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

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