Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Catholicism Series: Email

There are a few Catholics who are upset about my series. But yet not one person has been able to tell me what exactly I have posted that is incorrect. The most I have heard is that I have left stuff out (with a nefarious intent, of course).

I also received a nice email from a woman who was concerned by my series, the disunity it causes, and my potential anti-Catholic intent. I would like to post my reply to her as I think it may address some of my other "opposers":

"Hi X,

Let me ask you this. Are both Catholicism and say the Baptist faith (firm bible-only Christians) legitimate ways to get to heaven? If yes, then why the "one true church" mentality? If no, then why wouldn't you want to warn everyone that they must be Catholic?

I appreciate your email, but I think you and I would disagree in many areas. Agreeing to be different doesn't work when it comes to eternal life. I would hope we would both say we want to follow God (and join him when we die) EXACTLY the way he expects of us.

However, our two faiths have very, very different paths to God. I actually believe your path has veered off in the wrong direction. This is not about me being right, this is about eternal destiny. That certainly is something worth arguing over. The Apostles argued for doctrinal purity and that duty remains to the faithful.

Please, if I have misrepresented your faith on any of my posts, tell me how. There are a few Catholics who seem to be upset with my series and yet no one has told me what I have gotten wrong. There seems to be just general upset that I do not accept the Catholic faith as a sister faith.

Apparently anyone who says anything negative about the Catholic faith is quickly labeled "anti-Catholic" with some sort of evil agenda. I tend to worry about the integrity of an "opposing position" when their first defense is to paint out their opposition as someone with questionable character (liberals often resort to these tactics in politics).

If you would like to post against my posts that is perfectly fine. It is nice for you to ask and thank you for being civil in your email."

A second point I would like to make regards the issue of "salvation outside of the Catholic Church". I have had two emails talk about this subject although I haven't even posted on it yet which is a bit strange. I hope to elaborate on that idea in the future.

But let me make something clear for now. The Roman Catholic Church's (RCC) teachings on salvation outside the Church (salvation for us non-Catholics) is not the linchpin of my series. The important question is "what is the gospel message of the RCC" or "how does a Roman Catholic get to heaven according to their Church's teachings"? And is that "gospel" the same as the biblical gospel.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Catholicism: Baptism

Finishing up with Baptism in the Roman Catholic Church (RCC)…Baptism is considered to be necessary for the salvation:

”The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.” CCC 1257

However there is a “loophole” for some to be saved without Baptism:

”Since Christ died for the salvation of all, those can be saved without Baptism who die for the faith (Baptism of blood). Catechumens and all those who, even without knowing Christ and the Church, still (under the impulse of grace) sincerely seek God and strive to do his will can also be saved without Baptism (Baptism of desire). The Church in her liturgy entrusts children who die without Baptism to the mercy of God.” Compendium of the CCC, #262

But what about Protestants baptized in their own faith (according to the RCC)?

” Baptism constitutes the foundation of communion among all Christians, including those who are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church: "For men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in some, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. Justified by faith in Baptism, [they] are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church." "Baptism therefore constitutes the sacramental bond of unity existing among all who through it are reborn." CCC 1271

The only sticking point here is the “properly baptized”. For the “sacrament” to be valid it must be done in the correct manner:

Baptism, the gateway to the sacraments and necessary for salvation by actual reception or at least by desire, is validly conferred only by a washing of true water with the proper form of words. Through baptism men and women are freed from sin, are reborn as children of God, and, configured to Christ by an indelible character, are incorporated into the Church. Code of Canon Law 849

” For a sacrament to be valid, three things have to be present: the correct form, the correct matter, and the correct intention. With baptism, the correct intention is to do what the Church does, the correct matter is water, and the correct form is the baptizing "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19).

Unfortunately, not all religious organizations use this form. In fact, Jehovah’s Witnesses sometimes use no formula at all in their baptisms, and an even larger group, the "Jesus Only" Pentecostals, baptize "in the name of Jesus." As a result, the baptisms of these groups are invalid; thus, they are not Christian, but pseudo-Christian.”
Excerpt from Catholic.com

” It is a valid baptism that makes a person a Christian. If a person is baptized validly with the proper matter (water), proper formula ("In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit"), and proper intention (to baptize), he is ontologically Christian; that is, his very being is Christian. If he believes in the divinity of Christ and in the Trinity, he is theologically Christian—he holds Christian beliefs.

But as baptism imparts a permanent supernatural character upon the soul, a person’s status as a Christian is not dependent on how well he either understands or practices his faith.

Oneness Pentecostals are considered to be non-Christians primarily because they do not have a valid baptism: They baptize in the name of Jesus only. Ontologically speaking, they are not Christians because they do not have a valid baptism. Theologically speaking, they deny the Trinity and thus do not hold to classical Christian orthodoxy.

Most non-Catholic Christians who deny the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist (e.g., Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists) have valid baptisms. They are ontologically Christian. If they believe in the divinity of Christ and in the Trinity, then they are also theologically Christian.”
Excerpt from Catholic.com

But yet even where “valid” Baptisms exist, the views of what Baptism accomplishes are quite different for Catholics and Protestants as Catholic.com outlines (of course I disagree with their conclusions):

“Catholics and Protestants agree that to be saved, you have to be born again… When a Catholic says that he has been "born again," he refers to the transformation that God’s grace accomplished in him during baptism. Evangelical Protestants typically mean something quite different when they talk about being "born again."

… many Protestants have abandoned this biblical teaching [baptismal regeneration], substituting man-made theories on regeneration. There are two main views held by those who deny the scriptural teaching that one is born again through baptism: the "Evangelical" view, common among Baptists, and the "Calvinist" view, common among Presbyterians.

Evangelicals claim that one is born again at the first moment of faith in Christ. According to this theory, faith in Christ produces regeneration. The Calvinist position is the reverse: Regeneration precedes and produces faith in Christ. Calvinists (some of whom also call themselves Evangelicals) suppose that God "secretly" regenerates people, without their being aware of it, and this causes them to place their faith in Christ.

… The anti-baptismal regeneration position is indefensible. It has no biblical basis whatsoever. So the answer to the question, "Are Catholics born again?" is yes! Since all Catholics have been baptized, all Catholics have been born again. Catholics should ask Protestants, "Are you born again—the way the Bible understands that concept?" If the Evangelical has not been properly water baptized, he has not been born again "the Bible way," regardless of what he may think.” Excerpt from Catholic.com

Overall I see two main differences between the RCC and the Protestant/Bible-only teachings on Baptism. First, the RCC teaches that Baptism is a “normative” necessity for salvation while most Protestants do not (salvation by faith alone). Second, most Protestants would not consider that Baptism makes someone a “Christian” (or born again). To be a Christian would require true faith in Jesus Christ – certainly not something that can be found in a baptized infant

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Catholicism: The Sacraments

A very big part of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) is the sacramental system. The RCC teaches that God’s grace is given chiefly through the sacraments of which there are seven: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony.

”The sacraments, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, are efficacious signs of grace perceptible to the senses . Through them divine life is bestowed upon us. Compendium of the CCC, #224

The Sacraments have been instituted as a special means through which we are to receive the grace merited for us by Christ. As Christ is the giver of the grace, He has the right to determine the manner in which it shall be given, and one who refuses to make use of the Sacraments will not receive God's grace. Baltimore Catechism #580

The sacraments are not signs of something sacred, but actually give grace to the recipient. As such, the sacraments are considered necessary for salvation.

"The outward sign is not used merely to indicate that grace has been given, for the use of the outward sign with the proper intention also gives the grace of the Sacrament. Hence the right application of the outward sign is always followed by the gift of internal grace if the Sacrament be administered with the right intention and received with the right dispositions." Baltimore Catechism #584

"For believers in Christ the sacraments, even if they are not all given to each of the faithful, are necessary for salvation because they confer sacramental grace, forgiveness of sins, adoption as children of God, conformation to Christ the Lord and membership in the Church." Compendium of the CCC, #230

Through the sacraments Catholics are initiated into the Church and into Christ. This initiation usually begins with the Baptism of an infant followed later by Confirmation between the ages of seven and sixteen (USCCB).

”Christian initiation is accomplished by means of the sacraments which establish the foundations of Christian life. The faithful born anew by Baptism are strengthened by Confirmation and are then nourished by the Eucharist.” Compendium of the CCC, #251

”Baptism is a Sacrament which cleanses us from original sin, makes us Christians, children of God, and heirs of heaven… We are the heirs of Christ because at His death we came into the possession of God's friendship, of grace, and of the right to enter heaven, provided we comply with the conditions Our Lord has laid down for the gaining of this inheritance. The conditions Our Lord has laid down for the gaining of this inheritance are: That we receive, when possible, the Sacraments He has instituted; and that we believe and practice all He has taught.” Baltimore Catechism #621, 624, 625

”Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called. The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.” CCC 1250

”Baptism is the sacrament of faith. But faith needs the community of believers. It is only within the faith of the Church that each of the faithful can believe... CCC 1253

Obviously an infant does not have a faith in Christ in Baptism so the parents are expected to make the profession of faith.

”Everyone who is to be baptized is required to make a profession of faith. This is done personally in the case of an adult or by the parents and by the Church in the case of infants. Also the godfather or the godmother and the whole ecclesial community share the responsibility for baptismal preparation (catechumenate) as well as for the development and safeguarding of the faith and grace given at baptism.” Compendium of the CCC, #259

After receiving the sacrament of baptism, the recipient becomes “a new creature” and belongs forever to Christ. Through baptism is given the grace of Justification.

"Baptism takes away original sin, all personal sins and all punishment due to sin. It makes the baptized person a participant in the divine life of the Trinity through sanctifying grace, the grace of justification which incorporates one into Christ and into his Church. It gives one a share in the priesthood of Christ and provides the basis for communion with all Christians. It bestows the theological virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. A baptized person belongs forever to Christ. He is marked with the indelible seal of Christ (character)." Compendium of the CCC, #263

"The Most Holy Trinity gives the baptized sanctifying grace, the grace of justification:
- enabling them to believe in God, to hope in him, and to love him through the theological virtues;
- giving them the power to live and act under the prompting of the Holy Spirit through the gifts of the Holy Spirit;
- allowing them to grow in goodness through the moral virtues.
Thus the whole organism of the Christian's supernatural life has its roots in Baptism."
CCC 1266

Obviously the sacraments and the “effects” of Baptism in the RCC diverge greatly from most Protestant views of grace, faith, and justification. We will look at Baptism a bit more in the next post since there is so much to cover. This will likely be the only sacrament I will discuss in any detail for the sake of time.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Catholicism: Teaching Authority

In the last post we looked at the “chief marks” of the Church founded by Jesus according to Roman Catholic teachings.

One of the hallmarks of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) is their claim to be Apostolic. The RCC teaches that Christ gave authority over the Church to the Apostles who became the first bishops of the Church. That authority is also given to all future bishops as successors of the Apostles.

"The Church is apostolic. She is built on a lasting foundation: "the twelve apostles of the Lamb" (Rev 21:14). She is indestructible (cf. Mt 16:18). She is upheld infallibly in the truth: Christ governs her through Peter and the other apostles, who are present in their successors, the Pope and the college of bishops." CCC 869

The Bishop of Rome (the Pope) is the successor of Peter and the chief ruler of the RCC.

"The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter's successor, "is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful." "For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered."" CCC 882

The Pope and the Bishops form the teaching authority of the RCC, called the “magisterium”. When teaching on doctrines pertaining to faith and morals, they are considered “infallible” or free from error.

"The magisterium, guided and protected from error by the Holy Spirit, gives us certainty in matters of doctrine. The Church is the custodian of the Bible and faithfully and accurately proclaims its message, a task which God has empowered it to do…Such an official interpreter is absolutely necessary if we are to understand the Bible properly…The magisterium is infallible when it teaches officially…" excerpt from Catholic.com

""The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful - who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals. . . . The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter's successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium," above all in an Ecumenical Council. When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine "for belief as being divinely revealed," and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions "must be adhered to with the obedience of faith." This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself." CCC 891

The RCC maintains that God speaks to the Church through both the Sacred Scripture (the Bible) and Sacred Tradition (traditions handed down from the Apostles). However, for proper interpretation, it is necessary for all truths to come from the magisterium. Personal interpretation of the Bible is not allowed.

"As from the first, God speaks to his Church through the Bible and through sacred Tradition. To make sure we understand him, he guides the Church’s teaching authority—the magisterium—so it always interprets the Bible and Tradition accurately. This is the gift of infallibility. Like the three legs on a stool, the Bible, Tradition, and the magisterium are all necessary for the stability of the Church and to guarantee sound doctrine." excerpt from Catholic.com

"As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, "does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence."" CCC 82

"Mindful of Christ's words to his apostles: "He who hears you, hears me", the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms." CCC 87

"Some Christians claim, "The Bible is all I need," but this notion is not taught in the Bible itself. In fact, the Bible teaches the contrary idea (2 Pet. 1:20–21, 3:15–16). The "Bible alone" theory was not believed by anyone in the early Church. It is new, having arisen only in the 1500s during the Protestant Reformation. The theory is a "tradition of men" that nullifies the Word of God, distorts the true role of the Bible, and undermines the authority of the Church Jesus established (Mark 7:1–8). Although popular with many "Bible Christian" churches, the "Bible alone" theory simply does not work in practice. Historical experience disproves it. Each year we see additional splintering among "Bible-believing" religions. Today there are tens of thousands of competing denominations, each insisting its interpretation of the Bible is the correct one. The resulting divisions have caused untold confusion among millions of sincere but misled Christians." excerpt from Catholic.com

To summarize, the RCC relies on two forms of revelation from God – Scripture and Tradition. However, only the magisterium has the authority to interpret these revelations and all of the members of the Church must accept the teachings of their leadership with submission. This authority of the magisterium (and infallibility in teaching doctrine) is based on the idea of apostolic succession which is supported by the magisterium’s interpretation of the Scriptures.

I think in the next post we will look at the Sacraments as they are a big part of the RCC and important to the RCC's message of salvation.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Catholicism: The One True Church Claim

The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) makes some rather lofty claims about it’s authority, maintaining that it is the one true church founded by Jesus. How this idea affects the gospel message is something we will look at in a future post. First though, I would like to look at the claims of authority and basic structure of the church.

Perhaps the biggest claim to fame of the RCC is that it is THE church established by Jesus. It claims an unbroken history back to the Apostles.

"Among the Christian churches, only the Catholic Church has existed since the time of Jesus. Every other Christian church is an offshoot of the Catholic Church."

-excerpt from Catholic.com

"152. Which is the one true Church established by Christ?

The one true Church established by Christ is the Catholic Church.

(a) Many churches which claim to be Christian have broken away from the one true Church established by Jesus Christ. These churches were founded by men who had no authority from God to found a church.

(b) Christ intended that there should be only one true Christian Church, for He always spoke of His Church as one."

-The Baltimore Catechism (#3, lesson 12)

The Baltimore Catechism goes on to say that “We know that the Catholic Church is the one true Church established by Christ because it alone has the marks of the true Church… Jesus Christ willed that the true Church should have these marks, which would distinguish it from all false religions”

According to the catechism, the “chief marks of the true church” are the following:

1. The Church is One

"… Our Divine Savior prayed explicitly that His Church might be one, and He made it one; thus men can recognize it as the true Church…

… There are many religious sects which claim to be Christian, but are separated from the unity of Christ by their rejection of the authority invested by Him in the Roman Pontiff, the successor to Saint Peter…"
Baltimore Catechism

"Jesus established only one Church, not a collection of differing churches (Lutheran, Baptist, Anglican, and so on). The Bible says the Church is the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:23–32). Jesus can have but one spouse, and his spouse is the Catholic Church." excerpt from Catholic.com

2. The Church is Holy

"The Catholic Church is holy because it was founded by Jesus Christ, who is all-holy, and because it teaches, according to the will of Christ, holy doctrines, and provides the means of leading a holy life, thereby giving holy members to every age." Baltimore Catechism

"But the Church itself is holy because it is the source of holiness and is the guardian of the special means of grace Jesus established, the sacraments (cf. Eph. 5:26)." excerpt from Catholic.com

3. The Church is Catholic

"The Catholic Church is catholic or universal because, destined to last for all time, it never fails to fulfill the divine commandment to teach all nations all the truths revealed by God." Baltimore Catechism

4. The Church is Apostolic

"The true Church is apostolic because it is the Church Christ founded upon the apostles, and especially upon Peter whom He called the Rock on which the Church would be built. The supreme power of Saint Peter in the Church has been passed down through the unbroken line of his successors in the see of Rome." Baltimore Catechism

"The apostles were the first bishops, and, since the first century, there has been an unbroken line of Catholic bishops faithfully handing on what the apostles taught the first Christians in Scripture and oral Tradition (2 Tim. 2:2)...

…Early Christian writings prove the first Christians were thoroughly Catholic in belief and practice and looked to the successors of the apostles as their leaders. What these first Christians believed is still believed by the Catholic Church. No other Church can make that claim."
excerpt from Catholic.com

I will write more later on this idea of “the one true church” as it is key to the discussion of whether or not Rome teaches “another gospel”. But for the next post I would like to talk more about the structure/hierarchy of the church.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Catholic Doctrine: Introduction

It is important to understand the general working principles of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) before delving into particular teachings as the setup of the RCC is quite different than most Protestant denominations.

Going forward in this series it is important to remember these basic characteristics of the RCC faith:

1. Unity

All members of the RCC are required to believe all the doctrines of the church as taught to them. You can not pick and choose what to believe, you must accept all the teachings of the church or you are not “Catholic”.

Baltimore Catechism, no. 3 lesson 12:

The Catholic Church is one because all its members, according to the will of Christ, profess the same faith, have the same sacrifice and sacraments, and are united under one and the same visible head, the Pope.

…Catholics accept all the doctrines of faith and morals which were taught by Our Lord and the apostles and are proposed by the Church for belief and practice. A person who deliberately denies even one of the doctrines of the Church cannot be a Catholic. The Church is one in faith.

Catholics are subject to their respective bishops who rule them. They must recognize the supreme authority of the Pope in matters of religion. A person who deliberately refuses to accept the legitimate and supreme authority of the Pope and the bishops in matters of religion cannot be a Catholic.

Catechism of St. Pius X, Article 9:

31 Q: Are we obliged to believe all the truths the Church teaches us?
A: Yes, we are obliged to believe all the truths the Church teaches us, and Jesus Christ declares that he who does not believe is already condemned.

32 Q: Are we also obliged to do all that the Church commands?
A: Yes, we are obliged to do all that the Church commands, for Jesus Christ has said to the Pastors of the Church: "He who hears you, hears Me, and he who despises you, despises Me."

2. Infallibility

The RCC claims that it cannot be in error in matters of faith and morals. Therefore, all historical teachings of the church (as pronounced by the Pope or official councils) can not be denied.

Baltimore Catechism, no. 3 lesson 12:

By the infallibility of the Catholic Church is meant that the Church, by the special assistance of the Holy Ghost, cannot err when it teaches or believes a doctrine of faith or morals.

…The Church cannot change its defined teachings on faith and morals though it may restate them more clearly and more completely.

Catechism of St. Pius X, Article 9:

34 Q: Is the Catholic Church infallible, then?
A: Yes, the Catholic Church is infallible, and hence those who reject her definitions lose the faith and become heretics.

Because of these characteristics it is important to look at actual church teachings (as opposed to relying on individual member’s opinions) and remember that historical teachings are relevant to our evaluation. A member of the RCC cannot really say “we don’t believe that anymore” or “I believe most of the teachings but not all of them”.

If you would like to do some of your own research I would recommend Catholic.com which is suppose to have imprimaturs on it’s material (which means it has been approved as accurately portraying Church teachings). The article formats on Catholic.com are easier to read than the official church documents (some of which can be found at Vatican.va).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the official doctrinal guide for the lay members of the RCC and the most recent catechism of the Church. I like The Baltimore Catechism as it is written in question and answer format making it a bit more simplistic. Note, there appear to be multiple editions of The Baltimore Catechism with differences in the question order and answer wording.

Friday, January 5, 2007

How False is Too False?

Before I start the series on Catholicism I want to give everyone a motto of sorts to keep in the back of your mind:

How False Is Too False?

I think any biblically-based Christian can see the outward issues of Catholicism. The statues, the Pope, praying to Mary and the saints, etc. Clearly some things are out of whack – but in the end, what does it all mean. At what point do bad doctrines become false doctrines? At what point does a bad church become a false church?

I believe Paul gave us the answer in the Book of Galatians:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Gal 1:6-9

So the question becomes, is the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) preaching a “different gospel”. The answer will be up to you reading along.

I do not intend to make a hard case here, just present the facts as best I can so you can decide for yourself. I will post samplings of RCC doctrine from their official and approved sites as much as possible. And I am assuming a certain amount of biblical knowledge from my readers to discern what is or isn’t “false”.

I will tell you right now, that Catholic commenters may show up to defend their church. They will have “explanations” that sound remotely-biblical for what they believe or they will say you are misinterpreting their doctrine.

My advice – don’t take anything at face value. Weigh everything against the whole of scripture.

Monday, January 1, 2007

A Series on Roman Catholic Church Doctrines

I have decided to do an extended series of posts on Catholicism.

I have two main reasons for doing this:

1. I believe that a large number of Protestants are unaware of the actual teachings of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). Since I strongly believe that the RCC holds many doctrines that are counter-scriptural, I think it is important for every believer to understand what these doctrines are.

2. I have many family and friends in the RCC and I feel the need to understand the unbiblical doctrines to help in my conversations with them. I have felt a particular burden in this area lately.

I will do my best to represent the RCC accurately using material from their own sources. I will also do my best to provide scriptural support against the doctrines that I believe to be false.

What I will not have time to do is give a full-length, in-depth post on any given topic. I will give some facts, maybe some links, and leave it up to the readers to finish the research.