*BEST OF DTB #51* The Catholic Defender: Discussion with a Pentecostal friend

Posted by John Benko - June 2nd, 2013

While in my travels across Missouri, I had the opportunity to work with people from across the Country who are strongly pro-life and work towards ending abortion.

There is a frustration that after 38 years, many politicians are “pro-life” to get the votes for political purposes.

The ending of abortion is not the primary mission to them as keeping the battle is giving them votes.

We need to put a stop to abortion after 38 years and nearly 60,000,000 unborn children sacrificed to the god of convenience.

There are many people to thank for their hospitality and love supporting us ensuring that we were never in need on this journey. The food was really great everywhere we went before and after the Rally for Life on 22 January 2011 at Jefferson City at the Capital Building.

It was at one such dinner engagement that the following story develops. As the Ladies were preparing dinner, I was sitting at the dining room table with a small group of people.

It is important to note that the vast majority of those present were Catholic, but there was this one Pentecostal friend who began to discuss his thoughts on the Catholic Church. Being the Catholic Defender, what is the obvious response? You got it, a fun debate ensues.

As we began to enter into this discussion, people began to gather around because most of them have never heard a Catholic response to some of the Protestant accusations.

My Pentecostal friend was not an ignorant man. He was a Doctor very dedicated to his beliefs. He also ran for office in the State of Ohio and lost by a small majority. He is a very articulate speaker. But on this night, at this time, he had the misfortune of challenging the Catholic Defender in his own backyard (lol).

Don’t you just love the rhetoric? His challenge was quick and to the point. He felt that we, as Catholics, were “idol worshipers” because our belief in Jesus in the Eucharist.

My first response to this was John 6:53-56, “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. 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”.

I shared with him that just as people in those days had problems with this teaching, many people today can’t accept this either. His response was a bit odd to me, he began to reason that if you believe in transubstantiation, then you are in effect saying you are God?

That sense of reasoning made no sense to me. Especially coming from a Pentecostal who has no problem recognizing the Holy Spirit entering into people’s hearts. I responded back to him the importance of the definition of transubstantiation and the 4th Lateran Council in 1215.

Pope Innocent III was having to deal with heresies at that time especially attacking the apostolic teaching on the Eucharist. New “gospels” developed by “Fr” John Huss and John Wycliffe challenged the Lord Jesus Christ denying the truths of the Catholic Church.

The problem wasn’t so much the vernacular version of the bible as much as it were the problems associated with misinterpreting the scriptures. Those were tough times in those days as the common man still did not know how to read and write.

The ignorance of people made it difficult, so the priests were expected to teach the word as they have always done from the tradition of the Apostles. Acts 2:42 states, “They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers”.

That is the Mass! They did not carry bibles with them to Mass to hear the Apostles teach. The Word was proclaimed to them. I also refereed to Matthew 28:19, “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”.

Jesus didn’t say to hand out bibles here, the Catholic Church hands out the scriptures to enrich us with the very sacred text itself. In the beginning, this had to be developed just as the understanding of the apostolic witness.

The Church has no power to change the teachings of Christ. People who have took that upon themselves do so at their own peril.

The response to this was even more odd as my friend began to question how long does Christ remain in you. Is Christ present in waste. That was a bit over the top to me, it is believed that the Lord’s presence leaves before that process. Actually, his presence is spiritual once consumption was completed and dissolved into the body.

I took it to 1 Corinthians 11:16, “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ”?The obvious answer is yes. By this time some of the women were gathering around listening in. I think they were there longer, but this was when I noticed we were gaining an audience behind me.

I next went to 1 Corinthians 11:27-30, “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number were dying”.

By this time, my Pentecostal friend began to recognize Christ was present in a “sense”. I responded that Jesus was present totally, body, blood, soul, and divinity.

To illustrate this point, I moved to Luke 24:30, “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”.

I continued following verse 33-35, “So they set out 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”.

I shared a number of Eucharistic Miracles to show that we still recognize Jesus being made known to us through the “breaking of the bread”.

He challenged me questioning if this happens at every Mass? I responded, Yes! As a result of this opportunity to tell the truth, I was able to share with him this thought: If we disagree on the truth of the Eucharist, it would be dishonest to call Catholics “idol worshipers” as you now understand what Catholics believe.

At this point another friend who had claimed to have left the Catholic Faith began to consider the points I was making. That was very important to me.

Also several of the Ladies who had been listening in on the discussion all came to me wanting more on the Catholic Faith. It was a great experience to share the truth of God’s holy Church!

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*BEST OF DTB #242* The Catholic Defender: The Holy Innocents

Posted by John Benko - December 26th, 2012

December 28 is the Feast of the Holy Innocents. These are the male children who were murdered by King Herod in an attempt to kill the Christ Child.

There was an ancient prophecy going back to the time of the Patriarch Jacob.

His beloved wife Rachael died right out side of where Bethlehem would be built. She died having Benjamin, her second son.

Genesis 35:16-20 states, “Then they departed from Bethel; but while they still had some distance to go on the way to Ephrath, Rachel began to be in labor and to suffer great distress. When her pangs were most severe, her midwife said to her, ‘Have no fear! This time, too, you have a son’. With her last breath–for she was at the point of death–she called him Benoni; his father, however, named him Benjamin. This Rachel dies; and she was buried on the road to Ephrath that is, Bethlehem. Jacob set up a memorial stone on her grave, and the same monument marks Rachel’s grave to this day”.

Jeremiah 31:15 states, “Thus says the Lord: In Ramah is heard the sound of moaning, of bitter weeping! Rachel mourns her children, she refuses to be consoled because her children are no more”.
This is a prophecy of the end of Rachel’s morning, we read the fulfillment of this prophecy Matthew 2:16-18 says, “When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet: ‘A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more”.

What brings an end to Rachel’s morning is the Christ who lives to free all those in captivity.

Jeremiah 15:16 says, “Thus says the Lord: Cease your cries of morning, wipe the tears from your eyes. The sorrow you have shown shall have it’s reward, says the Lord, they shall return from the enemy’s land”.

Jeremiah is prophesying that the children of Israel would return from the Babylonian Captivity, but even more than that!

Revelation 21:3-4 says, “I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or morning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away”.

We are living in a New Testament, a new Covenant, a new age. Rachel’s children are in heaven with Rachel.

We are reminded of the massacre of Herod because what we see today with abortion heaven hears the cry of the silent scream.

Heaven intervened with the plight of the Indian’s in Mexico in 1531 putting an end to the human sacrifices conducted there, heaven again responds to the atrocities committed against humanity today.

Jesus institutes the Ministry of the Divine Mercy.

The more we spread the message of His Divine Mercy, the more children will be saved from the Herod’s of our time.

Now is the day of Salvation, now is the time!

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*BEST OF DTB #47* The Catholic Defender: Arizona Reprentative Gabrielle Gifford

Posted by John Benko - January 8th, 2011

Today, Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords was among 19 people to include staff members and a Judge (John Roll) were shot while meeting at a supermarket in Tucson AZ.

5 people including a 9 year old girl were killed. Judge John Roll also among the dead.

There are a number of victims in critical condition to include Representative Giffords. Please keep these victims and their families in your thoughts and prayers. A large number of people are asking what religion is Representative Giffords. It is reported that she is Jewish. She is considered a moderate well liked by both Republicans and Democrats. I have an issue of her strong pro-abortion record, that I must oppose. Let’s pray that she will recover from this attack and play politics later.

Quick update, Judge John Roll was a dedicated Catholic who went to daily Mass there in Tucson. He went from the Church to where Representative Giffords was meeting people. For him and the other 5 people who died there today, may the perpetual light of the Lord shine upon them now and forever more. Amen.

9 year old Christina Taylor Green’s funeral was today, At one point they played Amazing Grace with bagpipes. We had bagpipes in Iraq used at the Military memorial service. May God grant her peace. Amen.

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*BEST OF DTB #44* The Catholic Defender: The Crusades

Posted by John Benko - January 3rd, 2011

One of the common questions I am asked is why the Catholic Church attacked the Muslims during the Middle Ages.

Why did the Catholic Church convert many by the sword. This is an example of where people have attempted to rewrite history and ignore the facts.

From the time of Muhammad’s retreat to Mecca (Hiagra, 622 A.D.) and the establishment of Islam to the next 400 years the Catholic Church basically held a pacifistic approach to Islam.

Islam has it’s foundations based from an earlier heresy dating back to the early 4th century. The Arian Heresy challenged the Trinity and the Divinity of Jesus. Despite the ruling of the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D., bubbles of this heresy would continue.

Mohammad claimed he was the Great Prophet of Deuteronomy 18:15-19, unfortunately for him and his many followers, they did not read the whole test as verse 20 says, “But if a prophet presumes to speak in my name an oracle that I have not commanded him to speak, or speaks in the name of other gods, he shall die”.

It really wasn’t until the Muslims took the Holy Land in 1079 A.D. that Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095 A.D. called for all Christians to end their petty disputes. He would call for the first crusade.

This was a very important development for the defense of Europe and of Christianity. Islam had systematically taken nation after nation throughout the Middle East with the intent of World domination. The Islamic Terrorist still has this intent. In 656 A.D. the Koran was published and since then it has been used by the radicals to go after the “infidels”.

We are still dealing with this threat in the 21st Century. Were there wrongs committed? Sure there were. Were there glory seekers taking advantage for personal gain? Sure there were. I can write of a number of them since I have been at the tip of the spear. When ever a Soldier did wrong the media picked up on it like it was hot news. Sadly, the News didn’t care to report the great good we were doing?

There will be elements of that in every war. We see this today in Iraq and Afghanistan. American Soldiers have performed valiantly throughout these campaigns despite a small minority of wrong doing.

What is important is that those who did wrong are getting punished for it.

Jesus said, “And he said to them, ‘When I sent you out with no purse or bag or sandals, did you lack anything’? They said, ‘Nothing’. He said to them, ‘But now, let him who has a purse take it, and likewise a bag. And let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one. For I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in me, ‘And he was reckoned with transgressors’; for what is written about me has its fulfillment’. And they said, ‘Look, Lord, here are two swords’. And he said to them,’It is enough” (Luke 22:35-38).

This scripture has been used to support a nations defense with 10% of it’s means. Defense is the clear purpose for the swords as Jesus would later tell St. Peter that those who live by the sword shall die with the sword. In the Old Testament King David felt the teeth of this truth as he would not build the Temple. His own family would fight between themselves and him. But for self defense the Catholic Church has always understood the “just war” concept.

What is unique for me is that I spent 27 months in Iraq with a unit that had a cross on it’s shield. I will venture to say that there were wrongs committed, however, the truth behind the crusades were necessary.

Traning to go to Iraq, we were given presentations from Iraqi interpreters who gave classes on the customs of the people. It was very interesting to me that they taught us the Muslims do not believe Jesus died on the cross but there was another person who was crucified for him. They deny the Resurrection. This was important for us to know when speaking with the the people there.

Still, just as it was in the Middle Ages, today, it is necessary to deal with the Islamic Terrorists.

The news is reporting the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. When I left Iraq in in January 08 for that particular 15 Month deployment, we had about 3,000 Iraqi converts to the Catholic faith in Baghdad. This was underground or in the green zone. Many of these now live in the United States, some of them work for the American forces as interpreters. There are many thousands of Iraqi Kurd from the Northern provinces that are converting to the Catholic Faith, all underground as it is a death sentence for a Muslim to become a Christian.

The current persecution of Christians needs to be stopped. Islam does not have the means to prevent this violence. America is the world’s hope to stand up against this threat now.

We must have the will and the backbone to succeed. I know there are good Muslims out there, but they do not have the political stamina to face the Islamic Terrorists or the will.

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The Catholic Defender Remembers Basic Training

Posted by John Benko - November 10th, 2010

February 7, 1985 I was on the bus from Harrison Arkansas to the Little Rock MEPS to begin my Military career.

I memorized the “Code of Conduct” along the way. I wanted to start my new career with the right motivation.

I remember staying at the hotel waiting for the plane taking us to Ft. Jackson South Carolina for Basic Training (Boot Camp).

The only thing I recall from this short stay in Little Rock was that some of the other applicants had hookers come to their rooms. I was not one of them as I would not have condoned that kind of activity.

I had been practicing my faith solidly for a good while, thankfully, by this time. From the very beginning of my Military career, I felt it was important to be faithful to God. This would be important to note because this was my position throughout my military career.

I would have many schools and field problems where infidelity was rampant. I tried to be a Soldier for Christ first and a good example for those who were away from home for the first time.

Basic training started out just like you see in the movies and the classic stories. We were “herded” on the ‘cattle trucks” and we were quickly placed into platoons.

I’ll never forget the drill instructors bringing it on from the outset. Just getting off the trucks was an interesting experience.

I quickly got the nickname “Padre” because of my strong faith. I encouraged everyone to go to church on Sunday, especially if they were Catholic.

It worked good for most of them, but still others would drift off as some were tempted by females assigned to nearby barracks.

Late at night they would find places to get together.

I tried to discourage that but for some, the temptation was just to strong.

James 1:12-15 states, “Blessed is the man who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proved he will receive the crown of life that he promised to those who love him. No one experiencing temptation should say, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God is not subject to temptation to evil, and he himself tempts no one. Rather, each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire conceives and brings forth sin, and when sin reaches maturity it gives birth to death”.

I come from a strong patriotic background, I have always believed in what the Red, White, and Blue of our flag represents.

The red stands for the blood shed in defense of our freedoms.

The white stands for the purity of our actions.

The Blue stands for the truth by which we stand.

This is why I stand up against those who would burn the flag.

For those who would alter and dishonor the truth from our foundations. This is why Secular Humanism is a danger to freedom. They want to take Christ out of public life making our nation a Secular State.

One of my Brothers joined the Marine Corps because of the problem with the “Hostages of Iran”. He felt like he should do something about what was on the news for so long. He had an influence over me.

On one occasion, we were shown a video of how the Russian Soldiers trained. This was while the “Cold War” was still in effect, at the end of the video, the Drill Sergeant invited us to ask questions from what we saw. After a number of troops asked their questions, I raised my hand to make a statement.

The Drill Sergeant gave me permission to speak. I then stood up and said, “Drill Sergeant, we have been watching how our counterparts train. One major reason why I prefer this uniform that I’m wearing now is because it protects our right to worship God in freedom and preserves our liberty to do so. On the other hand, these Russian Soldiers do not mind taking clubs and beating old men, women, and children because they were hiding in a barn to worship God. These people have to worship God in secret”.

At that point an immediate round of applause and cheering followed my words which surprised the Drill Sergeant. He was taken off guard with what I said and the response it got. This went on for another 20-30 seconds until the Drill Sergeant regained his composure.

When he gave that look everyone went back to their sitting at attention leaving me standing their alone. The Drill Sergeant looked at me for a moment and said, “That’s all Private” and I sat back down.

Everyday was a new challenge as we passed every part of Basic Training. The road marches, The obsticle course, the field exercises, the mind games were all challenges that we had to meet.

At the end of the day, often times my Platoon would ask me to say a prayer. I felt that was an honor because they respected me and felt it was important.

On one occasion one of the Drill Sergeants had us in a formation at ease as we watched a demonstration on marching.

The Drill Sergeant was frustrated from what he was seeing. He screamed out, “Who do you think I am, Jesus Christ”? I responded, “Drill Sergeant”, I’m not Jesus Christ, but I am a representative of his”. That got me a few pushups!

As I reflect back to the time I was in Basic Training, I am so thankful that my faith was solid. My Faith has served me like a compass for over 26 years.

During my time in the Army I have had the chance to witness to thousands of people from all over the world.

God has blessed me far beyond any expectation I can have. The good news is that He is still doing so!

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The Catholic Defender: Shake The Nation

Posted by John Benko - November 3rd, 2010

Election night I was glued to the Television watching from the beginning to the end the results of all the races.

Most of it was a great surprise as the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, won major Governor races, and added some Senatorial races.

The following is a letter from Deacon Jim Reynolds of St. Anns Catholic Church from Independence Missouri. I think I might of been there as a child so many years ago:

To Whom it may concern,

I come to you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. What a joy to recommend to my brothers and sisters in Christ, Dr. Gregory Thompson and his ministry, “America ASLEEP KNOW MORE” and the conferences “Shake The Nation”. Like Catholic teaching from the days of Christ we have understood the importance of “Bearing witness to the Truth”, and equally important to wake up as individual Christian’s.

Father Corapi says it very well, “Every Christian, faithful to the Gospel, has the moral obligation to bear witness to the truth. In season and out of season, convenient or inconvenient, accepted or rejected. This mandate is nothing new, of course, it’s as old as the Old Testament, and as new as the New Testament. Nonetheless, I’m afraid that it has become more necessary than ever to remind ourselves of it.”

Like the Sons of Ishachar, Dr. Thompson brought in three others with him, that not only gave an understanding of the times, but a much needed call to awaken in these times we live in, to pray for God’s will, and then like Jesus to take action and accept our Cross, for the souls of our neighbors and the children.

Pope John Paul II said, “In order to make this “encounter” with Christ possible, God willed His Church. Indeed, the Church “wishes to serve this single end: that each person may be able to find Christ, in order that Christ may walk with each person the path of life.”

Through the mercy and grace of God, may these men bring a message of challenge, warning, and hope to those that understand that evil is indeed triumphing because many good people do nothing about the weightier issues of the day. Jesus is looking for hearts that want to serve HIM, and this Shake The Nation I believe is a spark to help engage the children of Christ. Everyone will learn something, and be encouraged.

God’s love and peace to those that hear HIS voice,

Deacon Jim Reynolds

As an American people, this past November 2 Election Day was very important and profound. So many voted to have an impact for America. So many campaigns, the Tea Party, the Constitutionist, the Christians, many people of good will voted to make a change for America to bring us back to the greatness of the principles of what made our Country great.

We are a work in progress and we have a long way to go to ensure that our liberties and freedoms are maintained. There are those who have pushed for a European Socialistic political solution to our problems.

This has failed us to a 13 trillion dollar debt, the loss of jobs, the loss of the social fabric, and the uncertainty of basic security.

Think about it? Our current administration sued Arizona for enacting laws that our Government refuses to enforce for the protection of our citizens. Our Government does not defend the right of voters when Black Panthers use their methods to intimidate at Philidelphia voting blocks. Our Government does not defend the right of the most defenseless among us, the unborn child.

I concur with Deacon Jim, Dr. Gregory Thompson and his merry band of patriots have America in their best interest. They want to give God the glory and rest on the foundations of our Constitution. May their spirit grow into a movement that captivates and taps into that soul that desperately needs to be refreshed and vitalized. That Catholics and Protestants can work together for the common good.

May this Election Day victories lead to American restoration. May God be honored and respected and His name be praised that our land will receive forgiveness and healing. God Bless America!

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