29 September, 2009

Discussion with Emmanuel Hechon about the authority of the Church

(Emmanuel Hechon) Hi,

First, I would like to answer to your question to a purely theoretical level: the truthness of a truth does not depend of his oldness. Either it is true, or not but it is regardless on when it was discovered, otherwise all scientific discovery would be false when they were first prove -because they are by definition new - and their truth will increase with time to finaly become completely true after a while. This is totaly absurd.

(Cristoiglesia) A appreciate your attempt to frame the discussion with your theorem but I find it somewhat lacking in logic. Certainly the age of a stated truth does not reflect negatively or positively on its veracity. We cannot make a priori judgment based on age but we are not limited in making a posteriori judgment as to the veracity of the stated truth because of the age of the stated necessary truth.

I theorize that the truth derives its veracity from its source instead of its age. To come to the truth there must be a syncretic joining of both priori and posteriori judgment derived from the source of the truth. For the sake of our discussion we must first present our case for what is the source of truth from which we can truly call the regula fidei. While truth is fully factual at its inception it may be more fully understood in time applying scholarship in priori and posteriori understanding derived from its source which applied to our discussion is Christ’s authority given to His Church. Such authority by all reason and experience is the Church with age being left completely out of the theoretical theological conclusion. Age therefore is just a starting point adding veracity but not necessarily defining it as does the source which is Christ.

(Emmanuel Hechon) Therefore even if protestantism were born yesterday, it could nethertheless be true.

(Cristoiglesia) Only if one gives more weight to the argument you theorize about age but when one gives more weight to the source of the truth which is Christ instead of age then the burden of proving your theory rests on posteriori judgment alone and in a true sense ignores priori judgment. You are concluding without sufficient evidence that posteriori judgment is sufficient to lend veracity to your conclusion and I assert that the evidence is woefully insufficient to make such a conclusion. Thus, it is your burden to prove your theorem within a reasonable doubt which I doubt is possible within the construct of your paradigm.

(Emmanuel Hechon) Let us considere now, you're premise, I restate your question: " So Why exactly do you fallow a theological thought that came in the 15th century rather then a much earlier chruch?"
I would like you to see, that your question is a complex question, that is to say that it presuppose two assumptions:

- all that catholicism teaches is exactly what was always be tought from the beginning of christianity.
- all the ideas of protestantism were novelties and has never existed

Without the truth of this two assumptions, your question makes no sense.

Logically you have to prove the two things, before asking the question. I would like to give you a famous sample of a complex question:

When did you stop to beat your wife?

If someone answer to the question, he is admitting that he has beaten his wife. Because the asker presupposes that it is the case.

To ask the question without proving the beating is a logical fallacy. The same that you commited.

So, I can't answer to the question, because it would be accepting your premise that I don't hold.

Before answer to this question we have to do two things:

We have to make some works:
- identify was are the "theological thoutht" of both catholicism and protestantism
- look in history to know when they were stated.

(Cristoiglesia) When you restated my question you changed the entire intent of the question which was to illustrate the importance of the source of truth whether coming from the divine savior of the world through His only Church or from a man-made source which are the Reformers whose goal was not to find the truth or even to proclaim the truth but to form a perception of God that conformed to their philosophical desires coming out of Scholasticism and evolving into Humanism that mankind and particularly themselves need a belief system that has at its goal a God that serves man instead of the relationship of Christian orthodoxy taught by the Catholic Church of a God that is served by man instead. For the orthodox Christian ones highest aspiration was to be in God’s will by serving Him in spirit and in truth while Luther, Zwingli, Calvin et al taught an entitlement by faith alone of creating a debt owed by our sovereign God to man which in essence demanded that God justify a man on this faith alone and denying justice in place of undeserved mercy without the presence of contrition for falling away through the seduction of sin.

As for your assumptions, the Catholic Church has never departed from the teaching of Jesus and the disciples and the Protestants being the newcomers to Christianity have the onus upon them to prove otherwise. I do not see why one must prove that Protestant ideas or as you name them novelties never existed in the Church but only that they are lacking the fullness of truth and in some cases the novelties, or being more theologically correct the heresies, have no veracity based on the Christian orthodoxy established in the first century by Jesus, the Twelve disciples and their subsequent successors. So, again I must point out that the onus is upon you to prove the veracity of the departures from orthodoxy made by the Reformers is in fact a return to some regula fidei that has been abandoned by the original Church established by Christ and the disciples, which is undeniably the Catholic Church, and consequently restored. Indeed your claim of a logical fallacy does not apply unless the original premise is obscured by a restating of the original question. But I agree that it is reasonable to examine the theological thought of both Christian disciplines, Catholicism and Protestantism from a historical perspective even though or historical genesis is separated by fifteen hundred years which causes a necessary disconnect from apostolic Christianity taught and practiced by Christ’s Church in the Protestant experiment of the Reformers. In other words, Protestant Christianity cannot be a continuation of apostolic teaching and practice but instead it is a redefining of the same without any justifiable or verifiable authority to do so. But I can agree that historical chronology is important for both sides of this discussion.

(Emmanuel Hechon) I would argue you that the heart of catholicism is the best explained your cathechism on the sections about indulgences, that is section 1471 to 1479. Here are the references:http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P4G.HTM#5K

We can sum up this in that way:
- all the merits of the saints, the virgin Mary, and Christ are contained in the treasury of merit.
- The administration of the treasury is the privilege of the roman catholic church.
- The church gives the benefit of this treasury by the sacrements.

If I am wrong, you can correct me, but I am ready to argue that all the priestly system and the mass hold in large on this notion of treasury of merit.

(Cristoiglesia) I have to disagree strongly here to your assumption that the heart of Catholicism is the Sacramental life of the Church because it denies the completely Christocentric aspect of the Church which puts Christ as the reason and the desire of the faithful. The Sacraments in the view of the Church are God’s gifts of grace to His faithful that facilitates, secures and promotes the ongoing sanctification of a soul infused with salvific grace as a result of our faith. In Catholic Christianity, salvation is a process completed at our death and our salvation is determined by the state of our soul at death rather than when we assent to faith. It is not when determined when we surrender to the law written on our heart as a result of the call of the Spirit resulting in faith. The Bible clearly states that we must endure and the Church rightly agrees. The Sacraments and the Grace they bestow are the bread of life or food for eternity for the soul seeking their salvation with fear and trembling with a heavenly hope. (Phil 2:12)

(Emmanuel Hechon) So now, what is the heart of the reformation? I think that this historical latin sentences can do our job very well:

- sola sciptura: the holy scripture is the only infaillible rule of faith and pratice.

(Cristoiglesia)By the end of the first century the Church was formed around the bishop who represented the Church in apostolic succession. The great commission was well underway and had extended to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. In scriptures we see St. Paul in his epistles telling the Church to respect the Sacred Traditions handed to them coming from both written sources and oral ones. Even the written sources were delivered orally as transcripts were very rare and few people were literate. There was not widespread distribution of what we consider today to be inspired Scripture as decided at the African Synods by the Church in the late fourth and early fifth centuries. Throughout the first sixteen centuries of the Church there was never any question that the authority of truth rested in the Church as the “regula fidei” where all teaching was and is measured by Sacred Tradition not by the Bible alone, especially when interpreted outside of its source the Church. To orthodox Christians this would be considered ridiculous as well as arrogant considering the church never wrote the Bible to be a sole source of faith, morals and practice and one author even reminded those who would approach its use in such a way as to consider it the only source that it is incomplete as far as teaching and that Christ taught much more than what it contained. In fact, it warns that it contains only a small part of Christ’s teaching, but the faithful need not fear because the Church was sent the Holy Spirit that leads the Church to all truths.

Obviously, because there are those who have rejected orthodox Christianity some lack the fullness of truth that is contained in the Episcopal structure of Christ’s Church. They lack the fullness of worship by not having the corporeal Christ present in their worship. They lack the fullness of faith by not receiving His Body and Blood that the Bible and Sacred Tradition say is necessary for eternal life. The Church is led by men as the enduring Church and not by a book easily misinterpreted and its teaching turned into the traditions and doctrines of men by those through eisegesis use it to support their desires of the flesh very often exhibited by their hatred for the Church and hatred for the most sacred of gifts to humanity His Body and Blood of the Eucharist. These misinterpretations also cause them to have animosity for each other with the same source, the Bible being used to justify schisms which are usually not so much the result of theological disagreements so much as pridefulness and deceit which are no gifts of the Spirit but attributes of the flesh that inhibit our process of sanctification that leads to final salvation. Perhaps this is why Jesus said as a prophetic statement, that unless we eat of His Body and drink His blood we have no life in us. Perhaps this is why the Bible teaches that it is not enough to cry “Lord, Lord” as some of those who do will hear at their judgment that Christ never knew them and be thrown into the lake of fire.

Christ did not teach that we are to gather around a book of Scriptures to find the truth but that the truth is found in the Church that gathers around the bishop. God was not the author of division as has occurred with those who have abandoned the Church for their private interpretations of Scripture into tens of thousands of exponentially increasing schisms without end. God is a God of unity where He prayed His prayer before His arrest and crucifixion that we all be one. He is not a God that can only be found in the pages of a Book but who is found in His Church and where His corporeal presence is given to His Church as He promised so that we may endure to eternal life and His Church may endure until He comes again. It is His Church where the truth resides and it is the place where we find the ”bulwark and ground of the truth”, there is no other.

(Emmanuel Hechon) - sola gratia: the grace of God is the only reason of salvation, it is founded on God alone and nothing in the creature, not even a foreseen faith

(Cristoiglesia) This is clearly affirmed by the Council of Trent: "...we are therefore said to be justified gratuitously, because none of those things that precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification." (Chapter VIII)

(Emmanuel Hechon) - sola fide : this salvation is only by faith which is not something that everybody has, but a particular gift of God grace to his elect.

(Cristoiglesia) The belief in faith alone is a heresy condemned the only place it appears in Scripture by St. James. Even the demons believe. The Catholic Church does not teach that works merit salvation but instead we teach grace through faith. Can you agree that works may come as the result of the believer cooperating with the Holy Spirit and being obedient to God and working within His will? Can you also agree that it is the Holy Spirit that makes us desire Him and become in a familial relationship with Him? Jesus did say that unless we eat His Body and drink His blood we have no life (eternal) in us. We desire His great feast and it is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that gives us that desire and hunger to do His commandment. Surely we do desire eternal life but we do not desire His Body and Blood because of this but it is the Holy Spirit that gives us the desire and compulsion to do His will.



1987 The grace of the Holy Spirit has the power to justify us, that is, to cleanse us from our sins and to communicate to us "the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ" and through Baptism:34
But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves as dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.35

1988 Through the power of the Holy Spirit we take part in Christ's Passion by dying to sin, and in his Resurrection by being born to a new life; we are members of his Body which is the Church, branches grafted onto the vine which is himself:36
[God] gave himself to us through his Spirit. By the participation of the Spirit, we become communicants in the divine nature. . . . For this reason, those in whom the Spirit dwells are divinized.37

1989 The first work of the grace of the Holy Spirit is conversion, effecting justification in accordance with Jesus' proclamation at the beginning of the Gospel: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."38 Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, thus accepting forgiveness and righteousness from on high. "Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man.39

1990 Justification detaches man from sin which contradicts the love of God, and purifies his heart of sin. Justification follows upon God's merciful initiative of offering forgiveness. It reconciles man with God. It frees from the enslavement to sin, and it heals.

1991 Justification is at the same time the acceptance of God's righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. Righteousness (or "justice") here means the rectitude of divine love. With justification, faith, hope, and charity are poured into our hearts, and obedience to the divine will is granted us.

1992 Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross as a living victim, holy and pleasing to God, and whose blood has become the instrument of atonement for the sins of all men. Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy. Its purpose is the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life:40
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.41

1993 Justification establishes cooperation between God's grace and man's freedom. On man's part it is expressed by the assent of faith to the Word of God, which invites him to conversion, and in the cooperation of charity with the prompting of the Holy Spirit who precedes and preserves his assent:
When God touches man's heart through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, man himself is not inactive while receiving that inspiration, since he could reject it; and yet, without God's grace, he cannot by his own free will move himself toward justice in God's sight.42

1994 Justification is the most excellent work of God's love made manifest in Christ Jesus and granted by the Holy Spirit. It is the opinion of St. Augustine that "the justification of the wicked is a greater work than the creation of heaven and earth," because "heaven and earth will pass away but the salvation and justification of the elect . . . will not pass away."43 He holds also that the justification of sinners surpasses the creation of the angels in justice, in that it bears witness to a greater mercy.

1995 The Holy Spirit is the master of the interior life. By giving birth to the "inner man,"44 justification entails the sanctification of his whole being:
Just as you once yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification. . . . But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life.45


1996 Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.46

1997 Grace is a participation in the life of God. It introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life: by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ, the Head of his Body. As an "adopted son" he can henceforth call God "Father," in union with the only Son. He receives the life of the Spirit who breathes charity into him and who forms the Church.

1998 This vocation to eternal life is supernatural. It depends entirely on God's gratuitous initiative, for he alone can reveal and give himself. It surpasses the power of human intellect and will, as that of every other creature.47

1999 The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification:48

Therefore if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself.49

2000 Sanctifying grace is an habitual gift, a stable and supernatural disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live with God, to act by his love. Habitual grace, the permanent disposition to live and act in keeping with God's call, is distinguished from actual graces which refer to God's interventions, whether at the beginning of conversion or in the course of the work of sanctification.

2001 The preparation of man for the reception of grace is already a work of grace. This latter is needed to arouse and sustain our collaboration in justification through faith, and in sanctification through charity. God brings to completion in us what he has begun, "since he who completes his work by cooperating with our will began by working so that we might will it:"50
Indeed we also work, but we are only collaborating with God who works, for his mercy has gone before us. It has gone before us so that we may be healed, and follows us so that once healed, we may be given life; it goes before us so that we may be called, and follows us so that we may be glorified; it goes before us so that we may live devoutly, and follows us so that we may always live with God: for without him we can do nothing.51

2002 God's free initiative demands man's free response, for God has created man in his image by conferring on him, along with freedom, the power to know him and love him. The soul only enters freely into the communion of love. God immediately touches and directly moves the heart of man. He has placed in man a longing for truth and goodness that only he can satisfy. The promises of "eternal life" respond, beyond all hope, to this desire:
If at the end of your very good works . . ., you rested on the seventh day, it was to foretell by the voice of your book that at the end of our works, which are indeed "very good" since you have given them to us, we shall also rest in you on the sabbath of eternal life.52

2003 Grace is first and foremost the gift of the Spirit who justifies and sanctifies us. But grace also includes the gifts that the Spirit grants us to associate us with his work, to enable us to collaborate in the salvation of others and in the growth of the Body of Christ, the Church. There are sacramental graces, gifts proper to the different sacraments. There are furthermore special graces, also called charisms after the Greek term used by St. Paul and meaning "favor," "gratuitous gift," "benefit."53 Whatever their character - sometimes it is extraordinary, such as the gift of miracles or of tongues - charisms are oriented toward sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. They are at the service of charity which builds up the Church.54

2004 Among the special graces ought to be mentioned the graces of state that accompany the exercise of the responsibilities of the Christian life and of the ministries within the Church:
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.55
2005 Since it belongs to the supernatural order, grace escapes our experience and cannot be known except by faith. We cannot therefore rely on our feelings or our works to conclude that we are justified and saved.56 However, according to the Lord's words "Thus you will know them by their fruits"57 - reflection on God's blessings in our life and in the lives of the saints offers us a guarantee that grace is at work in us and spurs us on to an ever greater faith and an attitude of trustful poverty.
A pleasing illustration of this attitude is found in the reply of St. Joan of Arc to a question posed as a trap by her ecclesiastical judges: "Asked if she knew that she was in God's grace, she replied: 'If I am not, may it please God to put me in it; if I am, may it please God to keep me there.'"58


You are glorified in the assembly of your Holy Ones, for in crowning their merits you are crowning your own gifts.59
2006 The term "merit" refers in general to the recompense owed by a community or a society for the action of one of its members, experienced either as beneficial or harmful, deserving reward or punishment. Merit is relative to the virtue of justice, in conformity with the principle of equality which governs it.

2007 With regard to God, there is no strict right to any merit on the part of man. Between God and us there is an immeasurable inequality, for we have received everything from him, our Creator.

2008 The merit of man before God in the Christian life arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. The fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man's free acting through his collaboration, so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful. Man's merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit.

2009 Filial adoption, in making us partakers by grace in the divine nature, can bestow true merit on us as a result of God's gratuitous justice. This is our right by grace, the full right of love, making us "co-heirs" with Christ and worthy of obtaining "the promised inheritance of eternal life."60 The merits of our good works are gifts of the divine goodness.61 "Grace has gone before us; now we are given what is due. . . . Our merits are God's gifts."62

2010 Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life. Even temporal goods like health and friendship can be merited in accordance with God's wisdom. These graces and goods are the object of Christian prayer. Prayer attends to the grace we need for meritorious actions.

2011 The charity of Christ is the source in us of all our merits before God. Grace, by uniting us to Christ in active love, ensures the supernatural quality of our acts and consequently their merit before God and before men. The saints have always had a lively awareness that their merits were pure grace.
After earth's exile, I hope to go and enjoy you in the fatherland, but I do not want to lay up merits for heaven. I want to work for your love alone. . . . In the evening of this life, I shall appear before you with empty hands, for I do not ask you, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is blemished in your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in your own justice and to receive from your love the eternal possession of yourself.63


2012 "We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him . . . For those whom he fore knew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified."64

2013 "All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity."65 All are called to holiness: "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."66
In order to reach this perfection the faithful should use the strength dealt out to them by Christ's gift, so that . . . doing the will of the Father in everything, they may wholeheartedly devote themselves to the glory of God and to the service of their neighbor. Thus the holiness of the People of God will grow in fruitful abundance, as is clearly shown in the history of the Church through the lives of so many saints.67

2014 Spiritual progress tends toward ever more intimate union with Christ. This union is called "mystical" because it participates in the mystery of Christ through the sacraments - "the holy mysteries" - and, in him, in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. God calls us all to this intimate union with him, even if the special graces or extraordinary signs of this mystical life are granted only to some for the sake of manifesting the gratuitous gift given to all.

2015 The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle.68 Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes:
He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows.69

2016 The children of our holy mother the Church rightly hope for the grace of final perseverance and the recompense of God their Father for the good works accomplished with his grace in communion with Jesus.70 Keeping the same rule of life, believers share the "blessed hope" of those whom the divine mercy gathers into the "holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."71


2017 The grace of the Holy Spirit confers upon us the righteousness of God. Uniting us by faith and Baptism to the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, the Spirit makes us sharers in his life.

2018 Like conversion, justification has two aspects. Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, and so accepts forgiveness and righteousness from on high.

2019 Justification includes the remission of sins, sanctification, and the renewal of the inner man.

2020 Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ. It is granted us through Baptism. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who justifies us. It has for its goal the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life. It is the most excellent work of God's mercy.

2021 Grace is the help God gives us to respond to our vocation of becoming his adopted sons. It introduces us into the intimacy of the Trinitarian life.

2022 The divine initiative in the work of grace precedes, prepares, and elicits the free response of man. Grace responds to the deepest yearnings of human freedom, calls freedom to cooperate with it, and perfects freedom.

2023 Sanctifying grace is the gratuitous gift of his life that God makes to us; it is infused by the Holy Spirit into the soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it.

2024 Sanctifying grace makes us "pleasing to God." Charisms, special graces of the Holy Spirit, are oriented to sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. God also acts through many actual graces, to be distinguished from habitual grace which is permanent in us.

2025 We can have merit in God's sight only because of God's free plan to associate man with the work of his grace. Merit is to be ascribed in the first place to the grace of God, and secondly to man's collaboration. Man's merit is due to God.

2026 The grace of the Holy Spirit can confer true merit on us, by virtue of our adoptive filiation, and in accordance with God's gratuitous justice. Charity is the principal source of merit in us before God.

2027 No one can merit the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods.

2028 "All Christians . . . are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity" (LG 40 § 2). "Christian perfection has but one limit, that of having none" (St. Gregory of Nyssa, De vita Mos.:PG 44, 300D).

2029 "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Mt 16:24).

34 Rom 3:22; cf. 6:3-4.
35 Rom 6:8-11.
36 Cf. 1 Cor 12; Jn 15:1-4.
37 St. Athanasius, Ep. Serap. 1,24:PG 26,585 and 588.
38 Mt 4:17.
39 Council of Trent (1547): DS 1528.
40 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1529.
41 Rom 3:21-26.
42 Council of Trent (1547): DS 1525.
43 St. Augustine, In Jo. ev. 72,3:PL 35,1823.
44 Cf. Rom 7:22; Eph 3:16.
45 Rom 6:19,22.
46 Cf. Jn 1:12-18; 17:3; Rom 8:14-17; 2 Pet 1:3-4.
47 Cf. 1 Cor 2:7-9.
48 Cf. Jn 4:14; 7:38-39.
49 2 Cor 5:17-18.
50 St. Augustine, De gratia et libero arbitrio, 17:PL 44,901.
51 St. Augustine, De natura et gratia, 31:PL 44,264.
52 St. Augustine, Conf. 13,36 51:PL 32,868; cf. Gen 1:31.
53 Cf. LG 12.
54 Cf. 1 Cor 12.
55 Rom 12:6-8.
56 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1533-1534.
57 Mt 7:20.
58 Acts of the trial of St. Joan of Arc.
59 Roman Missal, Prefatio I de sanctis; Qui in Sanctorum concilio celebraris, et eorum coronando merita tua dona coronas, citing the "Doctor of grace," St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 102,7:PL 37,1321-1322.
60 Council of Trent (1547): DS 1546.
61 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1548.
62 St. Augustine, Sermo 298,4-5:PL 38,1367.
63 St. Thérèse of Lisieux, "Act of Offering" in Story of a Soul, tr. John Clarke (Washington DC: ICS, 1981), 277.
64 Rom 8:28-30.
65 LG 40 § 2.
66 Mt 5:48.
67 LG 40 § 2.
68 Cf. 2 Tim 4.
69 St. Gregory of Nyssa, Hom. in Cant. 8:PG 44,941C.
70 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1576.
71 Rev 21:2.

(Emmanuel Hechon)- solo christo, this salvation is through Christ alone, he alone has done what is necessary to salvation, nothing is done by the believers to merit it, not even to believe because it is a particular grace given to them.

(Cristoiglesia) (Deu 30:11) This commandment, that I command thee this day is not above thee, nor far off from thee:

(Deu 30:12) Nor is it in heaven, that thou shouldst say: Which of us can go up to heaven to bring it unto us, and we may hear and fulfil it in work?

(Deu 30:13) Nor is it beyond the sea: that thou mayst excuse thyself, and say: Which of us can cross the sea, and bring it unto us: that we may hear, and do that which is commanded?

(Deu 30:14) But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart, that thou mayst do it.

This is the teaching of Moses where Moses tells the people the importance of the law being upon their hearts and how it is essential for God’s plan for humanity. We rarely see reference to these verses because they speak most profoundly against Calvinist predestination that says only some are predestined to salvation and others are predestined to hell. If the law is written on everyone’s heart by God, then for what purpose, except to provide a pathway to eternity in Christ. I heard a preacher in a small Pentecostal Church in the mountains of Kentucky say that the law on our hearts was like the Rosetta stone allowing us to understand the things of God, that the law contains the very concept of faith and this grace and this Godliness coexists with our inherent sinfulness until we are washed by the blood of the Lamb with our surrender and become pure of heart within God’s law and consequently within His will. We can not be within God’s will without obedience to this imputed law that along with inherited sin intuitively shows us the need for a Savior, Christ Jesus. This is why we have no excuse for our lack of surrender to God because He is not only evident in His creation but He is a part of our very being upon our creation.

How could one understand God’s demands upon us without this law? How can we understand God’s will for us to live within righteousness and justice if not for this law that abides always in our conscience? We often think of God’s law as something without us but in fact it is eternal within our being that calls to intuition the will of God. This is essential for without the law we can not know God.

Now the law on our hearts should not be confused with those external laws of men. The law written on our hearts is the law that makes us understand righteousness, justice, love and reconciliation. The law in our hearts is not the external law that can result in legalism where the letter of the law is followed at the expense of the spirit of the law. There is no other means by which we know His voice when He speaks to our spirit.

(Heb 8:10) For this is the testament which I will make to the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: I will give my laws into their mind: and in their heart will I write them. And I will be their God: and they shall be my people.

(Rom 10:6) But the justice which is of faith, speaketh thus: Say not in thy heart: Who shall ascend into heaven? That is to bring Christ down;

(Rom 10:7) Or who shall descend into the deep? That is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.

(Rom 10:8) But what saith the scripture? The word is nigh thee; even in thy mouth and in thy heart. This is the word of faith, which we preach.

(Rom 10:9) For if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

(Col 1:27) To whom God would make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ, in you the hope of glory.

(Emmanuel Hechon) - soli deo gloria, all this result in the glorification of God alone, believers have nothing to boast for. Each of their good acts - either their faith, or their repentance or their perseverance, or anything else - are not because there is something good in them, but because they were prepared by God before the foundation of the world and bought by Christ.

(Cristoiglesia) Limited atonement” says that Jesus only died for a few who are the elect but the Scriptures say differently that Jesus died so that all men may be saved. Now, one can play around with rhetoric to deny, what I believe, are the clear teachings of Scripture that salvation is available to all men by their free will to respond to the law already written on their hearts and come to belief in Christ. Again, there is no effort by Calvinists to reconcile Scriptures contrary to their teaching.

“Irresistible grace” says that God can save whom He will and I do not disagree with this thinking as the sovereignty of God to save whom He wishes is unquestionable as He is the creator of all things. The question comes up, however, is this plan what is indicated by Scripture that our sovereign God will compel some to salvation while ignoring others as this doctrine of men would suggest. It denies, as I believe is its intent, that God has given men free will to respond to the Spirit or not. This comes very close to suggesting another Gospel that is forbidden by Scriptures and negates the great commission to spread the Gospel. For if what Calvin says is true, then spreading the Gospel has little, if any, purpose as a sovereign God will save whom He will and all others go to hell and are separated from God by some previous lottery before the earth was created. To me this puts into question the just nature of God as just and what I believe is man’s mission, as His created, to serve Him. Then, again being consistent, why is the law written on everyone’s heart, if not for providing the ability to respond to the Spirit. Why not write the law only on the hearts of the elect, and not all men, as the Scriptures teach? Could it be that Calvin was wrong and men do have free will to respond to the Spirit and come to faith?

And then, of course is Calvin’s teaching on “perseverance” which is consistent with “irresistible grace” which both denies free will, or the purpose of the law being written on one’s heart. Trying to justify this with the Scriptural teaching that we are to be cautious and ever mindful that we can fall away from belief as John 3:16 says, that we are to continue to believe for eternal life. Then, of course there is the evidence, as all ministers will attest, of those believers, who are seduced by the world into disbelief and a return to a life of sin leading to destruction. While Calvinist’s will say that they were never among the elect, the light of God shown brightly in their lives before it was extinguished by sin without repentance. The question is apparent, if they fall away only for a time is the grace received really irresistible grace and the falling away evidence of a Spiritual walk leading towards sanctification as the Scriptures indicate? And, is the process of salvation and the adoption through the Spirit of a new creature encumbered by the return to a sinful walk in the world? Why would God allow one of His elect to return to sin once he has come to belief and responded to the Spirit and how is that reconciled with “irresistible grace”?

(Emmanuel Hechon)In addition to the five solas, we can add:
- tota scriptura: Our faith in not only founded in scripture but in the whole scripture.

(Cristoiglesia) Our faith is founded in the Word which is Christ and not in just His written Word. The fullness of truth is the totality of Sacred Tradition which Protestants deny even though such a belief is not supported by Scriptures but instead denied. The Bible states that not all of Jesus’ teaching is contained within but that if all His teaching were written down all the books in the world could not contain them.

(Emmanuel Hechon) - semper reformada: the church has to always reform itself to conform to this scripture

(Cristoiglesia)The true Church never needs reforming but always conforms to Scripture. For Jesus promised that His Church would never fall into apostasy and would endure for all times as the “pillar and foundation of the truth”. With such a Church testifying to the truth of these promises it convicts those in protest as heretics and reveals their apostasy lest we call Jesus a liar and an incompetent in founding His Church with him as the cornerstone and the disciples as the 12 foundation stones of he Church. Such a belief is a direct attack on the veracity of Christ and His redemptive work for mankind. Jesus was the Messiah prophesied and not a pretender as Protestants suggest by their doctrines of men.

(Emmanuel Hechon)So you have to prove that your system was always believe in the church and mine never before Luther. Once you have done that, your question can be asked... but this question is of no relevance if I can prove that the reformation system is true. My answer would be: I follow this "new system" because it is true.


(Cristoiglesia) It is simple. If your “new system” is true then Jesus is a liar when He made His promises and is not the Messiah prophesied but instead He is a pretender. The martyrdom of the disciples was in vain and the world still awaits a Savior.

God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

26 September, 2009

Discussion with "God's Warrior Princess" about what she has been taught about the Church's teaching

(God’s Warrior Princess) You pray to Mary and bow at statues made to look like her...

(Cristoiglesia) I assume that you believe that doing these things is wrong, is that correct? When we pray to the blessed mother of God we are using the definition of pray in the archaic sense which means to ask. We are asking the blessed mother to pray for us. We do not know what the blessed mother of God looked like but artists through the ages have pictured her as a beautiful young woman most often with the baby Jesus in her arms. The artists do a great service to the Church and the faithful by reminding us of the example of the blessed mother of her obedience to our Lord and her devotion to Him. It reminds us of what we are also called to do as the faithful. Often being in the presence of artists renditions of the blessed mother we are compelled to kneel and pray to our Lord as we are humbled by the thought of our Christian calling to Him and the grace that we have received through our faith and are encouraged by the faith of the blessed mother who gave her whole life to Her Son and sacrificed for humanity by saying yes to be the God bearer for the redemption of mankind. That is why we honor her and call her blessed just as the angel Gabriel proclaimed. We may bow at her statue or picture but not to her statue or picture but instead as an act of devotion to her Son which her picture reminded us.

First of all it is disingenuous to state that the practice of praying for each other has no biblical foundation, we are instructed in Scripture to have a prayer life for others as it is part of God’s commandment to love one another.

(2Co 5:8 DRB) But we are confident and have a good will to be absent rather from the body and to be present with the Lord.

The Catholic Church does not teach that it is absolutely necessary for one to ask for the intercession of saints for salvation. The Church does teach that prayer to God is necessary for salvation for all believers. For a Catholic it would be wrong to ignore the liturgical worship offered to God at feast days for the saints and the prayers asking for their intercession.

The Communion of Saints is a dogma of the ancient Church and is recorded in the apostles Creed. It simply states that the faithful because of their relationship with Christ are alive even after the death of their flesh and worship with us. To us the Church is made up of the Church militant who represents all those believers living out their hope in the flesh.

(Phi 2:12 DRB) Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only but much more now in my absence) with fear and trembling work out your salvation.

(Phi 2:13 DRB) For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will.

It consists of the Church Suffering who are those who are temporarily in need of further purgation from sin so that they may enjoy the presence of God.

(2Ma 12:46 DRB) It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.

Lastly, the Communion of the Saints consists of those who have won the race:

(Phi 3:14 DRB) I press towards the mark, to the prize of the supernal vocation of God in Christ Jesus.

Their immortal souls are in heaven in God’s presence:

(Rev 5:8 DRB) And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

The universal stream connecting all of God’s creation is His love, which we take on in our baptism into our journey towards sanctification. This is not an emotional but a desire placed in us by the Spirit of God that endures as a desire for those other than ourselves and this love extends even to our enemies. This is truly a love that comes only from God and is a foreign concept and nonsense to those who have not received God’s salvific grace. This desire within our souls does not end with the death of our flesh but continues into eternity where the saints through their intercession in prayer encourage us in our race and assist us to endure unto our union with God.

I think that some people of faith, who do not understand the Communion of Saints, somehow believe that asking saints to pray for us is detracting from our love or our trust in God. In truth it is impossible, if we truly love as God commands and has given us the grace to understand, not to pray to those whom we love and in turn we expect them to return that same love to us by praying for us and presenting our prayers to God.

(God’s Warrior Princess) You ask a human man, or priest for forgiveness,

(Cristoiglesia) Christ instituted the sacraments purposefully. The sacrament called reconciliation or penance is what we call our actions when we go to confession. Going to confession and confessing to a priest is the normative way of reconciling oneself back into God's family when we have committed a mortal sin. It is the biblical way corresponding to Jesus' teaching as recorded by the apostle John in John 20: 22-23. What we learn from John is the authority given to the priests is not only to forgive sins but also to retain sins. Jesus commanded the authority to be used. It is the duty given by Jesus for the priest to measure the contrition of the penitent and act accordingly.

However, one must repent and pray sincerely to God as an act of contrition before one enters the confessional. The priest represents Jesus by acting in persona Christi and for the entire family of God represented by the Church militant who is harmed by the sin of another. No sin is private but all sin affects others. Jesus described this relationship as a vine with Him as the vine and we as the branches (John 15:5). If one member of the branch is sick then all
the branches are affected and suffer as a result. Because of our familial relationship with each other Jesus created a means of confession so that all those affected in His family are represented by the priest as is God. The acts of sin and forgiveness are not private matters.

(God’s Warrior Princess) you pray to saints, you use saints and mother mary as intecessors, as well as jesus, which it does not say to do these things anywhere that i have read inthe Bible. If you can show me in the Bible where it says I should pray to mary because she was sinless, or I should pray to a saint, or I should go ask a priest fr forgiveness I would greatly appreciate it.

(Cristoiglesia) Yes, as I said in the archaic sense of asking, we do ask others to pray for us. Yes when another prays for us they are acting as an intercessor but not as a mediator as the Bible says there is only one mediator between man and God and that is Jesus. If I pray for you then I am a intercessor and if you pray for me then you are an intercessor but being an intercessor or asking another to be an intercessor is not a form of worship as some ignorant of Scriptures proclaim. I have already provided some of the Scriptures that support prayer and the intercession of others for us in prayer. But, we do not do this because of the sinlessness of the blessed mother but because the prayers of the righteous are of great benefit to us.

(God’s Warrior Princess) Note I said in the Bible, not yor man made doctrine.

(Cristoiglesia) Since all of the Church doctrine is inspired by God as He promised His Church then none of it is man-made unless you are speaking of the nature of Jesus being fully man and fully God. It is always sad when I encounter someone who believes in the heresy of Sola Scriptura which is truly man-made and unbiblical as the Bible says that the authority is Christ’s Church and not any book but of course Protestants reject this as they are those prophesied about that can no longer endure sound doctrine and the replace the authority of the Church with the Bible instead. The curiously they accept the Holy book of the Church and the very same authority that wrote the New Testament and canonized the Christian Bible. The Bible will tell you, if you have ears to hear, that not all of Jesus teaching is contained within, as all the books in the world could not contain all that He taught. Yet those lost in the heresy of Sola Scriptura have no desire for the fullness of Jesus teaching that is in His Church. This is truly sad and evidence of Satan at work and using man-made doctrines and heresies to keep some from the truth.

(God’s Warrior Princess) Oh, by the way it also sas that we aren't to judge so qit calling me a sinner, I know I am and so is everyone else. And I will be spending my eternity in heaven thank you very much.

(Cristoiglesia) Yes we are all sinners but we must learn to reject the compulsion we have to sin as sin separates us from the familial relationship with God and so many never reconcile and ask for forgiveness through confession and condemn themselves. Many Protestants tell lies about Christ’s Church out of pride for their man-made churches believing that their doctrines and practices are superior to those instituted by Christ’s authority on earth which is His Church.

Furthermore, you are committing the sin of presumption by assuming your salvation. The Old Catholic Encyclopedia defines the sin of presumption: "It may be defined as the condition of a soul which, because of a badly regulated reliance on God's mercy and power, hopes for salvation without doing anything to deserve it, or for pardon of his sins without repenting of them."

God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

24 September, 2009

Discussion with Michael about theistic evolution and Church authority

(Michael) I am rather surprized at you.

Yes, theistic evolution is the position of the Vatican which says from John Paul I on that "evolution is more than a theory" A glorified unbelief in the scriptures is more like it. Perhaps you are unaware of people like the official Vatican astronomer and other official spokespeople who oppose intelligent design something no orhtodox Christian would oppose for the last 2000 years
It is very sad.

(Cristoiglesia) I believe that you are speaking of John Paul II when he commented on the statements of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and not on any statements by John Paul I. the Pope was speaking of the fact that there is more than one theory to be considered and is not giving increased credibility to any one theory. Here is exactly what the Pope said:

"Furthermore, while the formulation of a theory like that of evolution complies with the need for consistency with the observed data, it borrows certain notions from natural philosophy. And, to tell the truth, rather than the theory of evolution, we should speak of several theories of evolution. On the one hand, this plurality has to do with the different explanations advanced for the mechanism of evolution, and on the other, with the various philosophies on which it is based. Hence the existence of materialist, reductionist and spiritualist interpretations. What is to be decided here is the true role of philosophy and, beyond it, of theology."
(Pope John Paul II to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, October 22, 1996)

I would remind you that nothing that is concluded by the PAS is binding on the Church or its faithful as this group is made up of scientists of whom there are atheists, agnostics and etc. and all of its members are evolutionists. They simply advise the Pope as to scientific progress in science.

The Pope did not say that it is “more than a theory” but that there is more than one theory. However, even if one translates his words as you have done the Pope is not stating that the PAS opinion is “fact” but is still open to scientific inquiry.

It is sad that you take the prejudicial leap of logic to say that John Paul II is stating “A glorified unbelief in the scriptures” when nothing in his statements even suggest such a conclusion. Your unjustified attack on the Pontiff is what is sad.

You say that the Church opposes intelligent design when it , in fact does the opposite. Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says on science and theology:

159. Faith and science: "...methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are." [ Vatican II GS 36:1]

283. The question about the origins of the world and of man has been the object of many scientific studies which have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man. These discoveries invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator, prompting us to give him thanks for all his works and for the understanding and wisdom he gives to scholars and researchers....

284. The great interest accorded to these studies is strongly stimulated by a question of another order, which goes beyond the proper domain of the natural sciences. It is not only a question of knowing when and how the universe arose physically, or when man appeared, but rather of discovering the meaning of such an origin....

(Michael) Priest are most definitely NOT part of the official teaching church in Catholic dogma you must be a Bishop or higher. This has had a long tern effect of widespread shallow knowledge of the scriptures from medieval times onward

(Cristoiglesia) I believe you are telling a half-truth here and intentionally trying to marginalize the role of the priest as a teacher and as a shepherd of the flock. The truth is that Jesus gave the teaching authority to the disciples and it is the Bishops who are the direct successors of the disciples representing the continuing authority. The priest receives his authority from the bishop and in a real sense we are acting for the bishop under the same authority given by Jesus. We see this occurring even before the completion of the books that would become New Testament Scriptures centuries later. So, you are incorrect in saying that priests are not a part of the official teaching since we do our duties under the Apostolic authority of the bishop. I have no idea what you mean by your next statement which is so general in context and without citation of evidence that it has no meaning. Certainly the knowledge and scholarship of Scriptures by the Church is unsurpassed by any other source throughout the history of the Church.

(Michael) Did the Catholic church depart from teaching the gospel with clarity? Since I am an orthodox reformed conservative protestant I would side with that view of the gospel and most definitely the Catholic church is not teaching sola fide, sola scriptura, sola Christ which I see and the Biblical position

(Cristoiglesia) No, the Church has never departed from the teaching of he true Gospel of our Lord and we have the promise from Christ that we never will. He said that the gates of hell will never prevail against the Church and that the Church would remain for all times the “pillar and foundation of truth”. In so being the Church is the Ark not unlike the Ark of Noah that saves man from the sins of the world. The Church remains heavenly in nature receiving it very veracity by the imputation of our Lord.

You define yourself as ” an orthodox reformed conservative protestant” which to me means the following:

Your “orthodoxy” is based on the doctrines of men like Calvin and Zwingli who are heretics and false teachers in protest and disobedience of Christ’s Church. You are “reformed” in that you refuse to be in God’s will as one in His Church as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane praying that we all be one as He and the Father are one. You are “conservative” in that you are conserving the doctrines of men that are taught by heretics like Calvin and Zwingli as your own. Last of all you are ”protestant” in that you are in the company of others who are disobedient to Christ’s Church and outside of God’s will.

You are correct that the Catholic Church does not teach the heresies and man-made doctrines of sola fide and sola scriptura.

Sola fide is a teaching that is in contradiction to Scriptures. The only place in Scriptures where “faith alone” is mentioned is when it is condemned in the book of James as a heresy and evidence of a dead faith. Sola scriptura is also contradictory to Scriptures in that the Bible says that not all of the teaching of Jesus is contained in the Bible and suggests strongly that only a small amount of His teaching is indeed recorded in the Bible. However the fullness of His teaching is taught in the Church which is the regula fidei which Protestants have separated themselves being no longer able to endure sound doctrine as Jesus prophesied. Jesus gave His teaching authority to the Church and not to a book that is interpreted by individuals outside the Church leading to exponentially increasing schisms within the heretical Protestant movement which is based on some truth and much heresy. This is certainly not what Jesus intended or His Church intended when writing the New Testament Scriptures and canonizing the Christian Bible at the African Synods. In conclusion, there is nothing biblical about Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide but they are both man-made heresies promulgated by those desiring to marginalize the Christocentrict nature of the Church where we serve Christ only for the Protestant view instead which is a syncretic blend of Humanism and Christianity that creates a God that serves man instead. Remember the Reformers were Humanists first coming out of Scholasticism. They did not see the need of a God we serve but instead desired a God that served man. You will have to define what you mean by “sola Christ” before I can comment on this position.

(Michael) I can understand you not agreeing with me on the last point as that is a contention between protestant and Catholic, but the first two I am afraid you are misinformed. The Catholic church is way in the direction of theistic evolution and led there by the last two popes.

(Cristoiglesia) No, it is you who is misinformed by your twisting of statements to fit your prejudice.

(Michael) The Catholic church from medieval times on has the Bishops and above as the teaching church unlike conservative protestants which charge the pastors to teach the word.

(Cristoiglesia) Yes, as I said before, it is the Bishops who have the teaching authority from Christ. But the priests act within the authority of the Bishops with their teaching so as there would not be any ambiguity or conflict. Obedience to the Bishop is an original tenet of the Church where the authority is given. The first definition of he Church was those who gather around the bishop by St. Ignatius of Antioch who was the disciple of St. John and St. Peter. Protestant pastors have no authority to teach and are not valid clergy according to Scriptures.

Thank you for your commentary and the opportunity to share the truth and contend for Christ’s Church and His faithful. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

22 September, 2009

Discussion with St. Alan servant of Jesus about the authority of the Church versus the Bible

(St. Alan servant of Jesus) Jesus said that all , everyone, who believes in Him will be saved.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

No where in the Inspired Scriptures does Jesus say only those in the catholic church will be saved. You still do not understand it. Every person in the world who believes in Jesus are saved and they all are going to heaven. Even in the book of Revelation Jesus talks about 7 different church's that follow Him.

(Cristoiglesia) Yes Jesus promises salvific grace to those that believe in Him and endure in their faith to final salvation. Just as John 3:16 says in the Greek one must endure or continue to believe. But belief alone is not enough because if it was even the demons would be saved as they certainly do believe but reject the grace of God. Jesus provided one path to salvation and that is through His Church. All who are saved are a part of His Church and among these are those who are within His visible Church and those who are part of His invisible Church but are not obedient to it out of ignorance to God’s will. To the latter group salvation will be difficult as they are outside of the grace to endure provided by the Sacraments of our Lord through His Church. So, there may be those saved outside of His visible Church but not without His Church.

The Churches spoken of in Revelation are Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. They are all congregations of the Catholic Church which is Christ’s Church. Revelations is not endorsing the possibility that other churches and especially the man-made Protestant churches will be saved but instead that some may be saved within these disobedient sects in spite of their refusal of the grace available in His Church the Catholic Church.

(St. Alan servant of Jesus) 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

(Cristoiglesia) Yes, the Catholic Church wrote those words and we truly believe them. But you will notice that those words are not an endorsement for Scripture alone. And, you must remember that Jesus gave all teaching authority to His Church and the writing and canonization of Scripture is done under the authority given by Christ to teach. The Scriptures were written by the Church to be used and understood in the community of the Church and not for private interpretation outside of the teaching authority given by Christ. Nowhere will you see in Scriptures that what is contained is the entirety or fullness of Christ’s teaching. In fact the Scriptures tell us that if all that Jesus taught was written down that all the books in the world could not contain His teaching. But, through the authority He left, His Church, the fullness of His teaching is promised through apostolic succession.

(St. Alan servant of Jesus) Jesus gave the Bible to everybody, to read and study. The catholic church does not own the Bible, it came from the Holy Spirit. Jesus intended that everyone read the Bible for the building up of the believer.

(Cristoiglesia) The Church wrote the Bible (New Testament) for teaching within the Church. It had human authors who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Church is the regula fidei and not the Bible. Outside of the Church the Bible can easily be a tool of Satan and a justification for heresy as we see in the 30,000+ Protestant schismatic sects which are increasing exponentially. But I will agree that we should all read the Bible and study its message to mankind. But explicit in the Bible is the teaching that it is the Church to which all authority is given and not to the Bible which is the product of the Church and about the Church. God’s true Church is not the product of the Bible as some Protestants erroneously assume.

(St. Alan servant of Jesus) When the catholic church refused to let the common man read the Bible that's when Jesus brought very godly people like Martin Luther, William Tyndale, and others to spread the truth among the believers. Jesus used these great men and others to bring the Bible to them because the catholic church refused to spread the word of God.

The catholic church had the Bible removed from them by God and God put the Bible in the hands of the believers to study and to grow.

(Cristoiglesia) First of all the statement you make that the Church refused to let the common man read the Bible is entirely and utterly false. Your statement is a lie designed to cause division that comes straight from the author of confusion and those spreading this lie are Satan’s tool. Martin Luther and William Tyndale were both heretics and not godly men. They chose to spread division and heresy instead of truth. The Church has always protected and spread God’s Word in spite of the attacks of heretics like Luther and Tyndale.

Contrary to what you say the Bible has never been kept from anyone by the Church but the opposite in true. Think about it, why would we write the New Testament and canonize the entirety of the Christian Scriptures and then try to restrict anyone from its teaching? We did not and never will. We are the only Church that teaches the entirety of the Bible and the only Church that has the legitimate claim to be a true Bible Church in that nothing we teach is in any way contradictory to Scriptures. No one else can say the same. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

16 September, 2009

Continuing discussion with Randy about His disagreements with the Church

(Randy) You said it was Christ's Church that preserved and canonized the Christian Bible. I say yes the Catholics did canonize the Bible, but I do not believe one can call the early Church Catholic as you mean the word. I know we will not agree on this so it is a moot point. Also do not forget we have the dead sea scrolls and other scrolls that were never in the hands of the Catholics so while they did preserve some it is the height of presumption to think you did God a favor. Faithful Christians preserved the word and it would have survived without the Catholics putting them together.

(Cristoiglesia) I am pleased that we agree that the Church did canonize the Bible. Our agreement would please God.

The word “Catholic” was first used in Antioch by St. Ignatius who was the third bishop of Antioch with St Peter having been the first. St. Ignatius was the disciple of both St. Peter and of St. John along with St. Polycarp. On the way to Rome to be martyred by being fed to the beasts he wrote seven letters to the various congregations of the Church. This is what he wrote in context:

"Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains [i.e., a presbyter]. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church" (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 [A.D. 110]).

Here is another early example of the word Catholic being used to describe the Church:

"And of the elect, he was one indeed, the wonderful martyr Polycarp, who in our days was an apostolic and prophetic teacher, bishop of the Catholic Church in Smyrna. For every word which came forth from his mouth was fulfilled and will be fulfilled" (Martyrdom of Polycarp 16:2 [A.D. 155]).

You claim that this is a moot point because of our disagreement but I believe that true teaching is important and that changing the meaning of something to support ones prejudice is irresponsible and can even be described as false teaching. I assume that you would conclude by being a Protestant that the word catholic applies to all Christians whether they are obedient to Christ’s Church or not. What you are forgetting is that when this word was coined there was no other Church. It would be 1500 years before the Protestants would deny the Church because they were no longer able to endure sound doctrine and because of their pride and arrogance they felt that they could found a church as a counterfeit to Christ’s Church teaching their heretical doctrines of men. By doing so they separated themselves from the meaning and the spirit of the word “Catholic” and by usurping the word as describing themselves, they denigrate those who are true to the meaning of the term Catholic in His Church.

(Randy) You say Catholics never kept the word from the laity. Have you never heard of Wycliffe, Tyndale and others that created the Bible in the common tongue? Read up on your history.

(Cristoiglesia) Yes, I have heard of both men. Wycliffe was a critic of the Church and attacked the Church authority, the blessed Eucharist and called the Bible the only regula fidei. He was the predecessor of the Protestant rebellion who promoted the ideas of Scholasticism which was the precursor of Humanism that was the philosophical cause of the Protestant Reformation. He had nothing to do with any claim that the Church kept the written Word from the laity although he promoted the idea as an attack against Church authority. Such is a ridiculous claim as the Church was teaching the Bible daily in every congregation. However, the Church being the defender of orthodoxy was reluctant to allow the Scriptures to be available to heretics who would twist the meaning of Scriptures to match their heretical ideas. The Church then and today believes that the Bible is best understood within the teaching of the Church and the teaching Magisterium than among the uneducated and heretics who twist it to their own notions and prejudice. The Church had always taught from the beginning that the written Word is a part of Sacred Tradition and thus taught in the community of the Church and that for it to be taught elsewhere invites error and heresy.

Tyndale simply produced a translation full of error and heresy which lacked scholarship and the Church reasonably took issue with the spread of the false teaching that this translation allowed. He was arrested and condemned to death by the secular court of Henry VIII who was angry at him for opposing his divorce. Again, this does not support the accusation that the Church kept the written Word from the laity.

(Randy) Next you use another fancy word to say that Judge "Christ's Church." Again the arrogance. I look at the fruit of the Catholic Church and say as an institution or if you will a faith that it has fallen from the words of God. A few examples: No where in the word does is say leaders cannot marry.

(Cristoiglesia) I am not sure of the “fancy” word that you claim I used or why you claim my arrogance but AI will address your other criticisms. The Church does not forbid anyone to marry. Those that dedicate their lives to the Church are allowed to take a vow of chastity. Both Jesus and St. Paul spoke of the idyllic state of celibacy but spoke of it as a gift of grace. Many priests are married in the Church. I am a married priest and have never vowed celibacy. Out of the 23 Rites of the Catholic Church 22 allow married priests and all are in full communion with the Holy See. Only the Latin Rite has the discipline of celibacy for some priests. While the Bible speaks of men who are called and selected as clergy may be married it does not say that unmarried men are exempt from the clergy.

(Randy) Also, for women (Nuns if you will) should be 60 and be widows.

(Cristoiglesia) I believe as you that this is the biblical citation for the support of nuns or sisters in the Church. It recommends widows over the age of sixty to avoid that scandal that may occur with younger women who are more likely to not be able to live a life of chastity according to their vow in return for their committing to the service of the Church.

1Ti 5:2 Old women, as mothers: young women, as sisters, in all chastity.

1Ti 5:9 Let a widow be chosen of no less than threescore years of age, who hath been the wife of one husband.

(Randy) These are found in 1 Timothy and Titus. The word overseer is also translated as deacon, elder and even Bishop. Even some of the Apostles were married. (1 Corinthians 9:5).

(Cristoiglesia) Yes, this is true.

(Randy) Many Priestly Pedophiles have been protected by their leaders and cover-ups. The Bible tells us they should be rebuked in public and removed from service. (1Timothy). These are enough for now, but more could be said.

(Cristoiglesia) Your accusation is a general accusation instead of one with particulars. Therefore I will answer it generally. There has been no authorization of covering up the crimes of paedophile or sexually abusive priests. That is not to say that there were not errors made in the handling of these cases but the charge of “cover-ups” is the most egregious of the accusations. The Church has been extremely open about these accusations and has responded in a most charitable way towards the victims and a zero tolerance for those perpetrating these crimes. They have been and were removed from ministry based only on accusations alone to avoid the very criticism you level at the Church. However, criticisms remain in spite of all efforts to be transparent and pragmatic in dealing with this problem that we share with all Christian churches. Here is what I wrote recently responding to the same or similar criticism:

Jesus gave us a good lesson for those who are so quick to condemn the Church for the sins of individual clergy. It is as if they are not guilty as well and we all know that this is not just a Catholic problem but a problem among all clergy and if one is objective when looking at the problem the statistics proves that Catholic clergy have the least problem of all clergy. Even school teachers have a much greater incidence of committing this crime.

When people are in denial as most Protestants are then it is easy to place blame on others and especially when the Christ's Church is their favorite target. It also keeps one from confronting one’s own problem with sexually abusive clergy. Certainly the Protestants are no more or less guilty of covering up their complicity with the cover ups.

An example is the case of which hundreds if not thousands could be named is the case with the Church of God of Cleveland Tennessee who had a bishop named Wesley McCoy who was accused of up to 22 incidents of sexual abuse with children. Immediately after the arrest the church removed all reference to him on their website and denied he was affiliated with their church. This is typical of the reaction to these incidents. I was a Protestant for 50 years before becoming Catholic and believe me this is common. So errors like this occur because people are trying to protect their reputations whether Protestant or Catholic. The worst thing is when one focuses on their denial and nothing is done to prevent these incidents in their own churches. In other words the best way to cope is to deny one's own problem or potential and to blame others. Jesus said it this way:

Joh 8:7 When therefore they continued asking him, he lifted up himself and said to them: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

You will see people being hypocrits and casting aspersions on the Church when they answer questions like these on this forum but Jesus also taught us about these people in the following:

Mat 7:3 And why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye; and seest not the beam that is in thy own eye?

Mat 7:4 Or how sayest thou to thy brother: Let me cast the mote out of thy eye; and behold a beam is in thy own eye?

Mat 7:5 Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thy own eye, and then shalt thou see to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

Luk 6:41 And why seest thou the mote in thy brother's eye: but the beam that is in thy own eye thou considerest not?

Luk 6:42 Or how canst thou say to thy brother: Brother, let me pull the mote out of thy eye, when thou thyself seest not the beam in thy own eye? Hypocrite, cast first the beam out of thy own eye: and then shalt thou see clearly to take out the mote from thy brother's eye.

So my fellow Christians the Church certainly erred decades ago when they moved priests who were accused of these incidents after giving them treatment that the medical community said was a cure for their problem only to find out in retrospect that they had a mental disease that is not curable and hardly treatable. Hindsight is always clear and in focus and we accept the blame but we did it for charitable reasons just as we pay restitution for one who only claims abuse without any proof. It was never for evil intent. Sometimes the victims are those that are accused but are not given the opportunity to defend themselves because they are dead or denied trial but the secular authorities. Remember that very few of the accused have been convicted and accusations do not equal guilt.

My suggestion to all of those lacking charity and predisposed to hatred of Christ’s Church is to replace your hatred with love and move in a direction as the Catholic Church has done to make sure that the number of abusers in your churches are reduced and make your children safer from these predators. Follow the lead of the Catholic Church and purge yourself of your own problem so that then you will have some credibility and moral prerequisite to say to us and others look what we have done let us help you. That is what the Church is giving you example of how to confront your problem by screening for these abusers and to accept the blame and pay restitution to victims. It is the loving Christ like thing to do and we ask humbly for you to do as we have done and put down the stones you are so anxious to throw at others.

(Randy) As for rituals. Where do we see praying to anyone save God alone through Jesus?

(Cristoiglesia) Protestants often erroneously equate prayer to worship and in doing so they err. While we do pray to God directly we also ask others to pray for us in the archaic meaning of prayer which means “to ask” and also we will in turn honor others requests to pray for them. The following gives the biblical teaching on praying for each other:

We are instructed in Scripture to have a prayer life for others as it is part of God’s commandment to love one another.

(2Co 5:8 DRB) But we are confident and have a good will to be absent rather from the body and to be present with the Lord.

The Catholic Church does not teach that it is absolutely necessary for one to ask for the intercession of saints for salvation. The Church does teach that prayer to God is necessary for salvation for all believers. For a Catholic it would be wrong to ignore the liturgical worship offered to God at feast days for the saints and the prayers asking for their intercession.

The Communion of Saints is a dogma of the ancient Church and is recorded in the apostles Creed. It simply states that the faithful because of their relationship with Christ are alive even after the death of their flesh and worship with us. To us the Church is made up of the Church militant who represents all those believers living out their hope in the flesh.

(Phi 2:12 DRB) Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only but much more now in my absence) with fear and trembling work out your salvation.

(Phi 2:13 DRB) For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will.

It consists of the Church Suffering who are those who are temporarily in need of further purgation from sin so that they may enjoy the presence of God.

(2Ma 12:46 DRB) It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.

Lastly, the Communion of the Saints consists of those who have won the race:

(Phi 3:14 DRB) I press towards the mark, to the prize of the supernal vocation of God in Christ Jesus.

Their immortal souls are in heaven in God’s presence:

(Rev 5:8 DRB) And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

The universal stream connecting all of God’s creation is His love, which we take on in our baptism into our journey towards sanctification. This is not an emotional but a desire placed in us by the Spirit of God that endures as a desire for those other than ourselves and this love extends even to our enemies. This is truly a love that comes only from God and is a foreign concept and nonsense to those who have not received God’s salvific grace. This desire within our souls does not end with the death of our flesh but continues into eternity where the saints through their intercession in prayer encourage us in our race and assist us to endure unto our union with God.

I think that some people of faith, who do not understand the Communion of Saints, somehow believe that asking saints to pray for us is detracting from our love or our trust in God. In truth it is impossible, if we truly love as God commands and has given us the grace to understand, not to pray to those whom we love and in turn we expect them to return that same love to us by praying for us and presenting our prayers to God.

(Randy) Why do you appoint saints? Talk about judging. If you are a believer in Christ you are a saint. In many of the letters the author encourages prayers for the saints and he was not speaking about just the Apostles.

(Cristoiglesia) The Church agrees with your definition of saint but we are perhaps more cautious in judging who may be a saint. We do not appoint saints we recognise their sanctity. Canonizing saints is a way of honoring those who have received our heavenly hope. This is not done frivolously but with great caution so that the Church will not be guilty of presumption. Sainthood must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. There must be strong evidence that the one declared a saint is indeed worthy.

(Randy) The rosary is another ritual as is christening, Hail Mary's and Our Fathers.

(Cristoiglesia) The Rosary is part of the prayer life of many Catholics and is no more a ritual than any other prayer. The Church has always encouraged the prayers of the faithful to God. Perhaps you can explain why you have a problem with praying.

When you mention “christening” are you aware that this is a method of baptism only practiced by Methodists as far as I know. This is not a usual Catholic practice although the Church allows this method. The usual method of the Church is pouring or Immersion. The Bible is silent on the method of Baptism and the only instruction in the first century is in chapter 7 of the Didache which is also called “The training of the twelve”. Here is what it says:

And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Matthew 28:19 in living water. But if you have not living water, baptize into other water; and if you can not in cold, in warm. But if you have not either, pour out water thrice upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whatever others can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before.

The “Hail Mary” is the annunciation of the angel Gabriel located in Scripture:

Luk 1:28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
The “Our Father” is how Jesus taught us to pray in the following:

Luk 11:1 And it came to pass that as he was in a certain place praying, when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him: Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

Luk 11:2 And he said to them: When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come.

Luk 11:3 Give us this day our daily bread.

Luk 11:4 And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.

(Randy) While I do not have a problem with confession I believe the Bible says confess to one another.

(Cristoiglesia) Christ instituted the sacraments purposefully. The sacrament called reconciliation or penance is what we call our actions when we go to confession. Going to confession and confessing to a priest is the normative way of reconciling oneself back into God's family when we have committed a mortal sin. It is the biblical way corresponding to Jesus' teaching as recorded by the apostle John in John 20: 22-23. What we learn from John is the powers given to the priests are not only to forgive sins but also to retain sins. Jesus commanded the power to be used. It is the duty given by Jesus for the priest to measure the contrition of the penitent and act accordingly.

However, one must repent and pray sincerely to God as an act of contrition before one enters the confessional. The priest represents Jesus by acting in persona Christi and for the entire family of God represented by the Church militant who is harmed by the sin of another. No sin is private but all sin affects others. Jesus described this relationship as a vine with Him as the vine and we as the branches (John 15:5). If one member of the branch is sick then all of
the branches are affected and suffer as a result. Because of our familial relationship with each other Jesus created a means of confession so that all those affected in His family are represented by the priest as is God. The acts of sin and forgiveness are not private matters.

(Randy) Also you, I believe, have closed communion and may, re-baptize believers.

(Cristoiglesia) We do not re-baptize believers in the Catholic Church as long as they have been baptized in the Trinitarian formula.

St. Paul taught that we must discern the Body and the Blood of the Lord to receive the Eucharist. We must be prepared by faith, understanding and an examination of our conscience. This is the most holy moment for any Christian and we must be sure of our preparation as every aspect of our demeanor must be prepared to reflect the respect, solemnity and joy that are received at the reception of our Lord and Saviors real body and blood. This is the most extraordinary moment that anyone can experience on this earth. We are to be reminded of the words of the Centurion, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed.”

Is it possible to have open communion with those who do not share in our belief in the real corporeal presence of Christ in the Eucharist? Could we, in fact be harming those who we allow at the Lord's Table who do not discern the Lord's Body and Blood? Would we be contributing to them bringing condemnation on themselves by sharing the Eucharist with them? Certainly, I cannot receive or participate in Protestant communion where it is only symbolic as it makes a mockery of the Sacrament established by Christ. Under what circumstance do I believe that communion is possible in good conscience? When we share the same respect and reverence in knowing, that it is the Body and Blood of the living Christ that we adore and worship before we receive, then we can share communion. What do I mean by respect and reverence?

We must be in a state of grace, one conscience of grave sin must not receive communion before the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As part of the preparation we must also fast prior to the receiving of the Eucharist. There must also be a union of doctrine and authority as the Sacrament is one of oneness with Christ and His Church, St. Paul taught that we are to be one Body and partake of one bread. This oneness includes the members of the Orthodox communities and certain Catholic communities not in full communion of authority but in agreement on doctrine. The Catholic and the Orthodox Church are to be seen as the two ”lungs” of the one Church of Christ.

Unfortunately, it is impossible for communion with those ecclesiastical communities coming out of the Reformation because they lack a valid priesthood and a means to confect the Eucharist as well as the proper understanding of the sacrament.

(Randy) Again with regards to Apostolic succession and other Christians. The Roman Catholic Church first used the term in 325 at the Council of Nicea. While the oldest denomination it hardly can be given as the True Church. The True Church are those that believe in Jesus and the teachings in the Bible.

(Cristoiglesia) All authority was given to the apostles from Christ and at least some of that special authority is recorded in Scripture and is certainly attested to by the ante Nicene fathers.

There is no doubt that the apostles knew that their ministry would survive their death as it was needed to be a permanent living presence until the Parousia.

(Mat 28:20 DRB) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

Knowing their responsibility in preserving the teaching of Christ they ordained successors giving them the gift of the Spirit with Episcopal consecration:

(Act 1:8 DRB) But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth.

(Act 2:4 DRB) And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost: and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak.

(Joh 20:22 DRB) When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost.

(Joh 20:23 DRB) Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

(1Ti 4:14 DRB) Neglect not the grace that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with imposition of the hands of the priesthood.

(2Ti 1:6 DRB) For which cause I admonish thee that thou stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the imposition of my hands.

(2Ti 1:7 DRB) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear: but of power and of love and of sobriety.

There is no doubt that “Apostolic Succession” is a historical fact. Scriptures, as well show clearly that Christ chose these apostles and commissioned them to establish and continue his work with his authority and they ordained successors. It is Apostolic Succession that is the link connecting the Church to Christ. It is the authority from Christ of the Episcopacy that brings so many knowledgeable people to return to the Catholic faith as I am a witness.

We see those who were ordained in apostolic succession fulfilling their ministry:

(Act 20:28 DRB) Take heed to yourselves and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the Church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood.

(1Th 1:1 DRB) Paul and Sylvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians: in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ.

(1Th 1:2 DRB) Grace be to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for you all: making a remembrance of you in our prayers without ceasing,

(1Th 1:3 DRB) Being mindful of the work of your faith and labour and charity: and of the enduring of the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ before God and our Father.

(1Th 1:4 DRB) Knowing, brethren, beloved of God, your election:

(1Th 1:5 DRB) For our gospel hath not been unto you in word only, but in power also: and in the Holy Ghost and in much fulness, as you know what manner of men we have been among you for your sakes.

(1Th 1:6 DRB) And you became followers of us and of the Lord: receiving the word in much tribulation, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

(1Th 1:7 DRB) So that you were made a pattern to all that believe in Macedonia and in Achaia.

1Th 1:8 DRB) For from you was spread abroad the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and in Achaia but also in every place: your faith which is towards God, is gone forth, so that we need not to speak any thing.

(1Th 1:9 DRB) For they themselves relate of us, what manner of entering in we had unto you: and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.

(1Th 1:10 DRB) And to wait for his Son from heaven (whom he raised up from the dead), Jesus, who hath delivered us from the wrath to come.

(2Ti 1:6 DRB) For which cause I admonish thee that thou stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the imposition of my hands.

(Tit 1:5 DRB) For this cause I left thee in Crete: that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting and shouldest ordain priests in every city, as I also appointed thee:

(Tit 1:6 DRB) If any be without crime, the husband of one wife. having faithful children, not accused of riot or unruly.

(Tit 1:7 DRB) For a bishop must be without crime, as the steward of God: not proud, not subject to anger, nor given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre:

(Tit 1:8 DRB) But given to hospitality, gentle, sober, just, holy, continent:

(Tit 1:9 DRB) Embracing that faithful word which is according to doctrine, that he may be able to exhort in sound doctrine and to convince the gainsayers.

(1Ti 4:14 DRB) Neglect not the grace that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with imposition of the hands of the priesthood.

(2Ti 1:6 DRB) For which cause I admonish thee that thou stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the imposition of my hands.

St. Paul goes on to instruct St. Timothy as to who is a qualified candidate for ordination:

(1Ti 3:1 DRB) A faithful saying: If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth good work.

(1Ti 3:2 DRB) It behoveth therefore a bishop to be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, prudent, of good behaviour, chaste, given to hospitality, a teacher,

(1Ti 3:3 DRB) Not given to wine, no striker, but modest, not quarrelsome, not covetous, but

(1Ti 3:4 DRB) One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all chastity.

(1Ti 3:5 DRB) But if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?

(1Ti 3:6 DRB) Not a neophyte: lest, being puffed up with pride, he fall into the judgment of the devil.

(1Ti 3:7 DRB) Moreover, he must have a good testimony of them who are without: lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

(1Ti 5:22 DRB) Impose not hands lightly upon any man, neither be partaker of other men's sins. Keep thyself chaste.

We also find in the Scriptures that those in Apostolic Succession had particular and varied duties:

(1Co 12:27 DRB) Now you are the body of Christ and members of member.

(1Co 12:28 DRB) And God indeed hath set some in the church; first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly doctors: after that miracles: then the graces of healings, helps, governments, kinds of tongues, interpretations of speeches.

(1Co 12:29 DRB) Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all doctors?

(Eph 4:11 DRB) And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and other some evangelists, and other some pastors and doctors:

(Eph 4:12 DRB) For the perfecting of the saints, for the word of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

We are further reminded of the foundation of the Church:

(Eph 2:19 DRB) Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners: but you are fellow citizens with the saints and the domestics of God,

(Eph 2:20 DRB) Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone:

This is only some of the Scriptures speaking of apostolic succession and the duties, need and authority of the office.

(Randy) You say that if we are not Roman Catholic we are not saved or might be saved by Grace. I think scripture holds a different answer. Mark 9:38-41, Romans 3:30, Romans 12:3, Romans 14:12, Gal 2:16, 3:11, and Eph 4:5.

(Cristoiglesia) This is not the teaching of Christ’s Church. We believe that all salvation comes from God’s grace through faith. What we do teach is that salvation is through His Church, as the purpose of the Church is to make saints. We do not presume to know who is saved and who is not.

(Randy) The Church is the body of believers, if the Catholics fell, Christ would yet advance and he is not a liar.

(Cristoiglesia) Yes, the invisible Church is the Corpus Christi and individually it may fail but not corporeally which is the visible Church, the Catholic Church. If the visible Church fails it would prove Jesus a liar when He said His Church would endure until the end of the age.

(Randy) Just as the temple was abandoned so to is the physical need for a building. They sure are convenient but the early leaders did not waste resources on buildings until much later and after the Apostles passed on.

(Cristoiglesia) The early Church understood that the Church was where the bishop resided. St. Ignatius said in 107AD, “where the Bishop is, there is the Church” in defining the Church. The foundation of the Church is just as Jesus said, the disciples are the 12 foundation stones and they are built on through apostolic succession.

(Randy)You speak of Unity and yet call a brother a false witness. You also call me a false prophet. Granted the one line I wrote about sparing others from the truth was either edited (probably not) or me getting ahead of myself. I meant to show them the Truth regarding scripture and the errors in the Catholic faith.

(Cristoiglesia) You called yourself a false witness and false prophet when you said that you desired to pull others from Christ’s Church. I provided the Scriptures that support that one who acts to separate the faithful from Christ’s Church are described as I said by Jesus. So, your argument is not with me but Christ.

(Randy) Going to some of the scripture I paraphrased Mtt 23:27 what about Reliquaries?

(Cristoiglesia) Reliquaries are objects that we store or house the Blessed Sacrament, holy oils and etc. Do you have a problem of some kind with these things?

(Randy) The areas I have mentioned are areas the Catholics need to change. Perhaps forgiveness is the wrong word. How about reform? You know like Martin Luther. I am not pulling the faithful from His Church, but from Catholic bondage.

(Cristoiglesia) The Church can never change to satisfy the “itching ears” of men who can no longer endure sound doctrine. They will have to find those that satisfy their worldliness elsewhere. The Church will always be heavenly or other worldly. There is no bondage in being in God’s will but the freedom of everlasting life.

(Randy) I never suggested Jesus built upon the sand, his word is the Rock. I do say that the Catholics have become corrupted over the centuries as stated.

(Cristoiglesia) When you say that His Church is no longer the “pillar and foundation of the truth” and that it has indeed fell into apostasy then you either call Jesus incompetent at best or a liar at worst.

(Randy) Using your last verse. Jesus said keep them in MY name. He did not say in the Roman Catholic Church.But, you are right we are to be united without schism and with humans that is really hard.

(Cristoiglesia) No, but the fact is that Jesus and the apostles founded only one Church and that is unmistakably the Catholic Church as there was no other that can support such a claim biblically, historically or patristically. So who else could He be praying about? Of course unity is difficult as one’s pride gets in the way which is what Satan appeals to in being the author of division and confusion causing 30,000 + Protestant groups increasing exponentially. The fruit of the Reformation is evidence of the source of schism.

(Randy) I would like to point out that I was answering a question. I do not attack Catholics. I show the truth and show how it has become less that it should be. Just as God's people did before Jesus. I do not seek out people to convert. I do stand firm when some one seeks answers.

(Cristoiglesia) When one bears false witness that is an attack against Christ’s Church and His faithful. One can disagree as we are doing here but the disagreement must be in truth for to accuse someone falsely is not Christ like as we are called to be. We are to stand firm in our faith and to be ready to defend it but we are not to act as if we are of the world when doing so and create straw men to attack to build up our own beliefs. When one does this they become a tool of Satan for division.

(Randy) I do not know when the Catholic Church started building and wearing costumes and focus on their earthly power. I am sure it happened in the Middle Ages. I would love to see them go back to the Word and drop all the hoopla and let God anoint the leader and not a bunch of Cardinals as if it were a job like the Presidency.

(Cristoiglesia) We do not call them the pejorative name costume but instead they are called vestments. The way we dress is to remind us of our responsibilities. Each piece of clothing is put on with a prayer to God that we serve Him worthily and recognize our responsibility to Him and to the flock which He entrusts to us and gathered to us. Perhaps you should Google vestment prayers to understand why we wear what we do. The “hoopla” as you call it follows Scripture. We elect the Pope exactly like the remaining disciples elected Mathias after the suicide of Judas Iscariot.

(Randy) I wage a war within myself when speaking against various denominations. It is a hard balance to rebuke strongly so that false ways do not continue. Yet if a man like Luther cannot bring reform I do not know what hope someone like myself has. I wish for unity with all my heart so that those still in sin would come to Christ. Yet here we sit and cannot come to a common accord. You say it must be the Catholic way and I say it must be God's. How do we look at the same word and come to different conclusions? Again write if you will. Randy

(Cristoiglesia) No man can reform the Church that Jesus founded as it must endure until the Parousia just as Jesus said or He is proven a liar. It must always be the ”pillar and foundation of the truth”. It must remain other worldly instead of being of the world. Satan has tried every way to attack the Church and make it fall into apostasy but even when evil men have become Pope the Church remains true for the Church receives it righteousness and holiness from Christ and not from man. God’s way is through His Church where the fullness of truth is found and not in the division and heresy of those calling themselves Christian but at the same time denying His Church and refusing to be obedient to God’s will before He died for us that we be one in His Church as He and the Father are one. He could not be more explicit in stating His will. May the Lord bless you and keep you and have mercy on you.

In Christ
Fr. Joseph