Skip to comments.7 Step Reason to be Catholic II; Revitalizing Faith in the Wake of Scandal and Dissent
Posted on 06/22/2003 3:13:08 PM PDT by NYer
The 7-Step Reason to be Catholic
1. Science does not deny the existence of God ; The Intelligent Designer Science does not deny that God exists. The National Academy of Sciences states "Science can say nothing about the supernatural. Whether God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral.(Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science; FAQ; © 1998) http://search.nap.edu/readingroom/books/ evolution98/evol5.html
The Catholic Church does not deny the possibility that scientists may some day conclude, beyond reasonable doubt, that evolution played some part in how we came to be. To do so convincingly, however, they will have to overcome the formidable challenges to macroevolution presented by Intelligent Design scientists like astrophysicist Hugh Ross, Ph.D. (astonishing evidence of design, from atom to cosmos); biochemist Michael Behe, Ph.D. (cellular Systems of irreducible complexity); and biologist Jonathan Wells, Ph.D. (Ten warning labels for biology textbooks. Wells has also refuted exaptation). An important Intelligent Design Web site is www.arn.org. Also see:
In any case, the Church teaches that "Every spiritual soul is created immediately by God . . .The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primal event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man.(CCC par. 366; 390). Intelligent Design: Other Informative Web Sites:
In Fundamentals of the Faith, Peter Kreeft suggests skeptics pray as follows: "God, if you are really out there, please . . . somehow . . . let me know . . . I want to know".
2. Other than I AM of the Old Testament, no other founder of a religion is comparable to Jesus.
True respect for others is important, regardless of what religion they practice. However, it is important that students and others become aware of this: With the exception of Jews (and Christians) who speak of I AM of the Old Testament - the Messianic prophecies of which Jesus fulfilled
No authoritative spokesperson for any non Christian religion claims that its founder or reformer is comparable to Jesus in the way he manifested the authority of the Creator including his power over death itself.
Other than I AM, of all founders of a religion Jesus Christ alone manifested the authority of the Creator Only Jesus did all of the following: (a) fulfilled the many Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament; (Y'shua; Moishe Rosen); (b) proved by his works that he had the authority of the Creator; (c) acknowledged that he was God (Jn 20: 28 29); (d) died on the cross to redeem us and make possible our salvation; (e) rose from death on the third day, appeared to many, and ascended into heaven; (f) said he would be judge us after death (Jn 5:22 23) and; (g) said no one comes to the Father except through him (Jn 14:6).
3. History affirms the Jesus of the Bible
Until about three decades ago, the historical reliability of the Gospels was widely accepted including the apostle-eyewitness authorship of Matthew and John, which include the primary biblical/historical foundation of the Church and the Papacy: Mt 16:18-19, Mt 26:26-29, Mt 28:16-20 and Jn 21:15-17.
About two centuries ago, however, some biblical scholars began an effort to see if the Bible itself might be viewed in such a way as to undermine its own credibility. Over time, a series of self-admitted assumptions and other actions were successfully promoted by some scholars misusing the historical-critical method, including:
(a) ignoring the long-recognized Semitic (primarily Hebrew) sayings and speech patterns of the Gospels. These Semitisms indicate very early dates of origin of the source documents for all four canonical Greek Gospels (A.D. 40-70), thus giving them strong historical credibility Fr. Jean Carmignac has shown that there are many Semitisms that cannot be explained as the author's attempt to imitate the Septuagint, or attributed to the author's mother tongue.
The Birth of the Synoptic Gospels; Fr. J. Carmignac; © 1987 by Franciscan Herald Press, Chicago; ISBN 0-8199-0887-8.
The Hebrew Christ; Claude Tresmontant © 1989 by Franciscan Herald Press, Chicago; ISBN 0-8199-0876-2.
(b) virtually ignoring the extrabiblical testimony of Early Church Fathers, and other near-contemporaries of Jesus;
(c) wrongly assuming that the four Gospels were first written many decades after Christ and that none was authored by an eyewitness (i.e., Matthew and John).
Papyrologist Carsten P. Thiede concluded that during the 60s the Gospels of Matthew and Mark had already been copied from scrolls onto codices. (Eyewitness to Jesus, p.16; © 1996, Thiede Ancona; Doubleday).
Cardinal Ratzinger, in his 1988 Erasmus Lecture, was critical of liberal Catholic and Protestant biblical scholars alike. The Cardinal said that, in addition to their great achievements, they had brought forth great errors. He then stated that texts must be viewed in light of the total movement of history and in light of history's central event, Jesus Christ. (Origins)
Emphasis on authentic biblical/extra-biblical history is essential in Catholic education at all levels as well as in Catholic seminaries. Compromise of such history has been associated with heresy and scandal. (See Goodbye, Good Men; © 2002, Michael S. Rose; Regnery,)
In response to criticism of Early Church Fathers, Ven. John Henry Newman,
while an Anglican priest, wrote as follows in An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (1845):
History is not a creed or a catechism. It gives lessons rather than rules; still no one can mistake its general teaching in this matter, whether he accept it or stumble at it. Bold outlines and broad masses of colour rise out of the records of the past. They may be dim, they may be incomplete, but they are definite. And this one thing at least is certain; whatever history teaches, whatever it omits, whatever it exaggerates or extenuates, whatever it says or unsays, at least the Christianity of history is not Protestantism and Protestantism has ever felt it so. To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant. (Image Books © 1960) www.newmanreader.org/works/development/introduction. html (Web site of Bob Elder). Newman became a Catholic and an esteemed Cardinal.
4. Jesus founded, and protects from error, one Petrine Church.
God loves all his children, including our separated brethren (CCC par. 822), many of whom pray and practice their Christian faith with great fervor. But did Jesus not pray that all may be one (Jn 17:17-23) and say, "there shall be one flock, one shepherd"(Jn 10:16)?
Clearly, the Bible indicates that Jesus founded only One Church, and Jesus: (a) founded his Church on Peter alone (Mt 16:18, Lk 6:46 49); (b) gave the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to Peter alone (Mt 16:19); (c) said "Feed my lambs . . . tend my sheep . . . feed my sheep" to Peter alone (Jn 21:15 17); (d) provided for papal and apostolic succession (Isa 22:22), in which the key indicates authority transferable to a successor) and; (e) protects his Church from doctrinal error (CCC par. 888 892). www. ewtn.com/library/scriptur/POPE.TXT (Scott Hahn).
When Jesus said, "Thou art Peter and upon this Rock I will build my Church" (Mt 16:18), he would have spoken in Aramaic, his native language. In Aramaic, the only meaning this statement can have is the Catholic interpretation. On this, linguistic scholars of all faiths are in virtually unanimous agreement.
In the full light of history, to be a true Bible Christian is to be Catholic.
5. After giving Peter primacy, Jesus commissioned the apostles to make disciples of all nations Having given primacy to Peter, the risen Jesus commissioned the eleven apostles (all but Judas Iscariot): "Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teach them all I have commanded you" (Mt 28:18 20).
Do the important differences between Catholic and non Catholic teaching mean "different gospels" are preached? Note Paul's words on this (Gal 1:6-9).
6. The Pope and Catholic bishops successors of Peter and the apostles continue to make disciples of all nations
Those apostles and, with Peter's approval, Matthias and Paul, followed this directive of the risen Jesus. Through the solemn "laying on of hands" through the ages, their successors the Pope and Catholic bishops of today continue to carry out this mandate of Jesus. "The sole Church of Christ . . . subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him.(CCC par. 816).
7. There is no biblical escape clause to reject the one Church founded by Jesus
Protestant minister Marcus Grodi was haunted by a dilemma: Each Sunday I would stand in my pulpit and interpret Scripture for my flock, knowing that within a fifteen-mile radius of my church there were dozens of other Protestant pastors - all of whom believed that the Bible alone is the sole authority for doctrine and practice - but each was teaching something different from what I was teaching. Especially troubling for Grodi was the knowledge that "Every Protestant minister I knew had a different set of criteria that he listed as necessary for salvation." After much reading, particularly of the Early Church Fathers and Karl Keating's Catholicism and Fundamentalism, Grodi realized that . . . the Protestant answer to church renewal was, of all things, unscriptural, and that the single most important issue was authority. (Surprised by Truth; pp. 38-51). Grodi and his wife Marilyn became Catholic. He founded the Coming Home Network www.chnetwork.org (800 664-5110) and hosts The Journey Home weekly call-in program on EWTN.
With the foreknowledge that Peter would deny him three times and abandon him at Calvary, Jesus gave Peter primacy among the apostles as noted in 4 a, b and c above. Jesus promised to be with the One Church he founded until the end of time; not even the Gates of hell would prevail against it.
Certainly, through the Bible, Jesus would have let us know if he intended the divided Christianity of today, with its more than 33,000 denominations and its many contradictory teachings on matters on which one's very salvation may well depend. And yet the most careful search of the Bible reveals nothing other than this:
Other than those led by Peter, nowhere in the Bible does Jesus authorize anyone to "make disciples of all nations" (Mt 28:18-20) and the Bible includes no "escape clause" by which Jesus authorizes anyone to reject Peter or his successors to form, or join, a different Church. The exorcist in Mk 9:38 did not preach a contrary gospel. Nor do two or three embrace such a gospel if truly gathered in his name (Mt 18:20). (Also see Mt 7:21-23). Paul has ominous words for those who preach a gospel contrary to that of Christ (Gal 1:6-9). And Peter warned against private interpretation of Scripture (2 Pet 3:16) which has led to the proliferation of non-Catholic Christian denominations we see today.
For each of us, life on earth will one day end. Except for that of Jesus (and I AM), the tomb of every founder/ reformer of a religion is occupied, or will be, as someone has said. Do we close our eyes rather than prayerfully seek the Church to which Jesus calls us?
Doesn't it make sense to belong to the One Church founded by Jesus, knowing that Jesus himself will judge us at death, affirming our ultimate choice of heaven or hell based not on the decisions we might then wish we had made, but on the decisions we actually made during our life on earth? (See CCC Par.1033; 1020 1050).
The false idea that God's everlasting love for us (e.g., Is 54:8) guarantees our salvation is widely believed. But the clear teaching of the Church regarding God's everlasting or "unconditional" love can be summarized as follows: God loves us unconditionally and will do so eternally whether we are in heaven or in hell. God's unconditional love does not mean unconditional salvation (CCC par. 1035).
The fullness of the means of salvation - i.e., all seven Sacraments including the EUCHARIST, "without which you shall not have life in you (Jn 6:53-59)," as well as the spiritual leadership of the successor of Peter is found only in the Catholic Church. The great importance of becoming and remaining Catholic is explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Ed. (Par. 846 848) and in the Companion to the CCC (Par. 847).
"Observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do," said Jesus in regard to those who sat on Moses seat. (Mt 23:2-3). Surely this applies to any in the Church whose scandalous behavior mocks their preaching. Not all popes proved personally worthy of the office. But, as with Judas Iscariot, Jesus did not suppress the free will of Peter, other apostles, or their successor popes/ bishops. But no pope has destroyed the fabric of doctrine of the One Church to which the Father, in the name of Jesus, sent the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:26; Acts 2:1-4).
In Crossing the Threshold of Hope, Pope John Paul II states that the Documents of Vatican II are to be interpreted using the authoritative Catechism of the Catholic Church: The Catechism was also indispensable in order that all the richness of the teaching of the Church following the Second Vatican Council could be preserved in a new synthesis and be given a new direction. Without the Catechism of the universal Church this would not have been accomplished. (p. 164; Knopf; © 1994).
CCC Search Engine: www.kofc.org/faith/catechism/catechism.cfm;
When asked to consider another religion . . .
The first question you might ask is: "Who was the founder of your faith, or the first to promote or reform it? If that person was not Jesus, ask:
(a) "What signs did he (she) manifest to show that he had the authority of the Creator, and how do those signs compare with those of Jesus?" Other than I AM of the Old Testament, the Messianic prophecies of which Jesus fulfilled, no authoritative apologist for any other religion claims that their founder manifested signs comparable to those of Jesus. See Step 2, (a) through (g) above and "Other Religions." In the Old Testament Hebrew, God is Elohim (masculine plural, meaning the strong ones) implying plurality, not Eloah, the singular form. Similarly in Gen 1:26, "Let us make man in our image"
(b) "Did your founder/reformer indicate or acknowledge that he/she was God, as Jesus did?" (Jn 20:28-29). Even if some others may have made this claim, their tombs are all occupied, or will be. Wonder workers are found in all cultures, but history could never remain silent about another like Jesus.
(c) And finally, ask: "Does it make sense, really, to follow someone other
than Jesus, the ONLY ONE who manifested the power to keep, in the hereafter, the promises he made to us?"
If the founder was Jesus, note Steps 3 to7 above. Then ask:
(a) "What is the pillar and bulwark of the truth?" Paul's answer is not Scripture, but the Church of the living God (1 Tim 3:15).
(b) On whom did Jesus found his Church? On Peter alone (Step 4). Jesus differentiated between the "foundation" (Himself), and the "Rock" on which the foundation is laid (Lk 6:48-49, and Mt 7:24-27).
(c) "To whom did Jesus give the keys of heaven?" To Peter alone (Mt 16:19). Luther affirmed this Catholic position long after his excommunication, but denied the papal authority of Peter's successors. Calvin, attempting to duplicate The Keys, misquoted Jesus in Luke. Show how Isaiah 22:22 and Mt 28:20 indicate apostolic/papal succession.
(d) Ignatius - Bishop of Antioch, martyr and hearer of John the Apostle - described the Eucharist as "the flesh of Christ", "the medicine of immortality."
(e) Note that there is no biblical Escape Clause to reject the One Church Jesus founded and promised to be with always. Against it, even the gates of hell will not prevail. By encouraging a Catholic to leave that Church, or discouraging anyone from joining it, is that person not attempting to "prevail against it" (Mt 16:18)?
Next, I suggest that you and your well-meaning non-Catholic friend explore together the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Ed. Using the index, you can quickly find the answer to virtually any question about what the Church teaches. Extensive footnotes provide the biblical basis for these teachings.
Old Testament/New Testament or Koran?
God made a covenant with Abraham (as with Adam, Noah, Moses and David - preceding the New Covenant of Jesus (Mt 26:26-28)) and promised to establish it with Isaac. (Gen 17:21) Although God made no covenant with Ishmael, he was conceived after Sarai (Sarah) gave Hagar to Abraham as a wife Gen: 16:3). God named Ishmael God hears (Gen 16:11), blessed him (Gen 17:20) and promised to make him a great nation (Gen 17:2). Isaac and Ishmael went their separate ways, but their bond as sons of Abraham endured. When Abraham died, at age 175, together these half brothers buried him next to his wife Sarah (Gen 25:7-10). True descendants of Abraham/ Isaac - and of Abraham/Ishmael strive to come together in peace as sons and daughters of a common father.
About 2,400 years later, in about A.D. 610, Muhammad began to dictate The Koran (Q'uran) - messages he believed came from Allah through an angel. It is said that the ancestry of Muhammad can be traced to Ishmael through Kedar, his second son (Gen 25:13). Today there are more than 70 separate Islamic denominations.
Several suras of the Koran appear to refer favorably to the Bible, Jews and Christians, e.g.: Allah sent Jesus and gave him the Gospel in which there is light and guidance (5:46); Muslims are to forgive the People of the Book (Christians/ Jews) who attempt to convert them (2:109); Jesus was a prophet (2:86, 136) with whom Allah made a covenant (33:7). Muslims honor Jesus as a prophet.
In contrast to the Koran, however, are the following biblical words and acts of Jesus: (a) turned water into wine (forbidden; sura 5:90) at the wedding feast (Jn 2:1-11); (b) said of a cup of wine "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood (forbidden; 5:3) of the covenant" (Mt 26:27); (c) warned his followers not to follow future desert prophets (a veiled reference to Muhammad?) (Mt 24:24-26); (d) said, "I and the Father are one" (Jn 10:30) and "Before Abraham was, I AM" (Jn 8:58), implying equality with the Father/Allah; (e) replying to Thomas, Jesus acknowledged that he was God (Jn 20:28-29) and; (f) unique in world history, Jesus manifested the power and authority of the Creator (Step 2).
The following suras cause Catholics and other Christians to reject the Koran as Divine revelation: (a) Jesus was not God and not the Son of God (4:171); (b) Jesus was just one of several prophets preceding Muhammad, The Prophet (4:163, 2:136) and; (c) Jesus was not crucified (4:157-159).
Clearly, one must choose: Bible or Koran? Jesus or Muhammad? One's eternal salvation may well depend on making the right choice and living accordingly. Why? Because Jesus said unequivocally that he would be our ultimate judge and said no one comes to the Father except through him (See Baptism; CCC Par.1213-1284). By what standard will Jesus judge us? To gain eternal life, Jesus said we must keep the commandments (Mt 19:16-17; 22:36-39). We must love our enemies. God will forgive us only if we forgive others (Mt 5:43-44, 6:15); and we must forgive "from the heart" (Mt 18: 35). How will Jesus judge those who engage in violence toward innocent Jews, Christians, Muslims and others? Within Islam as well, such acts are condemned. Although they saw Palestine as a separate case, The Organization of Islamic Conferences declared, "We unequivocally condemn acts of international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations", (#7; Kuala Lumpur, 1-3 April, 2002). www.oic-oci.org.
A Summary and Study Guide for Part I of this
3-part book: The 7-Step Reason to be Catholic
Part II of the book addresses scandal and dissent within Catholicism today.
Part III of the book addresses key points of doctrinal incompatibility with other faiths.
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Was it the CCC that caused confusion? CCC refers to the Catechism of the Catholic Churdh. This is currently being posted to the forum, twice a week. It is a lengthy book and we are only 11 weeks into its posting. You can follow it here (at least what has been posted so far.)
No...it was the interpretation of the verses mentioned in this point. There is a mighty leap of assumption to #3 to the claims of #4. Although the interpretations of the verses in #4 are one possible view, they are not universally accepted. To assume the Roman Catholic Church is THE fulfillment of these verses is rejected by many in the Body of Christ. And of course, since that assumption leads to the other conclusions, the rest of the points must follow this line of thinking...sorry, I cannot accept the resulting contention that the Roman Catholic Church is the only church.
Exactly...much of the world, and me included, do not accept the authority of the CCC. Basically, we reject non-Biblical citations.
Many of these men walked with the Apostles and were taught directly by them. Polycarp and Papias, for instance, are considered to have been disciples of the Apostle John. Doctrinal authority during this period rested on two sources, the Old Testament (O.T.) and the notion of Apostolic succession, being able to trace a direct association to one of the Apostles and thus to Christ. Although the New Testament (N.T.) Canon was written, it was not yet seen as a separate body of books equivalent to the O.T. Six church leaders are commonly referred to: Barnabas, Hermas, Clement of Rome, Polycarp, Papias, and Ignatius (Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrines, 37). Although these men lacked the technical sophistication of today's theologians, their correspondence confirmed the teachings of the Apostles and provides a doctrinal link to the N.T. Canon itself. Christianity was as yet a fairly small movement. These Church Fathers, often elders and bishops in the early Church, were consumed by the practical aspects of Christian life among the new converts. These men clearly believed that Jesus was God as was the Holy Spirit, but they had yet to clarify in writing the problems that might occur when attempting to explain this truth.
The early Church Fathers had no doubt about the authority of the O.T., often prefacing their quotes with "For thus saith God" and other notations. As a result they tended to be rather moralistic and even legalistic on some issues. Because the N.T. Canon was not yet settled, they respected and quoted from works that have generally passed out of the Christian tradition. The books of Hermas, Barnabas, Didache, and 1 and 2 Clement were all regarded highly (Hannah, Lecture Notes for the History of Doctrine, 2.2). As Berkhof writes concerning these early Church leaders, "For them Christianity was not in the first place a knowledge to be acquired, but the principle of a new obedience to God" (Berkhof, History of the Christian Church, 39).
Although these early Church Fathers may seem rather ill-prepared to hand down all the subtle implications of the Christian faith to the coming generations, they form a doctrinal link to the Apostles (and thus to our Lord Jesus Christ), as well as a witness to the growing commitment to the Canon of Scripture that would become the N.T. As Clement of Rome said in first century, "Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit" (Geisler, Decide For Yourself, 11).
Where's that in the Bible?