(Apologetics) John Vs Mike – 7

Posted: December 7, 2010 by CatholicJules in Apologetics

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

The Motivation for Purgatory

Over the centuries billions of dollars have been paid to Roman Catholic priests to obtain relief from imaginary sufferings in Purgatory’s fire. The Catholic clergy has always taught that the period of suffering in Purgatory can be shortened by purchasing indulgences and novenas, buying Mass cards and providing gifts of money. When a Catholic dies, money is extracted from mourning loved ones to shorten the deceased’s punishment in Purgatory. When my dear old dad passed away as a devout Catholic of 79 years, I was amazed at the hundreds of Mass cards purchased for him by well-meaning friends. We have heard of other Catholics who have willed their entire estates to their religion so that perpetual masses could be offered for them after they die. It is no wonder that the Catholic religion has become the richest institution in the world. The buying and selling of God’s grace has been a very lucrative business for the Vatican.

Another motivation for Rome to fabricate the heretical doctrine of Purgatory is its powerful effect on controlling people. Ultimately, the enslavement and subjugation of people is the goal of every false religion, and Purgatory does exactly that. The concept of a terrifying prison with a purging fire, governed by religious leaders, is a most brilliant invention. It holds people captive, not only in this life but also in the next life. Catholic clergy will not say how many years people have to suffer for their sins or how many Masses must be purchased before they can be released from the flames. This dreadful fear and uncertainty is the most ruthless form of religious bondage and deception!

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Mike Gendron:
The Motivation for PurgatoryOver the centuries billions of dollars have been paid to Roman Catholic priests to obtain relief from imaginary sufferings in Purgatory’s fire. The Catholic clergy has always taught that the period of suffering in Purgatory can be shortened by purchasing indulgences and novenas, buying Mass cards and providing gifts of money. When a Catholic dies, money is extracted from mourning loved ones to shorten the deceased’s punishment in Purgatory. When my dear old dad passed away as a devout Catholic of 79 years, I was amazed at the hundreds of Mass cards purchased for him by well-meaning friends. We have heard of other Catholics who have willed their entire estates to their religion so that perpetual masses could be offered for them after they die. It is no wonder that the Catholic religion has become the richest institution in the world. The buying and selling of God’s grace has been a very lucrative business for the Vatican. 

John Martignoni:

Let’s take this sentence by sentence: “Over the centuries billions of dollars have been paid to Roman Catholic priests to obtain relief from imaginary sufferings in Purgatory’s fire.” Let’s re-phrase this sentence to make it more accurate: Over the centuries, potentially billions of dollars have been paid to Roman Catholic priests for Mass stipends as priests offered literally millions of Masses for the sanctification of the dead.  Just as Job offered sacrifice for the sanctification of his sons (Job 1:5) and Judas Maccabeus took up a collection and sent it to Jerusalem to provide a sin offering for the atonement of the dead (2 Macc 12:43-45), so we ask our priests to offer sacrifice for our dead.  Mr. Gendron is upset over a practice of the Catholic Church that is fully supported by Scripture.

Has a lot of money, in total, come into the pockets of the priests over the centuries as a result of them saying Masses for the dead?  Absolutely.  But what is Mr. Gendron ignoring with his accusation?  Well, first, he is ignoring the fact that these “billions of dollars” went to literally millions and millions of priests.  In other words, no priest is getting rich, which is the underlying contention of Mr. Gendron’s statement, from Mass stipends.   Plus, money earned from stipends often goes not into the priest’s private bank account, it often goes to help pay for the cost to the parish of having a funeral – paying the cantor, the organist, paying for electricity, and so on.  But, compare what a priest makes from a Mass stipend (usual stipend that I’m aware of is $5 or so) to what Mr. Gendron charges for preaching salvation to people – it pales in comparison.  Also, when the stipends go to a religious order, they go straight to providing for the good works these orders are doing – providing food, shelter, clothing, medicine, education, and more for the poor, and quite often for the poorest of the poor.

What else is Mr. Gendron ignoring?  The fact that if a priest does keep money from a Mass stipend for his personal use, it goes to support the priest’s physical well-being – to provide food, shelter, clothes, etc. for the priest.  Is that contrary to Scripture, Mr. Gendron?  Don’t think so.  Does not Scripture say, “For the laborer is worthy of his wage,” (Luke 10:7; 1 Tim 5:18) and, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain,” (1 Cor 9:9; 1 Tim 5:18) and, “If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits,” (1 Cor 9:11)?

So, let me offer a parallel to Mr. Gendron’s statement: Over the past 5 centuries, tens of billions of dollars have been paid to Protestant ministers (and lay people such as Mike Gendron) to preach a false doctrine of salvation (sola fide), and to hold non-scriptural altar calls, and many Protestant ministers have gotten materially rich from preaching this false doctrine of salvation, and by giving millions upon millions of people a false sense of security in regard to their salvation.

Next sentence from Mr. Gendron:  “The Catholic clergy has always taught that the period of suffering in Purgatory can be shortened by purchasing indulgences and novenas, buying Mass cards and providing gifts of money.”  This is a patently false and absurd statement.  There may have been a short time where some members of the clergy, contrary to Catholic teaching, “sold” indulgences, but it has never been a teaching of the Catholic Church that indulgences could be sold.  If it happened, it was an abuse of Catholic teaching.  One does not “buy” an indulgence.  Furthermore, I, personally, have never heard of “purchasing” a novena.  Regarding the buying of Mass cards – providing a stipend to a priest for saying a Mass on behalf of the dead – that was dealt with above.  As far as, “providing gifts of money,” to shorten the period of suffering in Purgatory, I ask Mr. Gendron to provide evidence that this has “always” been taught by the “Catholic clergy.”  Mr. Gendron, please give the papal encyclical, Council documents, or paragraph in the Catechism where this claim of yours can be found?  Have you noticed, folks, that in the other paragraphs he at least quoted Catholic sources – out of context, but at least he mentioned them – yet in these two paragraphs he doesn’t even try to quote a single Catholic source – even out of context!  He is taking a biblical principle – that those who provide spiritual services to people deserve to be compensated for those services – and basically saying it does not apply to the Catholic clergy, and he is, quite simply, just making a lot of this garbage up.

Next sentence from Mr. Gendron: “When a Catholic dies, money is extracted from mourning loved ones to shorten the deceased’s punishment in Purgatory.” Notice his use of the word, “extracted,” as if it is an act of extortion or some such thing.  Again, Mr. Gendron shows his bias and bigotry towards the Catholic Church.  His comments can in no way be described as being fair and objective, which is what a self-professed Christian should strive for.  First of all, as far as I know, no priest comes to the family of the deceased and says, “For a Mass stipend of $xxx, I will say a Mass to get your loved one out of Purgatory early.”  I have never, ever, heard of such a thing.  The stipend for a Mass is offered voluntarily by the family, out of gratitude for the priest’s service to them and according to the scriptural principle mentioned above, “The laborer is worthy of his wage.”  It is never “extracted” from the “mourning loved ones.”

Next Gendron sentence: “When my dear old dad passed away as a devout Catholic of 79 years, I was amazed at the hundreds of Mass cards purchased for him by well-meaning friends. Mr. Gendron, when your “dear old dad” died (may God rest his soul), did the priest come to you and tell you that he would not say a funeral Mass for your dad until you paid a certain amount of money?  Please let the world know how much money the priest “extracted” from you before he would say a funeral Mass for your dad.  Surely this happened to you since you say it is the common practice of the Catholic clergy.  You must have experienced it personally, right?  Well, let us know how much money they “extracted” from you before they said your dad’s funeral Mass.

More from Gendron: “We have heard of other Catholics who have willed their entire estates to their religion so that perpetual masses could be offered for them after they die. As if giving all of your money to the Church is a horrible thing?  I guess it’s okay if Protestants do it, but not if Catholics do it.  And, I wonder if Mr. Gendron would turn down the money if someone willed their entire estate to him?  I seriously doubt it.

More from Gendron: “It is no wonder that the Catholic religion has become the richest institution in the world. The buying and selling of God’s grace has been a very lucrative business for the Vatican.”  Here, again, we run into the myth of the wealth of the Vatican.  The Vatican is getting rich from all of these Mass stipends.  Really?!  I don’t know of a single penny that goes to the Vatican from the average Mass stipend.  Mr. Gendron, could you please trace the path of the money for us?  Can you give us your sources for this statement?  No, you can’t, can you?  Sorry, but that money pretty much stays at the local parish or in the particular religious congregation.  For more on the myth of the “wealth” of the Vatican, I would ask the reader to check out Issue #49 on the “Newsletter” page of our website (www.biblechristiansociety.com), where that particular topic is covered in more detail.

Mike Gendron:

Another motivation for Rome to fabricate the heretical doctrine of Purgatory is its powerful effect on controlling people. Ultimately, the enslavement and subjugation of people is the goal of every false religion, and Purgatory does exactly that. The concept of a terrifying prison with a purging fire, governed by religious leaders, is a most brilliant invention. It holds people captive, not only in this life but also in the next life. Catholic clergy will not say how many years people have to suffer for their sins or how many Masses must be purchased before they can be released from the flames. This dreadful fear and uncertainty is the most ruthless form of religious bondage and deception!

John Martignoni:

This paragraph is about as ridiculous as something can get.  One billion plus Catholics being “controlled” by the doctrine of Purgatory.  I ask Mr. Gendron, as I did before, if he felt “controlled” by the doctrine of Purgatory when he was Catholic?  Was it Purgatory and Purgatory alone that kept him Catholic…that caused him to be “enslaved” by the Catholic Church? Gendron makes it seem that Purgatory is the one thing that keeps Catholics Catholic, and it does so by fomenting fear among Catholics.  Yet, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, with some 2865 paragraphs, the doctrine of Purgatory is contained in all of three (3) of those paragraphs.  I find it odd that the one doctrine which the Church uses to enslave its people gets such short shrift in the Catechism, don’t you?  I also find it odd that there is a complete lack of personal testimony from Mr. Gendron about how he felt “enslaved” by Purgatory and about how much money was extorted from him by the Catholic clergy in return for them saying a funeral Mass for his dad.  Come on, Mike, tell us your personal experiences in these regards.

Finally, the statement: Catholic clergy will not say how many years people have to suffer for their sins or how many Masses must be purchased before they can be released from the flames. This dreadful fear and uncertainty is the most ruthless form of religious bondage and deception! My older brother died about 15 years ago.  My father died 8 years ago.  I do not have a “dreadful fear and uncertainty” regarding their ultimate fate that causes me to keep pouring money into the coffers of the Vatican, as Mr. Gendron claims.  I don’t know of any Catholics that do in regard to their deceased loved ones.  Oh, there is concern for the fate of the loved ones, especially when the loved ones did not appear to be living a very holy life, but “dreadful fear” that results in a ruthless “religious bondage?!”  Absolutely not.  The Church, on the contrary, teaches us that God is in control, and teaches us to turn any concern over the fate of our loved ones over to the mercy of God.  Besides, Mr. Gendron seems to be ignorant of the fact that the “Catholic clergy” cannot tell anyone the number of “years” someone has to suffer for their sins in Purgatory, because there is no time in Purgatory.  Purgatory is outside of time.  There are no “years” in Purgatory.  Furthermore, does Mr. Gendron not believe that it is God and God alone who can judge when someone is deserving of Heaven?  Why does he “blame” the Catholic clergy for not being able to judge what God alone can judge?

 

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