Thursday, December 13, 2007

Recovering the Bible

"The world Synod of Bishops on the Bible should help reignite "passion for the word of God in the church," said Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary-general of the synod.

…The archbishop said the responses show a widespread desire to recover the interest and enthusiasm for studying and praying with the Bible that marked the years immediately after the Second Vatican Council.

..."However, the responses indicate there have been gaps in the knowledge of the Bible, partiality in its interpretation (and) omissions in the area of the biblical apostolate," he said. "Our hope is that the synod assembly will help recover the passion for the word of God in the church."

…In his presentation at the December conference, Archbishop Eterovic said special attention should be paid to improving translations of the Bible, guaranteeing that they are accurate and that the faithful are furnished with commentaries that help them understand the passages the way the church understands them.

He said many of the bishops' responses to the outline focused particularly on the need to help Catholics understand the way the church has understood the Bible with the help of its tradition and what it has taught over time."

-Catholic News

I wonder if an official bible commentary would limit Catholioc e-pologist's interpretations? I also wonder how easy it will be to meld "what has been taught over time" and the now-fashionable "development of doctrine".

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Just Say No to Ecumenism

I'm glad my denomination is not part of the BWA.

"…The pope met privately at the Vatican Dec. 6 with more than 20 delegates who were in Rome for a meeting of the joint international commission sponsored by the Baptist World Alliance and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Pope Benedict said if reconciliation and greater fellowship between Baptists and Catholics were to be realized certain issues "need to be faced together, in a spirit of openness, mutual respect and fidelity" to the Gospel.

He said some of the "historically controverted issues" that needed further discussion include "the relationship between Scripture and tradition, the understanding of baptism and the sacraments, the place of Mary in the communion of the church, and the nature of oversight and primacy in the church's ministerial structure."

… Catholics place great emphasis on the sacraments, with particular reverence for Christ's presence in the Eucharist. Baptists recognize baptism and the Lord's Supper but refer to them as biblical "ordinances," carried out in obedience to the Lord's commands in Scripture.

Baptists honor Mary as the mother of Jesus Christ, but they do not address prayer to Mary or the saints because Jesus is the only mediator between human beings and God."

-Catholic News

Sadly, it appears these Baptists are willing to compromise the gospel while the Catholics won't even compromise on Mary.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Lourdes Indulgence

"To mark the 150th anniversary of Mary's appearance to St. Bernadette Soubirous near Lourdes, France, Pope Benedict XVI authorized a special indulgence to encourage renewed holiness.

Catholics can receive a plenary indulgence for taking part in any public or private devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes, said U.S. Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican court dealing with indulgences and matters of conscience.

...An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment due for sins committed. A plenary indulgence is the remission of all punishment.

Cardinal Stafford said the indulgence can also be applied to the souls of the faithful in purgatory.

...Cardinal Stafford said that to obtain the special indulgence one must fulfill the normal requirements set by the church for all plenary indulgences; these include the person going to confession within a reasonably short period of time, receiving the Eucharist and praying for the intentions of the pope, all in a spirit of total detachment from the attraction of sin."

-Catholic News

Friday, November 23, 2007

Anonymous Commenting

I have disabled anonymous commenting on the blog. We were having alot of trouble over at Beggars All with belligerent anonymous commenters and I have had a few here myself, so I have decided to just get rid of the anonymous function. Of course, anyone can sign up for a blogger account and then be able to comment.

Mrs. LB, who had commented on a previous post, took the time to get a blogger account to post an invitation to the anonymous commenter she was interacting with in that post. Since she took the time to extend the invitation, I thought I would highlight it here so it isn't missed:

For anon, I'd like to extend an invite for you to join the Fresh Hope Apologetics Forum so as to continue discussing the errors of Catholic doctrines/practices. Fresh Hope Forums -Mrs. LB

I hope that "anonymous" will accept the invitation.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Quiet on the Blogfront

Just a quick note about this blog.

Since joining Beggars All my posting here has trailed off dramatically. I don't forsee that changing and will continue to focus my efforts there. I have cut back dramatically on my blogging time and don't have the time to spend here.

Instead I will continue to use this blog for keeping track of quotes and resources I find interesting. I will however try to keep up with any comments made here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Catholic Quotes on the Bible

"Tradition, without Holy Scripture, Old or New, sufficed for years, and could still suffice. But Holy Scripture has never sufficed by itself; it always stood in need of Tradition. For it is only by Tradition that we learn that Holy Scripture is an inspired book. It is only Tradition that can give with authority and certainty the right meaning of Holy Scripture. Without Tradition the Holy Scripture may be made to speak in many discordant ways, thus destroying its authority altogether. "

-Catholic Belief

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Augustine on Scripture

"Consider, moreover, the style in which Sacred Scripture is composed,—how accessible it is to all men, though its deeper mysteries are penetrable to very few. The plain truths which it contains it declares in the artless language of familiar friendship to the hearts both of the unlearned and of the learned; but even the truths which it veils in symbols it does not set forth in stiff and stately sentences, which a mind somewhat sluggish and uneducated might shrink from approaching, as a poor man shrinks from the presence of the rich; but, by the condescension of its style, it invites all not only to be fed with the truth which is plain, but also to be exercised by the truth which is concealed, having both in its simple and in its obscure portions the same truth. Lest what is easily understood should beget satiety in the reader, the same truth being in another place more obscurely expressed becomes again desired, and, being desired, is somehow invested with a new attractiveness, and thus is received with pleasure into the heart. By these means wayward minds are corrected, weak minds are nourished, and strong minds are filled with pleasure, in such a way as is profitable to all. This doctrine has no enemy but the man who, being in error, is ignorant of its incomparable usefulness, or, being spiritually diseased, is averse to its healing power."

-Augustine, Letter to Volusianus 5.18

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pope and Relics

"In Naples, a city know for its veneration of the blood of fourth-century martyr St. Januarius, Pope Benedict told Massgoers that the deadly symbol of blood has been transformed by the death of Christ and the Christian martyrs into a sign of self-giving life and of nonviolence even in the face of persecution.

The pope ended his stay in Naples with a visit to the cathedral where the reliquary containing a vial of St. Januarius' dried blood is kept. Kneeling before the altar, the pope kissed the vial, but the miracle of the blood liquefying did not occur.

Msgr. Vincenzo de Gregorio, custodian of the relic, told reporters that the blood, which often liquefies on the saint's feast day, has never liquefied when a pope visited on a day other than the feast day. The blood is said to liquefy three times a year -- on the Saturday before the first Sunday in May, the feast of the transfer of the saint's relics to Naples; Sept. 19, his feast day; and Dec. 16, the local feast commemorating the averting of a threatened eruption of Mount Vesuvius through the intervention of the saint."

-Catholic News

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Advanced Catechism of Catholic Faith and Practice

An Advanced Catechism of Catholic Faith and Practice
Nihil obstat: REV. M. G. FLANNERY Censor Librorum Brooklyn, N. Y
Imprimatur: IGN. F. HORSTMANN, Bishop of Cleveland, JANUARY 9, 1901

Which are the means instituted by our Lord to enable men at all times to share in the fruits of the Redemption?
The means instituted by our Lord to enable men at all times to share in the fruits of His Redemption are the Church and the Sacraments. The word "Church" here implies the religious society founded by Christ. The " Sacraments " may be regarded as the chief means by which the members of the Church receive divine grace.

By what means does the Church "sanctify and save all men?"
The Church sanctifies and saves all men by means of the Mass, the Sacraments, and special blessings and devotions.

What then must Catholics do to save their souls?
To save their souls, Catholics must: 1st, Believe all the teachings of the Church; 2nd, Keep the Commandments of God and the Church ; 3rd, Pray to God and worthily receive the Sacraments.

What, therefore, should we do in order to glorify God and save our souls?
In order to glorify God and save our souls, we should always: 1st, Avoid sin and all dangerous occasions of sin; 2nd, Attend carefully to daily prayers, to Holy Mass, and to frequent Confession and Communion; 3rd, Be faithful to all our Christian duties and practices, as loyal friends of Jesus Christ, and faithful members of His Holy Church.

Who is the visible Head of the Church?
Our Holy Father the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is the Vicar of Christ on earth and the visible Head of the Church. Other names of the Pope: Sovereign Pontiff; Father of Christendom; His Holiness; the Pope calls himself, "The Servant of the Servants of God."

Why is he called "our Holy Father”?
The Pope is called our Holy Father, because he is the spiritual Father of all Christians, from whom they receive the means of holiness that are in the Church,

Why is he called "the Vicar of Christ”?
The Pope is called the Vicar of Christ, because He represents Christ, and acts in the name and place of Christ, over the whole Church.

Why did Christ found the Church?

Christ founded the Church to teach, govern, sanctify, and save all men.

By whom are the members of the Church governed?
The laity are governed by their priests; the priests, by their bishops; and the bishops, by the Pope.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Benedict on Mary

"The heart of the message of Fatima is that following the Gospel is the path to authentic peace, Pope Benedict XVI said in a message broadcast Oct. 14 at the Marian shrine.

Marking the 90th anniversary of the last apparition of Our Lady of Fatima to three young children, Pope Benedict said the shrine continues to echo Mary's call to "her children to live their baptismal consecration in every moment of their existence."

"She is the refuge and the path that leads to God," he told thousands of pilgrims at the shrine for an anniversary Mass and the dedication of a new shrine church.

During his midday Angelus prayer at the Vatican, the pope asked Mary to give "all Christians the gift of true conversion so that the perennial Gospel message, which shows humanity the path to authentic peace, would be proclaimed and witnessed to with coherence and fidelity."

-Pope Benedict

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Catholic Grace

"Grace does not force man's free will, but respects it, and leaves man free to act with it or not. Grace, therefore, does not destroy our freewill, but only helps it, and our own working with grace is required. "God who has created thee without thee, will not save thee without thee " says St. Augustine: and in Holy Scripture it is repeatedly stated that God will render to every one according to his works. A renovation which renders a soul renewed, pure, bright, amiable and endearing to God.

We stand in continual need of actual grace to perform good acts, both before and after being justified. "Without me you can do nothing," says our Saviour, and St. Paul declares that without God's grace we are incapable of even a good thought. The good acts, however, done by the help of grace without justification are not, strictly speaking, meritorious, but serve to smooth the way to justification, to move God, though merely through His mercy and condescension, to help us and render us better disposed for the same. But if, with the assistance of actual grace, good works are done by a person who is in a state of justifying grace, then they are acceptable to God, and merit an increase of grace on earth and an increase of glory in Heaven.

…All our merits, however, without any exception, are grounded on the merits of Jesus Christ, and on His grace, without which no one can move a step towards heaven.

The merit of a good action performed in a state of grace, as being in consequence of justification, and in union with our Lord, is truly our own merit, because that good action is really performed by us, by our co-operation with God's grace; but it is also, and principally, a merit of our Lord, as a grape is the fruit of the branch, and yet also and principally the fruit of the parent vine without which, or if not connected with which, the branch could not produce any fruit, or indeed have become a branch at all. Our merit, therefore, does not take away from Christ's merits, for without Him we can do nothing. We merit through Christ, Christ makes us merit; or still more properly, Christ merits in us, and therefore all the glory is His…

JESUS CHRIST died for all mankind; He truly died that "He might taste death for all." (Hebrews ii. 9.) Yet we know that all men will not be saved, but only those who do His will; for we read in St. Paul : "And being consummated, He became to all that obey Him the cause of eternal salvation." (Hebrews v. 9.) And so, notwithstanding Christ's redemption, it is stated in the gospel that some "shall go into everlasting punishment." (St. Matt. xxv. 46.) St. Paul did not say that God will save all men, but, "Who will have all men to be saved" (1 Timothy ii. 4), implying thereby that for salvation, man's will and co-operation is required to fulfill the conditions, and use the means appointed by God Himself for the purpose.

Only those who "have washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Apocalypse [Rev.] vii. 14), that is, who have the merits of Christ applied to them, and who persevere to the end in doing what is commanded, will be saved.

The direct means instituted by Christ Himself for applying His infinite merits to the souls of men are the holy sacraments, which are so many channels instituted by Jesus Christ to convey to men His grace purchased for us at the price of His most precious blood: "You shall draw waters with joy out of the Saviour's fountains." (Isaias xii. 3.)"

-The Glories of the Catholic Church (1895)
Imprimatur: Michael Augustine, Archbishop of NY

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ott on "not explicit"

"The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary is not explicitly revealed in Scripture." (pg 200)

"The Bodily Assumption of and express scriptural proofs are not to be had." (pg 208)

"Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces by her intercession in Heaven...Express scriptural proofs are lacking." (pg 214)

"Holy Writ does not explicitly refer to the veneration and invocation of saints, but it asserts the principle out of which Church teaching and practice developed." (pg 318)

"Holy Writ does not mention the veneration of relics, but it affirms precedents, upon which the Christian veneration of relics is founded." (pg 319)

"Holy Writ teaches the existence of a cleansing fire [purgatory] indirectly, by admitting the possibility of a purification in the other world." (pg 483)

-Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma,

Friday, October 12, 2007

Good Reads

Two blogs worth reading:

First, Saint & Sinner is doing a series called The Eisegeted Verses dealing specifically with a book by Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong entitled The Catholic Verses: 95 Bible Passages That Confound Protestants. So far, Saint & Sinner is far from confounded.

Second, TurretinFan is engaged in a debate with “orthodox” comparing Sola Scriptura versus Sola Ecclesia (scripture vs tradition).

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Status Update

I have been neglecting this blog and I apologize to my very small readership. My time has been spent posting at Beggars All which has a larger audience and some very knowledgeable readers. I am way out of my league there and keep expecting James to give me the boot.

I have been considering expanding my content on this blog to general apologetics since much of my Roman Catholic critiques have been placed on the Beggars All site. For now, I am using this blog as a source of interesting quotes and tidbits which I find helpful to have stored for future posts/discussions. However, all my focus upon RC apologetics has caused me to get a bit rusty in the general apologetics arena (not that I was terribly well-versed in the first place) so I need to work on that.

I have also neglected this blog because I am just busy with work and home. In reality I really shouldn’t be blogging at all, but I enjoy it and can’t seem to quit. I love talking theology and blogging is my outlet for doing so. That said, I need to focus as right now I think I am reading about 5 books at once, jumping around depending on my mood for the day.

For now, here are my recent posts at Beggars All:

How to Become Catholic
Cutting Edge Catholic Interpretation
Cooperation in Salvation
Anti-Catholic Propaganda
Wycliffe’s Response to Church Authority
It Appears the Jig is Up
Catholic Historian on Trent and Salvation

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Ott on Justification

Without special Divine Revelation no one can know with the certainty of faith, if he be in the state of grace (De fide.)

Against the teaching of the Reformers, that the justified possess certainty of faith which excludes all doubts about their justification, the Council of Trent declared: "If one considers his own weakness and his defective disposition, he may well be fearful and anxious as to his state of grace, as nobody knows with the certainty of faith, which permits of no error, that he has achieved the grace of God"

The reason for the uncertainty of the state of grace lies in this that without a special revelation nobody can with certainty of faith know whether or not he has fulfilled all the conditions which are necessary for the achieving of justification. The impossiblity of the certainty of faith, however, by no means excludes a high moral certainty by the testimony of conscience.

The degree of justifying grace is not identical in all the just. (De fide.) Grace can be increased by good works (De Fide.)

As the Reformers wrongly regarded justification as a merely external imputation of Christ's justice, they were obliged also to hold that justification is identical in all men. The Council of Trent, however, declared that the measure of the grace of justification received varies in the individual person who is justified, according to the measure of God's free distribution, and to the disposition and co-operation of the recipient himself.

In regard to the increase of the state of grace, the Council of Trent declared against the Reformers, who asserted that good works are only a fruit of achieved justification, that the justice already in the soul is increased by good work. The various good works are rewarded by different grades of grace.

-Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, pgs 261-262

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Misuse (and overuse) of "Anti-Catholic"

TurretinFan has made some excellent points in his latest post on the use of the term “anti-Catholic”.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Catholic Quotes on Salvation

"The Holy Spirit is not only present in other religions through authentic expressions of prayer. “The Spirit’s presence and activity”, as I wrote in the Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, “affect not only individuals but also society and history, peoples, cultures and religions” (n. 28).

Normally, “it will be in the sincere practice of what is good in their own religious traditions and by following the dictates of their own conscience that the members of other religions respond positively to God’s invitation and receive salvation in Jesus Christ, even while they do not recognize or acknowledge him as their Saviour (cf. Ad gentes, nn. 3, 9, 11)” (Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue – Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Instruction Dialogue and Proclamation, 19 May 1991, n. 29; L’Osservatore Romano English edition, 1 July 1991, p. III).

Indeed, as the Second Vatican Council teaches, “since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of coming into contact, in a way known to God, with the paschal mystery” (Gaudium et spes, n. 22)."

John Paul II, General Audience

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Augustine on Scripture

"Consider, moreover, the style in which Sacred Scripture is composed,—how accessible it is to all men, though its deeper mysteries are penetrable to very few. The plain truths which it contains it declares in the artless language of familiar friendship to the hearts both of the unlearned and of the learned; but even the truths which it veils in symbols it does not set forth in stiff and stately sentences, which a mind somewhat sluggish and uneducated might shrink from approaching, as a poor man shrinks from the presence of the rich; but, by the condescension of its style, it invites all not only to be fed with the truth which is plain, but also to be exercised by the truth which is concealed, having both in its simple and in its obscure portions the same truth. Lest what is easily understood should beget satiety in the reader, the same truth being in another place more obscurely expressed becomes again desired, and, being desired, is somehow invested with a new attractiveness, and thus is received with pleasure into the heart. By these means wayward minds are corrected, weak minds are nourished, and strong minds are filled with pleasure, in such a way as is profitable to all. This doctrine has no enemy but the man who, being in error, is ignorant of its incomparable usefulness, or, being spiritually diseased, is averse to its healing power."

-Augustine, On Christian Doctrine II:9

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Uncertain Infallibility

Not only can Catholics not provide a list of infallible teachings, they appear to not always be sure if a particular teaching is infallible or not. One such example is the debate a few years back over JPII's apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis:

Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (Latin for On Ordination to the Priesthood) is a Roman Catholic document discussing the Roman Catholic Church's position requiring "the reservation of priestly ordination to men alone." This Apostolic Letter was issued from the Vatican by Pope John Paul II on 22 May 1994....Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was not issued under the extraordinary papal magisterium as an ex cathedra statement, and so is not considered infallible in itself. There is, however, a case for its contents to be infallible under the ordinary magisterium, as this doctrine has been held consistently by the Church. In a responsum ad dubium dated October 1995, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated that the teaching of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was to be held definitively, as belonging to the deposit of faith. In 1998, this was clarified slightly (in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's Doctrinal Commentary on Ad Tuendam Fidem) to state that the teaching of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was not taught as being divinely revealed, although it might someday be so taught in the future... Wikipedia

Since the issuance of the apostolic letter, however, reactions from some quarters have served to cast doubt on the definitive character of the papal teaching. The nature of this dubium concerned the question whether or not the teaching set forth in the letter belonged to the deposit of faith (depositum fidei). Conceivably, some warrant for the doubt may be found in the Pope's letter itself.

So if a Roman Catholic cannot identify all of the infallible teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, and at times is not sure whether a given doctrine is infallible or not, where is the certainty that an infallible authority is suppose to provide?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Catholic Quotes on the Bible

"But the Bible is more than a human book; it is a divine book having God for its author. God produced it by giving the supernatural charisma of inspiration to certain writers, and willed their inspired writings to belong to the deposit of truth which is the teaching Church's spiritual patrimony, to be administered by her for the religious enlightenment and eternal salvation of souls. The Church is, therefore, the supreme interpreter of the sacred volumes.

-A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, 1951 (pg 9)
with imprimatur and acknowledgment of Pope Pius XII

Friday, September 21, 2007

Augustine on Scripture

"And hence it happened that even Holy Scripture, which brings a remedy for the terrible diseases of the human will, being at first set forth in one language, by means of which it could at the fit season be disseminated through the whole world, was interpreted into various tongues, and spread far and wide, and thus became known to the nations for their salvation. And in reading it, men seek nothing more than to find out the thought and will of those by whom it was written, and through these to find out the will of God, in accordance with which they believe these men to have spoken...But hasty and careless readers are led astray by many and manifold obscurities and ambiguities, substituting one meaning for another; and in some places they cannot hit upon even a fair interpretation. Some of the expressions are so obscure as to shroud the meaning in the thickest darkness. And I do not doubt that all this was divinely arranged for the purpose of subduing pride by toil, and of preventing a feeling of satiety in the intellect, which generally holds in small esteem what is discovered without difficulty....Nobody, however, has any doubt about the facts, both that it is pleasanter in some cases to have knowledge communicated through figures, and that what is attended with difficulty in the seeking gives greater pleasure in the finding.—For those who seek but do not find suffer from hunger. Those, again, who do not seek at all because they have what they require just beside them often grow languid from satiety. Now weakness from either of these causes is to be avoided. Accordingly the Holy Spirit has, with admirable wisdom and care for our welfare, so arranged the Holy Scriptures as by the plainer passages to satisfy our hunger, and by the more obscure to stimulate our appetite. For almost nothing is dug out of those obscure passages which may not be found set forth in the plainest language elsewhere."

-Augustine, On Christian Doctrine II:5-6

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Catholic Quotes on Salvation

"Here I repeat what I wrote to the Fifth Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences: 'Although the Church gladly acknowledges whatever is true and holy in the religious traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam as a reflection of that truth which enlightens all people, this does not lessen her duty and resolve to proclaim without failing Jesus Christ who is ‘the way and the truth and the life'... The fact that the followers of other religions can receive God's grace and be saved by Christ apart from the ordinary means which he has established does not thereby cancel the call to faith and baptism which God wills for all people'".

-John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation, Ecclesia in Asia

Monday, September 17, 2007

Recent Posts on Beggars All

Here are some of my recent posts over at Beggars All:

Catholics on JWs

Infallibly Interpreted Scripture

Army of Mary

Not Saying Much with Flowers

Catholic Gospel for Muslims

When Catholics Represent Christianity

Catholic Piety vs Superstition

Catholic Quotes on the Bible

"It is the teaching of the Church that the Old Testament Scriptures were transferred to her ownership by Christ himself in view of her position as the new 'Israel of God' and the heir of the Old Testment promises; and that the New Testament Scriptures being written within the Church by some of its members for the benefit of all (or more precisely, within the society of Catholic Church by Catholics and for Catholics), are likewise her exclusive property, of which she is the absolute Owner, Guardian, Trustee and Interpreter."

-A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, 1951 (pg 8)
with imprimatur and acknowledgment of Pope Pius XII

Friday, September 14, 2007

Catholic Quotes on Salvation

"For those too who through no fault of their own do not know Christ and are not recognized as Christians, the divine plan has provided a way of salvation. As we read in the Council's Decree Ad Gentes, we believe that "God in ways known to himself can lead those inculpably ignorant of the Gospel" to the faith necessary for salvation (AG 7). Certainly, the condition "inculpably ignorant" cannot be verified nor weighed by human evaluation, but must be left to the divine judgment alone. For this reason, the Council states in the Constitution Gaudium et Spes that in the heart of every man of good will, "Grace works in an unseen way.... The Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery" (GS 22)...

...This affirmation of the Savior's "uniqueness" derives from the Lord's own words. He stated that he came "to give his own life in ransom for the many" (Mk 10:45), that is, for humanity, as St. Paul explains when he writes: "One died for all" (2 Cor 5:14; cf. Rom 5:18). Christ won universal salvation with the gift of his own life. No other mediator has been established by God as Savior. The unique value of the sacrifice of the cross must always be acknowledged in the destiny of every man.

...For those, however, who have not received the Gospel proclamation, as I wrote in the Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, salvation is accessible in mysterious ways, inasmuch as divine grace is granted to them by virtue of Christ's redeeming sacrifice, without external membership in the Church, but nonetheless always in relation to her (cf. RM 10). It is a mysterious relationship. It is mysterious for those who receive the grace, because they do not know the Church and sometimes even outwardly reject her. It is also mysterious in itself, because it is linked to the saving mystery of grace, which includes an essential reference to the Church the Savior founded.

..Religions can exercise a positive influence on the destiny of those who belong to them and follow their guidance in a sincere spirit. However, if decisive action for salvation is the work of the Holy Spirit, we must keep in mind that man receives his salvation only from Christ through the Holy Spirit. Salvation already begins during earthly life. This grace, when accepted and responded to, brings forth fruit in the gospel sense for earth and for heaven.

...What has been said, however, should not lead to the conclusion that her missionary activity is less needed in these situations--quite the contrary. In fact, whoever does not know Christ, even through no fault of his own, is in a state of darkness and spiritual hunger, often with negative repercussions at the cultural and moral level. The Church's missionary work can provide him with the resources for the full development of Christ's saving grace, by offering full and conscious adherence to the message of faith and active participation in Church life through the sacraments."

-John Paul II, General Audience

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Catholic Quotes on Salvation

"The universality of salvation means that it is granted not only to those who explicitly believe in Christ and have entered the Church. Since salvation is offered to all, it must be made concretely available to all. But it is clear that today, as in the past, many people do not have an opportunity to come to know or accept the gospel revelation or to enter the Church. The social and cultural conditions in which they live do not permit this, and frequently they have been brought up in other religious traditions. For such people salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of his Sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit. It enables each person to attain salvation through his or her free cooperation."

-Redemptoris missio

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fallible Certainty: Answers to jswranch, Part 3

Finishing up with jswranch’s comment on The Canon: Fallible Certainty post (see part 1 and part 2)…

I am not going to answer all of jswranch’s remaining comments because they are all basically the same objection that I mentioned in my Part 2 reply. His main assertion is that without an infallible organization on earth to declare what is or isn’t God’s Word, we cannot trust what scripture says because we do not infallibly know it is scripture. Apparently faith in God is not good enough, we need to have faith in an infallible organization of men to provide the certainty that RC’s demand.

Let me just briefly answer some of jswranch’s final thoughts:

Can we be infallibly certain an infallible book even exists? We cannot.

But apparently we can be infallibly certain that an infallible organization of men exists. Please, explain that one.

-If we deny that God established an institution of fallen, sinful human beings to infallibly teach the Gospel and the scriptures to us because they are fallen, sinful persons, can we believe that the Holy Spirit used fallen sinful human beings to even write infallible, inerrant books? No.

Huh? I haven’t seen anyone make that argument. The question is not COULD God create an infallible organization, the question is DID he.

Here are jswranch’s final 2 comments:

-(See above) Assuming FCIB (fallible collection of infallible books), does a source we can be dogmatically certain of exist by which we can know that there is such a thing as a bible? No. Assuming FCIB, we cannot be certain there is such a thing as the Bible. If you disagree, site a source we are certain of. A response such as a quote from lets say 2 Tim 3:15, begs us to state that we cannot be infallibly certain 2 Tim belongs in scripture. Can we say with certainty that we know scripture even exists or is inerrant from any source such as Acts 2:42? No. Why? Because we cannot be infallibly/dogmatically certain Acts is scripture.

-Can we be infallibly certain Jesus rose from the dead? No. First, we have already established that we cannot be infallibly certain of anything. Second, we do not infallibly have any source that tells us He did rise from the dead. Some books tell us he rose, but we are not certain those books are actually scripture, therefore we cannot be certain he rose from the dead if FCIB is true.

I am not going to answer these here as they boil down to the same issue – how does an infallible organization change anything? How can you ever infallibly prove that God established an infallible organization of men to infallibly validate the infallibility of scripture? How can you not see that problem?

I really cannot see how your objection, jswranch, can be chalked up to anything but a lack of faith. Seriously, I cannot even follow your logic – I would expect these kinds of objections from an atheist. To answer you I would have to start from the same point I would with a non-believer, and I don’t have the time right now to type all that out.

I may or may not come back to these last items in the future as they are very revealing of the Roman Catholic mindset. For now I'm done.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fallible Certainty: Answers to jswranch, Part 2

Continuing with jswranch’s comment on The Canon: Fallible Certainty post (part 1 here):

(Original post in italics, jswranch’s comment in bold, my reponse in regular type)

-It serves to make the Christian aware of the fact that she walks by faith, and not by sight... Are we shown doubt in the Bible? One of my favorite verses: [Mk9:23-24]
These throws me. I cannot be certain that the book of Mark belongs in scripture, however I can be certain of my salvation in Christ because the biblical book of Mark tells me so...??!! This seems to conflict. To answer, "Are we shown doubt in the Bible?" I say, no, but we cannot be certain Mark belongs, therefore we can doubt this verse belongs.

-Without doubt, we are sure. With surety, it is not faith....
Hebrews 11:1... Romans 8:24

If there is no room for doubt, it is not hope, and it is not faith.
?? Ok we can be certain of the correct status of our surety, faith, hope, and doubt based on books we cannot be sure are scripture. Heck, we do not even know who wrote Hebrews. Isn't this circular logic?

I am just going to lump these two comments together because the logic is the same. This is the basic Catholic argument of “how can I believe anything the scripture says if I can’t know infallibly that scripture really is from God”. This is probably the favorite Catholic argument to swing back around to no matter where the discussion started.

As I see it, Catholics cannot believe that the Bible is the Word of God unless an infallible, earthly organization tells them so. What I find so odd about this argument is that Catholics can believe the Catholic Church is the Church of God without an infallible, earthly organization to tell them so (except the RCC itself, but that is completely circular).

So without giving my own answer for how I can know that the Bible is the Word of God without an infallible Church to tell me so, I must ask of jswranch or any other Catholic, how can I know that the Catholic Church is the infallible Church of God without another infallible organization to tell me so? If I can't know that the Bible is true without an infallible organization to tell me so, how can you know that the RCC is true without an infallible organization to tell you so?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Vicious Circularity

Gene Bridges made a great summary of the circular reasoning by many Catholics over on Beggars All:

Vicious circularity is usually a bit more roundabout than this bare-bones outline. For example, this is how a Roman Catholic will often argue for his faith:

“How do you know that the Catholic Church is not an apostate church?”

“Because the Church is indefectible.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because Christ has promised us that the gates of hell will not overcome the church.”

“Haven’t the Popes made mistakes?”

“Only when expressing a private opinion, and not when speaking ex cathedra.”

“How do you know when a Pope is speaking ex cathedra or not?”

“If he made a mistake, he was not speaking ex cathedra.”

“Is it not possible for your church to commit apostasy?”

“No, for the true church is indefectible.”

“How do you know that your church is the true church?”

“Because she has never fallen into heresy.”

“How do you know she’s never fallen into heresy?”

“Because Christ has promised us that the gates of hell will not overcome the church.”

If you think this is a parody of Catholic reasoning, just read some of exchanges with Roman Catholics.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Fallible Certainty: Answers to jswranch

Jswranch left a rather long comment on The Canon: Fallible Certainty post which was really just pointing to a post Ellen made where she worked off another post on Parchment and Pen. I believe jswranch was mostly responding to Ellen’s post, but starting with the initial post that spurned Ellen’s may have brought some clarity.

All that said, let me try to briefly answer some of jswranch’s objections.

(Original post in italics, jswranch’s comment in bold, my reponse in regular type)

The smoke screen of epistemological certainty that seems to be provided by having a living infallible authority (Magisterium) disappears when we realize that we all start with fallibility...

Why? Just because I am fallible does not mean the HS didn't institute an infallible institution to do its will. Wasn’t Moses the infallible teacher anointed by God to instruct His people in truth?

No, the HS didn’t institute an infallible institution because nowhere in scripture is such a thing ever mentioned. The point of the epistemological argument is that an infallible organization can never provide 100% certainty because the followers are still fallible.

I believe this plays out in two ways. First, your personal fallibility means that your determination that the RCC IS an infallible organization instituted by God is a fallible decision. You can never be 100% certain that you are correct. Second, even if there were an infallible, visible organization, you can never be 100% certain that you will properly interpret what they have to say because you are still fallible.

The Catholic position is really no different than the Protestant position. We each have our own infallible authority (for Cats the magisterium, for Prots the Bible), but neither can be 100% certain that their source of authority is true since our own personal decisions are fallible. After that, neither can be 100% certain that we are understanding/interpreting the words/directions of our authority properly because again, we are fallible. Instead we must go with the highest amount of certainty and this is where Protestants pull ahead (from an epistemological POV).

So the point is that the whole need for an infallible, earthly organization is not only unscriptural, but it really doesn’t solve anything. Because of personal fallibility, you can never have 100% certainty.

As far as Moses being the “infallible teacher”, really? Is this the new Catholic apologetic argument to try to read an infallible leader into the Old Testament? Moses was not infallible, so this really doesn’t affect anything.

I’ll continue with this later…

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Catholic Quotes on The Bible

"A competent religious guide must be clear and intelligible to all, so that everyone may fully understand the true meaning of the instructions it contains. Is the Bible a book intelligible to all? Far from it; it is full of obscurities and difficulties not only for the illiterate, but even for the learned...The Fathers of the Church, though many of them spent their whole lives in the study of the Scriptures, are unanimous in pronouncing the Bible a book full of knotty difficulties." -The Faith of Our Fathers

Monday, September 3, 2007

Find Me Here...

I have been invited to join the new team format at Beggars All, one of my favorite blogs.

James runs a great blog with lots of great posts (look through his archives) and top-notch commenters. I am very under-qualified to join this arena, but look forward to interacting with a larger audience.

I am not sure yet how I will split my time, but I hope that my commenters/visitors here will join me at Beggars All, especially jswranch.

You can find my first post here - just an introduction.

Catholic Quotes on the Bible

"Through Luther, although Calvin seems to have been the first to announce Monobiblicism clearly, the Bible became the arm of the Protestant revolt. A dumb and difficult book was substituted for the living voice of the Church, in order that each one should be be able to make for himself the religion which suited his feelings."

-A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, 1951 (pg 11)
with imprimatur and acknowledgment of Pope Pius XII

Friday, August 31, 2007

Catholic Authority: Superior to Scripture

"It is the Church, the holder of Tradition, that gives life to the dead letter of Scripture. Experience shows that it is only in the life of the Church, the Bride of Christ, that Scripture, divinely inspired as it is, becomes 'living and effectual, and more piercing than any two-edged sword' (Heb 4:12)"

"In regard to these truth [faith and morals] the authority of Tradition and of the Bible is equal...Nevertheless, as we shall see later, the Church is superior to the Bible in the sense that she is the Living Voice of Christ, and therefore the sole infallible interpreter of the inspired Word, whenever an authoritative interpretation is required."

-A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, 1951 (pg 2)
with imprimatur and acknowledgment of Pope Pius XII

Catholic Quotes on the Bible

"Then there is Sacred Scripture, which is read every Sunday at Mass. It presents a good opportunity to apply these teachings from the Old and New Testaments to our daily lives, which in turn will help us to get to heaven. For many Catholics it is the only time during the week that they will hear the Word of God." -Father John Carl Lombardi

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Catholic Authority: Trumping Scripture

More from A Full Catechism of the Catholic Religion:

"What then must the Catholic Christian generally believe?

He must believe all that God has revealed and the Catholic Church proposes to his belief, whether it be contained in Holy Scripture or not."

"Is the Infallibility of the- Pope the same as the Infallibility of the Church?

Yes, precisely. The Pope is the Supreme Pastor and Teacher, whose voice all the faithful, clergy and laity, 'lambs and sheep,' are commanded by Christ to hear and to follow. If he could teach error ex cathedra, the Church would then follow him into error, and would thereby fail; and so the promises of Christ would be falsified, which is impossible."

"Application: In matters of faith never trust your own judgment, but always humbly submit to the decisions of Holy Church; for when you believe what the Church teaches, you believe the Word of God."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pope on Salvation

Salvation is open to all, but the way is not easy, pope says:

"Salvation through Christ is open to all, but the way is not easy because it requires a real commitment to love and justice, Pope Benedict XVI said. The pope, speaking Aug. 26 to hundreds of pilgrims at his summer residence outside Rome, said that when Christ told his disciples the gate to heaven was narrow he did not mean it was for the privileged few. "Christ's message goes in the opposite direction: Everyone can enter into (eternal) life, but for everyone the gate is narrow ... because it requires commitment, renunciation and mortification of one's own egotism," the pope said. Christ made clear that people will ultimately be judged on the basis of their works in this world, he said. "The evildoers will find themselves excluded, while those who have done good and sought justice through sacrifice will be welcomed. It will not be enough to declare oneself a friend of Christ," the pope said."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Catholic Authority: Follow the Leader

I enjoy reading older Catholic materials as they are less likely to water-down Catholic beliefs in the name of ecumenism. And since it is claimed that the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church never change, looking to older material cannot be considered inaccurate today.

A Full Catechism of the Catholic Religion from 1889 states the following:

"Why are Protestants so much prejudiced against the Catholic Church, and why is it so difficult to convert them? It is because from infancy the minds of their children have been impressed with a false view of the History of their Religion—a Religion that dates only from the beginning of the sixteenth century. Why should not Catholics with equal, and even greater, effect confirm our children in their attachment to the Church, by showing them how to trace her to the times of the Apostles, and even to the Creation of the world? Is it not, then, of the greatest importance to teach them, together with their catechism, the History of their Religion? History is a safeguard against internal doubts, and a bulwark against all external attacks. He who has, by this means, been fully strengthened in his conviction that the Catholic Church is from God, and that she is the Only True Church, cannot but love her and submit his intellect to her doctrine and his heart to her precepts, and thus remain all his lifetime faithful to her.

After this proof from History that the Catholic Religion is Divine, the Catechism proper commences, and teaches us that we must submit to its doctrine; namely, that we must, 1. Believe what the Church teaches; 2. That we must also practise, that is, do the will of God; and 3. That we can neither believe nor do the will of God without His grace, which we receive by means of the Sacraments and of Prayer."

First, I find it interesting that the proof of the Divinity of the Roman Catholic Church should be determined from history books rather than God's book.

Second, once one has submitted to history, he must submit his intellect to the Church, believe everything the Church tells him, and receive the sacraments through the Church to do the will of God.

No one comes to the Father except through the Roman Catholic Church?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Mother Teresa: Works Without Joy

Mother Teresa’s “Crisis of Faith” is making the rounds on the news as some of her personal letters have been made public:

“A new, innocuously titled book, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light (Doubleday), consisting primarily of correspondence between Teresa and her confessors and superiors over a period of 66 years, provides the spiritual counterpoint to a life known mostly through its works. The letters, many of them preserved against her wishes (she had requested that they be destroyed but was overruled by her church), reveal that for the last nearly half-century of her life she felt no presence of God whatsoever — or, as the book's compiler and editor, the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, writes, ‘neither in her heart or in the eucharist.’"

“Although perpetually cheery in public, the Teresa of the letters lived in a state of deep and abiding spiritual pain. In more than 40 communications, many of which have never before been published, she bemoans the "dryness," "darkness," "loneliness" and "torture" she is undergoing. She compares the experience to hell and at one point says it has driven her to doubt the existence of heaven and even of God. She is acutely aware of the discrepancy between her inner state and her public demeanor. "The smile," she writes, is "a mask" or "a cloak that covers everything." Similarly, she wonders whether she is engaged in verbal deception. "I spoke as if my very heart was in love with God — tender, personal love," she remarks to an adviser. "If you were [there], you would have said, 'What hypocrisy.'"

In addition to these newly publicized letter, Mother Teresa has said the following:

“We never try to convert those who receive [aid from Missionaries of Charity] to Christianity but in our work we bear witness to the love of God’s presence and if Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, or agnostics become for this better men — simply better — we will be satisfied. It matters to the individual what church he belongs to. If that individual thinks and believes that this is the only way to God for her or him, this is the way God comes into their life — his life. If he does not know any other way and if he has no doubt so that he does not need to search then this is his way to salvation.” Life in the Spirit: Reflections, Meditations and Prayers; Pgs 81-82.

I am just posting a few excerpts, but it appears that Mother Teresa possessed a universalist-type faith that brought no joy. But despite Mother Teresa’s confusion over the basic gospel message and her decades of darkness in her “faith”, the Roman Catholic Church has declared her presence in heaven through her beatification in 2003.

I find that interesting.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Catholic Tradition and Purgatory

"I have more than once commented on the incorrectness of that method of arguing, which demands that we prove every one of our doctrines individually from the Scriptures. I occupied myself, during my first course of lectures, in demonstrating the Catholic principle of faith, that the Church of Christ was constituted by Him the depositary of His truths, and that, although many were recorded in His Holy Word, still many were committed to traditional keeping, and that Christ himself has faithfully promised to teach in His Church, and has thus secured her from error. It is on this authority that the Catholic grounds his belief in the doctrine of Purgatory: yet, not so but that its principle is laid down, indirectly at least, in the word of God."

-Cardinal Nicholas Patrick Wiseman

"There is not much in Scripture on Purgatory except that in Second Maccabees 12:45, Judas sends a collection to the Temple for those fallen in battle, found with amulets on, "that they might be freed from this sin." Luther saw so clearly that this referred to Purgatory--which he rejected--that he rejected this book too, declaring it not part of Scripture. Some have tried to see an implication of Purgatory in Matthew 12:32. There Jesus speaks of the sin against the Holy Spirit that will be forgiven "neither in this world nor in the next." But the expression quoted is known in Rabbinic literature, where it means merely "never." Still less could we deduce purgatory from First Corinthians 3:11-15. Paul means if the work of some Christian worker has been of such low quality that it burns down, he himself will be saved "as through fire." But the fire seems to mean the apocalyptic fire of the last day, not a fire of purgatory.

But our belief in Purgatory rests on the tradition and definitions of the Church, at the Councils of Lyons II, Florence, and Trent.”

-The Basic Catholic Catechism

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Canon: Fallible Certainty

Ellen has written a great post on the biblical canon - please read it.

The fallibility/infallibility argument is the smokescreen of Catholicism. In other words, Catholics cannot know with infallible certainty that the Roman Catholic Church is infallible. In the end, we are all making fallible decisions as fallible humans.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Catholic Bishops: Holy Disorder

I knew it would not be long before someone would complain that my post on the Catholic Bishop was not fair because he doesn’t faithfully represent the Catholic Church. While I would usually agree that individual beliefs are not always accurate representations of official Church teachings, claiming that the comments of an ordained Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church are not a reflection of the Church is just another example of the inconsistency of Catholic doctrines.

Read the quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church below. If what is claimed for the high level and power of a Roman Catholic Bishop are true, then how is it that they cannot be considered a fair representation of their Church? It seems that the “Catholic faithful” are to entrust their eternal salvation to the Bishops but not trust them to accurately portray the Catholic teachings in their behaviors or commentaries.

1548 In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis: It is the same priest, Christ Jesus, whose sacred person his minister truly represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration which he has received, is truly made like to the high priest and possesses the authority to act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself (virtute ac persona ipsius Christi). Christ is the source of all priesthood: the priest of the old law was a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ.

1549 Through the ordained ministry, especially that of bishops and priests, the presence of Christ as head of the Church is made visible in the midst of the community of believers. In the beautiful expression of St. Ignatius of Antioch, the bishop is typos tou Patros: he is like the living image of God the Father.

1558 "Episcopal consecration confers, together with the office of sanctifying, also the offices of teaching and ruling. . . . In fact . . . by the imposition of hands and through the words of the consecration, the grace of the Holy Spirit is given, and a sacred character is impressed in such wise that bishops, in an eminent and visible manner, take the place of Christ himself, teacher, shepherd, and priest, and act as his representative (in Eius persona agant)." "By virtue, therefore, of the Holy Spirit who has been given to them, bishops have been constituted true and authentic teachers of the faith and have been made pontiffs and pastors."

1560 As Christ's vicar, each bishop has the pastoral care of the particular Church entrusted to him, but at the same time he bears collegially with all his brothers in the episcopacy the solicitude for all the Churches: "Though each bishop is the lawful pastor only of the portion of the flock entrusted to his care, as a legitimate successor of the apostles he is, by divine institution and precept, responsible with the other bishops for the apostolic mission of the Church."

1581 This sacrament [holy orders] configures the recipient to Christ by a special grace of the Holy Spirit, so that he may serve as Christ's instrument for his Church. By ordination one is enabled to act as a representative of Christ, Head of the Church, in his triple office of priest, prophet, and king.

1585 The grace of the Holy Spirit proper to this sacrament is configuration to Christ as Priest, Teacher, and Pastor, of whom the ordained is made a minister.

1586 For the bishop, this is first of all a grace of strength…: the grace to guide and defend his Church with strength and prudence as a father and pastor, with gratuitous love for all and a preferential love for the poor, the sick, and the needy. This grace impels him to proclaim the Gospel to all, to be the model for his flock, to go before it on the way of sanctification by identifying himself in the Eucharist with Christ the priest and victim, not fearing to give his life for his sheep:

“Besides the power of order, bishops possess that of jurisdiction; they have the right to prescribe for the faithful the rules which the latter must follow in order to obtain eternal salvation. The power of jurisdiction is of Divine origin, in the sense that the pope is held to establish in the Church bishops whose mission it is to direct the faithful in the way of salvation. The bishops have then in their dioceses an ordinary jurisdiction, limited, however, by the rights that the pope can reserve to himself in virtue of his primacy. But this jurisdiction is independent of the will and consent of the faithful, and even of the clergy.” Catholic Encyclopedia

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Catholic Canon Missing a Book?

Pope John Paul II said the following regarding Muslims:

“Continuing our discussion of inter-religious dialogue, today we will reflect on dialogue with Muslims, who "together with us adore the one, merciful God" (Lumen gentium, n. 16; cf. CCC, n. 841). The Church has a high regard for them, convinced that their faith in the transcendent God contributes to building a new human family based on the highest aspirations of the human heart….

We Christians joyfully recognize the religious values we have in common with Islam. Today I would like to repeat what I said to young Muslims some years ago in Casablanca: "We believe in the same God, the one God, the living God, the God who created the world and brings his creatures to their perfection"

One of the Catholic commenters on my post about the One True Church of Allah said:

“According to the Qu'ran. Allah is the God of Abraham, Issaac and Joseph.”

If the Catholic position is correct, that the Catholics and Muslims worship the same God, then it seems to me that the Roman Catholic Church is missing a large portion of their canon – the Qu’ran. Since Muslims believe that the Qu’ran is God’s revealed word and the Catholics believe in the same God, then the Roman Catholic Church needs to encompass this divine revelation as it’s own to be consistent.

If the Roman Catholic Church does not believe the Qu’ran is the inspired Word of God, then the Church is mistaken in its belief that the Muslims worship the God of Abraham since the source of that proclamation comes from the Qu’ran. It is inconsistent to state that Catholics and Muslims share the same one true God but dismiss the divine, written revelation made to the Muslims.

One has to wonder how a supposedly infallible organization could make such a blunder.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Early Canon Witness: Melito, Bishop of Sardis

Melito, Bishop of Sardis, identified the Old Testament canon around 180 AD as not including the deuterocanonicals (and also Esther). An extract of Melito’s letter regarding the OT canon was recorded by Eusebius, Bishop Caeserea in his Church History (IV, 22;).

“ ‘Melito to his brother Onesimus, greeting: Since you have often, in your zeal for the word, expressed a wish to have extracts made from the Law and the Prophets concerning the Saviour and concerning our entire faith, and hast also desired to have an accurate statement of the ancient book, as regards their number and their order, I have endeavored to perform the task, knowing your zeal for the faith, and your desire to gain information in regard to the word, and knowing that thou, in your yearning after God, esteemest these things above all else, struggling to attain eternal salvation.

Accordingly when I went East and came to the place where these things were preached and done, I learned accurately the books of the Old Testament, and send them to you as written below. Their names are as follows: Of Moses, five books: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy; Jesus Nave, Judges, Ruth; of Kings, four books; of Chronicles, two; the Psalms of David, the Proverbs of Solomon, Wisdom also, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Job; of Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah; of the twelve prophets, one book; Daniel, Ezekiel, Esdras. From which also I have made the extracts, dividing them into six books.’ Such are the words of Melito.”

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

One True Church of Allah?

Dutch bishop: Call God ‘Allah’ to ease relations

"A Roman Catholic Bishop in the Netherlands has proposed people of all faiths refer to God as Allah to foster understanding...Bishop Tiny Muskens, from the southern diocese of Breda, told Dutch television on Monday that God did not mind what he was named and that in Indonesia, where Muskens spent eight years, priests used the word "Allah" while celebrating Mass.

'Allah is a very beautiful word for God. Shouldn't we all say that from now on we will name God Allah? ... What does God care what we call him?'"

"The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day." Catholic Church Catechism, 841

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Cajetan and the Oracles of God

"...the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God." Romans 3:2

"All Christians receive a double benefit by the apostacy and obstinacy of the Jews: one is, to know which are the true books of the Old Testament; for if all the Jews had been converted to the faith of Christ, then would the world have suspected that the Jews had invented those promises which are of Christ the Messiah: but, now, forasmuch as the Jews are enemies unto Christ, they bear witness unto us that there are no books canonical but those only which the Jews themselves acknowledged to be canonical."
-Cardinal Cajetan, source

"The papal legate, Cajetan, and Luther met face to face for the first time at Augsburg on 11 October. Cajetan (b. 1470) was "one of the most remarkable figures woven into the history of the Reformation on the Roman side . . . Surely no better qualified man could be detailed to adjust the theological difficulties."
-Catholic Encyclopedia

Catholic Quotes on The Bible

"As Catholics were responsible for writing the New Testament (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit), the Catholic Church doesn't "interpret" the Bible. We explain it. Protestants can only "interpret", because they are not the author (guided by the Holy Spirit), and therefore, can only guess at the possible meaning of a chapter, passage or phrase, just as anyone can only guess at any author's intentions in any other book. As the author, the Catholic Church is the only proper authority to consult in matters pertaining to the Bible."

- Catholic Truth

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Canon Witness: Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem

Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem and Doctor of the Church, identified the Old Testament canon as that of the 22 book Hebrew canon in his Catechetical Lecture (IV, 33) written around 350 AD (prior to the Councils of Hippo/Carthage and prior to Jerome’s Vulgate translation).

“Learn also diligently, and from the Church, what are the books of the Old Testament, and what those of the New. And, pray, read none of the apocryphal writings: for why do you, who know not those which are acknowledged among all, trouble yourself in vain about those which are disputed?... Of these read the two and twenty books, but have nothing to do with the apocryphal writings. Study earnestly these only which we read openly in the Church. Far wiser and more pious than yourself were the Apostles, and the bishops of old time, the presidents of the Church who handed down these books. Being therefore a child of the Church, trench thou not upon its statutes. And of the Old Testament, as we have said, study the two and twenty books, which, if you are desirous of learning, strive to remember by name, as I recite them. For of the Law the books of Moses are the first five, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. And next, Joshua the son of Nave, and the book of Judges, including Ruth, counted as seventh. And of the other historical books, the first and second books of the Kings are among the Hebrews one book; also the third and fourth one book. And in like manner, the first and second of Chronicles are with them one book; and the first and second of Esdras are counted one. Esther is the twelfth book; and these are the Historical writings. But those which are written in verses are five, Job, and the book of Psalms, and Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs, which is the seventeenth book. And after these come the five Prophetic books: of the Twelve Prophets one book, of Isaiah one, of Jeremiah one, including Baruch and Lamentations and the Epistle; then Ezekiel, and the Book of Daniel, the twenty-second of the Old Testament…But let all the rest be put aside in a secondary rank. And whatever books are not read in Churches, these read not even by yourself, as you have heard me say.”

Friday, August 10, 2007

Augustine and Councils: One Testimony

“The explicit testimonies to the canon of the Old Testament in the catalogues of Christian councils and Christian fathers of the first four centuries have now been examined. And it has been found that, with the exception of three catalogues at the close of the fourth or the beginning of the fifth century, all the remainder, with slight and unimportant variations, unanimously and unambiguously sustain the Protestant canon. And the other three emanate from one region, and were issued under one influence; so that they are virtually one testimony, and this demanding an explanation which brings it, too, into harmony with the united testimony of the rest of the catalogues. There was a strict canon, limited to books inspired of God, which is witnessed to from all parts of the Church during these early ages, and is identical with the canon of Jews and with that of Protestants. But the term canon was also used in a more lax and wider sense by Augustin and the councils in his region, who embraced in it not only the inspired word, but in addition certain books which had gained a measure of sanctity in their eyes from their connection with the Greek and Latin Bible, and from their having been admitted to be read in the churches on account of their devotional character and the noble examples of martyrdom which they recorded. These supplementary volumes, however, were not put upon a level with the canon strictly so-called in point of authority. They were to be read and heard soberly in the exercise of Christian discretion, and with this caution they were commended to Christian people.”

William Henry Green(1898)
General Introduction to the Old Testament

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Catholic Quotes on the Canon

Pope Gregory the Great (604 AD) in quoting a passage from 1 Maccabees says:

"We adduce a testimony from books, though not canonical, yet published for the edification of the Church." Source

"Even in the sixteenth century, shortly before the assembling of the Council of Trent, Cardinal Ximenes, Archbishop of Toledo in Spain, in the preface to his Complutensian Polyglott, dedicated to Pope Leo X., and approved by him, states that the books of the Old Testament there printed in Greek only, viz., Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, and the Maccabees, with the additions to Esther and Daniel, were not in the canon, but were received by the Church rather for the edification of the people than for confirming the authority of ecclesiastical doctrines." Source

"they are not in the canon; and that the Church readeth them rather for edification of the people than to confirm any doubtful points of doctrine; and that, therefore, they are not canonical." Cardinal Ximenes

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Catholic Quotes on The Bible

"We must, therefore, conclude that the Scriptures alone cannot be a sufficient guide and rule of faith because they cannot, at any time, be within the reach of every inquirer; because they are not of themselves clear and intelligible even in matters of the highest importance, and because they do not contain all the truths necessary for salvation." -The Faith of Our Fathers

Monday, August 6, 2007

Augustine Canon Distinction

Roman Catholic apologists maintain that the canon of Scripture was decided on during the Councils of Hippo (393 AD) and Carthage (397 AD) even though it wasn’t until the Council of Trent (1546 AD) that an infallible, binding decision was made for the Roman Catholic Church. The uncertainty over the exact canon of Scripture between the time of Hippo/Carthage and Trent goes against the assertion that the biblical canon, although not infallibly defined, was a consistent teaching in the Church that was only reaffirmed by Trent.

As the quote from Cardinal Cajetan shows, there appears to have been a dual-nature to the use of the word “canonical”. Cajetan maintains a difference between books which are to be used in confirming matters of faith and those which are simply to be read for edification. He goes on to say that understanding this distinction will help one to better understand the position of Augustine and the Council of Carthage.

In support of this idea we can look to Augustine’s own words with regards to the canon:
“Now, in regard to the canonical Scriptures, he must follow the judgment of the greater number of catholic churches; and among these, of course, a high place must be given to such as have been thought worthy to be the seat of an apostle and to receive epistles. Accordingly, among the canonical Scriptures he will judge according to the following standard: to prefer those that are received by all the catholic churches to those which some do not receive. Among those, again, which are not received by all, he will prefer such as have the sanction of the greater number and those of greater authority, to such as are held by the smaller number and those of less authority. If, however, he shall find that some books are held by the greater number of churches, and others by the churches of greater authority (though this is not a very likely thing to happen), I think that in such a case the authority on the two sides is to be looked upon as equal.

Now the whole canon of Scripture on which we say this judgment is to be exercised, is contained in the following books…”
-Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, Book II, Ch. 8

It is interesting to note that prior to giving his list of canonical books, Augustine outlines how one should decide which books are canonical. There are three main issues here.

First, it does not seem that Augustine was establishing what IS canonical since he is providing a method to determine canonicity to the reader. Second, it appears there was not a consensus of canonicity at the time of Augustine’s writing since he is providing a method for determination of such. And third, after advising the reader how to determine canonicity, Augustine goes on to describe “the whole canon of Scripture on which we say this judgment is to be exercised” (which is the canon lists of Hippo/Carthage) meaning that the canon list of those Councils is still up for discussion.

Taking the quotes of Cardinal Cajetan and Augustine together, it appears that the canon lists of the early councils led by Augustine were establishing a list of Scriptures from which the canonical Scriptures could be determined based on the consensus of Church usage (using the method outlined by Augustine). Effectively, Augustine and the Councils had narrowed the list of potentially canonical books without strictly defining the exact nature of the biblical canon. This would explain why discussion and doubts about the canonical books continued from the time of Augustine until the time of Trent.