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The New Testament: In Medio Ecclesiae
Catholic Faith ^ | Jan 2001 | Thomas Storck

Posted on 06/07/2007 4:07:42 AM PDT by markomalley

The New Testament: In Medio Ecclesiae
by Thomas Storck


One of the strangest things about the theology of Protestants and of others, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, who claim to base their doctrine on Sacred Scripture, is their use of Scripture as a judge, even an enemy, of the Catholic Church. That is, by treating Scripture as independent of the Church, instead of as something produced by the Church, they erect the Bible, particularly the New Testament, into something it was never intended to be, an entirely independent source of sacred doctrine. In this article I intend to show from the text of the New Testament, especially from the Acts of the Apostles, that invaluable history of the Church in the early Apostolic era, that the text of the New Testament must always be viewed in medio ecclesiae, in the midst of the Church, something of, by and for the Church, a book that cannot be understood apart from the Church and which can never rightly be separated from the Church, let alone made into a judge of the Church.

The first thing to understand, and a fact that can hardly be denied, is that the creation of the Catholic Church preceded the creation of the New Testament. Thus all the documents of the New Testament, the Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, all the various epistles, and the Book of Revelation (Apocalypse), were written by members of the Church, presuppose the existence of the Church, and reflect her teaching and liturgical practice. In the Acts of the Apostles we possess an account of the spread of the Gospel from the time of the Ascension of our Lord until shortly after St. Paul's arrest and detention in Rome. Any open-minded reader of Acts must see that from the very beginning it focuses on the work of the Church. Although all the details are by no means clear to us, the fact of the Church appears on every page of the book of Acts and must be obvious to anyone who looks at it without prejudice. Let us take a tour through that book to highlight some of the major points which reflect or presuppose the existence and doctrine of the Church.

Before doing so though, it would be well to say a word about when the Acts of the Apostles was written. For if it is not, in fact, an historical account of the earliest life of the Church, compiled from contemporary accounts, in fact written by St. Luke, companion of St. Paul, then its historical value is much less. The traditional date of the composition of Acts is about 63 A.D., that is, a mere thirty years after our Lord's Ascension. Thus concerning those events which Luke himself did not witness, such as the Ascension or the day of Pentecost, he was able to interview the participants themselves. Therefore we need have no hesitation about accepting the work as a perfectly reliable historical document. With this in mind, let us begin our journey through Acts, focusing on those elements which in some way involve the place and role of the Church.

At the very beginning of Acts, right after Jesus's Ascension is narrated, we have the account of the selection of Matthias to take the place of Judas among the Apostles. We should note here that it was Peter who initiated Matthias's selection, but for the purposes of this article, we will concentrate on the fact that already this early band of followers of Jesus Christ is acting, not only like a corporate body, but a body with officers and procedures, and at least some sense of its future mission. It was not simply some unorganized band of men who were inspired by the teachings of Jesus or who individually received enlightenment from the Holy Spirit, but a regularly constituted organization. In other words, here already we have in germ the Catholic idea of the Church, a body with officers, created by God and which received from him its authority to carry out the work of making disciples of all nations and bringing the means of grace to the human race.

Next follow the events of the day of Pentecost, when God the Holy Spirit came upon the early Catholics and endowed them with the power of preaching the Gospel throughout the world. Here also the institution of the Church is apparent: Peter preaches the first Catholic sermon, and "those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41). Added to what? To the Church, of course, and added by means of an external and public rite, Baptism, not by a merely subjective salvation experience. And what did these new converts do? They "devoted themselves to the apostles's teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers" (Acts 2:42).

Here we would do well to pause and look more closely at this last phrase, "to the breaking of bread and the prayers." What exactly does this mean? We, of course, can be sure that it refers to the Eucharist, to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. But does the text say this exactly and without any doubt? No, for this is just one example of how the New Testament presupposes knowledge of the Church's practices in order to be fully understood. Were we "Bible-only" Christians, and seeking to emulate the life of the Jerusalem church, what would we do? Break up pieces of bread while we engaged in prayer? The point is that the book of Acts, like the rest of the New Testament, does not explain a very great amount of what it mentions or alludes to, simply because St. Luke was assuming that its readers, faithful Catholics, would understand it in a Catholic sense. We will see this happen many times as we proceed with our discussion.

The next incident in Acts that we will look at is the institution of the order of deacons in chapter 6. When confronted with a disagreement between Greek-speaking and Aramaic-speaking Catholics, the Apostles created and ordained the first deacons to take charge of the distribution of food. Here again the Apostles act with consciousness of their own authority. They clearly consider the Church to be one body of believers over which they rule. And all this happens, we should note, before any book of the New Testament exists. Unlike Protestants, they do not "search the scriptures" to find out what they should do, because either by command of Christ Himself, given to them orally when He was on earth, or by the continuing inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they, as rulers of the Church, know what to do to meet the needs and continuing crises of her existence. They clearly claim an authority that derives immediately from Jesus Christ, not simply from Jesus Christ by means of the written Scriptures, as Protestants today perforce would. The question of the creation of deacons, moreover, is akin to the question of the Sacrament of Confirmation or the conferring of the Holy Spirit. Let us look at how Acts treats this subject.

Chapter 8 of Acts contains the account of the visit of Peter and John to Samaria so that the new converts there "might receive the Holy Spirit" (8:14-15). The way St. Luke recounts the experience of various new converts with the reception of the Holy Spirit is a good example of how the bare text very often cannot be understood apart from knowledge of the Church's doctrines and practices. On the day of Pentecost God the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles and the other members of the Church (chap. 3), and Peter promises the three thousand who were about to be baptized that they "shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (3:38), but nothing is said about there being a sepa-rate rite for this. What can we conclude from that? Nothing really, though the "Bible-only" Christian might wonder about the correct manner that the Holy Spirit is to be given to believers. Indeed, in the account of the Ethiopian eunuch who was baptized by Philip (Acts 8:27-39), there is no mention of the newly-baptized receiving the Holy Spirit. Though after Paul is converted he is told that he is to be "filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 9:17), again nothing is said about a separate rite for this, only that he was baptized (verse 18). And finally, in chapter 10, Cornelius, a gentile, together with his friends and relatives, receives the Holy Spirit while Peter is preaching, and immediately afterwards they are baptized by Peter's command. So here we see accounts of people being baptized with no mention of their receiving the Holy Spirit, and yet of others who receive this gift before their Baptism. But in chapter 8, as I said, Peter and John are expressly sent to Samaria because the Holy Spirit "had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." And those Apostles then "laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:17). Now what can these various narratives teach us?

I think that the "Bible-only" Christian would be perplexed here, or at least he ought to be. If he seeks to follow the teaching and practice of the New Testament Church, how is he to handle the matter of receiving the Holy Spirit? Is this for everyone or only for some? And who can confer the Holy Spirit? If only apostles, then is there anyone living today who can do this? But Catholics, knowing the practice of the Church, can see that Luke simply omits to mention the conferring of the Holy Spirit on the three thou-sand converts of the day of Pentecost or on the Ethiopian eunuch. There is no implication here that receiving the Holy Spirit is optional or simply a part of baptism. And although the early Church undoubtedly witnessed many supernatural charisms that no longer are given or are no longer common, in this matter of receiving the Holy Spirit we can see the current Catholic practice of the Sacrament of Confirmation (or chrismation). All the newly baptized are to receive the Holy Spirit, which is the reason Peter and John were sent to Samaria. And since, at this early date, it is likely that the Apostles had not yet ordained or consecrated anyone else to the priesthood, there was no one else able to confer Confirmation, which is why they had to ask Jerusalem to send someone to administer this sacrament. And if in any particular account of someone's conversion the reception of the Holy Spirit is not mentioned, this is simply an oversight by the author, it does not imply that this is optional or unimportant. But the reader of Acts who does not have the framework of the Church's teaching to help him understand has no way of knowing this. He would be in doubt about who is to receive the Holy Spirit, when (before or after Baptism), and by whom the Holy Spirit is to be conferred.

This same confusion about the sacraments is reflected in the interpretation of some Protestants (the Berean Baptists) about I Corinthians 1:17. There Paul is deploring the divisions in the church of Corinth and he states that he is grateful because he himself had baptized very few of the Catholics there. Then he says (verse 17): "For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel." From this these Protestants have concluded that baptism is optional or unnecessary and that the Church in the time of St. Paul did not regard it as obligatory. Again, looking at this passage with the Catholic fullness of faith, we recognize simply one of St Paul's characteristic overstatements. But how are Protestants, using only the bare text of Holy Scripture, to deal with this objection?

In a similar vein, the question of who is the proper subject of baptism has also been a controversy between Catholics and many Protestants. That is, can infants be baptized? Does the New Testament say anything about this one way or the other? In fact, the text of the New Testament is not clear on this matter, but we might pause and look at a phrase that occurs in connection with Baptism, namely that someone is baptized `and all of his household' or a similar phrasing. Does `all his household' include children below the age of reason? From the text of the New Testatment, we do not know definitely, for some Protestants would argue that, just as the statement, "All the family enjoys reading books," excludes infants, so here there is no implication that infants are included either. The point is, that the New Testament text is not definite. But would Jesus Christ leave his followers in doubt about a matter of such great importance? Would he leave his followers merely a book, a book that can and has been interpreted a thousand different ways? Without the existence of the teaching, believing and worshipping Church, we would be in the dark about not only Baptism but about many equally important questions of faith and practice.

To return to the Acts of the Apostles, in chapter 13 we begin to read of Paul's various missionary journeys. And here again we see the Church in action, for Luke states that Paul, and his companion St. Barnabas, returned to the cities where they had preached the Gospel and "appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting . . . " (14:23). Now who are these "elders?" They are previously mentioned in Acts 11:30, but, unlike the order of deacons, no account is given of their creation. And to make matters more confusing, they are sometimes equated with another office, that of bishop (e.g., Acts 20:17 and 28, Titus 1:5-7). What can one conclude from this? If one looks at the names of the officials who lead various Protestant congregations today, sometimes one will find a pastor, sometimes an elder, occasionally even a bishop. For, again, the text of the New Testament does not set forth clearly a system of church government. A Christian who seeks to rely solely on the Bible would be confused by the variety of titles and functions. But we Catholics know that whatever names may have been used in the early Church, there are three distinct orders of ministry, bishops, priests and deacons, that are of divine institution. But from this we can see two important facts: First, that the New Testament church regarded itself as an institution which required officials, and that these officials were not free-lance agents nor did they receive their authority from their congregations; and secondly, that the bare text of the New Testament does not allow us to make any certain judgment about the powers and authority of bishops or elders and their relationship with the Apostles. Again, only our knowledge of the Church and her teachings and our recognition of the fact that, despite our inability always to understand the meaning of some of the New Testament passages, we have in the constant practice of the living Church a sure method of interpretation, allows us to avoid the confusion that ought to exist for one seeking in the biblical text alone all his theological and ecclesiastical knowledge.

In the next chapter of Acts (chap. 15) occurs one of the great events of the Apostolic Church, the Council of Jerusalem, called to decide whether the newly-converted had to submit to circumcision and keep the Mosiac law in order to become Christians. Or in other words, whether all Catholics had first to become Jews. This event alone ought to be enough to put to rest forever Protestant notions of ecclesiology, for in this serious crisis about what Christians must believe and how they are to act, it is not by consulting the Scriptures nor by individual prophecies from the Holy Spirit, but by the hierarchy meeting together and listening to the Apostles, particularly Peter, that a decision is reached. And when a decision is reached, not only is it imposed on the whole Church authoritatively, but the actual decree that is sent out begins: "For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us . . . "! (15:28). What group of Protestant pastors would ever presume to speak in the name of God the Holy Spirit himself? Yet here the Catholic Church does so with no hesitation or hint of embarrassment. And to this day the Catholic Church continues to speak with authority and the world is still astonished by it, much as it was astonished at that Church's Founder "for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes" (Matthew 7:29).

Although there is much else that might be mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, Msgr. Ronald Knox sums up well the career of the Church as it is recounted in that book:

From the very outset of the Acts, you have the impression that the Church has sprung into being ready-made. Not that it has no lessons to learn from experience, needs no fresh revelations to guide it. But it knows already how to deal with each fresh situation that arises, and does so with a wonderful sureness of touch.

It would be beyond the scope of this article to review the entire New Testament in the same manner in which we have just reviewed parts of the Acts of the Apostles. But I would like to call attention to two more passages, Colossians 4:16 and I Thessalonians 5:27, each of which also illustrates something of the Catholic nature of the New Testament Church. In these passages St. Paul commands the letters he has just written to be read aloud in the congregations. In Colossians he writes: "And when this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you read also the letter from Laodicea." And in I Thessalonians, "I adjure you by the Lord that this letter be read to all the brethren." Now what seems interesting to me about these verses, is that very likely the practice of reading such letters aloud was common and was carried out in the case of all of St. Paul's letters, even though only twice does he specifically mention it. And what does this mean? It means that, unlike the Protestant notion of biblical interpretation, the Pauline letters were meant to be read in the context of the local church by the local clergy, and no doubt commented upon and the difficult passages and expressions explained for the benefit of the faithful. There was no notion of each believer taking his Bible into his study, reading it and coming up with his own interpretation. The Scriptures were read and interpreted within the local church. In fact, doubtless at least some of those in the congregations Paul addressed could not even read. So here again, when we actually look at the practice of the Church of the New Testament, far from seeing in it Protestant ideas and Protestant practices, we see ample evidence of Catholic faith and practice, often, it is true, not fully grown, but existing in germ. And in many other passages, we have allusions to practices and deeds which are not explained by the passage, and leave the reader in doubt about what the Apostolic practice really was. In both these cases the Catholic Church is the key to understanding the New Testament. As Catholics we must learn to see the New Testament as the prime book produced by the Church, a book that is in many ways unintelligible without the Church. If we do this, then we can rejoice with the Apostles and St. Paul, as we repeat:


  1. The Catholic Church in the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation of the Second Vatican Council, Dei Verbum, nos. 9 and 10, teaches that "Sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God, which is entrusted to the Church . . . It is clear, therefore, that, in the supremely wise arrangement of God, sacred Tradition, sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others."

  2. Catholic Biblical Association, A Commentary on the New Testament (Catholic Biblical Association, 1942) p. 365; John E. Steinmueller, A Companion to Scripture Studies, (New York : Joseph F. Wagner, c. 1943), vol. 3, p. 219. John A. T. Robinson, in his important book, Redating the New Testament (Philadelphia: Westminster, c. 1976), suggests a date of "62 or soon after" (p. 92). Robinson in this book carefully reexamines a hundred years of biblical scholarship and reaches surprisingly traditional conclusions about the dates of the New Testament books. On the other hand, Richard J. Dillon and Joseph A. Fitzmyer in The Jerome Biblical Commentary (Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice-Hall, c. 1968) give a late date of 80-85 A.D. for Acts, which depends on their late date for Luke (p. 165). But their whole argu-ment seems to me vitiated by a fallacy of positing the consequent. Cf. pp. 118-19.
  3. Although this article does not explicitly deal with the primacy of the Apostle Peter, I will just note here that it is impossible not to see, from the text of the New Testament, that Peter was the leader of the apostles, and ipso facto, of the entire Church.
  4. Catholic writers would do well to apply the term Catholic more often to the earliest Christians, for if we truly believe that it was Jesus Christ who founded the Catholic Church, and no other church, then it follows that the apostles and the earliest Christians were Catholics, and rightly called by this name, although the name itself did not come into use, as far as we know, until some time later, St. Ignatius of Antioch (early 2nd century) making the first recorded use of the term.

  5. This occurs in Acts 16:15, 16:33 and I Corinthians 1:16.
  6. It is generally thought that in the early Church the titles bishop and elder were used interchangeably for the same office (that of priest) until approximately the time of the death of the Apostles. Elder in Greek is presbyteros, that is presbyter or priest.
  7. If someone were to read a diocesan newspaper without knowing anything about the Church, he might be confused by the use of the terms pastor, associate pastor, parish priest, monsignor, parochial vicar, curate, etc., and might conclude that they referred to different offices of ministry. And to make matters more confusing, in many countries monsignor is a term of address for a bishop.
  8. Ronald Knox, The Belief of Catholics (Garden City, N.Y. : Image, 1958) p. 119.

Thomas Storck writes from Maryland.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History
KEYWORDS: bible; luke; newtestament
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The Bible, particularly the New Testament, is a Catholic book. That is why it is so confusing when one attempts to understand scriptures without the guidance of the Magesterium. As St. Peter said,
First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation,

and later counselled:

…So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

It is up to those of us who consider ourselves faithful Christians (I say Christians versus Catholics, as Catholicism IS Christianity) to understand the Holy Scriptures so that we can patiently work with those who have had their eyes blinded (cf Jn 12:40) in the hopes that God will reveal His light to them. We need not argue or debate, as it is God who enlightens the heart (cf 2 Cor 4:3-6), not our meager efforts.

1 posted on 06/07/2007 4:07:45 AM PDT by markomalley
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To: NYer; Pyro7480; Salvation; Frank Sheed; narses; Suzy Quzy; tiki; Running On Empty; trisham; ...

Ping!
Pass it on if appropriate!


2 posted on 06/07/2007 4:11:36 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus CINO-RINO GRAZIE NO)
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To: markomalley

“The first thing to understand, and a fact that can hardly be denied, is that the creation of the Catholic Church preceded the creation of the New Testament.”

It’s crazy statements like this, in part, that made me turn my back on the Catholic Church and why some people think the Catholic Church is a CULT.

Go ahead and flame but maybe my comment will get some people to take a step back and think.


3 posted on 06/07/2007 4:17:43 AM PDT by bigcat32 (Smoke'em if you got'em.)
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To: bigcat32
It’s crazy statements like this, in part, that made me turn my back on the Catholic Church and why some people think the Catholic Church is a CULT.

Why is that a crazy statement? The Catholic Church was founded on Pentacost following the Ascention. The books that comprise the Bible were, literally, all written after that point. The canon of the NT was not set until 300 years after that point (regional council of Carthage). Although you may be uncomfortable with it, the statement is not crazy...it is accurate.

Go ahead and flame but maybe my comment will get some people to take a step back and think.

Why would I flame you?

And I certainly hope some people will step back and think. Because if they actually do, rather than believe the honey-toned lies they've been told, they might recognize the truth of the statement that you attempted to rebut (unsuccessfully, I might add).

But have a great day and God's richest blessings to you. I hope you're happy where you currently worship!

4 posted on 06/07/2007 4:30:47 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus CINO-RINO GRAZIE NO)
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To: bigcat32
It’s crazy statements like this, in part, that made me turn my back on the Catholic Church and why some people think the Catholic Church is a CULT.

Why is that a crazy statement? The Catholic Church was founded on Pentacost following the Ascention. The books that comprise the Bible were, literally, all written after that point. The canon of the NT was not set until 300 years after that point (regional council of Carthage). Although you may be uncomfortable with it, the statement is not crazy...it is accurate.

Go ahead and flame but maybe my comment will get some people to take a step back and think.

Why would I flame you?

And I certainly hope some people will step back and think. Because if they actually do, rather than believe the honey-toned lies they've been told, they might recognize the truth of the statement that you attempted to rebut (unsuccessfully, I might add).

But have a great day and God's richest blessings to you. I hope you're happy where you currently worship!

5 posted on 06/07/2007 4:30:52 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus CINO-RINO GRAZIE NO)
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To: markomalley
The first thing to understand, and a fact that can hardly be denied, is that the creation of the Catholic Church preceded the creation of the New Testament.

Nonsense!!! Can you tell us all when the word "Catholic Church" first appears in any nonspurious writings of anyone anywhere???

6 posted on 06/07/2007 4:34:47 AM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: markomalley

The body of believers (catholic) came into existence on Pentecost.

The Roman Catholic Church came into existence 3 centuries later, and was already coming up with some really weird doctorines in the 4th century.


7 posted on 06/07/2007 4:40:53 AM PDT by L,TOWM (Liberals, The Other White Meat [protest for... violence and peace])
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To: Uncle Chip
Nonsense!!! Can you tell us all when the word "Catholic Church" first appears in any nonspurious writings of anyone anywhere???

Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.

- St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, to the Smyrnaeans c7, c. 110 AD

8 posted on 06/07/2007 5:04:35 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus CINO-RINO GRAZIE NO)
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To: L,TOWM
The body of believers (catholic) came into existence on Pentecost.

Correct.

The Roman Catholic Church came into existence 3 centuries later, and was already coming up with some really weird doctorines in the 4th century.

Incorrect. The Roman Catholic Church came into existence around 75 AD, when St. Peter arrived in Rome.

Where I believe you are confused is that the Catholic Church is the body of believers. There have been heresies that have resulted in schisms many times throughout Her history. The one that affects most Americans is the heresy that resulted in the schism of the 15th Century. While it's clearly not the fault of those, centuries later, who have been erroneously brought up in a paradigm that is upside down, history clearly demonstrates the actual facts of the situation. But, in fact, the Catholic Church, as you indicated above, is the whole body of believers. Because a relatively small portion of that body has chosen to separate themselves from that body doesn't change that fact.

9 posted on 06/07/2007 5:11:03 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus CINO-RINO GRAZIE NO)
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To: L,TOWM
My apologies about that date...I checked and was a few years late on it. They had his execution set at 67-68 (Eusebius), during the reign of Nero, so he must have arrived around 42-43 AD. Apologies for that (I guess I need some more coffee) :)
10 posted on 06/07/2007 5:14:11 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus CINO-RINO GRAZIE NO)
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To: markomalley
Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. - St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, to the Smyrnaeans c7, c. 110 AD

I said non spurious not a fraudulent translation which that is. Those capital letters were added by dishonest disseminators of later centuries and your magisterium knows that.

Here is something for those who don't know that, or just like to pretend that they see the Catholic Church in the Book of Acts. It's from Ex-Jesuit Priest Peter Doeswyck, author of the following article: Romanism-Built Upon Forgeries:

"The entire structure of the Roman Church is built on forgeries, spurious epistles, spurious sermons, spurious miracles, spurious relics, spurious councils, and spurious papal bulls. The Catholic Encyclopedia admits the existence of thousands of forgeries and divides the works of nearly every Father into (1) genuine, (2) dubious, and (3) spurious. Roman inventions as Peter’s martyrdom at Rome (2nd cent.), Assumption of Mary (6th cent.), Temporal power of the bishop of Rome (8th cent.), Primacy of Rome (11th cent.), Seven Sacraments (13th cent.), etc., can only be proved by forgeries. Example: Cyprian (d. 258), like his predecessor, Tertullian, ridiculed the pagan system of a Supreme Pontiff, a Pope (pater patrum, bishop of bishops), a primacy, etc. Where his oldest MSS read: “The other apostles were indeed what Peter was: endowed with the same share of honor and jurisdiction,” we now have texts which read: “The other apostles were indeed what Peter was, but the Primacy is given to Peter.” The Catholic Encyclopedia comments that this conflated form is, of course, spurious (C. E. 4, 585).

"Catholic theologians claim that with the development of the primacy in the Middle Ages, the papal letters grew enormously in number (C.E. 6, 202). “There can be no doubt that during a great part of the Middle Ages papal and other documents were fabricated in a very unscrupulous fashion” (C.E. 3, 57). Speaking of the thousands of miraculous relics of Rome, the same scholars admit that “the majority of which no doubt were fraudulent,” a “multitude of unquestionably spurious relics” (C.E. 12, 737). The same scholars admit the following Roman frauds: the origin of the Rosary and the apparition of Mary to St. Dominic, the Scapular and the apparition of Mary to Simon Stock, the Santa Scala, the legends and relics of Veronica, the Holy Lance, and St. Longinus, the Robe, the Sabbatine Privilege, etc. Yet these same scholars are bound to confess that the written Word of God is not superior to these Roman traditions. The life stories and writings of the early popes are spurious, as the Catholic Encyclopedia often admits under their names. The earliest Roman rituals (8th cent.) are spurious, falsely attributed to Popes Leo, Gelasius, and Gregory (Migne P.L. 55 & 74 & 78).

"When scholars speak of an authentic work they do not imply that the text has come to us in its original form. Manuscripts were seldom copied for the sake of preservation, but rather for use as textbooks. Obsolete teachings and expressions were altered, while so-called “heretical” teachings were allowed to become extinct.

"As early as the fifth century Augustine accused and convicted Pope Zosiums for having falsified the 5th canon of the Council of Nice (Mansi 4, 515; Migne, P. L. 50, 422). Canon laws of the Roman Church are based on “The Apostolic Constitutions,” a 4th century forgery purported to be a collection of apostolic writings collected by Clement I. When Protestants exposed this fraud, the fallible Church of Rome admitted the errors: “The Apostolic Constitutions were held generally in high esteem and served as the basis for much ecclesiastical legislation . . .As late as 1563. . .it was contended that it was the genuine work of the apostles” (C.E. 1, 636). Framing “divine” laws and falsifying the Word of God is not the work of innocent Christian leaders. Example: “We, the twelve Apostles of the Lord, who are now together, give you in charge these Divine Constitutions concerning every ecclesiastical form, there being present with us Paul, the chosen vessel, our fellow apostle, and James the Bishop and the rest of the Elders and the seven Deacons” (Migne, P.G. 1, 1070).

“The Donation of Constantine was originally an 8th-century forgery which gave the pope temporal power and possessions, and regal honors and privileges. Pope Sylvester (1000 A.D.) declared it a forgery. Pope Leo IV (1054) rewrote the text and used it to prove his primacy. . .As early as the fifteenth century its falsity was known. Yet, the document was further used to authenticate the papacy.

"The Apostolic Constitutions, The Donation of Constantine, The Clementine Forgeries, The Liber Pontificals (Biographical book of the popes), The Decretals of Pseudo-Isidore, and hundreds of other works are either spurious or have been mutilated. It is upon these that the bulk of Roman traditions originated. Catholic scholars admit one forgery after the other, but the Council of Trent upheld these forgeries as genuine “traditions” to which the written Word of God is not superior. Roman Catholic theologians even admit that they themselves falsified the sacred books of other religions in order to win converts. As neither the majority of the people nor the lower clergy could read or write in the early Middle Ages, it is clear that the Roman hierarchy itself corrupted and falsified the true traditions. It is clear that Rome’s traditions did not originate from the lips of Christ or the apostles!"

[Adapted from an article entitled Medieval Forgeries.]

11 posted on 06/07/2007 5:21:27 AM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: markomalley

To confirm the article as being correct, we must remember what our Blessed Savior had said: “Peter you are rock and, on this rock I shall build my church.” So Jesus planted the seeds of the Church.


12 posted on 06/07/2007 5:21:27 AM PDT by Biggirl (A biggirl with a big heart for God's animal creation.)
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To: markomalley
Also can you show us there in the Book of Acts where Peter was ever in Rome, or is all that mythology about him being the first bishop of Rome been withdrawn yet by your magisterium??
13 posted on 06/07/2007 5:26:44 AM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: Uncle Chip

What is your qualification for being “non-spurious?”


14 posted on 06/07/2007 5:30:07 AM PDT by GCC Catholic (Pray for your priests and seminarians...)
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To: Uncle Chip

Uncle Chip,

You can complain all you want, but Ignatius’ letter to the Smyrneans is genuine.

Also, as I already showed you in another thread, Doeswyk was a nut who believed the Jesuits were trying to seize control of American public schools (in the 1960s!!!).

You don’t seem to much going for your claims.


15 posted on 06/07/2007 5:31:27 AM PDT by vladimir998 (Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. St. Jerome)
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To: markomalley
What saddens me when it comes to threads such as these and there is argument on Bible or Church related issues is that we Christians are still fighting over issues that really have no place in the 21st century. The sad irony is that at this time in other parts of the world there are Christian believers, be they Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox that must defend their faith in Jesus against both the atheistic secular progressives and the Isalmofacists, often to the point of giving their very lives up for both Jesus and the Gospel. My plea for all the Christian posters here at FR is to please end the flaming because it does not contribute to contructive and fruitful talk. Thank-you.
16 posted on 06/07/2007 5:35:57 AM PDT by Biggirl (A biggirl with a big heart for God's animal creation.)
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To: markomalley
treating Scripture as independent of the Church, instead of as something produced by the Church

All scripture was produced by GOD!

But there are some, like the author of this article, that think that the Roman Catholic Church is God.

17 posted on 06/07/2007 5:36:52 AM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: Uncle Chip

Please see post number 16. Thank-you.


18 posted on 06/07/2007 5:37:03 AM PDT by Biggirl (A biggirl with a big heart for God's animal creation.)
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To: Uncle Chip
You can come up with all of the conspiracy theories you choose... The Greek text reads: Ὅπου ἂν φανῇ ὁ ἐπίσκοπος, ἐκεῖ τὸ πλῆθος ἔστω· ὥσπερ ὅπου ἂν ᾖ Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς ἐκεῖ ἡ καθολικὴ ἐκκλησία. Read it for yourself.
19 posted on 06/07/2007 5:38:32 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus CINO-RINO GRAZIE NO)
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To: P-Marlowe

But also God worked with the human writers to put the Bible together as we know it.


20 posted on 06/07/2007 5:38:45 AM PDT by Biggirl (A biggirl with a big heart for God's animal creation.)
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To: Uncle Chip
Also can you show us there in the Book of Acts where Peter was ever in Rome

You already know the answer to that.

And, if common sense prevails, you also know that the Acts were written by Luke, a gentile convert who accompanied Paul after Paul's visit to Troas. So there would likely be no need for its inclusion. The Book of Acts also does not include the acts of Andrew, Thomas, or most of the other apostles.

Oh, and by the way, it's not my Magesterium, it's the Church's Magesterium. As a Christian, it's my obligation to accept that Magesterium, but whether or not I do so, it is still there and still valid.

21 posted on 06/07/2007 5:42:38 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus CINO-RINO GRAZIE NO)
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To: Biggirl
My plea for all the Christian posters here at FR is to please end the flaming because it does not contribute to contructive and fruitful talk. Thank-you.

I agree wholeheartedly and that was the reason for posting the article: to try to encourage my fellow Christians of the Latin Rite to study their scriptures so that they could follow them more and not allow schismatics to enrage them needlessly. It only encourages the schismatics and does not serve God.

22 posted on 06/07/2007 5:44:55 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus CINO-RINO GRAZIE NO)
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To: Biggirl
But also God worked with the human writers to put the Bible together as we know it.

And God used an ass to communicate his message to Balaam.

Does the ass get credit for the work of God?

23 posted on 06/07/2007 5:48:00 AM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: Uncle Chip

Uncle Chip,

Can you show me where exactly it is part of the magisterium that Peter was the “first bishop of Rome”? I’m just curious.

Also, according to Catholic Answers (since I don’t have the books with me at work):

“William A. Jurgens, in his three-volume set The Faith of the Early Fathers, a masterly compendium that cites at length everything from the Didache to John Damascene, includes thirty references to this question, divided, in the index, about evenly between the statements that “Peter came to Rome and died there” and that “Peter established his See at Rome and made the bishop of Rome his successor in the primacy.” A few examples must suffice, but they and other early references demonstrate that there can be no question that the universal—and very early—position (one hesitates to use the word “tradition,” since some people read that as “legend”) was that Peter certainly did end up in the capital of the Empire.”


24 posted on 06/07/2007 5:54:10 AM PDT by vladimir998 (Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. St. Jerome)
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To: P-Marlowe
But there are some, like the author of this article, that think that the Roman Catholic Church is God.

You know that isn't true.

-A8

25 posted on 06/07/2007 6:13:38 AM PDT by adiaireton8 ("There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse." - Plato, Phaedo 89d)
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To: adiaireton8

No, I don’t.


26 posted on 06/07/2007 6:15:39 AM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: P-Marlowe

You should then.


27 posted on 06/07/2007 6:28:09 AM PDT by Running On Empty (1)
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To: vladimir998; markomalley
You can complain all you want, but Ignatius’ letter to the Smyrneans is genuine.

Not the capital "c"'s in Catholic and Church --- but you know that, right??? The "Catholic Church" was an invertion of Constantine in the 4th century. Those are the historical facts at odds with your hysterical myths.

28 posted on 06/07/2007 6:41:48 AM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: Biggirl
My plea for all the Christian posters here at FR is to please end the flaming because it does not contribute to contructive and fruitful talk.

Define flaming, because from my perspective disagreement with Catholic doctrine or practice gets labeled as "Catholic bashing".

29 posted on 06/07/2007 6:42:34 AM PDT by GoLightly
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To: GCC Catholic
What is your qualification for being “non-spurious?”

Check your dictionary. For examples of their useage, check the article or RCC propaganda for voluminous useage of such.

30 posted on 06/07/2007 6:44:17 AM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: Uncle Chip
Also can you show us there in the Book of Acts where Peter was ever in Rome, or is all that mythology about him being the first bishop of Rome been withdrawn yet by your magisterium??

1 Peter 5:13:

The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

Babylon is where, according to Revelations 17-18?

31 posted on 06/07/2007 6:46:22 AM PDT by Claud
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To: P-Marlowe
When Saul was knocked off his horse and saw Jesus he was on his way to kill Christians. Jesus said to him,"why do you persecute ME?"

Not My Church, or My people, but ME.

Jesus equates Himself with His Church which is founded on Apostolic Succession

32 posted on 06/07/2007 6:46:48 AM PDT by RichardMoore (gohunter08.com)
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To: markomalley; OLD REGGIE
You can come up with all of the conspiracy theories you choose... The Greek text reads: Ὅπου ἂν φανῇ ὁ ἐπίσκοπος, ἐκεῖ τὸ πλῆθος ἔστω· ὥσπερ ὅπου ἂν ᾖ Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς ἐκεῖ ἡ καθολικὴ ἐκκλησία. Read it for yourself.

Is that the original text or an altered copy made by a dishonest copyist of later centuries that even the magisterium of your own church now admits happened to a lot of Ignatius' writings???

33 posted on 06/07/2007 6:49:28 AM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: Uncle Chip
The "Catholic Church" was an invertion of Constantine in the 4th century.

LOL..oy vey... this canard again. Uncle Chip, I dunno where you got this "fact", but it is pure and simple BS, and it harms rather than helps your case.

Show me one, ONE primary source document from the 4th century that supports this claim. Or 5th century. Or 6th century. Where can I find this reported Eusebius? Sozemen? Take your pick of Late Roman historians, and find me one that says anything like this at all.

This nonsense about Constantine and paganization of the Church is *made up*. It never happened. Ask any serious historian of the period.

34 posted on 06/07/2007 6:54:48 AM PDT by Claud
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To: Uncle Chip
I can read, but I want to know what your qualification of "non-spurious" is.
35 posted on 06/07/2007 6:55:20 AM PDT by GCC Catholic (Pray for your priests and seminarians...)
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To: GoLightly

Bashing Catholics is another way to flame a poster because of the poster being RC.


36 posted on 06/07/2007 6:59:56 AM PDT by Biggirl (A biggirl with a big heart for God's animal creation.)
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To: markomalley
when God the Holy Spirit came upon the early Catholics and endowed them with the power of preaching the Gospel throughout the world

When you say "the early Catholics", should that not be "the early Christians"? To do less would be to upset many others and that would negate your statement of, "to understand the Holy Scriptures so that we can patiently work with those who have had their eyes blinded (cf Jn 12:40) in the hopes that God will reveal His light to them.

Your statement sounds wonderful to a Catholic but how would you react to, We Protestants must patiently work with those Catholics who have been blinded from the truth by their church and pray that God will reveal His truth to them?

Would your eyes be opened to what I was telling you or be flaming red with indignation?

37 posted on 06/07/2007 7:02:31 AM PDT by Ping-Pong
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To: Biggirl
Bashing Catholics is another way to flame a poster because of the poster being RC.

IOW, we must agree with everything your Church puts out or we are flaming y'all.

38 posted on 06/07/2007 7:03:32 AM PDT by GoLightly
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To: Running On Empty

How can I when Catholics often insist that the Church IS God?


39 posted on 06/07/2007 7:05:20 AM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: Uncle Chip
TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.

By the way, I have always liked your tag line. Contains some good advice for all to follow.

40 posted on 06/07/2007 7:12:32 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus CINO-RINO GRAZIE NO)
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To: markomalley
I'd simply add one thing to the article.

Look at the fruits of the "Bible trumps the Church" philosophy; division and disunity. These are the hallmarks of Satan.

Wherever you find this philosophy you will always find a plethora of dividing and continually evolving "churches", each trumpeting the Bible as its raison d' etre. It has to be this way. Once you've accepted the hypothesis that the Bible is autonomous and independent of any ecclesial structure, then it can and must be used to take one to one's own spiritual comfort zone. Each man with a Bible, becomes his own Church, so to speak.

Again, this results in confusion with respect to doctrine and splintering of a unified Christian voice proclaiming the one truth of Christ.

41 posted on 06/07/2007 7:17:09 AM PDT by marshmallow
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To: GoLightly; Uncle Chip
Define flaming, because from my perspective disagreement with Catholic doctrine or practice gets labeled as "Catholic bashing".

This is not a definition but an example: Look at the post immediately before yours. What is there is a counter-assertion, with no evidence offered, and the charge that we believe "hysterical myths". That's not an argument, and it's not even a simple disagreement. It's a gratuitous insult (and a misuse of 'hysterical', as far as I can tell.). THAT is an example of "bashing". The same points -- the contention that the Catholic Church originated under Constantine -- could have been made without recourse to insult.

And one of the points has some merit. "Catholic Church" has capital letters which, dollars to donuts, were not in the original text. And that's why, while I think I agree with the basic idea, this article is carelessly and needlessly controversial in it's diction.

the creation of the Catholic Church preceded the creation of the New Testament.

I would have gone with catholic Church, to address the "'catholic' as a proper name for v. as one of the 4 marks of the Church" issue.

That is, by treating Scripture as independent of the Church, instead of as something produced by the Church, ...

Personally I would have gone with "produced through the Church, " but that's just me.

42 posted on 06/07/2007 7:24:27 AM PDT by Mad Dawg (Some of us like to think of mania as a lifestyle choice....)
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To: Ping-Pong
When you say "the early Catholics", should that not be "the early Christians"?

I fully agree with the above statement. But I didn't write the article, I just posted it. As I've stated in my earlier posts on this thread (as well as elsewhere), I believe that the two terms are completely synonymous. Unfortunately, the term "Christian" has been, in a sense, stolen from us (in common usage, not in fact).

Your statement sounds wonderful to a Catholic but how would you react to, We Protestants must patiently work with those Catholics who have been blinded from the truth by their church and pray that God will reveal His truth to them?

Actually, I posted this article for Catholic posters, not for protestant posters...to encourage them in light of the schismatics who have gone out of their way to disrupt every "Catholic" thread on FR in recent months (no, I am not calling you, Ping-Pong, a schismatic...I reserve that term for those that meet the following definition: A schismatic is a person who creates or incites schism...). In fact, the hypothesis that you put forward is EXACTLY what has been going on here...except not quite as polite as the version that you proposed.

Actually, I would far prefer a live and let live attitude on this board. Things we agree on, we work together on, things we disagree on, we POLITELY discuss or simply agree to disagree, and we work to maintain the unity of the Body of Christ.

But there are some whose mission in life is the destruction of the Church. Again, not accusing you of that. Those people are as ravenous lions. As St. Peter said, Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world. Again, that criticism is NOT repeat NOT aimed at the vast majority of Protestants. Including you.

43 posted on 06/07/2007 7:27:43 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus CINO-RINO GRAZIE NO)
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To: GoLightly
Define flaming, because from my perspective disagreement with Catholic doctrine or practice gets labeled as "Catholic bashing".

Hardly

44 posted on 06/07/2007 7:29:32 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus CINO-RINO GRAZIE NO)
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To: Claud
The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

So Peter did not know how to spell the word: "Rome"?

Babylon is where, according to Revelations 17-18?

Are you admitting therefore that the Church of Rome is the Whore of Babylon???

45 posted on 06/07/2007 7:39:56 AM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: P-Marlowe
How can I when Catholics often insist that the Church IS God?

What are you talking about? Which Catholics are claiming that the Church IS God???

-A8

46 posted on 06/07/2007 7:40:17 AM PDT by adiaireton8 ("There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse." - Plato, Phaedo 89d)
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To: GCC Catholic

Illegitimate, false, counterfeit -— like putting capital letter “C”s in the words “catholic” and “church” in Ignatius’ writings to change what he meant from a common noun applicable to the church at large to a proper noun to make it appear as if he was referring to the Church of Rome in particular.


47 posted on 06/07/2007 7:46:40 AM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: Uncle Chip
I said non spurious not a fraudulent translation which that is. Those capital letters were added by dishonest disseminators of later centuries and your magisterium knows that.

Oh, horsefeathers. The text was written in Greek uncial, all caps. There's nothing "spurious" about it.

Ignatius, who knew some of the Apostles personally, and was probably ordained by them, called himself a "bishop of the Catholic Church" ... or "bishop of the catholic church" ... or "bIshOp of the caTHolic chURch" or however else you want to capitalize it.

The entire structure of the Roman Church is built on forgeries, spurious epistles, spurious sermons, spurious miracles, spurious relics, spurious councils, and spurious papal bulls

It's built on Christ, and him crucified. Period.

48 posted on 06/07/2007 7:49:56 AM PDT by Campion ("I am so tired of you, liberal church in America" -- Mother Angelica, 1993)
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To: adiaireton8

See post 32.


49 posted on 06/07/2007 7:50:11 AM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: Uncle Chip

Peter might not have known how to spell at all. He was a fisherman! But since you brought it up...that “Marcus” that Peter mentions mentions in 1 Peter 5, may well be Mark the Evangelist who according to some sources was the interpreter/scribe of Peter. And that’s intriguing because Mark’s Gospel is just plain loaded with Roman transliterations in Greek like “kenturion”...more so than the other Gospels. It would definitely be consistent with a document written in Italy, where we’d expect the Greek to be a bit more Romanized.

And no, I am not admitting that the Roman CHURCH is the whore of Babylon. The Vatican doesn’t even sit on the seven hills and never has...so that is a stretch. I am saying that Rome the CITY is Babylon.


50 posted on 06/07/2007 7:50:14 AM PDT by Claud
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