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The Primacy of Peter
V for Victory ^ | August 3, 2012

Posted on 08/04/2012 1:55:40 PM PDT by NYer

Just a few days ago, I acquired my own copy of a book I remember from childhood (not, alas, from Catholic school): the silver jubilee edition of My Catholic Faith, by Bishop Louis Laravoire Morrow, S.T.D. (My Mission House, Kenosha, Wisconsin, 1961).  Bishop Morrow served as the Bishop of the Diocese of Krishnagar, India, from 1939 to 1969; his book originally came out in 1936.  My Catholic Faith is a concise summary of the Faith and is divided into three parts: What to Believe; What to Do; and Means of Grace.  This worthy book unfortunately appears no longer to be in print, and was one of the many treasures swept out into the sea of oblivion by the flood of modernism that followed Vatican II.  Sadly, many of the devotions, ceremonies and liturgical accoutrements that it describes were also swept away and are now foreign to most Latin Rite Catholics; but, thanks to our current Holy Father, they are beginning to come back.  If you can find a copy on Amazon or from a used book seller, My Catholic Faith is a good place to learn about and rekindle a love for these once-common features of Catholic life.


One striking lesson in My Catholic Faith is Lesson No. 50: The Primacy of Peter.  One of the defining characteristics of Protestantism is the rejection of this doctrine; and unfortunately, it is now all but rejected by many Catholics.  Many in the pews have been raised to view the Pope as a semi-comical figure in a white dress and fancy headgear who leads a sheltered life, ignorant of the concerns of everyday people, and just wants to ruin everybody's fun.  Even many priests and bishops do not seem to see the need of obeying the Pope in the exercise of his rightful authority, as the response in some quarters to Summorum Pontificum clearly demonstrates.  But here Bishop Morrow brings us up short.  "The true test of loyalty to Christ," he says, "is not only to believe in Him and worship Him, but to honor and obey the representatives He has chosen.  Our Lord chose St. Peter as His Vicar.  It is rebellion against Christ to say to Him: 'I will worship You, but I will not recognize Your representative.'  This is what Christians do, who deny the authority of the successor of Peter."

How do we know that Christ has a Vicar on earth, and that the Vicar is Peter?  The good bishop gives us his point-by-point analysis:

-- Jesus changed the name of Simon to Peter after his confession of faith at Caesarea Philippi.  "Peter" means "Rock," signifying Peter's role as the foundation of the Church.

-- Jesus gave to Peter, and to no other Apostle, the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.  Keys are a sign of authority.

-- After the Resurrection, on the Lake of Gennesareth, Jesus asked Peter three times  if Peter loved Him, and three times told Peter to feed His lambs and His sheep.  The "lambs" are the laity; the "sheep" are the clergy who nourish the lambs.  By this Jesus signified the entire flock.  He gave to no other Apostle the responsibility of feeding His entire flock.

-- Jesus gave Peter a new name; chose him as a companion on the most solemn occasions; appeared to him first among all the Apostles after the Resurrection.  These marks of distinction were conferred on no other Apostle.

-- Jesus is the Invisible Head of His Church, but, like any other society, the Church needs a visible head; St. Peter was chosen to be the visible head of the Church to take Christ's place among men.

-- Peter actually exercised his primacy.

1. Peter's name always comes first in the list of Apostles, just as the name of the Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, always comes last.  St. Matthew calls him the first of the Apostles (Matthew 10:2).  He was not the first in age (his brother Andrew was older) nor in election (here again, Andrew preceded him), so he must have been first in authority.

2. It was on Peter's advice that the Apostles chose a replacement for Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:21-26).

3. Peter preached the first sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-36).

4. Peter admitted the first converts from both Judaism and Paganism, shattering the taboo against Jews and pagans consorting with one another (Acts 2:38-41; 10:5 et seq.).

5. Peter worked the first miracle by curing a man lame from birth (Acts 3:6-8).

6. Peter meted out the first punishment, against the cheaters Ananias and Sapphira, who fell down dead at his rebuke (Acts 5:1-6).

7. Peter cast out the heretic, Simon Magus, who wanted to buy the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:19-20).

8. Peter made the first visitation of the churches (Acts 9:31-32).

9. At the first ecclesiastical council in Jerusalem, after much debate, all submitted to the judgment of Peter (Acts 15:7-12).

10. St. Paul presented himself to Peter after his conversion (Gal.1:18).

11. As the See of Peter, the Church of Rome ranked highest among the early churches established by the Apostles.

And, of course, the successors of Peter down to this day succeed to his primacy and his authority.  

And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.  
Matthew 16:18-19 


UPDATE: A commenter has just drawn my attention to the fact that My Catholic Faith is indeed back in print, under the auspices of Angelus Press.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: papacy
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1 posted on 08/04/2012 1:55:50 PM PDT by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...
Expounding on the subject, the following is from Catholic Answers.

Peter and the Papacy

There is ample evidence in the New Testament that Peter was first in authority among the apostles. Whenever they were named, Peter headed the list (Matt. 10:1-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16, Acts 1:13); sometimes the apostles were referred to as "Peter and those who were with him" (Luke 9:32). Peter was the one who generally spoke for the apostles (Matt. 18:21, Mark 8:29, Luke 12:41, John 6:68-69), and he figured in many of the most dramatic scenes (Matt. 14:28-32, Matt. 17:24-27, Mark 10:23-28). On Pentecost it was Peter who first preached to the crowds (Acts 2:14-40), and he worked the first healing in the Church age (Acts 3:6-7). It is Peter’s faith that will strengthen his brethren (Luke 22:32) and Peter is given Christ’s flock to shepherd (John 21:17). An angel was sent to announce the resurrection to Peter (Mark 16:7), and the risen Christ first appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34). He headed the meeting that elected Matthias to replace Judas (Acts 1:13-26), and he received the first converts (Acts 2:41). He inflicted the first punishment (Acts 5:1-11), and excommunicated the first heretic (Acts 8:18-23). He led the first council in Jerusalem (Acts 15), and announced the first dogmatic decision (Acts 15:7-11). It was to Peter that the revelation came that Gentiles were to be baptized and accepted as Christians (Acts 10:46-48).

Peter the Rock

Peter’s preeminent position among the apostles was symbolized at the very beginning of his relationship with Christ. At their first meeting, Christ told Simon that his name would thereafter be Peter, which translates as "Rock" (John 1:42). The startling thing was that—aside from the single time that Abraham is called a "rock" (Hebrew: Tsur; Aramaic: Kepha) in Isaiah 51:1-2—in the Old Testament only God was called a rock. The word rock was not used as a proper name in the ancient world. If you were to turn to a companion and say, "From now on your name is Asparagus," people would wonder: Why Asparagus? What is the meaning of it? What does it signify? Indeed, why call Simon the fisherman "Rock"? Christ was not given to meaningless gestures, and neither were the Jews as a whole when it came to names. Giving a new name meant that the status of the person was changed, as when Abram’s name was changed to Abraham (Gen.17:5), Jacob’s to Israel (Gen. 32:28), Eliakim’s to Joakim (2 Kgs. 23:34), or the names of the four Hebrew youths—Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah to Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Dan. 1:6-7). But no Jew had ever been called "Rock." The Jews would give other names taken from nature, such as Deborah ("bee," Gen. 35:8), and Rachel ("ewe," Gen. 29:16), but never "Rock." In the New Testament James and John were nicknamed Boanerges, meaning "Sons of Thunder," by Christ, but that was never regularly used in place of their original names, and it certainly was not given as a new name. But in the case of Simon-bar-Jonah, his new name Kephas (Greek: Petros) definitely replaced the old.

Look at the scene

Not only was there significance in Simon being given a new and unusual name, but the place where Jesus solemnly conferred it upon Peter was also important. It happened when "Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi" (Matt. 16:13), a city that Philip the Tetrarch built and named in honor of Caesar Augustus, who had died in A.D. 14. The city lay near cascades in the Jordan River and near a gigantic wall of rock, a wall about 200 feet high and 500 feet long, which is part of the southern foothills of Mount Hermon. The city no longer exists, but its ruins are near the small Arab town of Banias; and at the base of the rock wall may be found what is left of one of the springs that fed the Jordan. It was here that Jesus pointed to Simon and said, "You are Peter" (Matt. 16:18).

The significance of the event must have been clear to the other apostles. As devout Jews they knew at once that the location was meant to emphasize the importance of what was being done. None complained of Simon being singled out for this honor; and in the rest of the New Testament he is called by his new name, while James and John remain just James and John, not Boanerges.

Promises to Peter

When he first saw Simon, "Jesus looked at him, and said, ‘So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas (which means Peter)’" (John 1:42). The word Cephas is merely the transliteration of the Aramaic Kepha into Greek. Later, after Peter and the other disciples had been with Christ for some time, they went to Caesarea Philippi, where Peter made his profession of faith: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16). Jesus told him that this truth was specially revealed to him, and then he solemnly reiterated: "And I tell you, you are Peter" (Matt. 16:18). To this was added the promise that the Church would be founded, in some way, on Peter (Matt. 16:18).

Then two important things were told the apostle. "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matt. 16:19). Here Peter was singled out for the authority that provides for the forgiveness of sins and the making of disciplinary rules. Later the apostles as a whole would be given similar power [Matt.18:18], but here Peter received it in a special sense.

Peter alone was promised something else also: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 16:19). In ancient times, keys were the hallmark of authority. A walled city might have one great gate; and that gate had one great lock, worked by one great key. To be given the key to the city—an honor that exists even today, though its import is lost—meant to be given free access to and authority over the city. The city to which Peter was given the keys was the heavenly city itself. This symbolism for authority is used elsewhere in the Bible (Is. 22:22, Rev. 1:18).

Finally, after the resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples and asked Peter three times, "Do you love me?" (John 21:15-17). In repentance for his threefold denial, Peter gave a threefold affirmation of love. Then Christ, the Good Shepherd (John 10:11, 14), gave Peter the authority he earlier had promised: "Feed my sheep" (John 21:17). This specifically included the other apostles, since Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love me more than these?" (John 21:15), the word "these" referring to the other apostles who were present (John 21:2). Thus was completed the prediction made just before Jesus and his followers went for the last time to the Mount of Olives.

Immediately before his denials were predicted, Peter was told, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again [after the denials], strengthen your brethren" (Luke 22:31-32). It was Peter who Christ prayed would have faith that would not fail and that would be a guide for the others; and his prayer, being perfectly efficacious, was sure to be fulfilled.

Who is the rock?

Now take a closer look at the key verse: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church" (Matt. 16:18). Disputes about this passage have always been related to the meaning of the term "rock." To whom, or to what, does it refer? Since Simon’s new name of Peter itself means rock, the sentence could be rewritten as: "You are Rock and upon this rock I will build my Church." The play on words seems obvious, but commentators wishing to avoid what follows from this—namely the establishment of the papacy—have suggested that the word rock could not refer to Peter but must refer to his profession of faith or to Christ.

From the grammatical point of view, the phrase "this rock" must relate back to the closest noun. Peter’s profession of faith ("You are the Christ, the Son of the living God") is two verses earlier, while his name, a proper noun, is in the immediately preceding clause.

As an analogy, consider this artificial sentence: "I have a car and a truck, and it is blue." Which is blue? The truck, because that is the noun closest to the pronoun "it." This is all the more clear if the reference to the car is two sentences earlier, as the reference to Peter’s profession is two sentences earlier than the term rock.

Another alternative

The previous argument also settles the question of whether the word refers to Christ himself, since he is mentioned within the profession of faith. The fact that he is elsewhere, by a different metaphor, called the cornerstone (Eph. 2:20, 1 Pet. 2:4-8) does not disprove that here Peter is the foundation. Christ is naturally the principal and, since he will be returning to heaven, the invisible foundation of the Church that he will establish; but Peter is named by him as the secondary and, because he and his successors will remain on earth, the visible foundation. Peter can be a foundation only because Christ is the cornerstone.

In fact, the New Testament contains five different metaphors for the foundation of the Church (Matt. 16:18, 1 Cor. 3:11, Eph. 2:20, 1 Pet. 2:5-6, Rev. 21:14). One cannot take a single metaphor from a single passage and use it to twist the plain meaning of other passages. Rather, one must respect and harmonize the different passages, for the Church can be described as having different foundations since the word foundation can be used in different senses.

Look at the Aramaic

Opponents of the Catholic interpretation of Matthew 16:18 sometimes argue that in the Greek text the name of the apostle is Petros, while "rock" is rendered as petra. They claim that the former refers to a small stone, while the latter refers to a massive rock; so, if Peter was meant to be the massive rock, why isn’t his name Petra?

Note that Christ did not speak to the disciples in Greek. He spoke Aramaic, the common language of Palestine at that time. In that language the word for rock is kepha, which is what Jesus called him in everyday speech (note that in John 1:42 he was told, "You will be called Cephas"). What Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 was: "You are Kepha, and upon this kepha I will build my Church."

When Matthew’s Gospel was translated from the original Aramaic to Greek, there arose a problem which did not confront the evangelist when he first composed his account of Christ’s life. In Aramaic the word kepha has the same ending whether it refers to a rock or is used as a man’s name. In Greek, though, the word for rock, petra, is feminine in gender. The translator could use it for the second appearance of kepha in the sentence, but not for the first because it would be inappropriate to give a man a feminine name. So he put a masculine ending on it, and hence Peter became Petros.

Furthermore, the premise of the argument against Peter being the rock is simply false. In first century Greek the words petros and petra were synonyms. They had previously possessed the meanings of "small stone" and "large rock" in some early Greek poetry, but by the first century this distinction was gone, as Protestant Bible scholars admit (see D. A. Carson’s remarks on this passage in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, [Grand Rapids: Zondervan Books]).

Some of the effect of Christ’s play on words was lost when his statement was translated from the Aramaic into Greek, but that was the best that could be done in Greek. In English, like Aramaic, there is no problem with endings; so an English rendition could read: "You are Rock, and upon this rock I will build my church."

Consider another point: If the rock really did refer to Christ (as some claim, based on 1 Cor. 10:4, "and the Rock was Christ" though the rock there was a literal, physical rock), why did Matthew leave the passage as it was? In the original Aramaic, and in the English which is a closer parallel to it than is the Greek, the passage is clear enough. Matthew must have realized that his readers would conclude the obvious from "Rock . . . rock."

If he meant Christ to be understood as the rock, why didn’t he say so? Why did he take a chance and leave it up to Paul to write a clarifying text? This presumes, of course, that 1 Corinthians was written after Matthew’s Gospel; if it came first, it could not have been written to clarify it.

The reason, of course, is that Matthew knew full well that what the sentence seemed to say was just what it really was saying. It was Simon, weak as he was, who was chosen to become the rock and thus the first link in the chain of the papacy.

NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials
presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.
Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004

IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827
permission to publish this work is hereby granted.
+Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004

2 posted on 08/04/2012 1:57:50 PM PDT by NYer (Without justice, what else is the State but a great band of robbers? - St. Augustine)
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To: NYer
From Scripture Catholic

Matt. to Rev. - Peter is mentioned 155 times and the rest of apostles combined are only mentioned 130 times. Peter is also always listed first except in 1 Cor. 3:22 and Gal. 2:9 (which are obvious exceptions to the rule).

Matt. 10:2; Mark 1:36; 3:16; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:3; 2:37; 5:29 - these are some of many examples where Peter is mentioned first among the apostles.

Matt. 14:28-29 - only Peter has the faith to walk on water. No other man in Scripture is said to have the faith to walk on water. This faith ultimately did not fail.

Matt. 16:16, Mark 8:29; John 6:69 - Peter is first among the apostles to confess the divinity of Christ.

Matt. 16:17 - Peter alone is told he has received divine knowledge by a special revelation from God the Father.

Matt. 16:18 - Jesus builds the Church only on Peter, the rock, with the other apostles as the foundation and Jesus as the Head.

Matt. 16:19 - only Peter receives the keys, which represent authority over the Church and facilitate dynastic succession to his authority.

Matt. 17:24-25 - the tax collector approaches Peter for Jesus' tax. Peter is the spokesman for Jesus. He is the Vicar of Christ.

Matt. 17:26-27 - Jesus pays the half-shekel tax with one shekel, for both Jesus and Peter. Peter is Christ's representative on earth.

Matt. 18:21 - in the presence of the disciples, Peter asks Jesus about the rule of forgiveness. One of many examples where Peter takes a leadership role among the apostles in understanding Jesus' teachings.

Matt. 19:27 - Peter speaks on behalf of the apostles by telling Jesus that they have left everything to follow Him.

Mark 10:28 - here also, Peter speaks on behalf of the disciples by declaring that they have left everything to follow Him.

Mark 11:21 - Peter speaks on behalf of the disciples in remembering Jesus' curse on the fig tree.

Mark 14:37 - at Gethsemane, Jesus asks Peter, and no one else, why he was asleep. Peter is accountable to Jesus for his actions on behalf of the apostles because he has been appointed by Jesus as their leader.

Mark 16:7 - Peter is specified by an angel as the leader of the apostles as the angel confirms the resurrection of Christ.

Luke 5:3 – Jesus teaches from Peter’s boat which is metaphor for the Church. Jesus guides Peter and the Church into all truth.

Luke 5:4,10 - Jesus instructs Peter to let down the nets for a catch, and the miraculous catch follows. Peter, the Pope, is the "fisher of men."

Luke 7:40-50- Jesus addresses Peter regarding the rule of forgiveness and Peter answers on behalf of the disciples. Jesus also singles Peter out and judges his conduct vis-à-vis the conduct of the woman who anointed Him.

Luke 8:45 - when Jesus asked who touched His garment, it is Peter who answers on behalf of the disciples.

Luke 8:51; 9:28; 22:8; Acts 1:13; 3:1,3,11; 4:13,19; 8:14 - Peter is always mentioned before John, the disciple whom Jesus loved.

Luke 9:28;33 - Peter is mentioned first as going to mountain of transfiguration and the only one to speak at the transfiguration.

Luke 12:41 - Peter seeks clarification of a parable on behalf on the disciples. This is part of Peter's formation as the chief shepherd of the flock after Jesus ascended into heaven.

Luke 22:31-32 - Jesus prays for Peter alone, that his faith may not fail, and charges him to strengthen the rest of the apostles.

Luke 24:12, John 20:4-6 - John arrived at the tomb first but stopped and waited for Peter. Peter then arrived and entered the tomb first.

Luke 24:34 - the two disciples distinguish Peter even though they both had seen the risen Jesus the previous hour. See Luke 24:33.

John 6:68 - after the disciples leave, Peter is the first to speak and confess his belief in Christ after the Eucharistic discourse.

John 13:6-9 - Peter speaks out to the Lord in front of the apostles concerning the washing of feet.

John 13:36; 21:18 - Jesus predicts Peter's death. Peter was martyred at Rome in 67 A.D. Several hundred years of papal successors were also martyred.

John 21:2-3,11 - Peter leads the fishing and his net does not break. The boat (the "barque of Peter") is a metaphor for the Church.

John 21:7 - only Peter got out of the boat and ran to the shore to meet Jesus. Peter is the earthly shepherd leading us to God.

John 21:15 - in front of the apostles, Jesus asks Peter if he loves Jesus "more than these," which refers to the other apostles. Peter is the head of the apostolic see.

John 21:15-17 - Jesus charges Peter to "feed my lambs," "tend my sheep," "feed my sheep." Sheep means all people, even the apostles.

Acts 1:13 - Peter is first when entering upper room after our Lord's ascension. The first Eucharist and Pentecost were given in this room.

Acts 1:15 - Peter initiates the selection of a successor to Judas right after Jesus ascended into heaven, and no one questions him. Further, if the Church needed a successor to Judas, wouldn't it need one to Peter? Of course.

Acts 2:14 - Peter is first to speak for the apostles after the Holy Spirit descended upon them at Pentecost. Peter is the first to preach the Gospel.

Acts 2:38 - Peter gives first preaching in the early Church on repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.

Acts 3:1,3,4 - Peter is mentioned first as going to the Temple to pray.

Acts 3:6-7 - Peter works the first healing of the apostles.

Acts 3:12-26, 4:8-12 - Peter teaches the early Church the healing through Jesus and that there is no salvation other than Christ.

Acts 5:3 - Peter declares the first anathema of Ananias and Sapphira which is ratified by God, and brings about their death. Peter exercises his binding authority.

Acts 5:15 - Peter's shadow has healing power. No other apostle is said to have this power.

Acts 8:14 - Peter is mentioned first in conferring the sacrament of confirmation.

Acts 8:20-23 - Peter casts judgment on Simon's quest for gaining authority through the laying on of hands. Peter exercises his binding and loosing authority.

Acts 9:32-34 - Peter is mentioned first among the apostles and works the healing of Aeneas.

Acts 9:38-40 - Peter is mentioned first among the apostles and raises Tabitha from the dead.

Acts 10:5 - Cornelius is told by an angel to call upon Peter. Angels are messengers of God. Peter was granted this divine vision.

Acts 10:34-48, 11:1-18 - Peter is first to teach about salvation for all (Jews and Gentiles).

Acts 12:5 - this verse implies that the "whole Church" offered "earnest prayers" for Peter, their leader, during his imprisonment.

Acts 12:6-11 - Peter is freed from jail by an angel. He is the first object of divine intervention in the early Church.

Acts 15:7-12 - Peter resolves the first doctrinal issue on circumcision at the Church's first council at Jerusalem, and no one questions him. After Peter the Papa spoke, all were kept silent.

Acts 15:12 - only after Peter (the Pope) speaks do Paul and Barnabas (bishops) speak in support of Peter's definitive teaching.

Acts 15:13-14 - then James speaks to further acknowledge Peter's definitive teaching. "Simeon (Peter) has related how God first visited..."

Rom. 15:20 - Paul says he doesn't want to build on "another man's foundation" referring to Peter, who built the Church in Rome.

1 Cor. 9:5 – Peter is distinguished from the rest of the apostles and brethren of the Lord.

1 Cor. 15:4-8 - Paul distinguishes Jesus' post-resurrection appearances to Peter from those of the other apostles. Christ appeared “to Cephas, then to the twelve.”

Gal.1:18 - Paul spends fifteen days with Peter privately before beginning his ministry, even after Christ's Revelation to Paul.

1 Peter 5:1 - Peter acts as the chief bishop by "exhorting" all the other bishops and elders of the Church.

1 Peter 5:13 - Some Protestants argue against the Papacy by trying to prove Peter was never in Rome. First, this argument is irrelevant to whether Jesus instituted the Papacy. Secondly, this verse demonstrates that Peter was in fact in Rome. Peter writes from "Babylon" which was a code name for Rome during these days of persecution. See, for example, Rev. 14:8, 16:19, 17:5, 18:2,10,21, which show that "Babylon" meant Rome. Rome was the "great city" of the New Testament period. Because Rome during this age was considered the center of the world, the Lord wanted His Church to be established in Rome.

2 Peter 1:14 - Peter writes about Jesus' prediction of Peter's death, embracing the eventual martyrdom that he would suffer.

2 Peter 3:16 - Peter is making a judgment on the proper interpretation of Paul's letters. Peter is the chief shepherd of the flock.

Matt. 23:11; Mark 9:35; 10:44 - yet Peter, as the first, humbled himself to be the last and servant of all servants.


3 posted on 08/04/2012 2:15:33 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NYer

The Catholics never did bother to ask Peter what he thought of Christ calling him a stone:

1Pe 2:3-10 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. (4) To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, (5) Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (6) Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. (7) Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, (8) And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. (9) But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (10) Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Act 4:10-12 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. (11) This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. (12) Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Christ is the chief cornerstone, and Christians are “lively” stones who share in that structure (the body of Christ) of which Christ is chief. Christ’s message to Peter was a faith message, in response to his affirmation that Jesus is the Christ, not a claim that Peter was now the Rock of the church with power and authority equal to Jesus Christ. Even Paul opposed Peter “to his face” over the controversy involving the segregation of gentiles from Jews, and there is no reason to think that the Apostles each operated, though in cooperation, often interdependently, and each operated with the same authority in the casting out of devils (which all Christians possess), or even the occasional punishment. As Paul, by the direction of the Holy Spirit, declared that darkness would come on to the eyes of the magician.


4 posted on 08/04/2012 2:18:41 PM PDT by RaisingCain
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To: RaisingCain

Typo:

“and there is no reason to think that the Apostles *did not* each operate, though in cooperation, often *independently*”


5 posted on 08/04/2012 2:25:55 PM PDT by RaisingCain
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To: RaisingCain
Christ’s message to Peter was a faith message, in response to his affirmation that Jesus is the Christ, not a claim that Peter was now the Rock of the church with power and authority equal to Jesus Christ.

In anticipation of your comment, I posted the more in depth explanation (see #2) for a reason. Please go back and re read it before refuting it.

6 posted on 08/04/2012 2:30:51 PM PDT by NYer (Without justice, what else is the State but a great band of robbers? - St. Augustine)
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To: NYer

“In anticipation of your comment, I posted the more in depth explanation (see #2) for a reason. Please go back and re read it before refuting it.”


I read it, and that is my response. The scripture is clear upon whom the “Church” is built, which is Christ Himself. Peter was certainly an eminent man of Faith and a worthy believer who passed on the lesson that Christ taught him through his name to the other “lively stones” (Christians) who, as sons and daughters of God, make up a Holy Priesthood and body of Christ.


7 posted on 08/04/2012 2:34:16 PM PDT by RaisingCain
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To: RaisingCain

Did you read the Scripture quotes?

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2914655/posts?page=3#3

Would you be saying what you are if you believed in the Bible and what it says about St. Peter?


8 posted on 08/04/2012 2:45:08 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: RaisingCain
"You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church" (Matt. 16:18). Disputes about this passage have always been related to the meaning of the term "rock." To whom, or to what, does it refer? Since Simon’s new name of Peter itself means rock, the sentence could be rewritten as: "You are Rock and upon this rock I will build my Church." The play on words seems obvious, but commentators wishing to avoid what follows from this—namely the establishment of the papacy—have suggested that the word rock could not refer to Peter but must refer to his profession of faith or to Christ.

From the grammatical point of view, the phrase "this rock" must relate back to the closest noun. Peter’s profession of faith ("You are the Christ, the Son of the living God") is two verses earlier, while his name, a proper noun, is in the immediately preceding clause.

As an analogy, consider this artificial sentence: "I have a car and a truck, and it is blue." Which is blue? The truck, because that is the noun closest to the pronoun "it." This is all the more clear if the reference to the car is two sentences earlier, as the reference to Peter’s profession is two sentences earlier than the term rock.

9 posted on 08/04/2012 2:45:08 PM PDT by NYer (Without justice, what else is the State but a great band of robbers? - St. Augustine)
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To: NYer

“From the grammatical point of view, the phrase “this rock” must relate back to the closest noun. Peter’s profession of faith (”You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”) is two verses earlier, while his name, a proper noun, is in the immediately preceding clause”


First of all, this is English, not Greek. Second of all, Peter identifies Christians as “lively stones,” and each make the same confession as himself that Christ is the Chief Cornerstone. If Christ is building the Church on Peter, and not on Christian faith (by which all become “lively stones” in God’s house) wouldn’t Peter be the Chief cornerstone? Why would Christ be the Chief Cornerstone, the Head of the Church, and yet have a second “Chief” stone on top of Him? The Catholic interpretation also suggests a hierarchy of powers, and yet the Apostles all performed the same miracles, even punishments, and administered the entire Church from one end of the world to the other. Even Paul did not hesitate to correct Peter when he was in error. And guess what? So do all Christians, since we are all a “Holy Priesthood” and “Kings and Priests” to God our Father. Each of us has full access to God to have our prayers answered, our bodies healed, our sins forgiven, and even the Devils have need to fear us. Not for us ourselves, but the Holy Spirit who dwells in each of us, a “Holy Priesthood” and new living temples for God.


10 posted on 08/04/2012 2:58:07 PM PDT by RaisingCain
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To: Salvation

“Would you be saying what you are if you believed in the Bible and what it says about St. Peter?”


The Bible does not say that Peter is the Chief Cornerstone. You make it sound as if Peter was the most worthy Apostle. And yet, Peter, at least during the Gospels, was one of the ones most interested in Earthly expectations of glory and even denied Christ three times, though he answered for the Apostles that none of them would deny him. In Acts, Peter is an empowered Peter with the Holy Spirit. He is a warrior then, and a spiritual man, not materialistic. But one thing is clear. Peter was not chosen because he was the greatest. He was chosen by God due to no merit of his own, so that Christ would be glorified; not Peter being glorified. Each of us are similarly chosen, each being made “lively stones,” as Peter was and is, who once were dead in materialism and a false sense of spirituality, but now are alive and are a member of a Kingdom not made with hands and not of this world.


11 posted on 08/04/2012 3:05:24 PM PDT by RaisingCain
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To: RaisingCain

One interesting thing to me is that Acts 1-15 has Peter in a prominent role, then it is all Paul, Paul, Paul. When discussing “the Church” we rarely consider the work of Mark and the ancient churches which he founded in Africa - the Coptic and his influence on the Orthodox Eithopean church (which has been around for a long time.). They, perhaps, are equally as old as the Roman Catholic church with perhaps equal authority. And then there was Thomas and India .....


12 posted on 08/04/2012 3:06:32 PM PDT by Citizen Tom Paine (An old sailor sends)
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To: RaisingCain
First of all, this is English, not Greek.

Again, from the above post:

Note that Christ did not speak to the disciples in Greek. He spoke Aramaic, the common language of Palestine at that time. In that language the word for rock is kepha, which is what Jesus called him in everyday speech (note that in John 1:42 he was told, "You will be called Cephas"). What Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 was: "You are Kepha, and upon this kepha I will build my Church."

When Matthew’s Gospel was translated from the original Aramaic to Greek, there arose a problem which did not confront the evangelist when he first composed his account of Christ’s life. In Aramaic the word kepha has the same ending whether it refers to a rock or is used as a man’s name. In Greek, though, the word for rock, petra, is feminine in gender. The translator could use it for the second appearance of kepha in the sentence, but not for the first because it would be inappropriate to give a man a feminine name. So he put a masculine ending on it, and hence Peter became Petros.


13 posted on 08/04/2012 3:20:47 PM PDT by NYer (Without justice, what else is the State but a great band of robbers? - St. Augustine)
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To: Salvation

In the old testament...a name change meant a change in mission and role...see Abraham...so simons name changed to Peter signifies a change in role and importance...pretty clear to me


14 posted on 08/04/2012 3:23:44 PM PDT by bike800
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To: NYer
Our Roman Catholic brothers go to great lengths to buttress the Bishop of Rome, as The Pope. I do not begrudge them at all wrt this. However, it is a more recent tradition. The ancient one was that bishops were head of Churches in a geographical or ethnically contiguous area. The Roman Church sent emissaries and did not follow the custom of autocephaly. Kind of like how Orthodoxy in the USA has not followed the ancient tradition either, but from the other end of the spectrum (i.e. ethnic enclaves of newcomers to America).
15 posted on 08/04/2012 3:24:30 PM PDT by firebasecody (Orthodoxy, proclaiming the Truth since AD 33)
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To: NYer
Isaiah 44:8, "Is there any God besides Me, or is there any other Rock? I know of none."

Interesting how even God Himself declares there is no other Rock.

1 Cor. 3:11, "For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ,"

Catholics say it’s upon Peter that the church is built ey?

1 Cor. 10:4, "and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock (petras) which followed them; and the rock (petra) was Christ."

Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

No “vicar” or replacement for me. Christ is the only Rock. Only one “stand in” for Christ is mentioned in scripture and the end for those who follow him isn’t a good one.

16 posted on 08/04/2012 3:35:18 PM PDT by CynicalBear
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To: Salvation

It is always interesting to me to...for the first 350 years of the church...hell ...the first 1400 years...there is no challenge to the belief that Peter was the first head of the church...as well as his successors...only after a pissing match did people start arguing semantics...


17 posted on 08/04/2012 3:44:30 PM PDT by bike800
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To: NYer

One can grant your interpretation of the verse—and initial post too, of Peter being the leading disciple, without having to logically grant any sort of primacy to the Bishop of Rome.

Peter’s link to Rome is tenuous at best, as Linus was the first Bishop of Rome, NOT Peter, and Paul probably spent more time in Rome than Peter anyway—having first addressed his most ambitious epistle to Rome—and later being there for trial under Ceasar under house arrest.

The whole schema of trying to prove the permanent primacy of Rome via Peter came hundreds of years after Peter was martyred anyway. It’s clear it was a post-facto argument, by supporters of the early medieval world’s most powerful city’s Bishop.

Classic Roman Catholic “proofs” here, of out of context verses, and revisionist history. Oh well!


18 posted on 08/04/2012 4:01:34 PM PDT by AnalogReigns (reality is analog, not digital...)
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To: NYer

One might want to look at what happens shortly after:

“18 It was at this time that the disciples came to Jesus with the question, “Who is really greatest in the kingdom of Heaven?”

2-4 Jesus called a little child to his side and set him on his feet in the middle of them all. “Believe me,” he said, “unless you change your whole outlook and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. It is the man who can be as humble as this little child who is greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.”

It seems the disciples also were discussing who had primacy. Jesus could have looked at them sadly and replied, “I told you that just a little while ago”. But Jesus did not. Here is the chance, for all eternity, to reveal who his “Vicar on Earth” is, and Jesus...punts?

Jesus told us who his Vicar would be - the Holy Spirit:

“None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ That is because you are so distressed at what I have told you. Yet I am telling you the simple truth when I assure you that it is a good thing for you that I should go away. For if I did not go away, the divine helper would not come to you. But if I go, then I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convince the world of the meaning of sin, of true goodness and of judgment. He will expose their sin because they do not believe in me; he will reveal true goodness for I am going away to the Father and you will see me no longer; and he will show them the meaning of judgment, for the spirit which rules this world will have been judged.

12-15 “I have much more to tell you but you cannot bear it now. Yet when that one I have spoken to you about comes—the Spirit of truth—he will guide you into everything that is true. For he will not be speaking of his own accord but exactly as he hears, and he will inform you about what is to come. He will bring glory to me for he will draw on my truth and reveal it to you. Whatever the Father possesses is also mine; that is why I tell you that he will draw on my truth and will show it to you.”
- John 16

The first use of the term in reference to the Pope was in the 5th century, and it wasn’t commonly used until the 1200s.


19 posted on 08/04/2012 4:08:53 PM PDT by Mr Rogers (Liberalism: "Ex faslo quodlibet" - from falseness, anything follows)
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To: NYer

In essence, what I’m saying is that I RESPECT AND VENERATE Peter and his authority SO MUCH, that I reject the idea that that respect, veneration, and authority....are somehow passed on to Bishops of a particular ancient city.

NO Bishops of Rome have pretended to add to the Bible (though later, many claimed to have equal-authority to the Bible) and especially early on, in the Patristic period, the INCREDIBLE respect the Fathers had for the original Apostles, indicates they wouldn’t dream of thinking of the Bishop of Rome as as an equal to Peter.

NO ONE since the 1st Century has the authority of the Apostles—the New Testament being their full written testimony—a product of the Holy Spirit through the APOSTLES (NOT the later Church councils that recognized those writings). The Apostles themselves gave the qualification for the office of “Apostle” which was to be “a witness of His resurrection.” (Acts 1:22)

Arguments to the contrary—came MUCH later.


20 posted on 08/04/2012 4:23:22 PM PDT by AnalogReigns (reality is analog, not digital...)
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To: CynicalBear; Salvation; NYer; markomalley

This is very sophomoric.

Up until the time of the cursed Reformation and Henry VIII, we had one Church.

We have seen the untold damage done by the heretical offshoots with over 30,000 non-Catholic denominations. The Lutherans along with Anglicans and Episcopalians have now as a matter of doctrine accepted gay and lesbian bishops.

The spread of televangelists who have minted millions of dollars for themselves and their families (aka Joel Osteen and Rev. Schuller) is clear testimony to this gigantic fraud.

Interesting that the Catholic Church alone has the greatest number of converts from atheists, agnostics, Communists, Judaism (The rabbi of Rome converted to Catholicism); Hinduism, Buddhism, and every stripe of other forms of Christianity. This is to say nothing of the greatest thinkers, philosophers, nobel laureates, scientists (Pasteur), astronomers, sculptors, painters, writer, and poets. The work of St. Thomas Aquinas alone is so formidable that at Oxford’s prestigious Bodleian Library, his Summa Theologica is placed alongside the Bible.

It’s the Catholic Church that sorted out what texts must and must not be included in the Bible.

And one final and powerful point. To Peter and his Apostles were given the power to forgive sins in the name of the Christ.

Enough said.


21 posted on 08/04/2012 4:33:52 PM PDT by Steelfish (ui)
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To: Steelfish
And one final and powerful point. To Peter and his Apostles were given the power to forgive sins in the name of the Christ.

And expressly to none other. And passed to those whom they chose to succeed them. Not to every Tom, Dick and Luther...

22 posted on 08/04/2012 5:46:51 PM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: RaisingCain
”The scripture is clear upon whom the “Church” is built, which is Christ Himself.”

That interpretation is a construct of the Reformation necessitated by the political need to mute the authority of the Church. Ironically it isn’t even remotely scriptural.

The Catholic Church relies entirely on Scripture, and not a specious and forced interpretation, but on the a careful analysis of every word. Each word of scripture is as sacred as every crumb of the Eucharist. Let’s first consider the words used to set the scene for the dialog in Matthew 16. Following the feeding of the 5,000 near Capernaum and the dialog in the Synagogue in which Jesus declared His body the Eucharist and real food Jesus took Peter and along with the other Apostles and Disciples up to Caesarea Philippi to reveal his papacy to him. The selection of the location is far from a coincidence. Caesarea Philippi is a 25 mile, two day hike from Capernaum through some pretty rough country.

Caesarea Philippi is located near the Golan Heights. The city, previously known as Panis, was built above a huge rock wall that was known in ancient times as the “Rock of the Gods”. It was a very important location militarily, and had been a place of temples and worship dating back thousands of years before the first century.

Physically, that rock stood between a city of temples and the gates of hell. At the base of the cliff is a massive grotto or flooded cave that at the time was a natural cistern that the Greeks and their predecessors believed was a gate to the underworld. Although now collapsed by seismic activity and dry the Romans tried to measure the depth of the cistern and gave up when they passed 800 feet without finding the bottom. It is interesting to note that the ancients used to perform sacrifices in this cave and would see the emergence of blood from the sacrifices in the local springs that form the headwaters of the Jordan River as a sign.

It was before this wall, topped by the temple to Pan, the Greek God of chaos and confusion, that the conversation took place. In the presence of the massive rock that was a foundation to a holy city Jesus told Peter that he was a smaller rock, and that upon it, like the larger rock upon which was built the city before them, He would build His Church and that it would stand forever against the gates of hell. A side note is that all of this arguing about the relevance of Petros versus Petra is foolish in the context of that location. Jesus often used wordplay and humor to convey His message.

Jesus began the dialog by asking His Apostles and Disciples who the people said He was. He was demonstrating His rejection of a democratic, self-interpreting Church. The response to the question was varied. Some said John the Baptist, some said Elijah, some said one of the prophets. All were wrong.

Jesus then asked the Apostles collectively who they thought He was and there was silence and He then rejected an oligarchical or elite governance. Then, without consulting the other Apostles, Peter stepped forward and declared that Jesus was indeed the Son of the Living God, which was the correct answer. Jesus acknowledged this and declared that Peter could only have learned this from God, designating that like the He had throughout the history of His people God had chosen one person to be the spiritual leader to carry on after Jesus. And there, before the rock that stood between the ancient temple city of Caesarea Philippi and the cave grotto that was known to the people on the region as the gates or jaws of hell declared, it was upon Peter that he would found his Church, His Ekklesia, His Qahal.

Peace be with you

23 posted on 08/04/2012 6:05:55 PM PDT by Natural Law (Jesus did not leave us a Bible, He left us a Church.)
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To: NYer

Jesus said that the Church would be key in the building of the Church. That happened. You can read about it in the book of Acts.

At no place I can remember does Jesus say that anyone who follows Peter succeeds Peter in that role of getting the Church off the ground.

I am open to any scripture you might have that demonstrates Peter is to be succeeded by others with that same role and position.


24 posted on 08/04/2012 6:12:07 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: xzins
"I am open to any scripture you might have that demonstrates Peter is to be succeeded by others with that same role and position."

Apostolic Succession has been the docrine of the Church from the first century. The Traditions of the Church are the enacted consensus of the Apostles, Disciples and the Early Church Christians and Fathers. Doctrines are never "settled" until they are seriously challenged.

Consider that in 97 AD serious dissensions arose within the Church of Corinth and although the Apostle St. John was still living in Ephesus they appealed to the Roman Bishop, St. Clement, who wrote an authoritative letter to restore peace. St. John did not interfere with St. Clement or with Corinth.

Further, before 117 AD, St. Ignatius of Antioch addressed the Roman Church as the one which "presides over charity . . . which has never deceived anyone, which has taught others."

Additionally, St. Irenaeus in about 190 AD wrote the theory and practice of doctrinal unity as follows:

"With this Church [of Rome] because of its more powerful principality, every Church must agree, that is the faithful everywhere, in this [i. e. in communion with the Roman Church] the tradition of the Apostles has ever been preserved by those on every side." (Adv. Haereses, III)

Peace be with you

25 posted on 08/04/2012 6:32:42 PM PDT by Natural Law (Jesus did not leave us a Bible, He left us a Church.)
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To: Natural Law

“Jesus then asked the Apostles collectively who they thought He was and there was silence and He then rejected an oligarchical or elite governance. Then, without consulting the other Apostles, Peter stepped forward and declared that Jesus was indeed the Son of the Living God, which was the correct answer.”


There is no evidence that there was hesitation among the Apostles, or even anything that singles out Peter beyond the fact that he answered. This is also the same Peter who answered for the Apostles that they would not deny Him, yet he denied Him thrice. While Peter is certainly a worthy Saint (and the scripture teaches that we are ALL Saints, a Holy Priesthood and “Lively stones”), there is no evidence that he was superior to the other Apostles in the actual Gospels. If anything, his humanness is confirmed, as well as his superhuman change from materialist and haughty temper to warrior for Christ in Acts.

Your interpretation reads things that are utterly unnatural to the entire body of scripture which makes it clear that Christ is the Rock, and that we are “lively stones” in that house which has Christ as the Chief Cornerstone.


26 posted on 08/04/2012 6:39:35 PM PDT by RaisingCain
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To: Steelfish

I read a book once from a man who had been deeply involved in the occult and became a high level warlock in the Church of Satan. He actually became interested in the occult when.... he was introduced to the idea that Jesus had gone to Egypt and learned magic, and the person who suggested this to him was a Priest. And this Priest was one of his instructors in Seminary to become a Priest for the Roman Catholic Church. He actually went on to get his masters in theology, and apparently he accomplished this without ever once seriously opening up the Bible. And this, again, was in a Roman Catholic university.

Need I go into the Lavander Mafia of Priests in the Catholic Church? The Liberation Theologists who somehow manage to not be excommunicated by the church? The lesbian nuns? The corrupt Bishops? The mass presence of belief in ghosts and other nonsense amongst an uneducated Catholic laity? And a Pope who, despite his flowery speeches on a few of these matters, is utterly impotent to do anything about it? When I, if given the power, could fix it in a day by simply excommunicating and replacing all these corrupt leaders and members in a short speech on a random Sunday? In the olden days, the Catholics used to burn “heretics” at the stake, when they weren’t taking bribes to forgive sins. Nowadays they can barely muster a murmer.

Trust me, the Catholic Church has done more to hurt itself


27 posted on 08/04/2012 6:52:15 PM PDT by RaisingCain
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To: Natural Law

I appreciate the information, and I respect these men.

However, if you have any scripture it would be very much appreciated. (I’m not trying to be argumentative; I’m just trying to see the mindframe of the Apostles.)


28 posted on 08/04/2012 6:58:41 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: Steelfish

There are not 30,000 Protestant denominations. And if a denomination subscribes to sola scriptura, then I have a lot in common with them and can easily discuss any disagreement.

Given the Catholic history of indulgences and the selling of high church offices (wanna be a bishop? how much cash do you have?), pointing a finger at televangelists is a bit...awkward. As a general rule of thumb, I don’t care if it is a Catholic saying, “Give the church money and your sister will be released from the fires of Purgatory!” or some guy on television saying, “God wants you to have money, and he’ll give you some if you give yours to me first!” - either way, run.

“It’s the Catholic Church that sorted out what texts must and must not be included in the Bible.”

Not until the Council of Trent in the 1500s, and then they screwed up the list of books and left 3 parts out - hence the name change to deuterocanonical from Apocrypha. The selection before that was bottom up, not top down. And the status of the Apocrypha was debated up to the Council of Trent, and then the CofT punted on the main point - was the Apocrypha authoritative for doctrine.

As a Catholic historian wrote:

The majority agreed with the opinion of the general of the Servites, that controverted theological questions, which had already been the subject of discussion between Augustine and Jerome, should not be decided by the Council but should be allowed to remain open questions. The result of the above-mentioned vote of the general congregation of 15 February committed the Council to the wider canon, but inasmuch as it abstained from a theological discussion, the question of differences between books within the canon was left as it had been.” History of the Council of Trent, pgs 56-57


29 posted on 08/04/2012 6:59:31 PM PDT by Mr Rogers (Liberalism: "Ex faslo quodlibet" - from falseness, anything follows)
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To: Natural Law; xzins

“Consider that in 97 AD serious dissensions arose within the Church of Corinth and although the Apostle St. John was still living in Ephesus they appealed to the Roman Bishop, St. Clement, who wrote an authoritative letter to restore peace.”

Also notice that when theological disputes arose in New Testament times, no one went to Peter for the final answer. When Paul defended his Apostleship, he never once said, “Peter agrees”. In fact, when Peter and Paul disagreed, Paul rebuked Peter in public...

In his letters, Paul often cites scripture, but he never says, “Peter says...”


30 posted on 08/04/2012 7:04:38 PM PDT by Mr Rogers (Liberalism: "Ex faslo quodlibet" - from falseness, anything follows)
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To: RaisingCain

You’re wasting your time. FR catholics love their denomination more than they love Jesus.


31 posted on 08/04/2012 7:36:14 PM PDT by Theo (May Christ be exalted above all.)
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To: Theo

**FR catholics love their denomination more than they love Jesus.**

Not so. How can you speak in generalities like that?

You are aware, I hope, that the nentire Mass is centered on Jesus Christ, aren’t you?

First, the Liturgy of the Word, then the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Have you ever attended a Catholic Mass before? I pray you will


32 posted on 08/04/2012 8:04:41 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Mr Rogers; RaisingCain; NYer; Salvation

These have been rebutted over and over again. Here’s a complete rebuttal from the Augustine Club to this and several other questions. It will require some serious reading on your part.

You may note the following Councils before the Council of Trent

Catholic Councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397). The very first printed Bible was produced under the auspices of the Catholic Church—printed by the Catholic inventor of the printing press, Johannes Gutenberg.
_________________________________________________________________________

Frequently Asked Questions about
the Catholic Church

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH is the world’s largest, and Christianity’s oldest, religious body. Her 860 million members inhabit the width and breadth of the earth, comprising almost one-fifth of the total human population. She is far and away the most popular religious concept the world has ever known. Paradoxically, however, the Catholic Church is also the world’s most controversial religious concept.

Catholic belief is different, too different to be orthodox, say Protestants and Christian cultists. Catholic belief is too ethereal to be logical, and too strict to be enjoyable, say the humanists and agnostics Hence to millions of people, Catholicism is not only a colossal success, it is also a colossal enigma. Of course, there has to be an explanation for these contradictory opinions— and there is an explanation: Protestants and others who have questions about Catholic belief too often make the mistake of going to the wrong place for the answers. Too often books written by religious incompetents are consulted. The result is incomplete and distorted information. With such information, one cannot help but see the Catholic faith as a colossal enigma.

The right place to go for information about Catholic belief—in fact the only place to go for complete and authoritative information—is the Catholic Church herself. As any detective will tell you, no investigation is quite so complete as an on-the-spot investigation. Hence, dear reader, if you are a Protestant, an unaffiliated Christian, or an agnostic, who wants to know the truth about Catholic belief, take this friendly advice: Seek out a Catholic priest and put your questions to him. You will find him a very understanding and obliging person. Or read this little booklet.

This booklet was written by a Catholic who knows the questions you are likely to ask, as well as the answers, because once he, too, was outside of the Catholic Church, looking in. The questions in this booklet are basically the same ones he put to a Catholic priest, and the answers are basically the same ones given him by that priest. Read this booklet; then forget all the fiction you have heard about the Catholic Church, for you will have the gospel truth.

Contents

God

Why do Catholics believe that the universe and all life in it was created by, and is governed by, an all-powerful Spirit Being called God? What actual proof is there of God’s existence and omnipotence?

Why do Catholics believe that God is three Persons, called the Holy Trinity? How can God be three Persons and still be one God?

Why do Catholics believe that Jesus Christ was God the Son—the Second Person of the Holy Trinity? Would it not be more reasonable to believe that He was a great and holy man... a religious leader of exceptional talent and dedication... a prophet?

The Catholic Church

Why do Catholics believe that their Church is the one true Church of Jesus Christ? Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to believe that Christ’s true Church is a spiritual union of all Christian denominations?

Why do Catholics refuse to concede that their church became doctrinally corrupt in the Middle Ages, necessitating the Protestant Reformation?

The Pope

Why do Catholics believe that Peter the Apostle was the first Pope, when the word ``Pope’’ doesn’t even appear in Catholic Bibles? Just where does the Pope get his authority to rule over the Catholic Church?

Why do Catholics believe the Pope is infallible in his teachings when he is a human being, with a finite human intellect, like the rest of us? What is the scriptural basis for this belief?

Sacraments

Why do Catholics believe in seven sacraments, while Protestants believe in only two? Exactly what is a sacrament, and what does it do for a person?

Scripture and Tradition

Why does the Catholic Church discourage Bible reading when, according to the Apostle, ``All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach...[and] to instruct in justice’’? (2 Tim. 3:16).

If the Catholic Church really honors the Bible as the holy Word of God—if she really wants her members to become familiar with its truth—why in times past did she confiscate and burn so many Bibles?

Why does the Catholic Church base some of her doctrines on tradition instead of basing them all on the Bible? Did Christ not tell the Pharisees that in holding to tradition they were transgressing the commandment of God? (Matt. 15:3, Mark 7:9).

Salvation

Why do Catholics try to earn their own salvation, despite the fact that salvation can only come as a free gift from Jesus Christ?

Why do Catholics believe that good works are necessary for salvation! Does not Paul say in Romans 3:28 that faith alone justifies!

Mary

Why do Catholics worship Mary as though she were a goddess, when it is clear in Scripture that she was not a supernatural being?

Why do Catholics pray to Mary and the saints when Sacred Scripture states that there is one Mediator between God and man—Christ Jesus? (2 Tim. 2:5).

Why do Catholics repeat the same prayer over and over again when they pray the Rosary? Is this not the vain repetition condemned by Christ in Matthew 6:7?

Purgatory

Why do Catholics believe in a place between Heaven and Hell called Purgatory? Where is Purgatory mentioned in the Bible?

Confession

Why do Catholics confess their sins to priests? What makes them think that priests can absolve them of the guilt of their sins? Why don’t they confess their sins directly to God as Protestants do?

Granting that priests do have the power to forgive sins in the name of God, what advantage does confessing one’s sins to a priest have over confessing directly to God in private prayer?

Do Catholics confess all the sordid details of their sins to the priest?

The Eucharist

Why do Catholics believe that Christ is sacrificed in each and every Mass, when Scripture plainly states that He was sacrificed on Calvary once and for all?

Why do Catholics believe their Holy Communion is the actual Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ? Why don’t they believe as Protestants do that Christ is only present symbolically, or spiritually, in the consecrated bread and wine?

Why are Catholic lay people usually given Holy Communion only under the one form of bread? By not giving the consecrated bread and wine, isn’t the Catholic Church depriving its people of the full benefit of Holy Communion?

Use of Latin

Why is Latin the language of the Church? How can the congregation understand the Mass whenever it is said in Latin?

Priests

Why do Catholics call their priests ``Father’’ despite the fact that Christ said: ``Call no man on earth your father; for one is your Father, who is in heaven’’! (Matt. 23:9).

Why don’t Catholic priests marry? The Bible says that a bishop should be ``blameless, the husband of one wife’’ (1 Tim. 3:2), which certainly indicates that Christ approves of marriage for the Christian clergy.

Baptism

The Bible says that after Christ was baptized He ``came out of the water’’ (Matt. 3:16), indicating that He was baptized by total immersion. Why doesn’t the Catholic Church also baptize by total immersion instead of by pouring on the head?

Why does the Catholic Church baptize infants, who have no understanding of what is taking place?

Birth Control

Why is the Catholic Church opposed to birth control? Where in the Bible is birth control condemned as being contrary to the Will of God?

Other Pratices

Why have Catholic women traditionally worn hats in church? Are bareheaded women forbidden to enter Catholic churches?

Why must Catholics pay money for a Mass that is offered up for deceased relatives and friends when the Bible states that the gift of God is not to be purchased with money? (Acts 8:20).

Conclusion One man’s story of conversion.
For answers to other questions, try the Augustine Club’s Apologetics Toolkit or the Catholic Answer Finder

Why do Catholics believe that the universe and all life in it was created by, and is governed by, an all-powerful Spirit Being called God? What actual proof is there of God’s existence and omnipotence?

Catholics believe that the universe is the creation, and the exclusive dominion, of an infinitely powerful Spirit Being, called God, because the evidence which points to that conclusion is so overwhelming that there is no room left for even the slightest vestige of doubt. First, there is the evidence of logic. Through the process of simple mathematical-type reasoning, man inevitably comes face to face with certain indisputable principles: Everything has a cause; nothing can bring itself into existence. Obviously there is a long chain of causes in the universe, but ultimately there must be a first cause, an uncaused cause. This uncaused cause we call ``God.’’ (The theory of evolution, even if it could be proved, would not explain the origin of anything; evolution simply deals with what may have happened after matter came into existence.) Further, 1) personal creation (man) presupposes a superior Personal Creator, 2) universal order presupposes a Universal Orderer, 3) cosmic energy presupposes a Cosmic Energizer, 4) natural law presupposes a Universal Law Maker. Basic principles of reason such as these explain why so many of the world’s leading scientists are firm believers in God.

Then, there is the evidence of divine revelation—on countless occasions God has revealed Himself by voice, vision and apparition (by means which are receptive to the human senses), and demonstrated His Omnipotence by stupendous, obviously supernatural miracles. Many of these revelations are a matter of authenticated historical record. The Scriptures, for example, are full of such accounts; and in modern times the world has been witness to such Heaven-sent miracles as those at Fatima, Lourdes, and St. Anne de Beaupré in Quebec, Canada, where the cured have left a forest of crutches in testimony. (The Lourdes Medical Bureau is open for examination by any doctor.) In addition, there is the liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius which still takes place in Naples each year on September 19, his feastday; the incorruption of the bodies of many Catholic saints (such as St. Bernadette, who died in 1879); and the miraculous Eucharistic Host of Lanciano, Italy, which has been scientifically proven to be human flesh and human blood, type AB—to mention only a few of the miracles still on-going in the 20th century, which point to the existence of a God.

And lastly there is the evidence of human intuition. Psychologists have long known that every human being—the atheist included—intuitively seeks God’s help in times of great calamity, and instinctively pleads for God’s mercy when death is imminent. Hence the renowned Voltaire, who was so eloquent in his denial of God while he enjoyed health, fame and fortune, repudiated all of his atheistic writings on his deathbed and frantically sought the ministrations of a Catholic priest.

Nikolai Lenin, as he lay on his deathbed, looked around him and frantically asked pardon of the tables and chairs in the room. For as hunger for food proclaims the existence of food, man’s intuitive hunger for God proclaims the Reality, the Omnipotence and the Justice of God. Catholic belief in God, therefore, is purely and simply an expression of intellectual sanity.

Why do Catholics believe that God is three Persons, called the Holy Trinity? How can God be three Persons and still be one God?

Catholics believe there is one God consisting of three distinct and equal divine Persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—because on numerous occasions God has described Himself thus.

The Old Testament gives intimations that there are more than one Person in God. In Genesis 1:26, God says, ``Let us make man to our image and likeness.’’ In Isaias 9:6-7, God the Father revealed the imminent coming into the world of God the Son. In Psalms 2:7, we read, ``The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.’’ And in the New Testament, God reveals this doctrine even more clearly. For example, at the baptism of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove, and the voice of God the Father was heard: ``This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’’ (Matt. 3:16-17). In Matthew 28:19, God the Son commanded the Apostles to baptize ``in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’’ And in 1 Cor. 12:4-6, the Bible refers to God with three names: Spirit, Lord, and God— corresponding to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Three divine Persons in one Godhead may be incomprehensible to the human mind, but that is to be expected. How can man fully comprehend God’s infinite make-up when he cannot fully comprehend his own finite make-up? We have to take God’s word for it. Also, we can satisfy ourselves as to the feasibility of God’s triune make-up by considering various other triune realities. The triangle, for example, is one distinct form with three distinct and equal sides. And the clover leaf is one leaf with three distinct and equal petals. There are many physical trinities on earth, therefore a Spiritual Trinity, who is God in Heaven, is not against human reason—it is simply above human reason.

Why do Catholics believe that Jesus Christ was God the Son—the Second Person of the Holy Trinity? Would it not be more reasonable to believe that He was a great and holy man... a religious leader of exceptional talent and dedication... a prophet?

Catholics believe that Jesus was God the Son, incarnate in human flesh, firstly because God’s physical manifestation on earth, plus all the circumstances of that manifestation, were prophesied time and again in Divine Revelation, and Jesus fulfilled that prophecy right to the letter; secondly, because He claimed that He was God (John 10:30, 14:9-10 and numerous other passages), and He never deceived anyone; thirdly, because He proved His divinity by His impeccable holiness and the flawless perfection of His doctrine; fourthly, because only God could have performed the miracles He performed miracles such as walking on the sea, feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish, and, after His death on the Cross, resurrecting Himself from His own tomb; fifthly, because only God could have, in the brief space of three years, without military conquest, without political power, without writing a single line or traveling more than a few score miles, so profoundly affected the course of human events; sixthly, because only God can instill in the soul of man the grace and the peace and the assurance of eternal salvation that Jesus instills.

Why do Catholics believe that their Church is the one true Church of Jesus Christ? Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to believe that Christ’s true Church is a spiritual union of all Christian denominations?

Catholics believe that theirs is the one true Church of Jesus Christ, firstly, because theirs is the only Christian Church that goes back in history to the time of Christ; secondly, because theirs is the only Christian Church which possesses the invincible unity, the intrinsic holiness, the continual universality and the indisputable apostolicity which Christ said would distinguish His true Church; and thirdly, because the Apostles and primitive Church Fathers, who certainly were members of Christ’s true Church, all professed membership in this same Catholic Church (See Apostles’ Creed and the Primitive Christian letters). Wrote Ignatius of Antioch, illustrious Church Father of the first century: ``Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be; even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church.’’

Our Lord said: ``There shall be one fold and one shepherd, yet it is well known that the various Christian denominations cannot agree on what Christ actually taught. Since Christ roundly condemned inter-denominationalism (``And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.’’ Mark 3:25), Catholics cannot believe that He would ever sanction it in His Church.

Why do Catholics refuse to concede that their church became doctrinally corrupt in the Middle Ages, necessitating the Protestant Reformation?

Catholics refuse to concede such a thing out of faith in Jesus Christ. Christ solemnly pledged that the gates of Hell would never prevail against His Church (Matt. 16:18), and He solemnly promised that after His Ascension into Heaven He would send His Church ``another Paraclete . . . the spirit of truth,’’ to dwell with it forever (John 14:16-17), and He inspired the Apostle Paul to describe His Church as ``the pillar and ground of the truth.’’ (I Tim. 3:15).

If the Catholic Church (which Protestants admit was the true Church of Jesus Christ before Luther’s revolt) became doctrinally corrupt as alleged, it would mean that the gates of Hell had prevailed against it—it would mean that Christ had deceived His followers. Believing Christ to be the very essence of truth and integrity, Catholics cannot in conscience believe that He could be guilty of such deception. Another thing: Catholics cannot see how the division of Christianity into hundreds of rival camps and doctrinal variations can be called a ``reformation’’ of the Christian Church.

In the Catholic mind, hundreds of conflicting interpretations of Christ’s teachings do not add up to a true interpretation of Christ’s teachings.

If the Catholic Church never fell into error, how explain the worldly Popes, the bloody Inquisitions, the selling of indulgences and the invention of new doctrines?

A careful, objective investigation of Catholic history will disclose these facts: The so-called worldly popes of the Middle Ages—three in number—were certainly guilty of extravagant pomposity, nepotism and other indiscretions and sins which were not in keeping with the dignity of their high church office—but they certainly were not guilty of licentious conduct while in office, nor were they guilty of altering any part of the Church’s Christ-given deposit of faith.

The so-called bloody Inquisitions, which were initiated by the civil governments of France and Spain for the purpose of ferreting out Moslems and Jews who were causing social havoc by posing as faithful Catholic citizens—even as priests and bishops—were indeed approved by the Church. (Non-Catholics who admitted they were non-Catholics were left alone by the Inquisition.)

And the vast majority of those questioned by the Inquisition (including St. Teresa of Avila) were completely cleared. Nevertheless, the popes roundly condemned the proceedings when they saw justice giving way to cruel abuses, and it was this insistent condemnation by the popes which finally put an end to the Inquisitions.

The so-called selling of indulgences positively did not involve any ``selling’’—it involved the granting of the spiritual favor of an indulgence (which is the remission of the debt of temporal punishment for already-forgiven sins) in return for the giving of alms to the Church for the building of Christendom’s greatest house of prayer—St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

One must understand with regard to indulgences that there are always two acts to be fulfilled by the one gaining the in-dulgence: 1) doing the deed (e.g., alms-giving) and 2) saying of some prescribed prayers with proper spiritual dispositions. In the case in point, the first act for gaining the indulgence was ``giving alms.’’ If the almsgiver thereafter failed to say the requisite prayers, he would not receive the indulgence because he had failed to fulfill both required acts. The indulgences therefore were not ``sold’’; the very giving of money was itself the first of two requisite acts for gaining the indulgence in question.

The so-called invention of new doctrines, which refers to the Church’s proclamation of new dogmas, is the most baseless and ridiculous charge of all—for those ``new’’ dogmas of the Church were actually old doctrines dating back to the beginning of Christianity. In proclaiming them to be dogmas, the Church merely emphasized their importance to the Faith and affirmed that they are, in truth, part and parcel of divine revelation.

The Catholic Church followed the same procedure when, in the fourth century, she proclaimed the New Testament to be divinely revealed. Hence it is obvious that the Catholic Church did not fall into error during the Middle Ages as some people allege, for if she had, she could not have produced those hundreds of medieval saints—saints the calibre of St. Francis, St. Bernard, St. Bonaventure, St. Clare, St. Anthony, St. John of the Cross, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Elizabeth and St. Vincent Ferrer (who performed an estimated 40,000 miracles).

Why do Catholics believe that Peter the Apostle was the first Pope, when the word ``Pope’’ doesn’t even appear in Catholic Bibles? Just where does the Pope get his authority to rule over the Catholic Church?

True, the word ``Pope’’ doesn’t appear in the Bible—but then neither do the words ``Trinity,’’ ``Incarnation,’’ ``Ascension’’ and ``Bible’’ appear in the Bible.

However, they are referred to by other names. The Bible, for example, is referred to as ``Scripture.’’ The Pope, which means head bishop of the Church, is referred to as the ``rock’’ of the Church, or as the ``shepherd’’ of the Church. Christ used that terminology when He appointed the Apostle Peter the first head bishop of His Church, saying: ``Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona . . . Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.’’ (Matt. 16:17-19). ``There shall be one fold and one shepherd.’’ (John 10:16). ``Feed my lambs... feed my sheep.’’ (John 21:15-17).

The words ``rock’’ and ``shepherd’’ must apply to Peter, and they must distinguish him as the head Apostle, otherwise Christ’s statements are so ambiguous as to be meaningless.

Certainly the other Apostles understood that Peter had authority from Christ to lead the Church, for they gave him the presiding place every time they assembled in council (Acts 1:15, 5:1-10), and they placed his name first every time they listed the names of the Apostles. (Matt. 10:2, Mark 3:16, Luke 6:13-14, Acts 1:13).

In addition, there is the testimony of the Church Fathers. In the second century St. Hegessipus compiled a list of Popes to the time of Anicetus (eleventh Pope) which contained the name of St. Peter as first.

Early in the third century the historian Caius wrote that Pope Victor was ``the thirteenth Bishop of Rome from Peter.’’ In the middle of the third century St. Cyprian related that Cornelius (twenty-first Pope) ``mounted the lofty summit of the priesthood . . . the place of Peter.’’

Even Protestant historians have attested to Peter’s role as first Bishop of Rome, first Pope of the Catholic Church. Wrote the eminent Protestant historian Cave in his Historia Literaria: ``That Peter was at Rome, and held the See there for some time, we fearlessly affirm with the whole multitude of the ancients.’’ Hence the source of the Pope’s authority to rule over the Catholic Church is quite obvious: It was given him by none other than Jesus Christ—by God Himself.

Why do Catholics believe the Pope is infallible in his teachings when he is a human being, with a finite human intellect, like the rest of us? What is the scriptural basis for this belief?

The doctrine of Papal Infallibility does not mean the Pope is always right in all his personal teachings. Catholics are quite aware that, despite his great learning, the Pope is very much a human being and therefore liable to commit human error.

On some subjects, like sports and manufacturing, his judgment is liable to be very faulty. The doctrine simply means that the Pope is divinely protected from error when, acting in his official capacity as chief shepherd of the Catholic fold, he promulgates a decision which is binding on the conscience of all Catholics throughout the world. In other words, his infallibility is limited to his specialty—the Faith of Jesus Christ.

In order for the Pope to be infallible on a particular statement, however, four conditions must apply: 1) he must be speaking ex cathedra . . . that is, ``from the Chair’’ of Peter, or in other words, officially, as head of the entire Church; 2) the decision must be for the whole Church; 3) it must be on a matter of faith or morals; 4) the Pope must have the intention of making a final decision on a teaching of faith or morals, so that it is to be held by all the faithful. It must be interpretive, not originative; the Pope has no authority to originate new doctrine.

He is not the author of revelation—only its guardian and expounder. He has no power to distort a single word of Scripture, or change one iota of divine tradition. His infallibility is limited strictly to the province of doctrinal interpretation, and it is used quite rarely. It is used in order to clarify, to ``define,’’ some point of the ancient Christian tradition.

It is the infallibility of which Christ spoke when He said to Peter, the first Pope: ``I will give (o thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven.’’ (Matt. 16:19). Certainly Christ would not have admonished His followers to ``hear the church’’ (Matt. 18:17) without somehow making certain that what they heard was the truth—without somehow making the teaching magisterium of His Church infallible.

For a complete understanding of the Pope’s infallibility, however, one more thing should be known: His ex cathedra decisions are not the result of his own private deliberations. They are the result of many years—sometimes hundreds of years—of consultation with the other bishops and theologians of the Church. He is, in effect, voicing the belief of the whole Church. His infallibility is not his own private endowment, but rather an endowment of the entire Mystical Body of Christ.

Indeed, the Pope’s hands are tied with regard to the changing of Christian doctrine. No Pope has ever used his infallibility to change, add, or subtract any Christian teaching; this is because Our Lord promised to be with His Church until the end of the world. (Matt. 28:20).

Protestant denominations, on the other hand, feel free to change their doctrines. For example, all Protestant denominations once taught that contraception was gravely sinful; but since 1930, when the Church of England’s Lambeth Conference decided contraception was no longer a sin, virtually all Protestant ministers in the world have accepted this human decision and changed their teaching.

Why do Catholics believe in seven sacraments, while Protestants believe in only two? Exactly what is a sacrament, and what does it do for a person?

Catholics believe in seven sacraments because Christ instituted seven; because the Apostles and Church Fathers believed in seven; because the second Ecumenical Council of Lyons (1274) defined seven; and because the Ecumenical Council of Trent (1545-1563) confirmed seven. In short, the enumeration, seven, arises from the perpetual tradition of Christian belief—which explains why that enumeration is accepted not only by Catholics, but by all of the other ancient and semi-ancient Christian communities—Egyptian Coptic, Ethiopian Monophysite, Syrian Jacobite, Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox.

To understand what a sacrament is, and what it does for a person, one must know the correct, the traditional Christian, definition of a sacrament. Properly defined, a sacrament is ``an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace’’ (holiness) to the soul . . . that is to say, it is a divinely prescribed ceremony of the Church in which the words and action combine to form what is at the same time both a sign of divine grace and a fount of divine grace.

When this special grace—distinct from ordinary, inspirational grace—is imparted to the soul, the Holy Spirit of God is imparted to the soul, imbuing the soul with divine life, uniting the soul to Christ.

As the Scriptures point out, this grace is the grace of salvation—without it man is, in a very real sense, isolated from Christ. And as the Scriptures point out, Christ gave His Church seven sacraments to serve as well-springs of this ineffable, soul-saving grace, the grace which flows from His sacrifice on Calvary:

BAPTISM—the sacrament of spiritual rebirth through which we are made children of God and heirs of Heaven: ``Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’’ (John 3:5. Also see Acts 2:38, Rom. 6:2-6).

CONFIRMATION—the sacrament which confers the Holy Spirit to make us strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ: ``Now when the apostles, who were in Jerusalem, had heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John. Who, when they were come, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost.... Then they laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost.’’ (Acts 8:14-17. Also see Acts 19:6).

The EUCHARIST—the sacrament, also known as Holy Communion, which nourishes the soul with the true Flesh and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus, under the appearance, or sacramental veil, of bread and wine: ``And whilst they were eating, Jesus took bread; and blessing, broke, and gave to them, and said: Take ye. This is my body. And having taken the chalice, giving thanks, he gave it to them. And they all drank of it. And he said to them: This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many.’’ (Mark 14:22-24. Also see Matt. 26:26-28, Luke 22:19-20, John 6:52-54, 1 Cor. 10:16).

PENANCE—the sacrament, also known as Confession, through which Christ forgives sin and restores the soul to grace: ``Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. ‘’ (John 20:22-23. Also see Matt. 18:18).

EXTREME UNCTION—the sacrament, sometimes called the Last Anointing, which strengthens the sick and sanctifies the dying: ``Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord . . . and if he be in ,ins, they shall be forgiven him.’’ (James 5:14-15. Also see Mark 6:12-13).

HOLY ORDERS—the sacrament of ordination which empowers priests to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, administer the sacraments, and officiate over all the other proper affairs of the Church: ``For every high priest taken from among men, is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins.... Neither doth any man take the honor to himself, but he that is called by God, as Aaron was.’’ (Heb. 5:1-4. Also see Acts 20:28, 1 Tim. 4:14). Also: ``And taking bread, he gave thanks, and broke; and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me.’’ (Luke 22:19).

MATRIMONY—the sacrament which unites a man and woman in a holy and indissoluble bond: ``For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.’’ (Matt. 19:5-6. Also see Mark 10:7-9, Eph. 5:22-32).

There you have it, the Word of Christ and the example of the Apostles attesting both to the validity and the efficacy of the seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church. In truth, every one of them is an integral part of Christ’s plan for man’s eternal salvation.

Why does the Catholic Church discourage Bible reading when, according to the Apostle, ``All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach...[and] to instruct in justice’’? (2 Tim. 3:16).

If the Catholic Church discourages Bible reading, the Pope, the thousands of Catholic Bishops, and the many millions of Catholic lay people, are not aware of it.

For the Popes have issued pastoral letters to the whole Church, called encyclicals, on the edifying effects of Bible reading. The Catholic Bible far outsells all other Christian Bibles worldwide. In fact, it has always been thus.

The very first Christian Bible was produced by the Catholic Church—compiled by Catholic scholars of the 2nd and 3rd century and approved for general Christian use by the Catholic Councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397). The very first printed Bible was produced under the auspices of the Catholic Church—printed by the Catholic inventor of the printing press, Johannes Gutenberg. And the very first Bible with chapters and numbered verses was produced by the Catholic Church—the work of Stephen Langton, Cardinal Archbishop of Canterbury.

It was this perennial Catholic devotion to the Bible which prompted Martin Luther—who certainly cannot be accused of Catholic favoritism—to write in his Commentary on St. John: ``We are compelled to concede to the Papists that they have the Word of God, that we received it from them, and that without them we should have no knowledge of it at all.’’
[See also the Apologetics Toolkit’s ``Divine Tradition and Sacred Scripture’’]

If the Catholic Church really honors the Bible as the holy Word of God—if she really wants her members to become familiar with its truth—why in times past did she confiscate and burn so many Bibles?

The Bibles which were collected and burned by the Catholic Church in times past—notably the Wycliff and Tyndale Bibles—were faulty translations, and therefore, were not the holy Word of God. In other words, the Catholic Church collected and burned those ``Bibles’’ precisely because she does honor the Bible, the true Bible, as the holy Word of God and wants her members to become familiar with its truths.

Proof of this is seen in the fact that after those Bibles were collected and burned, they were replaced by accurate editions. There can be no doubt that the Wycliff and Tyndale translations were corrupt and therefore deserving of extinction, for no church has ever attempted to resurrect them. Nor can there be any doubt that the Bibles which replaced them were correct translations, because they have long been honored by both Protestants and Catholics.

Why does the Catholic Church base some of her doctrines on tradition instead of basing them all on the Bible? Did Christ not tell the Pharisees that in holding to tradition they were transgressing the commandment of God? (Matt. 15:3, Mark 7:9).

Observe that in the Bible there are two kinds of religious tradition—human and divine. Observe that when Christ accused the Pharisees He was referring to ``precepts of men’’ (Mark 7:7), to their human traditions.

Christ wanted divine tradition preserved and honored because He made it part and parcel of the Christian deposit of faith—as the Apostle Paul affirmed: ``Stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.’’ (2 Thess. 2:14. Also see 2 Thess. 3:6). This divine tradition to which Paul refers—this revealed truth which was handed down by word rather than by letter— is the tradition upon which, along with Sacred Scripture, the Catholic Church bases her tenets of faith—as the primitive Christian Fathers affirmed.

Wrote St. Augustine: ``These traditions of the Christian name, therefore, so numerous, so powerful, and most dear, justly keep a believing man in the Catholic Church.’’ The New Testament itself is a product of Christian tradition. Nowhere in the New Testament is there any mention of a New Testament.
[See also the Apologetics Toolkit’s ``Divine Tradition and Sacred Scripture’’]

Why do Catholics try to earn their own salvation, despite the fact that salvation can only come as a free gift from Jesus Christ?

Catholics fully recognize that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for their sins and thus ``opened the gates of Heaven,’’ and that salvation is a free gift which no amount of human good deeds could ever earn. Catholics receive Christ’s saving and sanctifying grace, and Christ Himself, into their souls when they are baptized. Yet they also know that Christ has established certain conditions for entry into eternal happiness in Heaven—for example, receiving His true Flesh and Blood (John 6:54) and keeping the commandments (Matt. 19:17).

If a Christian refuses or neglects to obey Our Lord’s commands in a grave matter (that is, if he commits a mortal sin), Our Lord will not remain dwelling in his soul; and if a Christian dies in that state, having driven his Lord from his soul by serious sin, he will not be saved. As St. Paul warned the Galatians with regard to certain sins: ``They who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God.’’ (Gal. 5:21). It must be added that Christ will always forgive and return to a sinner who approaches Him with sincerity in the Sacrament of Penance.

Catholics follow St. Paul, who did not think that his salvation was guaranteed once and for all at the moment he first received Christ into his soul; for he wrote: ``I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway.’’ (I Cor. 9:27).

Also: ``With fear and trembling work out your salvation. For it is God who worketh in you...’’ (Phil. 2:12-13). ``And unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required.’’ (Luke 12:48). ``He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.’’ (Matt. 10:22). Nevertheless, Catholics realize that even the fulfilling of Our Lord’s requirements for salvation is impossible without the free gift of His grace.

[See also the Apologetics Toolkit’s ``Who Will Be Saved?’’]

Why do Catholics believe that good works are necessary for salvation! Does not Paul say in Romans 3:28 that faith alone justifies!

Catholics believe that faith and good works are both necessary for salvation, because such is the teaching of Jesus Christ. What Our Lord demands is ``faith that worketh by charity .’’ (Gal. 5 :6). Read Matthew 25:31-46, which describes the Last Judgment as being based on works of charity.

The first and greatest commandment, as given by Our Lord Himself, is to love the Lord God with all one’s heart, mind, soul, and strength; and the second great commandment is to love one’s neighbor as oneself. (Mark 12:30-31). When the rich young man asked Our Lord what he must do to gain eternal life, Our Lord answered: ``Keep the commandments.’’ (Matt. 19:17). Thus, although faith is the beginning, it is not the complete fulfillment of the will of God. Nowhere in the Bible is it written that faith alone justifies.

When St. Paul wrote, ``For we account a man to be justified by faith, without the works of the law,’’ he was referring to works peculiar to the old Jewish Law, and he cited circumcision as an example.

The Catholic Church does not teach that purely human good works are meritorious for salvation; such works are not meritorious for salvation, according to her teaching. Only those good works performed when a person is in the state of grace—that is, as a branch drawing its spiritual life from the Vine which is Christ (John 15:4-6)—only these good deeds work toward our salvation, and they do so only by the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ.

These good works, offered to God by a soul in the state of grace (i.e., free of mortal sin, with the Blessed Trinity dwelling in the soul), are thereby supernaturally meritorious because they share in the work and in the merits of Christ. Such supernatural good works will not only be rewarded by God, but are necessary for salvation.

St. Paul shows how the neglect of certain good works will send even a Christian believer to damnation: ``But if any man have not care of his own, and especially of those of his house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.’’ (1 Tim. 5:8). Our Lord tells us that if the Master (God) returns and finds His servant sinning, rather than performing works of obedience, He ``shall separate him, and shall appoint him his portion with unbelievers.’’ (Luke 12:46).

Furthermore, Catholics know they will be rewarded in Heaven for their good works. Our Lord Himself said: ``For the Son of man . . . will render to every man according to his works.’’ (Matt. 16:27). ``And whosoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.’’ (Matt. 10:42).

Catholics believe, following the Apostle Paul, that ``every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labor.’’ (1 Cor. 3:8). ``For God is not unjust, that he should forget your work, and the love which you have shown in his name, you who have ministered, and do minister to the saints.’’ (Heb. 6:10). ``I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord the just judge will render to me in that day: and not only to me, but to them also that love his coming.’’ (2 Tim. 4:7-8).

Still, Catholics know that, strictly speaking, God never owes us anything. Even after obeying all God’s commandments, we must still say: ``We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which we ought to do.’’ (Luke 17:10).

As St. Augustine (5th century) stated: ``All our good merits are wrought through grace, so that God, in crowning our merits, is crowning nothing but His gifts.’’

Had St. Paul meant that faith ruled out the necessity of good works for salvation, he would not have written: ``. . . and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.’’ (1 Cor. 13:2). If faith ruled out the necessity of good works for salvation, the Apostle James would not have written: ``Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only’? . . . For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead.’’ (James 2:24-26). Or: ``What shall it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but hath not works? Shall faith be able to save him?’’ (James 2:14).

If faith ruled out the necessity of good works for salvation, the Apostle Peter would not have written: ``Wherefore, brethren, labor the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election. For doing these things, you shall not sin at any time.

For so an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.’’ (2 Peter 1:10-11). If faith ruled out the necessity of good works for salvation, the primitive Christian Fathers would not have advocated good works in such powerful words.

Wrote St. Irenaeus, one of the most illustrious of the primitive Christian Fathers: ``For what is the use of knowing the truth in word, while defiling the body and accomplishing the works of evil? Or what real good at all can bodily holiness do. if truth be not in the soul? For these two, faith and good works, rejoice in each other’s company, and agree together and fight side by side to set man in the Presence of God.’’ (Proof of the Apostolic Preaching). Justification by faith alone is a new doctrine; it was unheard of in the Christian community before the sixteenth century.

[See also the Apologetics Toolkit’s ``Who Will Be Saved?’’]

Why do Catholics worship Mary as though she were a goddess, when it is clear in Scripture that she was not a supernatural being?

Catholics do not worship Mary, the Mother of Christ—as though she were a deity. Of all the misconceptions about Catholic belief and practice, this one is the most absurd. Catholics are just as aware as Protestants that Mary was a human creature, and therefore not entitled to the honors which are reserved to God alone.

What many non-Catholics mistake for adoration is a very profound love and veneration, nothing more. Mary is not adored, first because God forbids it, and secondly because the Canon Law of the Catholic Church, which is based on Divine Law, forbids it. Canon Law 1255 of the 1918 Codex strictly forbids adoration of anyone other than the Holy Trinity.

However, Catholics do feel that Mary is entitled to a great measure of exaltation because, in choosing her as the Mother of Redemption, God Himself exalted her—exalted her more than any other human person before or since. Catholics heap tribute and honor on Mary because they earnestly desire to be ``followers of God, as most dear children.’’ (Eph. 5:1). Mary herself prophesied: ``For behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name.’’ (Luke 1:48-49).

Catholics know that every bit of the glory they give to Mary redounds to the glory of her divine Son, just as Mary magnified God, not herself, when Elizabeth blessed her. (Luke 1:41-55). They know that the closer they draw to her, the closer they draw to Him who was born of her.

In the year 434 St. Vincent of Lerins defended Christian devotion to Mary this way: ``Therefore, may God forbid that anyone should attempt to defraud Holy Mary of her privilege of divine grace and her special glory. For by a unique favor of our Lord and God she is confessed to be the most true and most blessed Mother of God.’’ Today 75% of all Christians still hold to this same view.

Why do Catholics pray to Mary and the saints when Sacred Scripture states that there is one Mediator between God and man—Christ Jesus? (2 Tim. 2:5).

When Catholics pray to Mary and the other saints in Heaven they are not bypassing Christ, whom they acknowledge as the sole Mediator between God and man. They are going to Christ through Mary and the other saints. They are asking Mary and other saints to intercede for them before the throne of Christ in Heaven. ``For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much.’’ (James 5:16).

How much more availing is the unceasing prayer of the sinless Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ! St. Paul asked his fellow Christians to intercede for him: ``Brethren, pray for us.’’ (2 Thess. 3:1). And again: ``I beseech you therefore, brethren, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the charity of the Holy Ghost, that you help me in your prayers for me to God...’’ (Rom. 15:30). Christ must particularly approve of our going to Him through Mary, His Blessed Mother, because He chose to come to us through her. And at Cana, He performed His first miracle after a word from His Mother. (John 2:2-11).

It is clear in Sacred Scripture that the saints in Heaven will intercede for us before the throne of Christ if they are petitioned in prayer (Apoc. or Rev. 8:3-4), and it is clear in the records of primitive Christianity that the first Christians eagerly sought their intercession.

Wrote St. John Chrysostom in the fourth century: ``When thou perceivest that God is chastening thee, fly not to His enemies, but to His friends, the martyrs, the saints, and those who were pleasing to Him, and who have great power.’’ If the saints have such power with God, how much more His own Mother.

Why do Catholics repeat the same prayer over and over again when they pray the Rosary? Is this not the vain repetition condemned by Christ in Matthew 6:7?

Catholics do not just repeat the same prayer over and over again when they pray the Rosary. The Rosary is a progression of many prayers—the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Gloria, the Hail Mary and the Salve Regina—and these prayers are accompanied by many holy meditations. As the Rosary progresses, Catholics meditate on the joyful, the sorrowful, and the glorious mysteries of the life of Christ and His Mother.

True, the Hail Mary is repeated many times during the course of the Rosary, and some of the other prayers are repeated several times, but this is not ``vain’’ repetition, certainly not the vain repetition condemned by Our Lord. The vain repetition He condemned is that of people who pray standing ``in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men.’’

No prayer is vain, no matter how often repeated, if it is sincere, for Christ Himself engaged in repetitious prayer in the Garden of Gethsemani (``. . . he went again: and he prayed the third time, saying the selfsame word’’—Matt. 26:39, 42, 44), and we are informed in the Apocalypse (Revelations) 4:8 that the angels in Heaven never cease repeating, night and day, the canticle: ``Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.’’

The publican humbly repeated the prayer: ``O God, be merciful to me, a sinner,’’ and he went away justified; whereas the pharisee went home unjustified after his long-winded extemporaneous prayer. (Luke 18:9-14). God was likewise pleased with the repetitious prayer of the three young men in the fiery furnace, whom He preserved miraculously untouched by the flames. (Dan. 3:52-90).

Protestants also engage in repetitious prayer: the same prayers at mealtime grace, the same prayers at Benediction, etc. The time lapse is no factor; it is still repetitious.

Why do Catholics believe in a place between Heaven and Hell called Purgatory? Where is Purgatory mentioned in the Bible?

The main body of Christians have always believed in the existence of a place between Heaven and Hell where souls go to be punished for lesser sins and to repay the debt of temporal punishment for sins which have been forgiven. Even after Moses was forgiven by God, he was still punished for his sin. (2 Kg. or 2 Sam. 12:13-14).

The primitive Church Fathers regarded the doctrine of Purgatory as one of the basic tenets of the Christian faith. St. Augustine, one of the greatest doctors of the Church, said the doctrine of Purgatory ``has been received from the Fathers and it is observed by the Universal Church.’’ True, the word ``Purgatory’’ does not appear in the Bible, but a place where lesser sins are purged away and the soul is saved ``yet so as by fire,’’ is mentioned. (1 Cor. 3:15).

Also, the Bible distinguishes between those who enter Heaven straightaway, calling them ``the church of the firstborn’’ (Heb. 12:23), and those who enter after having undergone a purgation, calling them ``the spirits of the just made perfect.’’ (Heb. 12:23). Christ Himself stated: ``Amen I say to thee, thou shalt not go out from thence till thou repay the last farthing.’’ (Matt. 5 :26). And: ``Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment.’’ (Matt. 12:36). These are obviously references to Purgatory.

Further, the Second Book of Machabees (which was dropped from the Scriptures by the Protestant Reformers) says: ``It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.’’ (2 Mach. 12:46). Ancient Christian tomb inscriptions from the second and third centuries frequently contain an appeal for prayers for the dead. In fact, the custom of praying for the dead—which is meaningless if there is no Purgatory—was universal among Christians for the fifteen centuries preceding the Protestant Reformation.

Furthermore, ordinary justice calls for a place of purgation between Heaven and Hell. Take our own courts of justice, for example. For major crimes a person is executed or sentenced to life imprisonment (Hell); for minor crimes a person is sentenced to temporary imprisonment for punishment and rehabilitation (Purgatory); for no crime at all a person is rewarded with the blessing of free citizenship (Heaven). If a thief steals some money, then regrets his deed and asks the victim for forgiveness, it is quite just for the victim to forgive him yet still insist on restitution.

God, who is infinitely just, insists on holy restitution. This is made either in this life, by doing penance (Matt. 3:2; Luke 3:8, 13:3; Apoc. 3:2-3, 19), or in Purgatory .

Also, what Christian is there who, despite his faith in Christ and his sincere attempts to be Christlike, does not find sin and worldliness still in his heart? ``For in many things we all offend.’’ (James 3:2). Yet ``there shall not enter into it [the new Jerusalem, Heaven] anything defiled.’’ (Apoc. or Rev. 21:27).

In Purgatory the soul is mercifully purified of all stain; there God carries out the work of spiritual purification which most Christians neglected and resisted on earth. It is important to remember that Catholics do not believe that Christ simply covers over their sinful souls, like covering a manure heap with a blanket of snow (Martin Luther’s description of God’s forgiveness).

Rather, Christ insists that we be truly holy and sinless to the core of our souls. ``Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.’’ (Matt. 5:48). This growth in sinlessness—in Christian virtue and holiness—is of course the work of an entire lifetime (and is possible only through the grace of God). With many this cleansing is completed only in Purgatory. If there is no Purgatory, but only Heaven for the perfect and Hell for the imperfect, then the vast majority of us are hoping in vain for life eternal in Heaven.

Why do Catholics confess their sins to priests? What makes them think that priests can absolve them of the guilt of their sins? Why don’t they confess their sins directly to God as Protestants do?

Catholics confess their sins to priests because— as it is clearly stated in Sacred Scripture—God in the Person of Jesus Christ authorized the priests of His Church to hear confessions and empowered them to forgive sins in His Name.

To the Apostles, the first priests of His Church, Christ said: ``Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you.... Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.’’ (John 20:21-23). Then again: ``Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven.’’ (Matt. 18:18). In other words, Catholics confess their sins to priests because priests are God’s duly authorized agents in the world, representing Him in all matters pertaining to the ways and means of attaining eternal salvation.

When Catholics confess their sins to a priest they are, in reality, confessing their sins to God, for God hears their confessions and it is He who, in the final analysis, does the forgiving. If their confessions are not sincere, their sins are not forgiven.

Furthermore, Catholics do confess their sins directly to God as Protestants do: Catholics are taught to make an act of contrition at least every night before retiring, to ask God to forgive them their sins of that day. Catholics are also taught to say this same prayer of contrition if they should have the misfortune to commit a serious sin (called a ``mortal sin’’ by Catholics).

Granting that priests do have the power to forgive sins in the name of God, what advantage does confessing one’s sins to a priest have over confessing directly to God in private prayer?

Catholics see several advantages in confessing their sins to a priest in the Sacrament of Penance. First, there is the Church’s guarantee of forgiveness, which private confessions do not provide; secondly, there is the sacramental grace which private confessions do not provide; and thirdly, there is the expert spiritual counseling which private confessions do not provide.

With the Apostles, Catholics recognize that the Church is, in a mysterious way, the Body of Christ still living in the world (Col. 1:18); therefore they recognize that God will receive their pleas for mercy and forgiveness with far greater compassion if their pleas are voiced within the Church, in union with the Mystical Body of His Divine Son, than if they are voiced privately, independent of the Mystical Body of His Divine Son.

Do Catholics confess all the sordid details of their sins to the priest?

No, Catholics are instructed not to confess the sordid details of their sins, because it would serve no useful purpose. All that is required of the penitent is the number and classification of sins committed, as well as a sincere contrition for having sinned, a promise to make restitution if the sin has harmed others, a firm resolve to avoid future sins and the occasions of sin, and the carrying out of the penance assigned by the priest (usually the praying of a few prayers).

Actually, there are fewer intimacies revealed to the priest in the confessional than are usually revealed to one’s doctor, lawyer, or psychiatrist; hence the Sacrament of Penance is not the embarrassing experience many non-Catholics imagine it is. Rather, it is a wonderful relieving experience, for it is through this sacrament that sins committed after Baptism are washed away by the blood of Christ and the sinner becomes once again reconciled with God.

Why do Catholics believe that Christ is sacrificed in each and every Mass, when Scripture plainly states that He was sacrificed on Calvary once and for all?

Most non-Catholics do not realize it, but Christ Himself offered the first Mass at the Last Supper. At the Last Supper He offered (sacrificed) Himself to His Father in an unbloody manner, that is, under the form of bread and wine, in anticipation of His bloody sacrifice on the cross to be offered on the following day, Good Friday.

In the Mass, not now by anticipation, but rather in retrospect, Christ continues to make that offering of Himself to His Father—by the hands of the priest. ``And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. This is my body. And taking the chalice, he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.’’ (Matt. 26:26-28).

Christ ordered His Church to perpetuate that sacrificial rite for the continued sanctification of His followers, saying, ``Do this for a commemoration of me’’ (Luke 22:19)—so the Catholic Church complies with His order in the Mass. In other words, every Mass is a re-enactment of Our Lord’s one sacrifice of Calvary.

The Mass derives all its value from the Sacrifice of the Cross; the Mass is that same sacrifice, not another. It is not essentially a sacrifice offered by men (although men also join in), but rather it is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Christ’s bloody sacrifice on Calvary was accomplished ``once’’ (Heb. 10:10), just as Scripture says. The Catholic Church likewise teaches that the sacrifice of the Cross was a complete and perfect sacrifice— offered ``once.’’ But the Apostle Paul—the same Apostle who wrote this text in the book of Hebrews—also bears witness that the sacrificial rite which Christ instituted at the Last Supper is to be perpetuated—and that it is not only important for man’s sanctification, but is the principal factor in man’s final redemption. In 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, St. Paul tells how, at the Last Supper, Our Lord said: ``This do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me. For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord, until he come.’’

Thus at every Mass the Christian has a new opportunity to worship God with this one perfect sacrifice and to ``absorb’’ more of Christ’s saving and sanctifying grace of Calvary. This grace is infinite, and the Christian should continuously grow in this grace until his death. The reason the Mass is offered again and again is not from any imperfection in Christ, but from our imperfect capacity to receive.

Finally, the holy sacrifice of the Mass fulfills the Old Testament prophecy: ``For from the rising of the sun even 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). The Sacrifice of the Mass is offered every day throughout the world, and in every Mass the only truly ``clean oblation’’ is offered, that is, Christ Himself; thus the Mass is the perfect fulfillment of this prophecy.

[See also the Apologetics Toolkit’s ``The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist’’]

Why do Catholics believe their Holy Communion is the actual Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ? Why don’t they believe as [most] Protestants do that Christ is only present symbolically, or spiritually, in the consecrated bread and wine?

Catholics believe that their Holy Communion, the Blessed Eucharist, is the actual Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ, because that is what Christ said It was: ``This is my body... This is my blood’’ (Matt. 26:26-28; see also Luke 22:19-20 and Mark 14:22-24); because that is what Christ said they must receive in order to have eternal life: ``. . . Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you...’’ (John 6:48-52; 54-56); and because that is what the Apostles believed: ``The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread, which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord?’’ (1 Cor. 10:16). ``Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.’’ (1 Cor. 11:27-29).

Also, Catholics believe that Holy Communion is the actual Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ because that is what all Christians believed until the advent
of Protestantism in the 16th century.

Wrote Justin Martyr, illustrious Church Father of the second century: ``This food is known among us as the Eucharist . . . We do not receive these things as common bread and common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior, being made flesh by the Word of God.’’

Wrote St. Cyril of Jerusalem, venerable Church Father of the fourth century: ``Since then Christ has declared and said of the bread, ‘This is my Body,’ who after that will venture to doubt? And seeing that He has affirmed and said, ‘This is my Blood,’ who will raise a question and say it is not His Blood?’’

In addition to the witness of Sacred Scripture and Christian tradition, Catholics have the witness of the Holy Eucharist itself: On numerous occasions great and awesome miracles have attended its dis- play, and seldom has its reception by the Catholic faithful failed to produce in them a feeling of joyful union with their Lord and Saviour. In the face of all this evidence, Catholics could hardly be expected to adopt the Protestant position.

[See also the Apologetics Toolkit’s ``The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist’’]

[It should be noted that Lutherans do in fact believe in the Real Presence, but because their clergy were not ordained by a successor of the Apostles (that is, ordained by an Apostle or one of their successors), the bread they bless does not really become the Body of Christ. High Anglicans believe in the Real Presence, but that is in defiance of the offical creed of the Anglican Communion that Christ is present ‘every way but physically.’

Also, while Anglicans bishops may have in the past been successors of the Apostles, their understanding of ordination and the priesthood changed so radically that it is no longer valid.]

Why are Catholic lay people usually given Holy Communion only under the one form of bread? By not giving the consecrated bread and wine, isn’t the Catholic Church depriving its people of the full benefit of Holy Communion?

In the Catholic Church the congregation is usually given Holy Communion only under the one form of bread because, if the consecrated ``bread’’ is accidentally dropped on the floor in the serving, it can be wholly retrieved—particles of the Body of Christ would not be left on the floor to be desecrated. If Holy Communion were given under both forms, and if the consecrated ``wine’’ were accidentally spilled on the floor in the serving, it would be a virtual impossibility to retrieve all of the precious Substance—some part of the Blood of Christ would, through smearing and absorption, ineviably be desecrated.

By not giving the congregation Holy Communion under both forms, the Catholic Church is not cheating anyone, because in receiving either the consecrated ``bread’’ or the consecrated ``wine,’’ the communicant receives the complete Body of Christ, including His Flesh and His Blood, His Soul and His Divinity. The consecrated ``bread’’ by itself imparts a true Holy Communion with Christ, a full measure of sanctifying grace, even as Christ said: ``The bread that 1 will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world.... He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever.’’ (John 6:52,59). And the Apostle Paul: ``Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.’’ (1 Cor. 11:27).

After the Consecration the priest receives Holy Communion under both forms, and this suffices to complete the Holy Communion part of the Mass service.

Why is Latin the language of the Church? How can the congregation understand the Mass whenever it is said in Latin?

The Catholic Church began in the days of the Roman Empire, and the language spoken throughout that Empire was Latin. St. Peter moved the seat of Church government from Antioch to Rome, and the Catholic Church government remains centered there to this very day. It was only natural that Latin became the language of the Church.

As the centuries elapsed, for example, Latin still remained the language of the educated classes—even into the 18th and 19th centuries. Therefore, it is not at all surprising that Latin should still be the official language of the Catholic Church. It simply always has been. Furthermore, a universal language greatly facilitates the unity of the Church. Ecumenical Councils, for example, have always been held in Latin, enabling bishops from all over the world to communicate with each other easily.

Moreover, unlike English, French, German and the other languages of the Western world, Latin does not change over the centuries—it is not affected by national idioms, slang and the like— therefore, in Western countries Latin is the official language of the Mass because it helps to preserve the original purity of the Mass liturgy— although today, the Mass is usually said in the language of the people.

Catholics have always had a complete translation of the Mass Latin in their missal, or Mass handbook, so they have always been able to understand and follow everything the priest says and does at the altar, even when the Mass is in Latin. It should also be borne in mind that the Mass is never exclusively in Latin. All sermons, Gospel and Epistle readings, parish announcements and closing prayers are in the language of the congregation.

Why do Catholics call their priests ``Father’’ despite the fact that Christ said: ``Call no man on earth your father; for one is your Father, who is in heaven’’! (Matt. 23:9).

Catholics call their priests ``Father’’ because in all matters pertaining to Christ’s holy faith they perform the duties of a father, representing God. The priest is the agent of the Christian’s supernatural birth and sustenance in the world. ``Father’’ is a title which does not conflict in the slightest with Matthew 23:9. Christ forbids the Christian to acknowledge any fatherhood which conflicts with the Fatherhood of God—just as He commands the Christian to ``hate’’ his father, mother, wife, and his own life, insofar as these conflict with the following of Christ. (Luke 14:26).

But Christ does not forbid Christians to call His own representatives by the name of ``Father.’’ Catholic priests share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ (not a human priesthood), and their sacred ministry partakes of the Fatherhood of God. Like St. Paul (himself a Catholic priest), every Catholic priest can refer to the souls he has spiritually begotten as his children in Christ. (1 Cor. 4:14).

St. Paul considered himself to be the spiritual father, in Christ, of the Corinthians: ``For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have begotten you.’’ (I Cor. 4:15). The title of ``Father’’ is entirely proper for an ordained priest of Jesus Christ.

Why do Catholics practice fasting and abstinence from meat on certain days? Does not St. Paul call abstaining from meats a ``doctrine of devils’’? (1 Tim. 4:1-3).

Catholics give up eating meat—for example, on Good Friday—to commemorate and honor Christ’s Sacrifice on that day, and to follow His instruction to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. (Matt. 16:24; Mk. 8:34; Lk. 9:23).

It is a practice that dates back to the earliest days of the Christian Church. Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria both mention it in their writings. It is a practice which is thoroughly Christian, for we note that Christ Himself recommended fasting, saying: ``When thou fastest anoint thy head, and wash thy face... and thy Father, who seeth in secret, will repay thee.’’ (Matt. 6:17-18). In the same vein the Apostle Paul described his own suffering for Christ: ``... in hunger and thirst, in fastings often...’’ (2 Cor. 11:27). Fasting was practiced both by Christ’s followers (Acts 14:22) and by Christ Himself. (Matt. 4:1-2). And Our Lord told His disciples that some devils cannot be cast out ``but by prayer and fasting.’’ (Matt. 17:20). Paul’s denunciation of those who abstain from eating meat applies to those who reject the eating of meat entirely, as though it were evil in itself. His denunciation has nothing to do with the abstinence of Catholics, for on other days Catholics eat as much meat as do other people.

Moreover, the abstinence from meat is not binding on all Catholics. Young children, old people, sick people, and all Catholics in countries where meat is the principle diet, are excused.

Why don’t Catholic priests marry? The Bible says that a bishop should be ``blameless, the husband of one wife’’ (1 Tim. 3:2), which certainly indicates that Christ approves of marriage for the Christian clergy.

Catholic priests do not marry because, while Christ does indeed approve of marriage for the Christian clergy, He much prefers that they do not marry. He made this quite clear when He praised the Apostles for giving up ``all’’ to follow Him, saying, ``And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting.’’ (Matt. 19:27-29).

The Apostle Paul explained why the unmarried state is preferable to the married state for the Christian clergy: ``He that is without a wife, is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God. But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided.’’ (1 Cor. 7:32-33). In other words, matrimony is good— Christ made it one of the holy sacraments of His Church—but it is not conducive to that complete dedication which is incumbent upon those who submit themselves to another of Christ’s holy sacraments—that of Holy Orders.

Even so, the unmarried state of the Catholic priesthood is not an inflexible law—under certain conditions a priest may be dispensed from this law.
The Bible says that after Christ was baptized He ``came out of the water’’ (Matt. 3:16), indicating that He was baptized by total immersion. Why doesn’t the Catholic Church also baptize by total immersion instead of by pouring on the head?

The Catholic Church usually baptizes by pouring: 1) because water sufficient for total immersion is not readily obtainable in some localities, 2) because total immersion would be cruel for babies, fatal for some sick people and impossible for some prison inmates, and 3) because the Apostles baptized by pouring.

In the Didache, composed by the Apostles, the following procedure for Baptism is prescribed: ``Pour water three times on the head in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.’’ The words ``came out of the water’’ do not necessarily imply total immersion. They could just as well imply that Christ came up on the shore of the river Jordan after standing ankle deep in the water. This is not to say that the Catholic Church considers Baptism by total immersion invalid—she simply does not consider it practical as a universal form.

Why does the Catholic Church baptize infants, who have no understanding of what is taking place?

The Catholic Church baptizes infants because Christ wills it. He must will it because He said, ``Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me.’’ (Matt. 19:14). According to the Apostle Paul, one cannot truly come to Christ except through Baptism. (Rom. 6:3-4). Christ must will it because the Apostles baptized ``all the people’’ (Luke 3:21 ) and whole households (Acts 16:15, 1 Cor. 1:16).

Certainly ``all the people’’ and whole ``households’’ included infants. Christ must will it because He stated categorically that Baptism is a necessary prerequisite for salvation (John 3:5), and He certainly desires the salvation of infants. He must will it because the primitive Christian Church, which had fresh firsthand knowledge of His Will, baptized infants.

In the ancient catacombs of Rome the inscriptions on the tombs of infants make mention of their having been baptized. One such inscription reads: ``Here rests Archillia, a newly-baptized; she was one year and five months old; died February 23rd.’’

An unbaptized infant is not simply in a ``natural’’ state; it is in the state of reprobation, living under the reign of Satan, with the sin of Adam ``staining’’ its soul. Therefore infants should be baptized as soon as is reasonably possible—usually within 2-3 weeks of birth. When children grow up with Our Lord dwelling in their souls, they have a powerful protection against sin. Moreover, Our Lord can thereby draw children to a deep love for Himself at a very early age—as He did with St. Therese, St. Maria Goretti, St. Dominic Savio, and Francisco and Jacinta Marto.

Why is the Catholic Church opposed to birth control? Where in the Bible is birth control condemned as being contrary to the Will of God?

The Catholic Church is not opposed to birth control when it is accomplished by natural means, by self control. She is opposed only to birth control by artificial means, by the employment of pills, condoms, IUD’s, foams, jellies, sterilization, non-completion of the act of sexual union—or any other means used to prevent conception from resulting from this act—because such means profane the marital embrace and dishonor the marriage contract. God slew Onan for practicing contraception (Gen. 38:9-10); the word ``onanism’’ derives from Onan’s deed.

In fact, up until the Church of England’s Lambeth Conference of 1930, which accepted contraception and thus broke with the Christian tradition, contraception had been considered by all Christian churches, both Catholic and Protestant, to be gravely sinful. The Catholic Church does not feel free to change the law of God, as do Protestants.

In the New Testament, there is only one instance where sin is punished by God with immediate death, this was the fate of Ananias and Saphira, a husband and wife who went through the motions of giving a gift to God but fraudulently kept back part of it. The Bible says they lied to the Holy Spirit. (Acts 5 : 1-11 ). In contraception, two people go through the motions of an act of self-giving, but obstruct the natural fruition of their act, i.e., the conception of children, which is the ultimate purpose for which God created sexuality.

Sexual union is a gift from God to the married, but by practicing contraception, married couples are accepting the pleasure God built into the act and yet denying Him its purpose, new people. They are in effect mocking God. But ``Be not deceived, God is not mocked.’’ (Gal. 6:7). Christ cursed the fig tree which, despite a fine external appearance, bore no fruit. (Matt. 21:19; Mark 11:14).

Marriage is God’s plan for populating Heaven, yet contracepting couples refuse Him the specific fruit of their marriage, which is children, when they engage in the act which should produce children yet frustrate the natural, God-intended result.

Further, the sin of ``sorceries’’ or ``witchcrafts’’ (``pharmakeia’’ in the Greek—Gal. 5:20; Apoc. 9:21; 21:8)—which the Bible condemns along with fornication, murder, idolatry, and other serious sins—very possibly includes secret potions mixed to prevent pregnancy or cause abortion. Such potions were known and used even in the first century.

Common sense and conscience both dictate that artificial birth control is not only a violation of the Natural Law but is a perfidious insult to the dignity of man himself. For it implies free reign to physical impulses; it implies total disregard for the fate of the human seed; it implies utter contempt for the honorable birth of fellow humans, those fellow humans who are born as the result of a contraceptive having failed and whose very existence is therefore considered to be an unfortunate ``accident,’’ rather than a gift of God; it implies the most extreme selfishness, for no advocate or practitioner of artificial birth control would have wanted it for his or her own parents. Further, contraception undermines the respect of husband and wife for each other and thereby loosens the marriage bond.

Worst of all, many ``contraceptives,’’ such as the IUD and most if not all birth control pills, work by actually causing an abortion early in the pregnancy; thus, this so-called ``contraception’’ is in reality abortion—the killing of a human being—rather than the preventing of conception.

In every age there is some favorite sin which is accepted by ``respectable’’ worldly Christians; in our times the ``acceptable’’ sin is contraception—a sin which fits in perfectly with the view that the purpose of human life is to attain earthly happiness.

The true Christian couple, on the other hand, will realize that God desires them to have children so that these children can come to know Him and love Him and be happy with Him eternally in Heaven. Marriage is God’s plan for populating Heaven. How wise it is to let God plan one’s family, since He loves children much more than do their earthly parents, and His plans for them go far beyond any plans of these parents. Innumerable stories are told of God’s Providence to Christian parents who trusted in Him and obeyed His law.

For those who have a true and serious need to space or limit the number of their children, the new methods of natural family planning based on periodic abstinence have proven to be extremely reliable (unlike the earlier ``rhythm’’ methods) .

Finally, the Christian will realize that the self-denial involved in bearing and raising Christian children is a school of Christlikeness. Our Lord said: ``If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.’’ (Matt. 16:24). But He also said: ``My yoke is sweet and my burden light.’’ (Matt. 11:30). God promises sufficient grace to those who seek to obey Him. And the resulting peace of soul which the obedient married couple enjoys is beyond all price.

Why does the Catholic Church make no exceptions when it comes to divorce? Does not the Bible say that Christ permitted divorce in case of fornication? (Matthew 19:9).

The Catholic Church makes no exceptions when it comes to divorce because Christ made no exceptions. When Christ was asked if it was lawful for a man to put away his wife ``for every cause,’’ He replied that a man ``shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh . . . What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.’’ (Matt. 19:3-6).

And the Apostle Paul wrote: ``But to them that are married, not I but the Lord commandeth, that the wife depart not from her husband. And if she depart, that she remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband. And let not the husband put away his wife.’’ (1 Cor. 7:10-11).

In Matthew 19:9 Christ does not permit divorce in cases of fornication. He permits separation. This is clear from the fact that those who separated were cautioned not to remarry. Read Mark 10-12 and Luke 16:18.

Also, we know that divorce is against Divine Law because it is plainly against right reason. Were it not for our man-made laws which ``legalize,’’ popularize, and even glamorize divorce, discontented married couples would make a more determined effort to reconcile their differences and live in peace; they would be obliged by necessity to swallow their false pride and accept the responsibilities they owe to their spouses, to their children, to society as a whole, and to God.

Any sociologist will confirm that there is far less immorality, far less suicide, far fewer mental disorders and far less crime among peoples who reject divorce than among the so-called ``progressives’’ who accept it.

Why have Catholic women traditionally worn hats in church? Are bareheaded women forbidden to enter Catholic churches?

The Apostle Paul explains that Catholic women should cover their heads while in church: ``You yourselves judge: doth it become a woman, to pray unto God uncovered?’’ (I Cor. 11:13). ``Every man praying or prophesying with his head covered, disgraceth his head. But every woman praying or prophesying with her head not covered, disgraceth her head: for it is all one as if she were shaven....’’ (I Cor. 11:4-5).

Paul’s words do not imply that the Church is closed to women who have no head covering immediately available, nor does the custom of the Catholic Church imply this.

Why must Catholics pay money for a Mass that is offered up for deceased relatives and friends when the Bible states that the gift of God is not to be purchased with money? (Acts 8:20).

Catholics are not compelled to pay for Masses offered up for someone’s special intention. They are simply reminded that giving a ``stipend’’ (usually $5) is the custom. Priests will oblige without a stipend being paid if the one making the request can ill afford it.

Giving stipends for special intention Masses is the custom because it is only fitting and proper that there should be some token of appreciation for the special service rendered, especially in view of the fact that the average priest draws a very small salary. For many priests these stipends mean the difference between standard and sub-standard living conditions. And this custom definitely has scriptural approval.

Wrote the Apostle Paul: ``Who serveth as a soldier at any time, at his own charges? . . . Who feedeth the flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? . . . So also the Lord ordained that they who preach the gospel, should live by the gospel.’’ (I Cor. 9:7-14). Of course the gift of God is not to be purchased with money.

But that does not imply that God’s ministers are free-serving slaves. Protestants will generally agree to this because within Protestantism it is likewise customary to give the minister who performs baptisms, marriages, etc. a token of appreciation in the form of money. Protestants do not call their gift of money a stipend, but that is exactly what it is.

CONCLUSION

There it is—the truth about Catholic belief and practice. This is the truth which brought the author of this booklet into the Catholic Church . . . the truth which brings millions of people into the Catholic fold year after year... the truth which explains why Newman, Chesterton, Knox, Brownson, Maritain, Mann, Swinnerton, Muggeridge and a host of other world-famous intellectuals chose to embrace the Catholic Faith.

This is the truth which inspired the following confession by the renowned scientist, John Deering—a confession which expresses in eloquent fashion the fundamental motivation of every Catholic convert, be he famous or unknown: ``I was born and raised in an atmosphere of proud, agnostic intellectualism. My father, a medical doctor by profession, was a disciple of Schopenhauer and Freud, and my mother was an ardent disciple of my father. My own favorite dish as a youth was Voltaire. Thus by the time I reached manhood, I was quite thoroughly baptized in the pseudo-religious cult of humanism. I preferred to call it humanism because, unlike the blunt Voltaire, I never could profess publicly to being an out and out atheist, even though there really isn’t much distinction between the two.

``Being of a curious, speculative turn of mind, with strong leanings toward the more challenging fields of dialectics, I eventually took up the study of metaphysics—the science of the fundamental causes and processes of things. This subject intrigued me, indeed obsessed me, as no other subject had before. Here, I told myself, was the science of sciences. Here was the supreme test of my personal philosophy. If God exists, I told myself, metaphysics would reveal Him. Either I would be justified in my quasi-atheism, or I would be compelled in conscience to abandon it completely.

``Then the inevitable happened. I came face to face with the proposition, proved by all the principles of logic, that God does indeed exist. The evidence was so abundant as to be incontrovertible. Just as sure as two and two make four, God not only exists, He is existence. To argue the point would have been tantamount to arguing against all reality!

``Toppled at last from the vainglorious perch of agnosticism, I immediately set about making another intellectual ascent—this time up the great imposing structure of Christian theology. I procured a Bible and spent every free moment absorbed in its sacred content. I had established the existence of God in my mind; now I must know something of the nature, the personality, of God. The Bible, I figured, would give me a clue.

``Much of what I read in the Bible was vague—I was not, after all, familiar with the customs and language idioms of the ancient Jews who wrote the Bible—but I could grasp the central theme. Quite obviously, the central theme of the Bible portrayed God not only as an Omnipotent, All-lntelligent Spiritual Being, but as the Essence of Love, Essence of Justice and Essence of Mercy. In other words, God is pre-eminently a personal Being. And Jesus Christ was God personified, come into the world not only to make atonement for the sin of Adam, but to reassert His Sovereignty, elaborate on His Laws and illuminate with brighter light the pathway to heavenly immortality.

And the torchbearer of this light was His Church, founded on the Apostles. Endowed with the authority of God, and imbued with the Holy Spirit of God, His Church was given the holy task of perpetuating His ministry of salvation after His return to Heaven.

``There was the divine plan of redemption, life’s real purpose, brought into clear and beautiful focus by the Author of the plan—God Himself. There, in brief, is man’s only real hope for happiness and security.

``Only one thing remained to be solved. God’s Church—Where amidst the vast galaxy of the world’s churches was God’s true Church to be found? Then I recalled something Christ said: ‘Seek and ye shall find... knock and it will be opened unto you.’ Inspired by these words of divine wisdom, I embarked on the search. I undertook an extensive study of comparative religion, concentrating on the Christian religions. Since the other religions rejected the divinity of Christ, they naturally were in default.

``With painstaking impartiality I held every Christian church up to the light of Scripture, logic and history, checking and double-checking lest I overlook some small but significant piece of evidence. Three years of this meticulous checking, then I found the object of my search. I finished with one name superimposed in great bold letters on my conscience—`Catholic!’

``On every ground I found the claims of the Catholic religion valid and altogether irresistible. The Catholic Church is the oldest Christian church, I determined; therefore, she is the original Christian Church, the one Church founded, constituted and sanctioned by Jesus Christ Himself.

``I had no other recourse in conscience but to embrace the Catholic Faith. And now I must testify that it satisfies my mind, solaces my heart and gratifies my soul. My blessed Catholic Faith fills my soul with a peace and a sense of security I had never before thought possible.

``Now that I am in the Catholic Church I have a much clearer picture of its true image. I see in all her vitals the Image of Christ. In the reception of her sacraments I feel His comforting hand; in her pronouncements I hear His authoritative, cogent voice; in her manifold world-wide charities I see His love and compassion; in the way she is harassed and vilified I see His agony and humility on Calvary; in her worship I feel His Spirit girding my soul.

``This compels my obedience. All else is shifting sand.’’


33 posted on 08/04/2012 8:46:37 PM PDT by Steelfish (ui)
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To: Steelfish

What is the source information for post 33?


34 posted on 08/04/2012 8:59:15 PM PDT by Religion Moderator
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To: xzins
"However, if you have any scripture it would be very much appreciated."

I appreciate the desire to find all of the revealed Word within Scripture, but I personally don't understand the need. The Canon of Scripture was not set until the late 4th century and only then to satisfy a need to certify which readings would be read in the Liturgy. It proceeded from the Traditions and was set by the Divinely Inspired consensus of the Episcopacy that comprised the early Magisterium.

I appreciate that the writings not included within Scripture are not inerrant, but that does not mean they are not inspired or are false. The writings of the Early Church Fathers that survive give us remarkable insight and clarity into the thoughts and beliefs of those who knew and followed Jesus. Their historical actions and practices, particularly in the context of Scripture, tell us a great deal about the early Church and its Catholicity.

"To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant." - Blessed John Henry Newman (former Protestant)

Peace be with you.

35 posted on 08/04/2012 9:01:26 PM PDT by Natural Law (Jesus did not leave us a Bible, He left us a Church.)
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To: NYer

The Primacy of Peter


36 posted on 08/04/2012 9:01:56 PM PDT by Coleus
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To: Steelfish; RaisingCain; NYer; Salvation

That cut & paste qualifies as spam.

It also has blatently false statements, such as

“The Bibles which were collected and burned by the Catholic Church in times past—notably the Wycliff and Tyndale Bibles—were faulty translations, and therefore, were not the holy Word of God.”

They were not faulty. Tyndale’s was remarkably accurate, and many copies of Wycliffe were approved for the rich - just not for commoners. They were collected and burned (as were the folks producing them, when able) because they were accurate and meant for commoners. The Catholic Church was opposed to COMMONERS getting their hands on scripture. The rich could be controlled. The poor & middle class could not.

The spam also had nothing to do with the fact that the Council of Trent was the first binding statement on the canon, and that it punted on what ‘canon’ meant, refusing to decide if the Apocrypha (or the shorter list of books that were then termed deuterocanonical) had authority for doctrine.


37 posted on 08/04/2012 9:12:49 PM PDT by Mr Rogers (Liberalism: "Ex faslo quodlibet" - from falseness, anything follows)
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To: Steelfish
Tyndale - please explain what was incorrectly translated:


38 posted on 08/04/2012 9:17:04 PM PDT by Mr Rogers (Liberalism: "Ex faslo quodlibet" - from falseness, anything follows)
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To: Religion Moderator

I have a bookmark to this which is

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/a/faq-cc.html

The source indicated there is :

Formatted in HTML and published on the World Wide Web with permission of TAN Books
by The Augustine Club at Columbia University, September 1995.

Adapted from the booklet The Catholic Church Has the Answer by Paul Whitcomb,
published by TAN Books and Publishers, Rockford, IL 1986
800-437-5876

Originally published by the Loyola Book Co., Los Angeles, CA

Nihil Obstat:
Rev. Edmund J. Bradley
Censor Deputatus

Imprimatur:
+ Timothy Manning
Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles
Vicar General April 13, 1961

Last update: August 15, 2000


39 posted on 08/04/2012 9:19:31 PM PDT by Rashputin (Only Newt can defeat both the Fascist democrats and the Vichy GOP)
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To: Mr Rogers

Spam? You have been provided with detailed and laser-precise rebuttals and you call them “spam”! If you are unable to appreciate the depth of these arguments just say so. Why not just admit that the explanations are well beyond your intellectual grasp. I guess Aquinas and Benedict XVI whom TIME magazine has been referred to as the “theological Einstein of our time” are all misguided.


40 posted on 08/04/2012 9:29:29 PM PDT by Steelfish (ui)
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To: Mr Rogers
"In his letters, Paul often cites scripture, but he never says, “Peter says...”"

Who was the other man that St. Paul was referring to in Romans 15:20?

Throughout Scripture we see evidence of what did not need to be specifically articulated. Evidence of Peter's primacy can be found in Acts 15. It describes the Council of Jerusalem where the Apostle Peter speaks to resolve the conflict faced by the congregation at that time, namely on the issue of circumcision. When St. Peter made the decision that bound all the faithful, discussion ceased and the people fell silent. They unanimously accepted his decision. St. James, as the local Bishop then made the closing speech at the Council of Jerusalem, and conveyed Peter's decision.

Peace be with you

41 posted on 08/04/2012 10:00:57 PM PDT by Natural Law (Jesus did not leave us a Bible, He left us a Church.)
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To: Mr Rogers
"They were not faulty. Tyndale’s was remarkably accurate, and many copies of Wycliffe were approved for the rich - just not for commoners. They were collected and burned (as were the folks producing them, when able) because they were accurate and meant for commoners. The Catholic Church was opposed to COMMONERS getting their hands on scripture. The rich could be controlled. The poor & middle class could not."

No offense intended, but that sounds more like an Occupy Wall Street rant than anything resembling actual history.

42 posted on 08/04/2012 10:28:40 PM PDT by Natural Law (Jesus did not leave us a Bible, He left us a Church.)
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To: bike800
It is always interesting to me to...for the first 350 years of the church...hell ...the first 1400 years...there is no challenge to the belief that Peter was the first head of the church...as well as his successors...only after a pissing match did people start arguing semantics...

What I find even MORE interesting is the wool so many Catholics willingly allow to be pulled over their eyes so that they can continue to believe that myth. From the link http://www.christiantruth.com/articles/forgeries.html:

    As the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals were by no means the first, so they were not the last forgeries in the interests of the advancement of the Papal system. Gratian himself, in addition to using the forged Decretals and the fabrications of others who preceded him, had incorporated also into the Decretum fresh corruptions of his own with that object, but amongst such forgeries a catena of spurious passages from the Greek Fathers and Councils, put forth in the thirteenth century, had probably, next to the Pseudo-lsidorian Decretals, the widest influence in this direction. The object of this forgery was as follows: The East had been separated from the West since the excommunication by Pope Leo IX of Michael Cerularius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, and that of the former by the latter in July 1054, in which the other Eastern Patriarchs concurred. The Latins, especially the Dominicans, who had established themselves in the East, made strenuous efforts to induce the Easterns to submit to the Papacy. The great obstacle in the way of their success was the fact that the Orientals knew nothing of such claims as those which were advanced by the Roman Bishops. In their belief the highest rank in the Hierarchy of the Church was that of Patriarch. This was clearly expressed by the Patrician Babanes at the Council of Constantinople, 869. ‘God,’ he said, ‘hath placed His Church in the five patriarchates, and declared in His Gospel that they should never utterly fail, because they are the heads of the Church. For that saying, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” meaneth this, when two fall they run to three; when three fall they run to two; but when four perchance have fallen, one, which remains in Christ our God, the Head of all, calls back again the remaining body of the Church.”

    They were ignorant of any autocratic power residing jure divino in the Bishop of Rome. They regarded Latin authors with suspicions as the fautors of the unprimitive claims of the Bishop of Old Rome; hence if they were to be persuaded that the Papalist pretensions were Catholic, and thus induced to recognise them, the only way would be to produce evidence provided ostensibly from Greek sources.

    Accordingly a Latin theologian drew up a sort of Thesaurus Graecorum Patrum, in which, amongst genuine extracts from Greek Fathers, lie mingled spurious passages purporting to be taken from various Councils and writings of Fathers, notably St. Chrysostom, St. Cyril of Alexandria, and Maximus the Abbot.

    This work was laid before Urban IV, who was deceived by it. He was thus able to use it in his correspondence with the Emperor, Michael Palaeologus, to prove that from ‘the Apostolic throne of the Roman Pontiffs it was to be sought what was to be held, or what was to be believed, since it is his right to lay down, to ordain, to disprove, to command, to loose and to bind in the place of Him who appointed him, and delivered and granted to no one else but him alone what is supreme. To this throne also all Catholics bend the head by divine law, and the primates of the world confessing the true faith are obedient and turn their thoughts as if to Jesus Christ Himself, and regard him as the Sun, and from Him receive the light of truth to the salvation of souls according as the genuine writers of some of the Holy Fathers, both Greek and others, firmly assert.”

    Urban, moreover, sent this work to St. Thomas Aquinas...The testimony of these extracts was to him of great value, as he believed that he had in them irrefragable proof that the great Eastern theologians, such as St. Chrysostom, St. Cyril of Alexandria, and the Fathers of the Councils of Constantinople and Chalcedon, recognised the monarchical position of the Pope as ruling the whole Church with absolute power. Consequently he made use of these fraudulent documents in all honesty in setting forth the prerogatives of the Papacy. The grave result followed that, through his authority, the errors which he taught on the subject of the Papacy were introduced into the schools, fortified by the testimony of these fabrications, and thus were received as undoubted truth, whence resulted consequences which can hardly be fully estimated.

    It was improbable that the Greeks, who had ample means of discovering the real character of these forgeries, should finally accept them and the teaching based on them; but in the West itself there were no theologians competent to expose the fraud, so that these forgeries were naturally held to be of weighty authority. The high esteem attached to the writings of St. Thomas was an additional reason why this should be the case (Edward Denny, Papalism (London: Rivingtons, 1912), pp. 114-117).

    Von Döllinger elaborates on the far reaching influence of these forgeries, especially in their association with the authority of Aquinas, on succeeding generations of theologians and their extensive use as a defense of the papacy:

      In theology, from the beginning of the fourteenth century, the spurious passages of St. Cyril and forged canons of Councils maintained their ground, being guaranteed against all suspicion by the authority of St. Thomas. Since the work of Trionfo in 1320, up to 1450, it is remarkable that no single new work appeared in the interests of the Papal system. But then the contest between the Council of Basle and Pope Eugenius IV evoked the work of Cardinal Torquemada, besides some others of less importance. Torquemada’s argument, which was held up to the time of Bellarmine to be the most conslusive apology of the Papal system, rests entirely on fabrications later than the pseudo-Isidore, and chiefly on the spurious passages of St. Cyril. To ignore the authority of St. Thomas is, according to the Cardinal, bad enough, but to slight the testimony of St. Cyril is intolerable. The Pope is infallible; all authority of other bishops is borrowed or derived frorn his. Decisions of Councils without his assent are null and void. These fundamental principles of Torquemada are proved by spurious passages of Anacletus, Clement, the Council of Chalcedon, St. Cyril, and a mass of forged or adulterated testimonies. In the times of Leo X and Clement III, the Cardinals Thomas of Vio, or Cajetan, and Jacobazzi, followed closely in his footsteps. Melchior Canus built firmly on the authority of Cyril, attested by St. Thomas, and so did Bellarmine and the Jesuits who followed him. Those who wish to get a bird’s–eye view of the extent to which the genuine tradition of Church authority was still overlaid and obliterated by the rubbish of later inventions and forgeries about 1563, when the Loci of Canus appeared, must read the fifth book of his work. It is indeed still worse fifty years later in this part of Bellarmine’s work. The difference is that Canus was honest in his belief, which cannot be said of Bellarmine.

      The Dominicans, Nicolai, Le Quien, Quetif, and Echard, were the first to avow openly that their master St. Thomas, had been deceived by an imposter, and had in turn misled the whole tribe of theologians and canonists who followed him. On the one hand, the Jesuits, including even such a scholar as Labbe, while giving up the pseudo–Isidorian decretals, manifested their resolve to still cling to St. Cyril. In Italy, as late as 1713, Professor Andruzzi of Bologna cited the most important of the interpolations of St. Cyril as a conclusive argument in his controversial treatise against the patriarch Dositheus (Johann Joseph Ignaz von Döllinger, The Pope and the Council (Boston: Roberts, 1870), pp. 233-234).

    The authority claims of Roman Catholicism ultimately devolve upon the institution of the papacy. The papacy is the center and source from which all authority flows for Roman Catholicism. Rome has long claimed that this institution was established by Christ and has been in force in the Church from the very beginning. But the historical record gives a very different picture. This institution was promoted primarily through the falsification of historical fact through the extensive use of forgeries as Thomas Aquinas' apologetic for the papacy demonstrates. Forgery is its foundation. As an institution it was a much later development in Church history, beginning with the Gregorian reforms of pope Gregory VII in the 11th century and was restricted completely to the West.

    The Eastern Chruch never accepted the false claims of the Roman Church and refused to submit to its insistence that the Bishop of Rome was supreme ruler of the Church. This they knew was not true to the historical record and was a perversion of the true teaching of Scripture, the papal exegesis of which was not taught by the Church fathers (For an analysis of the church father's interpretation of the rock of Matthew 16:18 please refer to the article on that subject on this web page)

    Dr. Aristeides Papadakis is an Orthodox historian and Professor of Byzantine history at the University of Maryland. He gives the following analysis of the Eastern Church’s attitude towards the claims of the bishops of Rome especially as they were formulated in the 11th century Gregorian reforms. He points out that on the basis of the exegesis of scripture and the facts of history, the Eastern Church has consistently rejected the papal claims of Rome:

      What was in fact being implied in the western development was the destruction of the Church’s pluralistic structure of government. Papal claims to supreme spiritual and doctrinal authority quite simply, were threatening to transform the entire Church into a vast centralized diocese...Such innovations were the result of a radical reading of the Church’s conciliar structure of government as revealed in the life of the historic Church. No see, regardless of its spiritual seniority, had ever been placed outside of this structure as if it were a power over or above the Church and its government...Mutual consultation among Churches—episcopal collegiality and conciliarity, in short—had been the quintessential character of Church government from the outset. It was here that the locus of supreme authority in the Church could be found. Christendom indeed was both a diversity and a unity, a family of basically equal sister-Churches, whose unity rested not on any visible juridical authority, but on conciliarity, and on a common declaration of faith and the sacramental life. The ecclesiology of communion and fraternity of the Orthodox, which was preventing them from following Rome blindly and submissively like slaves, was based on Scripture and not merely on history or tradition. Quite simply, the power to bind and loose mentioned in the New Testament had been granted during Christ’s ministry to every disciple and not just to Peter alone...In sum, no one particular Church could limit the fulness of God’s redeeming grace to itself, at the expense of the others. Insofar as all were essentially identical, the fulness of catholicity was present in all equally. In the event, the Petrine biblical texts, cherished by the Latins, were beside the point as arguments for Roman ecclesiology and superiority. The close logical relationship between the papal monarchy and the New Testament texts, assumed by Rome, was quite simply undocumented. For all bishops, as successors of the apostles, claim the privilege and power granted to Peter. Differently put, the Savior’s words could not be interpreted institutionally, legalistically or territorially, as the foundation of the Roman Church, as if the Roman pontiffs were alone the exclusive heirs to Christ’s commission. It is important to note parenthetically that a similar or at least kindred exegesis of the triad of Matt. 16:18, Luke 22:32 and John 21:15f. was also common in the West before the reformers of the eleventh century chose to invest it with a peculiar ‘Roman’ significance. Until then, the three proof–texts were viewed primarily ‘as the foundation of the Church, in the sense that the power of the keys was conferred on a sacerdotalis ordo in the person of Peter: the power granted to Peter was symbolically granted to the whole episcopate.’ In sum, biblical Latin exegetes before the Gregorian reform did not view the New Testament texts unambiguously as a blueprint for papal sovereignty; their understanding overall was non–primatial.

      The Byzantine indictment against Rome also had a strong historical component. A major reason why Orthodox writers were unsympathetic to the Roman restatement of primacy was precisely because it was so totally lacking in historical precedent. Granted that by the twelfth century papal theorists had become experts in their ability to circumvent the inconvenient facts of history. And yet, the Byzantines were ever ready to hammer home the theme that the historical evidence was quite different. Although the Orthodox may not have known that Gregorian teaching was in part drawn from the forged decretals of pseudo–Isidore (850’s), they were quite certain that it was not based on catholic tradition in either its historical or canonical form. On this score, significantly, modern scholarship agrees with the Byzantine analysis. As it happens, contemporary historians have repeatedly argued that the universal episcopacy claimed by the eleventh–century reformers would have been rejected by earlier papal incumbents as obscenely blasphemous (to borrow the phrase of a recent scholar). The title ‘universal’ which was advanced formally at the time was actually explicitly rejected by earlier papal giants such as Gregory I. To be brief, modern impartial scholarship is reasonably certain that the conventional conclusion which views the Gregorians as defenders of a consistently uniform tradition is largely fiction. ‘The emergence of a papal monarchy from the eleventh century onwards cannot be represented as the realization of a homogenous development, even within the relatively closed circle of the western, Latin, Church’ (R.A. Marcus, From Augustine to Gregory the Great (London: Variorum Reprints, 1983), p. 355).

      It has been suggested that the conviction that papatus (a new term constructed on the analogy of episcopatus in the eleventh century) actually represented a rank or an order higher than that of bishop, was a radical revision of Church structure and government. The discontinuity was there and to dismiss it would be a serious oversight (Aristeides Papadakis, The Christian East and the Rise of the Papacy (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s, 1994), pp. 158-160, 166-167).


43 posted on 08/04/2012 10:33:08 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: Steelfish
Laser precision? Much of what is offered as such has been on these pages in past times taken apart line by line.

As to the total whitewash within the above concerning the Inquisition, there is a book which tells quite a different story, though I'd bet that in the world of apologetic, there is bound to be some web page somewhere with an in-depth pack 'o lies ad hominem attack against the author D. Juan Antonio LLorente

Available in Google books;

Go read that and get back to us.

Even the "insistence of popes" finally putting an end to it, is overall misleading, as it neglects large portions of the history of it all (only about 1500 years all told).

In the book one can indeed find that popes at various times tried to reign in the worst of the abuses, but even those changes if enacted would still have left many to be burned alive at the stake, starved to death in some cases, tortured in many others.

The details are chilling, but not simply for the results. The methodology of accusation and trial was a great injustice. The author outlines how such came to be, how it grew, and how it finally ended.

I dare say I find the same "spirit" that brought us that horror, still lurking in the shadows of the "Catholic mind". We have seen on these pages previously, not only the horrors of it all excused, when those things could not be fully minimized or explained away, but from some of those same apologists has been expressed the desire to resume the proceedings.

The denials we find today, are exceedingly weak, and believed seemingly only by the RCC faithful whom cannot face the truth concerning those dark centuries of ignorance & fear which had such a nightmarish grip on the minds of people, and was such a real terror among them, for so many centuries. All done in the name of God, in the name of Jesus Christ.

It was the devils work, plain and simple. For those who cannot see that, there is little hope for understanding.

44 posted on 08/04/2012 10:58:07 PM PDT by BlueDragon (...no thank you,..already have a few "flys like an anvil" awards...)
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To: NYer
So,who is correct on this subject? The OP says:

-- Jesus changed the name of Simon to Peter after his confession of faith at Caesarea Philippi. "Peter" means "Rock," signifying Peter's role as the foundation of the Church.

But "Catholic Answers" says:

At their first meeting, Christ told Simon that his name would thereafter be Peter, which translates as "Rock" (John 1:42).

According to Scripture, Jesus first called Simon to follow Him and told him his new name was "Cephas" or "Peter". He was referred to by this name before the "confession of faith" incident. So, I would say the author of the OP is mistaken.

As to his assertion that this issue is a "major" Protestant disagreement, he errs again. It isn't that Peter was first among the apostles that is disputed, but that this translated into Peter being the first "Pope" of Rome and his power and authority magically handed down over the last two thousand years from one man to the next and, by implicit statements, every "Pope" has the SAME authority as Christ gave to Peter and the other Apostles up to including the ability to make "infallible" statements on the doctrines of the faith that ALL Christians are obligated to obey. This was what the Reformers fought against. It was what the Eastern Orthodox Church objected to before them and is what all other non-Catholic Christians STILL reject.

45 posted on 08/04/2012 11:03:27 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: BlueDragon

Simple. There is the universal Catholic Church anchored in sacred scripture, tradition, and revelation and the rest is all manure as history has shown.


46 posted on 08/04/2012 11:05:29 PM PDT by Steelfish (ui)
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To: Natural Law

“Who was the other man that St. Paul was referring to in Romans 15:20?”


“Rom 15:19-20 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. (20) Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:

The answer is: Any man already preaching the Gospel and handling an area. IOW, he goes where he is needed. Not sure how you can imagine Peter into that.

“Throughout Scripture we see evidence of what did not need to be specifically articulated. Evidence of Peter’s primacy can be found in Acts 15. It describes the Council of Jerusalem where the Apostle Peter speaks to resolve the conflict faced by the congregation at that time, namely on the issue of circumcision. When St. Peter made the decision that bound all the faithful, discussion ceased and the people fell silent. They unanimously accepted his decision. St. James, as the local Bishop then made the closing speech at the Council of Jerusalem, and conveyed Peter’s decision.”


They accepted his decision because it was the obviously correct choice. You’d have to be a Roman Catholic to imagine it was just because he was allegedly the Pope, even after Paul apparently confronted him on the same topic here:

Gal 2:9-21 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. (10) Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do. (11) But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. (12) For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. (13) And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. (14) But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? (15) We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, (16) Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (17) But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. (18) For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. (19) For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. (20) I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Paul here conducts himself not as a Bishop in submission to the Pope, but as an equal among equals, confronting him in public in front of the congregation. And there is no sense here that Peter grew angry or rebuked him in return.

In fact, Paul speaking up here “in public” is the same way Peter spoke up “in public” on condemning the issue of works required for salvation in Acts 15.

I have no doubt, however, that any Christian man could have stood up and said something, and would have been equally treated.

Rev 5:9-10 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; (10) And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.


47 posted on 08/04/2012 11:33:24 PM PDT by RaisingCain
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To: Steelfish

You must be hitting your Priest’s secret stash of consecrated wine if you expect me to read a chapter out of a freakin book, when most of it doesn’t appear to be on the subject at hand. Hurts my eyes just attempting it. Can’t you at least excerpt the relevant part?


48 posted on 08/04/2012 11:36:56 PM PDT by RaisingCain
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To: Steelfish
Try reading the book. It can open up insight into how religious thought can be abused.

The Inquisitors were the thought police.

The writer himself was a Catholic priest, and part of "The Holy Office"...and was able to pour over volumes now lost to history. At the Vatican, no less.

The man had freedom to study in the library there for some years. Though the work may not be perfect in all ways, it cannot simply be dismissed as "manure". If we are to consider what "history has shown" we mustn't so quickly dismiss the sort of information brought to us here on this thread, in post #43 & somewhat re-iterated in #45.

Al else, claims to the contrary are manure, indeed AS HISTORY HAS SHOWN.

49 posted on 08/04/2012 11:50:05 PM PDT by BlueDragon (...no thank you,..already have a few "flys like an anvil" awards...)
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To: RaisingCain

Thank you for bringing to us Paul’s words. They are illuminating.


50 posted on 08/05/2012 12:09:06 AM PDT by BlueDragon
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