Is the Roman Catholic Church Christian?
By John - Webmaster Ecclesia Militans
This article is written as a response to another article of the same name. The author of the article - who calls herself Tracy - attempts to prove, by use of twisted citations from Sacred Scripture, false history, and outright lies, that the Most Holy Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic, Church, founded by Christ upon the Rock of St. Peter, is not Christian. As we shall see, this is a most ridiculous accusation that has been made against the One True Church of Jesus Christ.
In this refutation the reader will see 1) that the Roman Catholic and
Practically all precepts of the Roman Catholic religion contradict the Bible repeatedly. It is the largest cult in the world and most preachers will not openly say so because it is so large. For Catholics who read this, please remember this: the person that tells you the truth is the one that cares.
The above accusations (i.e. that the precepts of
As it is, I do agree with
I implore you to consider with an open mind the things which I will here say, the responses which shall be given to your arguments and your falsehoods, and I implore you to convert and to start upon the path of salvation for your immortal soul, and become a member of the Catholic Church, founded by Christ Jesus our Lord.
For a glimpse of the atrocities committed by the Roman Catholic religion, do a net search on the Inquisition or the Crusades. During the Inquisition, the Catholic religion killed millions. Why? Primarily to suppress any and all opposition to the pope. Side "benefits" included taking the material wealth of its victims and showing the pope's power. The Catholic Inquisitors tortured, crippled, burned, and imprisioned millions of people. Whatever happened to love your enemies? (Matthew 5:44)
As it is, your only source seems to be a "net search on the Inquisition or the Crusades." This is supposed to be a reliable source? I’m sorry, but anybody who has ever searched the internet on any subject ( the Bible is the Word of God, to whether or not Buddha is god), can easily see that there are an infinite number of pro and con articles on practically any subject. For example, doing a net search on the Inquisition (on Altavista alone), shows precisely 29,415 articles on the Inquisition. On the Crusades we have a similar number, a total of 31,910 - raging from the Crusades against Hunger, to the College Campus Crusades. The point is, it’s redundant to say "they did a bad thing, go find your own sources for it." Top that, anyone who surfs the internet knows that it’s loaded with little people, who have no scholarly expertise, never read a legitimate history book on the subject, and have only a very one-sided and biased opinion on the matter under examination.
In the first place, there are no outside sources quoted in the above passage. In the second place,
Assuming that you are referring to the Spanish Inquisition, as most protestants are when they ignorantly make use of the term "Inquisition" without a qualifying statement, then we must point out that recent scholarship has disproved the myth that "millions" were killed during it. If you are interested in viewing several articles proving this point, as well as showing the beginnings of the Inquisition, then the following are recommended:
The Inquisition Re-examined, by Carey Winters.
The Holy Inquisition: Myth or Reality, by Dr. Marian Horvat, Ph.D.
How the Inquisition Began, by Mark Fellows.
The Spanish Inquisition, by David Goldstein, LL.D.
The Spanish Inquisition, by Charles Hammer
The Inquisition and Protestantism in
Dave Hunt and the Spanish Inquisition
As far as the Crusades are concerned, I invite you to visit the following URLs:
The Crusades: A Defensive Gesture, by Charles Hammer
Crusades: Truth and Black Legend, by Italian writer Vittorio Messori
In the third place, even if members of the Church had killed "millions" of heretics, it would not disprove
In the fourth place, the persecutions were not a one-sided deal. There were thousands of Catholics martyred by protestants over the centuries. Take the forty martyrs of
Before we get to specific problems with Catholic doctrine, let's review how this bloodthirsty organization treated a man who simply wanted to get the Bible into the hands of the common people.
In the first place, permit me to make a very important point concerning the above sentence, namely, that you are not dealing with points of Catholic doctrine. What are dealing with is individual cases where heretics were either burned at the stake, or were, after their death, declared heretics. This is not a decisive point. It is not proof positive that the Catholic Church originated from the devil, that it is a cult, or that the Catholic Church, as such, is contrary to the Sacred Scriptures and bloodthirsty. The most that can be said about this, even if you are right, which you are not, and these people were unjustly condemned, is that several churchMEN committed a sin. Period. Protestants seem to be unable to distinguish between the Church, as such, and members of that Church. If we are to take the sins of members of the Church as proof positive that that institution was false, a cult, and contrary to the Sacred Scriptures - what are we to say about the Church founded by Christ Himself? Out of the twelve Apostles, only one remained at His side during the Crucifixion. Saint Peter denied Him three times, Judas betrayed Him and then committed suicide, ten of the remaining Apostles fled in terror when He was being cruelly Crucified upon Calvary.... and yet does this prove the Christian Church to be false from the very start? Of course not.
In the second place, the heretics mentioned by you did not simply want "to get the Bible into the hands of the common people," as we shall see.
In the late 1300 John Wycilf translated the scriptures from the Latin Vulgate. Some 40 odd years after his death, the Catholic religion dug up his bones and burned them calling him an arch-heretick.
Contrary to what you would like the reader to believe, John Wycliffe was not condemned because of his translation of the Sacred Scriptures, but because of other viewpoints of his which were openly heretical. The Council of Constance, which ordered his bones dug up and cast out, gave a listing of 45 of his heretical positions which were the cause of his condemnation - and not a single one of them even mentions his translation of the Scriptures! Furthermore, he is called an arch-heretic, not because of his translation of the Scriptures, but because of his heretical doctrines!
In the last place, an interesting side-note - who was it who translated the Latin Vulgate from the Hebrew and Greek? It was
In the 1500's William Tyndale sought to translate the Bible into the language of the common people, English. He could not gain approval from the Catholic religon so he worked as an outlaw on the run in
The heretic Tyndale was not condemned because he made a translation of the Scriptures, but, rather, because his Bible contained anti-Catholic attacks throughout the footnotes and introductions. As the non-Catholic Anglican Canon Dixon pointed out:
"Every one of the little volumes containing portions of the Sacred Text that was issued by Tyndale, contained also a prologue and notes written with such hot fury against the prelates and clergy, the monks and the friars, the rites and ceremonies of the Church as were hardly likely to commend it to the favor of those who were attacked. Tyndale rejected some of the ecclesiastical terms, substituted others, in the interest of his anti-Catholic propaganda, ‘Church’ became ‘congregation,’ ‘priest’ became ‘elder,’ ‘grace’ became ‘favor’ and ‘gift’: on the contrary, for ‘idols’ he gave ‘image’; John (XVI, 2) became ‘they shall excommunicate you’ for ‘cast you out.’" (What Say You?, David Goldstein)
The Protestant Bishop Tunstall of
Tyndale was "a religious Benedict Arnold, a violator of solemn vows made to Almighty God, at the time of his ordination in the Franciscan Order. He, like all such excommunicated creatures, set up his perverse concept of things Christian, against those how speak with Divine authority in the Church that Christ established; the Church that made it possible for the world to have a Christian Bible." (Ibid)
Furthermore, the Bible was translated, for the most part, into English long before the birth of Tyndale. For example, the Venerable Bede, Doctor of the Church, who lived during the years 672-735 A.D., translated nearly the whole Bible into the English of his day. The Encyclopedia Britannica declares that "before the middle of the 14th century the entire Old Testament had been translated into the Anglo-Normon dialect of the period" (Vol. III, p. 530, 1947 Edition). St. Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England, said in his "Dialogue" (p. 138), that "the whole Bible was long before Wycliff’s day (who lived during the century before Tyndale) by virtuous and well learned men translated into the English tongue and by good and godly people with devotion and soberness, well and reverently read..." As it is, even Cranmer, Henry VIII’s Archbishop of Canterbury, said in the preface of the "Great Bible," that the Holy Bible "was translated and read in the Saxon tongue, which at that time was the mother tongue, wherefore there remaineth yet diverse copies...; and when this language waxed old and out of common use, it was translated into the (English) language, whereof yet also many copies remain and be daily found."
How ridiculous and absurd to claim that the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church would persecute men for merely wishing to place the Sacred Scriptures in the hand of the common people! It was members of this Church who studiously copied and translated the Scriptures down through the centuries! It is not because of people like Wycliffe, who made a translation from a version of the Scriptures widely available at that time, and still available today (the Latin Vulgate, translated from the Greek and Hebrew by the Catholic St. Jerome), or Tyndale, who was a sloppy scholar and a vicious anti-Catholic heretic, that the Scriptures are available to us today - but because of the Church that you dare to raise your voice against.
If the Catholic religion had its way, we'd still be in ignorance about the Bible and enslaved to the pope. Time fails me here to tell of other marytrs like John Hus, John Rogers, etc. who were killed by popish persons.
Still be in ignorance about the Bible? If the Catholic Church were so intent upon keeping the Bible from the common people, why is it that readings from the Sacred Scriptures were read at every Mass? Why is it that copies of the Bible were kept in many Churches which the people could freely browse through and read (What Say You?)? Why is it that for centuries Catholic Monks and Religious lovingly, laboriously, and at great expense, copied the Bible by hand in their Monasteries (Where We Got the Bible)? Why is it that the first Bible printed, the Gutenberg Bible, was printed by a Catholic? Why is it that the Catholic Bishop St. Stephen Langton was the first to tabulate the scripture into Chapter and Verse - which arrangement we follow to this day - for easier reference (The Only Begotten)? Why is it that the first Concordance of the Bible (the Latin Vulgate version) was compiled by the Dominican Friar, Hugo of Saint Chere (Funk & Wagnalls Standerd Reference Encyclopedia © 1951 Volume 4)? All this simply doesn’t add up. If the Catholic Church were so interested in keeping the Bible from the hands of the People, then why was all the above done by
I'll list the catholic tradition first and then what the Bible has to say about the matter.
In the first place, apart from Catholic tradition, how in the world do you know who the authors of the New Testament were? How do know which books of the Bible are infallible, and which are not? How do know, apart from Catholic Tradition, that you are interpreting the Bible correctly on any verse? Where do you get the authority to pass judgement upon the Sacred Traditions of the Catholic Church? You see, Tracy, you seem to think that you are attacking and "destroying" only the Catholic Church, what you don’t seem to realize is that your own religion depends upon the rise, or fall, of Holy Mother Church. If the Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church were proven to be a false religion, against the Sacred Scriptures, and a cult, then your own religion falls to pieces - for without the Holy Catholic Church and her tradition, you cannot even show who the authors of the various New Testament books were, or even if they are the infallible and uncorrupted Word of God. You have gotten yourself into a "catch twenty-two."
CATHOLIC TRADITION - Call priests father, e.g., Father McKinley.
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS -
Matthew 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
As it is, this is not a question of doctrine, or of Sacred Tradition, but a question of a title given to a representative of God. Even if you are correct in the above statement, which I shall show in a moment you are not, it would not be proof positive that the Catholic Church, as such, is false, or that any of her doctrines are false. The reason? Because the title "father" is a title given to a Priest by man. The Catholic Church readily acknowledges this. It is not a matter of Divine Revelation, it does not effect the fact that the Catholic Church was founded by Christ. Hence, we are, yet again, dealing with an issue which is off-track, and irrelevant.
As it is, though, if the declaration to "call no man Father" was intended to limit the term Father to our Heavenly Father, rest assured Christ would not have called our natural male parent "father," which He did on many occasions. The St. Matt. 21:1-12 text in its fullness was a denunciation of the Scribes and Pharisees who assumed the titles "Father," "Master," "Rabbi" without due subordination to God. It was a condemnation of the presumptuous claims made, through which they virtually put themselves in the place of God. The fact that Christ said "honor your father and mother" is enough to prove that He did not intend to limit the term to our Heavenly Father.
Either you are ignorant of the true meaning of the Sacred Scriptures, in which case you shouldn’t go about accusing the Catholic Church of contradicting the self-same Scriptures which you yourself don’t know the meaning of, or you are deliberately deceiving your readers, and attempting to prejudice them against the Catholic Church. For the use of titles in reference to people in the offices of the Body of Christ is an appropriate way to honor the authority of Christ which these personages carry. This includes the titles used to reference our spiritual fathers, the priests. Consider the following Scripture texts:
Mk 11:9-10 And those who went before and those who followed cried out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!"
Lk 16:24 And he called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.'
1 Jn 2:13-14 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. 14 I write to you,fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
And lastly, the following citation from Holy Writ:
1 Corinthians 4:14-16 I write not these things to confound you; but I admonish you as my dearest children. 15 For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have begotten you. 16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ.
CATHOLIC TRADITION - Forbidding the priesthood to marry.
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS -
1) It is devilish to forbid God's people to marry when He has given marriage to be received with thanksgiving.
1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 4:3Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
As it is, the Priests of the Catholic Church are not forbidden to marry, as such, but, rather, make the free choice never to marry! This choice they make themselves, they are not forced into it! They themselves chose never to marry! Hence, it is not a question of the Catholic Church forbidding anyone to marry, but a question of whether or not a man has the ability to refuse to get married and to remain single throughout the remainder of his life. Not to mention the fact that there are, in fact, married priests in the Eastern Rites of Holy Mother Church. With this in mind,
2) Peter was married (remember the pope is supposedly continuing the apostolic line through Peter).
Matthew 8:14 And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever.
Mark 1:30 But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.
Luke 4:38 And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her.
The answer that immediately enters my mind upon reading these verses is, so what? Even if St. Peter was married, how does that disprove the Apostolic succession? How does that disprove the Catholic Church? All it proves is that St. Peter, at one time (note St. Peter’s wife was never mentioned in the Gospels, only his mother-in-law), was married. The Catholic Church readily admits that the celibacy of the clergy came about at a later date. But is this a matter of doctrine and/or Sacred Tradition? No, it is a matter of Church discipline.
3) Paul, a great apostle, remained single; however he made it very clear that he could marry if he wanted to.
1 Corinthians 9:5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?
Even if what you say above concerning this verse is true, what of it? How does it disprove the Catholic Church? Answer this question, if you can. Show how this conclusively proves the Catholic Church to be contradicting the Bible - especially when none of the verses mentioned above declare that every man mustmarry, or that they may freely choose not to marry.
CATHOLIC TRADITION - Mary never had other children after the Lord Jesus. A perpetual virgin.
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS - Mary and Joseph indeed had children. They were the Lord's half brothers and sisters for their father was Joseph and mother was Mary.
Matthew 13:55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 13:56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?
Mark 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
In the above-mentioned work,
This point is likewise amply proven in the Old Testament. For example, in Genesis 13:8 Abraham says the following to
Another example would be Genesis 29:15, where Laban says to Jacob, "Because thou art my brother, shalt thou serve me without wages?" From the context it is clear that Jacob, the son of Rebecca, was the nephewof Laban!
If you wish a more in detail examination of this point, then we highly recommend the brief article by Father C. F. Devine, C.Ss.R, entitled "Mary’s ‘Other Children.’"
The above is more than enough evidence that you are, yet again, misinterpreting the Sacred Scriptures and attempting to deceive the reader.
CATHOLIC TRADITION - Mary is the queen of heaven.
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS - Worshipping the queen of heaven (which is not the Mary of the Bible) is worshipping another god and it provokes the Lord to anger.
Jeremiah 7:17 Seest thou not what they do in the cities of
Here we see yet another example of "private interpretation," and "sola scriptura", at work. A glance at this verse is enough to show forth your error, and your apparent desire to attack the Catholic Church, even at the expense of the Truth!
In the first place, Catholics do not "make cakes" to the queen of heaven, or make any such offerings as were referred to in that verse.
In the second place, the people in that verse obviously regarded the "queen of heaven" to be a god, as the statement "... pour out drink offerings unto other gods..." shows. Catholics do not regard the Blessed Mother of the Lord as a god, or godess, or anything of the sort!
In the third place, that particular verse was written long before the birth of the Blessed Mother, and long before the title "Queen of Heaven" was attributed to Her, and therefore could have no connection with the Blessed Mother, or with the title given Her by
What I see here is a desperate attempt by yourself to apply that verse to Our Lady, even though 1) the verse was referring to a god, while we openly acknowledge the fact that the Blessed Mother is not a god or a godess, 2) the verse referred to people offering sacrifices to the god, while we do not offer sacrifices to the Blessed Mother of the Lord, and 3) the verse was penned long before the title "queen of heaven," meant in an entirely different sense than that portrayed in the verse, was attributed to the Blessed Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ.
You pulled this verse completely out of context, twisted it, and used it to attack the person of Mary, the one whom all generations "shall call blessed." (Luke 1:48). Is this following the teaching of the Sacred Scriptures? Is this calling Her "blessed," and respecting Her? Obviously not. You are here contradicting Sacred Scripture in your haste to attack all things Catholic.
CATHOLIC TRADITION - Mary is the mother of God.
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS - Mary is the mother of the earthly Jesus, not God. Jesus pre- existed from everlasting as God (see John 1:1). When He came to redeem mankind, He laid aside His glory and was made like unto sinful man so that He could take our punishment (Hebrew 2:9). God has no mother. He has lived from everlasting which means He had no beginning.
Isaiah 43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. [If Mary gave birth to God, she'd be God.]
Psalm 93:2 Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.
Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler [Jesus] in Israel;whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Philippians 2:6 Who [Jesus], being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Madam Anti-Catholic, you here argue that since God is eternal, the Blessed Mother could not possibly be His Mother since she was not in existence before Him. To quote David Goldstein:
You are a man, being composed of a body animated by a soul made by God in His own image. Your mother calls you her son, as Mary called Jesus her Son. Your mother claims to be the mother not only of your body, but of your soul as well, despite the fact that your soul came directly from God, and is here for the purpose of going back to God. Following the logic of your query, the question might be asked: "How, in the name of common sense, can Mrs. So-and-So claim to be your mother? Can a finite being be the mother of your indestructible soul, which is of Infinite origin?"
That is somewhat analogous to Mary being the Mother of God. Mary is the Mother of Jesus, for she gave to Him all that your mother gave you. But Jesus is God, "the Word made flesh," who came into the world to dwell amongst us (
It would be lacking in common sense to say that Mrs. So-and-So is the mother of your body and not your soul. Being the mother of a person, she is the mother of your soul and body, the two-in-one. So with Mary. You cannot say she is the mother of the man Jesus and not of God, for he is a Person, human and Divine, the Two-in-One, the God-Man. (What Say You?)
Logic itself dictates that Jesus, if He is God, is the Son of Mary - therefore making Mary His Mother, and since Mary is His Mother, that would make her the Mother of God, since Jesus is God. In fact, the Sacred Scriptures themselves bear witness to this astounding truth in Luke 1:43 where St. Elizabeth (Who was overcome with the Holy Spirit [God]) hails Mary as the "Mother of my Lord." Who is the Lord but God?
CATHOLIC TRADITION - Pope called Holy Father.
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS - The term Holy Father is only found one time in the entire Bible. It was when Jesus prayed before He and His disciples went to the
John 17:11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
Yet again you cannot seem to distinguish between earthly titles given to men by men, and Catholic doctrine. As it is, though, the term itself means something completely different when referring to the Pope. When referring to the Pope it is referring to his dignity as the visible head of the Church on earth, his leadership, a completely distinct meaning from that given to it by Christ. This is yet another example of the heresy of sola scriptura at work - you have purposely twisted and misunderstood every verse cited so far and has misrepresented Catholicism. This is hardly an example of Christian honesty in action, nor is it an example of a God-fearing individual who is truly seeking for the truth. Indeed, these are the actions of one who follows the adversary of God and those who follow Him.
CATHOLIC TRADITION - Purgatory, nuns, popes.
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS - None of these is mentioned in the Bible. It is a sin to add to the Bible.
Indeed it is a sin to add to the Bible! So tell me where it says in the Bible that everything must be found within it? That all Christian offices and doctrines are to be found within the Bible, and that if it is not found in the Bible then it is adding to the Scriptures and false? If you cannot show this to me, then you violate your own principle of sola scriptura. Furthermore, Catholics make absolutely no attempt to add the titles Purgatory, Nuns, or Popes, to the Scriptures, nor do we claim that they are to be found in the Scriptures at all. Hence, what we see here is a misrepresentation of Catholicism.
That Purgatory does exist is a point that is amply shown in the Second Book of Macchabees, while the office of the Papacy is shown throughout the Sacred Scriptures, particularly in Matthew 16:18, and in the Acts of the Apostles.
The pope is a man who takes upon himself honor which belongs to no human being. Even the very name by which he allows himself to be called (Holy Father) is highly presumptuous and blasphemous (see above).
In the first place, you are, yet again, concentrating upon titles, and not upon doctrines. Let us say that what you are saying about the title "Holy Father" is correct, would that disprove the Papacy? Certainly not. Would it disprove the office? Certainly not. Would it disprove the Catholic Church? Certainly not. What it would do is get us into an irrelevant arena.
One does not need the pope to determine what God's will is.
This is true, and we heartily admit this without hesitation. The Pope is not necessary to determine what God’s will is. God Himself will make plain what His Will is. The Catholic doctrine regarding the Divine Will of God is excellently set forth in Father Jeremias Drexelius’ famous book "The Heliotropium." In it Father makes it very clear that we can, without the Pope, know what God’s will is.
Then what do we need the Pope for? To (a) safeguard the deposit of faith, (b) to teach the doctrines found in the deposit of faith, (c) to guard us from believing erroneous doctrines, (d) to govern the Church in subservience to Christ our Lord.
The Bible says that God has given the Holy Ghost to each believer and that He (the Holy Ghost) guides and leads us into all truth.
In the first place, you, madam, have no right to make use of the Bible against the Catholic Church. You are a johnny-come-lately to the scene of religion. Neither you, nor anyone who believed the same false heresies and errors that you do, put the Bible together. Neither you, nor anyone who believes the same false heresies and errors that you do, wrote the Bible. Neither you, nor anyone who believes the same false heresies and errors that you do, preserved the Scriptures down to our day. The one who is responsible for the compiling of the Sacred Scriptures for us is the Catholic Church, the one who is responsible for writing the Bible is the Catholic Church, the one who has preserved the Scriptures down to our day unadulterated and uncorrupted is the Catholic Church. You, sir, have absolutely no right to this Sacred Book, as you are a heretic and outside the Catholic Church and wishing to use the Scriptures, not for you own edification, but as a dagger to stab into the heart of the one who defended the Scriptures for centuries from the attacks of other heretics like yourself! And upon this dagger you impale your immortal soul!
Whatever meager amounts of truth there are in your false beliefs, and there are some (though, unfortunately, "some" is not enough), you have only because of the ever-watching, non-resting, vigilance of Holy Mother the Church! This is a fact that is completely and utterly incontestable! As G. K. Chesterton pointed out in his article "Upon This Rock,"
It was only the Roman Catholic Church that saved the Protestant truths. It may be right to rest on the Bible, but there would be no Bible if the Gnostics had proved that the Old Testament was written by the Devil, or had littered the world with Apocryphal Gospels. It may be right to say that Jesus alone saves from sin, but nobody would be saying it if a Pelagian movement had altered the whole notion of sin. Even the very selection of dogmas which the reformers decided to preserve had only been preserved for them by the authority which they denied.
It was the Catholic Church which preserved the Scriptures, it was the Catholic Church that preserved the dogma of the divinity of Christ, it was the Catholic Church that defended the true notion of sin. Protestantism had not even been dreamed of at that point in time, nor had Sola Scriptura. Protestantism, and its false heresies, are late-comers to the scene of religion. They have no right to the Sacred Scriptures which they so cruelly and unhesitatingly mutilated and perverted towards their own diabolical ends. They have no right, I say, to the Sacred Word of God which they blaspheme against every single time they dare to make use of it to attack the doctrines of the
All a believer needs is the Bible and the Holy Ghost to know the will of the Lord.
Is that all? Here I am simply forced to ask you, the author of this heretical and scandalous document, just where in the Bible this doctrine (that of sola scriptura, scripture alone - or, as you put it, all you need is Scripture and the Holy Ghost) is taught. If you cannot show us where in the Bible this doctrine is taught (as you simply cannot, for it is taught nowhere in the Scriptures), then you are violating your own principle.
Furthermore, it might be of interest to point out that you do not specify precisely which Bible a "believer" needs in order to "know the will of the Lord." The tremendous variety of versions out there is enough to make one question this statement! Which version are you referring to? From other articles on your site, it becomes obvious that you probably hold the KJV to be the only true translation of the Word of God. But how are we to know that you’re right, and all the hundreds and thousands of scholars, Bibles, and individual Bible readers who prefer other versions, are wrong? Here we see that it becomes necessary for a middle man to step in - scholars. You have posted the articles of various scholars and human beings and their opinions of the KJV, and the other versions. But does this prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the KJV is the one true inspired translation of the Word of God? Certainly not! All it shows is that some human beings agree with it.
Yet another point that can be made here is the fact that the Christians of the early centuries did not have the Bible to go by... they had the Catholic Church, which was in existence long before the Sacred Scriptures were even a thought in the mind of the New Testament writers!
The last of the Books of the Sacred Scriptures was written at or about 100 A.D. Upon what did the believers of that first century rely? They could most certainly not have relied upon the Sacred Scriptures, for the New Testament was even completed until the end of the first century. Not only was the New Testament not even completed until the year 100 A.D., but between the years 50 and 398 A.D., there were so many apocryphal works floating around that it would have been impossible for anyone not divinely inspired to have sorted through them all. The fact that these apocryphal works (such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Apocalypse of Adam, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Gospel of the Egyptians, and so on and so forth) were in existence at all - and were, in fact, so numerous that copies of them are to be found today - proves that they were accepted by many as being Scripture.
Prior to the year 398 there was no set Canon of the Sacred Scriptures, making it nearly impossible for the believers to have read/depended upon a Bible that didn’t exist! On top of all this is the fact that between the year 398 and 1450 A.D., Bibles were very very difficult to acquire. In fact, it was nearly impossible for the laity to obtain one. The reason? Because they were 1) very difficult to make, being hand-written and copied, 2) usually written on very expensive materials, 3) usually adorned with various precious stones, not to mention gold, out of respect and in honor of its contents. All of this adds up to quite a large amount of money - money which the common person simply did not have.
In addition to the above, is the fact that the barbarian invasions and the general decline of civilization in the West which followed practically eliminated the ability to read among the common folk - which left the preservation of the Scriptures up to scholars, and the vast majority of the scholars in the West at that time were clergymen. In other words, it was up to the Catholic Church, and Her clergy, to preserve and protect the Scriptures - which She did admirably.
As Bishop Graham shows in Chapter Eight of his famous book "Where we Got the Bible and our debt to the Catholic Church," we owe a great debt to the monks of the middle ages who were responsible for the copy of the Sacred Scriptures, and their preservation, down to our present day. If it wasn’t for them, we would not have the Scriptures today.
And yet, you dare to make use of the Scriptures to attack the very organization which lovingly protected them for centuries, and preserved them from harm. What ingratitude! What a "payback" for all the hard work and resources spent in the protection and preservation of the Sacred Word of God!
In addition to the above it must be pointed out that the Early Church Fathers did not believe in Sola Scriptura.
While the Church Fathers are certainly not individually infallible, the testimony of history is quite astounding! In all the writings of the Church Fathers, where can my opponent find one instance where they taught that all that was necessary for "knowing the will of the Lord" was the Bible and the Holy Ghost? The testimony of history raises itself up and cries out and terror at the very idea! If you cannot prove, by use of historical testimony, from the year 1500 back to the year 100 A.D., that Sola Scriptura was the common belief among Christians, then your Faith and Religion falls to pieces, as the Scriptures taught in 1 Timothy 4:1-2 "In the last times, some shall depart from the Faith, giving heed to spirits of error, and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, and having their conscience seared."
What greater proof can we have of a faith different from that "once delivered to the Saints" (Jude.3:1), than one which appeared in the "last times," and has no history of belief among Christians before then?
The statement of
While many Protestants may frown upon such an argument as that made from history, the point is that the argument completely obliterates the Protestant religion. If it has no history of belief among Christians, then how can it possibly be a Christian doctrine? As was taught in1 Timothy, in the last times there will come those who will depart from the Faith.
In addition to the Sacred Scriptures, true believers are required to hold to Sacred Tradition (not man-made tradition, mind you, but Sacred Tradition delivered to us by the Apostles from Christ Himself), as 2 Thessalonians 2:14 shows: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word or by our epistle." This doctrine is also taught in 2 Thessalonians 3:6, and is implied in John 21:24-25.
This belief is also one that has, historically, been a belief of Christians since the early ages. St. Athanasius had the following to say regarding Tradition: "But it will hardly be out of place to investigate likewise the ancient traditions, and the doctrines and faith of the Catholic Church, which the Lord communicated, the Apostles proclaimed, and the Fathers preserved; for on this has the Church been founded."
St. Irenaeus held the following, and very fitting, stance on the issue: "Heretics assent neither to Scripture nor to Tradition" (AH 3,2,1)
This alone means that, according to the testimony of both history and Sacred Scripture, more is needed than merely the Bible and the Holy Ghost if one is to determine true doctrine from false.
Popery has been treacherous, but worse, each pope has been the blind leading the blind. Jesus said that both will fall into the ditch. Catholics, come out of this system that cannot save and know Jesus for youself, intimate and up-close.
The last sentence in the above paragraph sounds more or less like a banner advertisement. It is a catch phrase and a reiteration of the popular believes concerning Catholicism. "Know Jesus for yourself, intimate and up-close." The only problem here is that 1) the invitation to apostatize is being presented by a person who has already destroyed her credibility in this article, 2) who shows no regard for the truth whatsoever (hence, how can she know Christ, Who Is Truth, for herself "intimate and up-close" if she is so prone to falsehoods?), 3) does not know Christ intimately and "up-close." How do I know that she does not know Christ? Simply because of the fact that she refuses to listen to the Church which He founded, the Church He established, the One True Catholic and
This last statement will assuredly shock you, and you will most probably consider it a harsh and bigoted statement. It is no more bigoted and harsh than when Christ Himself stated in the Gospels that He was the only way to eternal life, the only way to obtain salvation. We believe that this is so because Christ Himself told us that this was so, and so we believe that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church - for those who are heathens (people who do not believe in God, and reject Him) and publicans (notorious unrepentant sinners) are not walking the straight and narrow path to eternal salvation. Who will dare to come forward and contradict Christ’s infallible words, that He is the only way to salvation, and extend eternal salvation to those who refuse to believe in Him? Christ Himself declared that those who do not give obedience (listen) to His Church are heathens, who reject Him. Tracy, if you do not convert and abandon your heresies before your death (and remember, death cometh as a thief in the night), then you will most assuredly be condemned to Hell, if we are to believe the Words of Christ Himself, and His Holy Catholic Church.
NOTE: Purgatory is supposedly a place where a person is purified of sins--even popes supposedly go there. The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the one that purifies us of our sins. Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.... When a person dies their eternal home is sealed--heaven or hell--no in between. Hebrews 9:27 ...it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
Purgatory is not a place where one’s "eternal home is." No one believes that! Purgatory is only temporary, not eternal such as heaven or hell, and therefore does not rank in the same class. Furthermore it is not a place where a person "is purified of sins," but, rather, purified of the temporal punishment due to sins which have already been forgiven.
Other than that, the above paragraph is perfectly acceptable. There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ, and it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. The only problem is 1)
CATHOLIC TRADITION - Venerating/worshipping images. Pope bows to statues of Mary, people worship the eucharist and have statues/candles in their homes and churches.
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS - It is idolatry to venerate images. We are not even supposed to make them.
Exodus 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God...
Your interpretation of the Commandments inferentially charges God with violating His own law. In Exodus 25:18-20 we find God ordering the Jews to make images of angels for the sides of the oracle, the medium through which communications were received from God in the Holy of Holies. In Numbers 21:8-9 we have God commanding Moses to make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole, so that anyone who looks upon it, after being bitten by a serpent, would live. In 1 Kings 6:23-35 we find cherubim, and other images, made for the tabernacle of the Lord. Indeed, the veneration of images (the
You name Catholics idolaters for adoring the Blessed Eucharist, because you yourself do not believe that Christ is present therein. That the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, of Christ Jesus Our Lord is a truth that is astoundingly supported in the Sacred Scriptures. The Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Eucharist is a point that has been proven by so many Catholic apologists throughout history, that I see no reason to go into it yet again here. I recommend that you read the following article on the subject, taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia "The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist."
CATHOLIC TRADITION - The mass. Through transubstantiation, the wafer/host and the wine supposedly become the actual blood and body of Jesus Christ when the priest prays over them.
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS - Jesus died once for sins, never to be repeated. He sits on the right hand of God and does not reappear in the mass as a mass of blood and flesh.
Hebrews 10:12 But this man [Jesus], after he had offeredone sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 10:13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 10:15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 10:18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
1 Corinthians 11:24 And when he [Jesus] had given thanks, he brake it [bread], and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 11:25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come (not for the forgiveness of sins or to receive Jesus).
It is true that Christ died once for our sins, never to be repeated, but how dare you make use of the Sacred Scriptures to criticize the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? The scriptures which you quote above are indeed completely acceptable to Catholicism, for we do not hold that the Mass is another Sacrifice, another death on the Cross, but the self-same Sacrifice as that offered upon
It is true that Christ does not appear visibly in the Flesh and Blood in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass usually, but there have been cases where He has so deigned to bestow this favor upon Holy Mother Church, and to show forth the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, as can be seen in the single example of the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano.
Eucharistic miracles are not a novelty in Catholicism. Indeed! There have been dozens! A book by Joan Carroll Cruz (entitled Eucharistic Miracles) documents at least 30 such miracles.
CATHOLIC TRADITION - Saved, in part, by good works.
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS - Good works are the fruits that grow out of being saved. They do not make you saved. An apple does not make its tree an apple tree, it was already an apple tree before any apples appeared. When you see the apples; however, you know what kind of tree it is. If a person is saved, he will shew forth good works because he has the spirit of Christ in him. The good works don't make him saved only the blood of Jesus can do that.
I John 1:7b ...the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
Acts 16:31b ...believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.
Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 3:27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
What about James 2:20 "faith without works is dead"?
The kind of faith that saves is a faith that shows forth the works of God. Even devils believe in Jesus and tremble (James 2:19). Many people believe in Jesus but they won't follow Him. They have a faith, but not the kind that saves. If a person has true faith in Jesus, the Holy Ghost dwells in him and will cause good works will show forth in his life. The good works confirm the faith by which the person was saved. James 2:21-23 uses Abraham as an example. Abraham believed God so when God asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac, Abraham, out of his faith in God, offered up Isaac.
Works are not only a confirmation of the Faith which one has, they are essential to salvation. Take the Sacrament of Baptism as an example. Our Blessed Lord Himself said "Amen, amen I say to the, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the
Here we see that if we do not do good works, we shall be damned! This means that they are essential to salvation. For example, we must be baptized in order to be saved, we must keep the commandments, and so on, and so forth. Faith alone is worthless! If a man hath "... all faith, so that (he) could remove mountains, and have not charity" he is nothing. (I Cor 13:2b)
The same applies to works... works alone will not save anyone, apart from Faith and Grace. But neither with Faith alone can anyone be saved, apart from works and Grace. All three are necessary to salvation. One, or even two, without the third will not suffice.
CATHOLIC TRADITION - The church is founded on Peter.
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS - Jesus Christ is the foundation of the church. Peter was a man like you and me. Jesus called Peter Satan in Matthew 16:23 when Peter rebuked Jesus dying. When Cornelius tried to worship Peter, Peter responded, "Stand up; I myself also am a man." (Acts 10:26). The pope needs to remember Acts 10:26 when he has men bowing to him and kissing his hand like he is worthy of worship.
1 Corinthians 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Matthew 21:42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected [Jesus], the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
The above statements by yourself, Tracy, are perfectly true, and do not refute the Catholic position in the least. We do not hold that Saint Peter is the foundation of the Church, but that Christ Himself, the foundation, has chosen to build this foundation upon St. Peter - for even a foundation, and a corner stone, requires something to rest upon. This can be amply seen in the parable told in the Gospel of St. Matthew of the man who built his house upon sand, and it was washed away, and of the man who built his house upon a rock, and it stood firm.
Matthew 16:22, "And Peter taking him...." That is, taking him aside, began to expostulate with him, as it were to rebuke Him, saying, "Lord, far be it from Thee to suffer death;" But the Lord said to St. Peter in verse 23, "Go behind me, Satan." These words may signify ‘Begone from me;" but the holy Fathers expound them otherwise, that is, "come after me", or "follow me"; and by these words the Lord would have St. Peter to follow Him in His suffering, and not to oppose the divine will by contradiction; for the word Satan means in Hebrewan adversary, or one that opposes.
Every verse in the Sacred Scriptures must be understood according to the whole. One cannot take one verse out of this book, or one verse out of that book, and ignore the remainder of the Scriptures, now can one? The pre-eminence of Saint Peter is amply shown in numerous Bible verses in the New Testament (The Pre-Eminence of Saint Peter, 50 Bible Proofs). The Acts of the Apostles is simply loaded with references to this supremacy (The Primacy of Saint Peter in the Acts of the Apostles), as are the Early Church Fathers (The Early Eastern Church defended the Petrine Primacy).
To close this brief section with a lengthy quotation from the famous convert to Catholicism and Catholic Apologist, Gerry Matatics:
...... it was Holy Scripture that forced me to that conclusion. (The acceptance of the authority of the Pope) The more I dug into the New Testament doctrine of the Church, the more I began to see that the primary term Jesus used in referring to His Church was "the Kingdom of God." So, we are to look upon the Church, then, as a hierarchically structured organism, and monarchical to boot. And Jesus is the King of the Kingdom of God.
Now, I never had a problem with that. When I was a Protestant, I always referred to Jesus as King, but I never stopped to think about how a kingdom operates. Kings always have officers, and I saw that Jesus appoints the Apostles that they "may sit upon thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Luke 22:30). He calls them to be the officers of His Kingdom, to exercise His kingly reign. They are His regents, His ministers. The Bible uses the word "steward" for minister, and of the stewards that every king had, one would be in charge of the treasury, another of the vineyards, another of internal affairs, and so forth. And there is always a chief steward, what we would call a prime minister, as the monarchs of England have today. Then I saw that the evidence was overwhelming that Peter was that prime minister. For instance, if you simply made a study, from a concordance, of the frequency with which Peter is mentioned in the Bible - he's mentioned 196 times in the New Testament, and the second most-frequently referred to Apostle is Saint John with a mere 29 references - you would see what I mean. It's not even a close contest.
And I saw that, throughout the Gospels, the group of the Apostles is often described as "Peter and the Twelve," or "Peter and those who were with him." He is always shown to be the spokesman of the group as a whole. The group addresses Jesus through Peter. Jesus addresses the group, almost invariably, through Peter. There is an inner circle of Peter, James and John, and even in that inner circle, Peter is the lead spokesman.
Jesus does things to Peter and for Peter that He does for no other Apostle. He is the only one given the privilege of walking on water. He is the one who pulled, out of the sea, the fish with a coin in its mouth, that's sufficient to pay the tax for Jesus and Peter. The two are united in one coin. And there are all kinds of symbolisms in that coin which I won't get into, but over and over again, Peter is definitely singled out. He has a headship. Even a Protestant scholar like Oscar Cullmann admits, in his book, Peter: Disciple, Apostle and Martyr, that Peter was the head of the Church.
Actually, there were three questions that I had to answer before I would accept the Catholic doctrine on the Papacy. The first was, is Peter the head of the Church? Does the Bible teach that Peter was the head of the Church? I saw that the answer is absolutely yes. He is the one who calls the meeting to elect a successor to Judas; he is the one who opens the Kingdom of God to the Jews on Pentecost (Acts 2); he is the one who performs the first miracle in Acts 3; the one who speaks to the Sanhedrin in chapter 4; the one who causes Ananias and Saphira to fall dead in chapter 5; he is the one who goes with John to bring the Samaritans into the Church in chapter 8, and the Gentiles in chapter 10; and so on. So, the first question was answered: Peter definitely was the head of the Church at the time of the Apostles.
The second question was, what happened when the Apostles died? Did their offices then cease to exist? No, they did not. There is Apostolic succession. The Bible teaches it. I referred earlier to the evidence that can be drawn from what we call the pastoral Epistles of Saint Paul - two to Timothy and one to Titus - in which he addresses these two men as "my true sons in the Faith." Here he implies a dynastic succession of office. Paul is their spiritual father. They are his sons. They inherit his mantle. In similar fashion, in the Old Testament, Elisha refers to Elijah as "my father." He is Elijah's spiritual heir. He gets a double portion of Elijah's spirit; he is his first born son. So, the fact of a dynastic succession coming down from the Apostles is clearly indicated in the Bible.
The third question was: who in the early Church was - and who is today - the successor to Peter, and what is his role in the Church? The answer to this question deserves thorough consideration.
There are several texts in the New Testament that lead us to the answer. Three of them, in particular, are most amazing to me, but I never looked at them carefully when I was a Protestant. Let me give them to you in reverse order:
First, John 21:15 to 17: Here, Jesus as the Good Shepherd addresses Peter three times, and hands over His flock to him to be His vicar. He says to Peter, "You take care of My lambs; you feed My sheep; you tend My flock."
Next, Luke 22:31 and surrounding context: After speaking of the twelve thrones the Apostles are to sit upon, Jesus says to Peter, "Simon, Simon, Satan has desired to sift you (in Greek, 'you' is plural, meaning 'you Apostles') like wheat, but I have prayed for you (singular, meaning Peter) that your faith will not fail. And when you are turned around, you will be a source of strength to your brethren." Peter is the point man for the Apostolic college.
And last, Matthew 16:17 to 19: This is the most powerful text. Jesus makes three astounding statements about Peter which come right on the heels of Peter's confession that Jesus is the Christ, that is, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Son of God. First Jesus says, "You are the blessed one, Simon, son of John." Notice the parallel structure to the two acclamations. Peter first says you are x, son of y; and Jesus says you are x, son of y - you are blessed Simon, son of John, or Jonah.
Then, Jesus says the three things about Peter that show that Peter participates in Jesus' special office. For if Jesus is the Christ, the Anointed One, it means that He is Prophet, Priest and King, all rolled into one. These were the three anointed offices of the Old Covenant. At the beginning of their ministries, prophets and priests and kings were anointed to show that their authority came from God. The prophet brings truth, the priest brings life, and the king brings righteousness. And Jesus announced Peter's participation in each of these special offices of the Christ.
In verse 17, He tells Peter that he is blessed because he didn't arrive at the knowledge that Jesus is the Christ through his own flesh and blood, but it was revealed to him by God the Father in Heaven. So, Peter is the one upon whom God has bestowed a special prophetic function, an insight. He sees the truth about Who Jesus is, even though the others shared some false ideas; for instance, that He might be one of the prophets reincarnated. So, by His sovereign choice, God has singled out Simon Peter to be the authoritative teacher of truth about Who Jesus is.
In verse 18, Our Lord continues, saying to Peter: "You are rock, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Now, I don't have time to go into detail here, but the image of rock is a Temple image. There was a rock - it was referred to in the Old Testament as the foundation stone upon which the Temple of Solomon was built - that sealed the gateway to the underworld. So Jesus is saying, "Peter, you are going to be the rock upon which I am going to build My Temple, My Church, the New Covenant Temple." In the Old Covenant, it was the High Priest alone who could stand upon that rock, because upon that rock was the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies. So, Peter is singled out implicitly as having this high priestly and this rock-like function.
In verse 19, Jesus concludes: "And I will give to you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. And whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, it shall be bound in Heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in Heaven." Here, Our Lord quotes the language of Isaias 22:22, where Isaias describes the Old Testament office of prime minister, or what was then called "chief steward," and speaks of a man named Eliacim, son of Helcias, who becomes chief steward after another man, Sobna, is deposed. Speaking through the prophet Isaias, God says several things about the office of prime minister, which I paraphrase:
God says, "I will put the special vestments on him, and fasten the sash of authority around him." So he wears distinctive garments.
God says he will be a father to the inhabitants of the land. So he has a patriarchal office. The word "pope" simply means "father."
God says, "I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder, so that when he opens, no one can shut; and when shut, no one can open." These are the words of Isaias which Jesus Himself quotes.
And then God says that he will have a seat of honor. So he has an episcopal see.
And the fifth and final thing God says about the prime minister, the chief steward, is that it will be an office of dynastic succession, that it will descend to his offspring, and offshoots, just like the king's. So, the king's office passes on to his son, and the prime minister's office passes on to his son, if only at least his spiritual son.
By invoking the Old Testament testimony of Isaias, by borrowing his language and concept of the chief steward, or prime minister, Jesus, in effect, is saying to Peter: "The Church I will build is the Kingdom of God. I, the Son of David the King, will be its King. But I must have My officers, My ministers, My stewards. You are going to be My chief steward. So, I'm going to give you the keys the chief steward carries." And, since the chief steward's office is one of dynastic succession, Our Lord intended Peter's office and authority to be transmitted to successors.
And so we come to the final consideration: historically, who, in fact, inherited Peter's office and authority? There's only one candidate -the Bishop of Rome! I saw from early Church history that all Church Fathers who talked about where Peter went, talked about his going to Rome. It's as historically documented as any fact we know about the early Church - that Peter went to Rome, that he died in Rome, and that the next bishop of Rome acted confidently as the possessor of his authority, which the early Church sought and accepted.
For primary source documentation on this subject, I read an anthology entitledDocuments Illustrating Papal Authority from A.D. 96 to 451, edited by Edward Giles. It's a Protestant book. It's an anthology of all the patristic writings and sermons during the first five centuries, which bear on the authority of the Bishop of Rome, beginning with the first letter of Clement to the Church at Corinth. As you read them, there is a cumulative effect which reaches its climax when you get to the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when Pope Leo sends his Tome to the Council. All the Fathers present had been perplexed about whether there are two Natures or one Nature, two Persons or one Person, in Christ, and Leo spelled it out. And they all stand up spontaneously, and chant unanimously, "Peter has spoken through Leo! The matter is settled. Rome has spoken."
By the year 451, the issue of the primacy and authority of the Bishop of Rome had been decided very clearly. There had been a very slow, organic, but sure development of an understanding that the Bishop of Rome calls the shots. He is the final authority. And so, for me, embracing the Papacy was just another matter of following through on my original commitment to believe whatever the Bible teaches. (On Tracing the River Back to Its Source, an interview with Gerry Matatics, by Gerry Matatics and Brother Andre, M.I.C.M. http://www.catholicism.org/pages/matatic.htm )
The above is, I believe, evidence enough in favor of the Papacy. If more is necessary, Tracy, then I will be only too happy to provide it.
CATHOLIC TRADITION - Confessing sins to a priest. Petitioning saints and Mary.
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS - We are to confess our sins and needs to God alone.
I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Matthew 6:9, 12 After this manner...pray ye: Our Father... forgive us....
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus [not Mary, not saints, not priests, not the pope];
I John 2:1, ...And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
When one reads statements like these, and the infamous twisting of the Scriptures which proceeds from such tainted minds, one is compelled to bewail the ignorance of Protestants! How many times must we point out that Catholics thoroughly believe and accept the fact that there is but one mediator between God and man, and that is the God-man Jesus Christ? Every Catholic apologist has, at least once in his/her lifetime, pointed this out, and such is to be found on many Catholic website on the internet. We declare emphatically that there is but one mediator between God and man, and that is "the man Christ Jesus." Period. Let me repeat this point with emphasis, there is no other mediator.
The Council of Trent has infallibly declared this truth, and no Catholic denies it. To quote the Council of Trent:
If anyone says that this sin of Adam, which is one by origin [original sin], and which is communicated to all men by propagation not by imitation, and which is in all men and proper to each, is take away either through the powers of human nature or through a remedy other than the merit of the one mediator, our Lord Jesus Christ who reconciled us to God in his blood, having become for us justice, and sanctification, and redemption (see 1 Cor. 1:30)... let him be anathema. Because ‘there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved’ (Acts 4:12). Hence the words: ‘Behold the Lam bo God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world’ (John 1:29) (Emphasis mine)
This is an infallible truth of the Catholic Faith, and all Catholics are required to believe it. Anyone who does not is in direct contradiction to infallible and authoritative Catholic Teaching. So how, then, can praying to the saints be justified in the light of what Rome Herself teaches?
Throughout the Scriptures we see that Christ is given a particular role, and yet constantly appoints deputies to those particular roles. Take, for example, Jesus the Good Shepherd who is the "one shepherd" who leads His flock (John 10:11-16), yet He asks Peter to shepherd His flock (John 21:15-17) and calls others to be shepherds also (Eph 4:11);
Christ is the sole King of the universe (I Tim 6:15; Rev. 15:3, 17:14, 19:16), yet Christians will participate in His kingship by sharing His crown, sharing His throne and by reigning alongside of Him (Rev. 3:21, 20:4, 22:5);
Christ is the one judge of all (John 5:27; 2 Cor. 5:10; I Tim. 4:1), yet Christians in heaven will share in His "judgeship" and will exercise this judgment (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30; see particularly I Corinthians 6:2-3 and Revelations 20:4).
To argue against this principle and its application is to deny the clear witness of Holy Writ, and the Truth of our participation in Christ Jesus Our Lord The Catholic Church teaches as the Holy Scriptures reveal – Christ the Head works through the members of His Body, the Church.
In the Pater Noster Christ Himself calls upon us to do the will of the Father on earth as it is done in Heaven (Matthew 6:10), since it is God’s will for us to pray for one another while here on earth (1 Timothy 2:1f) this means that it is being done in heaven. If one earth we, who are obviously imperfect, are still called to pray for sinners that they might be saved (See Jas. 5:16 and 1 John 5:16), how much more sense does it make to ask for the prayers of those who are in heave and see God Face to face (Rev. 22:4)? For, after all, those who are in Heaven are already perfected unto righteousness. The Bible itself says that the prayers of a righteous man avails much (Jas. 5:16b). If favors may be bestowed on people down here by our imperfect prayers (2 Cor. 1:11) and if the prayers of us on earth can help with another’s deliverance (Phi. 1:19) how much more effective are the prayers of those in heaven for us here on earth?
The Saints themselves deserve veneration for numerous reasons. Saints deserve veneration because of the very fact that they reign with Christ in glory (Rev. 3:21; 20:4; 22:5). Even more significant: Since the saints are in heaven they actually share in the very glory of God (see Rom. 5:2, 8:18; Eph. 1:18). God is pleased to share His glory since even down here on earth He shares His very life with us in giving us His Spirit and grace. God receives His faithful servants when they enter heaven with glory and honors (Ps. 73:24). Therefore we recognize that "the glory of sons is their fathers" (Prov. 17:6).
The Lord is exalted in and through His saints. Scripture reveals this truth clearly: "And in Israel He shows forth His glory" (Is. 44:23b). Christ Jesus Himself is glorified in those whom the Father has given Him (Jn. 17:9-10). St. Paul says, "even now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death" (Phil. I: 20b). Elsewhere he says that the churches were "glorifying God in him" (Gal. 1:24), or because of him.
Therefore we must admit the biblical truth that Christ is glorified in His saints (see 2 Thessalonians 1:10). In venerating the saints Catholics are, in effect, glorifying Jesus!
These verses reveal that when we honor and venerate the saints in heaven we are in fact giving glory to God in and through the saints, for they display His work of transformation and sanctification. They display the victory of the cross. Isaiah 44:23 should help those concerned to see that when Catholics honor and venerate the saints, we are acknowledging the glory of God which shows forth in them. John 17:9-10, Philippians 1:20, and 2 Thessalonians 1:10 reveal that in the Body of Christ, the Head is glorified in His members. This does not detract glory from Christ; it does the exact opposite! It reveals how broad, how deep, and over-flowing is the glory of Jesus Christ and the extent to which it is manifested.
Speaking to Abraham He said: - "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse" (Gen. 12:3; see also 27:29; Num. 24:9). Nowhere in Scripture does God negate this principle. The saints in heaven are those who heard the word of the Lord and lived it to heroic degrees, and Jesus said that these people are to be considered blessed (Luke 11:28). The very principle at work revealed in Genesis is that if we do not bless and honor those whom God has blessed we will be cursed! Therefore we honor them whom God has already honored (Jn. 12:26).
Some may say that they do honor the holy men and women who have gone before them, but they don’t put them on pedestals and celebrate their lives with extravagant ceremonies. Though one’s aesthetic sentiments may not like what surrounds the Catholic (and, I might add, the Orthodox) practice of venerating the saints, one cannot argue against the actual principle. The reason this is so is because in the Bible it is revealed that to give honor to someone means more than having merely a respectful attitude towards them and paying lip-service. It means to bestow compliments and praises upon them. More than that it means to DO something.
We are to acknowledge the great works of the Lord and praise Him for them. See Psalm 111:2-4; 92:5; Rev. 15:3.
In the Bible, the works of the Lord are often associated with His holy ones. "All Thy works shall give thanks to Thee, O Lord, and thy holy ones [saints] shall bless Thee" (Psalm 145:10; see also Psalm 103:20f).
Christ Himself states that the work of God is to believe in Christ (John 6:59).
Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622) explained, "the lives of the Saints: what are these save practical illustrations of the Gospel? The difference between the Word and the Saints’ lives is like that between the music in score [on paper], and the same music sung by living voices."
Saint Paul uses himself as a living example where Christ’s mercy is demonstrated for the sake of believers (see 1 Tim. 1:15-16). Catholics honor the saints for this very reason: to demonstrate Christ’s mercy and transforming grace.
If God’s work in creating men deserves praise, even though we are born in a fallen state deprived of grace (see Psalm 139:13-15), how much more does God’s work of recreating believers in Jesus Christ and seeing it manifested in particularly heroic and holy lives deserve praise? Thus, in honoring the saints we are recognizing the surpassing riches of God’s grace demonstrated in and through them.
The Lord Himself rejoices in His faithful people (see Isaiah 62:5b, 65:19) by even singing and shouting over them (Zeph. 3:17). How can we not rejoice in those whom God rejoices in? Singing hymns in honor of saints, then, is biblical. For God rejoices in His faithful people and He receives praise in their glory (Psalm 149:4-5). The glory of the saints is only the very glory of Christ manifest in His members. This means when we rejoice in His faithful people by giving honor to the saints in heaven God receives praise. No glory is taken away from God, for He is glorified in His works – the saints.
"Great are your works O Lord!" (Psalm 92:5) This is what we are doing when we say "great are your saints, O Lord." In fact, a little later it is declared in this same Psalm how great are the Lord’s works by displaying the greatness of the righteous man (see vs 12f). The Lord rejoices in this because we acknowledge the greatness of His Works - the salvation and sanctification of lives. There is no mistaking or confusing between the Giver and His gifts and works when the saints are honored. Thus the primacy and centrality of Christ is NOT diminished but is in fact more widely displayed because we honor His very work and life made manifest in His saints. Their lives display the reign of Christ down through history.
With regards to confessing sins to a priest, this is likewise a Biblical truth that is clearly taught in the Sacred Scriptures and in the writings of the Church Fathers. One of the clearest passages illustrating this truth is to be found in the Holy Gospel of Saint John, chapter 20 verses 22-23:
"When He had said this, He breathed on them; and He said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained."
Here, yet again, we see Christ Himself appointing deputies to go forth and to take over a role which was his alone. To recite the verses which you gave above Tracy:
I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Matthew 6:9, 12 After this manner...pray ye: Our Father... forgive us....
In the first verse, it does not state that we are to confess our sins to God alone, nor does it say so in the second verse. In fact, we see from the Gospel of Saint John that the power to forgive sins was also given to the Apostles, the first Bishops, and the deputies of the Lord - and in order to know which sins to forgive, and which sins to withhold, it necessarily follows that we must tell them precisely what the sins are that we are guilty of.
The first verse can actually be interpreted in a Catholic light. It doesn’t specify to whom we should confess our sins. In the second verse, it is nothing more than a plea to God to forgive us our sins - which may, or may not, be denied.
There are many other scriptures that could have been used here to testify against the doctrines of the catholic religion. There are also many other doctrines of the catholic religion which could have been refuted (e.g. the sacraments, receiving the Holy Ghost, salvation through the catholic religion, penance, rosary, etc.).
How ungrateful you are, Tracy! Were it not for the Catholic Church and her ceaseless vigilance over the Scriptures, you would not have the adulterated and mutilated version which you currently have! This point has been proven time and again by Catholic scholars and apologists, and I see no need to go into it here. If you are interested in reading more on it, then read the book Where we got the Bible, our debt to the Catholic Church, by Bishop Henry Graham ( http://www.geocities.com/militantis/biblecontents.html ).
Tracy, you have no right to pontificate on this matter. Who gave you the authority to make judgments upon the doctrines of the Catholic Church? Who gave you the authority to use the Scriptures against their protectress? Who gave you the authority to declare which doctrine is right and which is wrong? These questions must be answered before we go on to the next point. Where did you get the right to use the Scriptures to attack the One True Church of Christ Jesus? Who gave you this right? And can you prove that you have this right, apart from the Scriptures?
The Catholic religion has a history of taking the money of poor widows in order to say masses for the dead (which do no good) and collecting the material possessions of nuns. In Italy, the heart of Roman Catholicism, there is an often used saying that goes, "Without money, they don't sing the mass." That is really pitiful on several fronts--1) mass is blasphemous and people who trust in it are hell-bound 2) there's no such thing as purgatory and 3) the gift of God is without price.
The first few points, about money and the Church, are irrelevant and off-topic. Even if what you were saying was true, it would not effect the fact that the Catholic Church was founded by Christ, and is Christian. With regards to the Mass, how do you know that it is blasphemous? How do you know that there is no such thing as Purgatory? Is there one place in the Bible where it says that the "mass is blasphemous and people who trust in it are hell-bound"? Certainly not! This is your own personal deduction, your own personal views on the matter. You have no right to pontificate and condemn people to heaven or hell, Tracy. How do you know there is no such thing as purgatory? Is there one verse that says "there’s no such thing as purgatory"? Yet again, certainly not. This is your own personal deduction. With regards to the gift of God, you must be more specific. What gift are you referring to?
Roman Catholicism today is probably the wealthiest government in the world. It owns a good share of America's hospitals and has healthy real estate interests.
Irrelevant. How does this prove that the Roman Catholic Church is not Christian? The answer is that it doesn’t. It is an irrelevant point.
The bottom line is, if you want to get right with God, you have to go through His Son, Jesus Christ, not some religious organization. Prayerfully, Tracy.
How can you "get right with God" when you refuse to listen to the Church which He founded? God informs us in the Gospel of Saint Matthew that those who do not hear His Church are as the heathen and the publican. A heathen is one who rejects God, and does not believe in Him, or His Church, and a publican is a notorious sinner. It necessarily follows that in order to "get right with God," you must listen to His Church before you can even claim to be a Christian or start on the path to salvation!
After having given such a lengthy defense of the Doctrines, practices, and history, of the Catholic Church, permit me to take a few moments and prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the Catholic Church is the One True Church founded by God.
The primary means of locating the True Church which was founded by Christ Jesus, is by looking for the four marks of the Church - which marks are clearly to be found enumerated in the Gospels - and by comparing them to each of the individual churches. These four marks are as follows: The True Church of Christ must be One, it must be Holy, it must be Catholic (universal), and it must be Apostolic.
We find in the Scriptures the first mark of the True Church founded by Christ, that of unity, clearly indicated. An example would be the sixteenth verse of the tenth chapter of the Gospel of Saint John, in which Our Blessed Lord states "And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd." The unity of the Church is also clearly taught in the Epistles of Saint Paul, as can be seen from his Epistle to the Ephesians, chapter 4 verses 3 through 6: "Careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond peace. One body and one Spirit; as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all."
The above verses are quite plain and explicit. But another proof of the necessity of unity for the true Church founded by Christ, is to be found in the verse where Our Lord very plainly states that a house divided against itself cannot stand. This holds true with regards to the Church founded by Christ. If it is not unified, then it is a "house divided against itself," and cannot stand - which we know is not the case, since Christ Himself tells us in the sixteenth chapter of the Gospel of Saint Matthew that the gates of Hell shall never prevail against His Church.
Now comes the obvious question. Is the Catholic Church unified? To this we must answer, certainly! We are unified under one head, one leader, the Pope - to whom every Catholic owes obedience. We are unified in the dogmas proclaimed by Holy Mother Church. We are unified by our worship, the Sacraments. These are all unifying factors that are to be found in the Catholic Church, but not in any other.
That the Church founded by Christ must be holy, is a point that is likewise openly declared by the Holy Scriptures. For example, Saint Peter calls the Christians of his time "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood,a holy nation, a purchased people." (I Pet. 2:9). Another example would be Matthew 5:48, "Be ye perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect." In addition to this is the fact that in the Holy Scriptures the Church is referred to as the Mystical Body of Christ - who will deny that the Body of Christ is Holy? So we see that the Church founded by Christ must be Holy, as well as unified.
Is the Catholic Church Holy? It most certainly is. For example, the moral law which the Catholic Church inculcates on her children is the highest and holiest standard of perfection ever presented to any people, and furnishes the strongest incentives to virtue. The Catholic Church is holy because of her Sacraments, which are undoubtedly holy. The Catholic Church is holy, as can be seen by the hundreds and thousands of saints who have achieved eternal salvation through Holy Mother Church. But, you may ask, can these be found in any other Christian Church (for we have seen above that the Catholic Church is Christian, despite your accusations to the contrary)? Absolutely not! No other Christian Church has a moral law that is even comparable to that which the Catholic Church has, no other Christian Church has all the Holy Sacraments given to us by Christ, with the exception of the Eastern Orthodox (who don’t have any of the other marks of the Church).
The Church founded by Christ must be Catholic, or Universal. The word "Universal," signifies that the True Church is not circumscribed in its extent, like human empires, nor confined to one race of people, like the Jewish Church, but is diffused over every nation of the globe, and counts her children among all tribes and peoples and tongues of the earth.
That the Church founded by Christ must be universal is found in the prophecies of the Old Testament, as the Psalmist said "All the ends of the earth shall be converted to the Lord, and all the kindreds of the Gentiles shall adore in His sight; for the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He shall have dominion over the nations." (Psalm 21:28-29). The Prophet Malacy likewise foresaw this universal Church, when he wrote "From the rising of the sun, to the going down, My name is great among the Gentiles; and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to My name a clean oblation; for My name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of Hosts." (Mal. 1:11).
Another example can be found in the commission of Our Lord to His Apostles, to go forth and "teach all nations." (Matthew 28:19), and to go "into the whole world, and preach the Gospel to every creatures." (Mark 16:15). And yet again in Acts, 1:8 "Ye shall be witnesses unto Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth." So we see that the Church founded by Christ must be one, it must be holy, and it must be Catholic.
Is the Catholic Church Universal, in addition to being holy and unified? To this question, the answer must be yes. For within thirty years after the Resurrection of our Divine Savior, Saint Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, was able to say to the Romans "I give thanks to my God through Jesus Christ because your faith is spoken of in the entire world." That the Roman Catholic Church alone deserves the name of "Catholic," is so evident that it is absurd to attempt to deny it. Ours is the only Church which adopts this name as her official title. We have exclusively borne this glorious title in troubled times, when the assumption of this venerable title exposed us to insult, persecution and death;
As it is, we not only possess the name, but also the reality. A single example should be sufficient to show without doubt the wide-spread dominion o the Catholic Church and her just claims to the title of Catholic. Take the First Vatican Council, opened in 1869 and presided over by Pope Pius IX. Of the thousand Bishops and upwards who comprised the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, nearly eight hundred attended the opening session, the rest being unavoidably absent. All parts of the habitable world were represented at the Council.
There were Bishops from Great Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Switzerland, and from almost every nation in Europe. They came from Canada, the United States, Mexico, and South America, and from the islands of the Atlantic and the Pacific. They were gathered together from different parts of Africa and Oceanica. They went from the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates, the cradle of civilization, and from the banks of the Jordan, the cradle of Christianity. They traveled to Rome from Mossul, built near ancient Nineveh, and from Baghdad, founded on the ruins of Babylon. They flocked from Damascus and Mount Libanus and from the Holy Land, sanctified by the footprints of our Blessed Savior.
And this was in the late eighteen hundreds! At present, the number of Catholics world-wide numbers well over a billion - one sixth of the world’s population. And these Catholics are to be found in every nation, on every continent, and from every race.
And what of the fourth and last mark, that of Apostolicity? That this is a mark of the True Church founded by Christ can be proven solely from common sense. The True Church was founded upon Saint Peter the Apostle, and so any Church in existence nowadays must trace itself back to the Apostles. Saint Paul himself stated that the Church is "built upon the foundation of the Apostles," (Ephesians 2:20).
Can the Catholic Church be traced back to the Apostles? Certainly, as can be seen from the listing of Popes available on most Catholic Apologetics websites. This listing traces the occupants of the Papacy, without any significant breaks, back to Saint Peter from His Holiness, Pope John Paul II. Can any other Church do this? I challenge anyone to provide evidence tracing their sect/sects/church back to the Apostles. Can they do so? Certainly not! For the only Church that can is the Catholic Church.
So we see that the Catholic Church alone has the four marks which, according to the scriptures, are the four marks of the One True Church. The Church which has all four of these marks, is the One True Church founded by Christ Jesus alone, outside which there is absolutely no salvation.
In Our Lady of Victories,
John - webmaster Ecclesia Militans.