope was in a Jewish house of worship, they (Peter) were ordered to reframe speaking the name of Jesus (Acts 4 Vs 15-17).

vatican 1What they misunderstand are quotes like,“We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty”. This is not calling us God, this is only implying that we have his authority (Matt 28 Vs 16-20). St. Paul states that we are ambassadors of Christ! The Catholic Faith is the religion of Jesus Christ! Obviously, those who teach it, represent him, who commissioned us to carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth. We are the light of the world and the salt of the earth! When a person becomes a Catholic, they do not convert to the Pope, they convert to Jesus! The Pope, bishops, saints, Mary, sacraments, scriptures, and grace are important, as Jesus is important. Jesus established his Church and loves it as his new bride.

Another question some groups will challenge us concerns the Ten Commandments. Martin Luther changed the second and third commandments. The SDA states, “Every reformer, without exception, spoke of the papacy as Anti-Christ”. Well naturally those who were deceived and fell from the truth as they did, would say that. This is no surprise, however, it’s sad that these old arguments still reach the uninformed. Luther changed the second Commandment from, “You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain”, to “You shall not worship graven images”. This was part of their justification for their apostasy. Exodus 25 and 1 Kings 6, God instructs the Jews to put Angels on the Ark of the Covenant and in the Temple Solomon built. God does not break his own command. Think about the first Commandment, “I am the Lord your God, You shall not have strange gods before me”. The Jews and Christians have believed Exodus 20 Vs 4-6 as part of Vs 2-3. That’s why you see this part of scripture as one paragraph! When you say, “I am the Lord your God, you shall not have any strange gods before me”,this includes the rest of the paragraph! Naturally we are not to worship art, pictures, statures, the sky, the stars, the sun, the moon, and anything God has created in the heavens and on the earth.

Let me answer their false assumption on “graven image”. This must be seen in the context and spirit it was written. The inspiration God intended and expects His Church to be faithful to. The nations surrounding the Israelites worshiped idols made by men, fashioned false gods, and adored objects which is against the first Commandment and explained by Exodus 20 Vs 4-6. Do you see how this works? The Philistines worshiped a half man, half fish idol they called “Dagon” which Samson destroyed in their temple (Judges 16 Vs 23-31). This clearly breaks the first Commandment. The Catholic Church teaches that God so loved the world that he sent his only son into the world. He paid our dept! With this in mind, God will not deceive us. We cannot deceive God. We contend that God was alluding to the false god’s worshiped by men and the idols that represented them.

cross-water-bloodA crucifix that depicts the death of the Lord on a cross simply is a reminder. These reminders reflect what is already in the heart, and the truth it represents. Like the angels on the Ark and in the Holy of Holies in the Temple, sacred objects are used to enhance the worship of the unseen God. In choosing the extreme Protestant version, you must follow through and destroy your pictures or a painting of the oceans, lakes, streams, mountains, or even your family and friends. Anything God created you could not recreate. This comes back to Martin Luther. Who gave him permission to change the Ten Commandments? What Christians had believed in practice for 1500 years, will not change after 2000 years.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do you think first century Catholics sinned because they painted crosses, loaves of bread, fish, Jesus as shepherd, Mary, and other holy objects found on the walls of ancient catacombs? The SDA and other small minorities attack the Catholic Church for changing the Sabbath day from Saturday to Sunday. This is the center of their doctrine and the heart of all their attacks on the Catholic Faith. Remember Pontifex Maximus? Constantine, with his conversion to Jesus, naturally gave the Church freedom. No longer did we hold Mass in the catacombs, no longer did we have to celebrate the “breaking of bread” at odd times in the darkness because the Romans persecuted the Church. We would have to hold Mass 0200 in the morning to worship God, if you could get to it.

Exodus 31:15-16 states, “Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord; of whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall be put to death. Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the sabbath, observing the sabbath throughout their generations, as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”

What is important with the message of Exodus 31:15 is the importance of the Sabbath in the Covenant.  The Sabbath is clearly central to this Covenant along with the perpetual Passover meal for the Isrealites.  The Sabbath was the “sign” of the Covenant.  However, because of sin, God allowed them to be taken over.

In the midst of this terrible wailing and lamenting in Ramah and Israel in 587 B.C., Jeremiah gave this prophecy: “Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my Covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity; for I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

A new Covenant would emerge that God will make with his people.  Jesus initiates this Covenant: Matthew 26:28 states, “This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting Covenant, it will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven, do this in memory of me”.  Up to this time, Saturday was the day of the Sabbath, but from this point forward, Sunday would become the central day of the Christians.  From the cross, Jesus took the fourth cup declaring the Passover was accomplished, “It is finished”.

Jesus was the first to “break bread” on Sunday: “And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.  With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.  Then they said to each other, Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us? So they set at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon! Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread. “ Luke 24:30-35)

We know that St. John wrote of “The Lord’s Day” to signify importance to Sunday, as the day of the Lord (Revelation 1:10).  This was the day Jesus rose from the dead and also the day the Holy Spirit would come upon the Disciples.  A disciple of St. John, St. Ignatius of Antioch recalls St. John teaching him the importance of Sunday as the Lord’s Day.  Unfortunately, the SDA has erroneously made the Sunday Sabbath their version of the “Mark of the Beast”.

Like others, the SDA misinforms people that the Emperor Constantine created the Roman Church establishing Paganism making Sunday the day of the Christians.

Constantine did not establish Sunday as the day, he merely made it available for the Christians because this was their day of worship. St. Justin the Martyr writes (149), “On the day which is called SUNDAY, we have a common assembly… The Eucharistic elements are distributed and consumed”. With Constantine’s Edict of Milan, he gave Christians freedom. We were able to come out and practice our faith openly. The Apostles began this celebration on Sunday and this carried on through out the first three centuries. I find it interesting that this issue became an issue in 1863 with the establishment of the SDA.

The SDA and all the others have enjoyed the freedom they inherited because of the millions of Catholics that died with the hope that one day Christians could live in freedom. With the conversion of the Roman Empire, this led to the foundation of Judeo-Christian ethics as the base of new nations. Eventually, the United States was born with these fundamental rights! Today, we are seeing a massive rebellion from these principles that is reviving the old paganism of Rome (another sign). The SDA and others accuse the Catholic Church for “changing the feast days and the laws”.

aaaaThis resurgence of paganism has done more to change our feast days and laws. Since we have seen Europe and America abandon biblical values, chaos results. We have seen Christmas and Easter reduced to secular vacations. Christmas is refereed to in public school as “winter break”, in Kentucky, federal employees were ordered not to say “Merry Christmas” because this was “politically incorrect”. Easter is refereed to as “spring break” instead of “Holy Week”.

I remember in the 1970′s businesses could not open on Sunday because it was against the law. Now no one regards anything special about “The Lord’s Day”, at least in public. Christian values are under assault, our country has changed laws permitting abortion, homosexuality, divorce, pornography, and our society reflects this tragically. In the United States everyday there are 40,000 new cases of sexually transmitted diseases, 5,000 abortions, every 70 seconds a suicide, rape and murder are the norm. Homosexuality is becoming more tolerated which is an abomination before God. The list goes on and on. Witchcraft and the occult are on the rise. Heaven help us!

It is interesting to note that the Catholic Church is leading the fight against this tide of evil everywhere! Where are all those who hate the Church in all this? Again, they are taking advantage of the freedom the Catholic Church, and others, are fighting for. The spirit of Anti-Christ appears to be here. When this man of lawlessness does appear the Anti-Church and the Judas Complex (apostasy) will already have established the foundation (EU).

The SDA concludes, “No other organization could possibly fit these nine points”. They have devised this whole plan to gain converts with the intent to lead “the Elect” into apostasy. I wish not to attack their sincerity, but it’s important that the truth must be revealed. They have created a man made diversion to “create” divine establishment for their particular interpretation that began in 1863. We, as Catholics, don’t need to create a huge massive study against Protestants. St. Paul did this in three verses! St. Paul states, “I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel (not that there is another). But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the Gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from Heaven should preach to you a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, and now I say again, If anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed (Galatians 1 Vs 6-9)!

pillarThe Gospel of Christ must be over 1900 years old tied to the foundation of the Apostles. One created by men in 1863 by men (or any other date for that matter) should concern you. To say the papacy is the Anti-Christ is to say that St. Peter is the Anti-Christ, I don’t think so. The SDA ask this question, “Are you willing to follow where Jesus leads, even though it may be painful”? Well, are they? Once they realize the Catholic Church as the “pillar and foundation of truth (1Timotrhy 3 Vs 15)”! When will they answer their own question? Probably when the real Anti-Christ truly does appear on the scene. This would be tragic, but “come Lord Jesus, come, Amen”!

The Catholic Church considers the last days to be at hand since the death of Christ. However, concerning the signs that are everywhere, the Pope reminds us, “do not be afraid”. We are to live each day as potentially the day of His return. No one knows the actual day or the hour, but we have the signs to watch for. Also, we need to be ready because we are not promised tomorrow.

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The Catholic Defender VS SolaFide Opponent

Posted by Donald Hartley - May 23rd, 2014

catholic defenderThe following is a debate that I had with a friend who called himself “SolaFide” who wanted to challenge me based from his namesake, SolaFide or “Faith Alone”. I was deployed to Iraq when this debate took place. An interesting story concerning this debate took place in my RCIA class which was being held in Baghdad, I asked the Division Chapel’s Chaplain’s Assistant to play the part of SolaFide and I played myself.

We took opposite sites at the front of the chapel and the RCIA sat in the pews ready for a good debate. As the debate unfolded, the Chaplain’s Assistance, a Baptist, played his role, but was soon to find himself agreeing with me as this debate went to it’s end. That was a great sign for the many in the RCIA who were coming from a strong Protestant background that the Catholic Faith is the true Faith.

In this dialogue I will use OSAS (Once Saved Always Saved) to represent SolaFide and CD to represent myself (Catholic Defender).

eternmanOSAS      I affirm that faith is the sole instrumental means by which sinners are justified before God. My opponent will try to persuade us that this is not case. However, this will be an impossible task because the Scriptural evidence is too strongly against him. Allow me to present some basic facts that my opponent will not be able to overturn.

Whenever the justification of sinners is mentioned before God, faith is always mentioned as at least one of the means and in most cases it is the only means mentioned. What this communicates to us is that faith is the sin qua non of justification, that is without it there is no justification. Now my opponent will probably agree that faith is necessary, but he will deny that it is sufficient without Baptism. However, this is clearly demonstrated to be false by the numerous Scriptural passages that speak of individuals being justified who have not received the sign and seal of Baptism. For example, our Lord says the following:

John 5:24
“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.

What could be clearer? Whoever hears my words and believes has eternal life. There is no other means mentioned besides belief/faith, which proves it is by faith alone. Furthermore, this is not an isolated case. The Apostle Paul says basically the same thing:

Galatians 3:2-3
I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?

Notice the Apostle asks the rhetorical question that Jesus answered. Do you receive the Spirit by “believing what you heard” or some other means? Of course the answer is by believing what you heard, which is exactly what Jesus said is the means for attaining eternal life. However, here the Apostle Paul speaks of it being the means by which one receives the Holy Spirit which is synonymous with eternal life!
Once again we have our Lord confirming this truth when dealing with a tax collector. The tax collector expressed his faith by asking God for mercy and forgiveness and we hear the following dominical pronouncement:

Luke 18:14
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. …”

So in these three cases it is proven that faith alone is the sufficient instrumental means for our justification. However, there is more.
In the book of Romans where the Apostle Paul gives his most systematic defense of justification he makes the point that both Jews and Gentiles are alike in that they are both under sin and in need of a Savior. He then makes the following statement:

Romans 3:30
Since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.

The point being made is that Jews/circumcised and Gentiles/uncircumcised are justified in the same way through the same faith, because there is only one God. So if my opponent makes the argument that there is a different instrumental means of justification for the Old Covenant people and the New Covenant people then he is directly contradicting the Apostle’s argument. Therefore, he must explain how his position jives with the inspired Apostle.
The Apostle Paul continues and makes the following statement in reference to Abraham’s justification and therefore the justification of us all. He says:

Romans 4:5
However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.

So we see the argument of the Apostle is that Jews and Gentiles and Abraham and all believers are justified in the same way and that is by/through faith. Can my opponent say the same thing about his position? If not, it has to be rejected as unbiblical.

Now my opponent may attempt to argue because there are a few verses that mention baptism in reference to justification/salvation or washing away of sins then it must actually do those things. The error in this logic is easily seen by looking at the Sacrament of the Old Testament, Circumcision, which Baptism replaced. Circumcision under the Old Testament was called the Covenant. However, everyone knows it was not really the Covenant, but instead it was the sign of the Covenant. Likewise, under the New Testament we read that Baptism save us, but in the same way it is not Baptism that saves us, but Baptism is the sign of what saves us. So what is going on here? Well, this is what you call a metonymy or sacramental language. Since the sign and the thing signified are so closely related the name and effects of the one is attributed to the other.

In closing, we must see if my opponent will remain consistent with his interpretation of Scripture or if special pleading will be his primary tool.

CDCD      Tell me what is wrong with the following:

“I saw the dead, the great and the lowly, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. Then another scroll was opened, the book of life. The dead were judged according to their faith, by what was written in the scrolls. The sea gave up its dead; then Death and Hades gave up their dead. All the dead were judged according to their faith”.

Did you guess it? I purposely exchanged “deeds” for “faith” to show that we will be held accountable to our deeds and works.

My opponent and I have two elemental differences in our understanding of “faith” which will bear itself out in this debate. Of the importance of faith, we hold much in common. However, when you take a closer look, the differences become clear.

My opponent would have you believe that all you need to have is faith in Jesus Christ and believe in Him and you shall be saved. While we agree on the importance of faith, we disagree on the absolute aspect of faith or “SolaFide”.

Ephesians 2:8 say, “For by GRACE you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you, so no one may boast”. It is by God’s grace that He gives you faith in which the good deeds you do come from Him. God established the means of grace through the sacraments:

“But when the kindness and generous love of God our Savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of His mercy, He SAVES us through the BATH of REBIRTH and RENEWAL by the Holy Spirit… So that we might be JUSTIFIED by HIS GRACE and become heirs in hope of eternal life”. St. Paul is clearly writing this with what Jesus proclaimed to Nicodemus (John 3:5) in mind. (Of course it is only coincidence that it happens to be found in Titus 3:5).

St. John echoes this point home stating, “As for you, the anointing that you received from Him remains in you, so that you do not need anyone to teach you. But His anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not false; just as it taught you, remain in Him.

SolaFide by definition means to uphold the teaching of “Faith Alone” which justify a person to eternal life. My friends, we need faith to be sure, but St John emphasizes this point, “If you consider that He (Jesus) is righteous, you also know that everyone who ACTS in righteousness is begotten by Him”.

St. John tells us basically what this means: “I write these things to you so that you may know that you have eternal life”.

What did he write us?

“If we say ‘we are without sin’, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us”.
“If we say, ‘we have not sinned’, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us”.
“Whoever says, ‘I know Him’, but does not keep His Commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him”.
“Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother is still in darkness”.
“If anyone loves the world or the things of the world the love of the Father is not in him”.

“If” you’re able to follow all the “ifs” you will then know how to follow God. That takes us back to the issue of faith. By not living up to the “ifs” we are liable to judgment. It is by God’s grace and forgiveness and mercy that we receive, then we can say, “And the victory that conquers the world is our faith”, “for we walk by faith and not by sight”.

We will have to face judgment and be held accountable to our deeds (Matthew 25:31-46, James 2:24). This is communicated many times in the New Testament. So along with faith, we must have His Grace and good works which all comes from Him. Then we can live the virtues of our Faith; Faith, Hope, and Love, which the greatest of these is Love.

I do want to make a final point in my opening statement; my opponent will present scripture that will address the listener to believe in the gospel. In reaffirming the statement, it goes much deeper than what John 3:16 is saying. To believe is to follow and obey the teachings of Christ. It is an active participation as opposed to a passive relationship with the Lord. Do not believe that you can bury your faith in the backyard so when the Master returns, you can give it back to Him. Rather, store up heavenly treasure that “no moth and decay destroys, and thieves break in and steal”.

OSAS      Actually it is Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul who says this:

John 5:24
“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life

Acts 16: 31
31They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

So is his objection really with me or Jesus and His Apostles, because they both say what he is denying is true.

My opponent also spends a lot of time talking about works, but I don’t deny the necessity of works in salvation. I deny that works are the instrumental means of justification. Works are necessary as evidences of our new creation and justification. My opponent quotes Eph. 2:8-10 which refutes his position and supports mines. Notice what it says:

Ephesians 2:8-10
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. .

First, notice it says we are “saved, through faith” something my opponent denies is the case in his opening. Second, notice it says we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works”. So the good works comes after we are already “created in Christ Jesus”(i.e. saved ). As I said previously they are evidences of our new creation and justification, which was achieved through faith. Finally, this explains the role of works. Every believer does good works, not because they are justified by them, but because God has changed the individual and works in them to will and to do. God’s work is always efficacious and therefore the justified one will always produce these works.

I explained the use of sacramental language in my opening post which deals with my opponent’s use of the passages that speak of baptism in reference to salvation.

I also affirm the justified one will follow and obey the teachings of Christ. A justifying faith is not only trusting for the moment of justification, but instead it is a lifelong trusting that God grants us.

I also affirm our good works will be judged at the eschaton, but they are not judged to determine who makes it to heaven or hell. Instead these good works serve as vindication of God and those He has justified.

apologeticsCD      “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and the evidence of things not seen”. For the mature person, faith is the passage way by which we express our hope and longing for. What does St. Paul mean when he says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved”?

Look at the whole text: “On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river where we thought there would be a place of prayer. We sat and spoke with the women who had gathered there. One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God, listened, and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul was saying. After she and her household were baptized, she offered us an invitation, ‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my home,’ and she prevailed on us”.

Then following this, Sts Paul and Silas were at Philippi casting out demons and preaching when they were picked up by the authorities who jailed them. There was an earthquake and the power of God freed the Apostle, but the Jailer, seeing that he did not flee asked St. Paul what he must do to be saved. “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.”

Ok, what transpires, “so they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in the house. He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wound; then he and all his family were baptized”.

Baptism was important to the households of Lydia and the Jailer. Furthermore, these baptisms are not treated as symbolic but a very important piece to the whole text “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved”. They were all baptized and all saved.

This demonstrates my point, yes, you quote a an important passage, however, it does not say what you interpret it to mean. When you say “I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ”, what do you mean by that? SolaFide does not answer this because he can’t without opening himself up. The Oneness crowd say they believe in Acts 16:31, so do the Mormons, the JW’s, The Way International, and everyone else. What is the bottom line? To believe in Jesus, you must pick up your cross and follow Him, you must obey His Commandments, His Teachings, His Church. You must repent of your sins and yes, be baptized. Just a note, both the households of the Jailer and Lydia were baptized into the same Church! The Catholic Church!

OSAS      That is it. He says Baptism is important. Of course Baptism is important. So is the Lord’s Supper, so is doing good works, so is obedience, etc. However, being important does not equate to it being the means by which we are justified! My opponent then quotes the text that says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved”. That should settle the issue, but instead he adds his own words, “They were all baptized and all saved”. This is nowhere to be found in the text! Furthermore the command to be baptized following a profession of faith is typical, because it is the visible sign and seal of our entrance into the visible church, but not the means to our justification.
My opponent makes the following comment:

Here is my answer. I mean I trust in the works and promises of the Triune God on my behalf, primarily the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in my stead. This faith is the instrumental means by which God justifies me, but He doesn’t leave me there. He has also changed me through the new birth. Through the indwelling and power of the Holy Spirit my desires and actions are changed. I seek to glorify Him by doing all that He commands and continuing to “believe” in Him, but He gets all the glory, because it is really all His work. With all that said it is not these other things that justify me, but instead as the Scriptures says, “to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked” That is faith alone.

cross-water-bloodCD      “For Christ also suffered for the sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that He might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, He was brought to life in the spirit. In it He also went to preach to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water. THIS PREFIQURED BAPTISM, WHICH SAVES YOU NOW.”

My opponent will concede that baptism is indeed important, but his conclusion, “That should settle the issue, but instead he adds his own words, “They were all baptized and all saved”. This is nowhere to be found in the text”! I maintain that is the text. They were all “baptized” and “saved” based on believing in the instruction given and the action taken by both households. St. Luke writes of St. Paul’s Baptism, “So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him (St. Paul), he said, ‘Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit’. Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized, and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength”. SolaFide appeals to the Faith and its importance to justification. Rightfully so, it is very important, however, Faith without works “is dead”.

Notice that my opponent adds “alone’” to the text which is his interpretation. That is “extra” biblical. “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our Profession of Faith”! Other newer translations may read “confession”, but it means the same thing. We profess our faith in Jesus Christ more often than anyone else that I am aware off. What a great gift to have this faith; believe this faith, to walk this faith. This is a free gift. Though our sins may be as scarlet, our souls become white as snow. This coming Easter Vigil, millions around the world will embrace this great Faith of ours, and will be Baptized (and like the households of the Jailer, Lydia, and St. Paul) their sins are forgiven and they will receive the Holy Spirit.

OSAS      If in Rom. 4:1-5 faith alone is “extra biblical”, could you tell us what Abraham was doing besides believing in Gen. 15:1-6 in order to receive justification at that point?

AbrahamCD      ( Actually it was Romans 3:28 that Luther added “alone”) “Abram’s faith in God’s promise was regarded as an act of righteousness, i.e., as expressing the “right” attitude of man toward God. In turn, God credited this to Abraham, i.e., gave him the title to the fulfillment of God’s promises. St. Paul makes Abraham’s faith a model for that of Catholics (Romans 4:1-25; Gal 3:3-9).

Abraham did not work to earn the promise of the Covenant; he was justified in his faith in God’s promise. “What can be more fair than to admit everyone into divine presence on the basis of forgiveness grasped by faith”.

We are no longer under the “law of circumcision” but a “New and Everlasting Covenant” planting the law of grace into the whole world. Abraham received the “sign of circumcision as a seal on the righteousness received through faith while he was uncircumcised”. We of the New Covenant receive grace through the sign and seal of Baptism which our sins are forgiven and we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. A Sacrament is an outward sign of inward grace that we receive through faith. Neither Abraham, nor us did anything to receive the free gift. Salvation is a free gift from God, you do not earn it.

The issue is not really faith, which is to be understood. The real difference is you’re defending of faith as “SolaFide” or faith alone. I speak of Grace, Faith, and Good works as proceeding from one to another and they are interconnected. Their importance places us within the New and Everlasting Covenant. Baptism is necessary for Salvation because this is the sign and seal of the Holy Spirit. He transmits His sanctifying grace through them. That is why the households of Lydia, the Jailer, and St. Paul were baptized.

Faith also needs to be nourished or it can be drowned out through disobedience, those who heard the word of God but allowed the Devil to steal them away, those who recieved the word with joy, only to fall away because of trials, and yet still others are choked because of worldly anxieties and riches and pleasures of this life.

OSAS      My opponent did not name one other thing Abraham was doing besides believing God at this justification. That proves faith alone! A later circumcision does not change that fact.

moses15bCD      This does not prove “faith alone”, you have not disproved “Grace” and “Good works” that are part of the New Covenant. Do you think that Faith was all that was necessary to follow God under this Covenant of circumcision? Do you think Abraham would have thought that if one of his servants or people were to reject him that this would have been tolerated? God told Abraham, “On your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you that you and your descendants after you must keep: every male among you shall be circumcised”. What almost happened to Moses (Exodus 4:24)? They needed just a little more than faith in this scene. Zipporah saved his life? Was this your rebuttal?

OSAS      Yes, it was my rebuttal. We are only limited to 200 chars and I was at the limit. It was your turn to ask a question, not rebut :) However, since you did rebut I get the last word before you ask a question.

You seem to be confused on the different types of means/causes of justification. I don’t want to disprove “grace” or “good works” under the New Covenant because I believe in both of them. The debate is supposed to be over the instrumental means of our justification. You are all over the place while I’m standing right here waiting on you to enter the real debate on the real issue. It is your turn to ask a question.

CD      You say you “believe” and have “faith” in the Lord Jesus Christ. Can you believe and have faith when at the same time you deny his Church’s teachings?

OSAS      I don’t deny His church teachings. You error is that every time you see Church you think of the Bishop in Rome and those Bishops in communion with Him. However, this is a not a biblical definition of the church. Furthermore, the Word of God is the highest authority that we will all have to give an account for obeying and disobeying.

CD      So, for you, are you saying that the bible is the pillar and foundation of truth? Furthermore, if, from your own mind, the Catholic Church is not the biblical church, where and what is the biblical church?

OSAS      No the church is that, the Scriptures are part of the truth that the pillar and foundation should be holding up. There are many biblical churches. Biblical churches are those that adhere to Scriptures as their highest authority, because they are God speaking. They also rightly preach the Gospel and administer the sacraments.

vatican 1CD      The Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth, from the scripture, Jesus founded only one Church, the Apostles called for no divisions. St. Paul instructs the Church to hang on to the traditions given it through the oral tradition and the written word. This is the basis of our faith.

You are correct, within Protestantism there are “many biblical churches” all beginning in the 16th century. 90% of them are under 100 years old. They “rightly teach the gospel” according to whom? Who is the authentic interpreter of scripture? In fact, who decides what is scripture? In order to have faith, what do you put your faith in?

St. Paul believed – he addressed Jesus as “Lord” and asked what Jesus wanted him to do, but he was later told to be baptized for the forgiveness of his sins. Why would Jesus send him to Ananias, to be baptized if he already believed and that’s all that is needed.

OSAS      First, no where is Paul told to be baptized for the forgiveness of his sins, you are reading your theology into the text. Second, based on Paul’s teaching in Romans 4:5-8 it is clear that he believed forgiveness of sins took place when one put faith in Christ(i.e. credited with righteousness). Third, I’ve never argued anywhere at anytime that only faith is needed for the entire Christian life. Faith is the sole instrumental means for justification. So your entire question is based on a straw man.

CD      That is why St. Paul teaches, “I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bonds of peace: one body and one spirit, as you were also called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism”. St. Paul, himself was called from this One Lord, to this “one faith, one baptism”! The straw man is yours.

Through your “instrumental means for justification” are you now saying that both faith and baptism are necessary? If so, then your not really following “SolaFide” as you recognize that you do need more than faith i.e., Grace, faith, and good works.

OSAS      No faith and baptism are not necessary for justification, but faith, baptism, prayer, Lord’s Supper, worship, and many other things are necessary for the entire Christ life.

BaptismCD      There is a connection between the waters of the Baptism of Moses and those of the time of Noah. The Israelites passed through the sea and were saved just as Noah and his family were saved from the flood. They both prefigure Baptism. The waters of Baptism saves a sinner from their sin through the washing away of the sin. You say baptism if important, do you mean that without it, you cannot be saved?

OSAS      No, I do not mean that without Baptism you cannot be saved and neither do you, because you rightfully acknowledge that one maybe saved without it.

Romans 3:30
30since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.

Paul is making the argument at the end of Romans 3 and it continues on in Romans 4 that both Jews and Gentiles are justified by the same means (i.e. faith). However, your position is that we are justified by baptism. Therefore, how are the Jews justified by the same means if we are justified by baptism and they are not?

CD      It is faith in the established Covenant. The Jews were saved through the justification process of the Old Covenant. God’s intent was always that men would follow Him from their heart and not the law. The New Covenant continues to a broader definition because our understanding is made know through Jesus Christ. Faith itself is not the issue, the issue is that you include “alone” when the text does not say that. “Are we then annulling the law by this faith? Of course not! On the contrary, we are supporting the law”.

I find it interesting that you push “SolaFide”, yet you exhibit little faith or no faith in the New Covenant? Why is that?

OSAS      As we all know the text does not have to say “faith alone” any more than no text says “grace alone” or “Christ alone” yet you affirm them. However, if both Jew and Gentiles are justified in the same way by faith then it logically means New Covenant believers cannot be justified by baptism or faith and baptism unless the Apostle’s statement is not true.

Luke 18:13-14
13″But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14″I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.

Jesus says the sinful tax collector went home justified after he expressed his faith by asking for mercy. If this man was not justified by faith alone, please tell us what other action was taken for his justification?

CD      This sinner left with a changed life, a changed heart, and a changed mind. The “sinner” went home justified because of the changed person who then goes and leads a life of faith, hope, and love. None of this makes any sense without living the life of grace.

OSAS      Jesus says the sinful tax collector went home justified after he expressed his faith by asking for mercy. If this man was not justified by faith alone, please tell us what other action was taken for his justification?

create-me-a-cleanCD “Create for me a clean heart oh God”. We must humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord. Our whole life should be that of a cheerful heart, one who humbles ourselves and places ourselves with respect to God and our fellow man. We should lift up the holy standards of God from our minds, our tongues, and our hearts. In truth, the sin of presumption masking behind those who believe they are justified by self-righteousness; this story teaches that the “fundamental attitude of the Christian disciple must be the recognition of sinfulness and complete dependence on God’s graciousness”. It does not lead to SolaFide, but a life humbly reaching out for mercy, another free gift of forgiveness.

OSAS      Once again, when I ask my opponent a simple questions he rambles on about all kinds of things without answering the question. This happened when I asked him about Abraham in Gen. 15. All that is expressed is faith in God and the person is justified. If this is not faith alone then simply point out what other action was taking place. Simple questions.

John 5:24
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

CD, I have asked you about Gen. 15 and Luke 18. You have not given me direct answers on any of these, but instead you ramble on about all other types of things. So please give me a direct answer to this question.

Jesus say, whoever hears and believes has eternal life. It is true based on your position that hearing and believing is enough for one to have eternal life?

CD     First of all, Gen. 15 and Luke 18 do not proclaim “Faith Alone”, I’ve never spoke against faith or the importance of it, but God is sovereign. Through His grace and with the gift of our faith in what He proclaims, we are obedient in faith to do the will of the Father.

Whoever hears and believes has eternal life. If a person who believes is obedient in faith, most certainly. He who hears you hears me so the message of the Church is clear. Jesus said, “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice”. If you are faithful to what you have heard and believe, then you would indeed belong to the Faith of the Apostles, the Catholic Church. Through her teaching authority proclaiming His voice and through His sacraments we are touched by His divine grace.

OSAS      Galatians 3:1-3
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

In the above the Apostle Paul is concerned that the Galatians are being bewitched. He says he only wants to ask them one question, which demonstrates the importance of the question. Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or hearing with faith. So would you say one can receive the Holy Spirit by hearing with faith or is something else also necessary?

jesus_before_pilate_jekelCD      “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice”.

You call that rambling? I had to chuckle over that one my brother, now that is rambling :shock: Also, you will render an account for every careless word you say, by your words you will be aquitted or by your word you will be condmned. The Lucian example you pose illistrates the importance of a repentful heart.

In the above the Apostle Paul is concerned that the Galatians are being bewitched. He says he only wants to ask them one question, which demonstrates the importance of the question. Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or hearing with faith. So would you say one can receive the Holy Spirit by hearing with faith or is something else also necessary?

St. Paul is addressing a problem he has had with former Jewish Christians who are imposing the “law” on Gentile converts. This question was settled at the Council of Jerusalem. However, there were those who tried to put the “law” of Moses on them which includes circumcision. You are building a straw man here that St. Paul does not create. “Did you recieve the Spirit by works of the law or hearing with faith” tells us they recieved baptism due to the faith they recieved. They do not need to revert back to the law because through their faith, they are the children of Abraham. St. Paul finishes all this point with, “For all of you who WERE baptized into Christ, have clothed yourselves with Christ… And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendant, heirs according to the promise”. I will add that you will be held accountable to your deeds.

OSAS      Of course they received baptism, but they also partook of the Lord’s Supper. But why/when did they receive the Holy Spirit is the issue, because that shows when they were justified. So mentioning that they receive Baptism later has no relevance to the point that was made.   God gives an individual the gift of faith and they believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, however they are not baptized until a month later. Is the individual justified and their sins are forgiven when they receive the gift of faith and believe or does it happen a month later when they are baptized?

CD     Well, lets take a look: “I want to learn only this from you: did you receive the Spirit from works of the law, or from faith in what you heard”?

St Paul knows the answer to this question as he says: “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ”. Notice he didn’t say, For all you you who heard the good news and believed into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ, he said “baptized” for a reason. To show that they indeed clothed themselves with Christ through their baptism.

Jesus said the reason he was born was that his would hear His voice. You have made the issue of hearing and believing, that point I made is very valid. “But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory. It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ”.

Nothing has changed, through the RCIA program, we are still doing the same thing, except most people today have to wait longer than a month, sometimes it is a year. For the group that I am teaching here, this scripture passage is about right. That is cool as people are recieving this great grace here in the land of Abraham!

Only God knows the heart, if one of my guys go out on patrol and is killed before the Easter Vigil, then I believe that the Baptism of desire would be in order.

Your whole argument is to convince everyone that SolaFide is the absolute truth for justification. Can a man be saved if his “faith” is dead without repentance?

OSAS      No, because it would not be justifying faith as given by God. God does not give a faith which is dead and void of repentance. James speaks of this type of faith and says even demons have it.

CD @CD      Everyone of us is given the opportunity to believe, we are given one human lifetime. Some of us longer than others, but we all have one human lifetime to make the decision to follow God. You are basically saying some are destined to Heaven and others are destined to hell. That is the root of Solafide as you maintain that only those “saved” by a common sinner’s prayer will enter heaven. Those who rely upon a “sacrament” are missing the target and thus are not saved unless they pray this “sinner’s prayer.

Jesus said “But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved”, many will not make it because they buried their faith in the back yard and placed it in the trust of false prophets and false doctrines. The road to damnation is wide because their are many roads that lead there. The road straight and narrow is the Catholic Church which had passed the Faith for nearly 2,000 years. It will persevere until Jesus returns at the end of the age.

OSAS     I want to thank “Catholic Defender” for having this discussion. I consider myself a guess here and your allowing me to air my beliefs unimpeded is appreciated. Overall I think we stayed in the bounds of respectful dialogue even though we were direct at points. This is very good and I was pleased to be a part of it.

Finally, the Scriptures are clear. God justifies the ungodly who are not working, but believing ( Romans 4:5). Let every man be a liar, but God’s word is true!

IMG_1500CD     My opponent criticized me of rambling when in reality, he can’t prove “Faith Alone. We both agree on the importance of faith, but the Catholic Church recognizes the importance of God’s grace and our living the faith. It is Grace + Faith + Works. There is a difference from the works of the law in the Old Testament and the works of faith brought forward in the New Testament. SolaFide brought forward as example that people needed to accept Jesus Christ and believe in Him. I raised the point that Jesus Himself said that the reason he was born was to testify to the truth. “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice”. That is a valid point to make if you’re going to say you must believe in Him. Jesus said, “He that hears you hears me”. That is not rambling, but points to the importance of our faith in Him, we hear His voice.

I was asked if people who accepted Jesus a month before they were baptized, would they still be saved if they died without baptism. I answered the question from an example that I’m directly involved in right now and answered yes, through “Baptism of desire”. That is a valid answer and it was direct to the question given. That was not rambling. The other example dealt with the issue of the Church. He gave his opinion of what he called “Bible Churches” that “rightly divided” the bible. I responded to that. That was not rambling.

St. Paul addressed issues of faith as opposed to the Law of Moses that false apostles were trying to pass off on the faithful. Paul makes it quite clear that is not through the “law” but through faith in the promise of the Covenant. This did not prove faith alone as I was able to show that SolaFide took passages out of context to reach his personal observations. I pointed out that Grace through faith equaled good works as a process.

My opponent called baptism, communion, good works as important to the life of a Christian, but I exhibited many examples to show they were important and necessary. Faith and Good works are intertwined together. Faith without good works is dead and you can’t bury your faith in the back yard and expect to bear good fruit. On the contrary, the Lord was very clear what happens in this situation. I will add here that the “instrumental faith” concept was not known by St. Paul, that it is extra-biblical.

I will maintain that I never lost focus, especially after rereading it a few times. Actually, the story of Abraham is one of my favorites. Faith is very important. I will not argue against that, however, it is not “faith Alone”.

I do thank SolaFide for a great debate.

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Catholic Defender: Circular Reasoning Part I

Posted by Donald Hartley - May 14th, 2014

IMG_1571[1]The following is a debate that I had with an anti-Catholic who was trying to show that the authority of the Catholic Church is Circular Reasoning. When ever anyone makes this kind of argument against the Catholic Faith, this is really a very simplistic complaint that takes a mountain of evidence to for the Catholic Apologist produce. It is easy to make an accusation, but to prove an innocence of this kind can take a lot of volumes of detail.

I begin here responding to the accusation that the Catholic Church is a system of circular logic:

What you are calling “circular logic” I will call a three legged chair or stool. This three legged stool serves to solidify the foundation by which the Lord build His Church. First we have the teaching office. That is what Magisterium means, the office of teacher. As Catholics we believe that Christ established the Church giving it His authority to act in His place until He returns. In fact, the question of Authority is the most central issue that separates Catholics and Protestants. The title “Protestant” refers to those who “protest” the authority of the Catholic Church.

What you seem to imply is that Catholics invented this “circular logic” for the purpose of self justification. The mystery of the Bride of Christ is like the mystery of it’s founder, Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church has been given the Lord’s protection (Matthew 16:18), His promise (Matthew 28:20), and His seal (John 14:26). So for me, I see the logic of the true Church in the way that of St. Paul when he says, “Ever since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what He has made. As a result, they have no excuse”.

The Lord created the Church setting it on a hill for all to see. It is not an invisible reality as some of my friends seem to believe, but alive and open for all to see. Through the Church’s authority, the other two legs of the stool are very important. St. Paul writes, “All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15).

vatican 3Vatican II teaches “The Sacred Scriptures contain the Word of God and, since they are the word of God… This sacred Synod urges all the Christian faithful to learn by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures the excelling knowledge of Jesus Christ. For ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. Therefore, they should gladly put themselves in touch with the sacred text itself…And let them remember that prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that God and man may talk together; for we speak to Him when we pray; we hear Him when we read the divine saying”.

Sacred Scripture is very important. St. Paul writes, “Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours” (2 Thessalonians 2:15). St. Paul also said, “We instruct you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to shun any brother who conducts himself in a disorderly way and not according to the tradition they received from us”. We are to imitate the apostolic tradition (2 Thessalonians 3:6).

Jesus said, “All power in heaven and earth has been given to me. Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-20). With this great commissioning, the Catholic Church has gone to every nation teaching the nations through her traditions and her sacred scriptures.

What you would perceive as a weakness, I consider a strength. In my own life there have been times when I was hanging on by a scarlet thread, but through His grace, I am here talking to you about the joy I have in sharing my faith.

Now I want to pose a counter issue with you my brother. As a Protestant, a “non-Catholic”, you hold to the teaching of Martin Luther “Sola-Scriptura”. You may have varying views concerning this belief, but you generally accept the scriptures (Protestant) as your sole rule of faith. As we have the three legged stool, you have torn two legs out and altered the one remaining. That aside, St. Peter says, “Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will: but rather human beings moved by the Holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God” (2 Peter 1:20-21). He warns, “And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you, speaking of these things as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures” (2 Peter 3:15-16). Can’t you see the wisdom of the Lord when he creates a divine institution protecting it from mishandling this word?

It is interesting how two people can look at the same information and yet, have such a stark contrast. The Catholic Church was built upon the foundation of the Apostles (Ephesians 2:20). It has no human founder. You can’t go back into time and find a Pope or Church Father to find the reason for the Church’s history, it’s successes and it’s issues. The Church does teach through her Traditions and Scriptures. Christ did instruct the Apostles to teach all the nations (Matthew 28:20) and because of this, many have been saved.

Your looking to take issue on the relationship between the “three-legged chair or stool”. I see them as needing each other, they are interwoven with each other. I agree that the Magisterium (Matthew 28:is chief in importance because it is from that authority from Christ that our Traditions and Sacred writings have been derived and defined.

keysrevelationI understand that you would recognize and give Sacred Scripture the lead role. I would consider the message as important as the messenger, however, I recognize the authority of the messenger. The word He gives has been given the promise of protection that the message would not be tainted. Those who would taint the message would have deep consequences. Hence, the foundation of a Catholic’s loyalty to the Magisterium. I trust in the one whom the message has been given!

You responded to me: “When applied, you claim that Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium lean on each other to provide co-equal support. However, how can the Magisterium lean on Scripture and Tradition for support, when Scripture and Tradition are defined by the Magisterium? Is not the Magisterium leaning on itself for support through Scripture and Tradition, while supporting Catholicism? Consequently, the tripod of Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium collapses.

You began with a very good question concerning the Magisterium and the three legged stool. This leads to what the main mission is of the Magisterium. It is to maintain the Deposit of Faith. The Deposit of Faith simply is the whole of Christian teaching given by Christ to the Apostles and preserved throughout the ages by the Church.”

Yes, consider the basic tripod. While each pole leans on the other two poles to remain erect, each pole provides the other two poles with a unique angle of balancing resistance to keep the other poles erect. Consequently, while all three poles depend on each other for support, each pole contributes a unique kind of support that the others do not.

The Second Vatican Council, in it’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (1965) reaffirms the doctrine of revelation as it has been handed down from each generation. The Deposit of Faith is not a static entity. The Church has grown 2,000 years and so has our understanding “For, as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her”.

The basis of the Church’s teaching comes from her Traditions and defined through previous councils. The Sacred Scriptures come from that same living Tradition. I would say that the strength of the Magisterium comes from the founder, Jesus Christ. Because of that strength, I would also submit to you that is the strength of her Traditions and Scriptures.

There are no new doctrines since the death of the last Apostle!

My opponent questions the Magisterium of the Catholic Church of having direct authority. I responded:

So, as you immediately note the importance of the Magisterium in the Catholic Church, I recognize this office as “possessing ultimate authority” in the name of Christ it’s founder. Christ established the office of Teacher (the Magisterium) to preserve His authentic teaching for all time. The first century Christians do not have an advantage over us because we have been given what they handed down. Great saints have helped us in our understanding and the Holy Spirit has kept us true to His word as He promised.

You have implied the exact opposite, that the Magisterium has not been faithful to the message, to the Word of God and so has not been obedient. St. Paul is concerned of false teachers who would pervert the gospel of Christ preaching a gospel other than the Apostolic preaching. He would warn that those who preach another gospel are accursed (Gal 1:6-9)

lighthouseThe Catholic Church derive the legitimate gospel through the Apostolic teaching (Acts 2:42), the faithful depended on the word of the Apostles as though it was the word of God. It is through this word that the New Testament tradition takes place, superseding those of the Old Testament. The Office of Peter, the Chair of St. Peter supersedes the Chair of Moses as the legitimate authority seat of God (Matthew 16:19 – Isaiah 22:22).

I see the legs of this chair as eternally important. The scripture does depend on Sacred Tradition for completeness of truth for obvious reasons. I can think of nearly 40,000 reasons. When you take the scriptures as the sole rule of faith, or the most important piece of God’s revelation, then you are subject to the development of strange and new gospels based from man made interpretations. Without the teaching Magisterium everyone becomes subject their own authority as they interpret scripture for themselves.

I love the scriptures and God gives me a mind to pray, to reason, and to grow using the scripture. We become unwise if we simply dismiss the traditional understanding of scripture that we have been given. The Holy Spirit works to move us closer to Himself and the scriptures are very important. However, after throwing away authentic tradition, the bible alone has no foundation (2 Peter 3:16). It must have the correct messenger and understanding to properly interpret it.

What you call “paradoxical”, meaning that the Magisterium has parallel points running in favor for and against. I will recognize Christ as the architect. St. Peter was crucified at Vatican Hill near 64-67 A.D. (John 21:18-19). To interpret the above verse, it relies on the legitimate tradition to understand it most fully. All of the teachings of the Church can be found to substantiate itself through her tradition and scripture. This means that all the teachings of the Church can be found in scripture either explicitly or implicitly. Tradition helps us keep the foundation of the truth recognizable. The chief mission of the papacy is to keep the Church faithful to the “Deposit of Faith”. To explain the Dogmas and Doctrines as they have been handed down through Apostolic Succession.

You ask the question: “Do you not think it is odd that no basis of justification for the Catholic Church exists apart from the Vatican’s authority”?

Actually, it’s not just the Vatican. Historians will attest that nations have come and gone, yet the Church remains. Many of my Protestant friends will concede that the Catholic Church was the “first church”. The Catholic Church is not dependent upon any other authority’s affirmation. It is a historical phenomenal reality going all the way back to the Apostles.

You asked this question: “But how do you know that the said verses apply to Catholic Tradition as opposed to another form of tradition”?

The closer a person investigates the cross and the early followers of Christ, the more a person ceases to be Protestant. What “other” traditions could be competing for the job? St. Paul refers to the Church as the “pillar and foundation of truth”. This pillar and foundation is not hidden behind a gray cloud of confusion, it is interwoven through history in each age from the Apostolic age on.

You Stated, “But it is God Himself doing the preservation, not the institutional Catholic Church, no? It is important to make sure that one’s faith is properly placed”.

This I agree with wholeheartedly! God is the one who is doing the preservation! He uses His Holy Catholic Church! The Pope is His prime minister, the keys given to St. Peter denotes an office. It’s this office that Christ promised the gates of hell would not prevail against. Jesus told His Apostles that those who would listen to them, hear Him!

Consider some early heresies such as the Donatists, Nestorianism and I can add the Monatants and the Arians. The early heresies of the Church such as the above were all Catholics. They tried to change or influence the Church from within. They debated several issues as orthodoxy (right praise) would prevail. Jesus asked this question, “Who do people say that I am” (Matthew 16:13)? This question has been debated and defined through the Catholic Church! The Donatants rejected the humanity of Christ. To them, Jesus crucifixion was an act. He didn’t suffer pain. The Arians denied the Lord’s Divinity, to them, Jesus was only a prophet. The Monatants denied the person of the Holy Spirit, they would be more in line with the modern day oneness crowd. The Nestorians questioned the nature of Christ. In all these questions, the Catholic Church maintained and defined who Christ is. Jesus is the Second Person in the Blessed Trinity, He is truly God and man. He was one person with two natures.

saint-ignatius-of-antiochThere were other issues such as the question of defectors during tribulation. This question was correctly resolved by the Catholic Church at the Council of Nicea and yes, it took awhile. At that time, it was very difficult because of how severe the 10 persecutions (between 67 A.D. until 313 A.D.) were. This is understandable, yet in the end, the matter is resolved.

This leads to an important point I want to make; until the Catholic Church rules on an issue formally, saints have been on opposite sides of an issue. Once the Church defines the issue (using her traditions and scriptures), that ends the debate. Those who persist in disobedience and challenge the Church in matters of faith and morals, they place themselves in spiritual mortal danger (Titus 3:10).

The modern day Protestants-Non Catholics, unlike the early heresies, are not Catholic. They are totally distinct in organization, beliefs, and traditions. The Southern Baptist for example, could care less of any Catholic Council or pronouncements. Totally unlike the Christians represented at the Council of Jerusalem. This Council greatly affected all Christians, likewise, pronouncements of the Church affects all Christians.

The heresies of Martin Luther and King Henry VIII are not comparable of those of Donatus, Nestorius, and Arius. The Anglican Church is not Catholic. They morally have become ineffective as any kind of a moral guide for anybody as they push on towards progressive liberal teachings opposed to Catholic tradition. The Catholic Church was terribly persecuted by the Church of England between 1534 until 1829. The Catholic Church does not recognize the Anglican Communion.

You define “Sola Scripura, Solo Scriptura, and Prime Scriptura” (no telling how many more formulas will be in existence 20 years from now). Before Martin Luther, these three definitions did not exist. In fact, Luther corrupted the scriptures as he took measures to remove total books from both the Old and New Testaments. He added “alone” to St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans creating the doctrine “faith alone”. Remember, when you interpret scripture without the Magistrial tradition, you begin to lose legitimate interpretations which leads to “new” and “other” gospels.

This leads to another point. A Christian must formulate their conscience so as to trust in God’s word. To seek God’s wisdom and understanding through the sacred scripture. To discount Catholic Tradition would be to water down the intent of scripture. Sola, Solo, or Prime Scriptura is not capable of maintaining the fullness of truth from understanding difficult scriptures from the “past perfect participle” of Luke 1:28 to the “Bread of Life Discourse” found in the 6th Chapter of St. John. When I read 2 Peter 1:20, I am within the historic understanding of the Catholic Church. 2 Peter 1:20 is “directed against false teachers” (NAB footnotes to 2 Peter 1:20-21).

You stated, “But, according to your views, how does one know when such a distortion has occurred”?

This is a great question! With 40,000 plus versions preaching from every street corner, there is a smoke screen making it difficult to recognize the truth. It is difficult and even well-meaning Catholics have been confused. There is a popular heresy today (Indifferentism) that teaches there are “true” Christians in every denomination, that there will be people from every denomination in Heaven (as if their perceived truths are equal), that all Christians Churches are part of the catholic (small c) church through their common belief in Christ.

That is problematic as truth is relevant, His teachings are relevant, and His authority is relevant. If I left the Catholic Church and established the church of the Hartleyites, would that be valid? No, it would not! Christ did not call me to establish my own church making myself my own infallible interpreter. Nor did He call Luther, Calvin, or anyone else. He called St. Peter and the other Apostles. They in turn reached out to the world and from many disciples, ordained successors giving them the authority to practice and hand on the faith to subsequent generations. If the Catholic Church were to formally renounce the Eucharist as the early to modern Protestants do, that would be an obvious distortion!

945682_161895583979667_251384866_nNow, my brother, I want to pose another counter issue with you. As a Protestant, you have a variety of “interpretations” concerning Holy Communion. John Calvin was the leading proponent of those who abandoned the Catholic Church’s teaching on the Eucharist citing Luke 22:19 “do this in memory of me”. As you investigate this matter, how can you take a position that is clearly of human origin rather than what Christ through His Apostles taught? If the Catholic Church taught this teaching going back to 33 A.D., shouldn’t a Christian feel that should trump any new teaching devised in 1534?

You seem to be hung with the “circular logic” comparing the Church, her authority (Magisterium, Traditions, and scriptures) as if it was “circuity”, a lack of straightforwardness or indirection. I would say that the Catholic Church has been anything but indecisive. It has defined it’s Dogmas and doctrines defending orthodoxy for nearly 2,000 years.

The Catholic Church was built upon the foundation of the Apostles (Ephesians 2:20).

You asked the question: “How did you come to this conclusion?”

I conclude from the historical line of succession of the Bishops of Rome, Pope Francis is the 266th successor of St. Peter. The Catholic Church is the Church of the New Testament. St. Irenaeus of Lyons, as early as 189 A.D., in his writing, “Against Heresies”, spoke of the Bishops of Rome up until his time. He identifies St. Clement (88-97 A.D.) as a co-worker with St. Paul (Philippians 4:3)

St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. Polycarp of Smyrna did not create their own traditions, they heroically maintained and past along the teachings intrusted to them by St. John the Apostle. They were contemporaries of St. Timothy and Titus, disciples of St. Paul. St. Paul exhorts St. Timothy “Command and teach these things. Let no one have contempt for your youth, but set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. Until I arrive, attend to the reading, exhortation, and teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was conferred on you through the prophetic word with the imposition of hands of the Presbyterate. Be diligent in these matters, be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to everyone. Attend to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you” (1 Timothy 4:11-16).

St. Peter, speaking to the contemporaries of St. Ignatius, St. Polycarp, St. Timothy, and St. Titus wrote, “So I exhort the presbyters among you, as a fellow presbyter and witness to the suffering of Christ and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed. Tend the flock of God in your midst, overseeing not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly. Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory” ( 1 Peter 5:1-4).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASt. Paul instructs St. Timothy “Do not lay hands too readily on anyone…” It is from tradition St. Paul instructed St.Titus to appoint Presbyters at every church (Titus 1:5). Acts 14:22-23 says, “They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, it is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God. They appointed presbyters for them in each church and with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they put their faith”. St. Ignatius was taken to Rome in chains where he was thrown to wild beasts. He saw this journey in the same way as a person on his way to his own wedding. His suffering made him feel more the disciple. He died for Christ and for the holy truths taught him by the Apostle St. John.

From the Epistle of St. Ignatius to the Smyrnians
“Now the more any one sees the bishop keeping silence, the more ought he to revere him. For we ought to receive every one whom the Master of the house sends to be over His household, as we would do Him that sent him. It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself. And indeed Onesimus himself greatly commends your good order in God, that ye all live according to the truth, and that no sect has any dwelling-place among you. Nor, indeed, do ye hearken to any one rather than to Jesus Christ speaking in truth”. (St. Ignatius to the Smyrna)

From the Epistle of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Magnesians 3:1

And you it beseemeth not to despise the youth of your bishop, but to award all reverence unto him, respecting the power of God the Father which is in him, even as I have known the sacred presbyters to do, not having regard to his apparently youthful position, but as wise men in God yielding unto him: yet not unto him but unto the Father of Jesus Christ, who is bishop of all.

6:1 Since, then, I have in the persons of those above mentioned beheld as it were your whole multitude in faith and have loved you, I exhort you to be careful to do all things in the unity of God, since the bishop sits in the place of God, and the presbyters in the place of the synod of the Apostles, and the deacons, who are most dear to me, have been entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ, who was with the Father before the world began, and was manifested in the end.

Your responding to my position: “It has no human founder. You can’t go back into time and find a Pope or Church Father to find the reason for the Church’s history, it’s successes and it’s issues.

Let us test this claim.

Can you provide evidence that the non-Apostle “early [Catholic] Church Fathers” (ECFs) (a) significantly interacted with the Apostles and (b) got all their beliefs from the Apostles? For instance, Ignatius and Polycarp might have been students of the Apostle John, but that does not mean that the entirety of their beliefs came from the Apostle John.

Note that those who served our Lord following the Apostles did not use this as a resume. They were very humble about what their positions were. Notice the manner of St. Ignatius: The Epistle of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Trallians

0:1 Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, to the holy Church which is at Tralles, in Asia, beloved by God, the Father of Jesus Christ, elect and worthy of God, at peace by the flesh and blood and the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, our hope in the resurrection unto him; which I salute in the fulness, after the Apostolic manner, and pray that it may rejoice greatly.

Pope Clement 1, in his letter to the Corinthians in 80 A.D., states,
“Then the reverence of the law is chanted, and the grace of the prophets is known, and the faith of the Gospels is the established, and the Tradition of the Apostles is preserved, and the grace of the Church exults”.

St. Irenaeus writes,
“As I said before, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet guarded it, as if she occupied but one house. She likewise believes these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth. For, while the languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the authority of the Tradition is one and the same” (Against Heresies 1:10:2 A.D. 189).

St. Irenaeus further states,
“That is why it is surely necessary to avoid heretics, while cherishing with the utmost diligence the things pertaining to the Church, and to lay hold of the Tradition of truth… What if the Apostles had not in fact left writings to us? Would it not be necessary to follow the order of Tradition, which was handed down to those to whom they entrusted the Churches?” (1bid, 3:4:1).

Tertullian-Quotes-1Tertullian-Quotes-1Tertullian as “arguably the greatest catholic Mind”. At one time he was quite the defender! Notice his word,
“The Apostles founded churches in every city, from which all the others, one after another, derived the tradition of the faith, and the seeds of doctrine, and are every day deriving them, that they may become churches. Indeed, it is on this account only that they will be able to deem themselves apostolic, as being the offspring of apostolic churches. Every sort of thing must necessarily revert to its original for its classification. Therefore the churches, although they are so many and so great, comprise but the one primitive church, founded by the apostles, from which they all spring. In this way all are primitive, and all are apostolic, while they are all proved to be one in unity…” (Demurrer Against the Heretics 20 A.D. 200).

The word He gives has been given the promise of protection that the message would not be tainted. Those who would taint the message would have deep consequences. Hence, the foundation of a Catholic’s loyalty to the Magisterium. I trust in the one whom the message has been given!

You responded: “Christ Jesus did promise that his words would never pass away (Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33). However, nowhere did Jesus say that this promise would be accomplished through the Roman Catholic Church.”

It would be faulty logic to say “The name ‘American’ is absent from the US Constitution. Therefore we should not be called “Americans”. Sometimes a concept precedes a describing word. A case in point is the word “Trinity”. It is not to be found anywhere in the bible, yet the foundation behind it is.

We believe there is one God in Three Persons through Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. This realization is true with the name “Catholic”. St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote the Ephesians saying, “where Jesus Christ is, there also is the holy Catholic Church.” The name suggests the nature of the Church. It is universal, one faith, one baptism, and one Lord (Ephesians 4:5). When Christ sent the Apostles into the nations (Matthew 28:19), He intended that they be one (John 17:20). St Polycarp, another disciple of St. John, died a martyr in 155 A.D.

From the Martyrdom of Polycarp 16:2, it states,
“And of the elect, he was one indeed, the wonderful martyr Polycarp, who in our days was an apostolic and prophetic teacher, bishop of the Catholic Church in Smyrna. For every word which came forth from his mouth was fulfilled and will be fulfilled”.

“My soul be for yours and theirs whom, for the honor of God, ye have sent to Smyrna; whence also I write to you, giving thanks unto the Lord, and loving Polycarp even as I do you. Remember me, as Jesus Christ also remembered you. Pray ye for the Church which is in Syria, whence I am led bound to Rome, being the last of the faithful who are there, even as I have been thought worthy to be chosen to show forth the honor of God. Farewell in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ, our common hope”. St. Ignatius to the Ephesians

“See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid”. St. Ignatius to the Smyrnians

So, as you immediately note the importance of the Magisterium in the Catholic Church, so again, I will recognize this office as “possessing ultimate authority” in the name of Christ it’s founder. Christ established the office of Teacher (the Magisterium) to preserve His authentic teaching for all time.

You ask: “How do you know Jesus established the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church? If you appeal to the Magisterium’s defining interpretation of oral Tradition and written Scripture, then you are engaging in circular logic, no?”

I have no trouble understanding the concept of the three legged stool because I understand and accept how it works. That is simply an easy way to explain the importance of the office of Teacher, it’s traditions and her scriptures. I think what your trying to show through your concern of “circular logic” is that somehow the Catholic church depends on internal as opposed to external strength.

trinityThe Holy Spirit is the breath of the Church, He is it’s soul!. There is a legitimate succession of truths that denies “circular logic”. It’s easy for you to feel that I am guilty of “non-sequitur” reasoning. It is true that I am totally sold out for God and I offer Him my sword, my possessions, and my life. But I do so through the power of the will through the power of what He has given me and shown me.

On the contrary, let’s take a look into some other theories that people consider and believe:
The Catholic Church maintains Apostolic Succession as I have already discussed, I will put that aside for the moment; The Mormons believe in the “Great Apostasy” claiming that after the death of the Apostles, error crept into the infant church causing such a scourge that the truth was utterly destroyed. Mormons believe the truth was revealed to Joseph Smith in the early 1800′s until he formally established the Mormons at Bayside New York in 1829. So you can consider this “Great Apostasy” as a theory. Then you would have to explain several other issues about Mormon teachings that are not orthodox.

The Church of Christ claims to be the true church because they claim that the bible is “rightly divided” through the “correct interpretations” of the bible. They will claim that their organization truly trace their history back to the apostles. However, they were founded in the United States by Alexander Campbell, his brother, and a friend, Barton Stone in the early 1820′s. They fell away from their Calvinist upbringing with no tie to any other group. You can consider this as a theory as some do.

There are some groups of Baptists who believe they come from St. John the Baptist. They feel that they survived through history persecuted through the early heresies such as the “Donatants” (Trail of Blood) and other heresies. Instead, they were founded by two Lutherans, Thomas Munzer and Nicholas Stork. They began to re-baptize their followers and that’s why they became known as “Anabaptist”. Later John Smyth organized and developed the Baptist internal structure into a “congregational” setting. The first major break away began in 1848 with the Southern Baptist Denomination. They are the largest Protestant Denomination in the United States. Today there are many totally distinct and independent Baptist denominations. You can consider their theory of great persecution. I would caution you to know that there is no connection of any Baptist sect with any of the ancient heresies. The Donatants denied the humanity of Christ! That is not Baptist teaching.  Perhaps there is one more theory of consideration.

There is a relatively new heresy that teaches that there is no true church, that there has always been Christians in all Church bodies and governments. They believe in an “invisible” church in which the “true Christians” will be saved through their common faith in Christ. This is a much more recent theory, yet most dangerous. Still, you can consider this theory. Of these theories examined, only the Catholic Church has the historical record along with the biblical support as previously noted. In each age of the Church I can name great Catholic Saints that point to holy Mother Church.

Can a Mormon name anyone before 1829? No! Can the Churches of Christ claim anyone before 1820? No! Can the Baptist claim anyone before the 15th-16th century? No! Can the Non-Denominationals claim anyone before the 18th century? No! All these non-Catholic groups had no influence prior to their existence! These are but a few churches for examples; The Lutheran Church 1517, The Church of England 1534, the Presbyterian 1560, Episcopalian 17th century, Congregationalist 1582, Methodist 1744, Unitarian 1774, Mormon 1829, Baptist 1605, Dutch Reformed 1628, SDA 1863, The Church of Christ 1820, Jehovah’s Witness 1879, and many more. The Catholic Church was not man made, but God made almost 2000 years ago.

In order for the Protestant to be self evident, they must attempt to take out St. Peter. He is their stumbling block. It can’t be done! This is not “circular logic”, it is about the Church being faithful to Christ. It is about Christ fulfilling His Promise to His bride, the Catholic Church.

Actually, it’s not just the Vatican. Historians will attest that nations have come and gone, yet the Church remains.

Your Response: “You are engaging in non-sequitur reasoning. The age of the Catholic Church does not demonstrate its legitimacy. Further, under such logic, Indian Hinduism, Japanese Shintoism, African Voodooism, and Persian Zoroastrianism stand validated by their old age as well.”

It’s not so much the age of the Church as it is who the founder is. Jesus Christ split time from B.C. to A.D. The above religious groups whom you give examples of have human founders perhaps going back to the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). God established a Covenant with man through Abraham (Genesis 15:18) and renames Jacob to Israel (Genesis 32:29). Jacobs sons would become the Twelve tribes of Israel. The Israelites lived under the law given to Moses, shepherded by the Judges, guided by the Prophets, and finally, they chose a king. King Saul was chosen to be the first King (1 Samuel 10:1) but because of disobedience, would be replaced (1 Samuel 13:13). God chose David as the replacement (1 Samuel 16:12-13). David’s lineage would always have the seat of authority in which Jesus is the fulfillment (Matthew 1:1-17). The Catholic Church has this direct connection to the apostolic age.

Many of my Protestant friends will concede that the Catholic Church was the “first church”.

Your response: “You are engaging in an appeal to popularity logical fallacy. The fact that some of your non-Catholic friends agree with you does not prove your claim valid.”

The word Catholic comes from a Greek word “kath-holan” meaning “embracing all or pertaining to the whole”. Acts 9:31 is the biblical Greek text that St. Ignatius first utilized the title “Catholic”. A “Muratorian” parchment dating to the second century ( a Roman document) shows that the secular authority recognized that this movement was within the Empire. The Roman Emperors sought to destroy the Church.

Christopher Dawson, a historian who taught at Harvard University said, “To the ordinary educated man looking out on the world in A.D. 33, the execution of St. Janus must have appeared much more important than the crucifixion of Jesus, and the attempts of the government to solve the economic crisis by a policy of free credit to producers must have seemed far more newsworthy and promising than the doings of an obscure group of Jewish fanatics in an Upper Room in Jerusalem. Nevertheless, there is no doubt today which was the most important and which availed most to alter the lot of humanity. All that Roman world with it’s power and wealth and culture and corruption sank in the blood and ruin. The flood came and destroyed them all, but the other world, the world of the Apostles and martyrs, the inheritance of the poor survived the downfall of ancient civilization and became the spiritual foundation of a new order”.

Lord McCauley, a non-Catholic British historian says, “There is not and there never was on this earth a work of human policy so well-deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church. The history of that Church joins together with two great ages of human civilization. The proudest royal houses are but yesterday when compared with the line of supreme pontiffs, the Popes; the line we trace back in an unbroken series from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the 19th century to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the 8th and far beyond the time of Pepin, the august dynasty extends. The republic of Venice is gone and the papacy remains. The papacy remains not in decay, not a mere antique but full of life and youthful vigor. The Catholic Church is still sending forth to the farthest ends of the earth world missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with Augustine and still confronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which she confronted Attila the Hun. Nor do we see any sign which indicates that the term of her long dominion is approaching. She saw the commencement of all ecclesiastical establishments that now exist in the world and feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all”.

“Appeal to popularity”? I hardly think this is popular. These non-Catholic friends are not exactly wanting to concede history here. It just is a very hard position to overcome! It’s hard to yield a 1500 plus year head start. None of the above theories are applicable here.

In his “Autobiography” (phlaouiou Iosepou bios), written A.D. 90, Josephus seeks, not without attempts at self-glorification, to justify his position at the beginning of the Jewish rising. In plan and language the book is probably influenced by the writings of Nicholas of Damascus, which Josephus had also used in the “Antiquities”. His work entitled “Against Apion” (Kata Apionos), divided in two books, is a defense of the great antiquity of the Jews and a refutation of the charges which had been brought against them by the grammarian Apion of Alexandria on the occasion of an embassy to the Emperor Caligula“. Catholic Encyclopedia

“But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration”. St. Justin the Martyr

The Catholic Church is not dependent upon any other authority’s affirmation.

Your response: “So? Anyone can claim to be their own ultimate religious authority. Adherents to secular humanism make this claim all the time.”

That is a most interesting comment. That is a statement I would seriously offer to those who follow “sola, solo, or prime” scriptura. Every Protestant Denomination has a human founder! Secular historians do attest the historical Jesus and His followers: “About this time lived Jesus, a man full of wisdom, if indeed one may call Him a man. For He was the doer of incredible things, and the teacher of such as gladly received the truth. He thus attracted to Himself many Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ. On the accusation of the leading men of our people, Pilate condemned Him to death upon the cross; nevertheless those who had previously loved Him still remained faithful to Him. For on the third day He again appeared to them living, just as, in addition to a thousand other marvelous things, prophets sent by God had foretold. And to the present day the race of those who call themselves Christians after Him has not ceased. (Josephus) This body is the Catholic Church!

It is a historical phenomenal reality going all the way back to the Apostles.

Your question: “How did you come to this conclusion?”

Seems like we have been here before! The Four Marks of the “True Church” identify it with the characteristics of the Church of the New Testament. It is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic! Christ prayed that the Church be one (John 17:20), it is called to be set a part (Ephesians 1:4), Catholic (1 Corinthians 1:10), and Apostolic (Ephesians 2:19-20). The credentials that the Catholic Church has to offer are its four marks.

ONE holy catholic apostolicWe need to keep in mind there are two aspects to a mark: First, it must be an outwardly visible sign. If it’s not, it’s useless as a means of identification. Your house number is useful only because it’s on the outside of your house and visible from the street. If it were posted on a wall of the living room, it wouldn’t be a sign that this is your house. In short, a mark must be evident to everyone. It can’t hide under the bushel basket (Matt 5:15). That’s the first requirement. The second is that the mark must be an essential characteristic, one without which the Church couldn’t even exist as Christ’s Church. Marks of the Church do not exist only as a means of identification, as does a watermark on paper, but must be parts of the very nature of the Church.

St. Paul refers to the Church as the “pillar and foundation of truth”. This pillar and foundation is not hidden behind a gray cloud of confusion, it is interwoven through history in each age from the Apostolic age on.

You ask this question: “Where, in written Scripture, does Paul identify the Church as the “pillar and foundation of truth”? In conjunction with this, how do you know that Paul defines “the Church” as the Catholic Church?”

St. Paul states, “pillar and foundation of truth” referring to the Church (1 Timothy 3:15). I conclude through the four marks of the Church and Apostolic Succession that this is the Catholic Church. It could not be an organization established in Siloam Springs Arkansas in 1917! When I go to confession to Father John Doe, he was ordained by a bishop. The bishop that ordained Father John Doe was ordained by a previous bishop going all the way back to the Apostles. You can go to each Diocese in the United States and count back to their first bishops. The same can be said of every country in the world. Of course, the younger the nation, the fewer the line in the diocese. The oldest diocese goes back to Israel, Antioch, and Rome.

The Catholic Church derive the legitimate gospel through the Apostolic teaching (Acts 2:42), the faithful depended on the word of the Apostles as though it was the word of God.

You ask: “If the Roman Catholic Church is the (a) sole preserving vehicle and (b) sole interpreter of unwritten Apostolic teachings (Paragraphs 85, 890, 2051 of CCC), then how does one know that the unwritten Apostolic teachings in question did come from Apostles? There are no external means by which to verify that the Catholic Church has not arbitrarily deviated from such teachings.”

Jesus Promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church. Jesus would not allow error to fester in His Kingdom on earth. (Matthew 16:18) Jesus also promised He would be with the Church until the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20) He would never forsake His Church! He promised the Holy Spirit (John 14:26) to the Church. For me it is a matter of trust. I trust in Him. I believe in Him. He is my Lord and Savior. To call Him Lord means that I must surrender my sovereignty and give it to Him. I must pick up my cross and follow Him.

St. Irenaeus puts this to rest stating,
“It is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the Tradition of the Apostles which has been made known throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the Apostles and their successors to our own times—men who neither knew nor taught anything like these heretics rave about. But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the Tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the Apostles. With this church, because of its superior origin, all churches must agree—that is, all the faithful in the whole world—and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the Apostolic Tradition” (ibid., 3:3:1-2).

What “other” traditions could be competing for the job?

You ask: “How about the “traditions” that the Apostles put into written Scripture?”

How do you know that the Gospel of Matthew is the Word of God? It was a determination of the Catholic Church. The Gospel was born out of the Apostolic Tradition. This is quite opposite to the Protestant line that places the scripture as the sole rule of faith. Truth from Scripture becomes an abstract opinion based on the background of those who practice it. John 20:23 states, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained”. The Council of Trent defined that this power to forgive sins is exercised in the sacrament of penance. That means, according to Apostolic Tradition, anyone who would pervert the meaning behind this scripture is guilty if self-interpretation (2 Peter 1:20-21)

It must have the correct messenger and understanding to properly interpret it.

You ask: “What do you mean by the assertion that “the Catholic Church is the ‘messenger’ of Scripture”? Please clarify your point.”

The Church is called to go to all Nations and teach them the Gospel. At times certain things have been defined to keep the message of the scripture pure and undefiled. God gave us Shepherds to teach the flock. With the promise of infallibility, “he that hears you hears Me”, “As the Father has sent me, I send you”. We trust in the ones whom He has sent. The Catholic Church is the authentic teacher!

The scripture does depend on Sacred Tradition for completeness of truth for obvious reasons. I can think of nearly 40,000 reasons. When you take the scriptures as the sole rule of faith, or the most important piece of God’s revelation, then you are subject to the development of strange and new gospels based from man made interpretations. Without the teaching Magisterium everyone becomes subject their own authority as they interpret scripture for themselves.

You ask: “Do you really let the Vatican interpret Scripture for you all the time? Moreover, does not the average Catholic interpret the teachings or declarations of the Vatican? Consider the definitions of “interpret” or “interpretation”:

The Church wants to place the Sacred Scripture into the hands of all the faithful so that the individual persons will grow through the reading of scripture. The Church offers a plenary indulgence for all the faithful who read the scriptures for at least one half hour. If I have a question on something, I have our tradition to refer to that helps me understand the difficult passages. An example, “My Lord and My God” John 20:28, the Second Council of Constantinople defined that this confession of St. Thomas referred to Christ and not simply an expression of glory to God the Father. The Second Council of Constantinople centered on the nature of Christ condemning by name those who were teaching other than the Church. The Church helps us to understand the scriptures as much of it is hard to understand (2 Peter 3:16). So by your definition, the Catholic Church “explains” the difficult passages to help us “interpret” the historical, traditional understanding of the scripture. The deeper you go, the deeper your understanding increases.

From your explanation:
A. This historical context is what I’ve been demonstrating and pointing to all along.
B. Textual composition is important, the individual writers had different styles and sometimes perspectives.

St. Paul 1C. Comparative Linguistical studies. I have had the grace of having the greatest minds solve this for me. St. Jerome was the first major Bible Scholar who translated the bible from the original Hebrew and Greek into Latin. He spent 34 years in the Holy Land and 15 more years in Rome to accomplish this task. Much of his work was vital to the Church in compiling the work together.
D. Logical Analysis: Sometimes, there maybe multiple meaning behind the scripture. As long as you can see the truth in the writings that point to the Apostolic Catholic position, that is the standard.
E. The Holy Spirit has to be the center in and through the reading. That is why it is important not to go by your own understanding, but God’s. He will not speak against the Church.

Your “principle of Soundness” has a good ring to it, the only issue I have is that by this standard, it leaves open the room of many interpretations. The “Socratic Dialectric” method is sound when it is on paper, but in practice, it is not proper interpretations of scripture because of the human element, it will not “inevitably emerge” as it is not reality. Protestantism continues to divide in a vacuum. Man will not be able to bring it back together by his own strength.

To discount Catholic Tradition would be to water down the intent of scripture.

You ask: “And how do you know that you have access to the intent behind Scripture, apart from personally interacting with the authors of Scripture? Simply presupposing that the Catholic Church possesses knowledge about the intentions behind Scripture is circular logic, no?

1 Timothy 4:16 says, “Attend to yourself and to your teaching, persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you”.

Setting-Captives-Free-image1Tradition helps us keep the foundation of the truth recognizable. The chief mission of the papacy is to keep the Church faithful to the “Deposit of Faith”. To explain the Dogmas and Doctrines as they have been handed down through Apostolic Succession.

You responded: “While these statements, among others, offer an inspiring statement of personal faith, such statements offer nothing, except hollow, pro-Catholic affirmations. You need to establish the legitimacy of the said items before appealing to the dull weight of their authority.”

Tertillian makes my point loud and clear stating,
“But if there be any heresies which are bold enough to plant their origin in the midst of the apostolic age, that they may thereby seem to have been handed down by the apostles, because they existed in the time of the apostles, we can say: Let them produce the original records of their churches: let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that their first bishop shall be able to show for his ordain-er and predecessor some one of the apostolic men—a man, moreover, who continued steadfast with the apostles. For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John: as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter” (ibid, 32).

“My soul be for yours and theirs whom, for the honor of God, ye have sent to Smyrna; whence also I write to you, giving thanks unto the Lord, and loving Polycarp even as I do you. Remember me, as Jesus Christ also remembered you. Pray ye for the Church which is in Syria, whence I am led bound to Rome, being the last of the faithful who are there, even as I have been thought worthy to be chosen to show forth the honor of God. Farewell in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ, our common hope”. I’m sorry that you consider this as “hollow”. To me, this is part of my heritage.

All of the teachings of the Church can be found to substantiate itself through her tradition and scripture. This means that all the teachings of the Church can be found in scripture either explicitly or implicitly.

Your challenge: Let us test this assertion. Where does the Bible support Mariology, such as in the beliefs that:
Mary is sinless, such as in the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, in light of Luke 1:46-47?

You have an Archangel appearing to a lowly handmaid. The Archangel identifies this woman as “full of grace”. St. John had two instances where he had angels appear to him, what did he do, he bowed down to them. I think that it takes a special grace of God to distinguish a vision of the Lord, an angel and a devil. Yet , we have an Archangel appearing to Mary announcing the good news. Jesus is the only other person refereed to as “full of grace”(John 1:14). Jesus is full of grace because He is God, Mary is full of grace because of God’s protection. She is the woman of Genesis 3:15. Mary was chosen to be the Mother of our Lord from the beginning. When Mary was conceived, the Lord preserved her free from original sin. This is called the “Immaculate Conception”. Do you believe Satan had his hand on Mary, even as when our Lord was in her womb? St. Ireneus referred to Mary as the “Ark of the New Covenant“. He made the typology between Eve and Mary “Against Heresies” as St. Paul did with Adam and Jesus (Romans 5:12). This reveals the perspective and role Mary had in the early Church.

Luke 1:43 states, “And how does this happen to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me”? Do you believe Jesus is God or are you one that the Second Council of Constantinople was directed at? What is the difference in calling Mary “Mother of my Lord” and “Mother of God”? The Catholic Church at the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. taught that this woman is “in virtue of the incarnation, truly Theotokos, Mother of God.”

Mary was assumed into heaven! “This dogma is rooted in the biblical depiction of Mary as the New Eve. Death is the result of the Fall. If Mary is the New Eve, who shares in the New Adam’s victory over sin, then she should also share in His victory over death and physical decay.

It was also not fitting that the body which was sanctified to bear God Incarnate should see corruption. So God took His New Ark into heaven. In Revelations 12:1, right after his vision of the ark of the covenant in heaven (11:19), St. John sees a great Woman: the New Eve, the Virgin Mary, Image and Model of the Church. This verse strongly insinuates the Assumption of Mary”.

Revelation is known to carry symbolic messages that are hard to understand. The woman of Rev 12 is the Virgin Mary. It may have implications for the Church, but it is Mary as she “labored to give birth”, “She gave birth to a son”, “Her child was caught up to God and His throne” (Ascension of Jesus), “The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God…” Considering that Mary was taken to a “place” prepared by God after the Lord’s Ascension, this could not be Egypt. This is some kind of typology of the Exodus. St. John wrote this about 40 year after Mary had Assumed into heaven and it is reasonable to recognize that John witnessed or knew well of it.

If you compare Genesis 3:15 with Revelation 12 you see the “woman”, the “offspring”, the dragon or serpent, the intensity of childbearing, and this war that rages with “the rest of her offspring”! The following are taken from Tradition:

“If therefore it might come to pass before the power of your grace, it has appeared right to us your servants that, as you, having overcome death does reign in glory, so you should raise up the body of your mother and take her with you, rejoicing into heaven. Then said the Savior [Jesus]: ‘Be it done according to your will” (Pseudo-Melito The Passing of the Virgin 16:2-17; 300 AD).

“Therefore the Virgin is immortal to this day, seeing that he who had dwelt in her transported her to the regions of her assumption” (Timothy of Jerusalem Homily on Simeon and Anna; 400 AD).

“And from that time forth all knew that the spotless and precious body had been transferred to paradise” (John the Theologian, The Falling Asleep of Mary; 400 AD)

“The Apostles took up her body on a bier and placed it in a tomb; and they guarded it, expecting the Lord to come. And behold, again the Lord stood by them; and the holy body having been received, He commanded that it be taken in a cloud into paradise: where now, rejoined to the soul, [Mary] rejoices with the Lord’s chosen ones…” (Gregory of Tours, Eight Books of Miracles, 1:4; 575-593 A.D.)

“As the most glorious Mother of Christ, our Savior and God and the giver of life and immortality, has been endowed with life by him, she has received an eternal incorruptibility of the body together with him who has raised her up from the tomb and has taken her up to himself in a way known only to him.” (Modestus of Jerusalem, Encomium in dormitionnem Sanctissimae Dominae nostrae Deiparae semperque Virginis Mariae (PG 86-II,3306, before A.D. 634)

“It was fitting…that the most holy-body of Mary, God-bearing body, receptacle of God, divinized, incorruptible, illuminated by divine grace and full glory…should be entrusted to the earth for a little while and raised up to heaven in glory, with her soul pleasing to God.” (Theoteknos of Livias, Homily on the Assumption; before 650 A.D.)

Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces! Let’s take a look at the church’s teaching. One of the titles by which Mary is invoked is ‘Mediatrix.’ This title, according to Vatican Council II (’62 – ’65), ‘neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one mediator.’ What the title ‘Mediatrix’ truly conveys is that this woman, through her own free will, chose to become the mother of the promised one. (See Luke 1:26-38.) Her role in redemption began with her ‘yes’ to God, and so she became the vehicle in which the Son was sent from heaven (John 3:16). This woman’s obedience and faith allowed the door to be opened for you and me. She was chosen for God’s plan, and she followed it as called.

Mary is the “Queen of Heaven,” in light of Jeremiah 7:17-19 and Jeremiah 44:15-19! Mary is not “Queen of heaven” in light of Jeremiah 7:17-19 and Jeremiah 44:15-19! She is Queen of heaven in light of Psalms 45:10, 1 Kings 2:19. Jesus is the rightful King in the line of David, the Queen is not the wife, but the mother is! Compare the woman of Psalm 45 with the Woman of Luke 1: Psalm 45:18, “I will make your name memorable through all generations; therefore shall nations praise you forever and ever”. Luke 1:48 “For He has looked upon His handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed”. Psalms 45:6-8 are identified in the book of Hebrews 1:8-9 showing that Jesus is the fulfillment of this prophecy of the Messianic King, Mary, His Mother through her faithfulness, would become the Mother of the Church (Rev 12:17). She is the “great sign (that) appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev 12:1).

The Pope is the Lord’s Prime Minister, the keys given to St. Peter denotes an office. It’s this office that Christ promised the gates of hell would not prevail against.

Your response: “You are engaging in a circular logic logical fallacy. Specifically, you are appealing to Catholic Tradition to produce Scriptural interpretations that support Catholic Traditions.”

This I can do! Matthew 16:13 says, “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His Disciples, ‘Who do men say that the Son of Man is? And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, others Jeremiah or one of the prophets’.” Jesus responds, “But who do you say that I am?’ Peter steps up to the plate representative of the twelve Apostles saying in verse 16, “Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Jesus answered Him “Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jonah for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven, and I tell you, you are Peter (Petra) and on this Rock (Petros), I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven.’”

You are saying that it’s Peter’s faith that Jesus is speaking of when He says, “this rock”. Your saying this to mean “No, Jesus says, ‘and you are petro’s.’” This is what I’m saying “You are petros, you are rock, and on this petra (the Greek word for large rock ‘femine usage’), “I will build my Church.” What your saying is that “Peter, your a little pebble and on this rock, (Christ), the Rock (1 Corinthians, 10:4) I will build my Church.’”Jesus is speaking in this text of Peter, Peter is the Rock. Peter just said, “You are the Petros.” Petros can mean stone, Petra can mean “big rock”. Jesus did speak Aramaic and used the word Cephus. The Mel Gibson movie “The Passion of the Christ” was solely spoken in Aramaic giving the movie a real sense of genuine characteristic about this. The point is Aramaic language does not distinguish between “little stone” and “big rock”.

The Protestant will attempt to gloss this passage over by rejecting the idea that Christ conferred anything significant upon Peter. They maintain that the ‘Rock’ refers to what Peter answered; “You are the Christ . . .” While agreeing that Jesus is the Rock, Catholics maintain that Peter’s new name was very significant. His name was originally Simon, son of Jonah, or Bar Jonah; ‘Simon’ meant ‘the winds that flow through the weeds.’ Jesus changed Simon’s name to ‘Peter’ meaning the ‘rock.’ Jesus is clearly establishing authority upon Simon Peter. Jesus gives the keys to the kingdom to Peter, and the power to bind and loose on earth.

You make the point that Jesus still has the keys (Rev 3:7), He still is the promised fulfillment of Davids family reign. Jesus is the true King! That means He can choose who His prime minister is and that is the meaning behind the keys given to Peter! The Catholic Church today does not belong to Benedict XVI, it belongs to Jesus! Jesus gives the keys to Peter but this is to include the bishops in unison with the Bishop of Rome.

St. Paul and Barnabas did not act on their own but for the Church. One of the titles of the Bishop of Rome is “Servant of the Servants of God”. Jesus said if you want to lead in the Church, you must be a servant. St. Pope John Paul II exemplified this from beginning to end, literally.

God is the one who is doing the preservation! He uses His Holy Catholic Church!

You ask: “How do you know that God is preserving you though the Catholic Church?”

I frequent the Sacraments, I am on the vine bearing fruit through the tree that is true life, not in a garden, but in the hearts of those who believe. Jesus said the Kingdom of God is in your midst! It is the Catholic Church that brings forth the Word of God through her traditions and scripture to the world. The Catholic Church is the Kingdom of God on earth. I try to be a loyal subject and yes I am a sinner who needs His mercy and forgiveness daily!

This leads to a point I want to make, until the Catholic Church rules on an issue formally, saints have been on opposite sides of an issue. Once the Church defines the issue (using her traditions and scriptures), that ends the debate. Those who persist in disobedience and challenge the Church in matters of faith and morals, they place themselves in spiritual mortal danger (Titus 3:10).

Your response: “So? The examples I cited showed “Catholics” protesting official decisions or actions made by “Catholic” synods, councils, and bishops, thereby making the said “Catholics” protestors, or “Protestants.”

The Catholic Church’s teachings are the standard. It is the lighthouse that all can see from the stormy seas. Catholics have deviated from the faith in the past, and more will do so in the future. Catholics are guilty of the greater sin because they should know better. Jesus tells us to heed what we hear, He cares for the lost and wants us to do the Father’s will. He does not desire the death of a sinner. Our Lord gave the Divine Mercy Chaplet to St. Faustina offering His Mercy. If anyone out there are a Catholic and have not been practicing the faith, I encourage you to seek His Mercy and return to the sacraments. Jesus said “My people are destroyed because a lack of knowledge”. This is a mission statement for this board! To be a lighthouse for those who are living in life’s troubled seas.

The heresies of Martin Luther and King Henry VIII are not comparable of those of Donatus, Nestorius, and Arius. The Anglican Church is not Catholic.

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The Catholic Defender: Circular Reasoning Part II

Posted by Donald Hartley - May 14th, 2014

Your response: You are ignoring my point. Martin Luther and King Henry VIII were practicing Catholics who protested certain things done by the Catholic Church before leaving the Catholic Church. Consequently, both individuals were “Catholic Protestants” before becoming non-Catholic “Protestants.”

There is no such thing as a Catholic “Protestant”. There are many Catholics who are unfaithful. Open dissent is not an official position. The Corinthians were having issues with their bishops and it took St. Clement of Rome to respond to the problem exhorting the faithful to pray for their leaders. St. Ignatuis said, “Now the more any one sees the bishop keeping silence, the more ought he to revere him. For we ought to receive every one whom the Master of the house sends to be over His household, as we would do Him that sent him. It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself. And indeed Onesimus himself greatly commends your good order in God, that ye all live according to the truth, and that no sect has any dwelling-place among you. Nor, indeed, do ye hearken to any one rather than to Jesus Christ speaking in truth”. Martin Luther and King Henry VIII are more responsible because they were Catholic! Those born outside the faith through no fault of their own is not guilty of the same sin.

The modern day Protestants-Non Catholics, unlike the early heresies, are not Catholic. They are totally distinct in organization, beliefs, and traditions. The Southern Baptist for example, could care less of any Catholic Council or pronouncements. Totally unlike the Christians represented at the Council of Jerusalem. This Council greatly affected all Christians, likewise, pronouncements of the Church affects all Christians.

Your response: “All you are doing here is begging the question. Catholics can protest the decisions, declarations, or actions of the Catholic Church, no? What about Catholics who protest the Magisterium’s reaction to widespread sexual abuse by priests or the theory of Evolution?”

judgmentEach person will stand before God on the day of judgement. There will be no good excuse on that day. As Catholics, we do not have to fear that day, but rather, have hope because the Lord will shine upon us His love. Now is the day of Salvation, now is the day (2 Corinthians 6:2). What is the Magisteriums reaction to the sex scandal? Do you think the priest scandal was “widespread”? Of 70,000 priests in America, only a handful took part in this. Tragic as this is, people have taken it way out of context. Dr. James Dobson of “Focus on the Family”, reported that more than 30% of all the Protestant leaders have had sexual perversity from every conceivable background. I find it all bad. I would not blame the Baptist congregation because of a sick pastor. I think it is interesting that the Catholic Church continues to move forward despite the scandal. I do think that a couple of Church leaders made the mistake of listening to modern psychology as opposed to common sense.

Evolution has two basic views, macro and micro. Macro is not in line with Catholic Tradition or teaching no matter how much some teachers would like to make it so. Micro is a point that Pope John Paul II did grant as a possible truth of science. Why are Chinese men ordinarily much shorter than the average American? That is micro evolution.

Before Martin Luther, these three definitions did not exist. In fact, Luther corrupted the scriptures as he took measures to remove total books from both the Old and New Testaments. He added “alone” to St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans creating the doctrine “faith alone”.

Your response: “Interesting claims. Do you have any evidence to substantiate these assertions?”

Martin Luther in his German translation inserts “alone” in translating the book of Romans 3:28, “For we consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law”. Here Luther add’s “alone” thus creating “sola fides”. Luther in 1534 took out the Old Testament books Tobit, Baruch, Sirach, 1-2 Maccabees, Judith and Wisdom. Luther also took parts of Daniel and Esther out of the bible as well. The New Testament books, James, Hebrews, Jude, and Revelation Luther considered sub-scripture. He demoted them as Canonical but simply good reading. Luther’s preface to the James Epistle states, “It is flatly against St. Paul and all the rest of scripture in ascribing justification to works”. Luther’s Preface to the New Testament calls James states, “an epistle full of straw…for it has nothing of the nature of the gospel about it”. Luther wrote a “Melancthon” a letter telling him to “sin valiantly but believe more valiantly”.

Your response: “Ah, so to resolve this confusion, I should just accept your point of view? You are begging your own question.”

CD 9I would encourage you to investigate the truth as it has been handed down through the centuries, not from the basis of what you read from a subjective point of view, but to try and place yourself in the people, places, and times your reading about. Yes, it is important to know where we are in the here and now, but before you can really move forward, you need to know who you’ve been.

There is a popular heresy today (Indifferentism) that teaches there are “true” Christians in every denomination, that there will be people from every denomination in Heaven (as if their perceived truths are equal), that all Christians Churches are part of the catholic church through their common belief in Christ.

You ask this question: “Before I respond with a more in-depth response, I must ask: Do you believe that only members of the Roman Catholic Church are saved?”

Outside the Catholic Church there is no Salvation. That has always been the teaching of the Church. Vatican II explains that there are two forms of heresy, “Formal” and “Material”. If a Catholic rebels against the Catholic Church that would be Formal and is a serious sin (Titus 3:10). It is the denial or the rejection of one or more revealed truths infallibly defined by the Church. Material heresy is when a baptized Christian practices false teachings through no fault of their own. In this case there is not the sin involved. A sin is a deliberate willful act of disobedience. There is also something called “Invincible Ignorance” applied to those who can never accept Christ or his Church, maybe never hearing of it. Apostasy is the direct abandoning of Christ forsaking Him completely. The Church prays for all peoples and respects the good that they do. We try to work in harmony with the good of others and at the same time claim Christ as our King. The great commission commands us to go to the world and bring the gospel. We have to be faithful!

Your response: “You are contradicting yourself. Are you your own personal Magisterium, or do you follow the Magisterium of the Catholic Church?”

945682_161895583979667_251384866_nIf the Catholic Church were to change it’s 2,000 year teaching on the Eucharist, this would make news! It’s not going to happen! I would think that I was being faithful and loyal by supporting what the Catholic Church teaches! How do you see me contradicting myself here? In the early 1930′s the Anglican church allowed their followers to practice Artificial Birth Control and thus became the first christian denomination in history to do so. Protestantism soon fell so that western society became infected with this great social disease. Only the Catholic Church remains faithful to the biblical teaching. If the Catholic Church were to change her teaching on ABC, this would be an obvious distortion.

As a Protestant, you have a variety of “interpretations” on just about every thing. As you investigate this matter, how can you take a position that is clearly of human origin rather than what Christ through His Apostles taught? If the Catholic Church taught this teaching going back to 33 A.D., shouldn’t a Christian feel that should trump any new teaching devised in 1534?

Your response: “Before I provide an answer, I must ask: Where does Scripture teach the doctrine of Transubstantiation?”

The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) spoke of Transubstantiation, “the belief that the substance of bread and wine is changed into the body and blood of Christ.” It would be confirmed by the Council of Constance (1415) and the Council of Trent (1551). The controversy over ‘the breaking of bread’ begins with Jesus and his early followers during Christ’s ‘bread of life’ discourse. Some of his followers began to fall away (John 5:22-59). Even his own disciples murmured amongst themselves (John 6:60-70). Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day” (John 6:53,54). Jesus often explained his parables to his disciples. In the case of the breaking of bread, Jesus reaffirms and clarifies his teaching (John 6:53-58). Jesus directly asks the apostles if they too would like to leave (John 6:67).

doubt 2Every believer should respond with St. Peter as he states, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life….”(John 6:68). It was here that Judas began to break (John 6:64-71), and he broke the night it was given (John 13:21-30). Scripture makes clear that the apostles recognized Jesus in the breaking of bread (Luke 24:35). St. Paul wrote that if you didn’t recognize Jesus’ body in the breaking of bread, “you bring judgment to yourself” (I Corinthians 11:29). The other apostles were in unison with this teaching (Acts 2:42-47).

St. Ignatius of Antioch, ordained as Bishop by the Apostle Peter, urged believers to “partake of one Eucharist, for one is the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one the cup to unite us with His blood.” St. Ignatius also warned the Ephesians that if they “abstain from the Eucharistic celebration because of their doubts, they will die in their doubts.” During the middle of the second century, St. Justin the Martyr states, “on the day which is called ‘Sunday,’ we have a common assembly…The Eucharistic elements are distributed and consumed.”

This is the teaching of the Church from the very beginning: In the Eucharist, Jesus Christ is truly present; body, blood, soul and divinity. Jesus instructed the apostles to proclaim this fact (Matthew 28:16-20). As the Church grew under persecution during the first three centuries, the pagans thought we were cannibals because of false rumors and misrepresentations that were spread about the Christians. The Mass was done in secret because it was against Roman law.

In the year 258 A. D., Tarcisius, a young boy became the first martyr for the Eucharist. While taking consecrated Hosts to Christians in prison, he was caught and killed by Roman soldiers. They could not open his hands which held the blessed Sacrament. Our Lord was not desecrated and clearly Tarcisius recognized Jesus in the breaking of bread. Many take this account to be the first Eucharistic miracle.

longeianoAnother of these Eucharistic miracles occurred in early 700 A. D. A priest began to have doubts about the real presence of the Lord in the Eucharist. To show the priest the error of his ways, the Host transformed into flesh and the wine transformed into blood during the moment of consecration. This act of God is known as ‘The Miracle of Lanciano’ and is kept in the church of St. Francis, Italy. Millions of pilgrims have traveled to this site to view this now 1300-year old miracle. The Vatican recently ordered an investigation. A number of medical professionals from respected universities such as Turin and Florence spent two years conducting a thorough investigation. They determined the flesh to be cardiac, i.e., from the heart. Furthermore, rigor mortise had not occurred, implying that the heart tissue was yet living. The examiners called it ‘incorrupt.’ The blood (which had coagulated into five blood clots as the centuries passed) was determined to be in a petrified state, but upon liquefaction of a particle of the blood, tests showed that protein and chemical compounds were wholly present.

The blood type is AB positive, the same type blood discovered on the Shroud of Turin, the fabric that served Jesus Christ as His burial cloth. As an NCOIC of a Troop Medical Clinic, I’ve been responsible for all the lab, including the drawing of blood for all kinds of testing. I went to our local hospital and ask what happens to the blood when exposed to air. I found that blood begins to decompose after 15 minutes. Blood in test tubes is only good for a few hours. With refrigeration, blood is good for 30 days. The red blood cells begin to die after this period of time. The blood and flesh of the ‘Miracle of Lanciano’ has been exposed to the elements for 1300 years, two of those years under intense biochemical observation. There is no natural explanation for ‘The Miracle of Lanciano.’ Some two hundred years after the Lanciano miracle occurred, controversy again appeared.

A monk named Ratramnus, in 868 A. D. claimed that the Eucharist could not be the historical Jesus. He believed that it was symbolic rather than corporeal. His teaching was condemned at the Synod of Vercelli. In 1079, Archdeacon Berenger of Tours favored Ratramnus’ position, but he later recanted, or repented, to Pope Gregory VII. Other men that would challenge church teaching on the Eucharist prior to the Protestant Reformation were Peter Waldo, founder of the Waldensian heresy, and priests such as John Huss and John Wycliffe.

The latter two were condemned at the Council of Constance in 1415 A. D. During the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation, no one challenged the church on the Eucharist like John Calvin, nor had his impact. Calvin claimed that the Eucharist was merely a memorial and cited Luke 22:19, “do this in memory of me.” His position is held yet today by most fundamental Protestant groups.

Francis 2The Catholic Church maintains that “in memory” of His death and resurrection, we proclaim the “death of the Lord until He comes” again in glory (I Corinthians 11:26). In our generation, many Catholics appear to have lost faith in the real presence, thus fulfilling the word expressed in I Timothy 4:1-5. The Church has recognized the Lord in the ‘breaking of bread’ for almost 2000 years. It has His protection (Matthew 16:18), His promise (Matthew 28:20, and His Spirit (John 14:15-26).

The closer a person investigates the cross and the early followers of Christ, the more a person ceases to be Protestant.

You ask: “How did you come to this conclusion? “Because you say so”?

No, I have nothing to do with it other than I try to live accordingly. He is Lord and I have to be faithful to Him. “And this food is called among us Eukaristia [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Savior, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, “This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body;” and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, “This is My blood;” and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn”. St. Justin Martyr 148 A.D.

I have the heritage of the Fathers, the faith of the martyrs, the constant history and it continues into the future. Most of all, I have the promise of the Lord who satisfies my hunger. Jesus promised that the gates of Hades will not prevail, that He would remain with it until He returns, and He gave us the Holy Spirit that reveals His glory. As we have already explained, only the Catholic Church can reach back to the time of the Apostles. She was birthed by them, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. This body is the bride of Christ and no imposter can take her place.

Divine MercyYour position is one that concerns me because it comes from a position of distrust. Our Lord reveals His Divine Mercy to St. Faustina (1930′s) encouraging us to trust in Him, “Jesus, I trust in you”! The Catholic Church is the result or the produce of fulfilled prophecy. The Old Testament foreshadows her, the prophets longed to see her, Daniel prayed for her. We maintain it through the power of His Spirit that is with us and within us.

Time is constant, yet with God, He is outside of time. The end of the age begins with the New testament, it is consumed at the Second Coming which we all await. As I trust the message of His Second Coming, I trust in that word that He has spoken and revealed through His Church, the One True Faith, the Catholic Church!

You respond: “If anyone claims inheritance of any Apostolic office, then such individuals must validate their linkage to the Apostles. However, citing an individual’s personal claim to an Apostolic office proves nothing, for such claims are empty self-affirmations.”

In this, I agree with you:

St. Irenaeus puts this to rest stating,
“It is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the Tradition of the Apostles which has been made known throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the Apostles and their successors to our own times—men who neither knew nor taught anything like these heretics rave about. But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the Tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the Apostles. With this church, because of its superior origin, all churches must agree—that is, all the faithful in the whole world—and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the Apostolic Tradition” (ibid., 3:3:1-2).

john 1Tertullian as “arguably one of the greatest Catholic Minds” of the early Church.
“The Apostles founded churches in every city, from which all the others, one after another, derived the tradition of the faith, and the seeds of doctrine, and are every day deriving them, that they may become churches. Indeed, it is on this account only that they will be able to deem themselves apostolic, as being the offspring of apostolic churches. Every sort of thing must necessarily revert to its original for its classification. Therefore the churches, although they are so many and so great, comprise but the one primitive church, founded by the apostles, from which they all spring. In this way all are primitive, and all are apostolic, while they are all proved to be one in unity…” (Demurrer Against the Heretics 20 A.D. 200).

Tertillian makes my point loud and clear stating,
“But if there be any heresies which are bold enough to plant their origin in the midst of the apostolic age, that they may thereby seem to have been handed down by the apostles, because they existed in the time of the apostles, we can say: Let them produce the original records of their churches: let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that their first bishop shall be able to show for his ordain-er and predecessor some one of the apostolic men—a man, moreover, who continued steadfast with the apostles. For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John: as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter” (ibid, 32).

You respond: “No, this quotation puts no objections “to rest,” for this quotation presupposes numerous unsubstantiated pro-Catholic historical claims.”IrenaeusNow this is funny, St. Ireneous wrote this in the 180′s A.D.! No wonder you can’t accept Apostolic Succession if you can’t accept the words of the ECF’s. “Unsubstantiated pro-Catholic historical claims” are all any of us have. There is nothing else, unless you want to rewrite history as the Mormons or mistranslate scripture to satisfy the modern Protestant mind.

Jesus gives the keys to the kingdom to Peter, and the power to bind and loose on earth.

You make the point that Jesus still has the keys (Rev 3:7), He still is the promised fulfillment of Davids family reign. Jesus is the true King! That means He can choose who His prime minister is and that is the meaning behind the keys given to Peter!

You ask: “But where does Scripture state that Christ Jesus “delegated” or “loaned” the Key of David to Peter?”

Consider Isaiah 22:22 and Matthew 16:19. Any honest evaluation will show that a connection is being made.

Terrible heresies that began with Martin Luther and King Henry VIII has caused a great delusion among many people. These individuals would be “Formal Heretics”, while many who are in heresy through no fault of there own is “Material” so there is a difference. I feel that a Catholic is a Catholic even when they abandon the faith. You’ve heard of “Once a Catholic, always a Catholic”, some simply are not practicing and it shows!!! That will be met at their judgement, but we do ask for the Lord’s mercy!

Uour response: “I disagree. You are skipping over my question by presupposing an answer, yet you double-back to answer my question by appealing to the logical consequences of your presupposed answer. Specifically, you are presupposing that Oral Tradition represents objectively preserved unwritten Apostolic teachings, then you reference Elohiym’s promised preservation of his Word (i.e. Matthew 5:18, Matthew 24:35) to demonstrate that the Magisterium has objectively maintained Oral Tradition.”

“Skipping”, not at all, actually kind of direct. Yes, I recognize that the Catholic Church is the Church of the New Testament. That is not a concession but a point of fact. Obviously, when I utilize scripture to support a point, I see the connection. You see it as “presupposed”, fair enough, but it answers an old question I’ve been asked in the past, “Don’t you think your rather close minded”? I’ll respond “yes, but I can afford to be, I’m right”! Yes, Jesus says that His word will not pass away, either the Fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. nor even to the end of the age, His word will last. This adds to my basic point that the Catholic Church is the true Church that has His protection, presence, and seal.

Your response: “However, you cannot demonstrate that the Magisterium’s Oral Tradition represents the oral teachings of 2 Thessalonians 2:15. Specifically, you cannot show me any such unwritten Apostolic teaching, unless you appeal to “because the Magisterium says so” argumentation and/or an affirmative presupposition.”

peter 2In the Time of St. Paul we see at least 4 generations that represents Apostolic succession. From the Apostles to their successors i.e. St. Timothy, from St. Timothy to his next generation, then from those who St. Timothy ordains down to the next generation of leaders. We are 2,000 years later and have past through far more than 4 generations. But the standard continues to be manifest through the power of the same Apostolic Succession. With this direct line, that even secular history attests too, the oral tradition from 2 Thessalonians 2:15 has indeed past through the only possible vehicle, the Catholic Church. The scriptures are not written nor fashioned like a regular history book where it addresses everything the Church believes. The scriptures were put together by the Church (there is no place in scriptures that discusses any New Testament writings as scriptures, no canon, this is all through the Magisterium so that even the New Testament itself has passed from this Sacred Tradition).

Your response: “You did not answer my question. How do you know that the Magisterium is objectively maintaining the said Oral Tradition? “Because the Magisterium says so?”

No, not at all! As a Catholic, I trust in the true Messiah! I trust in His word! Can it really be that simple? Well, yes it is! It’s not only because the “Magisterium says so”, but because the Lord promised this protection!

Jesus didn’t play “telephone”, yet He understood the problem that might result of human imagination, so the miracle of the descent of the Holy Spirit is a fulfilled promise to aid the Church in this great mission known as the “Great Commission”. This presence of the Lord is what gives the foundation to the teaching Magisterium, her Tradition and her sacred writings.

Your response: “Guess what happened? The original message always became twisted and misinterpreted. As a result, a different, yet similar message was produced.”

sign 1Not at all! The original message as pure as it is, is still maintained and kept through the Catholic Church. “It is He whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ”. We have been doing this for 2,000 years and counting. It is the timeless message of His love, it is the message that the Father’s saying! Talk about the lack of faith? Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would keep His Church anchored. Jesus gave His Glory to the Church. Yet, your giving every excuse to not believe?

Your response: “These three statements validate my counterargument. You are “jumping” between “because the Magisterium says so” argumentation and an affirmative presupposition.”

Not at all, the natural conclusion from Following Christ is to believe in His word and those whom He has sent! Jesus sends forth the Church to go to all nations. What makes it difficult for you to swallow is the fact that there is a historic line, one that you would want to erase as real consideration. The Holy Spirit is just as important to fulfill the promise of Jesus as anything coming from the Old Testament concerning the Kingdom of God in our midst. In order to destroy the Magisterium, the Sacred Tradition, and the Scripture, you would first have to knock out the basis for it. The secularist’s have tried with some success to achieve this in our society, Protestants have also attempted to do this to justify their own position so this is not a new argument. Your counterargument is not validated by my insistence that the Church is founded and maintained by Jesus Christ through the power of His Spirit. On the contrary, it is the very validation that is most important for without Christ, the body will fall!

Your response: “Your counterargument is irrelevant, unless you presuppose that God the Spirit guides the Roman Catholic Church”

washingtonDo you presuppose that George Washington was the first President of the United States of America under her current Constitution? I have stood in catacombs dating back to the second century, I have been to the grave site of Catholic priests martyred by the Romans, I have been able to go through much of the roots of the early Church and it is not a presupposed reality, but a living historical reality. Your not going to be able to shake it off through the whining of disgruntled heretics who attempted to destroy this reality. 90% of American Church founded in the United States are drifting without a foundation other than the new traditions they have developed through the power of their “spirit that tells them so”. You seem to presuppose the correctness of new teachings that are not in accord with the apostolic tradition, hence, your delima. What I “presuppose” can be authenticated through an encyclopedia, a dictionary, the internet, a history book, but most of all, the bible. Likewise, I can discover the birth and the issues of every non-Catholic group, their founders, basic tenets, and their time frames. There is not much to presuppose when your church was founded in 1917 and mine was there in 33 A.D.

Your response: “Guess what? When a non-Catholic or Protestant denominationalist attempts to override my intellectual objections with such an argument, I make the same objection against them.”

A man without a country and a man without a home, your providing for yourself from what you have. On the contrary, I have the heritage of the Catholic Church giving me a home. I do not have to rewrite anything, develop anything, build anything, but simply follow it. I’ve had the saints of God do this for me. I am quite content in the happiness I have been given by God my Father for giving me all the graces that come from Him through His Church. I do not have to reinvent the wheel! If your argument is with the whole world, then truly, I am sorry, because you can not understand the kind of love that God gives as simply exhibited this past weekend at Blondie’s place where Catholics who hold dearly to the faith were able to come together as in a family reunion and have the time of their lives. Go to the pub and check it out when you get the chance!

Your response: “The Spirit guides us to all truth, not simply gives us all truth (John 16:13). Biblical Scripture instructs believers to test everything (1 Thessalonians 5:21), including spirits (1 John 4:1), what God’s will is (Romans 12:2), and one’s self (2 Corinthians 13:5, Galatians 6:4). In fact, the Apostle Paul praised the Bereans for questioning his message (Acts 17:11). As a result, there is no substitute for personal research which tests all premises.”

vatican 1On this, I will agree! The Spirit is guiding millions to the Catholic Church from all over the world. We have received thousands of Protestant Ministers just the past few years because they believe in your last paragraph. The Spirit guides those to all truth, He uses His Church as His instrument, holding it together, keeping true to the Message of Jesus! That’s why there is but one Church and not the 40,000 denominations your in the midst of!

Again, I recognize that the Catholic Church is the Church of the New Testament. That is not a concession but a point of fact. Obviously, when I utilize scripture to support a point, I see the connection. This adds to my basic point that the Catholic Church is the true Church that has His protection, presence, and seal.

Your response: “I disagree. To the contrary, your assertion begs the question with circular logic. Specifically, you cannot demonstrate that the Church of New Testament Scripture is the Roman Catholic Church without appealing to Oral Tradition’s interpretation of written Scripture (ref. Paragraph 113 of the CCC). As a result, you are appealing to Oral Tradition’s interpretation of written Scripture to validate Oral Tradition.”

In using the oral tradition, I thereby have the correct interpretation of sacred scripture. Yes, I do frequently refer to it, not just for debate, but for study, for prayer, and for personal growth. The Church offers a Plenary Indulgence to anyone of the faithful who will dedicate a minimum of 30 minutes per day. I recommend it highly!

If you do not accept the ECF’s or their commentary of scripture and the Church, if you do not accept the Apostolic oral tradition or the historical account of scripture and the Church, if you cannot accept the biblical writings demonstrated, how can you find the truth outside the willing and wanting expression of self interpretation? If I was attempting to present a case before a court, I would have to prove my case giving evidence to the case at hand. I would gather all the circumstantial and physical facts I can find. In order to achieve “victory”, I must be able to convince a jury of our peers to see the truth as it is presented. That does not mean that I must prove to the guilty or even the opponents camp, that the evidence bears out the facts, but such a camp should know the facts and the basis of those facts.

If a person refuses to accept any circumstantial evidence, then you could not convince this person using information that might be totally essential to the case. Even if the information is “marked by careful attention to detail” or “abounding in factual details”, such a person will not accept it. If the physical evidence is not explicitly defined in and of itself through the power of itself, then such a person will not accept the physical evidence.

1491668_10152131540201041_1133838760_nThe challenge is to utilize whatever physical evidence there is and bring home the case showing what circumstantial evidence there might be. The Catholic Church has all the physical evidence needed or required to show it’s authenticity. It is a fact that it is the oldest church anyone can see. All you have to do is go where it is and see it from the roots of the faith.

In the Time of St. Paul we see at least 4 generations that represents Apostolic succession. From the Apostles to their successors i.e. St. Timothy, from St. Timothy to his next generation, then from those who St. Timothy ordains down to the next generation of leaders. We are 2,000 years later and have past through far more than 4 generations. But the standard continues to be manifest through the power of the same Apostolic Succession. With this direct line, that even secular history attests too, the oral tradition from 2 Thessalonians 2:15 has indeed past through the only possible vehicle, the Catholic Church.

What makes it difficult for you to swallow is the fact that there is a historic line, one that you would want to erase as real consideration.

Your response: “I disagree. To the contrary, your assertion begs the question with circular logic. Specifically, you cannot demonstrate that Apostolic succession objectively preserved Oral Tradition by appealing to Oral Tradition’s record of Apostolic succession.”

Why would our good Lord build a Church promising to protect it from the gates of hell, promising to be with it until the end of the age, and then reveal the Holy Spirit and His seal, why would the Lord do this knowing that it would fall? Why would Christ establish an authority to teach and govern in His name, only to fall? Why would the Lord give us His word if He knew that His word would fall? None of this logic makes sense. To demonstrate Apostolic Succession is to show how His Church has advanced into the future, a process that is still continuing. St. Paul instructs St. Timothy, “Attend to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you”. I conclude that by following St. Paul’s instruction, St. Timothy is standing “firm and holding fast to the tradition that (he) was taught, either by an oral statement or a letter of (Paul’s)”.

Your response: “You are engaging in non-sequitur reasoning to argue plausibility. The fact that the Apostles appointed local elders to oversee local churches does not prove that the Apostles personally instructed the “Early [Catholic] Church Fathers” (ECFs).”

According to Acts 14:22,23, “They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, ‘it is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.’ They appointed presbyters for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they put their faith”.

danielSt Peter exhorts his priests to “tend the flock of God”! To lead willingly, to willingly lead with integrity and responsibility. These early Church leaders may not have gone through 8 years of training like they do today, but that is not the important issue. Jesus instructed the Apostles for nearly three years. None of them had degrees or formal education, but they received valid orders from our Lord. The “laying on of hands” by the Presbyterate is the important thing. Apostolic Succession is another one of those “circumstantial” evidences that the Protestant must destroy because the evidence through history is too important for the closed mind to admit. I have been involved with the installment of a number of Commanders in my unit, my Brigade, and Division. The pomp and ceremony is impressive, but there have been a lot of Commanders that received their orders and installed through very extreme means. I think that the first 34 Popes were installed much more discreet than Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Yet, their office is still as valid because they received the ordination required for the office.

Your response: “We can agree that God the Spirit oversaw the formulation of the New Testament canon. However, can you prove that the Roman Catholic Church determined the canon of New Testament Scripture with Oral Tradition (ref. Paragraph 120 of the CCC), as opposed to simply having endorsed a canon of Scripture which was developed by an independent individual or group?”

This is a matter of faith, Pope Damasus called for the Council of Hippo in 393 with the intent to put together the New Testament Canon. It took three years before the council ended with the Full New Testament Canon. The Church has upheld this again at the Council of Trent after the Protestants began tossing out scripture. Before the Council, you had a number of independent groups utilizing all sorts of writings as sacred scripture, hence the need for the council. It is reasonable to conclude that the Holy Spirit was involved using the Church and her tradition.

Book-of-LifeWhat you are in effect saying is that you cannot believe in a historical, vibrant Church from Sola Scriptura! I believe the Bible answers all the issues that is revealed truth either explicitly or implicitly. However, in understanding the message of the written word you must have the freedom to consider the tradition in which it was written to include the author. What you call “presupposition” I recognize stated fact. It’s difficult to marry them together because in one instance, I accept without question, the authenticity of the Church through the physical and circumstantial evidence. You are skeptical of any evidence that points to what your calling a “presupposition”.

If St. Ireneous states, “ “As I said before, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet guarded it, as if she occupied but one house. She likewise believes these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth. For, while the languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the authority of the Tradition is one and the same” (Against Heresies 1:10:2 A.D. 189). You simply discredit this as pro-Catholic presuppositions. It would be equally difficult if we were trying to show American History by cutting out all the Presidents from Thomas Jefferson to Obama. That’s a lot of stuff between Washington and Obama.

Your response: “You have indicated that you possess an immovable faith in the Roman Catholic Church. However, your immovable faith is based on a double-think. Specifically, you claim to focus your faith on Christ Jesus, yet you spend all of your energies on honoring, following, and defending the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. As a result, your intellectual assertions and your tangible acts of loyalty flow in two different directions.”

CONFESSION_1No at all! I simply recognize that when you obey the Church, you are obeying Christ! I do not separate the Head from the body as you do. I recognize a connection between Christ and His Church. We are called to pick up our cross and follow Him, we do that by being faithful to the Church. That means we are faithful to the Sacraments, where Jesus is present sacramentally. I would respect that you love Jesus, motivated to do God’s will and trying to do that to the best of your ability. I have the heritage of the saints, the blood of the martyrs, the greatest minds of the Church who have gone before me marked by the sign of faith. I have much which enriches my faith in Christ. How sad it is to see people who are trying to follow Christ, yet without all His blessings.

Your response: “Now, just as the Army trains you to follow orders faithfully, the Roman Catholic Church trains you to follow its religious system faithfully. However, as illustrated by the My Lai massacre of the Vietnam War, the Army teaches that a soldier’s obedience to unlawful orders from a superior cannot be justified by the excuse that “I was just following orders.” To the contrary, a soldier must exercise obedience within reason, not as a mindless robot.”

True, that is very sound, that is obvious, and I think this is good to reflect on here. Catholics must always be watching, yes it is important to be informed about the faith. I’m with you on this point. A priest can possibly speak falsehoods just as anybody else can, he must remain loyal to the teaching of the Church to lead his flock (just as St. Paul had instructed St. Timothy). If a priest was to teach that the Eucharist was only a memorial, then he would not be teaching the truth and we are obligated to confront him on it or even go higher, yes, like the Army, there is a chain of command. Our mission as Church is to be loyal to the Great Commission.

Your response: “Likewise, when you appeal to “because the Magisterium says so” argumentation to answer any and all objections, you are implicitly saying, “I have no personal accountability, I am just following orders.” As a result, you cast the command of 1 Thessalonians 5:21 into the garbage can.”

sign 2If you take a quick look, have you not realized that 90 plus % of what I refer to is from the Sacred Scriptures? I’ve purposely have not refereed to the CCC, I’ve refereed to the ECF’s only to bring circumstantial and physical evidence together to show a binding tie. But mostly, it is from the scriptures to show that there is a basis for what we maintain there. In reality, the Magisterium provides a lot of freedom with some guard rails serving to protect the pilgrim. That is the role of the Shepherds, “Obey your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account, that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow, for that would be of no advantage to you”.

To be a soldier for Christ, that is to put on the full armor of Christ! His truth is a two edged sword that cuts down into the marrow. The Lord has granted me to see many conversions to the faith. What a blessing it is. When I speak for Christ, I am representing the faith of our Fathers, not the doctrine according to me. I hope to infuse my will totally to the surrender to His will. I’ve formed my conscience to His teaching. To speak of Christ is to speak of the Faith that possesses Christ. I see that as a glory. To be part of the elect is a glorious thing, something to keep me humble. This is the standard by which we are to test the spirit (Gal 1:6-9).

Your response: “Again, your reply contains no substantive answers to my objections, except for faith-based presuppositions and circular reasoning.”

What you are in effect saying is that you cannot believe in a historical, vibrant Church from Sola Scriptura!

“Faith-based presuppositions and circular reasoning” does not equal “circumstantial and physical evidence”. I didn’t start out “presupposing anything:

“I came back to college enlightened and I made Immediate changes. I began to go to Mass every Sunday, and freely talk openly about my faith. It is important to note that I was still indifferent about religion in that it didn’t matter to me what religion another person was. I was just happy with my own faith. My room mates were shocked that I had a Catholic background. They began to show me their concerns with Catholicism. This was news to me as they were introducing comic books and all kinds of “anti-Catholic propaganda. In the beginning, I was not equipped to handle this. I didn’t have a big brother, a Scott Hahn, or Jeff Cavins to explain any of this to me. I had to fight this battle myself.

baseballMy last year in college I studied more in religion than any of my classes. It became a struggle. I would be at baseball practice and there would be five guys waiting for me to talk with me with their King James bibles. I was being told that all I need was a “personal relationship” with God, that all I needed to be was “Born Again”! I was told that I needed to be “saved” and this could not be done through any earthly institution. To them it was not a religion, but a relationship. I could be in the dining hall and I would have guys gather around me to talk about their faiths and why the Catholic Church was in error. My room mates would invite people over to our room to debate with me which always would go late at night. I was in trouble and knew it. If the Catholic Church was the “whore of Babylon”, and the Pope the “anti-Christ”, then I had to really investigate this through.

I was studying probably at least 2 hours a day on the Catholic Church and the various “Protestant” denominations. I began to take issue with my room mates who had introduced the “Jack Chick” comic books. I began to see that if the Catholic Church was the True Faith established by Christ, then she had full and complete authority from Jesus it’s founder. That would mean that those who practiced “Protestantism” grew out of those traditions founded upon men who abandoned the Catholic faith. I became convinced through study that this was the truth. Then I simply began to understand that those people who were attacking the Catholic Church were inadvertently attacking Christ Himself.”

Your response: “This assertion is a red herring. If you can prove that the Roman Catholic Church is the New Testament Church, then you have no need to attack my viewpoint by “shifting the spotlight.”

“Shifting the spotlight”, indeed, it appears that your taking a page from Muhammad Ali and playing “rope-a-dope” standing upon the ropes of “circular and non-sequitur reasoning”. I can give the basis of the faith from scripture, yet, the person searching for the truth must be able to identify the True faith from all the man-made religions. That means that there must be a connection with a Church today going back to that first 120 in an upper room. That Church is the Church. While you play “rope-a-dope”, I have been planting the biblical basis for the faith. I trust that the observer with an open mind will be able to connect St. John to St. Ignatius of Antioch, to Pope Francis. Yes, I will challenge your view point. But in a respectful way. It is my hope and prayer that the on-lurker will see that. And there are many on both sides of the fence that come in here.

I’m not holding my breath my brother! Actually, I’m having a good time. Ordinarily, when I am conversing with Protestant Evangelical’s I usually must come from a biblical point of reference. Your not going to find in the scripture anything that will come out and say, “In 49 A.D. St. Peter entered Rome and there by ordained and approved of the ordinations of St. Linus, Cleatus, and Clement who will conduct their first Mass within the catacombs this coming Sunday….” If I could sell that coming from scriptures to you then I have property in Arizona to sell! I don’t think so.

miracleeucharist 1That is where Tradition and history come in and they do play a very important part. I’ve refereed to the ECF’s only to bring circumstantial and physical evidence together to show a binding tie. I have demonstrated that Jesus did promise His protection, presence and seal offering that it is logical the ECF’s would hand down the Apostolic Teaching they recieved onto their disciples and followers. You call that “presupposing”, I call it trusting. Your argument is much like the evolutionist who will say that I can’t prove the bible in science. Yet, we are here and this is present reality. The Church is here and it wasn’t born yesturday. Secular history attests to the Church springing forth from the ashes of the fall of the Roman Empire. St. Ignatuis is recognized as a real historical figure. He was a follower of St. John. That is why I place such importance in his writings. I submitt them to you!

Your response: “And you have repeatedly failed to prove that the Roman Catholic Church is the New Testament Church.”

Pope Francis is the 266th successor to St. Peter, it’s in the encyclopedia. If you do not want to hear the Church, we can go to secular sources. Most importantly, you haven’t proven that it is not the Catholic Church. Now that would be an impossible chore as Satan has not been able to sink it, do you think anybody else can?

Your response: “Now, you can accuse me of disregarding your “evidence” until you are blue in the face. However, such a tactic does not nullify the fact that the Roman Catholic Magisterium is a self-validating institution.”

I’m still breathing fine, between 12-20 per minute! I’m not holding my breath and still having a good time. The Catholic Church in the natural selection seems to you to be a “self-validating institution”. We have faith in the Promise of our Messiah and founder, Jesus Christ. For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary, for those who do not believe in God no explanation will surface. Jesus Christ is yesterday, today and forever the same. Protestantism offers instead the unfortunate reality of disunity, false doctrines, heresy, and rugged individualism.

In reality, the Magisterium provides a lot of freedom with some guard rails serving to protect the pilgrim. That is the role of the Shepherds, “Obey your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account, that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow, for that would be of no advantage to you”.

Your response: “But you have not demonstrated that the Magisterium possesses any Biblical authority.”

vatican11Well, it was the Catholic Church through her members that wrote the New Testament, preserved it, put it together and formed a NT Canon, and have maintained it. She has protected it from those who have sought to destroy it, distort it, and falsely interpret it. When someone asks me why I accept the Gospel of Matthew, I can reply that it was a determination of the Catholic Church at the Council of Hippo based from her Tradition going back to the Apostles. You on the other hand will have to borrow this from us even should you reject it. Show me where the book of Matthew itself is scripture outside of Catholic Tradition? Can’t do it!

When I speak for Christ, I am representing the faith of our Fathers, not the doctrine according to me.

Your response: “Because you say so?”

Some may accept the word of my testimony “because I say so”, but not many. Some might say that the way I live my life is the best example I can show the reality of the faith unseen. I truely do hope that I reflect the Lord in my life, but it takes much more than my saying so. It is Him who I lift up and magnify. May the Lord be with you!

Your response: “Well, Catholic Defender, you have proven my point. You have stood up, put your hands on your hips, and said, “Because the Magisterium and I said so.”

Most importantly, you haven’t proven that it is not the Catholic Church. Well, it is far easier to make assertions which you carry your own “presuppostions” hence the point I make. Jesus said, “No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master, it is enough for the disciple that he becomes like his teacher…” The evidence of a disciple then is to be faithful to their master. You show times and places where people dissented from the Church as to justify the dissenters. So what if there were 33 Bishops at the Council of Ephesus who followed Nestorus? That means nothing! Jesus warns that there would be wolves in sheep clothing which we still must look out for today.

“Then they brought to Him a demonic who was blind and mute. He cured the mute person so that he could speak and see. All the crowd was astounded, and said, Could this perhaps be the Son of David?” That is a very important question, Jesus is the Son of David (Matthew 1:17). Jesus said, “But it is the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you”. People today will pinch their tent where they think they can find Him, but he has already came. He has given the Church the great commission.

St. Ireneus states:

cupFrom Book 4, Chapter 17:
5Again, giving directions to His disciples to offer to God the first-fruits of His own, created things–not as if He stood in need of them, but that they might be themselves neither unfruitful nor ungrateful–He took that created thing, bread, and gave thanks, and said, “This is My Body.”(1) And the cup likewise, which is part of that creation to which we belong, He confessed to be His blood, and taught the new oblation of the new covenant; which the Church receiving from the apostles, offers to God throughout all the world, to Him who gives us as the means of subsistence the first-fruits of His own gifts in the New Testament, concerning which Malachi, among the twelve prophets, thus spoke beforehand: “I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD Omnipotent, and I will not accept sacrifice at your hands. For from the rising of the sun, unto the going down [of the same], My name is glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to My name, and a pure sacrifice; for great is My name among the Gentiles, saith the LORD Omnipotent;”(2)–indicating in the plainest manner, by these words, that the former people [the Jews] shall indeed cease to make offerings to God, but that in every place sacrifice shall be offered to Him, and that a pure one; and His name is glorified among the Gentiles.

Jesus said, “Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from Him comes to me… Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life… I Am the living bread life… Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you… Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day… For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink… Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him…”

Again, from St. Ireneous:
From Book 4, Chapter 18:
2 And the class of oblations in general has not been set aside; for there were both oblations there [among the Jews], and there are oblations here [among the Christians]. Sacrifices there were among the people; sacrifices there are, too, in the Church: but the species alone has been changed, inasmuch as the offering is now made, not by slaves, but by freemen. For the Lord is [ever] one and the same; but the character of a servile oblation is peculiar [to itself], as is also that of freemen, in order that, by the very oblations, the indication of liberty may be set forth. For with Him there is nothing purposeless, nor without signification, nor without design. And for this reason they (the Jews) had indeed the tithes of their goods consecrated to Him, but those who have received liberty set aside all their possessions for the Lord’s purposes, bestowing joyfully and freely not the less valuable portions of their property, since they have the hope of better things [hereafter]; as that poor widow acted who cast all her living into the treasury of God.

4Inasmuch, then, as the Church offers with single-mindedness, her gift is justly reckoned a pure sacrifice with God. As Paul also says to the Philippians, “I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things that were sent from you, the odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, pleasing to God.” For it behooves us to make an oblation to God, and in all things to be found grateful to God our Maker, in a pure mind, and in faith without hypocrisy, in well-grounded hope, in fervent love, offering the first-fruits of His own created things. And the Church alone offers this pure oblation to the Creator, offering to Him, with giving of thanks, [the things taken] from His creation. But the Jews do not offer thus: for their hands are full of blood; for they have not received the Word, through whom it is offered to God. Nor, again, do any of the conventicles (synagogue) of the heretics [offer this]. For some, by maintaining that the Father is different from the Creator, do, when they offer to Him what belongs to this creation of ours, set Him forth as being covetous of anther’s property, and desirous of what is not His own. Those, again, who maintain that the things around us originated from apostasy, ignorance, and passion, do, while offering unto Him the fruits of ignorance, passion, and apostasy, sin against their Father, rather subjecting Him to insult than giving Him thanks. But how can they be consistent with themselves, [when they say] that the bread over which thanks have been given is the body of their Lord, and the cup His blood, if they do not call Himself the Son of the Creator of the world, that is, His Word, through whom the wood fructifies, and the fountains gush forth, and the earth gives “first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear.” (1)
5Then, again, how can they say that the flesh, which is nourished with the body of the Lord and with His blood, goes to corruption, and does not partake of life? Let them, therefore, either alter their opinion, or cease from offering the things just mentioned (2). But our opinion is in accordance with the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn establishes our opinion. For we offer to Him His own, announcing consistently the fellowship and union of the flesh and Spirit. For as the bread, which is produced from the earth, when it receives the invocation of God, is no longer common bread, but the Eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly; so also our bodies, when they receive the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, having the hope of the resurrection to eternity.”

From St. Ignatius of Antioch:

communion 1“Of special interest are his references to Church structure. While the apostles lived, it was they who ruled the churches they founded; but they made arrangements to be succeeded by resident bishops in various localities. By the time St. Ignatius (and St. John the Apostle) were dead, the hierarchy was already well established.
Ignatius lays special stress on the importance of the local bishop. He is even the first writer to refer to the hierarchical church as “Catholic.” “Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be, even as wherever Christ Jesus appears, there is the Catholic Church.” He does not as yet refer to the position of St. Peter’s successors, the bishops of Rome, in that hierarchy. Still, in writing to the Roman Christians, he indicates that the city where SS. Peter and Paul died enjoyed a unique leadership. He advises all other Christians to keep good order under the rule of their bishops: “The bishop is to preside in the place of God, while the priests are to function as the council of the apostles, and the deacons, who are most dear to me, are entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ.”
Even a youthful bishop is to be obeyed. (There must have been many younger bishops in his day.) Whatever his age, “He embodies the authority of God the Father.” The bishop is also the chief liturgist of his people, the supreme minister and custodian of the sacraments: “Let that celebration of the Eucharist be considered valid which is held under the bishop or anyone to whom he has committed it.”
It is interesting to note that in formulating this doctrine on bishops the Second Vatican Council drew extensively on the apostolic witness of St. Ignatius of Antioch.”
–Father Robert F. McNamara

As people departed Christ then, some still depart now, because they can’t accept His full teaching nor listen to those whom He has sent.

Your response: “You are attempting to escape your burden of proof with a negative burden of proof logical fallacy. However, in any debate, the person making the positive proposition bears the burden of positive proof.”

That certainly is not my intent, as I have been utilizing the scripture to make my case. That is the basis from which my replies are made. Just as you can show that some have dissented whom you call “Catholic Protestants”, I can show there has always been a legitimate authority in whom the dissenters were dissenting from.

IMG_1385Now, throughout this thread, I have responded to all of the evidence and logical argumentation which you have presented. In response, you have simply reasserted the exact same material. This qualifies as one-way preaching, not a two-way discussion and debate.

Very few scriptures have I refereed to more than once, but for the sake of debate, you have not responded to any of them. You’ve simply refereed to them as circular reasoning. No scripture have I presented that you considered in context to any point because you be-lable them as “pro-Catholic presuppositions”. In effect, I’m trying to stay on point until it is exhausted using several arguments from scripture. Your response is to fully ignore the point and move on.

As a result, if you persist in doing this, then you automatically concede my objections with “noisy silence.”

Just as there are miles of tunnels under Rome in the catacombs, there are miles of writings from the ECF’s that are on the internet. I’ve not even really touched upon. I’ve been trying to keep it simple and understandable. I’ve conceded nothing, on the contrary, you keep speaking as if I’m referring to the Magisterum, it’s been almost 90% scripture. That is the only source you respect. I’ll let the lurkers and the observers decide if what I’ve said is “noisy silence”.

That Church is the Church. While you play “rope-a-dope”, I have been planting the biblical basis for the faith.

Your response: “Really? From my perspective, it appears as though you are playing “rope-a-dope” by repeatedly recycling and regurgitating the same pro-Roman Catholic presuppositions, circular arguments, and rhetoric.”

Actually, I prefer the Jimmy Conners approach to play. Aggressive! It’s easy to disarm an opponent by ignoring the points and calling it all presuppositions. It may have limited success, it still does not answer the circumstantial evidence that reinforces the physical evidence. All of which even I can call “pro-Catholic presuppositions”, because they were all Catholics that wrote it going back to the Apostles.

chick 1I was studying probably at least 2 hours a day on the Catholic Church and the various “Protestant” denominations. I began to take issue with my room mates who had introduced the “Jack Chick” comic books. I began to see that if the Catholic Church was the True Faith established by Christ, then she had full and complete authority from Jesus it’s founder.

Your response: “But exactly why did you adopt this personal belief during these personal studies?”

It came down to something very basic to me, either the Catholic Church was correct in upholding her teaching, that she was established by Christ and given His authority, or the Protestants were correct in Protesting against this authority. I had no idea of the central arguments until after I was attacked. I learned it the hard way.

Pope Francis is the 266th successor to St. Peter, again, it’s in the encyclopedia.

You keep ignoring this reply: Well, most historians recognize from Peter, there was St. Linus, St. Anacletus (Cletus), the St. Clement. That is very basic, it’s not a concern to me that there might have been some who had a slight twist in the order. That would be very easy to do as there were no records written on it until a generation later, so it is easy to see where there was confusion. This is a strawman that your wanting to tear down and it has nothing to do with the point at hand. The Papacy itself will stand regardless of the actual order of the first two or three successors.

Well, it was the Catholic Church through her members that wrote the New Testament, preserved it, put it together and formed a NT Canon, and have maintained it.

Your response: “Can you prove that the Apostles were Roman Catholic, as in possessing Roman Catholic beliefs?”

That is the reason for the scripture. It’s all there either explicitly or implicitly. You simply reject the tradition needed to understand the scripture because it is convenient to listen to modern commentators to your liking. Hence, the 40,000 denominations who can’t agree because they have created their own “traditions” with their own “presuppositions”.

CHAPTER VIII.–LET NOTHING BE DONE WITHOUT THE BISHOP.

gregorywithdove“See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is[administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude[of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.”

This coming from a disciple of St. John for me is a “pro-Catholic presupposition” he certainly isn’t speaking for Luther!

“It should be mentioned, however, that it wasn’t until the fourth century at the Council of Hippo in AD393 that our present New Testament was officially accepted by the orthodox Church. Although it should be stated, leading up to this event, the twenty-seven books that make-up the corpus of our New Testament was in circulation among the early Christians. In order to understand its development, however, we should first define what is meant by the term, “Canon” of scripture.

According to F.F. Bruce, author of “The Canon of Scripture,” the term “Canon “appears to have been first used by Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, in a [Festal] letter circulated in AD 367.”1 Moreover, according to Norman Geisler, “The original meaning of the term canon can be traced to the Ancient Greeks, who used it in a literal sense: a Canon was a rod, ruler, staff, or measuring rod.”2 For instance, in Egypt a reed was used to measure the depth of the Nile River. As Geisler remarks, “This literal concept provided the basis for a later extended use of the word Canon, meaning “standard,” “norm.”3 Finally, the Greek word Canon came to be used…in the general sense of ‘series’ or ‘list’. It is this last usage that underlies the term ‘the canon of scripture.’4 In essence, the “canon” is a corpus of our twenty-seven books that make up what is known as the New Testament.”

jesus-break-breadWe have faith in the Promise of our Messiah and founder, Jesus Christ. For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary, for those who do not believe in God no explanation will suffice.

Your response: “So, by your implicit analogy, you are ready to dismiss the opposing viewpoint of non-Catholic Christians because “no explanation will suffice for them?”

What makes me ready to dismiss opposing viewpoints of non-Catholics is Gal 1:6-9. Other gospels not founded or taught from the apostolic tradition or authority is heavily warned against. That is the standard by which we test the spirit. New gospels established by men or angels are condemned.

Your response: “Sorry, but this rationalization qualifies as a hasty generalization.”

A Catholic who dissents from official Teaching is a Formal heretic, one who places themselves under severe judgement (Titus 3:10). They are not protestant, to repent, they need the Sacraments. Protestants must convert before they are able to utilize the Sacraments. Fallen Catholics rebel knowing what they do where most Protestants are not aware of their heresy. That is a major difference. A sin must be a knowledgeable offense against God.

Your response: “Moreover, the Roman Catholic Church is not “one unified, universal church.”

In practice it is, however, there is a lot of dissent, could it be signs of the times?

Agreed. In fact, as a case in point, can you tell me why Roman Emperor Constantine I suddenly “embraced” and “organized” the Christian community, if he had no verifiable conversion to Biblical Christianity?

From The Web Chronology Project:

constantine“Constantine became the emperor of Rome in 306, and was the most powerful person in his part of the world. His conversion to Christianity had far reaching effects on the common practice of the religion and on all the factions of Christianity that are present today.

His conversion happened during a war against his brother-in-law and co-emperor, Maxentius. According to the historian Eusebius (see Eusebius Pamphilus ), bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, before the crucial battle of Milvian Bridge, Constantine was convinced that he needed divine assistance. While he was praying for such assistance, God sent him a vision of a cross of light at midday, bearing the inscription “in hoc signo vinces ” (“in this sign you will be victorious”). That night he had a dream that reaffirmed his earlier vision. God told him to use the sign he had been given as a safeguard in all of his battles. Thus, Constantine converted to Christianity and ordered the symbol of his Savior’s name (the intersection of the Greek letter chi and rho) to represent his army. Constantine was victorious in the battle of the Milvian Bridge, and he continued to wear the symbol for Christ against every hostile power he faced.

Some argue as to whether or not Constantine’s conversion experience was authentic. Some hypothesize that the “vision” Constantine saw was nothing more than a form of the rare natural event called the “halo phenomenon.” This is caused by the sun reflecting off of ice crystals instead of rain in a rainbow. However, most historians accept Constantine’s statement since he gave the testimony on oath. Also, Constantine showed sound judgment many times over in other situations. Further, Constantine did not recount this vision to Eusebius until long after that battle had been won and he was in power. Thus, he was not using the story as a tool to gain acceptance. There is no way to “prove” the event, of course, but what is important is that Constantine believed it to be true.

His conversion helped Christianity in many ways. Followers were safe from persecution, and Christian leaders were given many gifts by the Emperor. Constantine’s adherence to Christianity ensured exposure of all his subjects to the religion, and he had no small domain. He also made Sunday an official Roman holiday so that more people could attend church, and made churches tax-exempt. However, many of the same things that helped Christianity spread subtracted from its personal significance and promoted corruption and hypocrisy. Many people were attracted to the Church because of the money and favored positions available to them from Constantine rather than from piety. The growth of the Church and its new-found public aspect prompted the building of specialized places of worship where leaders were architecturally separated from the common attendees, which stood in sharp contrast to the earlier house churches which were small and informal.

Baptism_of_corneliusConstantine believed that the Church and the State should be as close as possible. From 312-320 Constantine was tolerant of paganism, keeping pagan gods on coins and retaining his pagan high priest title “Pontifex Maximus” in order to maintain popularity with his subjects, possibly indicating that he never understood the theology of Christianity. From 320-330 he began to attack paganism through the government but in many cases persuaded people to follow the laws by combining pagan worship with Christianity. He made December 25th, the birthday of the pagan Unconquered Sun god, the official holiday it is now–the birthday of Jesus. It is likely that he also instituted celebrating Easter and Lent based on pagan holidays. From 330-337 Constantine stepped up his destruction of paganism, and during this time his mother, Helen, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and began excavations to recover artifacts in the city. This popularized the tradition of pilgrimages in Christianity.

Whether or not his conversion was “genuine,” Constantine’s reign was extremely important to the Christian church. After his vision, he immediately declared Christianity legal in the Edict of Milan. He completely abandoned paganism and put his full force of favor towards advancing the cause of the Church of Christ. He provided Christianizing legislation on such matters as the observance of Sunday, the confiscation of the temple treasures, and the exemption of some clergy from taxes. He funded Christian leaders and the construction of churches, some of which he dedicated to his mother. Most Christian leaders greatly admired Constantine for the works he did for the church and Christian cause.

While Constantine’s idea of an integrated Church and State, (now called Constantinism), began having sway in the empire upon his conversion, it became significantly stronger through several events. In 316, a sect of Christians called the Donatists asked Constantine as emperor to settle a dispute they were having with the church in North Africa over the personhood of Christ. (Ironically, this was resolved by Constantine favoring the N. African church.) This was the first time that a political leader had power in the religious sphere. In 324, Constantine defeated his co-emperor in the west, Licinius, leaving Constantine dominion over the east and the west to uproot paganism where tolerant Licinus had not. He also called together and presided over the Council of Nicaea that 300 bishops attended, which again dealt with the Arian controversy about the nature of the divinity of Jesus. The Council issued an official statement of creed affirming Jesus’ complete divinity, and the decision was enforced politically by Constantine. The dispute over the person-hood of Christ. They drafted the Creed of Nicaea, the predecessor to the Nicene Creed, a proclamation of faith still used by many Christian denominations today.”

The Catholic Church is like a huge oak tree in the middle of a field surrounded by some scrub brushes trying to kick dirt on it thinking it will knock it down.

Your response: “Because you say so”?

No, that would be true regardless if I accepted it or not 8-) . God bless!

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*Best of DTB #307* The Catholic Defender: Circular Reasoning

Posted by Donald Hartley - May 14th, 2014

CD 1The following is a debate that I had with an anti-Catholic who was trying to show that the authority of the Catholic Church is Circular Reasoning. When ever anyone makes this kind of argument against the Catholic Faith, this is really a very simplistic complaint that takes a mountain of evidence to for the Catholic Apologist produce. It is easy to make an accusation, but to prove an innocence of this kind can take a lot of volumes of detail.

I begin here responding to the accusation that the Catholic Church is a system of circular logic:

What you are calling “circular logic” I will call a three legged chair or stool. This three legged stool serves to solidify the foundation by which the Lord build His Church. First we have the teaching office. That is what Magisterium means, the office of teacher. As Catholics we believe that Christ established the Church giving it His authority to act in His place until He returns. In fact, the question of Authority is the most central issue that separates Catholics and Protestants. The title “Protestant” refers to those who “protest” the authority of the Catholic Church.

What you seem to imply is that Catholics invented this “circular logic” for the purpose of self justification. The mystery of the Bride of Christ is like the mystery of it’s founder, Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church has been given the Lord’s protection (Matthew 16:18), His promise (Matthew 28:20), and His seal (John 14:26). So for me, I see the logic of the true Church in the way that of St. Paul when he says, “Ever since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what He has made. As a result, they have no excuse”.

The Lord created the Church setting it on a hill for all to see. It is not an invisible reality as some of my friends seem to believe, but alive and open for all to see. Through the Church’s authority, the other two legs of the stool are very important. St. Paul writes, “All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15).

vatican 3Vatican II teaches “The Sacred Scriptures contain the Word of God and, since they are the word of God… This sacred Synod urges all the Christian faithful to learn by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures the excelling knowledge of Jesus Christ. For ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. Therefore, they should gladly put themselves in touch with the sacred text itself…And let them remember that prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that God and man may talk together; for we speak to Him when we pray; we hear Him when we read the divine saying”.

Sacred Scripture is very important. St. Paul writes, “Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours” (2 Thessalonians 2:15). St. Paul also said, “We instruct you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to shun any brother who conducts himself in a disorderly way and not according to the tradition they received from us”. We are to imitate the apostolic tradition (2 Thessalonians 3:6).

Jesus said, “All power in heaven and earth has been given to me. Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-20). With this great commissioning, the Catholic Church has gone to every nation teaching the nations through her traditions and her sacred scriptures.

What you would perceive as a weakness, I consider a strength. In my own life there have been times when I was hanging on by a scarlet thread, but through His grace, I am here talking to you about the joy I have in sharing my faith.

paul heals man at lystraNow I want to pose a counter issue with you my brother. As a Protestant, a “non-Catholic”, you hold to the teaching of Martin Luther “Sola-Scriptura”.  You may have varying views concerning this belief, but you generally accept the scriptures (Protestant) as your sole rule of faith. As we have the three legged stool, you have torn two legs out and altered the one remaining. That aside, St. Peter says, “Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will: but rather human beings moved by the Holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God” (2 Peter 1:20-21). He warns, “And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you, speaking of these things as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures” (2 Peter 3:15-16). Can’t you see the wisdom of the Lord when he creates a divine institution protecting it from mishandling this word?

It is interesting how two people can look at the same information and yet, have such a stark contrast. The Catholic Church was built upon the foundation of the Apostles (Ephesians 2:20). It has no human founder. You can’t go back into time and find a Pope or Church Father to find the reason for the Church’s history, it’s successes and it’s issues. The Church does teach through her Traditions and Scriptures. Christ did instruct the Apostles to teach all the nations (Matthew 28:20) and because of this, many have been saved.

Your looking to take issue on the relationship between the “three-legged chair or stool”. I see them as needing each other, they are interwoven with each other. I agree that the Magisterium (Matthew 28:is chief in importance because it is from that authority from Christ that our Traditions and Sacred writings have been derived and defined.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI understand that you would recognize and give Sacred Scripture the lead role. I would consider the message as important as the messenger, however, I recognize the authority of the messenger. The word He gives has been given the promise of protection that the message would not be tainted. Those who would taint the message would have deep consequences. Hence, the foundation of a Catholic’s loyalty to the Magisterium. I trust in the one whom the message has been given!

You responded to me: “When applied, you claim that Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium lean on each other to provide co-equal support. However, how can the Magisterium lean on Scripture and Tradition for support, when Scripture and Tradition are defined by the Magisterium? Is not the Magisterium leaning on itself for support through Scripture and Tradition, while supporting Catholicism? Consequently, the tripod of Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium collapses.

You began with a very good question concerning the Magisterium and the three legged stool. This leads to what the main mission is of the Magisterium. It is to maintain the Deposit of Faith. The Deposit of Faith simply is the whole of Christian teaching given by Christ to the Apostles and preserved throughout the ages by the Church.”

Yes, consider the basic tripod. While each pole leans on the other two poles to remain erect, each pole provides the other two poles with a unique angle of balancing resistance to keep the other poles erect. Consequently, while all three poles depend on each other for support, each pole contributes a unique kind of support that the others do not.

pentecostThe Second Vatican Council, in it’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (1965) reaffirms the doctrine of revelation as it has been handed down from each generation. The Deposit of Faith is not a static entity. The Church has grown 2,000 years and so has our understanding “For, as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her”.

The basis of the Church’s teaching comes from her Traditions and defined through previous councils. The Sacred Scriptures come from that same living Tradition. I would say that the strength of the Magisterium comes from the founder, Jesus Christ. Because of that strength, I would also submit to you that is the strength of her Traditions and Scriptures.

There are no new doctrines since the death of the last Apostle!

My opponent questions the Magisterium of the Catholic Church of having direct authority.  I responded:

So, as you immediately note the importance of the Magisterium in the Catholic Church, I recognize this office as “possessing ultimate authority” in the name of Christ it’s founder. Christ established the office of Teacher (the Magisterium) to preserve His authentic teaching for all time. The first century Christians do not have an advantage over us because we have been given what they handed down. Great saints have helped us in our understanding and the Holy Spirit has kept us true to His word as He promised.

You have implied the exact opposite, that the Magisterium has not been faithful to the message, to the Word of God and so has not been obedient. St. Paul is concerned of false teachers who would pervert the gospel of Christ preaching a gospel other than the Apostolic preaching. He would warn that those who preach another gospel are accursed (Gal 1:6-9)

mosesThe Catholic Church derive the  legitimate gospel through the Apostolic teaching (Acts 2:42), the faithful depended on the word of the Apostles as though it was the word of God. It is through this word that the New Testament tradition takes place, superseding those of the Old Testament. The Office of Peter, the Chair of St. Peter supersedes the Chair of Moses as the legitimate authority seat of God (Matthew 16:19 – Isaiah 22:22).

I see the legs of this chair as eternally important. The scripture does depend on Sacred Tradition for completeness of truth for obvious reasons. I can think of nearly 40,000 reasons. When you take the scriptures as the sole rule of faith, or the most important piece of God’s revelation, then you are subject to the development of strange and new gospels based from man made interpretations. Without the teaching Magisterium everyone becomes subject their own authority as they interpret scripture for themselves.

I love the scriptures and God gives me a mind to pray, to reason, and to grow using the scripture. We become unwise if we simply dismiss the traditional understanding of scripture that we have been given. The Holy Spirit works to move us closer to Himself and the scriptures are very important. However, after throwing away authentic tradition, the bible alone has no foundation (2 Peter 3:16). It must have the correct messenger and understanding to properly interpret it.

What you call “paradoxical”, meaning that the Magisterium has parallel points running in favor for and against. I will recognize Christ as the architect. St. Peter was crucified at Vatican Hill near 64-67 A.D. (John 21:18-19). To interpret the above verse, it relies on the legitimate tradition to understand it most fully. All of the teachings of the Church can be found to substantiate itself through her tradition and scripture. This means that all the teachings of the Church can be found in scripture either explicitly or implicitly. Tradition helps us keep the foundation of the truth recognizable. The chief mission of the papacy is to keep the Church faithful to the “Deposit of Faith”. To explain the Dogmas and Doctrines as they have been handed down through Apostolic Succession.

You ask the question: “Do you not think it is odd that no basis of justification for the Catholic Church exists apart from the Vatican’s authority”?

StephenActually, it’s not just the Vatican. Historians will attest that nations have come and gone, yet the Church remains. Many of my Protestant friends will concede that the Catholic Church was the “first church”. The Catholic Church is not dependent upon any other authority’s affirmation. It is a historical phenomenal reality going all the way back to the Apostles.

You asked this question: “But how do you know that the said verses apply to Catholic Tradition as opposed to another form of tradition”?

The closer a person investigates the cross and the early followers of Christ, the more a person ceases to be Protestant. What “other” traditions could be competing for the job? St. Paul refers to the Church as the “pillar and foundation of truth”. This pillar and foundation is not hidden behind a gray cloud of confusion, it is interwoven through history in each age from the Apostolic age on.

You Stated, “But it is God Himself doing the preservation, not the institutional Catholic Church, no? It is important to make sure that one’s faith is properly placed”.

This I agree with wholeheartedly! God is the one who is doing the preservation! He uses His Holy Catholic Church! The Pope is His prime minister, the keys given to St. Peter denotes an office. It’s this office that Christ promised the gates of hell would not prevail against. Jesus told His Apostles that those who would listen to them, hear Him!

Consider some early heresies such as the Donatists, Nestorianism and I can add the Monatants and the Arians. The early heresies of the Church such as the above were all Catholics. They tried to change or influence the Church from within. They debated several issues as orthodoxy (right praise) would prevail. Jesus asked this question, “Who do people say that I am” (Matthew 16:13)? This question has been debated and defined through the Catholic Church! The Donatants rejected the humanity of Christ. To them, Jesus crucifixion was an act. He didn’t suffer pain. The Arians denied the Lord’s Divinity, to them, Jesus was only a prophet. The Monatants denied the person of the Holy Spirit, they would be more in line with the modern day oneness crowd. The Nestorians questioned the nature of Christ. In all these questions, the Catholic Church maintained and defined who Christ is. Jesus is the Second Person in the Blessed Trinity, He is truly God and man. He was one person with two natures.

paulThere were other issues such as the question of defectors during tribulation. This question was correctly resolved by the Catholic Church at the Council of Nicea and yes, it took awhile. At that time, it was very difficult because of how severe the 10 persecutions (between 67 A.D. until 313 A.D.) were. This is understandable, yet in the end, the matter is resolved.

This leads to an important point I want to make; until the Catholic Church rules on an issue formally, saints have been on opposite sides of an issue. Once the Church defines the issue (using her traditions and scriptures), that ends the debate. Those who persist in disobedience and challenge the Church in matters of faith and morals, they place themselves in spiritual mortal danger (Titus 3:10).

The modern day Protestants-Non Catholics, unlike the early heresies, are not Catholic. They are totally distinct in organization, beliefs, and traditions. The Southern Baptist for example, could care less of any Catholic Council or pronouncements. Totally unlike the Christians represented at the Council of Jerusalem. This Council greatly affected all Christians, likewise, pronouncements of the Church affects all Christians.

The heresies of Martin Luther and King Henry VIII are not comparable of those of Donatus, Nestorius, and Arius. The Anglican Church is not Catholic. They morally have become ineffective as any kind of a moral guide for anybody as they push on towards progressive liberal teachings opposed to Catholic tradition. The Catholic Church was terribly persecuted by the Church of England between 1534 until 1829. The Catholic Church does not recognize the Anglican Communion.

lutherYou define “Sola Scripura, Solo Scriptura, and Prime Scriptura” (no telling how many more formulas will be in existence 20 years from now). Before Martin Luther, these three definitions did not exist. In fact, Luther corrupted the scriptures as he took measures to remove total books from both the Old and New Testaments. He added “alone” to St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans creating the doctrine “faith alone”. Remember, when you interpret scripture without the Magistrial tradition, you begin to lose  legitimate interpretations which leads to “new” and “other” gospels.

This leads to another point. A Christian must formulate their conscience so as to trust in God’s word. To seek God’s wisdom and understanding through the sacred scripture. To discount Catholic Tradition would be to water down the intent of scripture. Sola, Solo, or Prime Scriptura is not capable of maintaining the fullness of truth from understanding difficult scriptures from the “past perfect participle” of Luke 1:28 to the “Bread of Life Discourse” found in the 6th Chapter of St. John. When I read 2 Peter 1:20, I am within the historic understanding of the Catholic Church. 2 Peter 1:20 is “directed against false teachers” (NAB footnotes to 2 Peter 1:20-21).

You stated, “But, according to your views, how does one know when such a distortion has occurred”?

This is a great question! With 40,000 plus versions preaching from every street corner, there is a smoke screen making it difficult to recognize the truth. It is difficult and even well-meaning Catholics have been confused. There is a popular heresy today (Indifferentism) that teaches there are “true” Christians in every denomination, that there will be people from every denomination in Heaven (as if their perceived truths are equal), that all Christians Churches are part of the catholic (small c) church through their common belief in Christ.

aleksander_the_great_08That is problematic as truth is relevant, His teachings are relevant, and His authority is relevant. If I left the Catholic Church and established the church of the Hartleyites, would that be valid? No, it would not! Christ did not call me to establish my own church making myself my own infallible interpreter. Nor did He call Luther, Calvin, or anyone else. He called St. Peter and the other Apostles. They in turn reached out to the world and from many disciples, ordained successors giving them the authority to practice and hand on the faith to subsequent generations. If the Catholic Church were to formally renounce the Eucharist as the early to modern Protestants do, that would be an obvious distortion!

Now, my brother, I want to pose another counter issue with you. As a Protestant, you have a variety of “interpretations” concerning Holy Communion. John Calvin was the leading proponent of those who abandoned the Catholic Church’s teaching on the Eucharist citing Luke 22:19 “do this in memory of me”. As you investigate this matter, how can you take a position that is clearly of human origin rather than what Christ through His Apostles taught? If the Catholic Church taught this teaching going back to 33 A.D., shouldn’t a Christian feel that should trump any new teaching devised in 1534?

You seem to be hung with the “circular logic” comparing the Church, her authority (Magisterium, Traditions, and scriptures) as if it was “circuity”, a lack of straightforwardness or indirection. I would say that the Catholic Church has been anything but indecisive. It has defined it’s Dogmas and doctrines defending orthodoxy for nearly 2,000 years.

The Catholic Church was built upon the foundation of the Apostles (Ephesians 2:20).

You asked the question: “How did you come to this conclusion?”

popesI conclude from the historical line of succession of the Bishops of Rome, Pope Francis is the 266th successor of St. Peter. The Catholic Church is the Church of the New Testament. St. Irenaeus of Lyons, as early as 189 A.D., in his writing, “Against Heresies”, spoke of the Bishops of Rome up until his time. He identifies St. Clement (88-97 A.D.) as a co-worker with St. Paul (Philippians 4:3)

St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. Polycarp of Smyrna did not create their own traditions, they heroically maintained and past along the teachings intrusted to them by St. John the Apostle. They were contemporaries of St. Timothy and Titus, disciples of St. Paul. St. Paul exhorts St. Timothy “Command and teach these things. Let no one have contempt for your youth, but set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. Until I arrive, attend to the reading, exhortation, and teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was conferred on you through the prophetic word with the imposition of hands of the Presbyterate. Be diligent in these matters, be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to everyone. Attend to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you” (1 Timothy 4:11-16).

St. Peter, speaking to the contemporaries of St. Ignatius, St. Polycarp, St. Timothy, and St. Titus wrote, “So I exhort the presbyters among you, as a fellow presbyter and witness to the suffering of Christ and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed. Tend the flock of God in your midst, overseeing not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly. Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory” ( 1 Peter 5:1-4).

peter 1St. Paul instructs St. Timothy “Do not lay hands too readily on anyone…” It is from tradition St. Paul instructed St.Titus to appoint Presbyters at every church (Titus 1:5). Acts 14:22-23 says, “They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, it is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God. They appointed presbyters for them in each church and with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they put their faith”. St. Ignatius was taken to Rome in chains where he was thrown to wild beasts. He saw this journey in the same way as a person on his way to his own wedding. His suffering made him feel more the disciple. He died for Christ and for the holy truths taught him by the Apostle St. John.

From the Epistle of St. Ignatius to the Smyrnians
“Now the more any one sees the bishop keeping silence, the more ought he to revere him. For we ought to receive every one whom the Master of the house sends to be over His household, as we would do Him that sent him. It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself. And indeed Onesimus himself greatly commends your good order in God, that ye all live according to the truth, and that no sect has any dwelling-place among you. Nor, indeed, do ye hearken to any one rather than to Jesus Christ speaking in truth”. (St. Ignatius to the Smyrna)

From the Epistle of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Magnesians 3:1

And you it beseemeth not to despise the youth of your bishop, but to award all reverence unto him, respecting the power of God the Father which is in him, even as I have known the sacred presbyters to do, not having regard to his apparently youthful position, but as wise men in God yielding unto him: yet not unto him but unto the Father of Jesus Christ, who is bishop of all.

ignatius6:1 Since, then, I have in the persons of those above mentioned beheld as it were your whole multitude in faith and have loved you, I exhort you to be careful to do all things in the unity of God, since the bishop sits in the place of God, and the presbyters in the place of the synod of the Apostles, and the deacons, who are most dear to me, have been entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ, who was with the Father before the world began, and was manifested in the end.

Your responding to my position:  “It has no human founder. You can’t go back into time and find a Pope or Church Father to find the reason for the Church’s history, it’s successes and it’s issues.

Let us test this claim.

Can you provide evidence that the non-Apostle “early [Catholic] Church Fathers” (ECFs) (a) significantly interacted with the Apostles and (b) got all their beliefs from the Apostles? For instance, Ignatius and Polycarp might have been students of the Apostle John, but that does not mean that the entirety of their beliefs came from the Apostle John.

Note that those who served our Lord following the Apostles did not use this as a resume. They were very humble about what their positions were. Notice the manner of St. Ignatius: The Epistle of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Trallians

0:1 Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, to the holy Church which is at Tralles, in Asia, beloved by God, the Father of Jesus Christ, elect and worthy of God, at peace by the flesh and blood and the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, our hope in the resurrection unto him; which I salute in the fulness, after the Apostolic manner, and pray that it may rejoice greatly.

saint-ignatius-of-antiochFrom the Epistle of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Magnesians
15:1 The Ephesians from Smyrna, from which place also I write unto you, salute you; they have in all things refreshed me, being present for the glory of God, as also are ye, who have in all things refreshed me, together with Polycarp the bishop of the Smyrnaeans. And the rest of the Churches in the honor of Jesus Christ salute you. Be strong in the unity of God, possessing his inseparable Spirit, which is Jesus Christ.

Pope Clement 1, in his letter to the Corinthians in 80 A.D., states,
“Then the reverence of the law is chanted, and the grace of the prophets is known, and the faith of the Gospels is the established, and the Tradition of the Apostles is preserved, and the grace of the Church exults”.

St. Irenaeus writes,
“As I said before, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet guarded it, as if she occupied but one house. She likewise believes these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth. For, while the languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the authority of the Tradition is one and the same” (Against Heresies 1:10:2 A.D. 189).

St. Irenaeus further states,
“That is why it is surely necessary to avoid heretics, while cherishing with the utmost diligence the things pertaining to the Church, and to lay hold of the Tradition of truth… What if the Apostles had not in fact left writings to us? Would it not be necessary to follow the order of Tradition, which was handed down to those to whom they entrusted the Churches?” (1bid, 3:4:1).

Tertullian-Quotes-1Tertullian as “arguably the greatest catholic Mind”. At one time he was quite the defender! Notice his word,
“The Apostles founded churches in every city, from which all the others, one after another, derived the tradition of the faith, and the seeds of doctrine, and are every day deriving them, that they may become churches. Indeed, it is on this account only that they will be able to deem themselves apostolic, as being the offspring of apostolic churches. Every sort of thing must necessarily revert to its original for its classification. Therefore the churches, although they are so many and so great, comprise but the one primitive church, founded by the apostles, from which they all spring. In this way all are primitive, and all are apostolic, while they are all proved to be one in unity…” (Demurrer Against the Heretics 20 A.D. 200).

The word He gives has been given the promise of protection that the message would not be tainted. Those who would taint the message would have deep consequences. Hence, the foundation of a Catholic’s loyalty to the Magisterium. I trust in the one whom the message has been given!

You responded: “Christ Jesus did promise that his words would never pass away (Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33). However, nowhere did Jesus say that this promise would be accomplished through the Roman Catholic Church.”

It would be faulty logic to say “The name ‘American’ is absent from the US Constitution. Therefore we should not be called “Americans”. Sometimes a concept precedes a describing word. A case in point is the word “Trinity”. It is not to be found anywhere in the bible, yet the foundation behind it is.

trinityWe believe there is one God in Three Persons through Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. This realization is true with the name “Catholic”. St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote the Ephesians saying, “where Jesus Christ is, there also is the holy Catholic Church.” The name suggests the nature of the Church. It is universal, one faith, one baptism, and one Lord (Ephesians 4:5). When Christ sent the Apostles into the nations (Matthew 28:19), He intended that they be one (John 17:20). St Polycarp, another disciple of St. John, died a martyr in 155 A.D.

From the Martyrdom of Polycarp 16:2, it states,
“And of the elect, he was one indeed, the wonderful martyr Polycarp, who in our days was an apostolic and prophetic teacher, bishop of the Catholic Church in Smyrna. For every word which came forth from his mouth was fulfilled and will be fulfilled”.

“My soul be for yours and theirs whom, for the honor of God, ye have sent to Smyrna; whence also I write to you, giving thanks unto the Lord, and loving Polycarp even as I do you. Remember me, as Jesus Christ also remembered you. Pray ye for the Church which is in Syria, whence I am led bound to Rome, being the last of the faithful who are there, even as I have been thought worthy to be chosen to show forth the honor of God. Farewell in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ, our common hope”. St. Ignatius to the Ephesians

“See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid”. St. Ignatius to the Smyrnians

sacred heartSo, as you immediately note the importance of the Magisterium in the Catholic Church, so again, I will recognize this office as “possessing ultimate authority” in the name of Christ it’s founder. Christ established the office of Teacher (the Magisterium) to preserve His authentic teaching for all time.

You ask: “How do you know Jesus established the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church? If you appeal to the Magisterium’s defining interpretation of oral Tradition and written Scripture, then you are engaging in circular logic, no?”

I have no trouble understanding the concept of the three legged stool because I understand and accept how it works. That is simply an easy way to explain the importance of the office of Teacher, it’s traditions and her scriptures. I think what your trying to show through your concern of “circular logic” is that somehow the Catholic church depends on internal as opposed to external strength.

The Holy Spirit is the breath of the Church, He is it’s soul!. There is a legitimate succession of truths that denies “circular logic”. It’s easy for you to feel that I am guilty of “non-sequitur” reasoning. It is true that I am totally sold out for God and I offer Him my sword, my possessions, and my life. But I do so through the power of the will through the power of what He has given me and shown me.

On the contrary, let’s take a look into some other theories that people consider and believe:
The Catholic Church maintains Apostolic Succession as I have already discussed, I will put that aside for the moment; The Mormons believe in the “Great Apostasy” claiming that after the death of the Apostles, error crept into the infant church causing such a scourge that the truth was utterly destroyed. Mormons believe the truth was revealed to Joseph Smith in the early 1800′s until he formally established the Mormons at Bayside New York in 1829. So you can consider this “Great Apostasy” as a theory. Then you would have to explain several other issues about Mormon teachings that are not orthodox.

campbell48The Church of Christ claims to be the true church because they claim that the bible is “rightly divided” through the “correct interpretations” of the bible. They will claim that their organization truly trace their history back to the apostles. However, they were founded in the United States by Alexander Campbell, his brother, and a friend, Barton Stone in the early 1820′s. They fell away from their Calvinist upbringing with no tie to any other group. You can consider this as a theory as some do.

There are some groups of Baptists who believe they come from St. John the Baptist. They feel that they survived through history persecuted through the early heresies such as the “Donatants” (Trail of Blood) and other heresies. Instead, they were founded by two Lutherans, Thomas Munzer and Nicholas Stork. They began to re-baptize their followers and that’s why they became known as “Anabaptist”. Later John Smyth organized and developed the Baptist internal structure into a “congregational” setting. The first major break away began in 1848 with the Southern Baptist Denomination. They are the largest Protestant Denomination in the United States. Today there are many totally distinct and independent Baptist denominations. You can consider their theory of great persecution. I would caution you to know that there is no connection of any Baptist sect with any of the ancient heresies. The Donatants denied the humanity of Christ! That is not Baptist teaching.
Perhaps there is one more theory of consideration.

There is a relatively new heresy that teaches that there is no true church, that there has always been Christians in all Church bodies and governments. They believe in an “invisible” church in which the “true Christians” will be saved through their common faith in Christ. This is a much more recent theory, yet most dangerous. Still, you can consider this theory. Of these theories examined, only the Catholic Church has the historical record along with the biblical support as previously noted. In each age of the Church I can name great Catholic Saints that point to holy Mother Church.

Can a Mormon name anyone before 1829? No! Can the Churches of Christ claim anyone before 1820? No! Can the Baptist claim anyone before the 15th-16th century? No! Can the Non-Denominationals claim anyone before the 18th century? No! All these non-Catholic groups had no influence prior to their existence! These are but a few churches for examples; The Lutheran Church 1517, The Church of England 1534, the Presbyterian 1560, Episcopalian 17th century, Congregationalist 1582, Methodist 1744, Unitarian 1774, Mormon 1829, Baptist 1605, Dutch Reformed 1628, SDA 1863, The Church of Christ 1820, Jehovah’s Witness 1879, and many more. The Catholic Church was not man made, but God made almost 2000 years ago.

keysrevelationIn order for the Protestant to be self evident, they must attempt to take out St. Peter. He is their stumbling block. It can’t be done! This is not “circular logic”, it is about the Church being faithful to Christ. It is about Christ fulfilling His Promise to His bride, the Catholic Church.

Actually, it’s not just the Vatican. Historians will attest that nations have come and gone, yet the Church remains.

You are engaging in non-sequitur reasoning. The age of the Catholic Church does not demonstrate its legitimacy. Further, under such logic, Indian Hinduism, Japanese Shintoism, African Voodooism, and Persian Zoroastrianism stand validated by their old age as well.

It’s not so much the age of the Church as it is who the founder is. Jesus Christ split time from B.C. to A.D. The above religious groups whom you give examples of have human founders perhaps going back to the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). God established a Covenant with man through Abraham (Genesis 15:18) and renames Jacob to Israel (Genesis 32:29). Jacobs sons would become the Twelve tribes of Israel. The Israelites lived under the law given to Moses, shepherded by the Judges, guided by the Prophets, and finally, they chose a king. King Saul was chosen to be the first King (1 Samuel 10:1) but because of disobedience, would be replaced (1 Samuel 13:13). God chose David as the replacement (1 Samuel 16:12-13). David’s lineage would always have the seat of authority in which Jesus is the fulfillment (Matthew 1:1-17). The Catholic Church has this direct connection to the apostolic age.

Many of my Protestant friends will concede that the Catholic Church was the “first church”.

Your response: “You are engaging in an appeal to popularity logical fallacy. The fact that some of your non-Catholic friends agree with you does not prove your claim valid.”

The word Catholic comes from a Greek word “kath-holan” meaning “embracing all or pertaining to the whole”.   Acts 9:31 is the biblical Greek text that St. Ignatius first utilized the title “Catholic”.  A “Muratorian” parchment dating to the second century ( a Roman document) shows that the secular authority recognized that this movement was within the Empire. The Roman Emperors sought to destroy the Church.

Christopher Dawson, a historian who taught at Harvard University said, “To the ordinary educated man looking out on the world in A.D. 33, the execution of St. Janus must have appeared much more important than the crucifixion of Jesus, and the attempts of the government to solve the economic crisis by a policy of free credit to producers must have seemed far more newsworthy and promising than the doings of an obscure group of Jewish fanatics in an Upper Room in Jerusalem. Nevertheless, there is no doubt today which was the most important and which availed most to alter the lot of humanity. All that Roman world with it’s power and wealth and culture and corruption sank in the blood and ruin. The flood came and destroyed them all, but the other world, the world of the Apostles and martyrs, the inheritance of the poor survived the downfall of ancient civilization and became the spiritual foundation of a new order”.

mcauleyLord McCauley, a non-Catholic British historian says, “There is not and there never was on this earth a work of human policy so well-deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church. The history of that Church joins together with two great ages of human civilization. The proudest royal houses are but yesterday when compared with the line of supreme pontiffs, the Popes; the line we trace back in an unbroken series from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the 19th century to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the 8th and far beyond the time of Pepin, the august dynasty extends. The republic of Venice is gone and the papacy remains. The papacy remains not in decay, not a mere antique but full of life and youthful vigor. The Catholic Church is still sending forth to the farthest ends of the earth world missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with Augustine and still confronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which she confronted Attila the Hun. Nor do we see any sign which indicates that the term of her long dominion is approaching. She saw the commencement of all ecclesiastical establishments that now exist in the world and feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all”.

“Appeal to popularity”? I hardly think this is popular. These non-Catholic friends are not exactly wanting to concede history here. It just is a very hard position to overcome! It’s hard to yield a 1500 plus year head start. None of the above theories are applicable here.

In his “Autobiography” (phlaouiou Iosepou bios), written A.D. 90, Josephus seeks, not without attempts at self-glorification, to justify his position at the beginning of the Jewish rising. In plan and language the book is probably influenced by the writings of Nicholas of Damascus, which Josephus had also used in the “Antiquities”. His work entitled “Against Apion” (Kata Apionos), divided in two books, is a defense of the great antiquity of the Jews and a refutation of the charges which had been brought against them by the grammarian Apion of Alexandria on the occasion of an embassy to the Emperor Caligula“. Catholic Encyclopedia

“But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration”. St. Justin the Martyr

The Catholic Church is not dependent upon any other authority’s affirmation.

Your response: “So? Anyone can claim to be their own ultimate religious authority. Adherents to secular humanism make this claim all the time.”

Iraq 1That is a most interesting comment. That is a statement I would seriously offer to those who follow “sola, solo, or prime” scriptura. Every Protestant Denomination has a human founder! Secular historians do attest the historical Jesus and His followers: “About this time lived Jesus, a man full of wisdom, if indeed one may call Him a man. For He was the doer of incredible things, and the teacher of such as gladly received the truth. He thus attracted to Himself many Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ. On the accusation of the leading men of our people, Pilate condemned Him to death upon the cross; nevertheless those who had previously loved Him still remained faithful to Him. For on the third day He again appeared to them living, just as, in addition to a thousand other marvelous things, prophets sent by God had foretold. And to the present day the race of those who call themselves Christians after Him has not ceased. (Josephus) This body is the Catholic Church!

It is a historical phenomenal reality going all the way back to the Apostles.

Your question: “How did you come to this conclusion?”

Seems like we have been here before! The Four Marks of the “True Church” identify it with the characteristics of the Church of the New Testament. It is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic! Christ prayed that the Church be one (John 17:20), it is called to be set a part (Ephesians 1:4), Catholic (1 Corinthians 1:10), and Apostolic (Ephesians 2:19-20). The credentials that the Catholic Church has to offer are its four marks.

We need to keep in mind there are two aspects to a mark: First, it must be an outwardly visible sign. If it’s not, it’s useless as a means of identification. Your house number is useful only because it’s on the outside of your house and visible from the street. If it were posted on a wall of the living room, it wouldn’t be a sign that this is your house. In short, a mark must be evident to everyone. It can’t hide under the bushel basket (Matt 5:15). That’s the first requirement. The second is that the mark must be an essential characteristic, one without which the Church couldn’t even exist as Christ’s Church. Marks of the Church do not exist only as a means of identification, as does a watermark on paper, but must be parts of the very nature of the Church.

St. Paul refers to the Church as the “pillar and foundation of truth”. This pillar and foundation is not hidden behind a gray cloud of confusion, it is interwoven through history in each age from the Apostolic age on.

You ask this question: “Where, in written Scripture, does Paul identify the Church as the “pillar and foundation of truth”? In conjunction with this, how do you know that Paul defines “the Church” as the Catholic Church?”

ONE holy catholic apostolicSt. Paul states, “pillar and foundation of truth” referring to the Church (1 Timothy 3:15). I conclude through the four marks of the Church and Apostolic Succession that this is the Catholic Church. It could not be an organization established in Siloam Springs Arkansas in 1917! When I go to confession to Father John Doe, he was ordained by a bishop. The bishop that ordained Father John Doe was ordained by a previous bishop going all the way back to the Apostles. You can go to each Diocese in the United States and count back to their first bishops. The same can be said of every country in the world. Of course, the younger the nation, the fewer the line in the diocese. The oldest diocese goes back to Israel, Antioch, and Rome.

The Catholic Church derive the legitimate gospel through the Apostolic teaching (Acts 2:42), the faithful depended on the word of the Apostles as though it was the word of God.

You ask: “If the Roman Catholic Church is the (a) sole preserving vehicle and (b) sole interpreter of unwritten Apostolic teachings (Paragraphs 85, 890, 2051 of CCC), then how does one know that the unwritten Apostolic teachings in question did come from Apostles? There are no external means by which to verify that the Catholic Church has not arbitrarily deviated from such teachings.”

Jesus Promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church. Jesus would not allow error to fester in His Kingdom on earth. (Matthew 16:18) Jesus also promised He would be with the Church until the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20) He would never forsake His Church! He promised the Holy Spirit (John 14:26) to the Church. For me it is a matter of trust. I trust in Him. I believe in Him. He is my Lord and Savior. To call Him Lord means that I must surrender my sovereignty and give it to Him. I must pick up my cross and follow Him.

iraneusSt. Irenaeus puts this to rest stating,
“It is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the Tradition of the Apostles which has been made known throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the Apostles and their successors to our own times—men who neither knew nor taught anything like these heretics rave about. But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the Tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the Apostles. With this church, because of its superior origin, all churches must agree—that is, all the faithful in the whole world—and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the Apostolic Tradition” (ibid., 3:3:1-2).

What “other” traditions could be competing for the job?

You ask: “How about the “traditions” that the Apostles put into written Scripture?”

How do you know that the Gospel of Matthew is the Word of God? It was a determination of the Catholic Church. The Gospel was born out of the Apostolic Tradition. This is quite opposite to the Protestant line that places the scripture as the sole rule of faith. Truth from Scripture becomes an abstract opinion based on the background of those who practice it. John 20:23 states, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained”. The Council of Trent defined that this power to forgive sins is exercised in the sacrament of penance. That means, according to Apostolic Tradition, anyone who would pervert the meaning behind this scripture is guilty if self-interpretation (2 Peter 1:20-21)

It must have the correct messenger and understanding to properly interpret it.

You ask: “What do you mean by the assertion that “the Catholic Church is the ‘messenger’ of Scripture”? Please clarify your point.”

abortion 1The Church is called to go to all Nations and teach them the Gospel. At times certain things have been defined to keep the message of the scripture pure and undefiled. God gave us Shepherds to teach the flock. With the promise of infallibility, “he that hears you hears Me”, “As the Father has sent me, I send you”. We trust in the ones whom He has sent. The Catholic Church is the authentic teacher!

The scripture does depend on Sacred Tradition for completeness of truth for obvious reasons. I can think of nearly 40,000 reasons. When you take the scriptures as the sole rule of faith, or the most important piece of God’s revelation, then you are subject to the development of strange and new gospels based from man made interpretations. Without the teaching Magisterium everyone becomes subject their own authority as they interpret scripture for themselves.

You ask: “Do you really let the Vatican interpret Scripture for you all the time? Moreover, does not the average Catholic interpret the teachings or declarations of the Vatican? Consider the definitions of “interpret” or “interpretation”:

The Church wants to place the Sacred Scripture into the hands of all the faithful so that the individual persons will grow through the reading of scripture. The Church offers a plenary indulgence for all the faithful who read the scriptures for at least one half hour. If I have a question on something, I have our tradition to refer to that helps me understand the difficult passages. An example, “My Lord and My God” John 20:28, the Second Council of Constantinople defined that this confession of St. Thomas referred to Christ and not simply an expression of glory to God the Father. The Second Council of Constantinople centered on the nature of Christ condemning by name those who were teaching other than the Church. The Church helps us to understand the scriptures as much of it is hard to understand (2 Peter 3:16). So by your definition, the Catholic Church “explains” the difficult passages to help us “interpret” the historical, traditional understanding of the scripture. The deeper you go, the deeper your understanding increases.

From your explanation:
A. This historical context is what I’ve been demonstrating and pointing to all along.
B. Textual composition is important, the individual writers had different styles and sometimes perspectives.

St. Paul 1C. Comparative Linguistical studies. I have had the grace of having the greatest minds solve this for me. St. Jerome was the first major Bible Scholar who translated the bible from the original Hebrew and Greek into Latin. He spent 34 years in the Holy Land and 15 more years in Rome to accomplish this task. Much of his work was vital to the Church in compiling the work together.
D. Logical Analysis: Sometimes, there maybe multiple meaning behind the scripture. As long as you can see the truth in the writings that point to the Apostolic Catholic position, that is the standard.
E. The Holy Spirit has to be the center in and through the reading. That is why it is important not to go by your own understanding, but God’s. He will not speak against the Church.

Your “principle of Soundness” has a good ring to it, the only issue I have is that by this standard, it leaves open the room of many interpretations. The “Socratic Dialectric” method is sound when it is on paper, but in practice, it is not proper interpretations of scripture because of the human element, it will not “inevitably emerge” as it is not reality. Protestantism continues to divide in a vacuum. Man will not be able to bring it back together by his own strength.

To discount Catholic Tradition would be to water down the intent of scripture.

You ask: “And how do you know that you have access to the intent behind Scripture, apart from personally interacting with the authors of Scripture? Simply presupposing that the Catholic Church possesses knowledge about the intentions behind Scripture is circular logic, no?

1 Timothy 4:16 says, “Attend to yourself and to your teaching, persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you”.

Setting-Captives-Free-image1Tradition helps us keep the foundation of the truth recognizable. The chief mission of the papacy is to keep the Church faithful to the “Deposit of Faith”. To explain the Dogmas and Doctrines as they have been handed down through Apostolic Succession.

You responded: “While these statements, among others, offer an inspiring statement of personal faith, such statements offer nothing, except hollow, pro-Catholic affirmations. You need to establish the legitimacy of the said items before appealing to the dull weight of their authority.”

Tertillian makes my point loud and clear stating,
“But if there be any heresies which are bold enough to plant their origin in the midst of the apostolic age, that they may thereby seem to have been handed down by the apostles, because they existed in the time of the apostles, we can say: Let them produce the original records of their churches: let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that their first bishop shall be able to show for his ordain-er and predecessor some one of the apostolic men—a man, moreover, who continued steadfast with the apostles. For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John: as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter” (ibid, 32).

“My soul be for yours and theirs whom, for the honor of God, ye have sent to Smyrna; whence also I write to you, giving thanks unto the Lord, and loving Polycarp even as I do you. Remember me, as Jesus Christ also remembered you. Pray ye for the Church which is in Syria, whence I am led bound to Rome, being the last of the faithful who are there, even as I have been thought worthy to be chosen to show forth the honor of God. Farewell in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ, our common hope”. I’m sorry that you consider this as “hollow”. To me, this is part of my heritage.

rosary-and-bibleAll of the teachings of the Church can be found to substantiate itself through her tradition and scripture. This means that all the teachings of the Church can be found in scripture either explicitly or implicitly.

Your challenge: Let us test this assertion. Where does the Bible support Mariology, such as in the beliefs that:
(a) Mary is sinless, such as in the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, in light of Luke 1:46-47?

You have an Archangel appearing to a lowly handmaid. The Archangel identifies this woman as “full of grace”. St. John had two instances where he had angels appear to him, what did he do, he bowed down to them. I think that it takes a special grace of God to distinguish a vision of the Lord, an angel and a devil. Yet , we have an Archangel appearing to Mary announcing the good news. Jesus is the only other person refereed to as “full of grace”(John 1:14). Jesus is full of grace because He is God, Mary is full of grace because of God’s protection. She is the woman of Genesis 3:15. Mary was chosen to be the Mother of our Lord from the beginning. When Mary was conceived, the Lord preserved her free from original sin. This is called the “Immaculate Conception”. Do you believe Satan had his hand on Mary, even as when our Lord was in her womb? St. Ireneus referred to Mary as the “Ark of the New Covenant“. He made the typology between Eve and Mary “Against Heresies” as St. Paul did with Adam and Jesus (Romans 5:12). This reveals the perspective and role Mary had in the early Church.

Luke 1:43 states, “And how does this happen to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me”?  Do you believe Jesus is God or are you one that the Second Council of Constantinople was directed at? What is the difference in calling Mary “Mother of my Lord” and “Mother of God”? The Catholic Church at the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. taught that this woman is “in virtue of the incarnation, truly Theotokos, Mother of God.”

Mary was assumed into heaven! “This dogma is rooted in the biblical depiction of Mary as the New Eve. Death is the result of the Fall. If Mary is the New Eve, who shares in the New Adam’s victory over sin, then she should also share in His victory over death and physical decay.

It was also not fitting that the body which was sanctified to bear God Incarnate should see corruption. So God took His New Ark into heaven. In Revelations 12:1, right after his vision of the ark of the covenant in heaven (11:19), St. John sees a great Woman: the New Eve, the Virgin Mary, Image and Model of the Church. This verse strongly insinuates the Assumption of Mary”.

Mary GraceRevelation is known to carry symbolic messages that are hard to understand. The woman of Rev 12 is the Virgin Mary. It may have implications for the Church, but it is Mary as she “labored to give birth”, “She gave birth to a son”, “Her child was caught up to God and His throne” (Ascension of Jesus), “The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God…” Considering that Mary was taken to a “place” prepared by God after the Lord’s Ascension, this could not be Egypt. This is some kind of typology of the Exodus. St. John wrote this about 40 year after Mary had Assumed into heaven and it is reasonable to recognize that John witnessed or knew well of it.

If you compare Genesis 3:15 with Revelation 12 you see the “woman”, the “offspring”, the dragon or serpent, the intensity of childbearing, and this war that rages with “the rest of her offspring”! The following are taken from Tradition:

“If therefore it might come to pass before the power of your grace, it has appeared right to us your servants that, as you, having overcome death does reign in glory, so you should raise up the body of your mother and take her with you, rejoicing into heaven. Then said the Savior [Jesus]: ‘Be it done according to your will” (Pseudo-Melito The Passing of the Virgin 16:2-17; 300 AD).

“Therefore the Virgin is immortal to this day, seeing that he who had dwelt in her transported her to the regions of her assumption” (Timothy of Jerusalem Homily on Simeon and Anna; 400 AD).

“And from that time forth all knew that the spotless and precious body had been transferred to paradise” (John the Theologian, The Falling Asleep of Mary; 400 AD)

“The Apostles took up her body on a bier and placed it in a tomb; and they guarded it, expecting the Lord to come. And behold, again the Lord stood by them; and the holy body having been received, He commanded that it be taken in a cloud into paradise: where now, rejoined to the soul, [Mary] rejoices with the Lord’s chosen ones…” (Gregory of Tours, Eight Books of Miracles, 1:4; 575-593 A.D.)

Mary 6“As the most glorious Mother of Christ, our Savior and God and the giver of life and immortality, has been endowed with life by him, she has received an eternal incorruptibility of the body together with him who has raised her up from the tomb and has taken her up to himself in a way known only to him.” (Modestus of Jerusalem, Encomium in dormitionnem Sanctissimae Dominae nostrae Deiparae semperque Virginis Mariae (PG 86-II,3306, before A.D. 634)

“It was fitting…that the most holy-body of Mary, God-bearing body, receptacle of God, divinized, incorruptible, illuminated by divine grace and full glory…should be entrusted to the earth for a little while and raised up to heaven in glory, with her soul pleasing to God.” (Theoteknos of Livias, Homily on the Assumption; before 650 A.D.)

Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces! Let’s take a look at the church’s teaching. One of the titles by which Mary is invoked is ‘Mediatrix.’ This title, according to Vatican Council II (’62 – ’65), ‘neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one mediator.’ What the title ‘Mediatrix’ truly conveys is that this woman, through her own free will, chose to become the mother of the promised one. (See Luke 1:26-38.) Her role in redemption began with her ‘yes’ to God, and so she became the vehicle in which the Son was sent from heaven (John 3:16). This woman’s obedience and faith allowed the door to be opened for you and me. She was chosen for God’s plan, and she followed it as called.

Mary is the “Queen of Heaven,” in light of Jeremiah 7:17-19 and Jeremiah 44:15-19! Mary is not “Queen of heaven” in light of Jeremiah 7:17-19 and Jeremiah 44:15-19! She is Queen of heaven in light of Psalms 45:10, 1 Kings 2:19. Jesus is the rightful King in the line of David, the Queen is not the wife, but the mother is! Compare the woman of Psalm 45 with the Woman of Luke 1: Psalm 45:18, “I will make your name memorable through all generations; therefore shall nations praise you forever and ever”. Luke 1:48 “For He has looked upon His handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed”. Psalms 45:6-8 are identified in the book of Hebrews 1:8-9 showing that Jesus is the fulfillment of this prophecy of the Messianic King, Mary, His Mother through her faithfulness, would become the Mother of the Church (Rev 12:17). She is the “great sign (that) appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev 12:1).

keysThe Pope is the Lord’s Prime Minister, the keys given to St. Peter denotes an office. It’s this office that Christ promised the gates of hell would not prevail against.

Your response: “You are engaging in a circular logic logical fallacy. Specifically, you are appealing to Catholic Tradition to produce Scriptural interpretations that support Catholic Traditions.”

This I can do! Matthew 16:13 says, “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His Disciples, ‘Who do men say that the Son of Man is? And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, others Jeremiah or one of the prophets’.” Jesus responds, “But who do you say that I am?’ Peter steps up to the plate representative of the twelve Apostles saying in verse 16, “Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Jesus answered Him “Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jonah for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven, and I tell you, you are Peter (Petra) and on this Rock (Petros), I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven.’”

You are saying that it’s Peter’s faith that Jesus is speaking of when He says, “this rock”. Your saying this to mean “No, Jesus says, ‘and you are petro’s.’” This is what I’m saying “You are petros, you are rock, and on this petra (the Greek word for large rock ‘femine usage’), “I will build my Church.” What your saying is that “Peter, your a little pebble and on this rock, (Christ), the Rock (1 Corinthians, 10:4) I will build my Church.’”Jesus is speaking in this text of Peter, Peter is the Rock. Peter just said, “You are the Petros.” Petros can mean stone, Petra can mean “big rock”. Jesus did speak Aramaic and used the word Cephus. The Mel Gibson movie “The Passion of the Christ” was solely spoken in Aramaic giving the movie a real sense of genuine characteristic about this. The point is Aramaic language does not distinguish between “little stone” and “big rock”.

The Protestant will attempt to gloss this passage over by rejecting the idea that Christ conferred anything significant upon Peter. They maintain that the ‘Rock’ refers to what Peter answered; “You are the Christ . . .” While agreeing that Jesus is the Rock, Catholics maintain that Peter’s new name was very significant. His name was originally Simon, son of Jonah, or Bar Jonah; ‘Simon’ meant ‘the winds that flow through the weeds.’ Jesus changed Simon’s name to ‘Peter’ meaning the ‘rock.’ Jesus is clearly establishing authority upon Simon Peter. Jesus gives the keys to the kingdom to Peter, and the power to bind and loose on earth.

You make the point that Jesus still has the keys (Rev 3:7), He still is the promised fulfillment of Davids family reign. Jesus is the true King! That means He can choose who His prime minister is and that is the meaning behind the keys given to Peter! The Catholic Church today does not belong to Benedict XVI, it belongs to Jesus! Jesus gives the keys to Peter but this is to include the bishops in unison with the Bishop of Rome.

paul 2St. Paul and Barnabas did not act on their own but for the Church.  One of the titles of the Bishop of Rome is “Servant of the Servants of God”. Jesus said if you want to lead in the Church, you must be a servant. St. Pope John Paul II exemplified this from beginning to end, literally.

God is the one who is doing the preservation! He uses His Holy Catholic Church!

You ask: “How do you know that God is preserving you though the Catholic Church?”

I frequent the Sacraments, I am on the vine bearing fruit through the tree that is true life, not in a garden, but in the hearts of those who believe. Jesus said the Kingdom of God is in your midst! It is the Catholic Church that brings forth the Word of God through her traditions and scripture to the world. The Catholic Church is the Kingdom of God on earth. I try to be a loyal subject and yes I am a sinner who needs His mercy and forgiveness daily!

This leads to a point I want to make, until the Catholic Church rules on an issue formally, saints have been on opposite sides of an issue. Once the Church defines the issue (using her traditions and scriptures), that ends the debate. Those who persist in disobedience and challenge the Church in matters of faith and morals, they place themselves in spiritual mortal danger (Titus 3:10).

Your response: “So? The examples I cited showed “Catholics” protesting official decisions or actions made by “Catholic” synods, councils, and bishops, thereby making the said “Catholics” protestors, or “Protestants.”

lighthouseThe Catholic Church’s teachings are the standard. It is the lighthouse that all can see from the stormy seas. Catholics have deviated from the faith in the past, and more will do so in the future. Catholics are guilty of the greater sin because they should know better. Jesus tells us to heed what we hear, He cares for the lost and wants us to do the Father’s will. He does not desire the death of a sinner. Our Lord gave the Divine Mercy Chaplet to St. Faustina offering His Mercy. If anyone out there are a Catholic and have not been practicing the faith, I encourage you to seek His Mercy and return to the sacraments. Jesus said “My people are destroyed because a lack of knowledge”. This is a mission statement for this board! To be a lighthouse for those who are living in life’s troubled seas.

The heresies of Martin Luther and King Henry VIII are not comparable of those of Donatus, Nestorius, and Arius. The Anglican Church is not Catholic.

Your response: You are ignoring my point. Martin Luther and King Henry VIII were practicing Catholics who protested certain things done by the Catholic Church before leaving the Catholic Church. Consequently, both individuals were “Catholic Protestants” before becoming non-Catholic “Protestants.”

There is no such thing as a Catholic “Protestant”. There are many Catholics who are unfaithful. Open dissent is not an official position. The Corinthians were having issues with their bishops and it took St. Clement of Rome to respond to the problem exhorting the faithful to pray for their leaders. St. Ignatuis said, “Now the more any one sees the bishop keeping silence, the more ought he to revere him. For we ought to receive every one whom the Master of the house sends to be over His household, as we would do Him that sent him. It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself. And indeed Onesimus himself greatly commends your good order in God, that ye all live according to the truth, and that no sect has any dwelling-place among you. Nor, indeed, do ye hearken to any one rather than to Jesus Christ speaking in truth”. Martin Luther and King Henry VIII are more responsible because they were Catholic! Those born outside the faith through no fault of their own is not guilty of the same sin.

The modern day Protestants-Non Catholics, unlike the early heresies, are not Catholic. They are totally distinct in organization, beliefs, and traditions. The Southern Baptist for example, could care less of any Catholic Council or pronouncements. Totally unlike the Christians represented at the Council of Jerusalem. This Council greatly affected all Christians, likewise, pronouncements of the Church affects all Christians.

Your response: “All you are doing here is begging the question. Catholics can protest the decisions, declarations, or actions of the Catholic Church, no? What about Catholics who protest the Magisterium’s reaction to widespread sexual abuse by priests or the theory of Evolution?”

judgmentEach person will stand before God on the day of judgement. There will be no good excuse on that day. As Catholics, we do not have to fear that day, but rather, have hope because the Lord will shine upon us His love. Now is the day of Salvation, now is the day (2 Corinthians 6:2). What is the Magisteriums reaction to the sex scandal? Do you think the priest scandal was “widespread”? Of 70,000 priests in America, only a handful took part in this. Tragic as this is, people have taken it way out of context. Dr. James Dobson of “Focus on the Family”, reported that more than 30% of all the Protestant leaders have had sexual perversity from every conceivable background. I find it all bad. I would not blame the Baptist congregation because of a sick pastor. I think it is interesting that the Catholic Church continues to move forward despite the scandal. I do think that a couple of Church leaders made the mistake of listening to modern psychology as opposed to common sense.

Evolution has two basic views, macro and micro. Macro is not in line with Catholic Tradition or teaching no matter how much some teachers would like to make it so. Micro is a point that Pope John Paul II did grant as a possible truth of science. Why are Chinese men ordinarily much shorter than the average American? That is micro evolution.

Before Martin Luther, these three definitions did not exist. In fact, Luther corrupted the scriptures as he took measures to remove total books from both the Old and New Testaments. He added “alone” to St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans creating the doctrine “faith alone”.

Your response: “Interesting claims. Do you have any evidence to substantiate these assertions?”

Martin Luther in his German translation inserts “alone” in translating the book of Romans 3:28, “For we consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law”. Here Luther add’s “alone” thus creating “sola fides”. Luther in 1534 took out the Old Testament books Tobit, Baruch, Sirach, 1-2 Maccabees, Judith and Wisdom. Luther also took parts of Daniel and Esther out of the bible as well. The New Testament books, James, Hebrews, Jude, and Revelation Luther considered sub-scripture. He demoted them as Canonical but simply good reading. Luther’s preface to the James Epistle states, “It is flatly against St. Paul and all the rest of scripture in ascribing justification to works”. Luther’s Preface to the New Testament calls James states, “an epistle full of straw…for it has nothing of the nature of the gospel about it”. Luther wrote a “Melancthon” a letter telling him to “sin valiantly but believe more valiantly”.

Your response: “Ah, so to resolve this confusion, I should just accept your point of view? You are begging your own question.”

CD 9I would encourage you to investigate the truth as it has been handed down through the centuries, not from the basis of what you read from a subjective point of view, but to try and place yourself in the people, places, and times your reading about. Yes, it is important to know where we are in the here and now, but before you can really move forward, you need to know who you’ve been.

There is a popular heresy today (Indifferentism) that teaches there are “true” Christians in every denomination, that there will be people from every denomination in Heaven (as if their perceived truths are equal), that all Christians Churches are part of the catholic church through their common belief in Christ.

You ask this question: “Before I respond with a more in-depth response, I must ask: Do you believe that only members of the Roman Catholic Church are saved?”

Outside the Catholic Church there is no Salvation. That has always been the teaching of the Church. Vatican II explains that there are two forms of heresy, “Formal” and “Material”. If a Catholic rebels against the Catholic Church that would be Formal and is a serious sin (Titus 3:10). It is the denial or the rejection of one or more revealed truths infallibly defined by the Church. Material heresy is when a baptized Christian practices false teachings through no fault of their own. In this case there is not the sin involved. A sin is a deliberate willful act of disobedience. There is also something called “Invincible Ignorance” applied to those who can never accept Christ or his Church, maybe never hearing of it. Apostasy is the direct abandoning of Christ forsaking Him completely. The Church prays for all peoples and respects the good that they do. We try to work in harmony with the good of others and at the same time claim Christ as our King. The great commission commands us to go to the world and bring the gospel. We have to be faithful!

Your response: “You are contradicting yourself. Are you your own personal Magisterium, or do you follow the Magisterium of the Catholic Church?”

945682_161895583979667_251384866_nIf the Catholic Church were to change it’s 2,000 year teaching on the Eucharist, this would make news! It’s not going to happen! I would think that I was being faithful and loyal by supporting what the Catholic Church teaches! How do you see me contradicting myself here? In the early 1930′s the Anglican church allowed their followers to practice Artificial Birth Control and thus became the first christian denomination in history to do so. Protestantism soon fell so that western society became infected with this great social disease. Only the Catholic Church remains faithful to the biblical teaching. If the Catholic Church were to change her teaching on ABC, this would be an obvious distortion.

As a Protestant, you have a variety of “interpretations” on just about every thing.  As you investigate this matter, how can you take a position that is clearly of human origin rather than what Christ through His Apostles taught? If the Catholic Church taught this teaching going back to 33 A.D., shouldn’t a Christian feel that should trump any new teaching devised in 1534?

Your response: “Before I provide an answer, I must ask: Where does Scripture teach the doctrine of Transubstantiation?”

The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) spoke of Transubstantiation, “the belief that the substance of bread and wine is changed into the body and blood of Christ.” It would be confirmed by the Council of Constance (1415) and the Council of Trent (1551). The controversy over ‘the breaking of bread’ begins with Jesus and his early followers during Christ’s ‘bread of life’ discourse. Some of his followers began to fall away (John 5:22-59). Even his own disciples murmured amongst themselves (John 6:60-70). Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day” (John 6:53,54). Jesus often explained his parables to his disciples. In the case of the breaking of bread, Jesus reaffirms and clarifies his teaching (John 6:53-58). Jesus directly asks the apostles if they too would like to leave (John 6:67).

doubt 2Every believer should respond with St. Peter as he states, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life….”(John 6:68). It was here that Judas began to break (John 6:64-71), and he broke the night it was given (John 13:21-30). Scripture makes clear that the apostles recognized Jesus in the breaking of bread (Luke 24:35). St. Paul wrote that if you didn’t recognize Jesus’ body in the breaking of bread, “you bring judgment to yourself” (I Corinthians 11:29). The other apostles were in unison with this teaching (Acts 2:42-47).

St. Ignatius of Antioch, ordained as Bishop by the Apostle Peter, urged believers to “partake of one Eucharist, for one is the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one the cup to unite us with His blood.” St. Ignatius also warned the Ephesians that if they “abstain from the Eucharistic celebration because of their doubts, they will die in their doubts.” During the middle of the second century, St. Justin the Martyr states, “on the day which is called ‘Sunday,’ we have a common assembly…The Eucharistic elements are distributed and consumed.”

This is the teaching of the Church from the very beginning: In the Eucharist, Jesus Christ is truly present; body, blood, soul and divinity. Jesus instructed the apostles to proclaim this fact (Matthew 28:16-20). As the Church grew under persecution during the first three centuries, the pagans thought we were cannibals because of false rumors and misrepresentations that were spread about the Christians. The Mass was done in secret because it was against Roman law.

In the year 258 A. D., Tarcisius, a young boy became the first martyr for the Eucharist. While taking consecrated Hosts to Christians in prison, he was caught and killed by Roman soldiers. They could not open his hands which held the blessed Sacrament. Our Lord was not desecrated and clearly Tarcisius recognized Jesus in the breaking of bread. Many take this account to be the first Eucharistic miracle.

longeianoAnother of these Eucharistic miracles occurred in early 700 A. D. A priest began to have doubts about the real presence of the Lord in the Eucharist. To show the priest the error of his ways, the Host transformed into flesh and the wine transformed into blood during the moment of consecration. This act of God is known as ‘The Miracle of Lanciano’ and is kept in the church of St. Francis, Italy. Millions of pilgrims have traveled to this site to view this now 1300-year old miracle. The Vatican recently ordered an investigation. A number of medical professionals from respected universities such as Turin and Florence spent two years conducting a thorough investigation. They determined the flesh to be cardiac, i.e., from the heart. Furthermore, rigor mortise had not occurred, implying that the heart tissue was yet living. The examiners called it ‘incorrupt.’ The blood (which had coagulated into five blood clots as the centuries passed) was determined to be in a petrified state, but upon liquefaction of a particle of the blood, tests showed that protein and chemical compounds were wholly present.

The blood type is AB positive, the same type blood discovered on the Shroud of Turin, the fabric that served Jesus Christ as His burial cloth. As an NCOIC of a Troop Medical Clinic, I’ve been responsible for all the lab, including the drawing of blood for all kinds of testing. I went to our local hospital and ask what happens to the blood when exposed to air. I found that blood begins to decompose after 15 minutes. Blood in test tubes is only good for a few hours. With refrigeration, blood is good for 30 days. The red blood cells begin to die after this period of time. The blood and flesh of the ‘Miracle of Lanciano’ has been exposed to the elements for 1300 years, two of those years under intense biochemical observation. There is no natural explanation for ‘The Miracle of Lanciano.’  Some two hundred years after the Lanciano miracle occurred, controversy again appeared.

A monk named Ratramnus, in 868 A. D. claimed that the Eucharist could not be the historical Jesus. He believed that it was symbolic rather than corporeal. His teaching was condemned at the Synod of Vercelli. In 1079, Archdeacon Berenger of Tours favored Ratramnus’ position, but he later recanted, or repented, to Pope Gregory VII. Other men that would challenge church teaching on the Eucharist prior to the Protestant Reformation were Peter Waldo, founder of the Waldensian heresy, and priests such as John Huss and John Wycliffe.

The latter two were condemned at the Council of Constance in 1415 A. D. During the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation, no one challenged the church on the Eucharist like John Calvin, nor had his impact. Calvin claimed that the Eucharist was merely a memorial and cited Luke 22:19, “do this in memory of me.” His position is held yet today by most fundamental Protestant groups.

Francis 2The Catholic Church maintains that “in memory” of His death and resurrection, we proclaim the “death of the Lord until He comes” again in glory (I Corinthians 11:26). In our generation, many Catholics appear to have lost faith in the real presence, thus fulfilling the word expressed in I Timothy 4:1-5. The Church has recognized the Lord in the ‘breaking of bread’ for almost 2000 years. It has His protection (Matthew 16:18), His promise (Matthew 28:20, and His Spirit (John 14:15-26).

The closer a person investigates the cross and the early followers of Christ, the more a person ceases to be Protestant.

You ask: “How did you come to this conclusion? “Because you say so”?

No, I have nothing to do with it other than I try to live accordingly. He is Lord and I have to be faithful to Him. “And this food is called among us Eukaristia [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Savior, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, “This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body;” and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, “This is My blood;” and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn”. St. Justin Martyr 148 A.D.

I have the heritage of the Fathers, the faith of the martyrs, the constant history and it continues into the future. Most of all, I have the promise of the Lord who satisfies my hunger. Jesus promised that the gates of Hades will not prevail, that He would remain with it until He returns, and He gave us the Holy Spirit that reveals His glory. As we have already explained, only the Catholic Church can reach back to the time of the Apostles. She was birthed by them, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. This body is the bride of Christ and no imposter can take her place.

Divine MercyYour position is one that concerns me because it comes from a position of distrust. Our Lord reveals His Divine Mercy to St. Faustina (1930′s) encouraging us to trust in Him, “Jesus, I trust in you”! The Catholic Church is the result or the produce of fulfilled prophecy. The Old Testament foreshadows her, the prophets longed to see her, Daniel prayed for her. We maintain it through the power of His Spirit that is with us and within us.

Time is constant, yet with God, He is outside of time. The end of the age begins with the New testament, it is consumed at the Second Coming which we all await. As I trust the message of His Second Coming, I trust in that word that He has spoken and revealed through His Church, the One True Faith, the Catholic Church!

You respond: “If anyone claims inheritance of any Apostolic office, then such individuals must validate their linkage to the Apostles. However, citing an individual’s personal claim to an Apostolic office proves nothing, for such claims are empty self-affirmations.”

In this, I agree with you:

St. Irenaeus puts this to rest stating,
“It is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the Tradition of the Apostles which has been made known throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the Apostles and their successors to our own times—men who neither knew nor taught anything like these heretics rave about. But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the Tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the Apostles. With this church, because of its superior origin, all churches must agree—that is, all the faithful in the whole world—and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the Apostolic Tradition” (ibid., 3:3:1-2).

john 1Tertullian as “arguably one of the greatest Catholic Minds” of the early Church.
“The Apostles founded churches in every city, from which all the others, one after another, derived the tradition of the faith, and the seeds of doctrine, and are every day deriving them, that they may become churches. Indeed, it is on this account only that they will be able to deem themselves apostolic, as being the offspring of apostolic churches. Every sort of thing must necessarily revert to its original for its classification. Therefore the churches, although they are so many and so great, comprise but the one primitive church, founded by the apostles, from which they all spring. In this way all are primitive, and all are apostolic, while they are all proved to be one in unity…” (Demurrer Against the Heretics 20 A.D. 200).

Tertillian makes my point loud and clear stating,
“But if there be any heresies which are bold enough to plant their origin in the midst of the apostolic age, that they may thereby seem to have been handed down by the apostles, because they existed in the time of the apostles, we can say: Let them produce the original records of their churches: let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that their first bishop shall be able to show for his ordain-er and predecessor some one of the apostolic men—a man, moreover, who continued steadfast with the apostles. For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John: as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter” (ibid, 32).

You respond: “No, this quotation puts no objections “to rest,” for this quotation presupposes numerous unsubstantiated pro-Catholic historical claims.”IrenaeusNow this is funny, St. Ireneous wrote this in the 180′s A.D.! No wonder you can’t accept Apostolic Succession if you can’t accept the words of the ECF’s. “Unsubstantiated pro-Catholic historical claims” are all any of us have. There is nothing else, unless you want to rewrite history as the Mormons or mistranslate scripture to satisfy the modern Protestant mind.

Jesus gives the keys to the kingdom to Peter, and the power to bind and loose on earth.

You make the point that Jesus still has the keys (Rev 3:7), He still is the promised fulfillment of Davids family reign. Jesus is the true King! That means He can choose who His prime minister is and that is the meaning behind the keys given to Peter!

You ask: “But where does Scripture state that Christ Jesus “delegated” or “loaned” the Key of David to Peter?”

Consider Isaiah 22:22 and Matthew 16:19. Any honest evaluation will show that a connection is being made.

Terrible heresies that began with Martin Luther and King Henry VIII has caused a great delusion among many people.  These individuals would be “Formal Heretics”, while many who are in heresy through no fault of there own is “Material” so there is a difference. I feel that a Catholic is a Catholic even when they abandon the faith. You’ve heard of “Once a Catholic, always a Catholic”, some simply are not practicing and it shows!!! That will be met at their judgement, but we do ask for the Lord’s mercy!

Uour response: “I disagree. You are skipping over my question by presupposing an answer, yet you double-back to answer my question by appealing to the logical consequences of your presupposed answer. Specifically, you are presupposing that Oral Tradition represents objectively preserved unwritten Apostolic teachings, then you reference Elohiym’s promised preservation of his Word (i.e. Matthew 5:18, Matthew 24:35) to demonstrate that the Magisterium has objectively maintained Oral Tradition.”

“Skipping”, not at all, actually kind of direct. Yes, I recognize that the Catholic Church is the Church of the New Testament. That is not a concession but a point of fact. Obviously, when I utilize scripture to support a point, I see the connection. You see it as “presupposed”, fair enough, but it answers an old question I’ve been asked in the past, “Don’t you think your rather close minded”? I’ll respond “yes, but I can afford to be, I’m right”! Yes, Jesus says that His word will not pass away, either the Fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. nor even to the end of the age, His word will last. This adds to my basic point that the Catholic Church is the true Church that has His protection, presence, and seal.

Your response: “However, you cannot demonstrate that the Magisterium’s Oral Tradition represents the oral teachings of 2 Thessalonians 2:15. Specifically, you cannot show me any such unwritten Apostolic teaching, unless you appeal to “because the Magisterium says so” argumentation and/or an affirmative presupposition.”

peter 2In the Time of St. Paul we see at least 4 generations that represents Apostolic succession. From the Apostles to their successors i.e. St. Timothy, from St. Timothy to his next generation, then from those who St. Timothy ordains down to the next generation of leaders. We are 2,000 years later and have past through far more than 4 generations. But the standard continues to be manifest through the power of the same Apostolic Succession. With this direct line, that even secular history attests too, the oral tradition from 2 Thessalonians 2:15 has indeed past through the only possible vehicle, the Catholic Church. The scriptures are not written nor fashioned like a regular history book where it addresses everything the Church believes. The scriptures were put together by the Church (there is no place in scriptures that discusses any New Testament writings as scriptures, no canon, this is all through the Magisterium so that even the New Testament itself has passed from this Sacred Tradition).

Your response: “You did not answer my question. How do you know that the Magisterium is objectively maintaining the said Oral Tradition? “Because the Magisterium says so?”

No, not at all! As a Catholic, I trust in the true Messiah! I trust in His word! Can it really be that simple? Well, yes it is! It’s not only because the “Magisterium says so”, but because the Lord promised this protection!

Jesus didn’t play “telephone”, yet He understood the problem that might result of human imagination, so the miracle of the descent of the Holy Spirit is a fulfilled promise to aid the Church in this great mission known as the “Great Commission”. This presence of the Lord is what gives the foundation to the teaching Magisterium, her Tradition and her sacred writings.

Your response: “Guess what happened? The original message always became twisted and misinterpreted. As a result, a different, yet similar message was produced.”

sign 1Not at all! The original message as pure as it is, is still maintained and kept through the Catholic Church. “It is He whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ”. We have been doing this for 2,000 years and counting. It is the timeless message of His love, it is the message that the Father’s saying! Talk about the lack of faith? Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would keep His Church anchored.  Jesus gave His Glory to the Church.  Yet, your giving every excuse to not believe?

Your response: “These three statements validate my counterargument. You are “jumping” between “because the Magisterium says so” argumentation and an affirmative presupposition.”

Not at all, the natural conclusion from Following Christ is to believe in His word and those whom He has sent! Jesus sends forth the Church to go to all nations. What makes it difficult for you to swallow is the fact that there is a historic line, one that you would want to erase as real consideration. The Holy Spirit is just as important to fulfill the promise of Jesus as anything coming from the Old Testament concerning the Kingdom of God in our midst. In order to destroy the Magisterium, the Sacred Tradition, and the Scripture, you would first have to knock out the basis for it. The secularist’s have tried with some success to achieve this in our society, Protestants have also attempted to do this to justify their own position so this is not a new argument. Your counterargument is not validated by my insistence that the Church is founded and maintained by Jesus Christ through the power of His Spirit. On the contrary, it is the very validation that is most important for without Christ, the body will fall!

Your response: “Your counterargument is irrelevant, unless you presuppose that God the Spirit guides the Roman Catholic Church”

washingtonDo you presuppose that George Washington was the first President of the United States of America under her current Constitution? I have stood in catacombs dating back to the second century, I have been to the grave site of Catholic priests martyred by the Romans, I have been able to go through much of the roots of the early Church and it is not a presupposed reality, but a living historical reality. Your not going to be able to shake it off through the whining of disgruntled heretics who attempted to destroy this reality. 90% of American Church founded in the United States are drifting without a foundation other than the new traditions they have developed through the power of their “spirit that tells them so”. You seem to presuppose the correctness of new teachings that are not in accord with the apostolic tradition, hence, your delima. What I “presuppose” can be authenticated through an encyclopedia, a dictionary, the internet, a history book, but most of all, the bible. Likewise, I can discover the birth and the issues of every non-Catholic group, their founders, basic tenets, and their time frames. There is not much to presuppose when your church was founded in 1917 and mine was there in 33 A.D.

Your response: “Guess what? When a non-Catholic or Protestant denominationalist attempts to override my intellectual objections with such an argument, I make the same objection against them.”

A man without a country and a man without a home, your providing for yourself from what you have. On the contrary, I have the heritage of the Catholic Church giving me a home. I do not have to rewrite anything, develop anything, build anything, but simply follow it. I’ve had the saints of God do this for me. I am quite content in the happiness I have been given by God my Father for giving me all the graces that come from Him through His Church. I do not have to reinvent the wheel! If your argument is with the whole world, then truly, I am sorry, because you can not understand the kind of love that God gives as simply exhibited this past weekend at Blondie’s place where Catholics who hold dearly to the faith were able to come together as in a family reunion and have the time of their lives. Go to the pub and check it out when you get the chance!

Your response: “The Spirit guides us to all truth, not simply gives us all truth (John 16:13). Biblical Scripture instructs believers to test everything (1 Thessalonians 5:21), including spirits (1 John 4:1), what God’s will is (Romans 12:2), and one’s self (2 Corinthians 13:5, Galatians 6:4). In fact, the Apostle Paul praised the Bereans for questioning his message (Acts 17:11). As a result, there is no substitute for personal research which tests all premises.”

vatican 1On this, I will agree! The Spirit is guiding millions to the Catholic Church from all over the world. We have received thousands of Protestant Ministers just the past few years because they believe in your last paragraph. The Spirit guides those to all truth, He uses His Church as His instrument, holding it together, keeping true to the Message of Jesus! That’s why there is but one Church and not the 40,000 denominations your in the midst of!

Again, I recognize that the Catholic Church is the Church of the New Testament. That is not a concession but a point of fact. Obviously, when I utilize scripture to support a point, I see the connection.  This adds to my basic point that the Catholic Church is the true Church that has His protection, presence, and seal.

Your response: “I disagree. To the contrary, your assertion begs the question with circular logic. Specifically, you cannot demonstrate that the Church of New Testament Scripture is the Roman Catholic Church without appealing to Oral Tradition’s interpretation of written Scripture (ref. Paragraph 113 of the CCC). As a result, you are appealing to Oral Tradition’s interpretation of written Scripture to validate Oral Tradition.”

In using the oral tradition, I thereby have the correct interpretation of sacred scripture. Yes, I do frequently refer to it, not just for debate, but for study, for prayer, and for personal growth. The Church offers a Plenary Indulgence to anyone of the faithful who will dedicate a minimum of 30 minutes per day. I recommend it highly!

If you do not accept the ECF’s or their commentary of scripture and the Church, if you do not accept the Apostolic oral tradition or the historical account of scripture and the Church, if you cannot accept the biblical writings demonstrated, how can you find the truth outside the willing and wanting expression of self interpretation? If I was attempting to present a case before a court, I would have to prove my case giving evidence to the case at hand. I would gather all the circumstantial and physical facts I can find. In order to achieve “victory”, I must be able to convince a jury of our peers to see the truth as it is presented. That does not mean that I must prove to the guilty or even the opponents camp, that the evidence bears out the facts, but such a camp should know the facts and the basis of those facts.

If a person refuses to accept any circumstantial evidence, then you could not convince this person using information that might be totally essential to the case. Even if the information is “marked by careful attention to detail” or “abounding in factual details”, such a person will not accept it. If the physical evidence is not explicitly defined in and of itself through the power of itself, then such a person will not accept the physical evidence.

1491668_10152131540201041_1133838760_nThe challenge is to utilize whatever physical evidence there is and bring home the case showing what circumstantial evidence there might be. The Catholic Church has all the physical evidence needed or required to show it’s authenticity. It is a fact that it is the oldest church anyone can see. All you have to do is go where it is and see it from the roots of the faith.

In the Time of St. Paul we see at least 4 generations that represents Apostolic succession. From the Apostles to their successors i.e. St. Timothy, from St. Timothy to his next generation, then from those who St. Timothy ordains down to the next generation of leaders. We are 2,000 years later and have past through far more than 4 generations. But the standard continues to be manifest through the power of the same Apostolic Succession. With this direct line, that even secular history attests too, the oral tradition from 2 Thessalonians 2:15 has indeed past through the only possible vehicle, the Catholic Church.

What makes it difficult for you to swallow is the fact that there is a historic line, one that you would want to erase as real consideration.

Your response: “I disagree. To the contrary, your assertion begs the question with circular logic. Specifically, you cannot demonstrate that Apostolic succession objectively preserved Oral Tradition by appealing to Oral Tradition’s record of Apostolic succession.”

Why would our good Lord build a Church promising to protect it from the gates of hell, promising to be with it until the end of the age, and then reveal the Holy Spirit and His seal, why would the Lord do this knowing that it would fall? Why would Christ establish an authority to teach and govern in His name, only to fall? Why would the Lord give us His word if He knew that His word would fall? None of this logic makes sense. To demonstrate Apostolic Succession is to show how His Church has advanced into the future, a process that is still continuing. St. Paul instructs St. Timothy, “Attend to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you”. I conclude that by following St. Paul’s instruction, St. Timothy is standing “firm and holding fast to the tradition that (he) was taught, either by an oral statement or a letter of (Paul’s)”.

Your response: “You are engaging in non-sequitur reasoning to argue plausibility. The fact that the Apostles appointed local elders to oversee local churches does not prove that the Apostles personally instructed the “Early [Catholic] Church Fathers” (ECFs).”

According to Acts 14:22,23, “They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, ‘it is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.’ They appointed presbyters for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they put their faith”.

danielSt Peter exhorts his priests to “tend the flock of God”! To lead willingly, to willingly lead with integrity and responsibility. These early Church leaders may not have gone through 8 years of training like they do today, but that is not the important issue. Jesus instructed the Apostles for nearly three years. None of them had degrees or formal education, but they received valid orders from our Lord. The “laying on of hands” by the Presbyterate is the important thing. Apostolic Succession is another one of those “circumstantial” evidences that the Protestant must destroy because the evidence through history is too important for the closed mind to admit. I have been involved with the installment of a number of Commanders in my unit, my Brigade, and Division. The pomp and ceremony is impressive, but there have been a lot of Commanders that received their orders and installed through very extreme means. I think that the first 34 Popes were installed much more discreet than Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Yet, their office is still as valid because they received the ordination required for the office.

Your response: “We can agree that God the Spirit oversaw the formulation of the New Testament canon. However, can you prove that the Roman Catholic Church determined the canon of New Testament Scripture with Oral Tradition (ref. Paragraph 120 of the CCC), as opposed to simply having endorsed a canon of Scripture which was developed by an independent individual or group?”

This is a matter of faith, Pope Damasus called for the Council of Hippo in 393 with the intent to put together the New Testament Canon. It took three years before the council ended with the Full New Testament Canon. The Church has upheld this again at the Council of Trent after the Protestants began tossing out scripture. Before the Council, you had a number of independent groups utilizing all sorts of writings as sacred scripture, hence the need for the council. It is reasonable to conclude that the Holy Spirit was involved using the Church and her tradition.

Book-of-LifeWhat you are in effect saying is that you cannot believe in a historical, vibrant Church from Sola Scriptura! I believe the Bible answers all the issues that is revealed truth either explicitly or implicitly. However, in understanding the message of the written word you must have the freedom to consider the tradition in which it was written to include the author. What you call “presupposition” I recognize stated fact. It’s difficult to marry them together because in one instance, I accept without question, the authenticity of the Church through the physical and circumstantial evidence. You are skeptical of any evidence that points to what your calling a “presupposition”.

If St. Ireneous states, “ “As I said before, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet guarded it, as if she occupied but one house. She likewise believes these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth. For, while the languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the authority of the Tradition is one and the same” (Against Heresies 1:10:2 A.D. 189). You simply discredit this as pro-Catholic presuppositions. It would be equally difficult if we were trying to show American History by cutting out all the Presidents from Thomas Jefferson to Obama. That’s a lot of stuff between Washington and Obama.

Your response: “You have indicated that you possess an immovable faith in the Roman Catholic Church. However, your immovable faith is based on a double-think. Specifically, you claim to focus your faith on Christ Jesus, yet you spend all of your energies on honoring, following, and defending the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. As a result, your intellectual assertions and your tangible acts of loyalty flow in two different directions.”

CONFESSION_1No at all! I simply recognize that when you obey the Church, you are obeying Christ! I do not separate the Head from the body as you do. I recognize a connection between Christ and His Church. We are called to pick up our cross and follow Him, we do that by being faithful to the Church. That means we are faithful to the Sacraments, where Jesus is present sacramentally. I would respect that you love Jesus, motivated to do God’s will and trying to do that to the best of your ability. I have the heritage of the saints, the blood of the martyrs, the greatest minds of the Church who have gone before me marked by the sign of faith. I have much which enriches my faith in Christ. How sad it is to see people who are trying to follow Christ, yet without all His blessings.

Your response: “Now, just as the Army trains you to follow orders faithfully, the Roman Catholic Church trains you to follow its religious system faithfully. However, as illustrated by the My Lai massacre of the Vietnam War, the Army teaches that a soldier’s obedience to unlawful orders from a superior cannot be justified by the excuse that “I was just following orders.” To the contrary, a soldier must exercise obedience within reason, not as a mindless robot.”

True, that is very sound, that is obvious, and I think this is good to reflect on here. Catholics must always be watching, yes it is important to be informed about the faith. I’m with you on this point. A priest can possibly speak falsehoods just as anybody else can, he must remain loyal to the teaching of the Church to lead his flock (just as St. Paul had instructed St. Timothy). If a priest was to teach that the Eucharist was only a memorial, then he would not be teaching the truth and we are obligated to confront him on it or even go higher, yes, like the Army, there is a chain of command. Our mission as Church is to be loyal to the Great Commission.

Your response: “Likewise, when you appeal to “because the Magisterium says so” argumentation to answer any and all objections, you are implicitly saying, “I have no personal accountability, I am just following orders.” As a result, you cast the command of 1 Thessalonians 5:21 into the garbage can.”

sign 2If you take a quick look, have you not realized that 90 plus % of what I refer to is from the Sacred Scriptures? I’ve purposely have not refereed to the CCC, I’ve refereed to the ECF’s only to bring circumstantial and physical evidence together to show a binding tie. But mostly, it is from the scriptures to show that there is a basis for what we maintain there. In reality, the Magisterium provides a lot of freedom with some guard rails serving to protect the pilgrim. That is the role of the Shepherds, “Obey your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account, that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow, for that would be of no advantage to you”.

To be a soldier for Christ, that is to put on the full armor of Christ! His truth is a two edged sword that cuts down into the marrow. The Lord has granted me to see many conversions to the faith. What a blessing it is. When I speak for Christ, I am representing the faith of our Fathers, not the doctrine according to me. I hope to infuse my will totally to the surrender to His will. I’ve formed my conscience to His teaching. To speak of Christ is to speak of the Faith that possesses Christ. I see that as a glory. To be part of the elect is a glorious thing, something to keep me humble. This is the standard by which we are to test the spirit (Gal 1:6-9).

Your response: “Again, your reply contains no substantive answers to my objections, except for faith-based presuppositions and circular reasoning.”

What you are in effect saying is that you cannot believe in a historical, vibrant Church from Sola Scriptura!

“Faith-based presuppositions and circular reasoning” does not equal “circumstantial and physical evidence”. I didn’t start out “presupposing anything:

“I came back to college enlightened and I made Immediate changes. I began to go to Mass every Sunday, and freely talk openly about my faith. It is important to note that I was still indifferent about religion in that it didn’t matter to me what religion another person was. I was just happy with my own faith. My room mates were shocked that I had a Catholic background. They began to show me their concerns with Catholicism. This was news to me as they were introducing comic books and all kinds of “anti-Catholic propaganda. In the beginning, I was not equipped to handle this. I didn’t have a big brother, a Scott Hahn, or Jeff Cavins to explain any of this to me. I had to fight this battle myself.

baseballMy last year in college I studied more in religion than any of my classes. It became a struggle. I would be at baseball practice and there would be five guys waiting for me to talk with me with their King James bibles. I was being told that all I need was a “personal relationship” with God, that all I needed to be was “Born Again”! I was told that I needed to be “saved” and this could not be done through any earthly institution. To them it was not a religion, but a relationship. I could be in the dining hall and I would have guys gather around me to talk about their faiths and why the Catholic Church was in error. My room mates would invite people over to our room to debate with me which always would go late at night. I was in trouble and knew it. If the Catholic Church was the “whore of Babylon”, and the Pope the “anti-Christ”, then I had to really investigate this through.

I was studying probably at least 2 hours a day on the Catholic Church and the various “Protestant” denominations. I began to take issue with my room mates who had introduced the “Jack Chick” comic books. I began to see that if the Catholic Church was the True Faith established by Christ, then she had full and complete authority from Jesus it’s founder. That would mean that those who practiced “Protestantism” grew out of those traditions founded upon men who abandoned the Catholic faith. I became convinced through study that this was the truth. Then I simply began to understand that those people who were attacking the Catholic Church were inadvertently attacking Christ Himself.”

Your response: “This assertion is a red herring. If you can prove that the Roman Catholic Church is the New Testament Church, then you have no need to attack my viewpoint by “shifting the spotlight.”

“Shifting the spotlight”, indeed, it appears that your taking a page from Muhammad Ali and playing “rope-a-dope” standing upon the ropes of “circular and non-sequitur reasoning”. I can give the basis of the faith from scripture, yet, the person searching for the truth must be able to identify the True faith from all the man-made religions. That means that there must be a connection with a Church today going back to that first 120 in an upper room. That Church is the Church. While you play “rope-a-dope”, I have been planting the biblical basis for the faith. I trust that the observer with an open mind will be able to connect St. John to St. Ignatius of Antioch, to Pope Francis. Yes, I will challenge your view point. But in a respectful way. It is my hope and prayer that the on-lurker will see that. And there are many on both sides of the fence that come in here.

I’m not holding my breath my brother! Actually, I’m having a good time. Ordinarily, when I am conversing with Protestant Evangelical’s I usually must come from a biblical point of reference. Your not going to find in the scripture anything that will come out and say, “In 49 A.D. St. Peter entered Rome and there by ordained and approved of the ordinations of St. Linus, Cleatus, and Clement who will conduct their first Mass within the catacombs this coming Sunday….” If I could sell that coming from scriptures to you then I have property in Arizona to sell! I don’t think so.

miracleeucharist 1That is where Tradition and history come in and they do play a very important part.  I’ve refereed to the ECF’s only to bring circumstantial and physical evidence together to show a binding tie.  I have demonstrated that Jesus did promise His protection, presence and seal offering that it is logical the ECF’s would hand down the Apostolic Teaching they recieved onto their disciples and followers. You call that “presupposing”, I call it trusting. Your argument is much like the evolutionist who will say that I can’t prove the bible in science. Yet, we are here and this is present reality. The Church is here and it wasn’t born yesturday. Secular history attests to the Church springing forth from the ashes of the fall of the Roman Empire. St. Ignatuis is recognized as a real historical figure. He was a follower of St. John. That is why I place such importance in his writings. I submitt them to you!

Your response: “And you have repeatedly failed to prove that the Roman Catholic Church is the New Testament Church.”

Pope Francis is the 266th successor to St. Peter, it’s in the encyclopedia. If you do not want to hear the Church, we can go to secular sources. Most importantly, you haven’t proven that it is not the Catholic Church. Now that would be an impossible chore as Satan has not been able to sink it, do you think anybody else can?

Your response: “Now, you can accuse me of disregarding your “evidence” until you are blue in the face. However, such a tactic does not nullify the fact that the Roman Catholic Magisterium is a self-validating institution.”

I’m still breathing fine, between 12-20 per minute! I’m not holding my breath and still having a good time. The Catholic Church in the natural selection seems to you to be a “self-validating institution”. We have faith in the Promise of our Messiah and founder, Jesus Christ. For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary, for those who do not believe in God no explanation will surface. Jesus Christ is yesterday, today and forever the same. Protestantism offers instead the unfortunate reality of disunity, false doctrines, heresy, and rugged individualism.

In reality, the Magisterium provides a lot of freedom with some guard rails serving to protect the pilgrim. That is the role of the Shepherds, “Obey your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account, that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow, for that would be of no advantage to you”.

Your response: “But you have not demonstrated that the Magisterium possesses any Biblical authority.”

vatican11Well, it was the Catholic Church through her members that wrote the New Testament, preserved it, put it together and formed a NT Canon, and have maintained it. She has protected it from those who have sought to destroy it, distort it, and falsely interpret it. When someone asks me why I accept the Gospel of Matthew, I can reply that it was a determination of the Catholic Church at the Council of Hippo based from her Tradition going back to the Apostles. You on the other hand will have to borrow this from us even should you reject it. Show me where the book of Matthew itself is scripture outside of Catholic Tradition? Can’t do it!

When I speak for Christ, I am representing the faith of our Fathers, not the doctrine according to me.

Your response:  “Because you say so?”

Some may accept the word of my testimony “because I say so”, but not many. Some might say that the way I live my life is the best example I can show the reality of the faith unseen. I truely do hope that I reflect the Lord in my life, but it takes much more than my saying so. It is Him who I lift up and magnify. May the Lord be with you!

Your response: “Well, Catholic Defender, you have proven my point. You have stood up, put your hands on your hips, and said, “Because the Magisterium and I said so.”

Most importantly, you haven’t proven that it is not the Catholic Church.  Well, it is far easier to make assertions which you carry your own “presuppostions” hence the point I make. Jesus said, “No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master, it is enough for the disciple that he becomes like his teacher…” The evidence of a disciple then is to be faithful to their master. You show times and places where people dissented from the Church as to justify the dissenters. So what if there were 33 Bishops at the Council of Ephesus who followed Nestorus? That means nothing! Jesus warns that there would be wolves in sheep clothing which we still must look out for today.

“Then they brought to Him a demonic who was blind and mute. He cured the mute person so that he could speak and see. All the crowd was astounded, and said, Could this perhaps be the Son of David?” That is a very important question, Jesus is the Son of David (Matthew 1:17). Jesus said, “But it is the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you”. People today will pinch their tent where they think they can find Him, but he has already came. He has given the Church the great commission.

St. Ireneus states:

cupFrom Book 4, Chapter 17:
5Again, giving directions to His disciples to offer to God the first-fruits of His own, created things–not as if He stood in need of them, but that they might be themselves neither unfruitful nor ungrateful–He took that created thing, bread, and gave thanks, and said, “This is My Body.”(1) And the cup likewise, which is part of that creation to which we belong, He confessed to be His blood, and taught the new oblation of the new covenant; which the Church receiving from the apostles, offers to God throughout all the world, to Him who gives us as the means of subsistence the first-fruits of His own gifts in the New Testament, concerning which Malachi, among the twelve prophets, thus spoke beforehand: “I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD Omnipotent, and I will not accept sacrifice at your hands. For from the rising of the sun, unto the going down [of the same], My name is glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to My name, and a pure sacrifice; for great is My name among the Gentiles, saith the LORD Omnipotent;”(2)–indicating in the plainest manner, by these words, that the former people [the Jews] shall indeed cease to make offerings to God, but that in every place sacrifice shall be offered to Him, and that a pure one; and His name is glorified among the Gentiles.

Jesus said, “Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from Him comes to me… Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life… I Am the living bread life… Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you… Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day… For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink… Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him…”

Again, from St. Ireneous:
From Book 4, Chapter 18:
2 And the class of oblations in general has not been set aside; for there were both oblations there [among the Jews], and there are oblations here [among the Christians]. Sacrifices there were among the people; sacrifices there are, too, in the Church: but the species alone has been changed, inasmuch as the offering is now made, not by slaves, but by freemen. For the Lord is [ever] one and the same; but the character of a servile oblation is peculiar [to itself], as is also that of freemen, in order that, by the very oblations, the indication of liberty may be set forth. For with Him there is nothing purposeless, nor without signification, nor without design. And for this reason they (the Jews) had indeed the tithes of their goods consecrated to Him, but those who have received liberty set aside all their possessions for the Lord’s purposes, bestowing joyfully and freely not the less valuable portions of their property, since they have the hope of better things [hereafter]; as that poor widow acted who cast all her living into the treasury of God.

4Inasmuch, then, as the Church offers with single-mindedness, her gift is justly reckoned a pure sacrifice with God. As Paul also says to the Philippians, “I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things that were sent from you, the odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, pleasing to God.” For it behooves us to make an oblation to God, and in all things to be found grateful to God our Maker, in a pure mind, and in faith without hypocrisy, in well-grounded hope, in fervent love, offering the first-fruits of His own created things. And the Church alone offers this pure oblation to the Creator, offering to Him, with giving of thanks, [the things taken] from His creation. But the Jews do not offer thus: for their hands are full of blood; for they have not received the Word, through whom it is offered to God. Nor, again, do any of the conventicles (synagogue) of the heretics [offer this]. For some, by maintaining that the Father is different from the Creator, do, when they offer to Him what belongs to this creation of ours, set Him forth as being covetous of anther’s property, and desirous of what is not His own. Those, again, who maintain that the things around us originated from apostasy, ignorance, and passion, do, while offering unto Him the fruits of ignorance, passion, and apostasy, sin against their Father, rather subjecting Him to insult than giving Him thanks. But how can they be consistent with themselves, [when they say] that the bread over which thanks have been given is the body of their Lord, and the cup His blood, if they do not call Himself the Son of the Creator of the world, that is, His Word, through whom the wood fructifies, and the fountains gush forth, and the earth gives “first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear.” (1)
5Then, again, how can they say that the flesh, which is nourished with the body of the Lord and with His blood, goes to corruption, and does not partake of life? Let them, therefore, either alter their opinion, or cease from offering the things just mentioned (2). But our opinion is in accordance with the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn establishes our opinion. For we offer to Him His own, announcing consistently the fellowship and union of the flesh and Spirit. For as the bread, which is produced from the earth, when it receives the invocation of God, is no longer common bread, but the Eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly; so also our bodies, when they receive the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, having the hope of the resurrection to eternity.”

From St. Ignatius of Antioch:

communion 1“Of special interest are his references to Church structure. While the apostles lived, it was they who ruled the churches they founded; but they made arrangements to be succeeded by resident bishops in various localities. By the time St. Ignatius (and St. John the Apostle) were dead, the hierarchy was already well established.
Ignatius lays special stress on the importance of the local bishop. He is even the first writer to refer to the hierarchical church as “Catholic.” “Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be, even as wherever Christ Jesus appears, there is the Catholic Church.” He does not as yet refer to the position of St. Peter’s successors, the bishops of Rome, in that hierarchy. Still, in writing to the Roman Christians, he indicates that the city where SS. Peter and Paul died enjoyed a unique leadership. He advises all other Christians to keep good order under the rule of their bishops: “The bishop is to preside in the place of God, while the priests are to function as the council of the apostles, and the deacons, who are most dear to me, are entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ.”
Even a youthful bishop is to be obeyed. (There must have been many younger bishops in his day.) Whatever his age, “He embodies the authority of God the Father.” The bishop is also the chief liturgist of his people, the supreme minister and custodian of the sacraments: “Let that celebration of the Eucharist be considered valid which is held under the bishop or anyone to whom he has committed it.”
It is interesting to note that in formulating this doctrine on bishops the Second Vatican Council drew extensively on the apostolic witness of St. Ignatius of Antioch.”
–Father Robert F. McNamara

As people departed Christ then, some still depart now, because they can’t accept His full teaching nor listen to those whom He has sent.

Your response: “You are attempting to escape your burden of proof with a negative burden of proof logical fallacy. However, in any debate, the person making the positive proposition bears the burden of positive proof.”

That certainly is not my intent, as I have been utilizing the scripture to make my case. That is the basis from which my replies are made. Just as you can show that some have dissented whom you call “Catholic Protestants”, I can show there has always been a legitimate  authority in whom the dissenters were dissenting from.

IMG_1385Now, throughout this thread, I have responded to all of the evidence and logical argumentation which you have presented. In response, you have simply reasserted the exact same material. This qualifies as one-way preaching, not a two-way discussion and debate.

Very few scriptures have I refereed to more than once, but for the sake of debate, you have not responded to any of them. You’ve simply refereed to them as circular reasoning. No scripture have I presented that you considered in context to any point because you be-lable them as “pro-Catholic presuppositions”. In effect, I’m trying to stay on point until it is exhausted using several arguments from scripture. Your response is to fully ignore the point and move on.

As a result, if you persist in doing this, then you automatically concede my objections with “noisy silence.”

Just as there are miles of tunnels under Rome in the catacombs, there are miles of writings from the ECF’s that are on the internet. I’ve not even really touched upon. I’ve been trying to keep it simple and understandable. I’ve conceded nothing, on the contrary, you keep speaking as if I’m referring to the Magisterum, it’s been almost 90% scripture. That is the only source you respect. I’ll let the lurkers and the observers decide if what I’ve said is “noisy silence”.

That Church is the Church. While you play “rope-a-dope”, I have been planting the biblical basis for the faith.

Your response: “Really? From my perspective, it appears as though you are playing “rope-a-dope” by repeatedly recycling and regurgitating the same pro-Roman Catholic presuppositions, circular arguments, and rhetoric.”

Actually, I prefer the Jimmy Conners approach to play. Aggressive!  It’s easy to disarm an opponent by ignoring the points and calling it all presuppositions. It may have limited success, it still does not answer the circumstantial evidence that reinforces the physical evidence. All of which even I can call “pro-Catholic presuppositions”, because they were all Catholics that wrote it going back to the Apostles.

chick 1I was studying probably at least 2 hours a day on the Catholic Church and the various “Protestant” denominations. I began to take issue with my room mates who had introduced the “Jack Chick” comic books. I began to see that if the Catholic Church was the True Faith established by Christ, then she had full and complete authority from Jesus it’s founder.

Your response: “But exactly why did you adopt this personal belief during these personal studies?”

It came down to something very basic to me, either the Catholic Church was correct in upholding her teaching, that she was established by Christ and given His authority, or the Protestants were correct in Protesting against this authority. I had no idea of the central arguments until after I was attacked. I learned it the hard way.

Pope Francis is the 266th successor to St. Peter, again, it’s in the encyclopedia.

You keep ignoring this reply: Well, most historians recognize from Peter, there was St. Linus, St. Anacletus (Cletus), the St. Clement. That is very basic, it’s not a concern to me that there might have been some who had a slight twist in the order. That would be very easy to do as there were no records written on it until a generation later, so it is easy to see where there was confusion. This is a strawman that your wanting to tear down and it has nothing to do with the point at hand. The Papacy itself will stand regardless of the actual order of the first two or three successors.

Well, it was the Catholic Church through her members that wrote the New Testament, preserved it, put it together and formed a NT Canon, and have maintained it.

Your response: “Can you prove that the Apostles were Roman Catholic, as in possessing Roman Catholic beliefs?”

That is the reason for the scripture. It’s all there either explicitly or implicitly. You simply reject the tradition needed to understand the scripture because it is convenient to listen to modern commentators to your liking. Hence, the 40,000 denominations who can’t agree because they have created their own “traditions” with their own “presuppositions”.

CHAPTER VIII.–LET NOTHING BE DONE WITHOUT THE BISHOP.

gregorywithdove“See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is[administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude[of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.”

This coming from a disciple of St. John for me is a “pro-Catholic presupposition” he certainly isn’t speaking for Luther!

“It should be mentioned, however, that it wasn’t until the fourth century at the Council of Hippo in AD393 that our present New Testament was officially accepted by the orthodox Church. Although it should be stated, leading up to this event, the twenty-seven books that make-up the corpus of our New Testament was in circulation among the early Christians. In order to understand its development, however, we should first define what is meant by the term, “Canon” of scripture.

According to F.F. Bruce, author of “The Canon of Scripture,” the term “Canon “appears to have been first used by Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, in a [Festal] letter circulated in AD 367.”1 Moreover, according to Norman Geisler, “The original meaning of the term canon can be traced to the Ancient Greeks, who used it in a literal sense: a Canon was a rod, ruler, staff, or measuring rod.”2 For instance, in Egypt a reed was used to measure the depth of the Nile River. As Geisler remarks, “This literal concept provided the basis for a later extended use of the word Canon, meaning “standard,” “norm.”3 Finally, the Greek word Canon came to be used…in the general sense of ‘series’ or ‘list’. It is this last usage that underlies the term ‘the canon of scripture.’4 In essence, the “canon” is a corpus of our twenty-seven books that make up what is known as the New Testament.”

jesus-break-breadWe have faith in the Promise of our Messiah and founder, Jesus Christ. For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary, for those who do not believe in God no explanation will suffice.

Your response: “So, by your implicit analogy, you are ready to dismiss the opposing viewpoint of non-Catholic Christians because “no explanation will suffice for them?”

What makes me ready to dismiss opposing viewpoints of non-Catholics is Gal 1:6-9. Other gospels not founded or taught from the apostolic tradition or authority is heavily warned against. That is the standard by which we test the spirit. New gospels established by men or angels are condemned.

Your response: “Sorry, but this rationalization qualifies as a hasty generalization.”

A Catholic who dissents from official Teaching is a Formal heretic, one who places themselves under severe judgement (Titus 3:10). They are not protestant, to repent, they need the Sacraments. Protestants must convert before they are able to utilize the Sacraments. Fallen Catholics rebel knowing what they do where most Protestants are not aware of their heresy. That is a major difference. A sin must be a knowledgeable offense against God.

Your response: “Moreover, the Roman Catholic Church is not “one unified, universal church.”

In practice it is, however, there is a lot of dissent, could it be signs of the times?

Agreed. In fact, as a case in point, can you tell me why Roman Emperor Constantine I suddenly “embraced” and “organized” the Christian community, if he had no verifiable conversion to Biblical Christianity?

From The Web Chronology Project:

constantine“Constantine became the emperor of Rome in 306, and was the most powerful person in his part of the world. His conversion to Christianity had far reaching effects on the common practice of the religion and on all the factions of Christianity that are present today.

His conversion happened during a war against his brother-in-law and co-emperor, Maxentius. According to the historian Eusebius (see Eusebius Pamphilus ), bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, before the crucial battle of Milvian Bridge, Constantine was convinced that he needed divine assistance. While he was praying for such assistance, God sent him a vision of a cross of light at midday, bearing the inscription “in hoc signo vinces ” (“in this sign you will be victorious”). That night he had a dream that reaffirmed his earlier vision. God told him to use the sign he had been given as a safeguard in all of his battles. Thus, Constantine converted to Christianity and ordered the symbol of his Savior’s name (the intersection of the Greek letter chi and rho) to represent his army. Constantine was victorious in the battle of the Milvian Bridge, and he continued to wear the symbol for Christ against every hostile power he faced.

Some argue as to whether or not Constantine’s conversion experience was authentic. Some hypothesize that the “vision” Constantine saw was nothing more than a form of the rare natural event called the “halo phenomenon.” This is caused by the sun reflecting off of ice crystals instead of rain in a rainbow. However, most historians accept Constantine’s statement since he gave the testimony on oath. Also, Constantine showed sound judgment many times over in other situations. Further, Constantine did not recount this vision to Eusebius until long after that battle had been won and he was in power. Thus, he was not using the story as a tool to gain acceptance. There is no way to “prove” the event, of course, but what is important is that Constantine believed it to be true.

His conversion helped Christianity in many ways. Followers were safe from persecution, and Christian leaders were given many gifts by the Emperor. Constantine’s adherence to Christianity ensured exposure of all his subjects to the religion, and he had no small domain. He also made Sunday an official Roman holiday so that more people could attend church, and made churches tax-exempt. However, many of the same things that helped Christianity spread subtracted from its personal significance and promoted corruption and hypocrisy. Many people were attracted to the Church because of the money and favored positions available to them from Constantine rather than from piety. The growth of the Church and its new-found public aspect prompted the building of specialized places of worship where leaders were architecturally separated from the common attendees, which stood in sharp contrast to the earlier house churches which were small and informal.

Baptism_of_corneliusConstantine believed that the Church and the State should be as close as possible. From 312-320 Constantine was tolerant of paganism, keeping pagan gods on coins and retaining his pagan high priest title “Pontifex Maximus” in order to maintain popularity with his subjects, possibly indicating that he never understood the theology of Christianity. From 320-330 he began to attack paganism through the government but in many cases persuaded people to follow the laws by combining pagan worship with Christianity. He made December 25th, the birthday of the pagan Unconquered Sun god, the official holiday it is now–the birthday of Jesus. It is likely that he also instituted celebrating Easter and Lent based on pagan holidays. From 330-337 Constantine stepped up his destruction of paganism, and during this time his mother, Helen, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and began excavations to recover artifacts in the city. This popularized the tradition of pilgrimages in Christianity.

Whether or not his conversion was “genuine,” Constantine’s reign was extremely important to the Christian church. After his vision, he immediately declared Christianity legal in the Edict of Milan. He completely abandoned paganism and put his full force of favor towards advancing the cause of the Church of Christ. He provided Christianizing legislation on such matters as the observance of Sunday, the confiscation of the temple treasures, and the exemption of some clergy from taxes. He funded Christian leaders and the construction of churches, some of which he dedicated to his mother. Most Christian leaders greatly admired Constantine for the works he did for the church and Christian cause.

While Constantine’s idea of an integrated Church and State, (now called Constantinism), began having sway in the empire upon his conversion, it became significantly stronger through several events. In 316, a sect of Christians called the Donatists asked Constantine as emperor to settle a dispute they were having with the church in North Africa over the personhood of Christ. (Ironically, this was resolved by Constantine favoring the N. African church.) This was the first time that a political leader had power in the religious sphere. In 324, Constantine defeated his co-emperor in the west, Licinius, leaving Constantine dominion over the east and the west to uproot paganism where tolerant Licinus had not. He also called together and presided over the Council of Nicaea that 300 bishops attended, which again dealt with the Arian controversy about the nature of the divinity of Jesus. The Council issued an official statement of creed affirming Jesus’ complete divinity, and the decision was enforced politically by Constantine. The dispute over the person-hood of Christ. They drafted the Creed of Nicaea, the predecessor to the Nicene Creed, a proclamation of faith still used by many Christian denominations today.”

The Catholic Church is like a huge oak tree in the middle of a field surrounded by some scrub brushes trying to kick dirt on it thinking it will knock it down.

Your response: “Because you say so”?

No, that would be true regardless if I accepted it or not 8-) . God bless!

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*Best of DTB #306* The Catholic Defender in Alabama for Gerald Ganus Saga

Posted by Donald Hartley - May 9th, 2014

IMG_1549Recently, I wrote an article concerning the hostage situation of my Brother-In-Law, Gerald Ganus (Alabama Siege at St. Vincent).

I arrived in Birmingham Alabama on May 4, 2014. My wife (Gloria) and I would arrive at the hospital (St. Vincent’s East) every day until they released Gerald on 7 May 2014.

It was a surprise to have one of the nurses inform me that they were going to release Gerald back to his home in Gardendale despite the fact that there was an open case against Gerald’s “care-taker, Janice Marie Taylor.

After reading the initial article on Deepertruth, Stephanie Lynch, a Social Worker for the State of Alabama began investigating the issues surrounding Gerald’s elderly abuse claim.

IMG_1615[1]My wife and I both have spoken with MS Lynch who has been to Gerald’s home and also the hospital to see Gerald. MS Lynch was to see first hand that Gerald was in no position to grant any Power of Attorney to Janice Taylor in January 2014.

Dr. Carter of St. Vincent’s East, the Chaplain, a Lawyer, and myself and Gloria, all were in Gerald’s hospital room looking at Gerald’s situation. We all agreed that Gerald was not mentally capable to grant any kind of Power of Attorney to anyone. He has not been in any mental capacity for some time as he had suffered a number of undiagnosed strokes.

I spoke with the Social Worker representing MS Janice Taylor and Hospice who according to MS. Taylor, instructed her to move in with Gerald to take more control over Gerald’s home, financial estate, his entire lively hood. I asked the Social worker if this was true and she refused to confirm or deny MS. Taylor’s allegation.

IMG_1614[1](This picture is one of the earliest of Gerald and Gloria that I have found.)

The problem my wife and I have with this is that the Social Worker should have informed MS Taylor to have called myself or Gloria about Gerald’s rapid decline in health. Instead, MS Taylor has taken several thousand dollars from Gerald.

MS. Taylor is now taking ownership of Gerald’s bank account, his $20,000 gold pieces, several thousand dollars of silver bars, his $15,000 home, his several thousand dollar funeral policy, and his property that the family was raised.

My wife and I are continuing the battle to fight for Gerald wanting to get him the best care available. He deserves to be in a VA Hospital as he is a Viet Nam Veteran and served for 20 years in the Air force.

This injustice taking place in Alabama cannot stand. This very morning, I called to inform Janice Marie Taylor that I was personally present and was planning to come by and check on Gerald. True to form, she hung up on me. Janice had already hung up on Matthew (Gloria’s youngest son), who was just calling from Kansas to see how Gerald was doing. Janice told Matt that he would have to talk to his lawyer to talk to her lawyer?

IMG_1553Gloria, (Gigi), my wife is becoming more angry with concern that her brother is dying and being refused to see her Brother. Please pray that this matter is resolved before it is too late.

If you were to see where Gerald (Major retired) was being kept, it is appalling. He is being kept is a back room where he has been drugged up and has no hope for any future. He is literally being kept alive for his monthly checks that MS Taylor continues to receive in Gerald’s name. At least with the long care unit at the VA, Gerald could receive physical therepy and can get back some quality of life. Most important, his loved ones could have access.

*Best of DTB #305* The Catholic Defender Speaks At The Popular Bluff Missouri Marian Conference

Posted by Donald Hartley - May 9th, 2014

IMG_1559[1]This past Saturday was a great opportunity as the Southern Missouri Marian Association held it’s first Marian Conference in South Eastern Missouri.

As I was driving up for the Conference I was preparing to field a table for Deepertruth and St. Paul’s Street Evangelization in support of the Conference.

As I drove from Copperas Cove Texas nearing Dallas on I 35 East, Deepertruth Member, Dr. Gregory Thompson called me and asked if I would be willing to speak for 45 minutes on the Eucharist.

Without thinking about it and without hesitation, I automatically responded in the affirmation! I finally arrived at Popular Bluff at the Catholic Church finding Dr. Gregory Thompson and other organizers for the Saturday Conference and helped set up our table.

IMG_1571[1]It was a real blessing to meet the other participants coming as far away as Boston Massachusetts, Chicago Illinois, and counting me, Copperas Cove Texas.

St. Joseph’s Radio was present to video the whole Conference as they had done with the two previous Marian Conferences held in Springfield Missouri. They do a great job in support of the Catholic Church throughout the area.

The Conference was well attended by area Catholics and was supported by Most Reverend James V. Johnston Bishop, Springfield-Cape Girardeau. That is so important for any success for the Catholic Community within any diocese. There were a number of Catholic Clergy who were at the event as speakers as well as others who were supporting the Conference by being there.

Included in the Conference was the Rosary, the Divine Mercy, and the Holy Mass. There was a procession with the Fatima Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary reminding us the importance of following her Son, Jesus Christ. This was much of the focus throughout the Conference.

IMG_1593[1]I was honored to have played a part in this Conference as people gave a strong indication that they would like more of the same to come back to Popular Bluff.

The 45 minutes I was given happened so fast, before I knew it, I was being given the nod that time was running out.

It was like this the whole time as people really enjoyed all the speakers.

Two other Deepertruth speakers were present, Dr. John Carpenter who hosts the “Journey with Mary” show which is live on Sunday nights on Deepertruthblog Radio (BlogtalkRadio) and Paul Regan who flew in from Massachusetts.

IMG_1604[1]I was able to receive two Sacraments while participating there, Confession, and Holy Communion.

This is always a major focus communicated on these events.

It is also strongly promoted here at Deepertruth because of the importance of going to Confession.

The Lord takes those sins you confess and He throws them into the Sea of forgetfulness and He remembers them no more.

Dr. Gregory Thompson and Deepertruth continues to work hard for the Lord, we are preparing to show the movie “Mary of Nazareth” for several thousand people in both Kansas and Missouri. We have already had several thousand people see this film (produced by Ignatius Press) all over Missouri.

IMG_1562[1]The Lord’s greatest work is not His creation, great as that is, but His redemption ranks the highest. The young man standing behind the St. Paul’s Street Evangelization table (William) was just received into the Catholic Faith this past Easter Vigil! He is a great blessing to us as he is on fire for the Lord.

I encourage you to go and participate in any of the fine Catholic Events that are being planned in your area. Now is the time to take a stand for the Lord and His holy Catholic Church.

CNN and the liberal media will not address these things, but we must take back the narrative at the grass roots level. It is in these kinds of events that people can be inspired and the Church will continue to grow. There are a growing number of great Catholic Apologetics taking place there. Lighthouse CD’s are being offered in many Parishes throughout the country. God bless you all!

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*BEST OF DTB #304* The false charge of idolotry as a consequence of not recognizing Mary’s Biblical role

Posted by John Benko - May 5th, 2014

Alinane prince of peaceCatholics are often accused of idolatry for various reasons. The charge is always, and in every circumstance, false. Flatly stated, there are no idols in the Catholic Church. Today, I will focus specifically on one person who is the largest focus of these allegations. Namely, Mary, the mother of Our Lord Jesus. Is Mary an idol in the Catholic Church? No. Not even a little bit, as I am about to show you.

First, a word about idols- in the general sense and in the specific Biblical sense. In the general sense, an idol is anything that detracts someone’s attention from God. In the broadest sense, X-Box can be an idol or your smartphone or facebook or even your career. All of these things have the possibility of becoming too large of a focus in your life, to the detriment of your relationship with God. In that way they become, in a literary sense, idols. That is to say, they are unhealthy distractions.

For something to go beyond being an idol in the literary sense to the actual Biblical sense, requires worship. This is to falsely ascribe Divinity to a person or thing and to offer sacrifices to the same. This is clearly the sin we see being committed concerning the golden calf;

Exodus 32 

32 And the people seeing that Moses delayed to come down from the mount, gathering together against Aaron, said: Arise, make us gods, that may go before us: for as to this Moses, the man that brought us out of the land of Egypt, we know not what has befallen him.

And Aaron said to them: Take the golden earrings from the ears of your wives, and your sons and daughters, and bring them to me.

And the people did what he had commanded, bringing the earrings to Aaron.

And when he had received them, he fashioned them by founders’ work, and made of them a molten calf. And they said: These are thy gods, O Israel, that have brought thee out of the land of Egypt.

And when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it, and made proclamation by a crier’s voice, saying: To morrow is the solemnity of the Lord.

And rising in the morning, they offered holocausts, and peace victims, and the people sat down to eat, and drink, and they rose up to play.

We see this again, concerning Ishtar, the false queen of heaven, in the writings of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 7:18
The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire and the women knead the dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to offer libations to strange gods, and to provoke me to anger.

Those who would make every statue, or every person who receives honor, into an idol, is either being deliberately deceptive or simply does not properly understand the concepts of idols and worship. The main reason for this is that one of the out-growths of the protestant reformation is a new and different brand of worship that differs starkly from the Old and New Testament models. So, let’s start there.

Let’s begin with something we can agree on and that is what worship looked like in the Old Testament. We begin with the Patriarchs (fathers)- Abraham, Issac, Jacob. We then move on to the establishment of the priesthood. Following that, the judges rise to the fore, then the kings and finally, the prophets.

There were always two things present;

  1. A visible authority.
  2. A visible and particular liturgy (form of worship).

The central authority for the practice of worship was always the Priest. The book of Exodus shows us very clearly that the priesthood of the Old Testament was nearly identical to the priesthood today. There were robes, candles and candlesticks, golden bowls and chalices, incense, and an altar of sacrifice. The penitent confessed his sins to the priest and offered the prescribed sacrifice as an atonement. The priest offered the sacrifice on an altar.

The central authority for Israel was the King. The King acted as the chief steward over God’s chosen people and was charged with directing the nation to carry out God’s will. Within the Kings court were various persons who held various offices and duties, serving at the King’s pleasure. One of those was the Queen Mother (1 Kings 15:13, 2 Kings 10:13, 2 Chronicles 15:16, Jeremiah 13:18, Jeremiah 29:2). The Queen Mother was always the mother of the King and her chief duty was as an intercessor before the King- an ambassador, if you will.

There is nothing stated above that any protestant could disagree with unless he wants to deny the plain words of the scriptures. However, that is where the agreement often ends and that is why protestants fail to get a clear grasp on what worship truly is.

Saint Thomas Aquinas wisely observed that the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. You must view the persons, places and things of the Old Testament in the light. All of these Old Testament things are typologies (foreshadows) of events to be revealed in the New Testament, at the coming of the Messiah.

Dr. Scott Hahn, one of the foremost Scripture experts worldwide, converted to Catholicism, in large part because he discovered the Old Testament typologies, particularly of Mary, that helped him understand just what God’s salvation plan looked like. It is not that all (or even most) of Old Testament typology points to Mary. However, that which does point to her is almost totally missed by protestants.

So, for our next statement, let’s review some typologies of Mary in the Old Testament.

Genesis 3:15. Protestants and Catholics generally agree that this is the first prophesy recorded in scripture concerning the Messiah.  Look carefully at the words. God is telling the snake that he will be enemies, not just of the child of the woman but also of the woman herself. Further, the word translated to offspring means children (plural), not just child. When reading this prophetically, consistency has to be used. When we examine who the HE is, that will crush the head of the serpent, we obviously know it is Jesus. In the same way, the woman, then, is Mary. Is this putting Mary on equal footing with Jesus? hardly. It is putting her on equal footing with Eve. We will talk about that more later.

1 Kings 2.

Here is a clear typology of the Queen Mother. In this scene, Adonijah has a request for the King and has asked the Queen Mother to intercede for him.  Let’s go through this. My interjected notes will be in green, emphasis in red. Note that the citation here is from the King James Version

13 And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, Comest thou peaceably? And he said, Peaceably.

14 He said moreover, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And she said, Say on.

15 And he said, Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel set their faces on me, that I should reign: howbeit the kingdom is turned about, and is become my brother’s: for it was his from the Lord.

16 And now I ask one petition of thee, deny me not. And she said unto him, Say on.

Note that Adonijah is making the petition to the Queen Mother who is also his mother.

17 And he said, Speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the king, (for he will not say thee nay,) that he give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife.

Note the word- pray. The word pray here is being used interchangeably with the words ask and petition. To pray of itself, means only to ask. Many people making the mistake of thinking that to pray always denotes worship. Here, we are being shown that that is not the case.

18 And Bathsheba said, Well; I will speak for thee unto the king.

19 Bathsheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right hand.

20 Then she said, I desire one small petition of thee; I pray ( there is that word again) thee, say me not nay. And the king said unto her, Ask on, my mother: for I will not say thee nay.

21 And she said, Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah thy brother to wife.

You should not fail to see what occurs here and you will see it again, in other places in the Bible. This scene begs the question of why Adonijah did not simply go directly to his brother without using the Queen Mother as a go-between.  The question misses the point. The question you should be asking is what God’s word is showing us here.  What is being taught in this scene? More on that, later. Let’s look at our next foreshadowing.

Psalm 45.

45 My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.

Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.

And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.

Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.

Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.

Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.

At first blush, your reaction might be what part of this is about Mary? This is clearly talking about the King of grace and might and glory and majesty with the mighty right hand. All of these verses- 6 in particular- sound like they are prophesying Jesus, the Messiah.

I don’t disagree. However, let’s be fair here. If verses 1-8 are talking about Jesus, then just who is being talked about in verses 9-17?

9 Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.

Remember how the Queen Mother was made to be at the right hand of the King?

10 Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house;

11 So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.

This cannot be referring to an earthly King because the Psalmist (presumably David) is prophesying that the Queen is to WORSHIP Him! What other Queen and King could this possibly refer to other than the King of Kings and the Queen Mother?

12 And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour.

13 The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.

The Queen Mother is the Mother of the King but here, She is also referred to as a daughter. Who else could fill the role of the Mother of the King, daughter of the King and Worshipper of the King? What other King could fit these 3 roles other than Jesus?

14 She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.

15 With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king’s palace.

16 Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.

17 I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.

Look at the context. Verses 13-17 are speaking directly about the specific Queen/Daughter. Her children will be made princes of the earth. Her name will be remembered in all generations, the people will praise Her for ever and ever. The context is unmistakable. The Queen is at the King’s right hand. She is given spiritual maternity, She is to be remembered in all generations, She is praised forever but it is HE that is worshipped, even by Her.

This Psalm is making the clear distinction between honor- due to Mary- and worship- due to God alone. It is treating these two very distinct things, as if they are the same, that is your first mistake. This is what the Old Testament is teaching us by drawing this clear line of delineation between the King and the Queen Mother.

I will continue to expand on this as we go. Now, on to the next parallel.

Without overloading you with verses again, let’s just focus on what we know from Scripture about the Ark of the Covenant of the Old Testament.

  • It held the Word of God inside of it.
  • It held the Bread from Heaven inside of it.
  • It held the staff of the Shepherd inside of it.
  • It was made of incorruptible wood.
  • It was filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • It went before Israel in battle.

What could this possibly be pointing to? Or better yet, who?

An Ark is a vessel, a Covenant is a pact between God and Man. The Old Covenant was but a shadow of the New Covenant. All of the things inside the Ark foreshadowed Jesus Christ. John 1 tells that that Jesus is the Word of God who became flesh. John 6 tells us that Jesus is the true bread from heaven. John 10 tells us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

The Covenant carried by this Ark represented none other than Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus, Himself, IS the New Covenant and He told us this Himself.

Luke 22:20

And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

Again, I doubt I have said anything you would disagree with. Just follow it to it’s conclusion. If Jesus is the Covenant, who is the Ark of the Covenant? Well…the one who carried Him!

Now that you have your Old Testament background, let’s work our way through the New Testament and see it fulfilled.

Luke 1

26 And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth,

27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

First, Hail, full of grace is the correct translation of the Greek Chaire, Kecharitomene. It is a perfect past participle of the root Charitoo which is translated as Grace some 96% of the time by the KJV. The KJV rendering of Luke 1:28 as highly favored one is untenable. The Angel’s greeting blessed are you among women fulfills the prophesy of Psalm 45.

29 Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.

30 And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.

31 Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus.

32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.

33 And of his kingdom there shall be no end.

34 And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?

35 And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

36 And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren:

37 Because no word shall be impossible with God.

38 And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Next point- the angel did not say you have conceived. He said you shalt conceive. This makes Mary’s question in v34 very significant. How shall this be done, because I know not man? The Protoevangelum of James states that Mary was a dedicated temple virgin. Contrary to what you may have heard, the concept of consecrated temple virgins was not all that uncommon and several first-century writers maintain that more than 80 of them sewed the veil in the temple together. Nevertheless, this does not constitute Scriptural proof but Mary’s question in Luke 1:34 does. Since Mary was already betrothed to Joseph and the angel had stated that she would conceive (not had conceived already), it would have never entered Mary’s mind to wonder how the child would be conceived. Mary not only had not had relations with Joseph but never intended to and never did. (That is a debate for another day). This verse is very clear, Mary could not understand how She could conceive when she was never going to have sexual relations.

The next verses are key. The Holy Spirit overshadowed Her just like the Ark of the Covenant of the Old Testament. The Ark of the Covenant carried the symbolic Jesus, yet was so holy that it meant death to even touch it.  Mary carried the real Jesus!

Finally, it was Mary’s proclamation behold the handmaiden of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word that made it happen. Mary had to say yes, and She did. So, we owe our salvation to her because, through her obedience, the Savior came to us.

So…let’s continue.

Mary visits Elizabeth and Elizabeth says who am I that the mother of My Lord should visit me? Literally translated from Kyrios which is the greek form of Adonai. Elizabeth is calling Her the mother of God. The moment that Mary’s greeting reached Elizabeth’s ears, her baby leaped in her womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.

This is God working through Mary. Not Mary as God, but as an instrument of God.

It is this communal form of worship that jibes with scripture, not the Jesus alone version. Could Jesus act alone in our salvation if He wanted to? Certainly. The question is never what Jesus could do but what He does do.

Earlier, we discussed what worship looked like in the Old Testament and we showed that it looks almost identical to the Catholic Mass of today. So, did that change? No, it did not.

Let’s jump to the Book of Revelation. Does your worship look like this? Take time to go to that link. You simply cannot deny that every element of the worship displayed in John’s Revelation, is a mirror image of what is present in the Catholic Mass.

I want to focus on just two prooftexts right now.

Revelation 5:And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures, and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints:

Revelation 8: And another angel came, and stood before the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer of the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne of God.

And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel.

One of the biggest objections made is that there is no evidence that Saints or Angels are even aware of our prayers. These two proof texts prove that they not only are aware of them but are presenting them to God. The 24 crown elders are saints and they sit on thrones. There is a hierarchy in heaven because that is how God wants it.

Now, let’s wrap this up by returning our focus to Mary with 18 verses that confirm almost every thing we Catholics say about her.

Revelation 11:19-12:17.

Let’s go through this bit by bit.

19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

When John wrote these words in 68 AD, the Old Testament Ark of the Covenant had long since run it’s course. It had not been seen in some 500 years. Was the wooden Ark taken up into heaven? No, that is not the Ark of the Covenant John is speaking of here and he let’s us know with the very next verse.

12:1

12 And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;

Clothed with the sun means Glorified. She has a body in heaven (head, feet). This means that this woman was taken body and soul into heaven (the Assumption). She has a crown on her head. (She is the real Queen of Heaven).

And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought it forth; she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne,

Remember way back in Genesis 3? Here they are again- the woman, her child and the serpent. Verse 5 leaves no doubt about the identity of the child which leaves no doubt about the identity of the mother. I laugh out loud when I hear people claim the woman is anyone or anything but Mary. This woman is clearly an enemy of the devil just as Genesis 3:15 said She would be. She is also clearly identified as the mother of God (a person), not the mother of a nature.

and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which to be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

The flight to Egypt to escape Herod.

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12 Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

This battle takes us full circle back to Eden. The serpent has been cast down to earth. Notice that it is Michael and the Angels who cast the devil and the fallen angels out. Once again, the concept of God working through His creation is made clear.

Now, let’s jump to v17 which wraps it all up.

17 Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus. And he stood[a] on the sand of the sea.

Just like I told you. The serpent wages war not just on the child of Mary but on all of her children. Luke 8:21 and John 19:26 show us Genesis 3:15 fulfilled. Now, so does Revelation 12:17. Those who truly follow Jesus are spiritual children of Mary as well. We are children of the Queen Mother and brothers of the King, exactly like Adonijah was.