Archive for September, 2010

May This Bring A Smile Upon Your Face…

Posted: September 30, 2010 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

For those who have been following my blog for a while now, you’d know that I had mentioned a few posts back that I was planning to get a bigger Cross Of The Renewal.  One because I have a rather large frame and secondly with good intentions I mentioned in that post.

Well either I clicked on the wrong item or the Holy Spirit decided to come in a BIG WAY… *grins*

[Audio http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6547844/Veni.mp3%5D

LATIN
Veni, creator Spiritus
mentes tuorum visita,
imple superna gratia,
quae tu creasti pectora.

English

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
and in our hearts take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heav’nly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

Scriptural Basis of the Prayer

The prayer we call the “Hail Mary” has evolved over time. The first two sentences (beginning with theangel’s greeting and closing with Elizabeth’s words,“blessed is the fruit of thy womb”) are taken directly from the Scripture (Lk. 1:28). The name of Jesus, to identify Mary’s Son, was added in the 13th Century, and the closing petitions, in which we acknowledge Mary as the Mother of God, and beg her prayers, were added in the 16th Century.

A Part of Early Public Worship

The opening words of the Hail Mary were part ofthe Church’s public worship by the 7th Century, and St. Gregory the Great included them as the Offertory verse for the Fourth Sunday of Advent. However, these words did not assume the form of a separate prayer until several centuries later, probably an outgrowth of monastic spirituality. By the end of the 12th Century,however, the bishop of Paris ordered his clergy to make certain the faithful were as well acquainted with the“Salutation of the Blessed Virgin” as they were with the words of the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer.

Evolution of the Prayer

Initially, the words “Hail Mary,” etc. retained their character as a greeting, so the words often accompanied a genuflection or bow to honor the Blessed Virgin. As these exercises took more formal shape, we can probably see a connection with the formof the Rosary that we know today. One 12th Century saint repeated the words 150 times each day, kneeling one hundred times, and prostrating for fifty. St. Louis of France (1226 – 1270) knelt, stood, and then knelt again as he said the prayer. His biographers state he repeated this action fifty times each night, in additionto his other prayers.

A Prayer of Penance

Because such activity can soon become tiring,the Hail Mary often assumed a penitential characterwhen monastic communities adopted the practice ofattaching physical action to the prayer. Nevertheless,the practice was apparently widespread, and those who embraced it felt it reflected, on earth, the ceaseless hymns of praise the saints and angels offer in heaven.

Development of the Present Prayer

The Hail Mary began to assume its present form in the 14th and 15th centuries, as individuals added some sort of petition to the angel’s words of greeting. Initially, the words of petition reflected the personal devotion of those who said the prayer, but a prayer for help at the time of death gradually became the norm. The form of today’s prayer can be found in breviaries used in religious communities as early as 1514.

The Council of Trent

The catechism of the Council of Trent (1545 – 1563) embraced the “Hail Mary” as we know it, applauding it as the organic effort of the Church to complete what the Scripture initiated. Most rightly has the Church of God added to this thanksgiving, petition also and the invocation of the most holy Mother of God, thereby implying that we should piously and suppliantly have recourse to her in order that by her intercession she may reconcile God with us sinners and obtain for us the blessings we need both for this present life and for the life which has no end. After the Council, in 1568, the “Hail Mary” in its present form appeared in the Roman Breviary. (This information is summarized from The Catholic Encyclopedia.)

Angels and Men

Scripture records numerous instances of angelic visits, and the honor paid to angels by our ancestors in the faith. However, the angel’s greeting to Mary, “Hail, full of grace,” is unique, the very first instance of an angel showing reverence to a human being. To understand the magnitude of the angel’s paying homage to Mary, we must understand how far superior angels are to us.

The Nature of Angels

Angels are pure, spiritual beings. Because they have no material component, as we do, angels are not subject to the corruption and decay that will destroy our mortal frame. Furthermore, the angel’s intellectual powers surpass ours. The human mind learns by steps, proceeding from one truth to another, and often making mistakes in the process. Angels, by contrast, understand truth immediately and completely.

The Angels’ Closeness to God

Although equality with angels is promised God’s saints (S.T., Ia 62.5), this everlasting happiness is something we look forward to, yet our progress in grace is often impeded by our bodily senses. An angel’s immaterial nature is not subject to such distraction, so angels are able to love God without hindrance. Thus, Scripture speaks of angels’ standing before God and ministering to Him. Our human experience of sin reveals how far we are from God, at least occasionally.

Angels and Grace

Grace moves both men and angels to love God. However, because nothing stands between angels andtheir vision of God, the angels share God’s love more fully than we can hope to, in this life.

The Sole Exception

Because angels surpass mankind in dignity, grace and nearness to Our Creator, they are worthy of our honor. We depend upon angels to assist us, but we do not expect them to pay us tribute. In the Virgin Mary, however, the angels discovered a human being whose closeness to God was greater than theirs. Reasonably, then, the angel honored Mary by saying, “Hail, full of grace!” which expressed the angel’s respect and awe when faced with Mary’s excellence.

Mary, Full of Grace

God’s gift of grace enables us to do good and avoid evil. By sparing Mary the stain of Original Sin, God gave her a greater measure of grace than any saint other than Christ, Himself. St Augustine turns to the Scripture to express this beautifully Except the Holy Virgin Mary, if all the saints… while living here below had been asked whether they were without sin, all would have cried aloud with one voice: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 Jn 1:8).

The Model of All Virtue

When we read the lives of the saints we discover that certain individuals were known for particular good works; Mary excels in all virtue. For example, she shows her humility when she replies to the angel, “I am the handmaid of the Lord,” and her chastity when she asserts she has had no relations with a man.

A Spiritual Vessel

Although many saints are known for the penances they imposed on their bodies, the saints’ true claim to holiness lies in the holiness of their souls. By contrast, Mary was so filled with grace that it filled her body, making her flesh fit to bear God’s Son. One medieval theologian wrote “The Holy Ghost so kindled in her heart the fire of divine love that it worked wonders in her flesh… that she gave birth to God made man.”

A Gift to the World

Our theology teaches no gift is given simply to enrich the one who receives it. Thus, we honor the saints because their virtues are a source of inspiration for others. Mary surpasses all the saints in virtue so the grace her Son gives through her is immense enough to save all mankind.

The Lord is With Thee

Mary’s participation in the Incarnation gives her a unique place in relation to the Blessed Trinity. God’s Son is her son, something that can be said of no other individual, and the union between Mary and God the Father exceeds the intimacy of God with any other creature. In giving birth to Jesus, Mary gives flesh and blood to God’s Word. Christ is Lord of creation – even Lord of the angels – but He is Mary’s Son, a relation no one else can know. Because the Incarnation is the work of the Holy Spirit, Mary enjoys a union with the Trinity unknown to any of the saints or angels.

Mother of the Lord, Our Lady

In the Old Testament, the most significant woman in a kingdom was not the king’s wife, for rulers could have many wives; the highest honor was paid the king’s mother. We pay Mary similar honor in our devotion. When Elizabeth greets Mary, she asks, “why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:43) The words, “Mother of my Lord,” echo the title given the queen-mother in Scripture. They are also the basis for one of the most common titles by which we address the Blessed Virgin. Because Mary is Mother of our Lord, she is “Our Lady.”

Blessed among Women

Mary is often called a “New Eve” because God spared her the punishments He pronounced on the wife of Adam. Chief among these is the mortality, which consigns our bodies to the dust from which they were created. Mary is “blessed” in herself because she was spared the punishments God imposed on mankind, but she is also blessed by the actions of her life – giving us Our Savoir, showing us the supreme example of Christian virtue, and, in her Assumption, giving us a promise of the glory that God’s love calls us to enjoy.

Blessed is the Fruit of Thy Womb

The notion of “fruit” provides further reason for considering Mary the New Eve. The first Eve ate fruit which, she was promised, would make her like God.  Instead, through her disobedience, she became unlike God and was sent out of the earthly Paradise. Eve’s children have suffered the same fate for millennia. Mary reverses the Original Sin. By sharing her Fruit – Jesus Christ – with the world, she invites us to reclaim the image and identity we lost in the Garden. “When He shall appear, we shall be like Him,” St. John promises, “for we shall see Him as He is” (1 Jn 3:2). Our baptism unites us with Christ and, through Him, to the Father, restoring in us the likeness of God sacrificed to sin.

Delight and Beauty

The book of Genesis tells us “the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes” (Gen. 3:6). Once they tasted it, however, our First Parents realized, in an instant, the fruit of the tree was neither useful nor pleasant. Instead, it brought them shame and exile. The Fruit of Mary’s womb is both the summit of our humanity and food for our salvation, useful and beautiful. Eve discovered no pleasure in the fruit she ate, and ultimately we find as little pleasure in sin. In the Fruit Mary gives us, however, we find blessing, hope, and promise.

Pray for Us Sinners

The Hail Mary, as St. Thomas Aquinas knew it, and as he preached upon it during Lent in 1273, ends with acknowledgement of Our Savior, the blessed fruit of Mary’s womb. Surely, these words from the Scripture are sufficient, and perfect in their simplicity. Why, we may ask, has the Church added to the “Angelic Salutation” we find in the gospel? Academic study will undoubtedly reveal manifoldanswers to this question, but human need can tell us as much. As children, we are taught that beauty is as beauty does, and the Hail Mary is a prayer that God will enable us to live up to the image in which we have been created. One of the Church’s hymns honors Mary by saying, “Mary, mother meek and mild, blessed was she in her Child.” When we pray the Hail Mary we begin by acknowledging Mary’s unique and honored place in our humanity. But as we continue the prayer, we realize that Mary is not simply blessed in who she is, but in what she has done. In the Hail Mary we ask for the grace to discover, as Mary did, all that our human frame is capable of – if we are willing to place ourselves in God’s hands and surrender to God’s will.

Dominicans and Rosary, 2008

Fr. Carlos Azpiroz Costa, O.P., Master of the Order of Preachers, sent a New Year’s Day message to Dominican men and women throughout the world. Fr. Carlos noted that the Solemnity of the Epiphany, 2008, brought to a close the 800th anniversary of St. Dominic’s founding the first communities of Dominican women.…the whole Order has come to a better appreciation that the nuns are at the heart of the Order and that the foundation of our preaching is nothing less than the profound contemplation of our faith. The Master devoted one section of his address to the Rosary, and challenged Dominicans to rededicate themselves to the Rosary, which, for centuries, has been particularly associated with the spirituality and preaching of the Domincan Order. Citing the numerous visitors to international Marian shrines, such as Lourdes and Guadalupe, Fr. Carlos called the Rosary “a beloved universal prayer,” and said, “it is something we can touch, hold and even grasp at difficult moments, of our life; it is like grasping the hand of Mary herself.” Friends of the Rosary Center will surely share Fr. Carlos’ conviction that the prayers of the Rosary “are summaries of our faith,” that accompany the faithful throughout their lives, allowing one to say “thy will be done” at every moment, perhaps most importantly “at the hour of our death.”

The Rosary and the Life of Mother Teresa

Those investigating inspirational – and inspiring – reading during the days of Lent will be interested in the new book, Mother Teresa, In the Shadow of Our Lady. The author, Fr. Joseph Langford, MC, worked with Mother Teresa for thirty years, and she invited him to help establish the men’s branch of her Missionaries of Charity. Fr. Langford’s book is more than a diary of a long friendship with an astounding woman; it is a profound reflection on the power of Mary’s love to transform the world, one heart at a time.…Our Lady will begin to arrange the events and details of our life as soon as we give her permission. This remarkable promise appears in our life then increasingly becomes an adventure of grace as she takes the reins of our existence and begins to exercise her spiritual maternity. Fr. Langford’s story begins in 1947, when Mother Teresa experienced a profound revelation of God’s thirst for the salvation of His children. It continues by examining Mother Teresa’s first efforts to touch the lives of the poor and dying, and provides encouragement and practical steps to follow Mother Teresa in a life of contemplation lived in the world, through a deep commitment to the Blessed Virgin. The book understands that faithful individuals have many claims on their time, and gives practical guidance for deepening one’s spirituality, while coping with the realities of a busy life in the 21st Century. It was Mother Teresa’s daily encounter with Our Lady that strengthened and equipped her for her work…[and] lets us live beyond our limitations, wrapped in her presence and sharing her spiritand her heart. (Fr. Langford’s book is available from the Rosary Center; to order it, turn to the form that accompanies this bulletin or order it online at http://www.rosary-center.org)

Thought of the day…

Posted: September 28, 2010 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Personal Thoughts & Reflections

In the beautiful words of Pope John Paul II:
“To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ.”

The Remission of Temporal Punishment

Posted: September 28, 2010 by CatholicJules in Memory Book, Questions & Answers

INSTRUCTIONS REGARDING INDULGENCES.

Q. What is understood by an Indulgence?
A. An indulgence is a relaxation or remission of debt of the temporal punishment, which remains due to the Divine justice for sin, after the sin itself, and the eternal punishment have been remitted by the Sacrament of Penance.

Q. Has Jesus Christ given to his Church the power of granting indulgences?
A. He has, as appears evidently from holy scriptures; for,

First, He says to St. Peter, “Thou art Peter – and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven,” Matth. xvi. 18. in which words our Savior gives to St. Peter, as the chief pastor of his Church, whose authority as such extends over all her members, an ample and universal power of conducting the faithful to heaven, by loosing them from every thing that might hinder them from going there, provided always they be properly disposed, and perform the conditions required upon their part. Now, there are only two things that can hinder a soul from going to heaven, to wit, the guilt of sin, and the debt of temporal punishment; for till that debt be paid, none can enter there; consequently our Savior says, “whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, shall be loosed in heaven,” manifestly includes both, and assures us, when the Chief Pastor looses the faithful from their sins in the Sacrament of Penance, or from the debt of temporal punishment, by granting an indulgence, this sentence is ratified in heaven, and stands good in the sight of God himself.

Second, On another occasion, declaring, “that he that will not hear the Church,” that is, the bishops and pastors of the Church, is to be considered “as a heathen and a publican,” he immediately says to these pastors, in the persons of all the Apostles, “Amen, I say to you, whatsoever ye shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven,” Matth. xviii. 18. In which words, by the same reasoning as in the former case, we see the power of granting indulgences conferred on the first pastors or Bishops of the Church, as successors of the Apostles. It is given to the head of the Church, with regard to all the faithful, and to the bishops of the Church with regard to that portion of the faithful committed to their charge, to be exercised by them under such regulations as the Church herself, in her sacred councils, has judged proper to appoint.

Third, St. Paul, though not one of the twelve Apostles then present with our Savior, when this power was given them, both exercised it himself towards the incestuous Corinthian, and recommended to the pastors of that church to do the same; for, having first condemned and bound him to public penance, and “delivered him over to Satan for the destruction oft he flesh, that his spirit might be saved in the day of our Lord,” 1 Cor. v. 5; yet afterwards, being informed of his great repentance and vehement sorrows, he writes to that church, “To him who is such a one, this rebuke is sufficient that is given by many; so that contrariwise, ye should rather forgive him – and to whom ye have forgiven any thing, I also. For what I forgive, if I have forgiven any thing, for your sakes that I done it, in the person of Christ,” 2 Cor. ii. 6. 10.

Q. When the Church grants an indulgence, by remitting the debt of temporal punishment due to the Divine Justice, does she offer any compensation to the justice of God in place of it?
A. Yes she does; to understand which, we must observe,

First, That God Almighty has given to his Church the infinite merits and superabundant satisfaction of his son Jesus, to be applied and dispensed to her children for the good of their souls, according to their wants. Thus St. Paul says, “Jesus Christ gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present wicked world,” Gal. i. 4; and God “hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly things in Christ,” Ephes. i. 3; “that he might show in the ages to come, the abundant riches of his grace, in his bounty towards us in Christ Jesus,” Eph. ii. 7; for “he that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how hath he not also, with him, given us all things!” Rom. viii. 32. Now, the Pastors of the Church are “the dispensers of the mysteries of God,” 1 Cor. iv. 1; to wit, of all these “spiritual blessings, abundant riches and graces of Christ,” which are the fruits of all his infinite merits and satisfactions. These are dispensed to the people and applied to their souls by the Pastors of the Church, when they administer to us the Holy Sacraments, and they are offered up to God as a compensation to his Divine Justice, for the debt of temporal punishment, when they grant us a relaxation from that debt by an indulgence.

Second, In the Creed, we are taught to believe that in the Church there is “the communion of saints;” that is, that all the members of the Church have a spiritual communication with one another in holy things, that the prayers, sacrifices, penances, and good works, which are performed by any of the faithful are accepted by Almighty God in such measure and manner as he sees fitting for all the others who put no impediment; and the reason is, because all the members of the Church compose but one spiritual body to Christ, of which he is the head; and therefore, all the faithful, as members of one another, mutually partake of one another’s prayers and good works, especially when they are expressly intended and applied for one another.

PRAYER AND GOOD WORKS AS A MEANS OF GRACE.

As nothing is more agreeable to God, than that all his followers should live together in unity, charity, and brotherly love, as members of one body, mutually helping one another, especially in spiritual things; so we find many examples of his readiness to bestow great favors upon his people, in reward of this mutual charity. Thus, when Job’s friends could find no acceptance with God of themselves, they found it immediately when Job offered up his prayers and sacrifices for them, Job. xlii. How often did the prayers and sacrifices of Moses and Aaron obtain forgiveness for their sinful people, both as to the sin and the temporal punishment, even when God was so provoked by their crimes, that he seemed determined to consumer and destroy them? How often does God declare in scripture, that he bears with the people of Israel, that he deals mercifully with them, that he bestows favors upon them, and the like, for the sake of his faithful servants, Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, even long after they were out of this world? So also speaking of his care for Jerusalem, he says, “I will protect this city, and will save it for my own sake, and for David my servant’s sake,” 4 Kings xix. 34. Where observe, that he joins “his own sake” and “David’s sake” together, in the same sentence, as the joint motive of his protecting Jerusalem.
From the same principles, St. Paul so often recommends himself to the prayers of the Faithful, and when, on a certain occasion, he had met with some great afflictions, he says to the Philippians, “I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayers,” Phil. i. 19. Seeing then that the prayers, penances, and good works of the faithful, and especially of the Holy Saints of God, who are of all others the most in favor with him, are, through the merits of Jesus Christ, on whom they all depend, most readily accepted by Almighty God for the benefit of all the members of his Church, especially when, by a spirit of charity, they are offered up and applied for that purpose; therefore, when the Church grants an indulgence to her children, for relieving the debt of temporal punishment due to the Divine Justice, she also offers up with the infinite satisfaction of Christ, all the prayers, penances, and good works of his Holy Saints, as a most acceptable oblation to the justice of God, in satisfaction or compensation for the indulgence she grants, both in imitation of what God himself did, when he joined his own sake and David’s sake, as the joint motive for protecting Jerusalem, and as an exercise of that holy communion of Saints, which she professes in the Creed; so that “out of their abundance, our wants are supplied,” and our debt paid, 2 Cor. viii. 14.

THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF INDULGENCES.

Q. How many kinds of Indulgences are there?
A. Two kinds, a Plenary Indulgence, which is obtained, would deliver us from all the debt of temporal punishment that we owe for our past sins; and a Partial Indulgence, which delivers us from it only in part, and is commonly expressed as given for a certain time, as of forty days, a year, or the like. The meaning of which is, that an indulgence is granted for such a proportion of the debt of temporal punishment we owe to God, as would have been remitted to him, had the sinner undergone, for that space of time, the severe penitential works prescribed by the primitive church for his sins.

Q. What things are required for gaining the benefit of indulgence?
A. Three things:

First, That a person be in the state of grace, and in friendship with God; for while one continues in the state of sin, and at enmity with God, and of course worthy of eternal punishment in the sight of the Divine Justice, he is not in a state capable of receiving an indulgence. And on this account it is, that in all grants of Plenary Indulgences, it is generally required as a condition for gaining them that the person apply first to the sacrament of confession, in order to put his soul in the state of grace, without which he is incapable of receiving that benefit.

INDULGENCES ALWAYS GRANTED ON CERTAIN CONDITIONS.

Second, That the conditions required in the grant of the indulgence be exactly performed; for, as indulgences are always granted on certain conditions, to be performed on our part, such as approaching to the Holy Sacraments, works of charity and mercy, exercises of piety and religion, prayers for the necessities of the Church, and the like; if these conditions required, are not exactly performed as required, we have no title to the favor of the indulgence.

Third, In order to gain the full effect of a Plenary Indulgence, it is also necessary to have a perfect repentance, and sincere detestation of all our sins, even the least venial sin; because, as the punishment of sin will never be forgiven, while the guilt of it remains in the soul, and as a sincere repentance is absolutely required for the remission of the guilty; therefore, this sincere repentance must precede the remission of the punishment. Hence we may see how few there are who gain the full effect of a Plenary Indulgence, as there are few who have a sincere and efficacious repentance of every venial sin, and a sincere and firm resolution of avoiding every sin, great or small, with all the occasions of sin. Yet this ought not to hinder us from using our beset endeavors for gaining a Plenary Indulgence when occasion offers; because, though we should not gain the whole effect of it, the more endeavors we use, and the better we be disposed, the more ample benefit we will reap from it; and whereas, we can never be certain how far we gain this benefit, and have but too much reason, from our own imperfect dispositions, to fear, that we may have yet a great debt remaining unpaid; therefore, our endeavoring to gain an indulgence ought not to make us remiss in leading a truly penitential life, but rather encourage us to do so the more exactly; because, the more we endeavor by works, worthy of penance, to satisfy the Divine Justice, the better we will be disposed, when the opportunity comes, for gaining the more abundant effects of indulgences; for, when we have done our best, it is perhaps little to what we ought to have done; and what we gain by indulgences makes up for the deficiencies of human infirmity, but can never be supposed to patronize negligence and sloth.

Q. When a person dies in the grace and friendship of God, but before he has discharged the debt of temporal punishment which he owes to the Divine justice, what becomes of him?
A. The soul is sentenced to purgatory, “out of which he shall not come till he pays to the last farthing,” Matth. v. 26.

Further exploration of Gaining Indulgences can be found HERE.

Thought Of The Day…

Posted: September 27, 2010 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

On a Facebook newsfeed this question was asked of Catholics :-

Share you faith with us, what’s good about being a Catholic?

Well I suppose you’d never think of such an answer unless you’ve been asked the question.

Here’s my answer (Comment on Facebook)….

The fullness and completeness of our faith together with it’s sacred traditions in total communion with the Holy Trinity and the Faithful built on a foundation of love.

What would your answer be dear brethren?


Rosalind Moss

Former Jew and Evangelical Christian

Tim Drake

How does a Jewish person of faith convert to Catholicism? To judge by Rosalind Moss’s eighteen-year journey into the Church, the answer is . . . very slowly. Raised in Brooklyn, in a conservative Jewish home with one older brother and one younger sister, Moss never even considered that she would ever be anything other than Jewish. “It’s what I was. We were God’s people. That was my identity,” says Moss.

“We waited for the Messiah to come,” adds Moss, “but He never did.” As a teenager, her brother David became an atheist; Rosalind became agnostic. “I figured that there was a God, but how could you know? I longed for meaning and purpose and to know why mankind was on the earth, but didn’t think that you could find God, or that merely knowing He existed could make a difference.”

“When I was thirty-two years old, I heard about Christ for the first time,” recalls Moss. “David brought me an article that said there were Jewish people who believed that Christ was the Messiah. I asked my brother, ‘You mean to tell me that the Messiah was already here? That He was the only hope the world ever had, and yet the Jewish people didn’t know this? That He came and left and there has been no impact, no change, no peace? That’s just insanity.’”

Not long after, Moss moved to California and met some of what she considered “neurotic” Jews who did in fact believe this. “They led me to the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world,” Moss said. “They showed me the Old Testament and pointed to John 1:29, which drove a knife through my heart. There I sat, shattered to think that this was true . . . that God, whose name we had written as G – d, had entered history and become a man to bring us home. It was an unbelievable thing.”

Moss immediately jumped into a nearby evangelical Protestant church and enrolled in every Bible study and outreach she could find. Her first Bible study was taught by an ex-Catholic who had been taught by a former priest. “So, right off, I knew that Catholicism was a cult and a false religious system. I spent the next eighteen years trying to save others from what I thought was the work of Satan,” recalls Moss.

“My brother’s search for truth led him first to a Baptist church. But it made no sense to him that God would have left us in so much confusion as thousands of denominations, and so he went seeking the Church God had intended. Two years later, David became a Catholic.

“In the summer of 1990, after having been a Catholic for eleven years, he gave me a copy of This Rock magazine. Inside was an advertisement for a four-tape series by a Presbyterian minister who had become Catholic — Scott Hahn. I had never heard of such a thing, and so I ordered the tapes.”
Just a week away from serving in a ministerial position at the Evangelical Church in Orange, California, Moss listened to the Hahn tapes. “I remember Scott’s words well. He said that for anyone who ‘would look into the claims of Catholicism would come a holy shock and a glorious amazement.’

“Here I knew that the Church was the work of Satan, and yet listening to that tape a ‘holy shock’ went through me. I knew, before God, that I had to look into the claims of the Catholic Church or I would be turning from God. Thus began my four-year agonizing journey toward the Church.”
The journey, Moss admits, was a difficult one. Right from the start, she decided to put the issue of Mary on a shelf and deal with her later, if she ever got that far. Instead, she first dealt with the sacramental nature of the Church.

“I had one hundred percent bought into the Calvinist thinking of total depravity. I believed that creation was absolutely corrupt, and that therefore God would not use things to bring about grace. It just didn’t make sense to me why God would use fallen creation.

“Yet in Scripture Christ uses mud and spit to heal the blind man. I wondered why He did that. He certainly didn’t have to. This led me to wonder why He changed the water into wine, when He could have just gone poof and made the change.

“Furthermore, I questioned the Incar-nation. Why would God have taken on flesh? I came to understand that creation is fallen, but not totally depraved, and that God can and does take creation and us and restore us to the dignity that He intended.”

Another issue Moss had a hard time understanding was the Eucharist. “I could not understand how, if we already had Christ, we could get Him. Did we get Him on Sunday and then lose Him during the week?”

One of Ross’ spiritual directors, Monsignor James O’Connor, helped answer her question. “He told me that ‘in a marriage relationship the husband and wife love each other and have each other all the time. Yet sometimes they are not very aware of that love. However, in the intimacy of the marital union it is the beloved giving to his loved, just as Christ, the Bridegroom, gives to His Church, the Bride, in the Eucharist, a total act of self-giving love that is unique to that time.’

“For me, that was extraordinarily beautiful. Monsignor O’Connor’s explanation of the Eucharist and the nature of the Mass as the once-for-all sacrifice of Calvary helped me into the Church.”

Moss’ final hurdle was understanding the sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ. “I could not understand how we could offer our lives with Christ,” she recalls. “It seemed as if we were saying that Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t sufficient.

“What enabled that truth to get through to me was thinking of a mother who is in the kitchen baking a chocolate cake. She has all that she needs. She needs nothing.

“Then her daughter comes into the kitchen and asks, ‘Mommy, can I help you?’ and so the mother lets the daughter help. The mother doesn’t need her addition, but it is still a true addition.

“My sins put Christ to death on the cross. However, now that I’ve come to love Him, if I could go back and be at the foot of the cross, even though I once cried ‘Crucify him!’ wouldn’t I now crawl up on the cross and give myself with Him? Wouldn’t I want to do that?

“Calvary, through two thousand years, is brought to us. We are at the foot of the cross and we can give ourselves with Him, in Him and through Him. That is the Mass.”

In the end, having dealt with every Marian doctrine and coming to understand the communion of saints, Moss started praying through Mary. Five weeks later, at the Easter vigil, 1995, she took Mary’s Jewish name, Miriam, as her confirmation name and entered the Church. Life has never been the same.

“Evangelical friends ask me what I have now that I was missing as an Evangelical. I tell them that I have not more than Christ, but I have the whole Christ. I have all that God has given us in giving us His Church.”

Of her conversion, Moss states, “I looked at every Protestant work I could find against Catholicism. In the end, looking into two thousand years of Church history, I learned that the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen’s comment was truly the case: ‘There’s not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they mistakenly think the Catholic Church teaches.’

“My heart was taken halfway to heaven. I never believed that there could be such a design.”

Moss admits that her conversion has given her a far better understanding of what it means to be Jewish. “The most Jewish thing a person can do is to become Catholic. When I was trying to save my brother from becoming Catholic, I went to Christmas Mass with him. Afterwards, I told him, ‘That’s a synagogue, but with Christ!’”

She draws comparisons between the Passover and the Lord’s Supper. “Passover was celebrated to point to Israel’s temporal deliverance from bondage to Egypt. The final Passover, the Last Supper, points to our eternal deliverance from bondage to sin. Both events required the participants to eat of the lamb.”

Moss now spends the majority of her time on the road, speaking to parishes, conventions and conferences as a staff apologist with San Diego-based Catholic Answers. In addition, she writes for This Rock and Be magazine, is a frequent guest on Catholic Answers’ live radio program, and co-hosted a sixteen-part EWTN series with convert Kristine Franklin, titled Household of Faith. Moss was awarded a 1999 Envoy Award for Best New Evangelist.

She’s not alone in her ministry efforts. Her brother David now leads the Association of Hebrew Catholics, a community that helps Catholics of Jewish origin to realize that they need not abandon their heritage in becoming Catholic.

“My wish, from the moment I gave my life to Christ twenty-three years ago, was to find a megaphone and a ladder tall enough to get to the moon so that I could tell the world that there is a Savior. Now I want to spend the rest of my life telling Catholics what they have.”

September 26, 2010 – 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: September 26, 2010 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

A Great Chasm

Readings:
Amos 6:1, 4-7
Psalm 146:7-10
1 Timothy 6:11-16
Luke 16:19-31

By Dr. Scott Hahn

The rich and powerful are visited with woe and exile in today’s Liturgy – not for their wealth but for their refusal to share it; not for their power but for their indifference to the suffering at their door.

The complacent leaders in today’s First Reading feast on fine foods and wines, reveling while the house of Joseph, the kingdom of Israel (see Amos 5:6), collapses around them.

The rich man in today’s Gospel also lives like a king – dressed in royal purple and fine linen (see 1 Maccabees 8:14).

The rich man symbolizes Israel’s failure to keep the Old Covenant, to heed the commandments of Moses and the prophets. This is the sin of the rulers in today’s First Reading. Born to the nation God favored first, they could claim Abraham as their father. But for their failure to give – their inheritance is taken away.

The rulers are exiled from their homeland. The rich man is punished with an exile far greater – eternity with a “great chasm” fixed between himself and God.

In this world, the rich and powerful make a name for themselves (see Genesis 11:4) and dine sumptuously, while the poor remain anonymous, refused an invitation to their feasts.

But notice that the Lord today knows Lazarus by name, and Joseph in his sufferings – while the leaders and the rich man have no name.

Today’s Liturgy is a call to repentance – to heed the warning of One who was raised from the dead. To lay hold of the eternal life He promises, we must pursue righteousness, keep the commandment of love, as Paul exhorts in today’s Epistle.

“The Lord loves the just,” we sing in today’s Psalm.

And in this Eucharist we have a foretaste of the love that will be ours in the next life – when He will raise the lowly to the heavenly banquet with Abraham and the prophets (see Luke 13:28), where we too will rest our heads on the bosom of our Lord (see John 13:23).

‘Who is the Rich Man’

Very few of us can be numbered among the rich and the powerful who have the power to exploit the poor.

So how are we to apply to our own lives the readings for the 25th and 26th Sundays in Ordinary Time (Cycle C), which are so preoccupied with questions of social justice, wealth and poverty?

These readings remind us that the law of love (see John 15:12; Romans 13:8) means that each of us in some way will be judged by the mercy we show to the poor.

As the rich man learns in the parable of Lazarus – the distance between ourselves and God in the next life may be the distance we put between ourselves and the poor in this life (see Matthew 25:31-46; James 2:8,14-17).

But we also need to hear these readings in context of the Gospel message in recent months. Recall that among the stories we’ve heard is that of the teacher who wanted to know, “Who is my neighbor?” (see Luke 10:25-37) and of the rich fool who tried to store up earthly treasures (see Luke 12:13-21).

We may not be “rich men” or exploiters of the poor, but each of us should take to heart the persistent message of the Liturgy – that what we have and desire to have can separate us from God and our neighbor; that our possessions can come to possess us; that true riches are to be found in sharing what we have with the poor; and that this will gain us what we truly desire – the inheritance of treasure in heaven.

Trapped In Sin? What Can You Do?

Posted: September 25, 2010 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Memory Book

By Julian Tan @Catholicjules.net

Some people are trapped in sin and may not even realize it!  While others may know they are but choose to continue living in sin, either because of their addiction to the sin/s or because they feel that ultimately they will not be forgiven and so why bother.  Addiction to sin? Yes and not necessarily to drugs or to alcohol abuse.  It can be pornography, gambling, adultery, fornication or even some lifestyle choice which is against the will of God our Father.

Some deny that they are trapped in sin or are even addicted to them. They claim that they can stop at anytime, but choose to repent at a later time. (What do you think happens to them if they meet with an untimely accident and die?) Or Some plead ignorance or even try to justify their actions with secular interpretations.

As for those who stubbornly maintain that they don’t care if they are trapped, well then they should know that the opposite of Love is not Hate but actually INDIFFERENCE!  They too will be dealt with indifference! For what did Jesus teach us to do again? That’s right… Love! Not just our own family or friends but to Love our neighbours as well.  And not just by our standards but by His standards,the way He loves us.  If we are indifferent how then can we love?

For those who lead pretty decent lives and attend Mass regularly, here are a few more questions for you to delve a little deeper so that you can search your soul to see if you might still be ‘trapped’ in one way or another :

Are you able to feel God’s presence in your life?  Do you feel unconditionally loved in your life? Do you feel joy in your heart? Are you a very patient person? Do you make time to read scripture or to deepen you faith through reading Catholic literature? Do you pray, praise and give thanks to God? Do you live a guilt free life? Are you caring and loving towards strangers you meet?

If you answered ‘No’ to at least 6 out of 8 of the questions, then it is likely you could be trapped in Sin. Why? How? Well this is because sin drives us away from God.  It clouds our eyes, closes both our ears and heart to the Word of God.  It distracts us and distorts our view of living a good and fruitful life.  Even if you managed to answer ‘Yes’ to 03 of the questions, you should be asking yourself what are the obstacles that are preventing you from answering ‘Yes’ to most if not all of them?

So what is Sin? According to the Cathechism of the Catholic Church ccc. 1850 Sin is an offense against God: “Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight.” Sin sets itself against God’s love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become “like gods,” knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus “love of oneself even to contempt of God.” In this proud self- exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation.

So what can you do to change your life and be closer to God?

Well for one If you are still reading this, then you have already taken the first step in your journey back to God.  Next you must accept the fact that God truly loves you and wants you to come back to him wholly and holy.  For you cannot have and serve two masters! Accept that the feelings that you cannot be forgiven if any, is a form of self pride. ( Are you questioning God’s ability to forgive?)  Here are the first three steps to take :-

PRAY

But I don’t know how to pray? Well first and foremost you have to know that God loves you despite your strengths or weaknesses.  He already knows everything there is to know about you and so all He wants, is for you to reach out to Him in prayer.

If you are a parent consider this……if your toddler drew you a picture and then showed it to you, would you scold him or say that his/her picture was ugly?  No! In fact to you, it would be a masterpiece!  Or if you are a child, then do you remember how it was when you showed your parents you’re drawing? They loved it! right?

It is the same way with God our Father.  He is aware that you are in your infancy in prayer and are trying very hard to to communicate with Him, hence your attempt is what pleases him whether you err or fumble.   Yes there will be times you may feel that you cannot find the words that truly reflects how you feel, well then you just offer it up too!  Of course you may use some guided prayers as a start to help you out, but nonetheless God wants to hear prayers from our hearts.  With time you will find that it gets easier and easier, and it so heartwarming to be able to pray to Him anytime of the day and as many times in a day.  By the way if you were wondering what I meant by guided prayers, well there are lots of  beautiful prayers written by the Saints before us or by the Faithful.  Almost, if not all of them inspired one way or the other by the Holy Spirit.

A simple prayer to start you off could be “Heavenly Father, I am truly sorry that I have sinned against you and submit myself to you will.  Jesus my Lord and Saviour, I am so very weak and lost, I pray that you send your Holy Spirit to lead me on my journey back to my Father.  Amen.”

Examine Your Conscience And Go For The Sacrament Of Reconciliation

But I am afraid or even uncomfortable about confessing my sins to the Priest, can’t I pray directly to God?

Well first and foremost you must understand that Jesus himself established this Sacrament through his apostles. Matthew 16:19 / Matthew 18:18 although back in those days the way it was done would have been quite different.  Next for you to bear in mind is that Jesus himself is present as you make your confession.  Finally by naming your sins and acknowledging them out loud with a truly repentant heart can and will be a very liberating experience.  Especially when the Priest absolves you of all your sins while you are saying the act of contrition.

Receive Jesus In The Eucharist

When you receive Him in the Holy Eucharist, you receive nourishment and the grace to resist sin.  He abides in you as you abide in him. For more on the Eucharist click here

If you follow and do all these three simple steps you will be back in communion with Him and his Church.  You are on your way to build a stronger, lasting relationship with the Holy Trinity.

“Blessed are those who thirst and hunger for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Matt 5:6

P.S. If you are struggling in any way with this and need prayers, leave your name in the comments section and I will pray for you to come home.  Also I am quite sure that all my Catholic blog readers will gladly do the same for you.

(Apologetics) John Vs Mike – 2

Posted: September 24, 2010 by CatholicJules in Apologetics

From the website: http://www.pro-gospel.org, by Mike Gendron

False Teachers Distort the Person of Christ
Jesus Christ is God’s perfect man and man’s perfect God. He is the perfect High Priest who offered Himself – the perfect sacrifice – once for the sins of His people. This  one sin offering has perfected for all time those who are sanctified (Heb. 10:14). For this reason there are no more offerings for sin (Heb. 10:18). The believer’s eternal sin debt was paid in full and their redemption was secured when God raised Jesus Christ from the dead (Rom. 4:25). Would there be false teachers who would deny this and steal away the honor and glory of our Savior?

Yes, Paul even warned us that some would come preaching another Jesus. They will offer a counterfeit Jesus “whom we [the apostles] have not preached” (2 Cor. 11:4). Many of these false teachers are Roman Catholics who preach a “Jesus” who does not save sinners completely and forever. They say Catholics must do their part by expiating and making satisfaction for their own sins through penance (CCC, 1459). In this way they attain their own salvation through good works (CCC, 1477). The Catholic Jesus offers conditional life, not eternal life (CCC, 1035). This counterfeit Christ is said to return physically to Catholic altars over 200,000 times each day to be a sin offering for the living and the dead (CCC, 1367).

Catholics must be warned of the consequences for not knowing and believing the true Jesus. This was made clear by Jesus when He said: “unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). Whenever religion rejects God’s authority, it creates “another Jesus” which always leads to “another gospel.” Why? Because whenever the sufficiency of Christ is denied, another gospel must be concocted to instruct people what they must do to be saved.

——————————————————————————————————————–

Mike Gendron:

False Teachers Distort the Person of Christ
Jesus Christ is God’s perfect man and man’s perfect God. He is the perfect High Priest who offered Himself – the perfect sacrifice – once for the sins of His people. This  one sin offering has perfected for all time those who are sanctified (Heb. 10:14). For this reason there are no more offerings for sin (Heb. 10:18). The believer’s eternal sin debt was paid in full and their redemption was secured when God raised Jesus Christ from the dead (Rom. 4:25). Would there be false teachers who would deny this and steal away the honor and glory of our Savior?

John Martignoni

Jesus did indeed offer Himself once for the sins of his people…on the Cross.  Catholic teaching does not say differently.  Mr. Gendron only need look in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), which he is apparently familiar with, for this Catholic teaching.  CCC #1544 would be a good place for him to start.  We also believe there are no more offerings necessary for sin.  Unlike the Old Testament sin offerings which had to be repeated over and over again, because they did not take away sin, the offering of Jesus on the Cross is once for all – for all time and for all people and for all sins.  We do not need to spill the blood of anyone or anything else for the forgiveness of sins.  He could look at CCC #617, 1330, 1362-1372, 1851, and 2100, among others, to verify this Catholic teaching.

However, Mr. Gendron is trying, again, to make the Bible say something that it does not say.  Mr. Gendron’s very fallible interpretation of these verses from Hebrews would rule out any possibility of Jesus’ once for all sacrifice being re-presented, or participated in, here on Earth, or continually presented in Heaven.  But, that’s where his fallible interpretation runs into some scriptural difficulties.

Let’s look at Hebrews 5:14, “Since then we have a great high priest Who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God…” So, we see that Jesus is our high priest. What does the Bible tell us is the function of the high priest? Heb 5:1, “For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.”

Jesus is our high priest, and a high priest’s duty is to offer sacrifice for sin.  How long is Jesus to be a high priest? Heb 5:6, “Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” So, Jesus is our high priest forever, and the duty of the high priest is to offer sacrifice. So, if Jesus is going to be our high priest forever, then He needs some sacrifice to offer on our behalf forever, as it says in Heb 8:3, “…hence it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer.”

What does Jesus offer? Heb 9:12, “He entered once for all into the Holy Place taking not the blood of goats and calves, but His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.”  By reading Hebrews chapters 4 through 10, in context rather than plucking out a verse here or there as Mr. Gendron does, it becomes very apparent that the Old Covenant offerings of animals were merely a prelude to the pure offering (Malachi 1:11) of the New Covenant – Jesus Christ Himself. The offering of the high priests of old in the earthly Holy of Holies, was merely a dress rehearsal for the offering of the eternal high priest in the true Holy of Holies in Heaven.

Heb 9:24, “For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” Jesus has entered Heaven and for now and all time presents His once for all offering to the Father on our behalf. He is not, however, continually re-sacrificed, “for then He would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world” (Heb 9:26), rather He eternally presents His once for all sacrifice.

Every time a sinner turns to the Father for forgiveness, Christ, on our behalf, in effect says to the Father, “See, Father…see what I did for John. For Jim. For Mike. For Sharon. For Megan. For Julia. For Bob.” He eternally offers His sacrifice on our behalf.

Mike Gendron:

Yes, Paul even warned us that some would come preaching another Jesus. They will offer a counterfeit Jesus “whom we [the apostles] have not preached” (2 Cor. 11:4). Many of these false teachers are Roman Catholics who preach a “Jesus” who does not save sinners completely and forever. They say Catholics must do their part by expiating and making satisfaction for their own sins through penance (CCC, 1459). In this way they attain their own salvation through good works (CCC, 1477). The Catholic Jesus offers conditional life, not eternal life (CCC, 1035). This counterfeit Christ is said to return physically to Catholic altars over 200,000 times each day to be a sin offering for the living and the dead (CCC, 1367).

John Martignoni

Catholics do not offer a counterfeit Jesus, but Mr. Gendron does indeed offer a counterfeit Catholic Faith.  Catholics say we must do our own part, because that is exactly what the Bible says.  We must do “the will of God,” (Matt 7:21).  We must forgive others of their sins (Matt 6:14-15).  We must work the works that God has prepared for us beforehand (Eph 2:10).  We must labor for the food that endures to eternal life (John 6:27).  We must eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man (John 6:51-58).  We must be doers of the Word and not hearers only (James 1:22; Rom 2:13).  We must care for our family (1 Tim 5:8).  We must produce good fruit (John 15:1-6).  We must keep the Commandments (Matt 19:16-17).  We must love our brother (1 John 4:20-21).  We must have a faith that works through love (Gal 5:6).  And much more.

I find it less than honest that Mr. Gendron mentions particular quotes from paragraphs of the Catechism without giving any context for those quotes, and does his best to twist the meanings of those quotes.  For example, he is using CCC #1459 to imply that Catholics believe we, in essence, save ourselves from sin.  He fails to mention, however, that #1459 is not talking about expiating our sins and making satisfaction of our sins for the forgiveness of our sins, but rather after we have been absolved of sin (forgiven), we expiate and make satisfaction to help heal the wound to our own spiritual health that we have caused ourselves through our sin.  The sentence Mr. Gendron quotes from begins with: “Raised up from sin, the sinner must still…”  Which means that his sins have already been forgiven and now he must do penance for those sins.  Just as if a little boy broke the neighbor’s window with his basebal.  He would not be able to pay for fixing the window after he had received forgiveness for breaking it – his father would have to do that.  But, the little boy would then be required by his father, as a matter of justice, to do something to “make satisfaction” for the broken window.  The little boy’s efforts would not be sufficient in and of themselves to make satisfaction, but when joined to his father’s efforts, they would help satisfy the requirements of justice.   He also fails to give the context of the paragraph as a whole, as we see in CCC #1460 the words which completely contradict the argument Gendron is trying to make: “The satisfaction that we make for our sins, however, is not so much ours as though it were not done through Jesus Christ.  We who can do nothing ourselves, as if just by ourselves, can do all things with the cooperation of ‘him who strengthens us.’  Thus man has nothing of which to boast, but all our boasting is in Christ.”  But, Gendron conveniently ignores that context in order to distort the teachings of the Church in these matters.  Again, I find that less than honest.

He also states the following: “The Catholic Jesus offers conditional life, not eternal life (CCC, 1035).” Sorry, but I don’t see anything in #1035 that mentions anything about “conditional life.”  Paragraph #1035 is about the chief punishment of Hell being eternal separation from God.  So, I have no clue what he’s talking about with that one.

Mike Gendron:

Catholics must be warned of the consequences for not knowing and believing the true Jesus. This was made clear by Jesus when He said: “unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). Whenever religion rejects God’s authority, it creates “another Jesus” which always leads to “another gospel.” Why? Because whenever the sufficiency of Christ is denied, another gospel must be concocted to instruct people what they must do to be saved.

John Martignoni

It’s rather unfortunate that he would claim Catholics believe that Jesus’ death on the cross is somehow insufficient.  #617 of the Catechism, which I referenced earlier, states: “The Council of Trent emphasizes the unique character of Christ’s sacrifice as ‘the source of eternal salvation’ [Heb 5:9] and teaches that ‘his most holy Passion on the wood of the cross merited justification for us.'”  And that is one of just many paragraphs in the Catechism that talk about how we are saved through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Where does Mr. Gendron find something in the Catechism that states Christ’s death was insufficient?  He doesn’t, so he has to, through selective reading and his predisposition to bias, come up with “Catholic teaching” that really is not Catholic teaching.   He does as so many others do, he decides for himself, based on his fallible interpretations of Scripture and his counterfeiting of the Catholic Faith, that Catholic teaching is contrary to Scripture.  The problem is, when Scripture is interpreted properly, and when the Catholic Faith is understood as Catholics understand it – rather than as those who stand outside and throw rocks understand it – there is no conflict anywhere between the Bible and the Catholic Faith…none!

Catholics do indeed need to be warned, but they need to be warned about false teachers – wolves in sheep’s clothing – like Mr. Mike Gendron.

And let’s talk for a moment about authority.  By what authority does Mr. Gendron teach what he teaches?  Is he mentioned in the Bible?  Can he trace his ordination through the laying on of hands that he received all the way back to the Apostles so that he may claim Apostolic authority?  Has he even been ordained and had hands laid upon him?  How is it that he talks about rejecting God’s authority when he himself has no authority to be claiming the things he claims nor to be teaching the things he teaches?  I adhere to the authority of the Church founded by Jesus Christ Himself.  Is Mr. Gendron under any such authority to a church, a pastor, or…who?  Doesn’t seem to be.  So yes, I reject something, but it is not God’s authority that I reject, rather I reject Mr. Gendron’s claim to the authority (whatever it may be) to pronounce judgment upon Catholics and Catholic teaching.  I reject his claim to the authority to infallibly interpret the Bible for me and one billion plus other Catholics and seek to force us to swallow his fallible, man-centered interpretations of Scripture.  It is Mr. Gendron who rejects all authority other than himself, including God’s, not Catholics who do so.  I call upon him to name the authority that he operates under?  Dare he claim that he has been visited by the Holy Spirit and given authority by that very same Spirit?  Dare he claim the Bible gives him the authority to teach and preach as he does?  If so, how so?  Again, where is his name in Scripture that I may believe?  Does the Bible say that just anyone can pick up a Bible and start preaching and teaching based on his own personal, fallible interpretation of the Bible?  No, it does not.

Regarding John 8:24, I do believe Jesus “is He.”  Who is Mr. Gendron to decide if my belief is true or not?  Who is Mr. Gendron to pronounce that I am or am not saved?  By what authority, Mr. Gendron, do you do these things?

To close, one question for Mr. Gendron: Please give me your interpretation of Malachi 1:11.  What is the “perfect offering” that is being offered in all the nations from the rising of the sun to its setting?  I thought Jesus’ death and resurrection made null and void the requirement for any “offerings?”

Finally, last week I asked the question: How is it we know the difference between the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error?  Is it by reading the Bible?  Mr. Gendron’s theology forces him to say, “Yes.”  However, the Bible, in 1 John 4:6, says it is by listening to the leaders of the Church.  Hmmm…

Cross Of The Renewal

Posted: September 23, 2010 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Memory Book

Special thanks and love goes out to Raymund.  Through the goodness of his heart, he got this special cross for all the participants who completed the LISS program including the facilitators.

So if anyone who sees a member wearing it, kindly approach us if you need any spiritual guidance or help with increasing your faith or just to learn more about our faith.  I am planning to get bigger one….. because I have a rather large frame and this one might not stand out enough *grins*

This symbol depicts the outpouring of blood and water from the side of Jesus crucified which is symbolic of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (1 John 5: 6-8). The words “Veni Creator Spiritus”, expresses the fervent prayer of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal for the continued outpouring of the Holy Spirit – – – a New Pentecost.

The Cross of the Renewal has been adopted as the International Symbol of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

My LISS Commissioning Experience

Posted: September 22, 2010 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

In summary there is a Eucharistic Celebration together with a short ceremony whereby the participants are sent to be the “Salt” and “Light” to the world.  However the experience I want to share is what led up to it…….

The day before I made a trip to the Adoration room where the Blessed Sacrament resides, to spend a little time with Jesus in prayer and reflection.  I was pouring my heart out to him, praising and thanking God for all that he has done for my family, friends, His church and me.  Then it dawned on me after a while  that I should just be still in His presence to listen.   It was only then I was prompted to read up on and understand the Beatitudes. Matt 5-1:12

After reading up and finally understanding the Beatitudes, I was taken aback.  Was Jesus prompting me to share this with the rest? After all it makes perfect sense that if we are called to serve him then we should learn, understand and apply what he taught us from the Mount. Also another surprise caught me off guard! (This tells you that I had never been a regular scripture reader) because just after the Beatitudes this follows, Matt 5-13:16 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.  “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.  It was time to head back to the Adoration room once again today.

This time round, after a period of prayer, I was prompted to switch off the lights and just reflect on him.  I don’t know why I felt this way since I was alone with my Saviour,  but fear just crept up on me and I started to feel a little afraid.   Then this passage came to mind “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”  Followed by another passage  “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  I opened my eyes and gazed upon the Blessed Sacrament which had a a small stand alone light source.  Again I wondered if this was another message for me to pass on?  So I thanked and Jesus and prayed that if he wanted me to share this his flock at the LISS commissioning then he would guide me and prompt me strongly later so that I might know His Will.

During and after the Eucharistic Celebration, I was wondering if I would even have the opportunity to share the messages should Jesus want me to.  Then as Raymund (The LISS Leader) was saying his last few words, encouraging the participants to stay back and have a meal together, I had the burning desire to share what I was ‘told’ and so I mouthed my desire to say a few words to Raymund.  Fortunately he understood, and opened a short session for anyone who wanted to testify or share which I and a few others did.  I just hope I did my Lord and Saviour justice in passing his message on, because I was a little nervous and not sure if I had fumbled. Lord have mercy if I did….

All Glory and Honour are Yours Almighty Father.

Amen.

Some Great Catholic Iphone Apps

Posted: September 22, 2010 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

Here are some of my Favourites…

IRosary

iRosaryVersion 2.5

IRosary is an innovative new Rosary for the iPhone and iPod Touch which displays a fully-animated set of Rosary beads that flows across your hand as you move it with your finger, like a standard Rosary.

For those new to the Rosary, there is no easier way to learn this perfect prayer which engages the body, mind, and soul, while meditating on the life of Jesus Christ. Those who pray the Rosary regularly will appreciate how closely iRosary resembles a traditional Catholic Rosary.

Unique Features

  • Pull the beads with your finger to advance to the next prayer.
  • 2 complete sets of images from famous Christian paintings.
  • 270 chain, bead, and cross combinations let you create a Rosary just for you.
  • The text is easy to read and can be resized by spreading with 2 fingers.
  • iRosary suggests the correct Mystery based on the liturgical period.
  • Pray with your eyes closed thanks to an easy interface and pleasing sound cues.

Other Features

  1. Move the beads to the left or the right, making it easy to hold iRosary in EITHER HAND
  2. Always REMEMBERS your place and automatically resumes when you return
  3. A bead highlight and a decade bead number help TRACK your progress
  4. Uses the STANDARD set of prayers listed on the Vatican website
  5. The SAME number of beads as a standard Rosary, with between-bead prayers that fold out as you arrive to them
  6. Beads can be pushed back to return to a PREVIOUS prayer
  7. The LUMINOUS mysteries can be turned on or off
  8. Includes the CHAPLET of Divine Mercy and the Loreto LITANIES
  9. A DYNAMIC interface which extensively uses Apple’s Core Animation to provide a rich user experience

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Find iPieta (Catholic Teaching, Calendar, and Prayer) on AppStoreHQ.

IPIETA

Version 3.2


This is a great Catholic Resource App!

New in Version 3.2:

  • Navigation Features: Right (and Left) Swipes for Custom Gestures are extended to scroll to the next (or previous) chapter if already at the bottom (or top) of the webview. A Single Tap in the Webview toggles the view size to show or cover the tab bar. Single Tap feature is only for iPad and iPhone 3GS and above; it can be disabled in Settings > General.
  • Veritas Tab: Abandonment to Divine Providence and The Cloud of Unknowing have been added to the Veritas > Spiritual. The listing of Popes can now be accessed in Veritas > Papal. The duplicate text for St. Jean Marie Vianney and the Council of Trent has been cleaned up; the Raccolta now correctly displays sections 122-130.
  • Calendar Tab: Solemnities that fall on Sunday in the Novus Ordo now display the correct readings; some minor fixes.
  • Prayer Tab: Added: Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary after Mass; the Transfige (St. Bonaventure); and the latin versions of the Anima Christ and the Litany of the Precious Blood.
  • Text: Font choices increased to 10. Color choices decreased to 12; however more color choices (about 70) are accessible by enabling “More Colors” in Settings > General. Font size now includes 13. Margins added to text on the iPad.
  • Searching: The very first and the very last search result can now properly access the whole chapter.
  • Optional Audio: Added Mark Ch. 12-14; Luke Ch. 1-7 (See http://www.ipieta.com for directions)
  • Other: Labels in table cells containing audio buttons are correctly formatted to better show table indexes.

Bible:

Catholic Bibles in the public domain with excellent English-Latin correspondence: Douay-RheimsLatin Vulgate.

Scripture can read as English, Latin, or in English-Latin. The latter mode can displayed either as side-by-side or verse-by-verse. Chapters are easily accessed with the indexed tables. The entire chapter is displayed.

The Douay-Rheims is the only public-domain English Catholic Bible we are aware of. It is an excellent and truly Catholic translation, although some people may not prefer the “old English’ style. We are hopeful that the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (for the NAB version) and the National Council of Churches (for the RSV-CE version) will delight in the extensive corpus of doctrine which we make available for a minimum fee ($3) and will grant us permission to incorporate these translations.

Calendar:

Either the Ordinary (or Novus OrdoCalendar or the Extraordinary (or Traditional or TridentineCalendar can be displayed. Toggle between calendars by shaking the device. The default calendar type can be set to Novus Ordo or to Tridentine or to “Last Type”. The latter setting remembers which calendar was used last and applies that setting.

The Novus Ordo Calendar can be displayed in table format for Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, Malta, New Zealand, Scotland, the United States, or Wales. (The default can be set in the “Settings” Tab.)

Calendar Colors and Fonts:

  • BOLD UPPER-CASE: Solemnity (Class I)
  • Bold: Feast (Class II)
  • Regular: Memorial (Class III)
  • Italics: Optional Memorial (Class IV)
  • Red Color: Martyr, Mass of Holy Spirit, etc.
  • Blue Color: Liturgical “white” (e.g., non-martyr)
  • Green / Gold / Violet date / weekday backgrounds colors to distinguish the liturgical season
    • The Traditional Calendar has three shades of violet to distinguish Septuagessima, Lent, and Passiontide

Tapping the row for a given day will display that day’s Gospel or first reading. Touching the “Other” button (or doing the appropriate swipe) will display the other reading(s) for the day.

Calendar defaults (Settings Tab) include: Default Text (Gospel or 1st Reading), Number of Months to Show (2-12), Calendar Type (Novus Ordo, Tridentine, or Last Type), and National Calendar (for Novus Ordo only).

Prayers:

Prayers displayed using Indexed Tables. Rapidly navigate to hundreds of prayers. Sections are:

  • Sacred Heart
  • Passion of our Lord
  • Holy Mass
  • Eucharistic
  • Holy Spirit
  • Immaculate Heart of Mary
  • Total Consecration to Jesus in Mary
  • Our Lady of Sorrows
  • Basic Marian Prayers
  • Marian Devotions
  • St. Joseph
  • Basic Prayers
  • Blessings
  • Angel Prayers
  • Saint Prayers
  • Prayers to St. Jude
  • Prayers to St. Anthony of Padua
  • Examination of Conscience

FREE and OPTIONAL AUDIO is available for many prayers.

Substantial prayers include:

  • An older (public domain) version of the Little Office of our Lady
  • 33-day preparation for Total Consecration to Jesus in Mary
  • Ordo for the Traditional Mass
  • Novena to the Holy Spirit
  • St. Alphonsus Stations of the Cross
  • The St Bridget 1-Year and 12-Year Prayers.

Veritas / Search:

  • Search
    • The entire Veritas section as well as the Douay-Rheims Bible is indexed for searching.
    • Search is the first row in the Veritas table.
  • Saint “Cliff Notes” (incomplete)
    • An on-going feature; succint overviews of the lives of the Saints; written by the iPieta Team
  • Baltimore Catechisms #1, #2, and #3
  • Catechism of Christian Doctrine (Promulgated by Pope St. Pius X)
  • Introduction to the Devout Life, by St. Francis De Sales
  • The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas Kempis
  • True Devotion to Mary, by St. Louis Marie de Montfort
  • Love of Eternal Wisdom, by St. Louis Marie de Montfort
  • Friends of the Cross, by St. Louis Marie de Montfort
  • The Secret of Mary, by St. Louis Marie de Montfort
  • The Dialogue, by St. Catherine of Siena
  • The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus, by St. Teresa of Jesus
  • The Way of Perfection, by St. Teresa of Jesus
  • Interior Castle, by St. Teresa of Jesus
  • Treatise on Purgatory, by St. Catherine of Genoa
  • Instructions on the Catechism, by St. Jean-Marie Vianney
  • Selected Explanations and Exhortations, by St. Jean-Marie Vianney
  • Excerpts of Sermons, by St. Jean-Marie Vianney
  • Ascent of Mount Carmel, by St. John of the Cross
  • Dark Night of the Soul, by St. John of the Cross
  • Spiritual Canticle, by St. John of the Cross
  • Living Flame of Love, by St. John of the Cross
  • The Catechetical Instructions of St. Thomas Aquinas
  • The Roman Catechism (also knows as The Catechism of The Council of Trent or The Catechism of Pope St. Pius V)
  • The Summa Theologica, by St. Thomas Aquinas
    • Indexed tables give fast access to the whole Summa
    • Even the Summa can be searched – either in its entirety or in one of five parts.
  • Haydock’s Bibilical Commentary
  • Catena Aurea (St. Thomas Aquinas’ collection of Church Fathers on the Gospels)
  • The Dolorous Passion (Ven. Catherine Emmerich)
  • Fathers of the Church (Eerdman’s version)
  • Spiritual Exercises (St. Ignatius of Loyola)
  • The Sinner’s Guide (Ven. Louis of Granada)
  • Consolation of Philosophy (Boethius)
  • Confession of St. Patrick
  • Abandonment to Divine Providence
  • The Cloud of Unknowing

The works, even the Summa, can be quickly navigated using the Indexed Table.

Bookmarks / Settings / Help:

  • Bookmarks
    • Organized in Indexed tables in accord with section titles from the other tabs.
    • Edit features include deletion, rearrangement with section, color coding according to tab.
    • Can play audio directily from the bookmarks.
  • General Settings
    • Custom Gestures (On/Off switch)
    • Orientation Lock (On/Off switch)
    • Startup Mode: (Choice of any of the tabs or the last used tab)
    • Default Dual-Display Mode: (Line-by-line or side-by-side)
    • Bible Names (Common/Traditional)
  • Text Settings:Defaults which can be set with Picker Wheels
    • Text Color
    • Background Color
    • Text Size
    • Text Font
  • Audio Settings
    • Audio Status (On/Off switch)
      • NOTE: You need to download the free audio files and load them in your device to have audio. After loading the audio, enable the audio by turningn this switch off and then On.
      • Do not change the track names or the author; otherwise iPieta cannot find the necessary audio files.
    • If iPieta recognizes the audio but doesn’t play it, trying quitting iPieta and relaunching. The audio state should then be ok.
  • Calendar Settings
    • Default Text to display first: either Gospel or 1st Reading.
    • Number of Months to Show: from 2 to 12.
    • Calendar Type
      • Default Calendar Type to first display: either Novus Ordo, Tridentine, or Last Type.
      • Calendar Type can be changed on the fly by shaking the device when the Calendar is being displayed.
    • National Calendar for Novus Ordo:
      • Australia, Canada, Chile, England, Ireland, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Scotland, the United States, or Wales
    • Shifted Solemnities in the National Calendars:
      • Epihphany, Ascension, and Corpus Christ can each bet set to shift to Sunday for a particular national calendar.
  • Search Settings
    • Maximum Number of Search Results:50, 100, 250, 500, 1000, 2000, or 5000.
    • Number of Bible Verses to display before and after the verse with the Search Result
  • Help: READ ME
    • IMPORTANT: The “READ ME” file contains a concise of navigation in iPieta.
    • Describes the optional Custom Gestures.
  • Help: Content
  • Help: Features
  • Help: Search
  • Help: Support

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

IMissal

Version 1.5

Liturgical Calendar

Full calendar displaying all of the liturgical seasons.  The calendar is color coded based on liturgical season and shows Holy Days of Obligation, Solemnities, Major Feasts, Saints, etc.  Calendar is currently available for years 1990 – 2050.

Mass Readings

All the Mass Readings for every liturgical cycle (A,B,C,I,II) are included!   This includes First Reading, Psalm, Second Reading, Alleluia, and Gospel for all Sunday and Weekday Masses.  Reading text is always available for every day, no WIFI connection necessary.  Uses translations officially approved for Mass in the U.S.  Great resource for Lectors.

** The liturgical texts provided in iMissal are used with the permission of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine and the International Committee on English in the Liturgy. They are the official texts approved for use in the dioceses of the United States by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Beware of other applications which use other translations and cost much more.

Audio of the Mass Readings.  Audio is only available for more recent dates (sliding window of aprx. 30 days).
* WIFI connection required for optimal playback of audio files.

Order of Mass

Ever wish you could follow along in Mass and have all the prayers, responses, etc. available.  Now you can.  Great for RCIA candidates that are new to the faith.

Mass Videos

Cantcha, Inc. has teamed up with CatholicTV.com and now provides videos of the Mass for you to watch.
* WIFI connection is required for optimal playback of videos.  Videos are of high quality.

Our Daily Bread

Get a unique Bible verse for every day of the year displayed on 20 plus beautiful backgrounds.

These verses have been hand selected from some of the most popular.
Also included are some obscure verses you may have not seen before.

Choose from three different Bible translations:

-) NAB Bible – New American Bible
-) NIV Bible – New International Version
-) KJV Bible – King James Version

Bible translations can be easily switched to compare differences between translations.

* Save your favorite verses for later reference.
* Search on any word across all verses to quickly find your favorites.
* If you miss a day you can easily go back to view previous verses.
* Mix it up by pushing the random button to get new verse each time.
* Email any verse (w/o background) to your friends and family with a push of a button.
* No WIFI connection is necessary

Prayers

– Over 80 of the most popular Catholic prayers are included.
Email your favorite prayers to your friends.

DVD – The Song Of Bernadette (1943)

Posted: September 21, 2010 by CatholicJules in DVD Review

Product Details

Actors: Jennifer Jones, Charles Bickford, William Eythe, Vincent Price, Lee J. Cobb
Directors: Henry King
Writers: Franz Werfel, George Seaton
Producers: William Perlberg
Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, DVD, Full Screen, NTSC
Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date: June 3, 2003
Run Time: 156 minutes

The story of a peasant girl Bernadette Soubirous, a poverty-stricken, pure hearted adolescent, who saw a vision, of a “Beautiful Lady” near her home town of Lourdes in 1858. The wondrous news spreads rapidly throughout France, leaving in its wake a variety of consequences: adoration, suspicion and greed among the people of Lourdes skepticism from the town doctor (Lee J. Cobb) charges of insanity from the town prosecutor (Vincent Price) threats of physical punishment, then support and guidance from the Dean of Lourdes (Charles Bickford), who finally becomes convinced that the miracle has, indeed, taken place. Winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Actress and Best Score, this true story is both first-rate filmmaking and an inspiring tribute to faith, courage and the human spirit.

Review : 

I first watched it when I purchased the LD format more than 10 years ago and I still love this movie after watching it for numerous times!  Not all religious movies are able to achieve the Spirituality which will touch both believers and non-believers alike, but this is definitely one of them.  This is largely due to the powerful performance of the beautiful Jennifer Jones and the rest of the stellar cast.   Saint Bernadette’s unwavering faith, her humility and serenity in suffering is astoundingly captured in this film through Jennifer Jones portrayal and a very well written script.

I like this bit from a well written review I read online…

Ridiculed, scorned and threatened by the ecclesiastical and political establishments, Bernadette must hold on to her integrity in order to survive. The realistic plotting and manipulations of the petty local politicians (led by Vincent Price) is worth the price of the DVD alone. Charles Bickford (nominated for best supporting actor) portrays the skeptical local priest who believes that he knows what is best for Bernadette in the end.

Gladys Cooper (nominated for best supporting actress) is the vitriolic nun who despises and persecutes the poorly educated, sickly and simple minded Bernadette. The shattering emotional climax where the nun realizes the enormity of her sin is a master class in acting.

This remains the most realistic religious film of the Studio era. Its hard hitting depictions of the poverty of Bernadette’s family, of the blindness of the Church and of a town’s small-mindedness is balanced by its literal depiction of the validity of Bernadette’s visions.


PORNOGRAPHY AND VIOLENCE
IN THE COMMUNICATIONS MEDIA:

A PASTORAL RESPONSE

INTRODUCTION

1. There has been a worldwide revolution in the perception of moral values in recent years, involving profound changes in the way people think and act. The communications media have played and continue to play a major role in this process of individual and social change as they introduce and reflect new attitudes and life-styles.1

2. Some of this change has been for the better. Today, as Pope John Paul II recently noted, “The first positive note is the full awareness among large numbers of men and women of their own dignity and of that of every human being… At the same time, in a world divided and beset by every type of conflict, the conviction is growing of a radical interdependence and consequently of the need for a solidarity which will take up interdependence and transfer it to the moral plane”.2 The communications media have contributed much to these changes.

3. Many changes, however, have been for the worse. Along with old abuses, new violations of human dignity and rights and of Christian values and ideals have occurred. Here, too, the media bear part of the responsibility.

4. The communications media are involved because, as the Second Vatican Council stated, if it is true that “they bring valuable assistance to the human race”, it is equally certain “that individuals can use these means (of communication) in a manner contrary to the commandments of the Creator and can convert them into instruments of evil”.3

5. Among the alarming developments of these years has been the widespread increase of pornography and wanton violence in the media. Books and magazines, recordings, the cinema, the theatre, television, videocassettes, advertising displays and even telecommunications frequently offer a representation of violent behaviour or of permissiveness in sexual activity that reaches the point of being openly pornographic and morally offensive.

6. As reflections of the dark side of a human nature marred by sin, pornography and the exaltation of violence are age-old realities of the human condition. In the past quarter century, however, they have taken on new dimensions and have become serious social problems. At a time of widespread and unfortunate confusion about moral norms, the communications media have made pornography and violence accessible to a vastly expanded audience, including young people and even children, and a problem which at one time was confined mainly to wealthy countries has now begun, via the communications media, to corrupt moral values in developing nations.

7. Thus, the communications media which can be such effective instruments of unity and understanding can also sometimes be the vehicles of a deformed outlook on life, on the family, on religion and on morality – an outlook that does not respect the true dignity and destiny of the human person.4 In particular, parents in many areas of the world have expressed understandable concern about the films, videocassettes and television programs their children can see, about the records their children can hear and about the publications their children can read. They rightly do not want to see the moral ideals inculcated in the home undermined by objectionable materials all too easily accessible in all too many places – often through the communications media.

8. We wish here to describe the more serious effects of pornography and violence on individuals and society, to indicate some of the principal causes of the problem as it exists today and to point to remedial steps which need to be taken by professional communicators, by parents, by educators, by youth, by the general public, by public authorities and by churches, religious bodies and groups in the private sector.

EFFECTS OF PORNOGRAPHY AND VIOLENCE

9. Ordinary experience confirmed by studies conducted around the world has recognized the evil effects of pornography and violence in the media.5 Pornography in the media is understood as a violation, through the use of audiovisual techniques, of the right to privacy of the human body in its male or female nature, a violation which reduces the human person and human body to an anonymous object of misuse for the purpose of gratifying concupiscence; violence in the media may be understood – especially in this context – as a presentation designed to appeal to base human instincts of actions contrary to the dignity of the person and depicting intense physical force exercised in a deeply offensive and often passionate manner. Specialists may disagree among themselves about how and to what degree particular individuals and groups are affected by these phenomena, but the broad outlines of the problem are stark, clear and frightening.

10. While no one can consider himself or herself immune to the corrupting effects of pornography and violence or safe from injury at the hands of those acting under their influence, the young and the immature are especially vulnerable and the most likely to be victimized. Pornography and sadistic violence debase sexuality, corrode human relationships, exploit individuals – especially women and young people, undermine marriage and family life, foster anti-social behaviour and weaken the moral fibre of society itself.

11. Thus, one of the clear effects of pornography is sin. Willing participation in the production or dissemination of these noxious products can only be judged a serious moral evil. Likewise, production and dissemination of these materials could not continue if there were not a market for them, so those who use such materials not only do moral harm to themselves but contribute to the continuation of a nefarious trade.

12. Frequent exposure to violence in the media can be confusing to children, who may not be able to distinguish readily between fantasy and reality. At a later stage, violence in the media can condition impressionable persons, especially those who are young, to regard this as normal and acceptable behaviour, suitable for imitation.

13. It has even been said that there can be a psychological link between pornography and sadistic violence, and some pornography is itself overtly violent in theme and content. Those who view or read such material run the risk of carrying over such attitudes and behaviour into their own relationships and can come to lack reverence and respect for others as precious children of God and as brothers and sisters in the same human family. Such a link between pornography and sadistic violence has particular implications for those suffering from certain forms of mental illness.

14. Even so called “soft core” pornography can have a progressively desensitizing effect, gradually rendering individuals morally numb and personally insensitive to the rights and dignity of others. Exposure to pornography can also be – like exposure to narcotics – habit-forming and can lead individuals to seek increasingly “hard core” and perverse material. The likelihood of anti-social behaviour can grow as this process continues.

15. Pornography can foster unhealthy preoccupations in fantasy and behaviour. It can interfere with personal moral growth and the development of healthy and mature relationships, especially in marriage and family life, where mutual trust and openness and personal moral integrity in thought and in action are so important.

16. Indeed, pornography can militate against the family character of true human sexual expression. The more sexual activity is considered as a continuing frenzied search for personal gratification rather than as an expression of enduring love in marriage, the more pornography can be considered as a factor contributing to the undermining of wholesome family life.

17. In the worst cases, pornography can act as an inciting or reinforcing agent, a kind of accomplice, in the behaviour of dangerous sex offenders – child molesters, rapists and killers.

18. A fundamental message of pornography and violence is disdain, the consideration of others as objects rather than as persons. Thus, pornography and violence can eat away at tenderness and compassion and can foster insensitivity and even brutality.

CAUSE OF THE PROBLEM

19. A fundamental reason for the spread of pornography and violence in the media would seem to be a pervasive moral permissiveness, rooted in the search for personal gratification at any cost. Associated with this is a kind of despairing moral emptiness, which makes sense pleasure the only happiness human beings can attain.

20. A number of more immediate causes also contribute to the escalation of pornography and violence in the media. Among them are these:

  • the profit motive: Pornography is a lucrative industry. Some segments of the communications industry have tragically succumbed to the temptation of exploiting human weakness, including the weakness of young and impressionable minds, in order to make money from productions of pornography and violence. In some societies, the pornography industry is so lucrative that it has been linked to organized crime.
  • bad libertarian arguments: Freedom of expression is said by some to require the toleration of pornography, even at the cost of the moral welfare of the young and of the right of all members of society to privacy and to an atmosphere of public decency. Some even falsely say that the best way to combat pornography is to legalize it. Faulty libertarian arguments are sometimes espoused by small groups who do not represent the moral values of the majority and who fail to recognize that every right carries with it a corresponding responsibility. The right to freedom of expression does not exist in a vacuum. Public responsibility for promoting the welfare of the young, for fostering respect for women and for the protection of privacy and public decency indicates that liberty cannot be equated with license.
  • the lack of carefully prepared laws or the ineffective enforcement of laws which already exist to protect the common good, especially the morals of the young.
  • confusion and apathy on the part of many persons, including members of the religious community, who erroneously consider themselves either as unaffected by pornography or violence in the media or as powerless to contribute to a solution to the problem.

RESPONSES TO THE PROBLEM

21. The spread of pornography and violence in the communications media does injury to individuals and society and creates an urgent problem requiring realistic responses from many persons and groups. The legitimate rights to free expression and free exchange of information must be respected, but so must the rights of individuals, families and society itself to privacy, public decency and the protection of basic values.

22. We shall speak here of seven sectors with obligations in this matter: professional communicators, parents, educators, youth, the general public, public authorities, and the Church and religious groups.

23. PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATORS. It would be unfair to suggest that all communications media and all communicators are involved in this noxious trafficking. Many communicators retain high personal and professional standards and seek to fulfill their responsibilities with a strong commitment to moral norms and the common good. Their efforts – especially the efforts of those who seek to provide wholesome family entertainment – deserve recognition and encouragement. We urge these communicators to join in formulating and applying ethical codes for the communications media and for advertising which respect the common good and promote sound human development. Such codes are particularly necessary for television, which makes it possible for images to enter directly into the home where children may often be alone and unsupervised. Effective self-control is always the best control, and self-regulation by the media can be the first and best line of defense against those who would corrupt the media and society itself by seeking to profit from pornography and violence. We also urge communicators to help make better known through the media the steps which can be taken to stem the tide of pornography and the exaltation of violence in society.

24. PARENTS. Parents must re-double their efforts to provide for the sound moral formation of children and youth. This includes inculcation of healthy attitudes toward human sexuality based on respect for the dignity of every person as a child of God, on the virtue of chastity and on the practice of self-discipline. A well-ordered family life in which the parents are obviously faithful and committed to each other and to their children provides the best school for the formation of sound moral values. Today, too, children and young people must be taught how to be discriminating, informed consumers of media. Parents, in particular, influence their children through the example they give in this matter; parental passivity or self-indulgence in regard to media teach false and damaging lessons to the young. Of particular importance to young people is the example their parents give of true love and tenderness in marriage and of readiness to discuss matters of concern to their children in a loving and gentle manner. It must not be forgotten that, in matters of human formation, “more is obtained by reasoned explanation than by prohibition”.6

25. EDUCATORS. The chief collaborators with parents in the moral formation of young people must be educators. Schools and other educational programs should support and inculcate the social and ethical values that promote the unity and health of families and of society itself. Of particular value are programs in media education to develop in young people a critical attitude and properly formed skills of discernment in using television, radio and other media, so that they might know how to resist manipulation and how to avoid merely passive listening and viewing habits. It is also important that schools emphasize the need for respect for the human person, the value of family life and the importance of personal moral integrity.

26. YOUTH. Young people themselves can help to stem the tide of pornography and violence in the media by responding positively to the initiatives of their parents and educators and by taking responsibility for their own moral decisions in the choice of entertainment.

27. THE PUBLIC. The general public also needs to make its voice heard. Individually and collectively, concerned citizens – including young people – should make their views known to producers, commercial interests and public authorities. There is an urgent need for continuing dialogue between communicators and representatives of the public so that those involved in the communications media may learn more about the real needs and interests of those whom they serve.

28. PUBLIC AUTHORITIES. Legislators, administrators, law enforcement officials and jurists should recognize and respond to the problem of pornography and violence in the media. Sound laws must be enacted where they are lacking, weak laws must be strengthened, and existing laws must be enforced. Because the production and distribution of pornographic material has international implications, action should also be taken on the regional, continental and world levels to control this insidious traffic. Those who have already taken such initiatives deserve support and encouragement in their efforts.7 Law and the agents of law have as their most sacred duty the protection of the common good, particularly as it pertains to youth and the most vulnerable members of the community. We have already noted some of the harmful effects of pornography and violence, and we can conclude that the common good has indeed been harmed and continues to be harmed where such materials are produced, exhibited and distributed without responsible restriction or regulation. Public authorities must feel obliged to take prompt action to deal with this problem where it already exists and to prevent it from arising in places where it may not yet have become an urgent matter.

29. THE CHURCH AND RELIGIOUS GROUPS. For the Church, the first responsibility is the constant, clear teaching of the faith and, therefore, of objective moral truth, including the truth about sexual morality. In an era of permissiveness and moral confusion, this requires that the Church be a prophetic voice and, often, a sign of contradiction. The so-called “ethic” of immediate personal gratification is fundamentally opposed to integral human growth and fulfillment. Education for family life and indeed for responsible life in society requires formation in chastity and self-discipline. By contrast, pornography and wanton violence can blind individuals to the divine image in the human person, can weaken marriage and family life and can do serious harm to individuals and to society itself. Wherever possible, the Church must join with other churches, denominations and religious groups in teaching and fostering this message. It must also make the best possible use of its own institutions and personnel to give education and formation concerning the media of social communications and their proper role in individual and social life. Special attention should be given to assisting parents in their efforts.  Thus, media education belongs in Catholic schools and other educational programs, in seminaries,8 in formation programs of religious and secular institutes, in the continuing formation of priests and in parish programs for youth and adults. Priests and Religious in pastoral and educational work should themselves be discrimating consumers of media who give good example in what they read and view.

30. Finally, a merely censorious attitude on the part of the Church toward the media is neither sufficient nor appropriate. Instead, the Church should be engaged in continued conversation with responsibile communicators to encourage them in their work and to provide assistance where it is needed or requested. Catholic communicators and their professional organizations – with their special insights and experience – can play a key role in these continuing conversations.

31. As they conscientiously evaluate productions and publications in accordance with clear and consistent moral principles, Catholic critics and communications organizations can offer valuable assistance both to communications professionals and to families. In fact, the guidelines on the communications media present in existing Church documents, including recent reflections by many bishops on the problems of pornography and violence, deserve extended study and systematic application.

32. This document is intended to address the widely expressed concerns of families and of the shepherds of the Church and to invite even more general reflection of an ethical and practical nature on the problem of pornography and violence in the communications media and to encourage all to follow the injunction of St. Paul: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom 12, 21).

Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

 
Vatican City, May 7, 1989

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Some Interesting Reads

Listen to some confessions here

Pardon Crucifix

Posted: September 19, 2010 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

This beautiful Pardon Crucifix is so intricately lovely. Pope St. Pius X, granted these indulgences:

  • Whoever carries on his person the Pardon Crucifix, may thereby gain an indulgence.
  • For devoutly kissing the Crucifix, an indulgence is gained.
  • Whoever says one of the following invocations before this crucifix may gain each time an indulgence: “Our Father who art in heaven, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” “I beg the Blessed Virgin Mary to pray to the Lord our God for me.”
  • Whoever, habitually devout to this Crucifix, will fulfill the necessary conditions of Confession and Holy Communion, may gain a Plenary Indulgence on the following feasts: On the feasts of the Five Wounds of our Lord, the Invention of the Holy Cross, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the Immaculate Conception, and the Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
  • Whoever at the moment of death, fortified with the Sacraments of the Church, or contrite of heart, in the supposition of being unable to receive them, will kiss this Crucifix and ask pardon of God for his sins, and pardon his neighbor, will gain a Plenary Indulgence.

On the back of the Crucifix, on the transverse arms, are the words, “Father, forgive them.” On the long part of the Cross are the words, “Behold this heart which has so loved men.” The Sacred Heart is shown where the two arms of the Cross meet.

It is available from the very reliable Sisters of Carmel.com

September 19th, 2010 – 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: September 18, 2010 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Prudent Stewards

By DR. Scott Hahn

Readings:
Amos 8:4-7
Psalm 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8
1 Timothy 2:1-8
Luke 16:1-13

The steward in today’s Gospel confronts the reality that he can’t go on living the way he has been. He is under judgment, must give account for what he has done.

The exploiters of the poor in today’s First Reading are also about to be pulled down, thrust from their stations (see Isaiah 22:19). Servants of mammon or money, they’re so in love with wealth that they reduce the poor to objects, despise the new moons and sabbaths – the observances and holy days of God (see Leviticus 23:24; Exodus 20:8).

Their only hope is to follow the steward’s path. He is no model of repentance. But he makes a prudent calculation – to use his last hours in charge of his master’s property to show mercy to others, to relieve their debts.

He is a child of this world, driven by a purely selfish motive – to make friends and be welcomed into the homes of his master’s debtors. Yet his prudence is commended as an example to us, the children of light (see 1 Thessalonians 5:5; Ephesians 5:8). We too must realize, as the steward does, that what we have is not honestly ours, but what in truth belongs to another, our Master.

All the mammon in the world could not have paid the debt we owe our Master. So He paid it for us, gave His life as a ransom for all, as we hear in today’s Epistle.

God wants everyone to be saved, even kings and princes, even the lovers of money (see Luke 16:14). But we cannot serve two Masters. By his grace, we should choose to be, as we sing in today’s Psalm – “servants of the Lord.”

We serve Him by using what He has entrusted us with to give alms, to lift the lowly from the dust and dunghills of this world. By this we will gain what is ours, be welcomed into eternal dwellings, the many mansions of the Father’s house (see John 14:2).

Thought of the day

Posted: September 18, 2010 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

When we reflect on just how much forgiveness we need for ourselves, are we then able to be more forgiving of others.

Forgiveness is an act of profound love given to the unworthy. This is what we receive, this is what we should give readily.

Salvation Is Earned, Not Guaranteed!

Posted: September 16, 2010 by CatholicJules in Apologetics

Finders Keepers?

BY TIM STAPLES

The Evangelical notion that Christians can’t lose their salvation is unbiblical.

Scenario:

You’re discussing religion with an Evangelical friend. For 20 minutes you’ve responded as best you can to her pointed arguments against Catholic doctrines like Mary’s perpetual virginity, praying to saints, venerating statues, and purgatory. She’s unconvinced. You’re frustrated. It doesn’t look like there’s much of a chance you’ll agree on anything.

Then comes the jackpot question. “Look,” she says earnestly, “we can disagree about many things, but what’s most important is that we know we can be saved by Jesus Christ. Tell me, if you were to die tonight, do you know for sure if you’d go to heaven?”

This is the “all-important” question for Evangelical and Fundamentalist Protestants. Although your friend is completely sincere in asking this question (as she’s been coached to do by her pastor and the anti-Catholic radio preacher she listens to in the afternoon), you realize that if you don’t answer correctly, you’ll walk into a sort of theological ambush.

If you respond that Christians can’t, apart from a special revelation from God, have metaphysical or absolute certainty concerning their salvation, a completely biblical and theologically precise answer, your Evangelical friend will gleefully spring a “trap” on you, based on 1 John 5:13: “These things I write to you, that you may know you have eternal life, you who believe in the name of the Son of God.”

“See?” she smiles confidently. “The Bible disagrees with you!” She then proceeds to inform you that if you “confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For, with the heart, we believe unto justice; but, with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:9-10).

“It’s simple, really. Salvation in Christ is a free gift that God is just waiting to give you, if you’ll open your heart to Jesus and accept Him as your personal Lord and Savior. The Catholic Church can’t promise you an assurance of salvation, but the Bible says you can have that assurance.”

Your response:

“I appreciate your sincerity, but I have to disagree. You’re taking those verses of Scripture out of context, making them appear to say something they really don’t. Jehovah’s Witnesses are equally as confident Jesus is not God, and they can quote plenty of verses (like 1 Timothy 2:5) which seem to imply that Jesus was only human, not human and divine. And we know that the Witnesses are wrong. Right? That’s why we have to be careful to take Scripture in context, or we’ll fall into the old trap, ‘A text without a context is a pretext.'”

Now demonstrate that your friend has in fact taken Scripture out of context.

Step One:

Point out that the Greek word in 1 John 5:13 meaning “you may know” is eidete (a derivative of oida). This term does not necessarily imply an absolutely certain knowledge. The same is true in English and other languages. We use the verb “to know” in more than one way. For example, I could say I know I’m going to get an A on my Greek exam tomorrow. Does that mean I have an absolute certainty of this? No. In fact, I could get a B or worse. In this instance, the verb “I know” means I have confidence I’ll get an A on my exam because I have studied the material thoroughly and I know it well. In other words, I have a moral certitude, as opposed to an absolute certitude.

The context of 1 John shows that this broader sense is how eidete is used in chapter 5, verse 13. In the very next verses (14-15), St. John says, “And we have this confidence in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us, and if He hears us we know (Greek: oidamen; a derivative of oida) that what we have asked him for is ours.” Ask your friend if this means she has absolute certainty she’ll receive whatever she asks for when she makes specific requests of God in prayer. Obviously, she can’t have absolute certainty. Also, we must remember that God is our sovereign Lord, and we trust Him to answer our prayers in the way that is best for us. But sometimes (perhaps often) what we just know is best for us is not, in fact, what’s really best for us. God often answers our prayers in a very different way from what we had asked for. So when St. John says, “If we ask anything according to His will He hears us, and if He hears us we know that what we have asked Him for is ours,” He is making clear that our knowing is purely conditional on unforeseen factors, not some sort of absolute assurance that, “what we have asked Him for is ours.”

Next, quote 1 John 3:21-22: “Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God and receive from Him whatever we ask, because we keep His commandments and do what pleases Him.” Here St. John speaks of our having “confidence” that we will receive what we pray for. Here again, this is not a confidence equivalent to an absolute assurance. Furthermore, ask your friend if she is certain she’s completely fulfilling the requirements of that verse. Could she have done or be doing things that do not please God? Christ warned that at the Last Judgment, many unrighteous people will be shocked to discover that conduct they thought was acceptable is not, in fact, acceptable to the Lord (Matt. 25:41-46).

Step Two:

The Bible says salvation depends on several things, not just the simple believe/confess formula your friend holds to. Point out that in 1 John, St. John is speaking to Christians (ie. believers who had accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior (cf. chapter 2:12-14), when he says, “If we say we are without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing” (1 John 1:8-9). Notice that St. John includes himself in this category by using the word “we.” Ask what would happen if she did not confess her sins. What would happen if she confessed with her mouth but wasn’t truly repentant? Would God forgive her anyway? If she says yes, she contradicts the biblical passages that say unrepented sin will not be forgiven and nothing sinful or unclean can enter into heaven (cf. Hab. 1:13; Rev. 21:8- 9, 27).

St. John also says, “Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, then you remain in the Son and in the Father” (1 John 2:24). This if/then construction shows that there is an alternative to “remaining in the Son and the Father.” That alternative, naturally, is not remaining in them. In other words, these Christians are being told that it’s possible for them to choose not to remain in Him.

St. John makes a distinction between mortal and venial sins in 1 John 5:16-17. He explains that “all wrongdoing is sin,” but that some types of sin are “mortal” (Greek: pros thanaton = unto death), while there are other sins that are “venial” (Greek: me pros thanaton = not unto death). The one who is born of God does not commit mortal sin. If he does, he is “cut off” from the body, as St. Paul describes in Romans 11:22-24 and Galatians 5:4; St. Peter also mentions this in 2 Peter 2:20-22. Christ provided the sacramental means by which a person who commits a grave sin and subsequently repents may be restored to fellowship with God and the Church (cf. John 20:21-23).

Step Three:

Explain that if one can lose his salvation, then salvation cannot be assured absolutely. Remember, we’re not talking about a few isolated examples of our salvation being contingent upon our remaining in God’s grace. There are “ifs” and contingency clauses all over the New Testament regarding salvation, almost all of them of St. Paul warning Christians. Quote the following verses to make your point.

Romans 11:22: “See, then, the kindness and severity of God: severity towards those who fell (ie. from salvation: 11:11-21), but God’s kindness to you, provided you remain in His kindness, otherwise you too will be cut off.”

Other clear contingency clauses pertaining to salvation are Matthew 10:22-32; Luke 12:41-46; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2; Colossians 1:22-23; Hebrews 3:6,14; and Revelation 2:10, 25-26, 3:1-5, 22:18-19.

2 Peter 2:20-22: “For if, flying from the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they be again entangled in them and overcome: their latter state is become unto them worse than the former. For, that of the true proverb has happened to them: The dog is returned to his vomit: and, the sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

Scripture can’t get much clearer than that in explaining that one can lose his salvation. But your friend might respond, “The person spoken of here never really knew the Lord, he only knew about the Lord.” You should respond by pointing out that the Greek word used here for knowledge is epignosei. The root word, gnosei, means knowledge, but a particular kind of knowledge. We mentioned oida above. This term refers to an intellectual knowledge. Gnosei, on the other hand, denotes knowledge that comes from experience. Further, the word here in 2 Peter 2:20 has the prefix epi, meaning “full,” making it epignosei which would translate literally into English as “full experiential knowledge.” This points us toward the fact that the sinner spoken of in this text has “escaped the defilements of the world” through a “full experiential knowledge” of Christ Jesus. Only a saving relationship with Christ can have this effect. Is their any other way to “escape the defilements of the world” except by becoming justified in Christ? No. And merely knowing about Jesus isn’t enough. Notice too, that the image St. Peter uses in verse 22 is a sow that has been washed in water. He speaks of water baptism in 2 Peter 3:20-21 when he says “This [water of the Great Flood] prefigured baptism which now saves you.” The connection between 2 Peter 2:20 and 1 Peter 3:21 is obvious – both passages deal with different elements of salvation.

Ask your friend to read 2 Peter 1:2-4 in order to establish the context for 2 Peter 2:20. Notice that St. Peter begins his letter with a description of believers to whom he is writing: “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge (epignosei = full experiential knowledge), of God, and of Jesus our Lord . . . that . . . you might be partakers of the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.” The Greek word apophugentes (“having escaped from”) and the phrase en to kosmo (“in the world”) describe exactly the condition of being a “born again” Christian: one who has been freed by God’s grace from sin and defilement. These are the same words used in 2 Peter 2:20 to describe the one who then goes back to his old sinful state, worse off than before he had accepted Jesus as his savior and was born again. “For they, having escaped (apophugentes) the defilements of the world (tou kosmou) through the knowledge (epignosei) of the Lord Jesus Christ, again become entangled and overcome by them, their last condition is worse than their first.”

Now go to Matthew 6:15, where Jesus warns, “If you do not forgive others, neither will your heavenly Father forgive you your transgressions.” In other words, the Lord doesn’t care how “born again” you may claim to be or how many spiritual experiences you’ve had. If you don’t forgive others, you will not be forgiven of your sins. This warning about losing salvation is repeated in Matthew 19:21-35.

The Bible warns Christians that they can “fall from grace” (Gal. 5:1-5), be “cut off” from salvation (Rom. 11:18-22), have their names removed from the Lamb’s book of life (Rev. 22:19-19), by committing certain sins and not repenting of them (cf. Eph. 5:3-5; 1 Cor. 6:9; Gal. 5:19; Rev. 21:6-8). In a chilling reminder of the possibility of losing salvation by separating oneself from Christ, St. Paul adds, “I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27).

Step Four:

Now it’s time to discuss the meaning of Romans 10:9-10, which your friend used at the outset of the discussion. “The Bible says that if you believe in your heart and confess Jesus with your mouth, you shall be saved!”

Your response:

“Yes, it does say that, but it doesn’t mean that we confess him one time only. The Greek word used here for confess, homologeitai, entails our continued confession of Christ throughout our lives. In Matthew 10:22-32 our Lord says, ‘You shall be hated by all men for My name’s sake, but he that endures until the end shall be saved; everyone who acknowledges (homologesei) Me before men, him will I acknowledge (homologesei) before My heavenly Father. But whoever denies Me before others, I will deny before My heavenly Father.’ Notice the context is one of holding fast to one’s confession of Christ until death (cf. Heb. 4:14, 10:23-26 and 2 Tim. 2:12).

The Bible is clear that confessing Christ is done not merely by words, but primarily by deeds. Conversely, denying Christ is done primarily by deeds: sins.

1 Timothy 5:8 “Whoever does not provide for relatives and especially family members, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (cf. 1 Tim. 5:11-12, 15). This means denying Christ by one’s actions.

1 Corinthians 6:9 says, “Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God” (cf. Eph. 5:3-5; Gal. 5:19; Rev. 21:8-9,27). Scripture nowhere says that “born again” Christians can commit such sins as these, die unrepentant, and still go to heaven anyway.

To salvage her position, your friend might counter with Romans 8:35-37: “What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? . . . No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Your friend asks, “Doesn’t that verse clearly teach that Christians have eternal security?”

Your response:

Point out that in his list of things that cannot separate us from Christ, he doesn’t mention adultery, murder, fornication, etc. Why? Because St. Paul tells us that doing these things will separate us from Christ. This list also excludes the Christian himself. Since God loves us and respects our free will, it is still possible for a Christian to be born again and then later, through his own free choice, separate himself from Christ.

A final warning from St. Paul is in order: “These things happened as examples for us (ie. born again Christians), so that we might not desire evil things, as they did. Do not become idolaters, as some of them did . . . let us not indulge in immorality, as some of them did. These things happened to them as an example, and they have been written down as a warning to us, upon whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall” (1 Cor. 10:6-8, 11-12).

Scripture Verses Specially For You…

Posted: September 14, 2010 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

For The Office / For School / For Home / For Travel / Customised For You
  1. (Your Name Here), I carry your burdens every day. Psalm 68:19
  2. You can know and depend on the love that I have for you,(XXX). 1 John 4:16
  3. You can trust in my faithfulness , (xxx), because My Word is true. Psalm 33:4
  4. If you enter in My rest, (XXX), you will find rest from all your striving. Hebrews 4:9-10
  5. My Spirit will help you in your weakness, (XXX). Romans 8:26
  6. You can rest in My love, (XXX), for I have power to save you. Zephaniah 3:17
  7. I will meet your every need, (XXX) through My eternal riches in Jesus Christ. Philippians 4:19
  8. I will be the voice behind you, (XXX) guiding you in the way you should go.  Isaiah 30:21
  9. (XXX), I will give you power to know the vastness of My immeasurable love.  Ephesians 3:17-19
  10. Trust in Me with all your heart, (XXX), and I will guide you.  Proverbs 3:5-6
  11. Come close to Me, (XXX), and I will come close to you.  James 4:8
  12. I prepared a kingdom inheritance for you, (XXX), when I created the world.  Matthew 25:34
  13. I am with you, (XXX). and I will help you because I am your God. Isaiah 41:10
  14. My promise of life is for you and for your family, (XXX). Acts 2:39
  15. Out and you will touch Me, for I am not far from you, (XXX). Acts 17:27
  16. Commit all that you do to Me, (XXX) and your plans will be successful. Proverbs 16:3
  17. You can trust in Me, (XXX), for I am your strength and your song.  Isaiah 12:2
  18. I will never abandon you, (XXX). Hebrews 13:5
  19. If you wait for Me, (XXX). I will work on your behalf.  Isaiah 64:4
  20. An eternal crown awaits you at the finish line, (XXX). 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
  21. I am near to you whenever you cry out, (XXX). Deuteronomy 4:7
  22. I will keep watch over you and guard you forever, (XXX). Psalm 12:7
  23. My love will never fail you, (XXX). 1 Corinthians 13:8
  24. Call on me, (XXX), when you are in trouble and I will rescue you. Psalm 91:15
  25. When you are confronted and are in great distress, (XXX), I will be you support. Psalm 18:18
  26.  When problems arise, (XXX), call to Me and I will answer you. Psalm 86:7
  27. The good things I have planned for you, (XXX), are too many to count.  Psalm 40:5
  28. For you, (XXX), are honoured in My eyes.  I, your God, am your strength.  Isaiah 49:5
  29. I will protect and carry you,(XXX), all the days of your life.  Isaiah 46:4
  30. Though the mountains vanish, My unending love will never leave you,(XXX).  Isaiah 54:10
  31. Ask Me for wisdom, (XXX), and I will generously give it to you.  James 1:5

That old Familia Feeling..

Posted: September 13, 2010 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles

Rocking the Cradle Catholic:
That old Familia Feeling

Common ground is better when it’s rock solid.

Jim Moore

Don’t tell anybody. . . but my family and I fellowshipped this morning. Shhhhhhh!

I feel a little strange saying it, because I’m told that Catholics tend not to do that sort of thing. But I’m pretty sure we fellowshipped. We must have. There were even donuts and bad coffee available.

As a matter of fact, we’ve experienced two different types of fellowship — I mean, fellowshipping — in recent months. One was parish-based . . . the other was faith-based.

There’s a difference. You’ll see what I mean.

Our first fellowshipping came in the form of a progressive dinner. A term that upset me at first, as I thought it meant sitting around listening to people tell me what a great president Ralph Nader would make.

Fortunately, it was something else entirely: a parish fundraiser. For $35 dollars per person, you were entitled to cocktails at one parishioner’s house, and dinner at another.

Nights like that are great, as long as you go in ready to deal with the fact that there are people in your parish who live a whole lot better than you do. At least when it comes to things like square footage, fancy furniture, and a separate bathroom for everyone on the guest list.

Not that I snooped or anything.

By the way . . . why are we, as a nation, so fascinated with bathrooms?

I grew up in an apartment, with one bathroom that was shared by five people, and never thought twice about it. And it was a genuine “bathroom” — no shower. I now have a house with two bathrooms, one of which I never even go into. Both of them have showers, and I still want a third bathroom, so visitors don’t have to walk upstairs to do the inevitable.

Anyway, the $35-dollar-per-person price tag on this dinner was a big night out for us. But we wanted to meet some people, and the money was going to the parish, so we figured it was a good investment. As it turned out, most of the people we met during the course of the evening didn’t seem to be missing their $35-per as much as we were.

This means the conversation left something to be desired for lack of common ground. We heard a lot about the sort of remodeling plans and vacations that won’t be on our itinerary any time prior to achieving our glorified bodies.

We also spent a good portion of the evening missing our son, which no one else seemed to be doing. Of course, nobody else there knew our son, so they had an excuse. But that didn’t stop at least one person from being taken aback at the way we’re raising him. When one woman heard that my wife stays at home with Michael, and doesn’t put him in daycare for at least one day a week, she reacted as if Mary Ann were from another planet.

“What about Mom’s day out?” she blustered.

Mary Ann gently reminded her that the day will come all too soon when Michael won’t be around for a large part of the day, and that Mom will then have all the out time she can handle. She then excused herself to look for me.

She found me staring forlornly at a dining level half-bath that was the same size as one of our full baths.

In addition to discovering vast caverns of plumbing that night, I also discovered something important about myself. I’ve come to prefer Catholic get-togethers that put the spiritual above the social.
Until very recently, that wasn’t the case. Just last year, I volunteered to help coordinate a parish pub crawl.

Now, the fellowshipping we did today — on a beautiful May morning, with our son accompanying us — was of another sort entirely.

We belong to a wonderful study group called FAMILIA (Family Life In America). It’s a program in which husbands and wives study papal documents pertaining to the family.
Suburban nightlife this is not.

In fact, the husbands’ group meets at 7:30 on Saturday mornings, so we don’t take the larger part of the day away from our families. The wives’ group — full of women who, like my wife, know all too well that the future holds plenty of free time for them — meets with the children in tow.

How they do that, I don’t know.

As someone who wishes Good Night, Moon came with Cliff Notes, I can’t imagine wading through Familiaris Consortio while trying to keep an eye on my son as well. I got daring one morning and tried going to the husbands’ meeting without coffee and might as well not have been there.

But there was no dense reading to be considered today, as all the husbands, wives, and children gathered for Mass, the Rosary, and a May Crowning.

I hadn’t been to a May Crowning since grammar school.

In the third grade, Mrs. Driscoll used to make a girl and boy process around the classroom once a week during May, while the rest of the class sang “Immaculate Mary.”

The boy would then hold a chair for the girl, who placed a crown of plastic flowers on a statue of Our Lady.

I’m sure we had May Crownings aplenty throughout my grammar school years, but those third grade crownings stand out for me. Probably because I once got to hold the chair for Robyn Venner — the closest I ever got to her during a massive K-thru-8 crush.

Today’s May Crowning was even better than that one. The love of my life was beside me, as was our son. Who needs Robyn Venner? We led a decade of the Rosary, then spent a couple of hours chasing after Michael and whoever else’s kid needed chasing after, while grabbing little snatches of conversation with people who live and think the way we do.

Of course, it took awhile for the guys from my study group to recognize each other. We were all clean. We usually see each other unshaven, unbathed, and generally unfit for public display first thing on a Saturday morning.

Now, here’s the thing. The parish fundraiser was important, but it was an end in and of itself. It wasn’t about Christians gathering. It was about people hanging out, eating and drinking — fellow-sipping, as opposed to fellow-shipping.

I love eating. I love drinking. And I love socializing. But looking at that night in light of today made me understand for the first time that there can be an important difference between parish life and one’s faith life, and that we should be careful not to confuse the two. Supporting a parish through fundraising events isn’t the same as practicing our faith.

The chatting and child chasing we did today took on far more significance than our conversations at the dinner, because we did it in the afterglow of having celebrated the Eucharist, and after honoring Our Lady as a group of families united by the practice of our faith . . . united by belief, and by a well articulated set of values.

For instance, I know how a conversation about abortion would have gone with the Catholics at that May Crowning. I’m not at all sure how it would have gone at the progressive dinner.

Thought Of The Day…

Posted: September 12, 2010 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Once again I felt uncomfortable at what was communicated to us through today’s homily.  Uncomfortable not because I totally disagreed with this loving Priest of ours, but because I felt it was once again incomplete and was left to misintepretation.  At first I thought it best that I should just remain silent but after the Eucharistic Celebration and dimissal, I made my way to speak with him to clarify what he meant because I did not want to go against Church teachings nor did I want to misinterpret what he said.  However I believe that after our discussion he meant what he said to begin with. 

I am still groping myself and trying very hard to increase my faith reading Scripture and learning from our Church Fathers and so my aim is not to prove the Priest wrong but to explore what is taught to us through the Catechism of The Catholic Church.

I cannot repeat word for word what he said in his homily but in essense it is about God’s infinite love for us.  Sinners by definition are not necessarily those who do wrong but those who acknowledge that they have wronged God.  He then showed us a slide to discuss among ourselves what we thought God’s love means to us when we wrong him. ( again the below may not be word for word )

1. God is angry with us and wants to go for confession.

2.God loves us so much that he still wants us to receive Jesus through the Eucharist.

3. God loves us even more and wants us to go back to him.

I personally chose 3. because that it what I believe the Gospel is teaching and showing us.  That is no matter, how much we have sinned against God he is still waiting for us with open arms to receive us so long as we have a contrite heart and are truly repentant.  We do not have to fear or stay away from him.  Jesus our shepherd is willing to leave behind the ninety in his fold behind, face the wolves and weather just to look for his one strayed sheep. 

The loving priest on the other hand said something like this… perhaps the people in the Old testament viewed God like that, which is an angry God.  He then said that God’s love for us is actually nos. 2 & 3. That is why he says when people who ask him in the confessional if it is a sin to receive Jesus in the Eucharist without having gone for the sacrament of reconciliation he says NO.  After all we say ” Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed” before going for communion.

Now this is what got me uncomfortable…..At first I thought he meant that if we had not committed any mortal sins and are truly sorry for all our venial sins that we may have unwittingly committed.  Then during the penintential rite; the breaking of bread when we sing the ‘Lamb of God’;and when we ask God to make us worthy through the prayer mentioned above, only then we are made worthy to receive Jesus.  Apparently he meant what he said, that we can partake in the Eucharist so long as we are truly sorry for our sins.

So what did St Paul mean in his letter to the Corinthians? (1 Cor 11-27:29) when he said ” Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.  CCC1385  Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion. For the different kind of sins kindly refer to CCC1852.

And what about the the second precept of the Church? CCC 2042 (“You shall confess your sins at least once a year.”) ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation,which continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.

Even in the love story of the prodigal son, we see that the son was truly repentant not just sorry. (Luke15:18) The father of course knew this immediately by the fact that his son had come back to him, hence he was filled with compassion and joy.  Because sin in essence keeps us far away from our loving Father.

I believe that if we want to receive the divine body of Jesus our saviour in the Eucharist, we must receive him with the purity of a contrite heart and are repenting from our sinful ways. (Words and Actions) Only when we do so, will we experience the fullness of communion with Him and his Church.

Being sorry or remorseful is not good enough, we must be repentant. Take the case of Judas Iscariot, was he repentant or remorseful?  I believe he was remorseful but not repentant.  If he was repentant, he would have submitted to the will of God and asked for forgiveness instead of taking his own life by hanging himself. (Matthew 27:4-5)  So then if we are truly repentant, then we must listen to Jesus who teaches us how to live our lives.  The first step is to go for the sacrament of reconciliation which Jesus himself established through his apostles. Matthew 16:19 / Matthew 18:18   

Like the Apostles, we too are sent out to search for lost sheep and welcome them back into the fold.  But I believe we are to also guide them so that they may receive fully the fruits of communion with God and his Church.

*update 2045hrs*God is first to welcome the sincerely repentant sinner, teaches Benedict XVI

September 12, 2010 – 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: September 11, 2010 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections by Dr. Scott Hahn

Seeking the Lost

Readings:
Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14
Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19
1 Timothy 1:12-17
Luke 15:1-10

The episode in today’s First Reading has been called “Israel’s original sin.” Freed from bondage, born as a people of God in the covenant at Sinai, Israel turned aside from His ways, fell to worshipping a golden calf.

Moses implores God’s mercy, as Jesus will later intercede for the whole human race, as He still pleads for sinners at God’s right hand and through the ministry of the Church.

Israel’s sin is the sin of the world. It is your sin and mine. Ransomed from death and made His children in Baptism, we fall prey to the idols of this world. We remain a “stiff-necked people,” resisting His will for us like an ox refuses the plowman’s yoke (see Jeremiah 7:26).

Like Israel, in our sin we push God away, reject our divine sonship. Once He called us “my people” (see Exodus 3:10; 6:7). But our sin makes us “no people,” people He should, in justice, disown (see Deuteronomy 32:21; 1 Peter 2:10).

Yet in His mercy, He is faithful to the covenant He swore by His own self in Jesus. In Jesus, God comes to Israel and to each of us – as a shepherd to seek the lost (see Ezekiel 34:11-16), to carry us back to the heavenly feast, the perpetual heritage promised long ago to Abraham’s children.

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” Paul cries in today’s Epistle. These are the happiest words the world has ever known. Because of Jesus, as Paul himself can testify, even the blasphemer and persecutor can seek His mercy.

As the sinners do in today’s Gospel, we draw near to listen to Him. In this Eucharist, we bring Him the acceptable sacrifice we sing of in today’s Psalm – our hearts, humbled and contrite.

In the company of His angels and saints, we rejoice that He has wiped out our offense, celebrate with Him – that we have turned from the evil way that we might live (see Ezekiel 18:23).


The Eucharistic Celebration

Explained For Children and the Child In You

By Julian Tan (Catholicjules.net)

Introduction

As you age and grow in your faith children, you will have a deeper spiritual understanding of the Eucharistic Celebration unravel for you.  In other words like a cabbage, when you peel away the first layer you will see a new layer and when you peel that one away yet another will revealed.  For now let us embark on this little journey of understanding the basics so that you can have a deeper appreciation for what takes place when you are in Church on Sunday.

So let us first begin with what it means; Eucharist actually means ‘Thanksgiving’ in other words we celebrate by giving thanks to God our Father for His undying love for us and to thank him for giving us Jesus.  In addition, the Eucharistic Celebration is also a solemn reminder of the sacrifice of Jesus who died for us on the cross to take away our sins, rose from the dead and who now lives with our Father in heaven and in our hearts.

Now here is something to remember and keep close to your heart.  God so loved the world, he gave us his only begotten Son Jesus Christ.  And Jesus loved us so much that He could not bear to leave us completely alone.  So being the Son of God, he instituted (provided) a way to be with us always.   By giving us His real body which takes the appearance of the bread(Communion Host) we offer at the altar and His blood which takes the appearance of the wine we offer at the altar.  Jesus lovingly shares this truth with us;”The man who feeds on My Flesh and drinks My Blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the Father Who has life sent Me and I have life because of the Father, so the man who feeds on Me will have life because of Me.”

Jesus gives himself to us in the Eucharist as our spiritual nourishment for which we are in Holy Communion (fellowship) with God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit,  His Church (all of us) and together with the Angels and Saints in the Heavenly Liturgy where Christ eternally intercedes for us.

Now with true faith, you understand that your are receiving Jesus the Son of God (Which is His Divine Body ), so then you must receive him in a state of grace. ( Pure without having committed mortal Sin) If we had committed a mortal sin which basically means a terrible sin which would lead us away from God the Father, example breaking one of the Ten Commandments, or close to it. Then we must first go for the Sacrament of Reconciliation to be pardoned of that sin first.  Only having done that, can we receive Jesus and reap the spiritual benefits the Eucharist has to offer.  The Eucharist is a sacrament of unity because it unites us more closely with God and with one another through the growth of sanctifying grace in our soul.  The same grace, that helps us to love our neighbour for the love of God.

Jesus is present in the Eucharistic celebration in four ways, in the person of the Celebrant (The Priest ), in his Word ( The Gospel), in the bread and wine when He through the Priest offers it to us.  And he is present with us, the assembled people, as we pray and sing. For he promised, “Where two or three are gathered in my name there am I in the midst of them.” (Mt 18:20)

So children as we gather together in God’s house and knowing that Jesus is present, we pray quietly and prepare ourselves for the Celebrant ( The Priest ) to arrive so that he may lead us in this joyous Eucharistic Celebration.

INTRODUCTORY RITES

ENTRANCE PROCESSION

After the people have assembled, the entrance antiphon is sung (an entrance hymn is usually sung) or recited as the priest and the ministers enter the church.  We do this to welcome Jesus and praise God.

SIGN OF THE CROSS

We Call Upon the Holy Trinity

We begin with the sign of the cross like we do for any prayer.  We are calling God to be with us as we pray to Him.

Priest: in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

People: Amen.

GREETING

We Are Welcomed in God’s Name

The priest greets us and welcomes us to church both in his own name and in God’s name.

Priest: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

People: And also with you

PENITENTIAL RITE

We Express Sorrow For Our Sins

The priest now invites us to reflect on our sins and to tell God how truly sorry we are for them.  We want to say sorry for all the times we were selfish and for having sinned so that we can listen to God’s word and receive His body and blood with a pure heart.  We then say :-

I confess to Almighty God,
and to you my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned through my own fault ( We strike our own breasts)
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done,
and in what I have failed to do;
and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin,
all the angels and saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

The priest says a short prayer asking for God’s mercy.

KYRIE

We Ask Jesus For Mercy

Priest : Lord, have mercy.          People: Lord have mercy.

Priest : Christ, have mercy.        People: Christ have mercy.

Priest : Lord, have mercy.          People: Lord have mercy.

Sometimes instead of the longer prayers, the priest asks for God’s mercy by calling upon God three times. He finishes his prayer with “Lord have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy.”  We repeat those last words each time he says them.

GLORIA

We Praise God

Now we are so happy God has promised us forgiveness that we celebrate with joy.  We do this by saying or singing loudly the song the angels sang so long ago when they celebrated the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

Glory to God in the highest.
and peace to His people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
Almighty God and Father,
we worship you we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ,
With the Holy Spirit,
In the glory of God the Father.  Amen.

OPENING PRAYER

We Join in Prayer Together

This is followed by the Opening Prayer. There are different prayers for each day of the year.  In this prayer, the priest asks God to be with us in a very special way as we open our hearts to him.

Priest : Forever and ever.

People: Amen.

FIRST READING (SIT)

God Speaks To Us Through The Prophets

We sit and listen to the Word of God as it was spoken in the Old Testament, especially through his prophets.  The reader takes their place in speaking to us.

At the end of the reading:

Reader : The Word of the Lord.

People : Thanks be to God.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM

We Respond To God’s Word

The people repeat the response said by the reader or sung by the cantor.

SECOND READING

God Speaks To Us through the Apostles

We now listen to readings taken from the letters of Paul and the other Apostles.

At the end of the reading :

Reader: The Word of the Lord.

People : Thanks be to God.

ALLELUIA VERSE (STAND)

We Praise Jesus Who Comes To Speak To Us

Jesus will speak to us in the Gospel.  We rise now out of respect and prepare for his message with the alleluia verse.

GOSPEL

God Speaks To Us Through Christ

Priest: The Lord be with you.

People: And also with you.

Priest: A reading from the holy Gospel according to N.

People: Glory to you, Lord.

We now listen to the priest read the Gospel.

At the end of the Gospel:

Priest:  The Gospel of the Lord.

People: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

HOMILY (SIT)

God Speaks To Us Through The Priest

These readings are God’s message to us, but at times they may be difficult to understand.  This is why the priest explains the meaning of the readings to us in a homily.  The homily also tells us how to live God’s Word in our lives.

PROFESSION OF FAITH  (STAND)

We Profess Our Faith

After having heard God’s Word in the readings, we proclaim before everyone that we believe.  We believe what God has told; we believe that he has called us; we believe that he loves us.  To say all this we profess our faith with the creed.

THE NICENE CREED

We believe in one God,

the FATHER, THE ALMIGHTY,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, JESUS CHRIST,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten not made, one in Being with the Father

Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:

(All bow at the following words up to: and became man.)

By the power of the Holy Spirit
he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered, died, and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance to the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the HOLY SPIRIT, the Lord the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

GENERAL INTERCESSIONS

We Pray For Our Brothers And Sisters In Christ

We close the first part of the Mass by saying the General Intercessions also known as the Prayer of the Faithful.   In other words we not only pray for ourselves but for all who need God’s help.  The Priest usually begins and ends the General Intercessions and someone else reads the intentions for which are praying together.  We add our voices to the prayer by repeating the response that has been chosen.  egs. People : Lord, hear our prayer.

We begin by praying of the Church. We pray for the Pope, Bishops, Priests, clergy and all the people of God. We pray we might all answer God’s call in a loving manner.

We pray for public authorities, the leaders of our nation and all the people of the world.

We also pray for those who have a special need. We pray for the poor, for the sick, for those who are sad and for anyone else who might need prayers.

We pray for those who have died. We remember them because we want to share our love with them and pray that they might be with God in heaven.

Finally, we pray for our own local community and our particular needs.

The Prayer closes the first part of the Mass which is called the Liturgy of the Word.

LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST (SIT)

Preparation Song

While the gifts of the people are being brought forward to the priest and placed on the altar, a song is sung.  The gifts are bread and wine and whatever else we offer for the needs of the Church and for the poor.  We are also encouraged to offer a gift of ourselves to Jesus examples: Peace, Love, Justice, and Humility.

PREPARATION OF THE GIFTS

We Place Bread On The Altar


The priest takes the bread and says in a quiet voice (or sometimes sings) :

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation.
Through you goodness we have this bread to offer,
which earth has given and human hands have made.
It will become for us the bread of life.

We may respond: Blessed be God forever.

We Place The Wine On The Altar

 

He then takes the wine and says in a quiet voice (or sings):

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.
Through your goodness we have this wine to offer,
fruit of the vine and work of (human) hands.
It will become the cup of joy. (spiritual drink)

We may respond: Blessed be God forever.

The Priest washes his hands, asking God to wash away his sins.  He then says,

INVITATION TO PRAYER (STAND)

We Ask God To Accept Our Sacrifice

Priest: Pray, brethren, that our sacrifice may be acceptable to God , the almighty Father.

People: May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name,
for our good and the good of all his Church.

PRAYER OVER THE GIFTS

We Pray For God’s Grace

The priest says the Prayer over the Gifts.  Like the Opening Prayer, there is a special one for each day of the year.

At the end:

People : Amen.

EUCHARISTIC PRAYER

The priest now begins the Eucharistic Prayer. This is the prayer that will change the bread and wine into the body and blood of our Lord.

Priest: The Lord be with you.

People: And also with you.

Priest : Lift up you hearts.

People: We lift them up to the Lord.

Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.

The priest then calls upon the Lord with a prayer called the Preface. We respond to that prayer by singing or saying the same prayer that the angels sing before God’s throne :

HOLY, HOLY, HOLY

We Praise God In Union With The Angels

Priest and People:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might.
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

WORDS OF INSTITUTION

The Bread And Wine Becomes Christ’s Body And Blood

There are a number of different Eucharistic Prayers that the priest can use, but they use the words that Jesus said over the bread and wine.  The priest takes the bread and says,

Before he was given for death,
a death he freely accepted,
he took bread and gave you thanks.
He broke the bread,
gave it to his disciples and said:
Take this all of you, and eat it:
this is my body which will be given up for you.”

The priest holds up the body of Christ for all the people to see.
The priest then takes the cup filled with the wine and says,

When supper was ended, he took the cup.
Again he gave you thanks and praise,
gave the cup to his disciples and said:

“Take this all of you, and drink from it:
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.”

The priest holds up the cup that contains the blood of Christ for all the people to see.

MEMORIAL ACCLAMATION

We Proclaim The Mystery Of Faith

We are so happy that God is giving us this very special gift that we feel like crying out for joy.  The priest invites us to do this in the Memorial Acclamation.  This prayer is a short profession of faith.  There are four different ones that we can use:

Priest: Let us proclaim the mystery of faith.

People:

A)

Christ has died,
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again.

OR

B)

Dying you destroyed our death,
rising you restored our life,
Lord Jesus, come in glory.

OR

C)

When we eat this bread and drink this cup,
we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus,
until you come in glory.

OR

D)

Lord, by your cross and resurrection
you have set us free.
You are the Saviour of the world.

GREAT AMEN

We Give Our Assent To All That Has Taken Place

At the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, we join the priest in giving glory to the Father through Jesus:

Priest Only:

Through him, with him, In him,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honor is yours,
almighty Father
forever and ever.

People: Amen

COMMUNION RITE (STAND)

We Speak To God Our Father In The Words Jesus Taught Us

After the Eucharistic Prayer is finished, we prepare to receive Jesus in communion by saying the prayer that Jesus taught us.  We praise God, ask for our daily bread, and beg forgiveness for our sins.

Priest and People:

Our Father in heaven,
holy be your name;
Your kingdom come;
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
and forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us;
Do not bring us to the test,
but deliver us from evil.

Priest:

Deliver us, Lord from every evil,
and grant us peace in our day.
In your mercy keep us free from sin
and protect us from all anxiety
as we wait in joyful hope
for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

People:

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and forever.

SIGN OF PEACE

We Offer A Sign Of Peace To Each Other

Before we receive the body and blood of Jesus, we have to make peace with each other.

The priest says a prayer for peace and unity that ends with:

Priest: Forever and ever.

People: Amen.

Priest: The peace of the Lord be with you always.

People: And also with you.

Priest: Let us offer each other the sign of peace.

We give a sign of peace to those around us.

BREAKING OF THE BREAD

We Ask For Mercy And Peace

We then call upon Jesus to prepare us so that we might be ready to receive communion.  We say,

People:

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:
have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:
have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:
grant us peace.

COMMUNION

We Ask God To Make Us Worthy To Receive Communion

The priest invites us to receive Jesus our Saviour who comes to us in communion.  He prays with us, asking God to make us worthy to receive his great gift.

Priest and People:

Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,
but only say the word and I shall be healed.

He then receives communion.

It is important that we remind ourselves of what we are about to do when we receive communion.  We do not want to go up to receive it just because everyone else is going or just because we do it every Sunday.  We should remind ourselves that this is the precious body and blood of Jesus.  We should receive it because we want to be one with Jesus and we want to be like him.

We Receive Jesus

We then go up to receive the body and blood of Jesus. The priest of the Eucharist says :

Priest: The body of Christ.

Communicant: Amen

Priest: The blood of Christ.

Communicant: Amen

This response means that we really want to be one with God. The communion song is sung while communion is given to the faithful.

PERIOD OF SILENCE OR SONG OF PRAISE (SIT)

We Praise God

After the communion there may be a period of silence, or a song of praise may be sung.

PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

We Ask For The Grace Of Communion

Priest: Let us pray.

When everyone has finished receiving communion, the priest says a prayer called the Prayer After Communion.  Like the Opening Prayer and the Prayer Over the Gifts, it is different for each day of the year.  The prayer usually asks that we might be able to live with our whole heart and our entire love the things that we have promised to do when we received communion.

At the end:

Priest : Through Christ our Lord.

People : Amen.

CONCLUDING RITE

The Mass closes with a sign of the cross, just as it began with one. This time the sign of the cross is a blessing.

BLESSING

We Receive God’s Blessing From The Priest

Priest: The Lord be with you.

People: And also with you.

Priest: May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

People: Amen.

DISMISSAL

We Are Sent Out To Bring Christ To Others

Priest: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.  OR  The Mass is ended, go in peace.  OR Go in peace of Christ.

People: Thanks be to God.

The Recessional Song ends our celebration.

As we go forth from the Church, we realize that we have been changed. We had received the body and blood of our Lord, and this has made us apostles.  We now go forth into the world to carry the love of Jesus to everyone whom we meet.

Sacrament Of Reconciliation For Kids

Posted: September 9, 2010 by CatholicJules in Holy Pictures, Life's Journeys

Sacrament Of Reconciliation For Kids

By Julian aka Catholicjules

Introduction

2627288023_9409c3b8c2_m

Once, a boy stole some money from his father’s wallet, so that he could buy some chocolates which he loved eating. However after he bought them, he found he could not really enjoy them because he knew what he did was wrong. Over the next few days he was burdened with a heavy heart and was unhappy. He decided it was time to confess what he did to his father and that he would also make amends by offering to pay for the chocolates with his pocket money. He promised his father that he would never steal again and asked for an appropriate punishment. He expected his father to be angry but instead found him calm and even smiling. Because the son was totally honest with his confession combined with the promise of never to commit the sin again is the purest form of repentance. The confession restored his father’s faith in him and so hugged him with great affection. The son unburdened his conscience with his confession and by doing so reconciled with his father.

When we sin, we go against the commandments of God and alienate (turn away) ourselves from him. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation we reorientate ourselves and reunite ( together again)with God.

Let us now talk a little about sin and God’s commandments …

What is Sin?

Sin is the conscious thought,act or deed we do against the teachings of the Church and God our heavenly father.

thetencommandmentsWhat are God’s Commandments?

Before we go into the commandments proper we should try to understand first what the commandments are all about.

One way of understanding the commandments is to think of the rules of a game. What happens when we break the rules? People get upset because no one plays the game correctly, we end up losing the joy and happiness the game would have brought us otherwise.

Another way to look at it is to think of the commandments as signposts from God, giving us direction to our destination to be with him. If we do not follow the signs, we start to lose our way and become bitter and sad when we cannot find our way back to him.

signpost

The Ten Commandments for Younger Kids

Ten Commmandments for Kids (Exodus 20:1-17)

1. Have no other gods but God.

  1. Do not worship statues.
  2. Be careful with God’s name.
  3. Keep Sunday special.
  4. Honor your father and mother.
  5. Do not murder.
  6. Keep your marriage promises.
  7. Do not steal.
  8. Do not lie.

10. Do not covet. (To wish for longingly)

The Ten Commandments for Older Kids

The Ten Commandments

Exodus Chapter 20

Preface:

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

1. You shall have no other gods before Me.

2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image

3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

5. Honor your father and your mother

6. You shall not murder.

7.You shall not commit adultery.

8. You shall not steal.

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

10. You shall not covet

Mat 22:37-40 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE

thethinker

Is to reflect and find out your sins…

Here is an examination of conscience for children using the Lord’s Prayer as a guideline.

An Examination of Conscience for Children using The Lord’s Prayer.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name.

· Do I think about God every day?

· Do I say my prayers?

· Do I pay attention and participate at Mass?

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be

done on earth as it is in heaven.

· Am I kind to others?

· Do I do what Jesus wants me to do?

· Do I share with others?

· Am I helpful to my family?

· Do I show respect to my teachers and classmates?

Give us this day our daily bread

· Do I remember to say thank you?

· Am I sometimes greedy?

· Do I appreciate the good things I have in my life?

· Do I think of ways to help those who have no food?

· Do I take things that don’t belong to me?

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

· Do I say I’m sorry when I have been wrong?

· Do I forgive and forget when someone does something bad to me?

· Do I help solve problems between my friends or do I cause more trouble?

· Do I say bad things about people who have hurt me?

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

· Do I play fairly in sports and games?

· Do I cheat in school?

· Do I tell the truth?

· Do I set a good example by my kindness?

· Do I let other kids tempt me to do things I know I shouldn’t do?

Here is another way to examine your conscience by reflecting on your responsibilities.

Responsibilities to God:

Have I prayed every day?

Have I prayed my morning prayers and night prayers?

Have I prayed with my parents and family?

Have I been moody and rebellious about praying and going to

church on Sunday?

Have I asked the Holy Spirit to help me whenever I have been

tempted to sin? Have I asked the Holy Spirit to help me do

what is right?

Responsibilities to others:

Have I been obedient and respectful to my parents?

Have I lied or been deceitful to them or to others?

Have I been arrogant, stubborn or rebellious?

Have I talked back to parents, teachers or other adults?

Have I pouted and been moody?

Have I been selfish toward my parents, brothers,sisters and teachers, or my friends and schoolmates?

Have I gotten angry at them? Have I hit anyone?

Have I held grudges or not forgiven others?

Have I treated other children with respect or have I made fun of them and called them names?

Have I used bad language?

Have I stolen anything? Have I returned it?

Have I performed my responsibilities, such as homework and household chores?

Have I been helpful and affectionate toward my family? Have

I been kind and generous with my friends?

So What is the Sacrament of Reconciliation?

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the process or steps we take in order to reunite ourselves with God. In essence it is:

“The invitation to the door of forgiveness, freedom of sin and of guilt and with that; Peace”

Before we open the door we prepare ourselves by reflection or examining our conscience and think about what we are going to do to stop doing the wrong doings. When we are ready, we open the door to face and talk to God through his disciple (the priest). We confess (in all honesty) our sins and tell him what we will do to make amends and how truly sorry we are by saying the act of contrition. When we are done we are given absolution (forgiveness) through the power of the Holy Spirit and are reunited with God.

2842815811_4d7d938e241

Below is an illustration (picture)

withgodsmiley1

A Step By Step Guide To Making Your Confession Through The Sacrament Of Reconciliation

confessional

· Prepare yourself by reflecting on your sins and what you are going to do to try and stop repeating the sin. Only when you are ready, do you proceed to the Confessional.

  1. Kneel, make the sign of the cross and say, “Bless me Father for I have sinned.”
  2. Tell the father how long it has been since you last confessed. Egs.” It has been 1 month since my last confession.” If it is your first time then just say “this is my first confession.”
  3. Tell the father your sins and how you have hurt God your loving father and when you have finished say “For these and all my sins, I am truly sorry.” Then tell the father how you are going to repent. (so as not to commit the sin again) egs. I will reflect on how Jesus died on the cross for me each time I am tempted to use bad words.
  4. Listen to the Father if he has any advice for you, after which he will give you absolution.
  5. Say the Act of Contrition.
  6. Listen to the words of the Father as he gives you absolution.
  7. Thank the Father out of politeness and respect and you might even say “Bless you Father”
  8. Go quietly

The Act Of Contrition (How Sorry You Are For Your Sins)

circle_praying_op_800x703

Here are a few different ones to choose from, only choose one to say. If you know how to and want to, you can say your own.

· Oh my God, I am so sorry that I have sinned against you. Because You are so good and with the help of your grace, I will not sin again.

· God our Father, I thank You for loving me. I am sorry for all my sins, for what I have done and for what I have failed to do. I will sincerely try to love You and others in everything I do and say. Help me walk in your light today and always.

· Father , I have sinned against you and am not worthy to be called your son/daughter. Be merciful to me, a sinner.

· Lord God, in your goodness have mercy on me, do not look on my sins but take away all my guilt. Create in me a clean heart and renew within me an upright spirit.

· O my God, I am heartily sorry for all my sins, because they offend You, who are infinitely good, and I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace not to sin again.

· Lord Jesus Christ, You are the Lamb of God; You take away the sins of the world. Through the grace of the Holy Spirit restore me to friendship with Your Father, cleanse me from every stain of sin in the blood you shed for me, for the glory of your name.

· Lord Jesus, You chose to be called the friend of sinners. By your saving death and resurrection free me from my sins. May your peace take root in my heart and bring forth a harvest of love.

AMEN.

Note From The Author of This Guide

Children as you prepare for this precious sacrament Jesus has given us, I want you to cherish in your hearts these few things :-

  • It is Jesus Himself who is present in the sacrament waiting to embrace you.
  • Never say or think these thoughts.. “Ony when I have changed my bad habits or have stop sinning, then I will go for reconciliation.” Go to Him (Jesus) as You are, He will transform you, He will give you the strength and Grace needed to overcome your sin, bad habits or addictions.
  • He loves you no matter what you have thought, said and done.
  • Always turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospels.

Love In Christ,

Julian aka Catholicjules


To Download a copy of this in DOCx format Click -> HERE

JWs Say Jesus Christ is not God

Posted: September 9, 2010 by CatholicJules in Apologetics

Jesus Christ is not God

Here’s a step-by-step way to answer this typical Jehovah’s Witness argument by Tim Staples

Scenario:

Jehovah’s Witnesses come to your door on a Saturday afternoon. After a few moments of conversation, one of them spots the crucifix on your wall and remarks, “It’s interesting that Catholics believe that Jesus was God. Did you know that the Bible actually teaches that Jesus was not God?”

This “did you know” question is designed to throw you off balance. If you answer with a “no,” you appear ignorant and you’ve given them an invitation to control the discussion. If you say “yes,” you’ve aligned yourself with their heresy. Instead of a “yes” or “no,” turn the question back on them and take control of the conversation.

Your response:

“That’s an odd point of view. Didn’t you know the Bible teaches that Jesus is God?”

Now you have to make good on your claim. Have the following Bible verses (the ones they’ll use and the ones you’ll use) highlighted in your Bible for easy reference.

Step One:

Ask the Witnesses to read the passages they think disprove Christ’s divinity. Here are several they’ll use and responses you can give:

John 14:28 – Jesus says, “The Father is greater than I.”

The Father is “greater” than the incarnate Christ in terms of position because Christ’s humanity is a creation, though in His divinity He is equal to the Father.

Hebrews 2:9 says that Jesus was made for a while “lower than the angels” at the Incarnation.

Matthew 11:11 says there has never been a man “greater than John the Baptist: yet he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Does this mean John does not have a human nature? Does this mean those in heaven, who are greater than John, have a different nature?

If John the Baptist is the greatest man to ever live, and if Jesus was just a man, does that mean John the Baptist was greater than Jesus, superior to Him by nature? Does that mean Jesus and John could not have both had a human nature?

John 17:3 – “And this is eternal life, that they know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” The Witnesses will argue that Jesus can’t be God if the Father is the “only true God,” and they will point out that Christ was praying to God here.

God the Father is “the only true God.” This statement is completely in harmony with the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity: One God in three Persons. Christ’s statement does not entail a denial that He too is God.

Christ was affirming the monotheism of the Jews, that there is only one God. This monotheism is the basis of the Trinity.

Christ is true God and true man (John 1:1, 14; Col. 2:9; John 8:58 & Ex. 3:14), and as a man, He prayed to the Father.

John 20:17 – “I ascend to My Father and to your Father, to My God and to your God.” How can the Father be His ‘God’ if Christ is God? How can God have a God?”

Say, “I believe that Jesus is both God and man. Here, he speaks in reference to His human nature. As a man the Father is His God – just as He is ours. He calls the Father His God because He is His God whom He worships, prays to and needs in His life just as we do.”

This verse is a clear reference to the Hypostatic Union of Christ (He was fully God and man).

Rev. 3:14 – “These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the source of God’s creation.”

Notice the text does not say Christ was created. The Greek word translated as “source” or “origin” is arche. It connotes “the eternal source of all that is.”

In Revelation 21:6 Jehovah is called the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end . . . I shall be His God and He shall be My Son.” But Jesus is called the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” in Revelation 22:13. Ask the Witness how Jesus and Jehovah can both be the “Alpha and the Omega.” Also ask if this means that Jehovah God had a “beginning,” because arche is used to describe Him? Here arche means “the source of all being.” Jesus is the source of the creation of God because he is the creator of all things. John 1:1-3 says Jesus (the Word) created “all things . . . and without Him was made nothing that was made.”

If Christ was created, He would have had to have created Himself, which is impossible.

Colossians 1:15-17 – Jesus is called the “first-born of all creation. For in Him were all things created . . . He is before all and by Him all things were created.” JWs think this means Jesus is the first created being.

“First-born” here does not refer to time, but to preeminence. It is a title given by a father to his son. Isaac, Jacob and Ephraim received the blessing of the “first-born,” though they were not biologically the first sons born to their parents.

The text doesn’t say Jesus was created. If so, St. Paul would have said Jesus created all other things, but he did not. Jesus is the Creator of all things. He is God. He is given the title “first-born” as the title of His preeminence and because He is eternally begotten by the Father.

Ask the JWs if they agree that Colossians 1:15-17 means that Christ created everything. They’ll say yes. Then show them Isaiah 44:24: “This is what the Lord says, your Redeemer who formed you in the womb: ‘I am the Lord, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself.'” Ask them why, if Christ created “all things,” it says that the Lord God – the Hebrew word used here is Yahweh (Jehovah) – did it by Himself.

Step Two:

Tell the Witnesses you believe God is not a God of confusion, but of order and truth. Since He inspired Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16), Scripture cannot contradict itself. Quote the following verses and show that only the Catholic position harmonizes all of the texts.

John 1:1-3 – “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . All things were made by Him: and without Him was made nothing that was made.”

Before you bring up this verse, ask the JWs if they believe there are false gods. They will say yes. Then ask them to read John 1:1 from their Bible, which changes the passage to read, “the Word was a god” (see below). Then ask if Christ is the “true” God or a “false” God. They will say a “true” god, but that He is not the One True Almighty God. Then ask them how they explain that Jehovah God commands us to have no other God besides Him (Ex. 20:3). Christ is either the One True God, or He is a false god (cf. Isa. 43:10; 44:6-8; John 17:3; 1 Cor. 8:4; 1 Tim. 2:5; James 2:19).

Christ is here clearly identified as God, the Creator of all things. Notice that Genesis 1:1 says “In the beginning God created” everything in the universe. This means Christ is God.

The JWs will respond that the Greek text actually says “the Word was a god”; meaning, Jesus is not the one true God (Jehovah); He was “godlike,” but still just a man. They argue that because the Greek definite article ho (the) is not used before the Greek word for God (theos), when referring to Jesus, He cannot be the God, Jehovah. There are defects with this argument.

First, in this passage the word theos is a predicate nominative, and according to Koine Greek grammar rules, predicate nominatives do not take the definite article.

Second, the JW’s are inconsistent. Their New World Translation Bible translates theos (without the definite article ho) as “Jehovah” or “God” numerous times (cf. Matt. 5:9, 6:24; Luke 1:35, 2:40; John 1:6, 12,13, 18; Rom. 1:7, 17,18; Titus 1:1). The reason they won’t translate it that way in John 1:1 is because to do so would shatter their claim that Christ is not God.

Third, Christ is called ho theos (the God) elsewhere in Scripture. For example: “But to the Son [the Father] saith, ‘Thy throne, O God (ho theos) is for ever and ever'” (Heb. 1:8; see also Titus 2:13, where the definite article tou [the genetive singular form of ho] precedes the phrase “Great God and Savior”; and “Thomas answered, and said to [Jesus]: ‘My Lord and My God'” (John 20:28). The Greek reads: ho kurios mou kai ho theos mou (“the Lord of me and the God of me”). If the Witnesses argue that in John 20:28 Thomas was exaggerating about Jesus, point out that if Jesus was not God, Thomas would have been blaspheming and Jesus would have rebuked him, but He didn’t – He clearly approves of what Thomas said.

The JWs argue that Thomas referred to Jesus as “Lord” and then to the Father as “God,” respond that there is no evidence for this in the text and Thomas was directly addressing Jesus, not the Father.

Revelation 22:6 – “And the Lord God of the spirits of the prophets (ho kurios ho theos) sent His angel to show His servants the things which must be done shortly.”

Who is the Lord God who sent His angel? The Witnesses will say it is Jehovah, but Revelation 22:16 (just ten verses later) says: “I Jesus have sent my angel, to testify to you these things in the Churches.” Jesus is “the Lord God of the spirits of the prophets” spoken of in verse 6.

Luke 12:8-9 – “And I tell you, every one who acknowledges Me before men, the Son of man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.”

Matthew 13:41 says, “The Son of man will send His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers.” Jesus and God are synonymous.

Genesis 18:25 and Joel 3:12 – Jehovah is the Judge of the world.

Matthew 25:31-46, John 5:27, 9:39; Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10; and 2 Timothy 4:1 say that Jesus Christ is the Judge of the world. How can Jesus and Jehovah both be the supreme Judge?

Exodus 3:15-18 – “Then Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is His Name?” what shall I say to them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’. . . ‘Say this to the people of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you. . . The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.” This is My Name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.'”

The Hebrew consonants for the divine name, I AM, are YHWH. By inserting the first three vowels for the Hebrew title for God, Adonai, and corrupting the pronunciation, the term JEHOVAH is made. Ask the JWs if “Jehovah” (I AM) is the Name of the one true God.

Ask the Witnesses if they agree that using the divine Name in vain, or applying it to oneself, would be considered blasphemy in the Old Testament (cf. Ex. 20:7; Deut. 5:11). Ask them what the penalty for doing this would be (cf. Lev. 24:16).

In John 8:21-59 Jesus repeatedly claims the divine name “I AM” for Himself. The Jews understood that He was calling Himself God and wanted to stone Him for blasphemy (cf. John 5:18, 8:59, 10:30-36). Ask the Witnesses why the Jews would seek to stone Jesus if He wasn’t claiming to be God, especially since execution by stoning was reserved by Jewish Law for only a few crimes.

Exodus 20:10 – “But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God.”

Jesus calls himself “The Lord of the Sabbath” in Mark 2:28, thus identifying Himself as God. Cf., Isaiah 8:13 (referred to in 1 Peter 3:15) and Joel 2:31-32 (quoted in Acts 2:20-21 and Romans 10:13).

Acts 20:28 – “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with His own Blood.”

Ask the Witnesses when Jehovah ever shed His own Blood. Ask them if Christ shed His own Blood for the Church. If they argue that this passage should read “by the Blood of His own Son,” tell them the Greek word son (huios) does not appear. It reads: periepoiesato dia tou haimatos tou idiou.

Finally, point out the many references where Christ is said to have been slain and shed His Blood for the Church (cf. Matt. 28:27-28; Mark 14:24; Luke 20:20; Rev. 5:6). Point out to them Revelation 5:9: “Worthy art Thou to take the scroll and to open its seals, for Thou wast slain and by Thy Blood didst ransom men for God . . .” This clearly refers to Christ as God.

Does The Bible Teach Sola Scriptura?

Posted: September 8, 2010 by CatholicJules in Apologetics

Does The Bible Teach Sola Scriptura?

James White vs. Patrick Madrid

September 28, 1993
Bayview Orthodox Presbyterian Church Chula Vista, California
Format: 20-minute opening statement (each)
10-minute rebuttal presentation (JW)
10-minute return rebuttal (PM)
cross-examination period (4 total questions)
– 30-second question
– 2-minute response
– 1-minute rebuttal
– 1-minute return rebuttal
12-minute closing statement (each)

JW: OPENING STATEMENT (20 minutes). Good evening, it’s good to be with you. I’m very thankful to the church for allowing us to be here. I need to thank all of you San Diegans. I understand there’s a big push on to make this a very friendly city. And I think it’s very friendly of you to bring in Phoenix weather, just for me, while I’m here. Very kind of you. Except in Phoenix all of our buildings have air conditioners. And you need to, sort of, put those two things together and that will make things a whole lot easier.

There have always been those who have refused to give the Scriptures their proper place. There have always been those who wished to add to Scripture their own authority and the unique teachings that set them apart. Indeed, Basil of Caesarea ran into some of the same problems long ago in replying to his opponents who appealed to their customs and traditions as relevant and authoritative. He said, “If custom is to be taken in proof of what is right, then it is certainly competent for me to put forward on my side the custom which obtains here. If they reject this we are clearly not bound to follow them. Therefore, let God-inspired Scripture decide between us, and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the Word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth.”

And so we gather this evening to debate the same question. Is the Bible the sole and infallible rule of faith for the Church? Or must we have other revelation from God? Do we need the Book of Mormon, or the writings of the Watchtower, or Mary Baker Eddy, or the so-called Apostolic unwritten traditions of Rome? Does the Bible teach its own sufficiency to function as the sole rule of faith for the Church?

Well, we must begin by defining the doctrine under discussion this evening. And let me begin by defining what the doctrine of sola scriptura does not say.

First of all, it is not a claim that the Bible contains all knowledge. The Bible is not exhaustive in every detail. John 21:25 speaks to the fact that there are many things that Jesus said and did that are not recorded in John, or in fact in any book in the world because the whole books of the world could not contain it. But the Bible does not have to be exhaustive to function as the sole rule of faith for the Church.

We do not need to know the color of Thomas’ eyes. We do not need to know the menu of each meal of the Apostolic band for the Scriptures to function as the sole rule of faith for the Church. Secondly, it is not a denial of the Church’s authority to teach God’s truth. I Timothy 3:15 describes the Church as “the pillar and foundation of the truth.” The truth is in Jesus Christ and in His Word. The Church teaches truth and calls men to Christ and, in so doing, functions as the pillar and foundation thereof. The Church does not add revelation or rule over Scripture. The Church being the bride of Christ, listens to the Word of Christ, which is found in God-breathed Scripture.

Thirdly, it is not a denial that God’s Word has been spoken. Apostolic preaching was authoritative in and of itself. Yet, the Apostles proved their message from Scripture, as we see in Acts 17:2, and 18:28, and John commended those in Ephesus for testing those who claimed to be Apostles, Revelation 2:2. The Apostles were not afraid to demonstrate the consistency between their teaching and the Old Testament.

And, finally, sola scriptura is not a denial of the role of the Holy Spirit in guiding and enlightening the Church.

What then is sola scriptura?

The doctrine of sola scriptura, simply stated, is that the Scriptures and the Scriptures alone are sufficient to function as the regula fide, the “rule of faith” for the Church. All that one must believe to be a Christian is found in Scripture and in no other source. That which is not found in Scripture is not binding upon the Christian conscience. To be more specific, I provide the following definition:

The Bible claims to be the sole and sufficient rule of faith for the Christian Church. The Scriptures are not in need of any supplement. Their authority comes from their nature as God-breathed revelation. Their authority is not dependent upon man, Church or council. The Scriptures are self-consistent, self-interpreting, and self-authenticating. The Christian Church looks at the Scriptures as the only and sufficient rule of faith and the Church is always subject to the Word, and is constantly reformed thereby.

Now, given this, I would like to explain how I plan on winning my debate this evening with Mr. Madrid. Sola scriptura is both a positive and a negative statement. Positively, the doctrine teaches that the Bible is sufficient to function as the sole, infallible rule of faith for the Church. Negatively, it denies the existence of any other rule of faith as being necessary for the man of God. Hence, logically, I must do the following things:

First, I must demonstrate that the Bible teaches that it is A rule of faith for the Church.

Secondly, I must demonstrate that the Bible is sufficient to function as the sole rule of faith for the Church, that is, I must demonstrate its sufficiency, or in the language used in the New Testament itself, that the Bible is artios.

And, thirdly, I must demonstrate that the Bible as a sufficient rule of faith does not refer us to any other rule of faith.

Absent the demonstration on Mr. Madrid’s part of some other rule of faith, the preceding is sufficient to establish the fact that the Bible teaches the doctrine of sola scriptura.

Now, some opponents of sola scriptura have engaged in what can only be called cheap debating tricks in attempting to force the defender of Scriptural sufficiency to prove a “universal negative.” That is, the less honest debater might attempt to force me to prove the non-existence of another rule of faith. Since I am saying that Scripture is unique in its function as the rule of faith for the Church, some might challenge me to demonstrate that no other rule of faith could possibly exist. To illustrate this, I call your attention to my pen. Yes, to my pen!

If our debate this evening was that I was going to stand here and say that this is the only pen of its kind in all the universe, how would I go about proving it? Well, the only way I could prove the statement “there is no other pen like this in all the universe,” is if I looked in all of your purses, and all of your shirt pockets, and in all the stores in the world that carry pens, and look through all the houses, and all over the planet Earth, and the Moon, and the planets in the Solar System, and in the entire universe, looking for another pen like this. And, of course, I could not do that. But it would be very easy for Mr. Madrid to win that debate. All he needs to do is go out, get a Cross Medallist pen, walk up here, hold it right next to mine, and say, “See! Another pen, just like yours!” and he’s won the debate.

In light of this, I would assert that Mr. Madrid must either recognize this reality, and not attempt to win this debate by doing nothing more than depending upon an illogical demand; or, he must demonstrate the existence of “the other pen.” That is, he must prove to us what the Council of Trent said was true. I quote, “It also clearly perceives that these truths and rules are contained in the written books and in the unwritten traditions, which, received by the Apostles from the mouth of Christ Himself, or from the Apostles themselves, the Holy Ghost dictating, have come down to us, transmitted as it were, from hand to hand.”

Hence, I shall demonstrate that the Bible teaches its sufficiency to function as the sole rule of faith for the Church and, if Mr. Madrid wishes to attempt to show us some other rule of faith, I will gladly respond to such an attempt.

Now, the doctrine of sola scriptura is based upon the inspiration of Scripture. Our primary passage this evening, I hope you have your Bibles with you, will be found in Paul’s second letter to Timothy. The gentlemen from Catholic Answers have made it a practice for years to assert that Protestants cannot provide a single verse that teaches sola scriptura. Yet, they are quite mistaken in this, though they have been corrected a number of times in the past, and let us examine the passage to see if this is the case. II Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for instruction, for training in righteousness, in order that the man of God might be complete, fully equipped for every good work.”

We begin by noting that Scripture is theopneustos, “God-breathed.” The term is very strong. I refer anyone who wishes a full discussion of this term to B.B. Warfield’s excellent treatment of it. That which is theopneustos has ultimate authority, for there can be no higher authority than God’s very speaking. “All Scripture is God-breathed.”

It is common for Roman Catholic apologists to follow an error made by John Henry Cardinal Newman, with reference to this passage. Indeed, Karl Keating, Patrick’s associate at Catholic Answers, makes the same mistake in his book, Catholicism and Fundamentalism. And he repeated it again only recently during a debate on this subject in Denver during the papal visit. Newman said that if this verse proves the sufficiency of Scripture, it proves too much, for Paul is talking here only of the Old Testament, which would leave the New Testament as an unnecessary addition. But such is not Paul’s point at all. Scripture, Paul’s point is, if it is Scripture at all, is God-breathed.

Paul is not speaking about the extent of the canon but the nature of Scripture itself as originating in God. All Scripture then, including the New Testament, is God-breathed. Because Scripture is God-breathed, and hence represents God’s very voice speaking, it is profitable for the work of the ministry in the Church of Jesus Christ. We are told that the work of teaching, and rebuking, and correcting, and training in righteousness, can be undertaken due to the nature of Scripture as God-breathed. What is Paul’s point?

The Church is not left without the voice of God. For when the Church listens to Scripture, she is hearing her Lord speaking to her. The authority of the Church then, in teaching, and rebuking, and instructing, is derived, despite Roman Catholic claims to the contrary, from Scripture itself.

Now, Mr. Madrid will certainly disagree for, in addressing this very passage less than fifty days ago in a debate on this topic, he said, speaking specifically of verse 16, “I defy you to show me where it says ‘sufficient,’ in your remarks you said, when you cited II Timothy 3:16, you said, ‘sufficient,’ but that is not what the Bible teaches.” Of course, no one asserts that the term, “profitable,” in verse 16, equates to “sufficiency.” When his opponents referred him to verse 17, Mr. Madrid said, “Well, 17 doesn’t say ‘sufficient’ either! 17 says, ‘that, so the one that belongs to God may be competent and equipped for every good work.’ That does not teach sufficiency. Where does the Bible teach that it is sufficient?” Is Mr. Madrid correct here? Well, let’s see.

Verse 17 continues the thought of verse 16. The fact that the Church has God’s voice always present with her in God-breathed Scripture, means the man of God, specifically here, of course, Timothy, but I doubt anyone would disagree that these comments refer to all those who belong to Christ and who are a part of His body, the Church, might be complete, fully equipped for every good work.

The first term to examine, is the adjective translated, “complete,” the Greek term, a[rtios” (artios). We note that it is related in its root to the second term we will examine, the verb which is translated, “fully equipped,” that being the verb, ejxartivzw (exartizo). Paul is here providing us with a play on words–the verb compounding and emphasizing the meaning present in the adjective. Now, the term, a[rtios”, Vine tells us means, “fitted, complete.” Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich and Danker tell us the term means, “complete, capable, proficient.” That is, as they say, “able to meet all demands,” giving the specific citation of II Timothy 3:17 as the reference. One of the newest lexical resources, Louw and Nida’s Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domains, uses the term, “qualified” as well. The great Greek scholar, Richard Trench, in his Synonyms of the New Testament, said with reference to this term, “If we ask ourselves under what special aspects ‘completeness’ is contemplated in artios, it would be safe to answer that it is not as the presence only of all the parts which are necessary for that ‘completeness’, but involves, further, the adaptation and aptitude of these parts for the ends which they were designed to serve. The man of God, St. Paul would say, should be furnished and accomplished with all which is necessary for the carrying out of the work to which he is appointed.”

I pause only long enough to note that Paul here asserts that the man of God can be complete, capable, proficient, and qualified because he has available to him, always, God’s inspired Scriptures. Surely, here Paul would have to direct us to any and all other rules of faith that we would need to be complete but, he does not.

But, Paul was not satisfied to merely state that the man of God may be a[rtios”, “complete,” but, he goes on to define what he means. “Fully equipped for every good work.” The term is ejxartivzw, here in the perfect-passive-participial form, the prefix, ex, having, as Robertson noted, the perfective force. Vine tells us that here in II Timothy, it means “to fit out, that is, to furnish completely.” Bauer, Arndt Gingrich and Danker expressed this with the term, “equip.” Hendrickson makes reference to a related term, katartizw (katartizo), and it’s use at Luke 6:40, where it is translated, “fully trained.” We see here, then, that Paul teaches that the man of God is thoroughly or completely equipped for every good work. Now, what does it mean to say that one “is fully equipped,” if not to say that one is sufficient for a task?

I have recently taken up long-distance bicycle riding, and I’ve found a lovely little bike shack, a bike store where they are able to give me everything that I need, the clothes and the gloves and the helmet and the bike and the tires and the tubes, which you need a lot–they are able to fully equip me for the task of riding a bike. Does that not mean then, that they are sufficient as equippers for their task? Most definitely it does!

We further see, the Scriptures can equip the man of God for every good work. Now, Mr. Madrid, do you not believe that it is a good work to pray to Mary? Yet, the Scriptures nowhere teach this. Do you not believe that it is good to believe and teach that Mary was bodily assumed into Heaven? Yet, the Bible does not teach this. Do you not believe that the man of God should teach, in the Church, that the pope, in Rome, is infallible in his teaching office? Yet, the Scriptures know nothing of such a concept.

We see then, that the Roman position is contradicted by that of the Apostle. For he knew of no other rule of faith that was necessary so that the man of God could be equipped for every good work. No other rule of faith, that is, than the Scriptures.

But, finally, we remember Mr. Madrid’s challenge to show him a verse that teaches sufficiency. Mr. Madrid, I would like to direct you to the Scriptural standard, “by the mouth of two or three witnesses shall a fact be established.” I first refer you to Louw and Nida’s Greek-English Lexicon, where we encounter the definition given for the semantic domain of ejxartivzw, I quote, “To make someone completely adequate, or sufficient for something; to make adequate, to furnish completely, to cause to be fully qualified; adequacy.” They translate our passage as, “completely qualified for every good deed.” While Louw and Nida give us two witnesses, I wish to direct you as well to the well-known scholarly resource by Fritz Reinecker and Cleon Rogers, entitled Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament. Here, we find the following, in regards to both terms, here in verse 17: “a[rtios”: fit, complete, capable, sufficient, i.e., able to meet all demands; ejxartivzw: completely outfitted, fully furnished, fully equipped, fully supplied.”

Hence, we see the following:

Number 1: Paul here teaches that the Bible is A rule of faith. For he says the Church’s function of teaching and rebuking and instructing is to be based upon God-inspired Scriptures.

Number 2: We see that this passage teaches the sufficiency of the Scriptures to function in this way. And,

number 3: We see that Paul not only does not refer us to another rule of faith, but implicitly denies the necessity of such a rule of faith by his teaching on the ability of Scripture to completely equip the man of God.

Therefore, I assert that the doctrine of sola scriptura is taught plainly in this passage. Mr. Madrid must be able to fully refute the information I have provided to you to win this evening’s debate.

Now, one might well ask, “Is this the only place where sola scriptura is taught?” Most certainly not, though it is the clearest. For example, we find this concept plainly enunciated in the words of the Lord Jesus Christ when coming into conflict with the traditions of the Jewish leaders. Note the words recorded in Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 15: “Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, ‘Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat.’ Jesus replied, ‘And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, “Honor your father and mother” and “Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.” But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,” he is not to “honor his father” with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.'”

Here we find the Lord providing us with the example that we must follow this evening. The Jewish leaders objected to the fact that the disciples did not follow the rigorous hand-washing rituals of the Pharisees. They identified this as the breaking of the “tradition of the elders.” They firmly believed that this body of tradition was authoritative, and some even believed that it had been passed down from Moses himself (though this surely is without warrant). But does Jesus accept this claim of authority? Not at all! Instead, He launches a counterattack against these leaders by pointing out how they nullify the command of God through the following of their own traditions. Specifically, in this, with reference to the Korban rule. The Lord Jesus holds this traditional teaching up to the light of Scripture and finds it wanting.

In the same way, we, too, must hold any tradition up to the light of Scripture, for no tradition is on the same level of authority as Scripture. Traditions are not God-breathed and, hence, are subject to examination on the part of the higher authority of Scripture. Even though the Jews believed their traditions to have authority, they are held responsible for recognizing that God speaks to them in Scripture, not in their traditions.

The same is true tonight. While Rome may claim divine authority for her supposedly sacred traditions, and even subjugate Scripture, so as to make it a part of Sacred Tradition, needing other aspects such as the supposedly Apostolic unwritten traditions, and the authority of the magisterium of the Church, the person who wishes to follow the example of Christ will hold such traditions up to the light of Scripture, knowing how fearful it is to be found guilty of nullifying the Word of God for the sake of merely human traditions.

And so, my friends, I present to you the wonderful doctrine of the sufficiency of God’s inspired Scriptures. As a follower of Jesus Christ, and a minister in His Church, I gladly proclaim to you the glorious grace of God in giving to the Church the Scriptures, so that we can always be assured of hearing God’s voice speaking to us. We need not wonder about supposedly authoritative traditions whose origins are obscure, and whose teachings are suspect. Instead, we have the certainty of holding in our hands the same Scriptures that our Lord Jesus described as the very speaking of the Father Himself. This is the firm ground upon which the Church can stand in an uncertain and threatening world. This is the rule of faith that constantly calls the Church to Christ’s likeness. Let us never abandon the firm foundation of God-breathed Scripture, the Word of God, the Bible. Thank you.

PM: OPENING STATEMENT (20 MINUTES). The Bible says in Proverbs 18:17, “The man who pleads his case first seems to be in the right until his opponent comes and puts him to the test.” And, folks, that’s what I’m here to do tonight. I’m here to test the claim of sola scriptura.

My opponent has just given you a very forceful, a very smooth presentation of the Protestant doctrine of “the Bible alone,” a case which may seem convincing at first glance. My job is show you why he’s wrong. Mr. White has appealed, at least very briefly, to the writings of the early Church Fathers, in an attempt to bolster his position, or to prepare your disposition to hear it, claiming that a few of the Church Fathers taught sola scriptura, or at least by giving that implication.

I will resist the temptation to bury Mr. White under a mountain of quotations from the Church Fathers, proving they did not teach sola scriptura. I have here 52 pages of quotations from the early Church Fathers, including Cyril of Jerusalem, Athanasius, and all the other fathers that James might like to quote, showing that they did not teach sola scriptura. And also showing that Mr. White, if he chooses to refer to them, is misrepresenting their views, just as the Jehovah’s Witnesses misrepresent the Church Fathers on the Trinity. The way a kidnapper might cut and paste a newspaper to make a ransom note, he may try to cut and paste quotes from the Church Fathers to create the illusion that they believed in sola scriptura. This ploy would be unfortunate because what the Church Fathers believed or didn’t believe is not the subject of our debate tonight. The subject is “Does the Bible teach sola scriptura?” What the early Church Fathers believed is irrelevant, so I won’t waste time by raising or responding to any material that’s not under discussion.

Now, many of you here tonight are Protestants. You’ve been raised to believe in sola scriptura, the notion that the Bible is the sole rule of faith for Christians. In fact, you probably take it for granted that the Bible teaches this. So my task is to demonstrate that sola scriptura is unBiblical. I don’t have to prove the case for Tradition. Mr. White claims that I must be able to prove every point from Scripture alone. So, sola scriptura itself must be proved from Scripture alone. And if it can’t be done, sola scriptura is a self-refuting proposition, and therefore it is false.

Tonight’s debate is about truth. The truth Jesus wants for you and for me to stand firm and hold fast to. Well, what is the truth about sola scriptura? Does the Bible really teach it? Did the Apostles teach it? Did Jesus teach it?

Many approach Scripture with the predetermined conviction that the Catholic Church must be wrong. So they search to find verses which they can cobble together in an attempt to refute a given Catholic teaching. Their hostility to the Catholic Church often makes it very difficult for them to view the Catholic case objectively. I would ask you to please, tonight, put aside any predetermined ideas you may have about sola scriptura, pro or con. Let the Lord speak to you, tonight, through Scripture. You’ll see, I believe, that the Bible does not teach sola scriptura, the Apostles did not teach sola scriptura, Jesus did not teach sola scriptura. And I believe that if you want to be faithful to the teachings of Jesus, you must reject sola scriptura as a tradition of men. If you don’t reject it, God will hold you accountable.

Protestant apologists commonly make several mistakes in their zeal to vindicate sola scriptura. My opponent, tonight, may not make all of these mistakes, but you need to know about them so that you can know how to handle them when you encounter them.

Mistake #1 (if you have your notepads out, I’d ask you to write these down). Mistake #1: Confusing formal and material sufficiency. This is a crucial point in tonight’s debate. It may surprise you to learn that the Catholic position allows for what we call, “the material sufficiency of Scripture.” This means that Scripture contains everything necessary for Christian teaching. All doctrines can be found there, implicitly or explicitly, but they’re all there.

Formal sufficiency, on the other hand, is the position that Mr. White is attempting to prove. Formal sufficiency means that Scripture contains all necessary Christian truth, and (and this is a very important “and”) that Scripture’s meaning is so clear that the Church and Tradition are not necessary to arrive at an accurate interpretation of the meaning of Scripture.

In the course of this debate, Mr. White may make the mistake of assuming that the Catholic Church rejects the material sufficiency of Scripture. It doesn’t. What it does reject is the error of the formal sufficiency of Scripture. As a Catholic I contend that all Christian doctrines are at least implicitly present in Scripture. But that doesn’t mean Scripture is always sufficiently clear so that every Christian doctrine is explicitly and conclusively evident.

For example, the Bible does not say that Christians should baptize infants. Nor does it say that only adults must be baptized. It simply doesn’t tell us. Paul and the other writers of the New Testament assumed their readers already knew the answer to this question from observing the practice of the Church, so they didn’t see the need to address this issue explicitly.

Some people, such as Lutherans, Methodists, and Presbyterians say the Biblical evidence that babies were baptized in the New Testament is good. So, therefore, we should baptize babies. Others, such as Baptists, Pentecostals, and Jehovah’s Witnesses say the Biblical evidence shows that babies were not, and should not be baptized. Scholars on both sides of the debate admit that the Biblical evidence is simply inconclusive.

But, if the evidence is inconclusive on this, or any other doctrine, then Scripture is manifestly not sufficient to give us a conclusive interpretation of everything that it teaches. In fact, Scripture itself denies that its doctrines are always clear to all readers. In II Peter 3:15,16 we read, “Our dear brother, Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and the unstable people distort, as they do other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” So, we see, here, that the Bible warns us that its doctrines can be misunderstood, they can be unclear, and they can be distorted.

Mistake #2: Using a hermeneutic of anachronism. Protestant apologists read back into Scripture, and the writings of the Church Fathers, the particular doctrines they wish to find. And they ignore, or explain away, what they don’t wish to see. Mormons do this in their attempt to prove, so-called, that the Bible and the early Church believed in many gods.

Since the time the Devil used Scripture to tempt Jesus in the desert, doctrinal error has always been advanced under the guise of Bible verses. Jesus said in Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets who will come to you in sheep’s clothing but, underneath, they are ravenous wolves.” Error comes packaged under the wrapping paper of Bible verses. The Arians did it. The Albigensians did it. The Mormons do it. And, I’m afraid tonight, Mr. White is doing it.

Mistake #3: Thinking that the phrase, “Word of God” applies to Scripture alone. Scripture does refer to itself as God’s Word, but many other things are called God’s Word as well. For example, we see that Jesus is called the Word of God in flesh, in John 1:1-14. The Bible speaks of God’s sovereign blessings that He speaks on His people as His Word in Isaiah 55:10,11. And the Bible calls the oral proclamation of the Gospel, the Word of God, such as in I Thessalonians 2:13, where Paul says, “And for this reason we too give thanks to God unceasingly that in receiving the word of God from hearing us, you have received not a human word, but as it truly is, the word of God.” So, remember, when you see tonight, or hear tonight, the phrase, “Word of God,” it doesn’t always mean the Bible. We have to be careful to search for the meaning of this verse in context. Now, Mr. White will only beg the question if he tries to use verses such as Psalm 119:89, where the Psalmist says, “Forever, oh Lord, your Word is settled in the heavens.” This verse, and the other verses like it, which describe the attributes of the Word of God, don’t prove the formal sufficiency of Scripture. All they prove is that there is a certain attribute that the Word of God has. And, again, we have to know whether it’s the written Word of God, or the oral Word of God, or the Word of God in flesh. The Bible uses it in various ways.

Mistake #4: Confusing “testimony” with “authority”. Some Protestants argue that if the Catholic Church were the official witness to God’s Word, it would be over God’s Word. But this is false. Just because one person serves as a witness to another person doesn’t mean that he has an authority over that person. I’ll give you a few examples.

John the Baptist testified, and he testified authoritatively to Jesus Christ, the Word of God. But John the Baptist did not have authority over Jesus Christ. In the same way, the Church, as the bride of Christ, recognizes Christ’s voice and serves as an accurate, faithful witness to it. But that does not mean, and Catholics do not claim, that the Church has authority over the Word of God.

Mistake #5: Many say we can’t have more than one ultimate authority. On the surface, that might sound convincing. But, notice, that it’s false, when you look at it more carefully. The four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are equally ultimate and equally authoritative. And one Gospel does not subjugate the other Gospel. The same with the prophet Isaiah and the prophet Jeremiah. Here were two prophets of God, walking the earth at the same time, delivering inspired oracles of God for His people. He didn’t subjugate one prophet over another. They were both ultimate authorities, in their own way. And, yet, there was no subjugation, they worked harmoniously together. As is God’s plan.

Mistake #6 (which we have already heard tonight): The attempt to shift the burden of proof. Sometimes less scrupulous and honest Protestant apologists will attempt to divert attention away from their very weak case for sola scriptura, by claiming that the Catholic must prove the Catholic position on Tradition. The Catholic Church can demonstrate the Biblical grounds for this doctrine, but Tradition is not on trial, here tonight, no matter what Mr. White may tell you. Sola scriptura is on trial. If you don’t believe me, then go get the flyer that Mr. White produced which says, “Does the Bible teach sola scriptura?” That’s the issue, don’t forget that.
Don’t let him try to fool you, if he tries to shift the burden of proof onto my shoulders, saying I must prove the Catholic view. I don’t have to. I don’t have to prove the Catholic position on Tradition, Mr. White, or infant baptism, or the papacy, or even Bingo. The question is, does the Bible teach sola scriptura?

Mr. White uses the “pen” analogy. I find that very intriguing. He argues that to prove there is no other pen like this pen, he would have the impossible task of searching the entire earth–all the bookstores, all the pockets, the whole earth. He would have visit the Moon, he’d have to search all the planets in the Solar System, he would have to search the entire universe to make sure that no other pen like this pen existed. No, Mr. White. Tonight, this Bible is your universe. This is what you have to search. You don’t have to go to any other planets, tonight, Mr. White. I invite you to stay right here on planet earth, and simply show us, where in the Bible the doctrine of sola scriptura is found.

Now, in our remaining moments, let’s examine some key Scripture passages that are frequently brought up. Let’s turn immediately to II Timothy 3:16, 17, which Mr. White leans so heavily upon, and let’s take a look at what it really says. He quoted it for you, already, so I won’t feel the need to quote it again, but I do want to quote from his book, where he says (this is on page 42 of his book, Answers to Catholic Claims, I believe that the case for sola scriptura is so flimsy, that if you want to find how flimsy it is, you can just go to Mr. White’s book, Answers to Catholic Claims, which purports to deal with the sufficiency, or the formal sufficiency of Scripture. This book, I think, shows how flimsy that case is), Mr. White says, “II Timothy 3:16,17 literally screams sufficiency!” Well, this verse is screaming, but it’s only because of the way Mr. White is twisting it, in his attempt to shoehorn sola scriptura into it. II Timothy 3:17 does not teach the formal sufficiency of Scripture, folks, it simply doesn’t. It teaches, perhaps, material sufficiency, which I would be perfectly happy to go along with. But, just because Scripture contains all the necessary equipment, remember, Paul is saying that the man of God, through Scripture, will be equipped, will be competent, will be “thoroughly furnished”, as it says in the King James, for every good work. Every Catholic says, “Amen!” to that. There’s no argument. But, just because it will give you all the equipment that you need, doesn’t mean that it will necessarily make you able to use that equipment properly. Let me demonstrate.

Scripture says we must rightly divide the Word of God. That means that some people can wrongly divide it. They can wrongly use it. Some of you here, tonight, will think I am wrongly using the Word of God. So that, in effect, proves what I am saying. Some people will use it correctly, others won’t. So, just having the Bible alone is not enough to fully equip the man of God, in the sense that, he may have all the raw materials, he may have all the equipment, but he may not know how to use it properly.

Mr. White used a very quaint example about a bike store. And how the bike store can outfit him thoroughly, give him everything he needs, bike tires, inner tubes, helmets, and all the various things that he might need. But what about, Mr. White, if you don’t know how to ride a bike? Or what if you don’t know the rules of the road? Or what if you don’t know the proper way to handle a bike in difficult terrain, or in bad weather. The Church and Sacred Tradition, which the Bible does talk about, and we’ll show later tonight, is in that support role. Sure, the Bible will fully equip the man of God, but it doesn’t presuppose that the man of God automatically knows how to use that Scripture. That’s where the Church comes in, and Sacred Tradition. Those are the ways that the Church helps to guide the man of God in the proper use of Sacred Scripture. Don’t forget that point.

Finally, how can Mr. White assert that Paul has in mind the formal sufficiency of Scripture, when, in the very same Epistle, in II Timothy 2:2, which I’m sure he’ll get to later, Paul charges Timothy with handing on oral tradition, oral tradition.

One other point. Mr. White places a very heavy emphasis on Greek and Greek grammar, and all of those other fancy ways of studying Scripture, but they’re irrelevant, tonight, for tonight’s purpose, because we can take Mr. White’s principle, his interpretive principle and apply it to another passage, very similar, and find out if it works. Mr. White says, in effect, because the Bible says it will make you perfect and complete, lacking in nothing, or perfect and complete, fully equipped, therefore, you don’t need anything else. It excludes everything else.

Well, let’s apply that, for example, to James 1:4. Paul [sic] says here, “Let your perseverance be perfect so that you may perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Now, what does that mean, Mr. White? Does that mean that if I persevere, that I’m perfectly complete, therefore, I don’t need the Bible? Does that mean that I don’t need fellowship? I do not need prayer? I don’t need to do the good works that Paul talks about so often, as those that accompany saving faith? What about those? I do need all of those, but, if the Bible is to be sufficient, if it’s proved to be sufficient from II Timothy 3:17, simply because it says it will make you complete, then the Bible proves that perseverance and, by the way, the context in James 1 and 2 is perseverance and good works, that perseverance and good works will make you perfectly complete, lacking in nothing. No Protestant would accept that hermeneutic principle. I do not accept Mr. White’s faulty, and shabby misuse of II Timothy 3:17.

Mr. White mentioned the verses in Scripture, Matthew 15 and Colossians 2 (perhaps he didn’t mention Colossians 2), but these are places where Jesus [sic] condemns the traditions of men. Fair enough! Traditions of men which are bad should be condemned. But not all tradition is to be condemned, in fact, elsewhere, Paul praises oral tradition.

We don’t have time to go into all of these, at the moment, we’ll save them for later. But just jot these down. I Corinthians 11:2, where Paul says, “I commend you for holding firm to the traditions, just as I gave them to you.” II Thessalonians 2:15, Paul commands the Church to stand firm and hold fast in the traditions that they had been given, whether orally, spoken, or through an epistle of theirs. So, in other words, Tradition is one major category, and there are two subsets in the one category: oral tradition, written tradition. That’s what the Word of God says. I’m sure we’re going to get heavily into II Thessalonians 2 later in the night.

There are many other things I’d like to say. There are many other points I’d like to bring up. But, I want to mention one thing. Tonight, we can only cover the peaks and valleys in this debate. There is a mountain of evidence that can be brought forth, Biblically and historically (although, remember “historically” is not the emphasis of tonight’s debate) which can show that the Bible doesn’t teach sola scriptura, that the Church didn’t believe sola scriptura in the early days. But, I want you to concentrate on one point. I’ll try to give you as many as time will allow, as many reasons as time will allow, why sola scriptura is false. If you can only remember one of these reasons, please remember this one. The central flaw, you might say, “the fatal flaw,” of Mr. White’s position, tonight, is that, unless sola scriptura can be proven from Scripture alone, which he has not done simply by repairing to,[…] and saying, well, it says you’ll be made equipped for every good work, therefore, that means sufficient. It doesn’t mean sufficient, folks. No more than James 1:4 means sufficient, as far as perseverance and good works.

So, if he can’t show this from Scripture alone, sola scriptura is, itself, unscriptural. That means it’s false. It’s a tradition of men, which must be rejected by everyone who wants to be faithful to the teachings of Scripture. That’s why I reject sola scriptura, because I love the written Word of God. I don’t want to see it undermined. I don’t want to see its authority corrupted, or compromised. I don’t want to see Scripture become the private play toy of every individual person who has some idea, whether true or bogus, about how religion should be. That is not what Jesus intended for His Church. That is not what the Bible says about itself.

The fact is, there are no verses which teach that Scripture is formally sufficient, as I am most confident Mr. White’s arguments, this evening, will demonstrate. Thank you.

JW: Rebuttal (10 minutes): I wish to immediately respond to some of the things Mr. Madrid just said so that they are fresh in your mind, because they amazed me so. Mr. Madrid said, “All that fancy stuff about Greek is irrelevant.” We are talking about the language in which Paul wrote and the meanings of the terms he used, and it was just labeled “irrelevant.” Mr. Madrid, I would like to suggest that you look at those languages, because you made a very fatal error in your presentation. In fact, it is interesting: you utilized one of the four passages that Mr. Keating utilized in Denver, using the term “complete.” Matthew 19:21, Colossians 1:28, Colossians 4:12, and James 1:4, all use the term “complete.” And Catholic Answers likes to say, “Well, see, if 2 Timothy 3 says this, then all these other things make you complete, too!” And Mr. Madrid called it “faulty and shabby work” that I had done on the passage, and said that 2 Timothy 3 no more proves sola scriptura than James 1:4. There’s a little problem: none of those passages use the terms used in 2 Timothy if you looked at it in the Greek. It is a common error for a beginning Bible student to assume that an English translation is going to utilize different words for different Greek terms. The terms used in Matthew 19:21 are tevleios” (teleios), Colossians 1:21 (sic) tevleios”, Colossians 4:12 teleios” and James 1:4 tevleios” and oJloklhroi (holokleroi). None of them use a[rtioss” (artios). Mr. Madrid did not even begin to address the information that I presented. He said, “It doesn’t teach sufficiency!” And yet I quoted you major lexical sources that said what? Sufficient. Now, Mr. Madrid you don’t have the authority to overthrow the meaning of those terms, no matter how much you may wish to do so. No other passage in the Bible can be used to deflect what we have said about 2 Timothy chapter 3.

Now, Mr. Madrid said that I am trying to shift the burden of proof. If you listened closely, I presented the position, and said, “Now, if Mr. Madrid wants to recognize that asking someone to prove a universal negative is impossible, great, fine, we won’t talk about that.” If he attempts to prove the existence of another rule of faith then we’ll talk about that. I left that up to him. I wasn’t attempting to shift any burdens at all, I was just simply logically dealing with the issues that are presented before us. Mr. Madrid also said, “Well you know, in regards to ulitmate authority, this idea that you can’t have two ultimate authorities, and yes, I have said that, I have said that in a number of debates in the past on sola scriptura…You cannot have two ultimate authorities. The word “ultimate” does not allow for that meaning. But Mr. Madrid said, “Well, look, you’ve got four Gospels!” Mr. Madrid is engaging in a little shifting of the grounds here. You see, all four Gospels have the same nature: they are qeovpneustos” (theopneustos). They, together form that which is God’s revelation. And so if Mr. Madrid would like to say that you can have another ultimate authority, you can have these other elements of authority, the teaching Magisterium, the oral tradition, then Mr. Madrid is going to have to prove that these oral traditions are qeovpneustos” or they cannot function along with God-breathed Scripture.

Mr. Madrid then said, “Well, we can wrongly divide the Word of God!” And he used the example that I used of the little bike store that I go to and he said, “But, Mr. White, what if you don’t know how to ride a bike?” Well, some people might think that. But the problem is, where we need to be focusing [is] on the nature of that bike shop, because that is what the debate’s about. Is it the bike shop’s fault who I am when I come in? You say, “Well yes, they need to teach you how to ride!” There’s a real problem there, a real problem here. You see, Paul says the Scriptures are sufficient for whom? Remember 17 of chapter 3? Who is it addressed to? Non-bike riders? No, the man of God. You see, the analogy breaks down because to make the analogy work you’ve gotta be a bike rider to go into the bike den and get your stuff. It is the man of God who is equipped for every single good work.

Now Mr. Madrid says, “Well, we have 2 Timothy 2:2, the very same book, that Mr. White is quoting from, saying something differently.” Well let’s take a look at 2 Timothy 2:2. It was not read in your hearing but I’ll read it for you. “But you my child, be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these things entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others. Join in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” Did you hear anything in there that denies sola scriptura? Well we’re told, “You see, well you’re supposed to entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others those that you’ve heard from me.” And you need to listen to every presentation that is made by the Roman Catholic apologists because there is an underlying assumption, you see. As soon as you hear all these passages–and we’re going to take the time to look at 2 Thessalonians 2:15 and all the rest of that–here’s the assumption, that if you hear about a spoken tradition, if you hear about, for example, here Timothy hearing things in the presence of Paul, those things must contain information, like maybe the Immaculate Conception or Bodily Assumption of Mary, or Papal Infallibility…they must contain some different data that is being passed on, rather than what’s in Scripture. There’s the problem. I challenge Mr. Madrid to show us any bit of evidence that any time that the term “tradition” is used in Scripture, where the Christian Church is passing it on, that it means that what is in that tradition differs from what’s in the New Testament. That’s the assumption that must be proven by the Roman Catholic for these citations of these passages to be relevant at all.

Now, did Paul teach something different in the presence of many witnesses that he taught in his epistle to the Romans or the Galatians? It’s interesting that Tertullian addressed this very passage, and Mr. Madrid said he could “bury me” and held up a notebook…Well, I’m not going to get into stuff like that. It’s sort of silly. We can debate that if we want. But, Tertullian addressed this very passage when refuting those false teachers of his day who claimed that the Apostles had two different teachings (sound familiar?), one which was open and known by all, and a second, secret doctrine, known by only a few. He says, “But here is, as we have said, the same madness in their allowing indeed that the Apostles were ignorant of nothing and preached not any doctrine which contradicted one another, but at the same time insisting that they did not reveal all to all men, for they proclaimed some openly unto all the world whilst they disclosed others only in secret unto a few, because Paul addressed even this expression to Timothy, `O Timothy, guard that which has been entrusted to thee,’ and again, `That good thing which was committed unto thee, keep.’ What is this deposit?” Tertullian says. “Is it so secret as to be supposed to characterize a new doctrine? Or is it a part of that charge of which he says, `This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy,’ and also that precept of which he says, `I charge thee in the sight of God who quickeneth all things and before Jesus Christ who witnessed a good confession under Pontius Pilate that thou keep this commandment.’ Now what is this commandment and what is this charge? From the preceding and succeeding context it will be manifest that there is no mysterious hint, darkly suggested in this expression about some far-fetched doctrine, but that a warning is given against receiving any other doctrine than that which Timothy had heard from himself, as I take it, publicly, `before many witnesses’ is his phrase.” So Tertullian says, no, this isn’t some secret doctrine, this isn’t some oral tradition that contains some other revelation than what we have in Scripture. No, no, no, no.

This is all what is taught by the Apostle Paul and, is what’s taught by the Apostle Paul the same as what we have in Scripture? Well, I ‘d like to refer you to a passage. Look at 2 Thessalonians 3:6. 2 Thessalonians 3:6. What do we have here? Well, it’s interesting, here’s one of those passages that talks about tradition, or teaching. 2 Thessalonians 3:6, “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother that is idle and does not live according to the teaching or the tradition you received from us.” Oh, well, here’s this oral tradition, this oral tradition we need to keep! Really? No. Look back at 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 verse 14 as well as 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. Paul is referring back to the tradition he had already delivered to them, that is, in writing. As we will see, the term “tradition” normally refers to that which was orally preached, but it’s the same message. In fact, in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 as we will see in the next time we have some time together, it’s talking about the gospel. Not oral traditions somehow passed down through the episcopate, not oral traditions that you have to have to have the completeness of God’s revelation. No. We are talking here about the gospel itself, the teaching of the gospel, which, of course, is found in the New Testament.

And so I just simply point out to you: Mr. Madrid did not even begin to refute the information I presented to you. He simply said, “Well, it doesn’t teach that.” I presented to you the references, the terms, their meaning. I gave you an exegesis of the passage that you can follow along. I invite you to look at it. Thank you.

PM: Return rebuttal (10 minutes): Ah, Mr. White, Mr. White, Mr. White. I’m reminded of Jesus’ words to Martha. Mr. White, you are anxious and concerned about many things, but only one thing is important. That you show us in the Bible where it teaches the sufficiency of Scripture. And I’m going to hold you to that, tonight. I was going to say I was going to hold his feet to the fire, but that might have bad connotations, you know, with the Inquisition, and all that. I’d like to begin my remarks simply by just going through the few points that Mr. White brought up and try to respond to them as briefly as I can, but hopefully as effectively.

Number one, let me point out that Mr. White blundered badly into Error #1, for most of his rebuttal period, by confusing formal and material sufficiency, or by, perhaps, not remembering what I told him, and told the audience, with regard to the material sufficiency position of the Catholic Church. I’ll restate it again, so that Mr. White can keep that in mind. The Catholic Church does not need to prove that everything that is in oral tradition, is not found in the written tradition. Our position is that everything that is in oral tradition, is in Sacred Scripture, it’s in written tradition. Everything.

Mr. White brought up the Assumption. He could bring up any doctrine he might like, none of which would be the topic of our debate, tonight, but at some future point perhaps, we could discuss where those doctrines are found. The Assumption, for example, since he brought it up, I’ll just refer to it. Revelation, chapter 12, Mr. White. It’s a very commonly used passage for Catholic apologists. I don’t know why you would have missed that. The woman clothed with the Sun was seen not only by modern Catholic apologists as Mary’s Assumption, but also the early Church Fathers, which Mr. White is so fond of bringing into the picture. I’d be more than happy, in some future point, to demonstrate, in a different debate, how the early Church Fathers viewed Revelation 12. They exegeted that passage to mean that Mary had been brought up into Heaven in a special way. But, that’s another topic.

Mr. White is resting his case on the say-so of a few Protestant Greek scholars. That to me is not an infallible source of authority, Mr. White, the Bible is. Now, I didn’t mean to denigrate the Biblical language, and I’m sorry that you took it that way, when I said that your argument was irrelevant. What I meant was, that you can use all the Protestant Biblical scholars’ citations that you want to show that a word means something, but, notice that the word “sufficient” came as the third or fourth definition, or the third or fourth meaning, that was assigned to this word. It was not the primary meaning. I am not going to debate what this Protestant Greek scholar may or may not have said. First of all, they’re Protestant, so they’re naturally going to give a spin to something that a Catholic scholar might see something different in. Now Mr. White might respond by saying that, “Well, Greek is Greek, Mr. Madrid, you can’t argue on the basis of ideology or politics.” I’m going to save that for some future point, simply because we don’t have the time to go into what the Catholic scholars say on that issue. So I’m not going to go into that now.

Mr. White says that no other passage can be used to deflect II Timothy 3:17. Well, Mr. White, I used James 1:4 to deflect II Timothy 3:17, in fact, not really to deflect it, but simply to hold up a mirror to it, and show that you’re misusing it. You’re saying, that because the man of God is equipped, and sure it does use a different Greek word there, but the sense is that you’re arguing for an implication, here, Mr. White, because he can be equipped for every good work, therefore, it implies that he doesn’t need anything else.

Now, Mr. White failed, utterly, to interact with my use of James 1:4. He just simply dismissed it, out of hand, and he said nothing can be used to deflect it. I want Mr. White to tell us why James 1:4 cannot be interpreted, under his principle, to mean that perseverance in good works, and perseverance under persecution, which is what James is talking about, why that doesn’t mean sufficiency. I want him to tell us about that.

I didn’t say that Mr. White would commit all the errors, although he is prone to do so. But, he has committed a few of them, tonight. So, I don’t want him to read too much of what I said about the errors, into his own personal situation. He mentioned the same old argument about there cannot be two ultimate authorities, one subjugating one to the other. If you don’t like the example of the Gospels, then I can move on to a different one.

What about Jesus and Scripture? When Jesus was walking the earth, Jesus was, and is, God, the ultimate authority. And yet, Mr. White would have no compunction in saying, that the Word of God is the ultimate authority. Well did the Bible cease being the ultimate authority when Jesus was on the scene? In one sense, Mr. White is going to have to argue, if he wants to make his case stick, even barely, that Jesus constantly referred to Scripture as the court of last appeal. Well, that undercuts his position. Because if Jesus is referring to an authority outside of Himself, then what does that say about Jesus? Was Jesus the ultimate authority? I say, yes. Was the Word of God, in that sense, that Mr. White wants to assign to it, the ultimate authority? Mr. White would say, yes. Well, he’s got a quandary there, then, folks, because I’ve just demonstrated two ultimate authorities.

I also mentioned the prophets, Isaiah, and the prophet Jeremiah. Mr. White failed to interact with that. Jeremiah and Isaiah were both, in their own sense, ultimate authorities. He did not address that.

He says that my analogy breaks down, regarding the bike shop, because “the man of God,” is obviously implying that the man of God, in this analogous sense, can ride a bicycle. Well, if that does not suit Mr. White, I’d be happy to use an analogy of his own choosing. And that would be the analogy that he uses, again, on page 42 of his book, Answers to Catholic Claims. He says, “Yet the rest of the passage” (again, here’s the “screaming verse”) “literally screams sufficiency. If they are not sufficient, how then can they make the man of God complete, fully equipped” (in bold print) “for every good work?” “If I have the ability to fully equip someone for a military mission” (Mr. White says) “then, am I not sufficient as an equipper? Of course! Then the objection carries no weight” (the Catholic objection). Well, I’m afraid that Mr. White has dug himself a little deeper in by using that analogy, so, I’ll switch to that one, if he doesn’t like the bicycle one.

If somebody goes into the military (and many of you, in this room, have been in the military), when you get there, you’re issued a uniform, a helmet, a rifle, ammunition, not all at once, of course, but you’re issued ammunition, maybe hand grenades, maybe you’re assigned to a tank unit. You are issued all sorts of equipment. And to follow Mr. White’s analogy, you’re fully equipped by the U.S. military to carry out a military operation. But, the military also has to train the soldier, to fire that rifle, to know how to throw a hand grenade, and when to throw a hand grenade, how to drive the tank, when to duck when the bullets are coming, how to thrust with the bayonet. I could go on and on! I could bury Mr. White in his own analogy! The fact is, just because the military fully equips the soldier to carry out his mission, does not mean the soldier is necessarily ready to do it. He needs support things also. And that is the training and the guidance the military will teach him. “This tactic works.” “This tactic does not work.” All of that is necessary so that the military man may be truly complete and equipped for every military work.

I’ll go further. Mr. White is talking about how, “the man of God,” that phrase used there in II Timothy 3:17, implies that the man can ride a bike. We’ll just go back to that for a moment. Well, let me ask you, Mr. White, is Pastor Wagner a “man of God,” in your opinion? Do you think he would qualify under that rubric? If he is, then is he rightly dividing the Word of God when he baptizes babies? This denomination, Mr. White, baptizes babies. Mr. White’s denomination does not. They would say, and I think Mr. White, if he’s going to be honest with us, tonight, would have to admit, that he would see that as a misuse of God’s Word, by arguing for infant baptism.

Mr. White is in another quandary, here. He says, “Well, sure, it assumes that the man of God will know how to use the Word of God.” It doesn’t, folks! If Pastor Wagner’s a man of God, and if James White is a man of God, we’ve got a problem, then. And, I’m not implying that either one is not a man of God, don’t misunderstand. I’m simply saying that one argues for the position of infant baptism, based on what Scripture says. The other one denies that, based on what Scripture says. So, Mr. White’s appeal to II Timothy 3:17 as just presupposing that they’ll know what to do with the Word of God, falls flat.

Let me give you another example. What about the Lutheran minister who believes in baptismal regeneration, based on what the Bible alone says? Remember, Martin Luther, the founder of that denomination said, sola scriptura, “the Bible alone.” So, the Lutheran minister is going by what Scripture says, he believes, Scripture teaches about baptism. He believes in regeneration. Mr. White, I can assure you, his hair will stand on end when he hears that preached by somebody. Because, he, as a Baptist, is anathema on the issue of baptismal regeneration. He will tell you, in no uncertain terms, that the Bible does not teach baptismal regeneration.

Well, then, Mr. White has another dilemma on his hands. Is the Lutheran minister not a man of God? Now, unless Mr. White is going to tell you, “Well, on every issue that they agree with me on, then they’re men of God. But if they disagree with my interpretation of Scripture, they cease to be men of God. Or, maybe they never were men of God in the beginning.”

Well, maybe, Mr. White is simply wrong in his interpretation of II Timothy 3:17. He will admit to you, and if he doesn’t, I will be happy to assert it, that he is not infallible. He can make mistakes. How does he know that he’s right on this interpretation? He doesn’t know! He can only hope, he can only assert, he can only assume. Why should I accept his fallible, errant, human interpretation of God-breathed Scripture, over and above what Pastor Wagner might say? Or, what Paster Noch might say? Or, the Lutheran minister? Why? Ask yourself that question, tonight. Thank you.

Second Rebuttal Period JW: Rebuttal (10 minutes): I’d like to point that in Mr. Madrid’s closing statements the term “divide and conquer” rings through my mind in regards to saying, “Well, you’ve got these Protestants who believe this and these Protestants who believe that. And you see there’s these contradictions between these Protestants. So obviously it means that the Word of God is not sufficient to decide such issues, and we need my authority. We need to believe in the bishop of Rome is the infallible interpreter of all these things.” And I go “Well, that’s very interesting but it certainly doesn’t seem that Paul believed that.”

But notice what Pat is trying to say. He’s trying to say that the word “equip” has to actually mean “resulting in our inerrancy.” When you think about it, that’s what he’s trying to say. You see, if it is possible for Christians to disagree on an issue, then obviously you need some other authority! And I have to laugh because I think of the Roman Catholics that I talk to, every single one of which says, “Hey, my position is the Roman Catholic position!” and say “He’s a heretic.” “But I’m a Roman Catholic! Yes indeed!” There is just as wide a variety of opinions amongst those who call themselves Roman Catholics and appeal to the same documents as there is amongst Protestants. So it doesn’t seem to solve anything for Mr. Madrid if he says, “Well, you need this other authority” because even with that other authority Roman Catholicism ends up with all these differing opinions, and all these differing understandings of their own documents that they write to then somehow interpret the Scriptures. It’s very interesting that that takes place.

The point is not that what 2 Timothy 3:16 is saying is that all you gotta do is read the Bible and you’ll be inerrant. That’s not what it says. The man of God must do what? He must study. He must work. He must immerse himself in the Word of God. What does Psalm 1 say? He meditates upon the Word how often? Day and night. Why would you need to do that if it was just, “Well, it’s just simple….right on the face of it!” No. There’s work required. But that doesn’t mean that I need the bishop of Rome to stand up here and say “You must believe what I say!” But that’s exactly what the Council of Trent said. Let me read it:

Furthermore to check unbridled spirits it decrees that no one relying on his own judgment shall, in matters of faith and morals, pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, distorting the Holy Scriptures in accordance with his own conceptions, presume to interpret them contrary to the sense which Holy Mother Church, to whom it belongs to judge of their true sense and interpretation, has held and holds, or even contrary to the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, even though such interpretations should never at any time be published.

So Trent says, “We have this authority, and we alone!” We need to remember what Rome is really saying. It’s interesting. John O’Brien, a Roman Catholic writer, in a very popular book called The Faith of Millions said, “Far from being hostile to the Bible, the Catholic Church is its true mother. She determined which are the books of religion from the many writings circulated as inspired in the early Christian ages and assembled them all within the covers of a single book. She is not the child of the Bible, as many non-Catholics imagine, but its mother. She derives neither her existence nor her teaching authority from the New Testament.” And the same writer had earlier written, “Great as is our reverence for the Bible, reason and experience compel us to say that it alone is not a competent nor a safe guide as to what we are to believe.”

No, that isn’t what Paul said. And please keep in your mind: Mr. Madrid said, “Oh, those are Protestant scholars!” But he hasn’t shown us one single shred of lexical evidence from any source, Catholic, Protestant, or atheist, to refute the definitions of a[rtios” and exartivzw I’ve given to him, and if he cannot, he loses the debate. It’s that simple.

Now, Mr. Madrid says, “Well, Mr. White, you need to look at James 1:4. You need to tell us…how do you understand James 1:4? I mean, you just pointed out that the same term isn’t used in James 1:4 that’s used in 2 Timothy chapter 3. Well, it may be important that we understand that it is a different term and hence it has different meanings.” And it’s interesting to me: Mr. Madrid is sort of Catholic Answers’ corollary to myself in the sense that we both deal with Mormonism. In fact, I’m going to be heading up to the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints right as soon as I leave from here, heading up there to debate two BYU professors on radio about the doctrine of God. And it’s interesting: one of the passages that Mormons like to use in regards to the doctrine of God is Matthew 5:48. And this is one that Pat knows real well. “Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.” The same term is used in Matthew 5:48 that’s used in James 1:4. And now how would Mr. Madrid explain what Matthew 5:48 is saying to a Mormon? Well, he’d say, “You need to understand here that we are not talking about identity. To be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect does not mean that we become gods. The term tevleios” refers here in this context to having a fullness of moral attributes, because we are talking here in Matthew 5…it’s the Sermon on the Mount. God the Father is perfect in that way, and we are called to be perfect, morally. And so the context determines the meaning of the passage.”

Well it’s the same thing in James 1:4. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete. What is that? We’re talking about sanctification. We’re not talking about the man of God in the Church of God teaching and exhorting and rebuking. We’re talking about in a man’s personal life the completion of the work of sanctification in him. We are being what? Conformed to the image of Christ. And when one is like Christ, one is tevleios”, one is perfected by that.

So the point again is, we need to look at the context of passages. And at 2 Timothy chapter 3, what’s the context? The context is the man of God functioning as the man of God in the Church of God. Doing what? Teaching, rebuking, exhorting, etc. and etc. And Paul says the Scriptures are able to sufficiently equip the man of God to do this. The Scriptures are sufficient. And in light of this, then I point out again: the Scriptures do not present to you the concept of Papal Infallibility, the Immaculate Conception, or the Bodily Assumption of Mary, even though Rome says “You must believe these things!” Now if it is a good work for the man of God to stand in the Church of God and teach those things, we have a contradiction between Roman teaching and Scriptural teaching.

Now, Mr. Madrid said that I was constantly confusing formal and material sufficiency. No I wasn’t. Go back and listen to the tape (this is all being taped this evening); go back and listen to it. I was just discussing the things that Pat himself had brought up. And then he brought up Revelation chapter 12. He said, “Well this is Mary!” I’d like you all to read Revelation chapter 12. I’d like you to take a chance to look at it this evening, and you’ll find out yes, modern Roman apologists definitely say that this was Mary. You will find that you are certainly not forced to that conclusion, but even if you said you were, he did say that, “Well, this is always how its been understood.” I think any of you that are familiar with the early Church know that that is not the case at all. That is not the case at all. That’s just simply untrue.

Now, we then went back to this ultimate authority issue, and Pat said, “Well OK, let’s use a different analogy. Let’s talk about Jesus and the Bible! Is Jesus the ultimate authority or is the Bible the ultimate authority?” And again I have to point out to Mr. Madrid. What is the nature of Scripture? The very first comments I made to you this evening was what: the doctrine of sola scriptura is based upon what? The inspiration of Scripture. The Scripture is God-breathed. Now when Jesus teaches, who is He? He is God. What are His words? You see, there is no difference with regards to the nature of what the Lord Jesus teaches and what the Word of God teaches. So if Mr. Madrid wants to use this argument then he has to show us that the teaching magisterium of the Church and the oral tradition are God-breathed, or you cannot join them together. And of course I don’t believe that he wants to attempt to do that. I would….He says, “Hey, we’d be glad to do that, we’ll be glad to debate that!” I’m here to tell you I am glad to accept that challenge right now, anytime that he wishes to do that. If Mr. Madrid wishes to undertake to defend the Roman Catholic doctrine of tradition, he has an open challenge from me before you all to do that. I’d be glad to do that anytime that he wishes to do so.

I wish to refocus in the last thirty seconds of my time, our attention. What is the thesis this evening? Does the Bible teach the doctrine of sola scriptura? I have shown you two passages, 2 Timothy chapter 3, Matthew chapter 15, that present this doctrine. I have gone into the passage, I have exegeted them, I have given you solid, Biblical reason for accepting that truth. So far all Mr. Madrid has been able to say in regards to that information is, “Well, those are Protestants saying it.” We must hold to the topic of this evening: The Bible does teach sola scriptura. Thank you.

PM: Return Rebuttal (10 Minutes): Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of the country of England, used to have very sharp conversations with other public figures, one of whom was George Bernard Shaw, the great playwright. Once Shaw wrote to the Prime Minister and he, in this little note, he said, “Dear Mr. Churchill. Enclosed are two tickets to the opening night of my latest play, one for you, and one for a friend, if you have one.” Now, the Prime Minister wrote back, he sent the tickets back, he said, “Mr. Shaw, I regret that I cannot attend the opening night of your play. However I would like to attend the second showing, if there is one.” Now, I bring that up because it’s a clever jest, its a clever quip, but it doesn’t, I don’t believe, do justice to the relationship that existed between those two men. I’d like to reverse that tonight and simply say that Mr. White and I are not here tonight to give you a presentation or some sort of a beauty pageant about who is the more forceful or the more colorful debater. What matters is, as Mr. White was kind enough to point out just a moment ago, does the Bible teach sola scriptura?

Now he made an awful lot of claims, the last one I think I need to address first. He said that all I did in my last 10 minute rebuttal was to say that Mr. White has not addressed, has not shown us, any of these verses. Well, Mr. White, I did an awful lot more than that. I brought up a lot of arguments that he neglected to deal with. I asked him about the man of God issue. I can see why Mr. White would want to avoid that issue. I can see why he wouldn’t want to have to publicly say, “Well, in this case, Pastor Wagner is wrong” or “Pastor Noch is wrong, and I am right.” Because ultimately that is what he would be forced to say. Mr. White is confusing the issue by telling you that he goes by God’s infallible, inerrant word, which it is of course, he’s confusing the issue when he says, “Therefore, that’s all I need, and I know what to do.” Because two things are at work. 1) He’s presupposing that he is the man of God that is spoken about in 2 Timothy 3:17, and 3:16, that’s a presupposition, and he actually has to assert, 2) that if you misuse Scripture, you are not a man of God, because that, remember, was the fundamental argument that he brought forward when he didn’t like my bike-riding analogy.

Let’s move forward. He talked about dividing and conquering. Well, I find that amusing. It was not dividing and conquering, Mr. White, it was simply explaining the fact that Protestantism is a house divided. In fact, it is not even a house, it’s a collection of individual people living all over the landscape theologically, none of whom agree in every detail about what Scripture means. They all claim to go by the Bible alone. Mr. White leveled a snide remark about the Papacy, that the Pope in Rome was what the Catholics looked to. I find that interesting because he tied Paul into that, and if you read your Bible, Mr. White, you’ll notice that in Galatians 1:18, after Paul had converted to the true faith, where did Paul go? He went to Peter. He made a journey to go see Peter. Why would he do that? What would be the point of it? I think it was because he wanted to check his doctrine against what the Church taught, not just against what he knew in the Old Testament.

He talks about the Catholics being divided. No, Mr. White that’s not true. There are individual Catholics who may say and do any given thing. He brought up the fact that there are people who would say that I am a heretic. Well there are a lot of people who would call me a lot of things, some of them I can’t repeat tonight, but the fact is that what an individual Catholic may or not say about what the Church teaches is irrelevant. Mr. White is confusing the issue here, as he done on so many other points. I can bring you Denzinger, the Enchiridion Symbolorum, which Mr. White may have, in his research library. There the Church’s doctrines are formally spelled out. He has Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma. I can go to what the Church officially teaches and say, “I don’t care what my opinion may be or any other person around me who claims to be a Catholic may be, I know what the Church teaches.” I may not like it, I may disagree with it, but at least I know what it teaches. How many of you can do that with Protestantism? I defy you…You can’t, sir. I defy you to go to Evangelical Bookstore, actually, in San Diego, and look at all the different books with all the different opinions dealing with fundamental doctrine. There is not just a panorama of different views, there are fundamental disagreements over key, life-or-death issues that effect the Christian, that are going to have an effect upon his eternal destiny, and I brought up two of them, and Mr. White neglected to deal with either one, cause I think he doesn’t know how to answer it. Baptismal regeneration and the baptism of infants. I am not equating the two as having equal importance. I can bring up many other examples, and I’ll do that later in the evening. But the fact is, Mr. White has no answer to that. He can only go say that he goes by what his opinion is of Scripture. That is a misuse of the Bible. That is not what Jesus intended for Scripture. Mr. White is unfortunately a part of that vast majority of people out there who see the Bible as their private play toy. Now if that sounds pejorative, I’m sorry, but that’s the fact. Mr. White will quote the Bible to teach what he wants to be taught. He will teach what his position is over against what other Protestant ministers say with equally good credentials say, who are also going to the Word of God. It boils down to a dispute over Mr. White’s opinion versus their opinion. I don’t think that is what Jesus intended for His Church.

He says that I can’t refute the Greek translations. Well of course! I didn’t bring a Greek library with me tonight. I didn’t bring all sorts of linguistic apparatuses to throw at you to try to build my case based on what this scholar or that scholar might say. I brought the Bible. I believe in going by what God’s Word says. And Mr. White’s position, you have to remember, is, he wants to have it both ways. He’s telling you on one hand, Scripture’s sufficient. Well that means that Scripture is perspicuous (slapping hands together), that you can look at it and see what it means. And that you can tell what the Bible means. Mr. White is then saying, well, not in this case. Because in this case you need Greek lexicons, and you need this scholar to prove what this word means, and that scholar to prove what that means. If Mr. White is going to be consistent he has to argue for the perspicuity of Scripture. If its sufficient formally for all doctrine it must be able to on the face of it tell us what it means. I don’t believe Mr. White can prove that, especially in the area of baptismal regeneration.

Mr. White has, I’m afraid once again, strayed off the course. I’d like to bring him back to it. In fact, I think that he’s going to drive smack-dab into a brick wall at this point, and that brick wall is the canon of Scripture. This is an insurmountable problem for Mr. White’s position. Let me tell you why. Mr. White, he’s up here tonight, waving his Bible around, quoting Bible verses, telling me what the Bible means. How does he know what the Bible is? These 27 books in the New Testament, from Matthew to Revelation, we’ll just stick to those for the moment, since we have a dispute over the Old Testament. Where did these come from? How does Mr. White know that these are inspired? How does Mr. White know that Matthew wrote Matthew? Now I’ve listened to his debates. Obviously I’ve prepared for this one by looking at the things that he wrote and hearing the things that he says, and very often he’ll come back with the thing, “Well, I don’t need to know if Matthew wrote Matthew. I mean I know that its Scripture. Scripture testifies to me. It is self-authenticating” is one of his favorite arguments. The Scripture, in one sense, is self-authenticating, but in the sense that we are talking about here tonight, as far as its formal sufficiency is concerned, it is not self-authenticating. I would defy Mr. White to read the letter to Philemon or 3rd John and tell me what in those letters screams out at him, “This is inspired!” Then I’d ask him to take a look at the book of Chronicles, maybe the first twelve passages, the first twelve chapters, and tell me what about those genealogies is leaping out at him and saying, “This is inspired.” Folks, Mr. White, Mr. White, Mr. White is a thief. Mr. White, in the context of this debate tonight, he has stolen a tradition from the Church, from the Catholic Church, which many Councils, Rome, Hippo, Carthage, Carthage again, the Pope, Pope Damasus, these were in the late 4th century, the Church officially defined what the canon of Scripture was. Mr. White accepts that. If he didn’t accept it, he wouldn’t have these 27 books in his New Testament. But he won’t admit that. He claims that Scripture is sufficient. Well let me ask you, ladies and gentlemen, where does the Bible give us an inspired table of contents? Where does it tell us which books belong and which don’t? And the reason this question is so important, and the reason Mr. White can’t answer this question, is because it sinks his argument. Mr. White’s position is there is no revealed truth outside of Scripture. The canon of Scripture is part of revealed truth, folks. That is part of God’s revelation to the Church. If God’s revelation is in Scripture, it is also, His revelation includes what Scripture itself is. There is an example, Mr. White wanted an example, I just gave him one, of a tradition that is not contained in Scripture that is part of oral, pardon me, which is part of divine revelation, and which is binding. That’s not in Scripture. Mr. White has to deal with that issue. Thank you very much.

Cross Examination Period First Question from James White to Patrick Madrid: White: Mr. Madrid, assuming that teaching that the Pope is infallible is something that the man of God would do in the Church, could you please explain how, in the light of 2 Timothy 3:17, “Scripture equips the man of God for every good work,” how the Scripture equips you to teach this doctrine?

Madrid: Let me ask you to restate it, I’m not sure I understand the thrust of your question.

White: OK, I’ll repeat it. Given that, we would assume that teaching that the Pope is infallible is a good work, how, in light of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that says the Scripture is able to thoroughly equip the man for every good work, how is that the Scripture equips you to teach the doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope?

Madrid: OK, if I understand your question correctly, let me answer by saying that one of the good works that is implied, it’s actually explicated there, is teaching sound doctrine. And part of sound doctrine, part of the full counsel of God, Mr. White, is the authority of the Bishop of Rome. Now, I know that you do not accept or agree with the various Bible verses that can be brought forward by the Catholic apologist to support that position. That simply makes my case. The Catholic is using Scripture in the proper method that Jesus intended, in harmony with what the Church has always taught, and in harmony with the tradition and authoritative teaching that the Church has handed down. Therefore, this doctrine, pardon me, this verse, assists me as a man of God in teaching sound doctrine. I don’t have to rely on my own private authority on what I think the Bible means. I could be wrong, you could be wrong. I’m able to look at the context of Scripture in the over-all life of the Church and see how the Church interprets it.

I go further and say that the very fact that you ask that question, at least the implication of that question, proves my point. You’re saying that the Catholic position on the Biblical authority of the bishop of Rome, the Catholic position based on Scripture, is erroneous. You’re saying, and I’ve heard you say it many times in debates with Gerry Matatics and in other things that you’ve done, that the Catholic position is simply wrong. That these Scriptures don’t in fact teach that. Well, that proves my point. If Scripture were sufficient, formally sufficient, Mr. White, cause remember I did say it was materially sufficient, if it was formally sufficient then there would be no dispute. If Scripture could interpret it’s own meaning for us, there wouldn’t be this debate tonight. Pastor Wagner would not be holding to a doctrine of infant baptism which you reject. That very fact disproves your question, or your claim about the formal sufficiency of Scripture.

White: Well, first of all, of course, the point is that the teaching of the infallibility of the Bishop of Rome is a traditional teaching. It comes from tradition primarily. It is not found in Scripture. You’ll never find a reference to the Bishop of Rome or anything even regarding that in Scripture. The early Church didn’t believe it, and I’ve debated that, and would be glad to have more debates on that.

But notice what was again just said. And I did address this…Mr. Madrid said I didn’t but I did. What we are hearing here is if the Scripture was sufficient to equip the man of God, then there would what? No difference of opinion. Everybody would just lock-step in line. Right? That’s what we are being told. Seemingly, that not only ignores issues that are not central to the faith, but it also ignores the fact that as I said the man of God studies the Word of God. And men of God have to study the Word of God throughout their entire lives. And they grow and learn and that’s the work of the Spirit in their lives. Seemingly someone wants to short-circuit that entire process.

Madrid: Well Mr. White, I am not trying to short-circuit anything. I’m simply trying to explain that you, have, failed, I guess, to grasp the importance of your question, because it undercuts your position. The fact is, God’s inspired Word does not rely on us for its inspiration, it does not rely on us for the fact that it is inerrant, and I believe that it is inspired and inerrant. But the fact is, God gave us the Scriptures to be used. Now that presents a problem, because you want to use Scripture, and the only way you can use it is by interpreting it. Now, you are fallible. God’s Word is infallible. The problem is that when you approach God’s Word and you want to interpret it, over against what the Church teaches, you are in effect saying that your interpretation should be trusted. What I want to know is, why should your interpretation be trusted? You talk about men studying for many years. Of course. Catholics study for many years for the same purpose. The fact is, ultimately it comes down to your opinion against someone else’s opinion. We know what the Bible says, Mr. White….

First Question from Patrick Madrid to James White: Madrid: OK. I don’t think I’ve ever said the phrase “Mr. White” so many times in one space of time. [Laughter]. Mr. White, I’m holding in my hands a copy of an early work known today as the Book of Thomas the Contender. You may be familiar with it. It claims to be written by the Apostle Matthew. You probably would not say that this book belongs in the Bible since, if I opened your Bible, it would probably not have it there. Given your assertion that Scripture is self-authenticating, would you regard this book as self-authenticating? Bear in mind that it attempts to authenticate itself by claiming to have been written by the Apostle Matthew.

White: There are a whole host, of course, of books that were written primarily in the second century, in fact almost all of them were written in the second century, that were gnostic gospels and various other sundry things like that. And we’re being asked, “Well why don’t you accept this as Scripture?” And this all goes back to the whole issue of canon. We need to recognize what’s being said here. We are being told that, “Well, you see, without a church authority you can’t know what the canon is. Without an infallible authority you can’t know what the canon is.” And of course I would say, “Well how do you know it’s an infallible authority to begin with?” because we get on this long, big circle that goes around and around and around and never actually answers the question. Because you might find another church that claims infallible authority up in Salt Lake City that has a different canon than that which Mr. Madrid has. But they claim infallible authority, too.

But, anyways. We are told that—you know, you are asking me why don’t I believe that this is part of Scripture. Well, first of all, I believe canon is determined by inspiration. God is the author of canon. Men are not the author of canon, God is the author of canon. So God is the one who determines the canon. So the issue is not whether this is canonical Scripture or not, the issue is, how do we as human beings recognize what is and what is not inspired Scripture? We need to keep these things straight because there are some people who seem to think that the church has the power to create canon and of course it does not. No council that ever sat in the early church said, “We, by choosing these books, are making them canon Scripture.” They didn’t say that. OK? But in 18 seconds how do I know it’s not? Well, first of all it is contradictory to that which is tqeopneustos (theopneustos”). And since it is contradictory to that which is qeopneustos and inconsistent therewith—it is not testified historically—I do not know of any Christians who ever accepted it. And it is contradictory to that which we have, I don’t accept it as Scripture.

Madrid: As well you shouldn’t, Mr. White, as well you shouldn’t. I found it interesting though that part of your appeal was to tradition. That nasty word again. You said it was not testified to by other Christians. It was not historically regarded as Scripture. Here again Mr. White is engaging in filching Catholic tradition but not admitting that he’s actually taking it. He’s using it, but he won’t admit it. That’s what going on here.

Second of all, he says that without an infallible authority you can’t know what the canon of Scripture is. Well Mr. White says, “This is our only infallible authority.” So Mr. White, here it is. Where does the Bible tell you wish books belong in the Bible? He can’t tell us that. There’s no inspired table of contents. It’s like a dog chasing his tail. He says “I believe Scripture is inspired, it’s the only infallible authority.” Well how do you know that infallibly? Well because the Scripture. Well where does the Scripture tell you that? Well it doesn’t. So he just has to go around in circles and he won’t admit that he’s appealing to the tradition of the church. The fact is he has those 27 books in his Bible because the Catholic Church said those were canonical.

White: I have the 27 books in my Bible because the Holy Spirit of God inspired them long before there was ever a man in Rome who called himself the Vicar of Christ. [Madrid interrupts: No argument, no argument.] The Catholic Church did not give me that in any way, shape, or form. He says I’m filching tradition. No, I love the term tradition. I just don’t like the way that the Roman Catholic Church centuries after the early church redefined it to substantiate their own claims to supremacy! The meaning of the “tradition” in the Bible and the early church is not what the Roman Catholic wants to say it is. It means something completely different. And then he said that I somehow said without an infallible authority you can’t know, or something, I did not even recognize what I supposedly was saying. But we go back again to what’s being said. Mr. Madrid wants to say, “Well, look, you need some golden index here, and you’re relying on me to tell you what Scripture was.” No, I am not relying upon him to tell us what Scripture was. In fact, I think what I’ll do is in my next question I’ll illustrate exactly how that is.

Second Question from James White to Patrick Madrid: White:

Mr. Madrid, I’ve asked you this before. How did the Jewish man 50 years before Jesus Christ know that the books of 2 Chronicles and Isaiah were Scripture? Would you like me to repeat that?

Madrid: No, I think I got that. Thank you. The Jewish man of the 50 year period before Christ knew that that Scripture, 1 and 2 Chronicles, was inspired because the Old Testament church, the Old Testament people of God, regarded it as Scripture. It had the official pedigree of coming from a prophet and it had always been regarded that way. So he would draw not only on what his internal testimony was of what those books say, but he would also base what his position was on what the constant teaching of the Old Testament people was as well. As you remember, they regarded 1 and 2 Chronicles as Scripture. What I’d like to ask you, though, is, and whether we do it now or later, is your choice, later in the debate tonight—is you keep going back to this issue of how does he know, how does he know? Well, that’s what I want to throw back at you. How do you know? Let’s take it out of the Old Testament, Mr. White, and bring it back to the New Testament. And let’s settle once and for all how you know that those 27 books belong in Scripture. How do you know that they are inspired? How do you know Matthew wrote Matthew? What is your authority to know that? If you reject the Catholic Church that’s fine, that’s your choice. I think you do so at your own peril. But if you reject the Catholic Church you have to furnish us with some other source upon which you base your testimony that those words in that Bible—in that 27 books of the Bible—are God’s words.

Now, I don’t want to give anyone the false impression as I think you were trying to do earlier that I believe that the Catholic Church rendered the Bible as inspired. You know that that is not the Catholic position. You know Mr. White that the Catholic Church does not claim to have made the Scriptures canonical simply because she chose those books. That is a red herring. It’s false. The Catholic Church recognized the canon of Scripture. The Catholic Church received the word that was given to her by her husband, Jesus Christ, and as you well know, the Church hears and recognizes the voice of her husband. So it is the Church, Mr. White, I assert, who recognized [Moderator: “Time.”] I have 24 seconds left…the Church recognizes her husband’s voice and she preaches that to the world. You, if you reject the Church, have to fall back on something else. What’ll it be? The Muratorian Fragment? The Church Fathers? This or that Greek scholar, perhaps? Your own personal interpretation? You have to tell us tonight what your authority is, Mr. White.

White: First of all, in sticking to the actual question that I asked, we are told that the Old Testament Church told the man that Isaiah and 2 Chronicles were Scripture. Now that’s interesting, because, does that mean the Old Testament Church was infallible? That is the same Old Testament Church that taught the Korban rule, I think, yes, the same Old Testament Church. Oh, that’s the same Old Testament Church that rejected the Apocryphal books and never believed they were Scripture but you say that they are Scripture and place someone under the anathema that doesn’t believe those things. So I guess the Old Testament Church was fallible which means that you can have a fallible authority to tell you that something is Scripture, because it’s very plain that the Lord Jesus held everyone responsible for reading Scripture. In fact, in Matthew chapter 22, he said to the Sadducees, “But about the resurrection of the dead, have you not read God said to you?” And Mr. Madrid keeps saying, “What’s your authority?” Listen to what Jesus says. He says to these men, “Have you not read what God said to you?” If God speaks to you, you do not ask Him for His business card. God’s Word is theopneustos, it’s His speaking.

Madrid: Mr. White the only thing worse than beating a [White joins Madrid in finishing the sentence in unison] dead horse is beating the wrong dead horse. And I’ve used that line before [White: “Yeah.”], and I wish you had learned from it. You keep going around in circles. You are not giving us an answer. You keep saying that when God speaks to us we know His voice. Well that’s what I said about the Church. And you’d have to show me where the Bible teaches that every individual Christian is going to know and recognize Scripture in all its parts. You talked earlier about the Mormon. Now the Mormon claims that God is witnessing to him. So, Mr. White, this is Mormonism that you are putting forth here. You are asserting that it is your burning in the bosom, perhaps, if you like that phraseology, it’s what you think should be in Scripture. I think ultimately you are like a ship cut adrift—you have no anchor—you have no way of knowing, other than the fact that you accept the Church’s teaching but won’t admit it.

Second Question from Patrick Madrid to James White: Madrid:

Catholics and Protestants agree that Scripture gets its authority from God, and the Holy Spirit witnesses as to which books belong in the Bible, whether He does so corporately, through the Church, or privately, to each individual Christian. Would you admit that by appealing to the witness of the Holy Spirit and by your earlier admission that you would appeal to the testimony of the early Christians, would you admit that you are appealing to something outside of Scripture itself to know with an infallible certitude what Scripture is?

White: It’s very interesting that when sola scriptura is debated against Catholic Answers and others, when the sufficiency of Scripture to function as the sole rule of faith for the Church is established, the argument very quickly turns away from the actual topic of the debate to the issue of, “Well, canon. We need to talk about canon!” They are related issues, but they are not the same issue, and I would be glad to debate canon issues with Mr. Madrid, too. But now Mr. Madrid is saying, “Well, look, you are violating sola scriptura, you’re violating sola scriptura, with regards to the canon of Scripture itself, and hence you are being inconsistent Mr. White. Well you know its interesting, we could with much profit point out that Mr. Madrid’s argument is completely circular, and in fact I will do that in just a moment. But, am I violating sola scriptura to say, for example with reference to the Gospel of Thomas, or some other gnostic writing, of the second century, well, you look at it and you see that it is contradictory to Scripture, and you see that no one has ever believed that it was Scripture, and hence you don’t believe that it is Scripture. Is that a violation of sola scriptura? It seems that Mr. Madrid is saying that it is! [Mr. Madrid interrupts: “I am.”] But is it? Isn’t it interesting that the Apostles themselves utilized the very same standards? For example, Paul in recognizing that there is truth outside of Scripture, quotes from pagan philosophers, but no one would think that Paul was, by citing a pagan philosopher, adding it to the canon of Scripture, was he? No. He didn’t accept it. On what basis? On what basis did Paul or Peter or any of the others, not accept the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha? Because Rome said it didn’t belong there? Because there was some infallible Old Testament Church? Not at all. They did not utilize the standards Mr. Madrid does.

Madrid: Well, I guess that’s your admission that you can’t answer the question, Mr. White. You’ve talked for two minutes about this that and the other, but you haven’t given us the answer to how you know which books you belong in the Bible. You still haven’t said why or how you know. Those 27 books, Mr. White, do have an awful lot to do, I think, with the issue of sola scriptura because if you want to get in front of this audience and say, “The Bible alone,” you’d better be prepared to tell us what the Bible is, and why you accept these books as Scripture. That’s what I want from you, sometime tonight. Just remember, you have a room full of Catholics here tonight. There are some Protestants, but you have a lot of Catholics. Now is your golden opportunity! Now you can show the Catholic world how you arrive at this infallible certitude about Scripture using something outside of Scripture to get to it. That’s your dilemma. And I’m going to hold you to it before the end of the night.

White: It’s very interesting. God worked with God’s people in the Old Testament to bring about the canon of the Old Testament, a canon different than Rome’s by the way. And now we are being told, “Well, God just couldn’t do that in the New Testament. And Mr. White, if you don’t have some infallible authority then you can’t recognize what God says.” Now he wants to make it sound as if what I am saying is that I go out and I get in the lotus position and I go, “Ummmm, is Matthew Scripture?” That’s not what I’m talking about doing. I believe that God does work with His people. I believe that God has always worked with His people. And I do believe that people recognize that which is inspired, but I believe He works with His people as a whole, and they never take that to mean that they have the authority to create canon. But Mr. Madrid, none of this has anything to do with the fact that Scripture says it is sufficient to equip the man of God. And I’m going to hold you to that this evening.

[At this point Mr. White should have been allowed to ask his third question, but Mr. Madrid asked if it was his turn, and the moderator mistakenly allowed him to proceed.]

Madrid: Well since we are holding each other so much tonight Mr. White, I’d like to hold you to that issue, but I would like to inject another element into it which I alluded to before. The Gospel of Matthew nowhere claims to have been written by Matthew, yet you believe it was. Your Bible says it was written by Matthew. We could select John for that matter, or Mark. How do you know that Matthew wrote Matthew, and what is your basis for accepting it? Is it because he was an apostle? Or because he had the approval of an apostle, in the case of Mark or Luke? How do you know? What is your basis?

White: Well again we stray from the topic, but it is a common question that is utilized all the time. Well, how do you know Matthew wrote Matthew? Well, the question I have to ask is since Matthew doesn’t say that Matthew wrote Matthew, do I have to know Matthew wrote Matthew? Where is it said that to be born again you must believe that Matthew wrote Matthew? I haven’t found that, and since the book of Matthew doesn’t say that Matthew wrote Matthew, I don’t recall being told that I had to believe that. Now, do I believe that Matthew wrote Matthew? Ya, I do. You know why? Well, because I study the issue, and I go back and I look at history, and its the same thing with what was said earlier on. Mr. Madrid, you accused me of violating sola scriptura because I exegeted the passage in the original languages! “Look, he’s not appealing to the Bible, he’s appealing to the Greek!” Well what was the Bible written in? That’s what I am appealing to. So, when we look at John, for example, you can examine the Gospel of John, and you can . . . there’s all sorts of discussions about . . . pointing out how the identity of John is revealed in the Gospel of John. But there are people who disagree with that. And it is not something that means that I am going to call that person a non-Christian if he says, “Well, I’m not really sure that Matthew wrote Matthew.”

Now, did Matthew write Matthew? I certainly think so. There’s a lot of good evidence for it. But does that mean that I’m violating sola scriptura to go back and examine church documents and examine church history and examine the text? No, of course not! That’s not a violation of sola scriptura at all. And so you say, “Well, you can’t know that Matthew wrote Matthew unless the Roman Catholic Church tells you so!” Well, that’s interesting, because Christians knew, or claimed to know, that Matthew wrote Matthew long before there even existed a Roman Catholic Church, or even existed anyone in Rome who claimed to infallibly speak for Christ! So I’m not sure how they managed to do that, and if they did manage to do that, why can’t I do that tonight? Well, I guess I can’t.

Madrid: Mr. White the reason its a commonly utilized question by Catholic apologists is because you can’t answer the question, just as you just demonstrated right now. You don’t have any answer for the question. How do you know Matthew wrote Matthew? You gave us your hunch, based upon your study, although you’ve never seen the actual autographs, as I have not seen them—none of us in the room have seen them. You’re relying, by the way, on that transmission of an accurate transmission of those documents by the Catholic Church, Mr. White. [White: “Not at all.”] By the Catholic Church down through the ages, it can be demonstrated very conclusively. You are relying on that but you won’t admit it. You say that you don’t have to know why or if Matthew wrote Matthew. I find that very curious. Because if it can’t be established that this book was written by an apostle under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, then why should we accept it at all? After all, this book [referring to the Gospel of Thomas he had referred to earlier] claims to be written by an apostle, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and you say we should not accept it. And I don’t see any substantive difference between your saying we shouldn’t accept this one and we should accept this one. The only connection is that you don’t have an answer for either.

White: I’m tired of it being said that I’m not answering questions after I answer them, but I’d invite anyone to take this book, take a look at it, and then read the Gospel of Matthew and reflect upon Mr. Madrid’s recent words that there is no difference in what I’m saying between the two. There most obviously is. But again, who is the author of canon? I have answered the question. Who is the author of canon? Men or God? Is it Rome or God? It is God. So the question is, recognizing that which is inspired, not infallibly determining who wrote the Gospel of Matthew. Now I would return the question to you. In fact that is what I’m going to do in just a moment. You keep saying, “Well, without this infallible authority. . . .” Mr. Madrid, how do you know that Rome is infallible? I can show you fallible, fallible, fallible statements over and over and over again from Roman Pontiffs. They’ve made many mistakes. So how do you know that? You’re using an argument that is circular, and goes back to what is used by everyone, and saying, well, I’m the final authority, which is really what Rome is claiming.

[ Discussion about how lost both debaters, and the moderator, are as to who has asked how many questions. Decided (wrongly) that each has one question left to ask. ]

White: Well, Mr. Madrid, I guess I’ll just have to ask the question I was just asking. I’m going to turn the question back on you now. I don’t think it’s necessarily on sola scriptura. But, how do you know that the Roman Catholic Church upon which you can trust?

Madrid: This is how I know, Mr. White. I can look independent of what I see in Scripture. In fact, I’m not going to even treat Scripture as an inspired document for the moment, just for the sake of argument. I’m going to look at whether or not a man named Jesus Christ lived. Can I prove that historically? Yes. Can I prove that Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead and appeared to many people who as eyewitnesses claimed that He died and rose from the dead? I can prove that. In two minutes I can’t prove it for your satisfaction, but I think we would all agree that those things are true. I can demonstrate through non-Christian, unbiased sources, in fact sometimes actually biased against the Christian position, that Jesus Christ instituted a church. We can look at the writings of these early Christians, not only the apostles but also the men and women in the post-apostolic era. I can look at the Scripture and see what, independent of whether or not I believe it is inspired, I can look and see a description of the church that Jesus established. All of you know the verse in Matthew 16 verse 18, “On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” Mr. White and I would argue all night long over what the rock is, but the fact is Jesus established a church. The next point is that as I look at Scripture I see that the church is described as having certain functions, certain attributes, certain characteristics, certain jobs that it has to perform, and I can compare and find out, well, historically, yes, I can show that that was done, through the writing of the Scriptures. So if I believe that Jesus is God, and I believe that His promise is true that He founded a church, then I have to say, this is the next step, I have to say, does that church, is there a church today which fits that description which is doing all the things that Jesus said. If that’s true, if I can find that, and I have, by the way, it’s the Catholic Church, then I know that what is described here in this book is the same church that I see today. So when that church tells me, Jesus said in Luke 10:16, “He who listens to you listens to Me, he who refuses to hear you refuses to hear Me,” when I hear that Church speak I know that it is Jesus speaking through the church.

White: God’s ultimate authority is determined at the end of the longest, most easily contested chain of syllogistic arguments? That is how one knows God’s ultimate authority is through a process—you’ll find this on pages 126 through 127 of Karl Keating’s book—I think very well done by Mr. Madrid in repeating it—it ends with the statement “The Catholic believes in inspiration because the Church tells him so—that is putting it bluntly—and that same Church has the authority to interpret the inspired text.” That is where the ultimate authority lies? I could dispute, quite easily, factually, Biblically, and historically, ever single step that he just took! That is what’s being presenting to us tonight as to what is to replace the Christian recognizing the Scripture as God-breathed and hence accepting God’s speaking in His Word and the testimony of Jesus Christ as the ultimate authority? That is what we are to replace that with? I certainly hope no one is willing to do that.

Madrid: Well Mr. White, I think the essence of this argument boils down to one issue. In my case I’m appealing to the church to tell me that this Scripture is what it claims to be. That Matthew wrote it. That it came from the apostles in the case of the other books. That it’s trustworthy. That its inerrant. I believe all of that because the church witnesses to me that it’s so. But I see that you have the same problem. You in a sense caricature, or have a pejorative comment for my appeal to authority. Well you have the same problem, Mr. White. You appeal to this authority independent of its context in the church, and say that you just know that it’s inspired, you just know that it’s God’s Word, but you haven’t given us any evidence for that knowledge. You haven’t pointed us in any direction other than your own personal studies, or your Biblical lexicons that you may turn to. But as we all know, Mr. White, you are fallible. Your opinion on this issue, I’m afraid, is worthless. I want to know with certitude. And I would much rather trust the church that has taught for 2000 years than what you say about the Bible.

Fourth Question from Mr. Madrid to Mr. White. Madrid: Mr. White, you claim that sola scriptura is true, or pardon me, your claim that sola scriptura is true requires you to say that all apostolic traditions, or at least all of them that the church was meant to have, are recorded in Scripture. Thus far tonight you have merely made this assertion, but you haven’t cited any verses to prove it. Please cite for us some texts from Scripture requiring us to say that all such traditions which are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 11:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:15, and elsewhere, that all these traditions must be written down.

White: It seems, Mr. Madrid, you weren’t listening to my presentation very closely because I mentioned 2 Thessalonians 3:6, that uses the term tradition, that refers to back to what Paul had written in 1 Thessalonians 5:14. There are numerous others such as 1 Corinthians 11:23, 2 Thessalonians 2:5, and 2 Peter 1:12-15, that all make the same point, and that is, that what is preached by the individuals that are writing, for example, Peter or Paul, what was preached to them is now consistent with what they themselves are saying. For example, in 1 Corinthians 11 he says that he has delivered to them that which he has also received. He has delivered it to them in both ways, as 2 Thessalonians says, he has preached it to them, he has written it to them.

But I want everyone to notice what is going on here. It is the Roman assertion that what is in these supposed apostolic traditions is different than what we have in the New Testament. Mr. Madrid just says it’s my job to prove that what’s in the apostolic traditions is the same. Well wait a minute, wait a minute. Who here is alleging the necessity of some separate source of information? It’s Mr. Madrid. And so I want to turn it around to Mr. Madrid, and say, Mr. Madrid, I challenge you demonstrate on the basis of Scripture that was is in your supposed traditions is what is referred to in places like 2 Thessalonians 2:15 or 2 Timothy 2:2! That is a challenge that I have laid before many a Roman Catholic apologist and have not received an answer to. It is the assumption that underlies the position. And that assumption must be addressed.

The simple fact of the matter is we see in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 that the tradition that he speaks of there is the gospel of Jesus Christ! And you can’t tell me that’s not contained in the pages of Scripture! And hence you show me a tradition, sir, an apostolic tradition, that is binding upon Christians, that is not found in the pages of the New Testament. Show us that apostolic tradition that we are told we must follow, that we must accept, and then we can move from there.

Madrid: OK, Mr. White, I’ll be happy to take you up on your challenge, and here it is. This canon of the New Testament is part of apostolic tradition, it is not found in Scripture, and it is binding. You believe in a closed canon. You believe that if we add to the word of God, we are committing a sin. You would believe that the Mormons are wrong for adding the Book of Mormon to the word of God. You believe that revelation ceased at the death of the last apostle. Now, the canon of Scripture is something that I promised to hold you to, which you have not yet addressed, at least you haven’t given us an answer. That is one apostolic tradition that is binding, Mr. White, and its not found in Scripture. It’s divine revelation, and it’s binding on the consciences of Christians, who as you would say, hear the voice of their Savior and recognize it, there it is. How do you answer that? White: Well it’s quite easy. Well it’s quite easy. First of all an apostolic tradition must exist since the time of the apostles, but Mr. Madrid has been telling us that we had to wait until the end of the fourth century until we knew what the canon of Scripture was! How did that happen? Remember, apostolic traditions in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 are what? Already delivered. So your timing is all off. Furthermore, Mr. Madrid, the apostles did not believe that the Apocrypha was inspired Scripture, so you seemingly are going against what you call a binding apostolic tradition. And so I say no, you have not accomplished this. I challenge a Roman Catholic: show me where the Thessalonians were taught the Bodily Assumption of Mary. Trace it through history. Show me where the Thessalonians were taught these doctrines that Roman Catholicism has defined on the basis of tradition. Show me where they believed in the authority of the bishop of Rome as the infallible Vicar of Christ. The early Church did not believe that! They had no idea of that doctrine, and yet Paul says that these traditions were already delivered. Where are they? No, they were not already delivered, Rome has made them up over time.

Closing Statements

James White: The only reason you didn’t applaud was because you’re too hot to move your arms.

This evening we gathered to debate the issue, “Does the Bible Teach the Doctrine of Sola Scriptura?” And I have, in my opening statements, and in my comments that came afterwards, done my best to make sure that we stick to that subject. But despite my best attempts we have gone into all sorts of other issues. We’ve gone into hearing the Roman Catholic say that he believes the Bible is inspired because the church tells him so, which of course is a very circular argument—the church claims to have authority ’cause it appeals to Scripture, but it says that Scripture is inspired because the church says so, and so it’s a very circular thing. They’ve tried to call it “spiral” but, spirals are circles depending on which direction you look at it from. So it’s a very circular argument that is being presented to us in regards to the position taken by Mr. Madrid, and I would like to submit to you, please thing about it: all the objections that Mr. Madrid has raised in regards to canon issues and so on and so forth, if they are valid, are equally valid against himself. And an argument that you use that, when turned on your own position, destroys your own position, is not a valid argument. It’s not a valid argument.

What have we heard from Mr. Madrid in regards to my presentation on 2 Timothy 3:16-17? Well, we’ve heard, “Well, you’re trusting in Greek lexicons!” No, I’m not trusting in Greek lexicons. Mr. Madrid said that I brought all this fancy Greek stuff but Mr. Madrid brought the Bible. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew with a little bit of Aramaic thrown in there for good measure. The New Testament was written in Greek. And all I did was I went to what Paul said and demonstrated that what Paul said teaches the doctrine. Mr. Madrid has provided us with no counter citations. He has provided us no reason to think that the Protestant scholars I cited were in any way unfair, biased, going over board. He’s provided us with no Catholic scholars that say “Oh no, the [tape was changed at this point and some words were lost]. . . . exartizw means, he’s provided us with none of that.

At the beginning of the debate I laid out what I had to do. I had to demonstrate that the Bible is a rule of faith, that it teaches it’s sufficient to function as the sole rule of faith, and that it in fact teaches that it does function in that way, and I did those three things. So what was Mr. Madrid’s response? Well, he’s gone off after every other topic there is to go after. Canon issues, . . . and “Well how do you know that” type of situations. And well wait a minute, let’s go back to what the Scripture said. And the Scripture says, the Scriptures are sufficient for the man of God for doing the works of God.

Now, I want to take the time, since I promised it over and over again, to walk you through a passage that I think will help us to understand this, and this is 2 Thessalonians 2:15. I hope you’ll turn with me there, even though it’s late in the evening, I hope you’ll still turn with me there. Starting at verse 13, “But we ought to give thanks to God always for you, brothers loved by the Lord, for God chose you from the beginning for salvation through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through faith in the truth. Unto which he called you by our gospel, so that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast in traditions which you were taught either by word or by letter of ours.” What do we have here? This is really the primary passage that is utilized by Roman apologists to defend the concept of the oral tradition. We’re told, “Well see, what you’ve got here is you’ve got oral tradition and you’ve got written tradition, the two-fold tradition, just like we’ve always been saying.” This is a command to stand firm and hold fast a single body of traditions already delivered to the believers. There is nothing future about the passage. The Thessalonians have already heard what Paul has preached. This is a single body of traditions that is taught in two ways–orally, that is when Paul was personally with the Thessalonians and he preached to them, and by Epistles, that being the first letter to the Thessalonians.

Now what does orally refer to? For the Roman Catholic to use this passage to support his position, two things must be established. First, that the oral element refers to a specific passing on of revelation to the power of the episcopate and secondly, that what is passed on is different in substance from what is found in the New Testament. With reference to the first issue, we know that the context of the passage is the Gospel message itself. Look again at verses 13 and 14 and how Paul speaks of God’s work of salvation in the Gospel. The traditions of which Paul speak are not traditions about Mary or papal infallibility. Instead, the traditions Paul is talking about is simply the Gospel message itself. Note what he said in his first epistle to the Thessalonians about what he had spoken to them. “And for this reason, (I Thessalonians 2:13) we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God’s message, you accepted it not as the word of man but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.” This is God-breathed revelation. And notice also that if we do a terrible thing and look at the Greek in this passage, the term stekete, that is translated as “standing firm” here in II Thessalonians 2:15, is used by Paul elsewhere. For example, in 1 Corinthians 16:13, notice what it says, “Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be men of courage, be strong.” Paul exhorts the Corinthians to stand firm in what? In the faith. That is the context of his statement in II Thessalonians 2:15 as well. There is nothing in the passage that even begins to cause a person to think when Paul taught orally that’s when he must have taught them about the oral traditions, about Mary, the Immaculate Conception, the bodily assumption, and Papal infallibility, even though there probably wasn’t even a bishop in Rome at the time. But he passed it on anyways, and then that was passed on down through the power of the Epistles. That is what we are being asked to believe and I don’t believe it. And I don’t have any reason to believe it.

The same thing happens when we look at Matthew 23, another passage that is frequently used by Roman Catholics in regards to the issue of well, here’s a passage that violates sola scriptura. In Matthew 23 you have the discussion of Moses’ seat. It has been alleged the concept of Moses’ seat in Matthew 23:1-7 is the passage that I would ask you to read, that it is in fact a refutation of the concept of sola scriptura. Not only is this concept not found in the Old Testament, but Jesus is alleged (550) this extra-biblical tradition. Is this sound exegesis? Is this passage being properly understood when used this way?

First we note that the passage has spawned a plethora of differing understanding among scholars, including Roman Catholic scholars. But a few items immediately remove the Roman apologists’ interpretation and application from consideration. First, Moses’ seat refers to the seat in front of the synagogue, on which the teacher of the law sat while reading the Scriptures. Some scholars dispute that but most say that that’s the case. Synagogue worship, of course, came into being long after Moses’ day and so those who attempt to make this an oral tradition going back to Moses are engaging in wishful thinking. Beyond this, we are here only speaking of a position that existed at this time in the synagogue worship of the day. Are we truly to believe that this position was divine in origin and hence binding upon all who would worship God? It certainly doesn’t seem the New Testament churchans do it this way because the New Testament church did not adopt it and did not have Moses’ seat.

We first note that interpreters such as Urimeus and Carson would view this passage as engaging in biting irony. Read the rest of this passage and it is harsh, harsh stuff. The Jewish leaders have presumed to sit in Moses’ seat, suggested by (573) and Zahn, focusing on the use of the aorist tense of the verb, “to sit.” They sat themselves in this place but not properly. Such an understanding is entirely in line with the context, but I am more prone to accept Gundry’s understanding in which he says the following, “So long as sitting in Moses’ seat qualifies the speaking of the scribes and Pharisees all things whatever does not include their interpretive tradition, but emphasizes the totality of the law. They do keep their traditions. They do not practice what they speak while sitting on Moses’ seat. Hence their traditions are not in view. Though elsewhere Matthew is concerned to criticize the scribes’ and Pharisees’ interpretations of the law, here he concerned with the necessity of keeping the law itself. As usual, his eye is on the anti-nomianism of the church.”

So, what do we have here? Jesus simply refuses to overthrow the current form of worship that is engaged in the synagogue at this time because there is nothing in it like there was in the Korban rule that violated the Scriptures. But we know, and from Matthew 15, that all traditions were held up to what standard by the Lord Jesus Christ? Oh, but the Roman Catholic says, “Oh, but those are human traditions, ours aren’t.” The Jews didn’t believe the Korban rule was a human tradition. They didn’t believe that the rules in Matthew 15 about washing the hands. Those were the traditions of the elders. They have divine authority. Well, Rome claims the same thing. And I say to you, that we must take their traditions and examine them by Scripture, just as Jesus taught in Matthew 15. For example, the Roman Catholic Pontiff has taught the following, I guess this would fall under the concept of sacred tradition, “Consequently we declare, state, define and pronounce that it is altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” That’s interesting. There are hundreds of years when there was no Roman Pontiff. Oh, there’s always been a bishop of Rome. Well, that’s not actually the case, sometimes there were three. But the point is there was hundreds of years when the bishop of Rome never claimed what Rome teaches about him today. So how could anyone have been saved? I don’t know. The point is you examine what this thing says in light of what? Do you just simply bow down before it and say, “Well, that’s my ultimate authority, so therefore I accept it?” Or do you examine the tradition in the light of Scripture and do what the Lord Jesus said to do in Matthew 15.

The debate this evening was on whether the Bible teaches sola scriptura. Not on canon issues, not on how the Church recognizes inspiration. And the reason that I focused so much in my presentation upon that very issue is because basically I knew that’s what Mr. Madrid wanted. At least I thought so. Mr. Madrid didn’t want to go off into all sorts of church history stuff and so on and so forth. And so I focused my presentation on where the Bible teaches it because Catholic Answers keeps asking, “Show us one verse,” and when we do what do they do? What has been the response in showing Mr. Madrid the one verse? The response has been, “Well, that’s just Protestant scholars, that’s just fancy Greek, I brought the Bible.” No, my friends, remember the pieces of the debate and ask yourself the question: Has Mr. Madrid refuted 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and Matthew 15. If he has not, no matter what other neat things he said, he has not actually engaged the debate. That is where it lies and I am going to challenge it to him again in his closing statements. Focus on the issue and deal with those passages. Thank you very much.

Madrid: I’d like to close my remarks with a word of thanks, first of all, to all of you for your patience in this warm room. The still air, I know, has been uncomfortable for all of us, but I’m grateful for your sitting here and being willing to wait through all of these arguments. I’d also like to thank you, Pastor Wagner. I know that hospitality is hard to come by these days and I appreciate you inviting us into your church this evening. I need to cover a couple of points of old business before I move into my formal remarks.

First of all, I want to clarify something that I think Mr. White misunderstood. I did not earlier in the debate issue a challenge to him for another debate. And I don’t want him or anyone else to make the mistake of thinking that I am thundering challenges to debate. I said earlier that that issue that we had talked about could be debated at a future point but I didn’t specify by whom. So, please don’t misunderstand that remark as I think Mr. White did.

Second of all, I have not gone after all sorts of other issues. If you remember, I’m not the one who brought up the chair of Moses. I am not the one who brought up tradition. I am not the one who brought up the Church contradicting itself. I am not the one who brought up any of those things. Mr. White did. None of those things have to do with whether or not the Bible teaches sola scriptura. He obfuscated, I’m afraid. He brought up issues which he claims are related to whether or not the Bible teaches sola scriptura, but I don’t think they are. And yet, the fundamental issue that has to, on which his position has to pivot, is can you tell me with a certainty what the Bible is? And Mr. White has failed, utterly failed to give us an answer as to what his reason is for knowing that those 27 books belong in the New Testament. We’re not talking about the canon of the Old Testament, Mr. White. We all know that there is dispute on that issue. Lets deal on the issue we do agree with–the 27 books of the New Testament. He has not answered that question. Don’t forget that.

Mr. White likes to, in his closing remarks, say that I did not stick to the issue and that I did not deal with his translation or his interpretation of II Timothy 3:16-17. I did deal with it, and as he is fond of saying, roll the tapes back for yourself and look at what I said and look at how I showed that he was misapplying the meaning. He was seeing a meaning in II Timothy 3:17 that’s not there. That he was saying that it implies that the man of God is sufficient, yet he excludes the role of the Church in helping that man of God properly use that equipment that he’s given. Oh, yes, I did answer that question. I did deal with that verse. And Mr. White can say anything he wants, but really the burden of proof tonight is not on him or me, it’s on you, because you’re the one that has to stand before God some day. You’re the one who has to be judged on the basis of whether or not you accepted His word or rejected.

You’ve heard the truth tonight about sola scriptura. You’ve heard that it’s false. You’ve heard that it can’t be established in Scripture. No matter all the fancy gyrations and all the other things that Mr. White engages in, he simply has not proven the issue. At least he has not to my satisfaction. I don’t believe he has proven it to the satisfaction of any honest person in this room who is willing to say, “Is there a verse which teaches sufficiency?” II Timothy 3:16-17 does not teach sufficiency, folks. I think we’ve shown that.

Second of all, I think Mr. White, as I listen to his arguments, he’s very reminiscent of Wiley Coyote, you know. I feel like the Roadrunner tonight. Here we have Mr. White as Wiley Coyote springing all these traps for me, trying to bring me down. He’s got this ACME box of anti-Catholic arguments that he can use. But notice that just like Wiley Coyote Mr. White is thwarted at every turn. He holds up the Bible and says , “This disproves Mr. Madrid’s position,” but he can’t even tell us what is in the Bible–whether or not it’s supposed to be there. He can’t tell us with certainty what the Bible is and how he knows that that is the Bible.

He unbelievably spent a lot of time in II Thessalonians 2:15, so in my remaining moments let me please just address that. Mr. White made a number of errors, a number of blunders. Let me point out a few of them.

1.) He argues that all tradition must be separate from Scripture. No, that’s not the case. If he had been listening carefully he would have heard what I said in my opening remarks that the Catholic position is the material sufficiency of Scripture. Everything that is taught in all tradition is found at least implicitly, if not explicitly, in Scripture. Now, Mr. White may dispute the Scriptures that I’ll bring up to prove those doctrines but that’s a different issue. The fact is, it doesn’t have to be separate from Scripture. It doesn’t have to be something that’s outside of Scripture in the sense that he is talking about.

Second of all, he asked for examples of revelation which is binding and is found outside of Scripture. I gave him several. One of them, which he hasn’t answered, is the canon of Scripture. That’s an apostolic tradition. The reason it’s an apostolic tradition is because the apostles told the Church, “Hey, I wrote this book.” That sounds to me like an apostolic tradition, Mr. White. And it was preserved by the Church and Mr. White follows it and he accepts it but he won’t admit it. That’s the key thing for you to remember.

In II Thessalonians 2:6-7 Paul alludes to something that he doesn’t explain. He says that there is something restraining the man of lawlessness. And then he says to the Thessalonians, “You know what I’m talking about.” I don’t think Mr. White could establish from Scripture alone what Paul is talking about. That’s found in tradition. The early church fathers are very clear as to what Paul was talking about was the rule of law, civil law, civil society and the order that it establishes, holding back the man of sin. Now, we could debate that issue, but that is, in fact, in apostolic tradition, that is preserved outside of Scripture.

Mr. White says there’s no evidence that Paul intended for all traditions to be continued. But Paul said in II Thessalonians 2:15, “Stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you have been given.” Now I want to address that, because I that’s where Mr. White really failed. 1.) The word that Paul used there is paradoseis. That implies handing on. That means handing on. The Latin word, the Latin cognate for that is tradere, the Latin infinitive verb, and that means “to hand on.” So the very word that Paul is using implies a continuation of this. Mr. White would be hard-pressed to harmonize his interpretation of this passage with Paul’s express command to hand on tradition in II Corinthians 2:2. How is he going to explain that? Paul says,. “Hand on this tradition” and it’s oral. We’re not denying that Scripture is part of tradition. We’re not denying that Scripture is part of the tradition that the Church handed on. Mr. White is denying that all tradition plays a part but he’s going smack dab in the face of what Scripture says.

Finally, Mr. White, you made a lot of emphasis about the word, stekete and you said that if, or at least you implied, that this means that this oral tradition is not to be handed on any further. It once for all delivered and that’s it. Well, notice the problem with that. If this disproves the continuation of handing on this oral tradition, it also disproves the handing on of the written tradition as well, because in that passage, Paul says stand firm and hold fast to both. stekete. Stand there. Hold onto it. So if that disproves the transmission of oral teaching, it also disproves the continuation of written teaching as well.

The problem of the canon was brought up many times and Mr. White did not address that.

I think that in my closing remarks I’d like to focus on something that all of you are familiar with and all of you know, at least down in your heart of hearts, is at least an indication that sola scriptura is not true. You can open your Yellow Pages when you get home tonight and look at all the different so-called Bible-believing denominations which claim to go by the Bible alone, none of which agree on not only the essentials, I mean not only the non-essential issues, but also the essential issues. Salvation. Can you lose it once you get it? What about infant baptism? What about the Lord’s Supper. What about baptismal regeneration, Mr. White? Whole segments of Protestantism disagree with you that issue. What about tongues and prophesy and miracles? B.B. Warfield, one of your mentors, wrote vociferously against that. Many Protestants hold to it. What about the perpetual virginity of Mary? Luther and Calvin believed in her perpetual virginity. Mr. White doesn’t. There is confusion reigning among Protestantism, all of them claiming to go by the Bible alone and none of them being able to meet entirely on what the Bible means. Now Jesus, pardon me, Paul said in I Corinthians 1:10, “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” Sola scriptura has been a blueprint for anarchy, folks. Just trace the historical record back to the time of the Reformation and look at all the competing sects that have arisen.

In my final minute I want to say that I didn’t come here to win arguments, I came here to share the truth. I came here to invite you all to the fullness of the truth which is found in the Catholic Church. And I’d like to use the words of a famous Catholic apologist, Edmund Campion, who is a priest. He was formerly a Protestant, then he converted to the Catholic church. He wrote this letter and I hope you’ll give me a couple seconds over–if I go over 10 or 15 seconds. [Discussion about how much time is left. The moderator informs Mr. Madrid that 2 minutes are remaining.] I would like to use his words to make my own tonight because I know that many of you are not Catholic and I know that many of you run the risk of going to Hell if you do not accept the truth that Jesus Christ is offering to you. If you leave this room tonight and you suppress the doubt that may be in your heart about what Mr. White is saying tonight or the questioning that may be in your heart about whether or not the Catholic Church is the true church, you have to answer to God at some point. You don’t have to answer to me or Mr. White. I’m inviting you to consider, to study, to pray about the Catholic position. No, Mr. White, I don’t mean that in the Mormon sense of the word. I mean that in the Biblical sense of the word. Here’s what Edmund Campion said. I say this to all of you and I also say it respectfully and with some affection for Mr. White.

“Many innocent hands are lifted up to Heaven for you daily by those Catholics around the world, those Catholic apologists whose posterity shall never die, which beyond the seas gathering virtue and sufficient knowledge for the purpose are determined never to give you over but either to win you for Heaven or to die upon your pikes. Be it known to you that we have made a league, all the Catholics in the world, whose succession and multitude must overarch all practices of the Protestant world. We cheerfully will carry the cross you shall lay upon us and never despair for your recovery. While we have a man left to enjoy your (842) or to be wrapped up in your torments, or consumed with your prisons, the expense is reckoned, the enterprise has begun, it is of God, it cannot be withstood. So the faith was planted, so it must be restored. If these my offers tonight be refused and my endeavors can take no place, and I, having run thousands of miles to do you good, shall be rewarded with rigor, I have no more to say but to recommend your case and mine to Almighty God, the searcher of hearts who sends us His grace and set us in accord before the day of payment. To the end we may at last be friends in Heaven when all injuries shall be forgotten.”

I pray tonight that you don’t leave this alone here and that you continue to search for the truth and I hope to see all of you in Heaven some day. Thank you very much.

Fortune Tellers & Psychics

Posted: September 6, 2010 by julesplife in Great Catholic Articles

You Can Trust Me, I’m a Psychic

By Mark P. Shea

You Can Trust Me, I'm a Psychic You can’t turn on the TV these days without being acosted by an infomercial for the latest scam: psychic hotlines. New ones spring up practically every day, and this fast growing fad is grabbing a lot more than foolish people’s cash – souls are at stake. Have you ever wondered why these 900# scams are so effective in duping so many? Here’s a look at the silliness and, how Catholics can respond to those who swear by their psychics.
You see this stuff everywhere. During the commercials on the science programs that assure us we’ve progressed past medieval superstition. On the back pages of magazines that assure us we’re integrated adults with healthy sex lives and high-paying jobs. In the newspapers that remind us how American secular culture is free of the ignorant mysticism of the Dark Ages. In the pages of a zillion “women’s mags,” sandwiched between excerpts from “Andre Talks Hair!” and “How to Have Abs of Steel.”

Horoscopes. Astrologers. Dionne Warwick hawking her Psychic Pals. Billy Dee Williams coaxing you into dialing that 900 number that will change your life and your phone bill forever. Crystal gazing, tarot reading, clairvoyance and all the rest of it. What is a Catholic to make of it all? And what is a Catholic who wishes to share his Faith to say to his neighbor who faithfully reads his horoscope every morning in the Times?

Some laugh at the very idea of saying anything. The whole enterprise is shot through with such quackery and hokum that many people can’t believe anyone takes it seriously. For example, when Envoy did a search to find a few astrology Web sites, we found (among the thousands of hits) three separate sites advertising the uncanny powers of Mystic Meg, Sylvia Browne and Jeanne Dixon. What struck us as most uncanny of all was that their advertising blurbs were, to a large extent, exact, word-for-word duplicates of one another, right down to the displays of grammatical ineptitude (“Yes, I have one of the greatest psychic pools filled with my hand picked psychics and they all experience the same capabilities as mine.”)

Brrr! Scary! What besides psychic synchronicity could possibly explain this strange coincidence? Could it have to do with their remarkably similar phone numbers? You be the judge!

Still other ads wavered between spookiness and a kind of unconscious compulsion to confess their quackery, as, for example, tarot readings offered by the appropriately-named “House of Cards.” Others simply brass it out with wondrously meaningless claims, as, for instance, an astrologer down the street from me who advertises herself as “Seattle’s Best Astrologer.” In lucid moments, one wonders just how to measure this claim versus, say, Seattle’s Second Best Astrologer. But, as should be obvious, most of these people are not really counting on a clientele with a robust sense of skepticism.

Nonetheless, millions of people do not harbor such skepticism. Which is why the tube, the newspapers and the magazines do not promote this stuff for their health. They promote it because it is big, booming, lucrative business that rakes in big, booming, lucrative bucks. Here, for instance, is the July 1997 issue of New Woman, an ultra-typical checkstand mag featuring an ultra-typical “Horoscope Special” section sponsored by the Coty perfume company. The first page has a big splashy ad for “Ghost Myst” (“You can’t see it, but you know it’s there”), along with the slogan, “Always believe in spirits — especially yours.” Then, leaf after leaf of fabulously expensive color glossy pages telling several hundred thousand credulous readers how to organize their finances based on the stars and planets (“We all have issues when it comes to money — and the cosmos have more to do with it than you might think.” “Your Sun sign influences the way you feel about money.”)

Here is a spectacularly crass alloy of Corporate Big Money, American self-worship and materialism, and superstitious truckling to the powers that would have made Simon the Magician proud (Acts 8:9-10). And it is sponsored not by some two-bit juke joint crystal gazer, but by a major American corporation in a major American magazine utterly indistinguishable from a hundred others. That means, among other things, that this stuff, far from being far out, is mainstream, normal and regarded as harmless. But is it harmless?
Is it harmless?
To raise this question these days is largely to invite catcalls. Especially when we raise it as Catholics. Our postmodern neighbor retorts, “What’s the difference between your religion with its prophets and miracles and this stuff about horoscopes and magic? If it works for some people, what’s the harm?”
Conversely, some of our Evangelical Protestant friends will take a position opposite from this, yet just as hostile to the Catholic Church. “Horoscopes and seances are forbidden by Scripture,” they will say, “and that’s why Catholic prayer to the saints is evil, too. It’s all satanic.”
And finally, of course, uneducated Catholics can sometimes get fuddled by apologists for the occult who tell them horoscopes and consultation with the dead are “in the Bible,” so it must be okay. How do we navigate such turbulent waters and retain a healthy Catholic Faith?

A good place to start.
A good place to start is the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2115-2116):
“God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it.

“All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to ‘unveil’ the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.”

Let’s unpack this. If you ask most modern Catholics which of the Ten Commandments astrology or divination violates, they’ll likely tell you, “Thou shalt not steal.” That’s because, being more modern than Catholic, most tend to think of sins against the wallet before thinking of sins against God. They figure the thing is quackery, so the main sin is in bubbling somebody out of their cash. Interestingly, though, the Catechism teaches us to regard divination, horoscopes and the rest as sins against the First, not the Seventh, Commandment.

The First Commandment says, “You shall have no other gods before me.” The reason the Church regards divination, consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, summoning the dead and all the rest of it as sinful is because they are all attempts to treat creatures like the Creator. They are all attempts to wring from (and give to) creatures (whether crystals, tea leaves, stars, dead people or spirits) that which is proper only to God. And they are all, without exception, motivated by a desire for power and control.

Love, Life, Relationships, Career, Money, the Future.
Which brings us to the main paradox of the “psychic subculture”: namely, that it desires and claims access to phenomenal cosmic powers, yet has astoundingly petty aims (and I here quote from a typical ad):

Your personal psychic will answer questions about:
*Love * Life * Relationships * Career * Money *The Future

One would think that Souls in Tune with the Infinite would have loftier goals than finding out from New Woman what “Your Money Style” is (“Thanks to Jupiter, your popularity goes through the roof. Spring for a great cocktail dress, a caterer and a cellular phone.”) But, in fact, the basic reason for consulting a psychic (confirmed by looking at the average psychic’s “marketing strategy”) is a deep desire for knowledge and control as the highest conceivable goods in life. Like Faustus, the basic motivation here is to acquire chicks, checks and chocolate. It is emphatically not to humble oneself before God, nor to enter into a relationship of mutual self-giving, nor even to raise one’s sights to a moderate philosophical reflection on any meaning in life beyond “Always believe in spirits — especially yours.”

This by itself is enough to distinguish the guiding principle of the occult from anything remotely resembling Catholic faith. For in contrast to the teaching of Christ, the obvious goal here is not union with God, but “becoming as gods, knowing the difference between good and evil” (Gen. 3:5). In short, the goal is indeed power — “power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers.”

This last clause ought not to go unnoticed. For the irony is that when we seek security by placing our faith in power and self rather than in the love of the Blessed Trinity, we necessarily find ourselves, sooner or later, in a universe of fear — fear of greater powers who believe in themselves more strongly still. This is the source of a zillion schemes for appeasing spirits, dealing with hexes and the whole complex jungle of superstition which is rife, not only in pre-Christian paganism, but in post-Christian supermarket checkstand culture, as well. Which is why, in the midst of her promises to deliver you into a future of peace and plenty, Jeanne Dixon’s Web page features a promise to remove spells. It’s a god eat god world.
But this is the 20th Century!

“But,” says the skeptic, “this is the 20th Century! Surely you don’t take powers, principalities, and all the rest of this supernaturalism seriously?”
As a Catholic, I most certainly do take the supernatural seriously. The mere fact that an enormous amount of the occult is what we would call human quackery does not mean it is not supernatural. For a Catholic, the mere fact the thing involves humans at all makes it supernatural, since humans are spiritual creatures. The charlatan who exploits the credulity of rich widows is complicit in the work of the Father of Lies, even if it involves only smoke and mirrors. The fact that such quackery is not accompanied by levitation and pea soup vomit does not make it the less dangerous if it tempts a soul to place pride, power, vanity and self-absorption at the top of its To Do list.

However, having said that, a Catholic will hasten to add that not all occult phenomena are necessarily caused by a mere human agency. Sometimes the liar is not human, but genuinely demonic and capable of producing effects beyond what is naturally explicable. For example, the possessions recorded in the New Testament and the strange visitations of demonic power which afflicted St. John Vianney. The fact is, the world bristles with reliable accounts of malign supernatural powers; accounts which come from sages, saints and quite ordinary people who are quite as bright and honest as you or me, and who insist that such things do happen and have even happened to them.

Sniffing, “But this is the 20th Century!” in the face of this evidence and of the teaching of the Church is exactly like sniffing, “But this is Tuesday the 12th!” The fact is, the calendar has nothing to do with whether God created immortal spirits called “angels.” It has nothing to do with the fact that some of them abused their free will, rejected God and His creation (including us) and thereby became what we call devils. And it has nothing whatever to do with the fact that, to this day, Satan remains what Jesus called him: “a murderer from the beginning . . . a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

Thus, the rationalist skeptic, so far from being in advance of the age, is several eons and ages behind the times, and is clueless as to the nature and extent of just what powers may be at work when a human being dabbles in the occult. This is why the Church, fearing much more for our souls than our wallets, condemns all necromancy, all astrology, all attempts to seek revelation from spirits or crystals or powers — even ones which are undertaken for an ostensibly “good” reason (like calling on familiar spirits to heal a sick loved one).

For all of this is, according to the Catechism, still tantamount to idolatry and is still, at root, an attempt to wring from (and give to) a creature (even if it is a superhuman creature like a fallen angel) what is proper only to the Creator. The occultist claims to “summon spirits from the vasty deep” and the rationalist tartly replies, “Yes, but will they come when you call?” The Church says the extraordinarily dangerous thing is they very well might do just that, particularly to the heart and will that are deliberately disposed to serve them.

They come to dominate, deceive and destroy.
However, they come not to serve, but to dominate, deceive and destroy. The serious pursuit of occultic power by puny humans surrounded by superhuman fallen spirits is analogous to the mouse’s serious pursuit of the cat. Fallen angels hate God. They also hate what is in God’s image, namely you. They even hate themselves. Their native language, says our Lord, is the lie (John 8:44). To seek them for any reason is to lay oneself open to grave spiritual danger, including the possibility of irrevocably severing ourselves from our relationship with God.
“But,” says the occult devotee, “not all psychic phenomena are sought out. Sometimes people simply find they have prophetic dreams or insights or some other strange thing. Abraham Lincoln, for instance, had a dream in which he foresaw his own assassination. Are you calling such phenomena automatically demonic?”

No, not “automatically.” That would be rash. The world is a strange place, governed by a God who is Mystery. If He chooses from time to time to reveal things to someone prophetically, He is free to do so (though since He is Truth, He will never reveal anything that contradicts or adds to the revelation He has given us in Christ). He can, if He likes, reveal Himself through various odd phenomena such as dreams or mystical knowledge of future events. He is, after all, God. But precisely because He is God, we are obliged to hear and heed His word to us that divination, spiritism, horoscopes and consulting the dead are “abominable practices” (Deut. 18:10-12).

It is one thing, therefore, if a person is made the recipient of a supernatural insight or gift (as, for instance, St. Bernadette was when the Blessed Virgin appeared to her at Lourdes). It is quite another if a person defies God’s express will by seeking supernatural knowledge and power in ways the Lord has expressly forbidden as a violation of the First Commandment. And of course, the mere fact that someone has an unsought dream or supernatural insight about the future still does not mean that person is necessarily being visited by God. As Sts. Peter and Paul say, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour,” and he “disguises himself as an angel of light.” (1 Peter 5:8; 2 Cor. 11:14). That is also why Paul admonishes, “Test everything, hold fast what is good” (1 Thess. 5:21). And the Catholic Church follows suit by testing every claim of private revelation presented to Her, scrutinizing each claim in light of what God has clearly revealed in Scripture and Tradition.

“That’s your interpretation of Scripture,” says the occult devotee. “But there are other Scriptures that support, for instance, astrology. Judges 5:20 tells us, ‘From heaven fought the stars, from their courses they fought against Sisera.’ Likewise, Matthew 2 tells us the Magi (that is, astrologers) knew of the coming Messiah because they had ‘seen his star in the East.’ So astrology is perfectly biblical.”

In reply, the Catholic might answer that a better way to put it is that astrology is imperfectly biblical. That is, both the examples cited are specimens of incomplete revelation, and are certainly not licenses for disobeying God.

The basic very biblical and very Catholic truth that astrology imperfectly reflects is this: Everything is connected. However, what neither astrologers, nor the author of Judges, nor the Magi understand very clearly is how everything is connected. Modern astrologers understand the least of the three. They assume there is a direct connection between us and the stars and planets. The author of Judges knows a bit more than this. He has the added revelation of the existence of the God of Israel, and so he says (poetically), “the stars fought against Sisera” or, in plain English, “God arranged everything to help Israel.” But the author of Judges does not clearly understand to what end God was helping Israel, he just knows He was.

Likewise, the Magi are also murky, but they know a smidge more. They do not clearly understand how all this Israelite religion fits in with their Babylonian lore of the stars, but they are convinced (just like modern astrologers) that everything is connected; they know (just like the author of Judges) that God is somehow doing the connecting and they are aware (just like Catholics) that it’s somehow entangled with the long-foretold “King of the Jews.” But the crucial fact which eludes them all is the nature of this connection between everything.

It is precisely here that we, as Catholics, do have perfectly biblical revelation the modern astrologer does not. For we know the end to which God was leading Israel when He arranged everything to fight against Sisera. He was leading to Jesus Christ, Who is the fulfillment of the hope of Israel. Likewise, when He graciously spoke to the Magi in terms of their own culture, He led them, not into more astrology, but to the Incarnate Word of God, and thus to the fullness of His revelation. His grace built on their Babylonian nature and helped them to understand the perfectly biblical revelation that everything is connected in Christ, and only in Christ. God can and did use the innocent astrological attempts of the Magi to help them understand the connections at work in Creation.

But once the revelation is given that everything is connected only in Christ, any further attempt to seek from the creation what is proper to the Creator is to try to make an end run around the Creator and thereby sin against the First Commandment. It is also, by the way, silly. For in Christ “the whole fullness of divinity dwells bodily . . . in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:9, 3). To continue looking to stars or tea leaves for supernatural revelation in the face of this overwhelming gift is analogous to a man dying of thirst turning his back on Niagara Falls and trying to catch rain in a thimble.

The Babe at Bethlehem said to the Magi, in essence, “What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you . . . The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:23, 30).

“Speaking of repentance,” says our Evangelical friend, “when are you Catholics going to repent of your doubletalk? After all, you pray to the dead. What’s the difference between that and a seance like Saul attended in 1 Samuel 28?”

The difference is Jesus Christ.
Catholic teaching, as we have seen, forbids as strongly as Deuteronomy 18:10 all attempts to “consult with the dead.” It forbids it, as we have seen, because any attempt to make an end run around Jesus Christ and acquire knowledge and control apart from the life of the Blessed Trinity constitutes idolatry. Saul was not guilty of some vague sin of creepiness when he summoned the spirit of Samuel by the Witch of Endor. He was guilty of attempting to wring power over events from a creature so he could outwit the Creator. The lesson Saul learned was the lesson of the Psalmist: “Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? . . . If I make my bed in Sheol [the grave], thou art there” (Psalm 139:7-8). It is a lesson the Church wants every one of Her members to know and heed: idolatry is a grave sin.

“But Saul summoned up a demon and was punished by death [1 Chron. 10:13-14]. Isn’t Catholic prayer to the dead also likened to summoning demons?”

Actually the text gives us no reason at all for thinking Saul summoned a demon. The sacred writer is quite emphatic that the spirit who appeared was the prophet Samuel himself. In fact, the spirit of Samuel even utters a true prophecy: Saul is to die tomorrow. How to explain this? One reasonable explanation is simply this: Samuel, who was among the prophets who awaited the Messiah, was, like all the dead in Christ, not dead, any more than Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were dead. For as our Lord says, “He is not God of the dead, but of the living” (Matt. 22:32). This being so, it is quite possible that God allowed Samuel to appear to Saul, just as He allowed Moses and Elijah to appear on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:3). As we have seen, God is free to do what He likes, but Saul is not thereby exonerated of his attempt to make an end run around God. He must discover that our connectedness to the dead is not direct and that the dead, like the living, have no power and no hope that is not ultimately centered in Christ. Saul must learn not to sin against the First Commandment. In short, the story corroborates precisely what the Church teaches.

“But,” persists our Evangelical friend, “How can you say the Church honors the First Commandment when you pray to the dead? Isn’t that idolatry?

Pray to the dead?
No. For prayer to a saint is not worship, any more than bowing to an audience or kneeling to propose marriage is. “Pray” is simply an old-fashioned word for “request,” as in “I pray thee, do thou get me another beer, and I shall reckon it an act of kindness withal.” Thus, in asking me to pray for you, you are “praying to” me in the sense the Catholic Church means it. To “pray to” the saints is not to adore them as gods. Rather, it is simply to address them as fellow members of the Body of Christ. This is very significant, for it is to do precisely what those who consult the dead do not do, which is to consciously place both oneself and the saint addressed in the communion of saints, which is united with the Blessed Trinity and, in the Trinity, with us. In other words, Catholic prayer to the dead fully acknowledges our connectedness entirely within Christ.

Thus, prayer to the saints is sharply distinct from “consulting the dead” precisely because it does not attempt to make an end run around God, nor to treat a creature as God, nor to acquire from the dead forbidden knowledge or power. Rather, the entire point is to enter fully into the reality that, in Christ and only in Christ, we are “members one of another” (Rom. 12:5).
The theology behind prayer to the saints, then, is straightforward and solidly biblical. It is centered in the Light of the World, of which the “angel of light” is a cheesy imitation.

First, Scripture clearly shows that the blessed dead, connected with us in Christ, are indeed aware of earthly doings (Heb. 12:1). Also check out the story of the Transfiguration in the gospels (Matt. 17:1-8).

Second, Scripture promises that those in Christ shall, in glory, “be like him,” conformed to His image in every way (1 John 3:2; Rom. 8:29). And so, even on this earth, we are given the glorious task of carrying out His work by praying for one another and exercising spiritual gifts for the building up of the Body (Rom. 12). The Church, believing the reality that we go from one degree of glory to another (2 Cor. 3:18), has always believed that this glorious participation in the saving work of Christ will be ours in even fuller measure when we enter into Heaven. And since we are “members one of another,” we can, in Christ and only in Christ, seek the prayers and help of fellow members of the Body, both here and in Heaven.

The bottom line is seances are not the same as prayer to the saints, for the same reason magic is not the same as miracles, and horoscopes are not the same as prophecy. Seances, magic, horoscopes and divination are parodies of a reality which God offers us, the reality of our connectedness in Christ.

The Devil’s tricks.
The basic insight behind occultism is, like many of the devil’s tricks, a biblical one (Luke 4:9-11). It is true that everything is connected. By exploiting the truth that everything is connected, the devil tells a grand lie: He tells us everything is connected apart from Christ. But as usual, the devil promises a Ferrari and delivers a Yugo.

Based on his lie, he tricks people into trying to gain revelation apart from God, into treating creatures as though they are God, and into trying to “become as gods, knowing the difference between good and evil.” In so doing he can then a) send crooks to rip us off and thereby harden us against faith in a supernatural God, b) send lying spirits to lead us into the supernatural but away from God or c) make it impossible to distinguish between what God has cursed and what God has blessed so that we throw the baby out with the bathwater. And the irony is, all the while that we were hankering to “become like gods,” the Lord had been longing for us to . . . become like God (Matt. 5:48).

For everything the occult claims to give us is a cheap imitation of what God actually wills us to have. Wisdom, knowledge, power, love, true riches, assurance about the future and even communion with the whole Body of Christ, both living and dead, are all our proper heritage in Christ (Eph. 1:18-19; 3:14-21). He even promises to make us “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4) and “conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:29), which is to be like God. That is why the whole strategy of the powers and principalities who hate God and us (Eph. 6) is concentrated on getting us to forget those two little words “in Christ.”

But if we do not forget them, if we remember our Lord’s command to obey Him and thereby abide in Him as He abides in you (John 15:4), then far from being snookered by the occult, we shall “make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose which he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:9-11).

(Apologetics) John Vs Mike – 1

Posted: September 5, 2010 by CatholicJules in Apologetics

(Mike Gendron is an Ex-Catholic) (John Martignoni a Catholic Apologist)
—————————————————————————————–
From the website, http://www.pro-gospel.org:

Three Common Errors of False Teachers, by Mike Gendron:

Since we are now living in the age of religious tolerance and ecumenical unity, there are some people who will immediately call this article unloving and divisive. Others will ask, “What right do you have to judge another religion?” The answer is given in Scripture. All God-fearing people are called to make right judgments, judgments that have already been established by the objective principles of God’s Word (John 7:24). There may be nothing more important than warning people who are being deceived about their eternal destiny. If we do not lovingly confront them with God’s Gospel, they may never know how to escape the eternal fire of God’s punishment. Clearly, the most unloving thing we can do is to ignore them and let them continue down the road to destruction. For this reason, I am always willing to offend people with the   offense and exclusivity of the Gospel in the hopes that God may grant some of them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth (2 Tim. 2:25). Let us look at three fatal errors of false prophets and how to handle them.
False Teachers Usurp the Authority of God
The supreme authority of the Bible is established both by its divine origin and inspiration (2 Pet. 1:21). It is the infallible Word of God, and it will accomplish God’s purpose (Isaiah 55:11). It is the very foundation upon which all Christian truths rest. For followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible is the final court of appeal in all matters pertaining to faith and godliness. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). The divine authority of Scripture corrects and rebukes all false teaching because there is no higher authority or infallible source in which to appeal. It is the Word of God, and God cannot lie, cannot break His promise and cannot deceive.
People fall into serious error and sin when they exalt their own authority over God’s authority or when they suppress the truth of God’s Word to promote their own self-serving agendas. The Roman Catholic religion has done this by establishing its traditions and teachings to be equal in authority with Scripture (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC] par. 82). In doing so, it has usurped the supreme authority of our sovereign God who alone has the right to rule and determine the eternal destinies of men. This fatal error has opened the flood gates to numerous other deadly heresies including: the preaching of another gospel, the worship of a counterfeit Jesus, the buying and selling of God’s grace through indulgences, the creation of a fictitious place called purgatory, the establishment of other mediators and praying to and for the dead. These errors are fatal because anyone who is embracing them when they take their last breath will experience eternal death.
Catholics who are being deceived by these fatal errors must be told that the world has known only one infallible teacher. He is the Lord Jesus Christ, who was the personification of truth and every word He spoke was truth (John 14:6, 17:17). Those who are seeking the truth need to look only to Christ and His Word. The Catholic religion has become corrupt the same way Judaism became corrupt – by following the traditions of men instead of the Word of God (Mark 7:13). The Pharisees taught much truth, but by mixing it with error, they “made the word of God of no effect.” We must never forget that the Bible is what God says and religion is what man says God says.
————————————————————————————————————————————————–
Mike Gendron:
Three Common Errors of False Teachers:  Since we are now living in the age of religious tolerance and ecumenical unity, there are some people who will immediately call this article unloving and divisive. Others will ask, “What right do you have to judge another religion?” The answer is given in Scripture. All God-fearing people are called to make right judgments, judgments that have already been established by the objective principles of God’s Word (John 7:24). There may be nothing more important than warning people who are being deceived about their eternal destiny. If we do not lovingly confront them with God’s Gospel, they may never know how to escape the eternal fire of God’s punishment. Clearly, the most unloving thing we can do is to ignore them and let them continue down the road to destruction. For this reason, I am always willing to offend people with the   offense and exclusivity of the Gospel in the hopes that God may grant some of them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth (2 Tim. 2: 25). Let us look at three fatal errors of false prophets and how to handle them.
John Martignoni
In essence, I agree with what he is saying in that we, as Catholic Christians, need to be concerned with the souls of all those we come across.  We need to evangelize always and everywhere.  We need to never be afraid to present  someone with the truths of Jesus Christ, even if it seems divisive to do so or causes that person or persons to get upset.  After all, truth is a very divisive thing – it scares people and it bothers people.  We need to consider that someone is going to end up either in Heaven or Hell, and we could be the one that opens the door of Heaven to them by planting a seed of truth that the Holy Spirit can then water, nourish, and make grow unto salvation.  The salvation of souls is what it is all about.
Mike Gendron
False Teachers Usurp the Authority of God
The supreme authority of the Bible is established both by its divine origin and inspiration (2 Pet.1:21). It is the infallible Word of God, and it will accomplish God’s purpose (Isaiah 55:11). It is the very foundation upon which all Christian truths rest. For followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible is the final court of appeal in all matters pertaining to faith and godliness. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). The divine authority of Scripture corrects and rebukes all false teaching because there is no higher authority or infallible source in which to appeal. It is the Word of God, and God cannot lie, cannot break His promise and cannot deceive.
John Martignoni
I agree that the Bible is both divine in its origin and its inspiration.  But, the question I have for Mr. Gendron is this: How do you know that?  He states above that “the Bible is the final court of appeal in all matters pertaining to faith and godliness.”  Okay, given his belief on this, I would ask the simple question: Who wrote the Gospel of Mark?  Mr. Gendron would undoubtedly answer, “Mark did.”  I would then reply, “How do you know this, since nowhere does the Bible say such a thing?”  As I have often stated in my newsletters and elsewhere, the title in the Bible which reads, “The Gospel According to Mark” is not inspired Scripture.  It is put in there by the publisher.  We have no original copy of the Gospel of Mark that is signed by Mark or that is entitled, “The Gospel According to Mark.”   And, even if we had an ancient scroll that was claimed to be the original Gospel of Mark and it had a signature on it of someone named Mark…so what?  How could we know it was authentic?  How could we know which Mark?  So, if the Bible is the “final court of appeal in all matters pertaining to the faith;” yet nowhere does the Bible state that someone named Mark actually wrote the Gospel of Mark, then I again ask of Mr. Gendron: “How do you know?”
Furthermore, if you cannot tell me how you know someone named Mark actually wrote the Gospel of Mark, and which Mark it was, then how can you claim that it is an inspired work of the Holy Spirit?  Where does the Bible say that the Gospel of Mark is inspired of the Holy Spirit?  If it’s not in the Bible, then how do you know?
Notice also his wording when he says that, “The supreme authority of the Bible is established both by its divine origin and inspiration.”  Why did he not say, “The supreme authority of the Bible is established by…the Bible?”   He didn’t say it that way because the Bible cannot witness to itself.  Someone has to bear witness to it.  If one day someone discovered a scroll in a cave somewhere in Israel and this scroll stated that it was a letter from Paul to the Sardiniians, and the words in the scroll stated that it was inspired by the Holy Spirit, would that automatically make it Scripture?  Of course not!  Why, because it cannot bear witness to itself.
He quotes 2 Ptr 1:21 to establish the Bible as the supreme authority, but let’s look at what 2 Ptr 1:21 actually says: “Because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit of God.”  First of all, not all of Scripture is covered by this quote, but just “prophecy” that is found within Scripture.  So, it is not a good text to back up his claim.  Second of all, it does not say, “The Bible is the supreme authority in all matters pertaining to faith and godliness.”  That is how he interpreted this verse.
Now, I want to be clear, I believe exactly what it says in 2 Ptr 1:21, just as I believe exactly what it says in every verse of Scripture.  And I believe that God’s Word is our supreme authority.  I just wanted to give an example of how what is coming out of his mouth, or off the tips of his fingers, does not necessarily match what Scripture actually says.  His interpretations of Scripture are just that…interpretations.  And they are quite fallible interpretations at that.  Furthermore, I wanted to show that his arguments for believing what he believes about the Bible, don’t really add up.  He takes a verse that is talking about the prophecies of the Bible being of the Holy Spirit, and makes it say that the Bible as a whole is the supreme authority in matters of faith and godliness.  Sorry, but that verse just doesn’t say that.
Another question I would ask Mr. Gendron is: How does the Bible tell us we will know the spirt of Truth from the spirit of error?  Is it by reading the Bible that we know the difference?  (I’ll give you the answer, if you don’t already know it, next week, just in case he gets ahold of this issue and wants to try answering for himself.)
And, one final question that comes to mind after reading this paragraph: What is the pillar and ground of the truth according to the Bible?  Is it the Bible?  He clearly states that the Bible is the “foundation upon which all Christian truths rest,” yet the Bible (1 Tim 3:15) says that the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth.  What does a pillar do?  It holds things up.  The ground is what something is built upon.  So, who are we to believe on this…the Bible, or Mike Gendron?
Mike Gendron
People fall into serious error and sin when they exalt their own authority over God’s authority or when they suppress the truth of God’s Word to promote their own self-serving agendas. The Roman Catholic religion has done this by establishing its traditions and teachings to be equal in authority with Scripture (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC] par. 82). In doing so, it has usurped the supreme authority of our sovereign God who alone has the right to rule and determine the eternal destinies of men. This fatal error has opened the flood gates to numerous other deadly heresies including: the preaching of another gospel, the worship of a counterfeit Jesus, the buying and selling of God’s grace through indulgences, the creation of a fictitious place called purgatory, the establishment of other mediators and praying to and for the dead. These errors are fatal because anyone who is embracing them when they take their last breath will experience eternal death.
John Martignoni
This is a bit disingenous on Mr. Gendron’s part unless he is simply ignorant of the fact that we believe the Tradition of which he speaks is the teaching of Christ that was passed on to the Apostles and from the Apostles to their successors, the Bishops.  Now, he may disagree that what we call Sacred Tradition is actually the Word of God as we believe it to be, but I would ask him the question: If, for the sake of argument, Catholics are right and what we call “Sacred Tradition” is indeed the  “Apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42); and it is indeed the “Word of God” which the people “heard” from Paul (1 Thes 2:13);  and it is indeed the “traditions” which the Thessalonians were commanded by Paul to stand firm in, whether they were received by “word of mouth or by letter;” then should they not be placed on an equal footing with the written Word of God?  We are simply doing what Paul commended the Thessalonians for doing.
He then goes on to mention a number of what he calls “deadly heresies” that were introduced by the Catholic Church.  I disagree with him on all counts, because I disagree that the teachings of the Church, when properly understood (which he does not) can in no way be considered heresies, except by one who rejects the truths of Jesus Christ.  However, there is one that I disagree with him on simply because it was never a teaching of the Catholic Church, and he should know better than to falsely portray it as such.  I speak of the “buying and selling of God’s grace through indulgences.”  Never has the Church taught that one could buy or sell God’s grace.  If there were those in the Church who at one time did such a thing, then they were doing it contrary to Church teaching.  The Church has never taught that God’s grace could be bought or sold.  I defy Mr. Gendron to find the papal encyclical or the Church Council that ever presented such a thing as Catholic doctrine.  If a pastor or a deacon at Mr. Gendron’s church were to engage in adultery, would that mean that his church believed and taught that adultery was okay?  Of course not.  Yet that is essentially the logic he is using when he claims the Church taught God’s grace could be bought and sold and he is basing his claim on the shameful acts of a few people.  Since Mr. Gendron professes to be a Christian, he has the duty and the obligation to not bear false witness against others.  I wish he would fulfill his Christian duty in this matter.
Mike Gendron
Catholics who are being deceived by these fatal errors must be told that the world has known only one infallible teacher. He is the Lord Jesus Christ, who was the personification of truth and every word He spoke was truth (John 14:6, 17:17). Those who are seeking the truth need to look only to Christ and His Word. The Catholic religion has become corrupt the same way Judaism became corrupt – by following the traditions of men instead of the Word of God (Mark 7:13). The Pharisees taught much truth, but by mixing it with error, they “made the word of God of no effect.” We must never forget that the Bible is what God says and religion is what man says God says.
John Martignoni
He’s got a bit of a problem here.  On the one hand, he stated earlier that the Bible is infallible.  On the other hand, he states in this paragraph that “the world has known only one infallible teacher,” Jesus Christ.  Well, if the Bible is infallible, and the books of the Bible were written by Moses, David, Ezra, Nehemiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Malachi, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, Jude, James, and others, then those men would have to have been infallible when they wrote their infallible writings.  If none of these men were infallible teachers, and they are the ones who wrote the books of the Bible, then how could Mr. Gendron claim the Bible is infallible?  How can fallible men write infallible books?  It seems there is a bit of a contradiction in his teaching here.
Plus, if Jesus was the one and only infallible teacher, then how could He say to the disciples He sent out that, “He who hears you hear Me, and He who rejects you rejects Me?”  If these disciples, when they taught, were teaching with the authority of Christ to the extent that the people who heard them were hearing Jesus, would they not be infallible in what they were teaching?
Another thing, if the Bible is the final authority in all matters dealing with faith and godliness, then would Mr. Gendron please give me book, chapter, and verse that states: “The Bible is what God says and religion is what man says God says.”  Where does the Bible define religion in such a way?  Also, if the Bible is what God says, then where in the Bible does it give us the list of the books that should be in the Bible?  How do we even know what the Bible is, if God does not, through the Bible, tell us which books should be in it?

September 5th, 2010 – 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: September 4, 2010 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

SUNDAY BIBLE REFLECTIONS BY DR. SCOTT HAHN

Like a king making ready for battle or a contractor about to build a tower, we have to count the cost as we set out to follow Jesus.

Our Lord today is telling us upfront the sacrifice it will take. His words aren’t addressed to His chosen few, the Twelve, but rather to the “great crowds” – to “anyone,” to “whoever” wishes to be His disciple.

That only makes His call all the more stark and uncompromising. We are to “hate” our old lives, renounce all the earthly things we rely upon, to choose Him above every person and possession. Again He tells us that the things we have – even our family ties and obligations – can become an excuse, an obstacle that keeps us from giving ourselves completely to Him (see Luke 9:23-26, 57-62).

Jesus brings us the saving Wisdom we are promised in today’s First Reading. He is that saving Wisdom.

Weighed down by many earthly concerns, the burdens of our body and its needs, we could never see beyond the things of this world, could never detect God’s heavenly design and intention. So in His mercy He sent us His Spirit, His Wisdom from on High, to make straight our path to Him.

Jesus himself paid the price for to free us from the sentence imposed on Adam, which we recall in today’s Psalm (see Genesis 2:7; 2:19). No more will the work of our hands be an affliction, no more are we destined to turn back to dust.

Like Onesimus in today’s Epistle, we have been redeemed, given a new family and a new inheritance, made children of the father, brothers and sisters in the Lord.

We are free now to come after Him, to serve Him – no longer slaves to the ties of our past lives. In Christ, all our yesterdays have passed. We live in what the Psalm today beautifully describes as the daybreak of His kindness. For He has given us wisdom of heart, taught us to number our days aright.

Lifting Hands In Praise And Worship

Posted: September 4, 2010 by julesplife in Memory Book

God’s people have many ways to express their love and adoration to Him, what is important is that do so with a pure heart and intent.  Even during the Eucharistic Celebration Catholics are free to express their love by lifting their hands during the praise and adoration.  However they should also be aware when it is not appropriate to do so. egs. When the Celebrant is praying over the bread and wine or when the Priest sings the ‘Through Him, With Him, In Him….”  ( This part for instance is strictly for the Priest alone, to Sing or Say)

A Look At Worship Through Lifting hands

  • Lifting hands in worship is a common expression in the Old Testament.
    Bible descriptions of hands lifted toward God -Psalm 134:1–2; Psalm 141:2; Psalm 28:2; Nehemiah 8:6
  • The Hebrew word for hand is the word yad; yadah means to “throw out the hand” or to worship with extended hands.
  • The hands were so much a part of Old Testament worship that the word hand became part of the word for praising God.
  • Lifting hands in worship is a common expression in the New Testament.
    -1 Timothy 2:8
  • The last image of Jesus was of Him lifting his hands in blessing as he ascended.
    -Luke 24:50–51
  • Lifting the hands is a symbol of surrender.
  • Lifting the hands is a symbol of trust.
  • Lifting the hands is a symbol of openness.
  • Lifting the hands is a symbol of affection.
    -Does this mean that in order to worship we must lift our hands? No.
  • The lifting of the hands is not coerced; it is permitted.

Below are some examples and explanations I’ve found :-

1. RECEIVE. (Two-handed; hands raised, palms facing inward). This is the posture some Charismatic friends will probably prefer—a posture of receiving—“God, respond to me, touch me, give me, speak to me, fill me.”  It is a posture for receiving from God a touch, a work of grace, or a gift.    A person kneeling at the altar might be encouraged to raise both hands to receive from God the work they were seeking.  Or to say, “I want to receive from You, Lord.”  It seems most appropriate when singing prayer choruses like “Fill me now” or “Purify my heart.”

2.  STAND-IN-AWE. (Two-handed hands raised, palms facing outward).  The same as the receive posture only with palms reversed—facing outward.  It is an ancient custom still practiced in other religions and cultures.  The worshipper falls to his or her knees, raises hands with palms facing outward, then bows down forward before the god or king.   When used in praise today the falling-to-the-knees part is usually truncated.   The praise and worship movement has popularized stand-in-awe music and this posture has become an expression of extravagant nothing-held-back praise to God.  This posture seem most appropriate when singing songs that mentally locate God on His throne and we are facing that throne.  This would include many of the 1980’s and 90’s praise songs but also older songs like “Holy, Holy, Holy.”

3. SURRENDER. (Same as above—two handed hands raised, palms facing outward).  Though this posture is the exact posture of the stand-in-awe gesture, holiness camp meeting folk used it for a different reason.  The almost-universal expression of surrender is either a white flag or this one: hands raised with palms facing outward.  “I give up.”  Thus the holiness movement, with its emphasis on a “total consecration” and surrender, often used the double-hands-raised posture as a physical action to represent absolute surrender to God.  While this earlier use has largely been replaced by the stand-in-awe use it is still a useful symbolic gesture.  Here is a good example of how gestures shift over time to gain new meaning as old means are discarded.  The surrender posture was especially appropriate with songs like “I surrender all” or “Take my life and let it be,” but it is used more infrequently today for this meaning—the actions now mean I am standing-in-awe more often.

4. TESTIMONY. (One hand raised, palm facing outward). The culture uses this posture when we “swear in” a witness (i.e.I swear to tell the whole truth, nothing but the truth…”).  The church has used it as a testimony-witness posture.  To raise one hand during singing a song says, “I agree” or, “I testify this is true in my life.”  In a sense this quiet hand raising is a non-verbal “amen.”  It seems especially appropriate as a personal response during a song like, “It is well with my soul.”

This next section written by Jon is Hilarious

To me it seems that the various postures do have meaning and thus we should be free to use them when the lyrics of the song fit.  Doesn’t that make sense?  Or am I missing something here?

There are some topics that require more than just a remix. Like prayer for instance, I could write a dozen posts on that because it’s so interesting.

So when my wife leaned over to me at church and said, “People sure do have different styles when it comes to singing with their hands raised,” I knew I had to cover the topic at least one more time. I had to, like Jane Goodall in the jungle, step inside the world of hand raising and report what I found. I did and here, after deep scientific study in the field of sarcasmology, are the 10 styles of hand raising I encountered, starting with the least extreme to the most extreme:

1. The Ninja
You are tricky sir, truly, you are tricky. This guy is testing the waters. He sees ladies near him that throw their arms in the air at the first hint of a Chris Tomlin song but he’s not so sure. I mean, what if his friends see him? He used to make fun of people that did that. So instead of going all out, he does a fancy little move. He puts his hands by his pants pockets and just flips them over with his palms facing the heavens. From behind, you can’t see that he is doing anything out of the ordinary and from the front it just looks like he is cupping his hands slightly as if to show you what was in his pockets.

2. The Half & Half
This person often wants to sing with both hands raised, but they go to a conservative church and don’t want to be known as “that guy.” So instead of singing with both hands up, they hold one in the air and put one in their pocket or on the chair in front of them. It’s like half their body is saying, “YAY JESUS!!!!” and the other half is saying, “Nothing to see here folks, move it along please, move it along.”

3. The Single Hand Salute
This is the cousin of the half & half but is different in it’s level of intensity. Instead of just kind of floating in the air, the hand you have up goes out straight at an angle, as if you are saluting some visiting military dignitary. It’s possible this move was first instilled in people when they were young with the song, “God’s Army.”

4. The Elevator
This one technically marks our transition into multi-hand motions. In this move, you act like there is a rule against having both hands raised at the same exact time. So you start rotating your arms. As soon as one arm comes down, the other arm goes up. It’s kind of an awkward dance move, but works pretty well when set to “Blessed be the Name.”

5. The Pound Cake
This is what we in the industry, of hand raising in case you were wondering, refer to as an “underhand move.” Instead of sticking your arms out, you hold them with your palms facing the sky as if you are ready to receive something from someone in front of you. In the pound cake, your elbows should be at stomach level, with your hands tilted at a 47 degree angle as if someone visiting your house warming party is about to hand you a delicious pound cake. It’s not a heavy cake, so you don’t have to brace yourself, but can instead just relax and think, “hey cool, pound cake. Let me take that for you.”

6. The Tickler
It’s getting serious now. The tickler is the person that sticks their arms out horizontally as if they were trying to make a big T with their body. This is a fine move except that because we’re all sitting so close, they inevitably bump into you with their hands. So while you try to sing along with the chorus, you can’t help but giggle as they, lost in a moment of blissful worship, accidentally tickle you.

7. The Double High Five
I am very stingy with my high fives. I think the last time I gave one was in the delivery room of my second daughter. The next time I give one will be if I get a book deal. Other than those two situations, I find the high five to be the physical version of using a lot of exclamation marks!!! That’s why I rarely do this move. The double high five looks exactly like it sounds. You act like you’ve just scored a goal in soccer/football and are about to double high five the person in front of you. (Some people call this move the “Secret passageway” because it kind of looks like you are feeling along a wall for a hidden button that will open a secret door. But I’m a purist and don’t use that term.)

8. The Huge Watermelon
This is like the pound cake on steroids. In this move, your arms are held higher and with a considerable about of dedication and determination. It’s still an underhand move, but now, instead of a light and fluffy cake, someone on a truck is handing down a huge watermelon to you. Better get ready, that thing looks heavy.

9. The Helicopter Rail
At this point, both arms are raised high in the air. This is professional hand raiser territory we’re in. Please don’t try to do this at home. With this one, you reach your arms out, way over your head but out in front of your body. Imagine if you were stuck on a piece of driftwood and a shark with a laser on its head was about to get you and you had to desperately reach out for the rail of a helicopter that was attempting to rescue you. Stretch, stretch, you gotta want it.

10. The YMCA
This is my favorite and probably most common hand raising technique. It’s not complicated. Much like the famous song, you simply raise your hands above your body and form a big Y. That’s all, but it leaves little doubt to the folks around you what is going on. You’re worshipping. It’s big, it’s beautiful, it’s messy and it’s great.

Although I tend to be a pound cake kind of guy, I like when people raise their hands. This is the second time I have written about it. My friend said that when her mom did it, it always looked like she was clearing a runway for God to land. I think that’s pretty cool and hope to one day work my way up to at least mastering the huge watermelon.

Thought Of The Day…

Posted: September 3, 2010 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

We should always pray to know God’s Will for us, we shall then not question nor seek first to understand His Will, but accept in humility and utter “Thy Will be done.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Awesome is Our God!

I talked to Jesus today in the Adoration room, before attending the Divine Mercy Devotion followed by the Eucharistic Celebration.  I did not plan for it at all,  in fact I was totally unaware that the first Friday of the Month is dedicated to the Divine Mercy followed by the Eucharistic Celebration which begins only at 8pm here in the Church Of St Anthony.  But I thank Almighty God for the wonderful experience.

It is so liberating to humble yourself before God, raising your hands in total surrender high above your head in Praise and Worship! I was given the opportunity today when the Eucharistic Celebration ended with the final hymn…..”How Great Thou Art!”

*Added Note on 4 Sept 0007hrs*  It has just dawned on me that the Holy Spirit had given me ‘new wine’ to drink.  And so I pray for you by brothers and sisters in Christ, that you too will partake in the ‘new wine’ offered to you.

Luke 5:33-39

Song – God Please Forgive Me By Isla Grant

Posted: September 3, 2010 by CatholicJules in Videos/Audio

My LISS Adventure…

Posted: September 2, 2010 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

I am writing this now just after having attended the outpouring session (of the Holy Spirit or rather the manisfestation), which is the 6th session of the Life in the Spirit Seminar.  There are just two more session before the seminar ends.  I actually wanted to do a write up earlier but felt that it would be prudent to do so only after this session so that the experience I want to share, would be a more complete one since I have never attended any LISS prior.  You will see the explanation for this in the paragraphs below…..I will cover my experiences and testimony but will not touch on the Program Details as this Seminar is designed for you to experience for yourself.  It is not meant for study or to be prepared for.  I will however provide an Introduction at the end, and pray for all of you reading this who have not attended the LISS before, that you will be called and led to join in this great adventure of a lifetime!

My 1st And 2nd Session

It was only after the first session that I realized that it was actually a Charismatic Movement and I thought to myself…”What did I get myself into?”  You see I had heard quite a few of negative remarks about such movements and their members in the past.  And so was skeptical about the positive aspects of this Seminar and what it had to offer.  Still I decided to experience it for myself and attend at least one or two sessions, before calling it quits if I felt uncomfortable in any way or in a sense ‘Put Off’ by what I saw or experienced.  The first session was indeed an eye opener and I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt, because while it was warm, homely and welcoming, I was not too comfortable with raising of hands or even clapping along for the  Praise and Worship session.  Also the song choices were all totally new and unfamiliar to me.

Before attending the second session, I had prayed the night before that my mind and heart would be opened and for the Holy Spirit to guide me.  Then in the afternoon while I was at work, I had this sudden urge to check on Facebook statuses which I normally would not do during office hours.  There at the precise time I checked in, a cousin of mine from Malaysia and of a different Christian Denomination I might add, had this to share: “When God leads you to the edge of the cliff, trust him fully and let go. Only one of two things will happen, either He will catch you when you fall, or He will teach you how to fly.”  That was a very powerful message to me I felt.

Then later that evening as I made my way to the LISS seminar, I was crossing the road to Church when I had an overwhelming need to sing ‘How Great Thou Art’ And so I did! That is I sang the first verse followed by the Chorus to myself.  What made my hair stand or rather gave me goosebumps later was when the group was singing one of the new Praise and Worship songs, and the Chorus in that new song had ‘How Great Thou Art incorporated into it!   It was about a week later that I found out from Raymund the leader of this LISS, that the chorus was a last minute addition.

3rd, 4th and 5th Session

In the weeks leading up to the 3rd and 4th session and thereafter, I was beginning to experience the Holy Spirit working in mysterious inexplicable ways.  I was experiencing a transformation within me,  it started with a burning desire to go for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  I was pointed to a passage in the bible 1 Corinthians 11 27:32 which made me realize that I needed to receive Jesus in a state of Grace and could only do so after attending the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  There was going to be a Reconciliation session during the LISS on Wednesday but the desire in me burned so greatly that I went the Sunday before.  The experience of receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, in a state of Grace is an amazing and wondrous thing that cannot be articulated effectively in words or feeling.   Then on Wednesday I went again for the Sacrament of Reconciliation with a joy in my heart.

But as Sunday drew near, the Holy Spirit burned the desire in me to go for the Sacrament of Reconciliation yet again. Why???? Well he showed me that there were sins I had not confessed properly and that I had to do a proper examination of conscience so that even more will be revealed.  So after a thorough examination of my conscience, I went for the Sacrament. My penance of which I gladly and fully embraced, was to share my experience with others.  I was also guided a few days later to a message Jesus had sent St.Faustina of whom I had never heard before.  A beautiful message which compels one to share….

“”When you go to Confession, to this fountain of My mercy, the Blood and Water which came forth from My Heart always flow down upon your soul and ennoble it. Every time you go to Confession, immerse yourself entirely in My mercy, with great trust, so that I may pour the bounty of My grace upon your soul. When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I Myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity. The torrents of grace inundate humble souls. The proud remain always in poverty and misery, because My grace turns away from them to humble souls.”

“Tell souls where they are to look for solace; that is, in the Tribunal of Mercy. There the greatest miracles take place [and] are incessantly repeated. To avail oneself of this miracle, it is not necessary to go on a great pilgrimage or to carry out some external ceremony; it suffices to come with faith to the feet of My representative [in the sacrament of Reconciliation] and to reveal to him one’s misery and the miracle of Divine Mercy will be fully demonstrated. Were a soul like a decaying corpse so that from a human standpoint, there would be no [hope of] restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores that soul in full. Oh, how miserable are those who do not take advantage of the miracle of God’s mercy! You will call out in vain, but it will be too late” (Diary, 1602, 1448).

The following week after I shared the above with my cell group within the LISS, I started praying for all the members of the seminar that they too would experience the Holy Spirit, God’s presence within them.  The inner peace and joy to be had was theirs too, if only they would open up their minds and hearts to receive him.  I had no experience as to what would happen at the outpouring session the following week, but I knew I had already received some of the gifts.  In the beginning I was hoping in the back of mind that I would have the gift of tongues, just so I could experience it for myself and perhaps pray for people in tongues.  But eventually, I decided that I would leave it entirely up to God to decide what other gifts or if any more were needed for me to perform His will.  I would now just continue to give Him thanks and praise for the gifts already received and pray for my brethren.

Outpouring Session

The day finally arrived when we would all encounter God in the outpouring session.  Needless to say I was just as excited as the rest of my brethren.  I went for an early morning Mass to purify myself before heading to the Office for work.  I had also taken half a day leave from work just so I would not miss anything.  So after work I rushed home to get an hour rest before having a bath and deciding once again to go for the evening Mass to pray and prepare myself.

The atmosphere was certainly one of anticipation and excitement though some did try initially to put on a brave lukewarm front.  Approximately an hour into the gathering, I felt the strong presence of the Holy Spirit.  When I closed my eyes I saw a dancing blue flame making it’s way around the heads of everyone in the room.  Even if this might have been a figment of my own imagination, the strong presence of the Holy Spirit was definitely not.  Then somehow I turned my neck to glance backwards and fixed my gaze on a young female participant.  She appeared to be distraught about something and was hiding her tears behind her hair.  I decided to pray for her so that the burden she was carrying would be lifted and that she too might experience the fullness of the gift/s Moreover I prayed that if that there was no other way, then that I may carry the burden for her.  Shortly after, the outpouring session began we were encouraged to give repeated praise to God in whatever language of our choosing and to keep our eyes closed.  However my eyes were opened intermittently when I heard some loud noises and witnessed some extraordinary happenings around me.  Then after a while I decided to keep my closed and just be still in the presence of God.  Although I did not feel anything exceptional or out of the ordinary, I felt that deep down within me I had been given some gifts and trust that the Lord my God will guide me when the time comes to use them.  Then something fantastic happened! Just as the outpouring session ended and I began to open my eyes, I felt an intense feeling of Love for everyone in the room.  Alleluia Alleluia Alleluia!

Raymund then asked if anyone wanted to share their outpouring experience and the girl I prayed for was one of the few members who came up to share their experience.  The Lord had given her rest and lifted away her burdens.  I know I was not the only one praying for her that evening but to witness a prayer being answered is simply Heavenly!

 All Praise and Glory to God Almighty!

**Note** I have had many other encounters with the Holy Spirit guiding me on this journey, not all are mentioned here.

An Introduction To LISS

A Life-in-the-Spirit Seminar (LSS) consists of a series of talks designed to help people realize the power of the Holy Spirit that is available for every aspect of their lives.
Most of us have heard about the Holy Spirit and most of us have learned about the Holy Spirit, but many times that is as far as our experience has gone. The Holy Spirit is a real person, a part of the Blessed Trinity just like Jesus and the Father. We receive the Holy Spirit through the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. Through what is called the baptism in the Holy Spirit, a personal conversion experience, the power that is the Holy Spirit is released within us.

One illustration that helps some people understand this concept is through the image of a candle. It is designed with a wick that, when lit, creates or releases its light, so to speak; only at that time does the candle completely fulfill the purpose for which it was created. Until then it may be pleasant to look at, but it does not fulfill its purpose of emanating light. The candle’s ability to be a source of light is always within it due to its design and the way it is made, but until something happens to “empower” that candle, until the wick is lit, it lies “dormant'” it does not fully become what it was designed to be. So it is with all of us. We have been designed by God and empowered with the power of the Holy Spirit. But until that power is released, it lays dormant as does the light of the candle. A Life-in-the-Spirit Seminar is designed to help us yield to the action, empowerment and the power of the Holy Spirit in our own lives just as He empowered the early church on the day of Pentecost.

The seven, sometimes eight, talks given during a LSS are designed to lead people through the basic message of salvation, to understand the need within themselves for the release of the Holy Spirit’s power that already lies within them, and yield their lives to the Holy Spirit and a life of joy and peace using His many Gifts. The format is simple, informal and presented with balanced, Catholic teaching based upon Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Church documents, personal testimony and prayer. Opportunities are given in each session for discussion of how the topic may relate to each person’s life, but no one is required to share more than he or she feels comfortable doing.

Many who have attended a Life-in-the-Spirit Seminar have experienced God and the Holy Spirit in a way they had never done before. It is not unusual for people to fall more deeply in love with the Eucharist, with Jesus Christ and the Trinity, with the Mass, and and with the Bible, and many receive the charismatic Gifts of the Holy Spirit just as the Apostles did in the upper room on Pentecost. Those gifts are given to improve our lives and the lives of our family, church and community.

Most of us have a relationship with God; some of those relationships are closer than others are. It doesn’t matter how close you are to Him or how far away He may seem, He is calling every one of us to deepen that relationship and He has nothing but LOVE waiting for us as we accept His call. THERE’S ALWAYS MORE of His love for everyone; all we have to do is yield ourselves more deeply to it and receive it.

If you are at least open to the possibility that you can deepen your personal relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, why not attend a Life-in-the-Spirit Seminar? It may change your life!! It has for millions and millions of Catholics, including priests, religious and laity, who are living a holier, Spirit-filled, Spirit-empowered life today,

dpsrfd.org

Statue Of Mary Stepping On A Snake..

Posted: September 2, 2010 by CatholicJules in Questions & Answers

Question: I noticed a statue of Mary stepping on a snake. I asked the owner of the store to explain what this meant. She said that in Genesis 3:15 the Lord said that Mary would someday crush the serpent’s head, the serpent being the devil. I checked this in my Bible (a Catholic version that I bought at the same shop). But Genesis 3:15 doesn’t say that. It says that the seed of the woman would crush the serpent’s head. I understand this to be Jesus Christ, not Mary. So, how can that statue of Mary with the serpent be justified?

Answer: In the Book of Genesis 3:15 God speaks to the serpent after the fall of Adam and Eve into sin, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; He shall crush your head and you shall lie in wait for his heel.” This is a correct translation of the original Hebrew text and the traditional text of the Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament. But two ancient translations, the Latin Vulgate (revised by St. Jerome) and the ancient Coptic version (Coptic is the Egyptian language used prior to the Arab Muslim invasions), read, “She shall crush your head.” But current editions of the Bible in modern languages, translations from the original languages, all follow the translation “He shall crush.”

Now, in order to understand why Our Lady is depicted crushing the serpent, you need to know that the whole of Christian tradition in any language of East or West interprets that passage as a prophecy of the coming of the Messiah or Savior, Jesus Christ, the “seed of the woman.” He is the Second or New Adam, and His Mother Mary, because she was completely free from sin, both original and actual, is the new Eve, the only woman who has a perfect enmity with the devil. This passage, sometimes referred to as the Protoevangelium (Greek = “first Gospel”) is the first announcement of the Good News of Salvation after the Bad News of Sin and Death. Many popes, including the Pope John Paul II, have repeatedly interpreted this passage in a prophetic sense, referring to Christ and Mary. Take a look, for example, at Pope John Paul II’s Marian encyclical Redemptoris Mater. The Catechism’s teaching on this passage is found in paragraphs 70, 410, and 411.

Some Scripture scholars deny that this passage refers to Jesus or Mary. They see the literal sense of this verse only as a popular folk tale, written as a way to explain why humans are afraid of snakes! (That’s a slippery interpretation if there ever was one.)

Naturally in the Latin tradition, because of the translation “she shall crush,” the passage has had a more vivid Marian meaning. That’s where the tradition of depicting Mary crushing the head of the serpent arose. But it’s a very apt and theologically precise image, nonetheless, since it’s a perfect image of her Immaculate Conception, her lifelong immunity from sin, won for her by Christ’s saving passion and death on the cross (cf. Luke 1:47). This is one reason why the new liturgy of the Roman Rite, promulgated at Vatican II, retains the reading “she will crush your head.” It is part of the antiphon (a short thematic verse) used for Mass on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. It’s part of the Church’s tradition, a witness to the Blessed Virgin Mary’s special role in her Divine Son’s plan of salvation.

Question Answered by FR. HUGH BARBOUR, O.PRAEM


For a very long time this verse from Scripture as spoken my Jesus (Matthew 8 21:22)  I thought meant that we should not mourn for the dead or be overly concern with visiting the dead because they are, as we hope in a better place with Our Father in heaven.  However if they are in purgatory, then we should pray for their souls but either way they have departed and so we should concern ourselves with living our lives according to God’s will.  Also we should only concern ourselves with helping the ‘living poor’ those who are starving whether physically or emotionally. Charity for the Living so to speak.

Although there maybe  a tiny bit of truth in my thoughts on the subject above, I have finally found a better and more complete answer written by Raymond Lloyd Richmond.  Honoring and respecting the dead apart from our Christian sensibilities is what makes us Human. Let’s see what Raymond says……

Now, to understand the meaning of this passage, you first have to put it in its historical context.

The Historical Context:

Leaving the Spiritually Dead World Behind

Jesus was leading His disciples to Jerusalem—to His Passion and death on a cross, and, ultimately, to His Resurrection and the establishment of the Church. Thus Jerusalem represents not only Heaven but also the Way of the Cross as the only way to enter Heaven. Jesus makes it clear, then, that this journey to Jerusalem is not just some vacation pilgrimage. To follow Him means to give up everything: to “die” to the past and, with resolute determination, to turn full attention to the journey ahead.
In this passage, Christ was speaking to a man who—intellectually, at least—wanted to become a disciple, but who in his heart wanted to secure for himself his family inheritance. To go back and bury his father meant to arrange things so that when his father died, he would be secure. Christ knew all of this, so He said what He said, speaking directly to the lack of true faith in this man’s heart.
Letting the “dead bury the dead” means, therefore, to make a clear and total break with the spiritually dead—that is, with the spiritually “dead” world you’re leaving behind. When you resolve to travel to “Jerusalem,” you can’t look back. In that moment of conversion, the past means nothing, and the future becomes everything.

Our Real Social Obligations

Now, to us, in the world today, this passage has an additional—a psychological—meaning. Christians today must follow Jesus inspirit, not along a real dusty road to a real city plodding along behind the actual historical Jesus. So, yes, to follow Him in spirit we do have to die to the past, but we also have our real lives in this world with real social obligations. When our parents die, we really do have to bury them.
But there is more to life than its literal social obligations.

The Desire for Love and Recognition

“Letting the dead bury the dead” means that to live a genuine Christian life we have to give up our psychological desire to make the world—the spiritually “dead”—give us the love and recognition we believe we deserve.
Let me explain.
Let’s assume, for example, that your father is an alcoholic, or that your mother is a sort of professional “victim,” always complaining of being mistreated and treating everyone else with an acid tongue. Or maybe your parents weren’t quite this bad, but maybe they misunderstood you in other, more subtle, ways. In any event, you have been wounded deeply, and you have suffered greatly because of the inconsiderate behavior of others. You have felt unnoticed, unheard, and unloved. You have felt abandoned. You have felt rejected. So what can you do?
Well, in the past, as a result of all the hurt that was ever inflicted on you, just like your parents perhaps, you felt victimized. You complained about how poorly you were treated. And, in those complaints, you wanted unconsciously to show them—and the rest of the world around you—how much you have been hurt. And, in wanting to show them how much you have been hurt, you have wanted compensation—and, in some ways, you have wanted a compensation that is actually a form of revenge.
OK. So that’s what you have done according to the ways of theworld. You have done what everyone does in law, and politics, and sports: feel victimized and demand satisfaction for your hurt. And if you can’t get that satisfaction, you will become depressed and seek out erotic pleasure or drugs or alcohol or food to try to satisfy yourself. Or, you will try to tear down the Church through heresyand disobedience.

An End to Victimization

What does Jesus do when his disciples want to call down fire from heaven to avenge the insult they have received? Jesus rebukes them. (See Luke 9:54-55.)
That is, as a Christian, you have to respond to your hurt by “letting the dead bury the dead.” In other words, you have to stop trying to make the spiritually dead—your mother, your father, and anyone else who has ever hurt you—“love” you or give you the recognition you so desperately crave. Whenever you are injured, you have to realize that you cannot call down fire from heaven to avenge yourself. You cannot make the world treat you fairly. You cannot make the world love you. You cannot make the world notice you. Instead, you have to turn all your attention, with resolution and determination, to the real destination of your life: Jerusalem. Jerusalem, where all victimization must end, and where sufferingand death on a cross for the sake of others is the only path to true love—and the Kingdom of Heaven.
So there you have it. In the end, as you say, “I can’t do this”—but the full truth is that you can’t do it alone, without the grace of following Jesus to Jerusalem.
If you follow Jesus, you will have life.
If you reject Him, you are dead. Only the spiritually dead are concerned about their affairs in this world, so if you turn from Christ to go back and arrange things so that you can draw benefit from the world, you are dead. You are the dead trying to bury the dead.
Therefore, if you “complain” about how much you are being tested, you are dead. You’re simply defending your pride, feeling sorry for yourself and demanding that the world notice your pain. But being a Christian involves recognizing your feelings of hurt and then resolving to speak about them charitably and calmly withoutdemanding anything. If others listen to you, fine. Work with them to find a solution to the problem, as you have done by writing to me. And if they fail to hear you, well, pray for their repentance and let the dead bury the dead.


Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.
http://www.chastitysf.com