29 November, 2009

Discussion of Catholic criticisms with an anonymous person

“I used to go to a Catholic church but then I have learned a great deal about how Catholicism has went away from the bible years ago and started doing its' own thing.”

Well then, since you profess to have been Catholic then it is fair to assume that you were actually too ignorant to learn anything about Catholic teaching or that you are intentionally bearing false witness which makes you guilty of mortal sin and in danger of forfeiting your salvific promise. It is obvious that you did not learn that the Bible is about the Catholic Church in the first century. We are not like Protestants, like you, who try to follow a book someone else wrote to be used in their community as a supplement to the teaching of Jesus and the disciples. It was never meant to be the regula fidei which is the role of the Church given by Christ and not our book of faith.

“Things like priests not being able to marry and they wonder why the rampant sexual scandals of Catholic priests that has given Christianity a black eye. 1 Timothy 4:3.”

Nowhere do we teach that anyone is forbidden to marry. The Church teaches the opposite and encourages marriage and procreation among all of God’s people following the first commandment. Do not quote Scriptures as your support if you cannot understand their meaning. You are obviously blind without the teaching of the Church and have no ability to understand Scriptures.

Priests choose not to marry and swear a vow of celibacy. The Church enforces their vow as a discipline. I am sure that there are fewer sexual scandals in the Catholic Church than in your church as the Catholic clergy have the lowest incidence of sexual abuse of any Christian clergy by a very wide margin. Jesus warned against those who throw the first stone and especially when the sin of your group is many times greater.

“Then the biggest offender is that of a Catholic priests doing the confessional and giving out penances as if they could forgive sins. Only Christ can forgive sins as He is the the only Way! Acts 4:12 and 1 Timothy 2:5.”

Really, and you claim to be a Bible Christian I would wager. Do you not know that the only way that Jesus taught to be forgiven of sins was to confess to a priest. He never taught private confession at all. People like you who speak out against Christ’s teaching are ashamed to confess their sins to one another as the Bible says. Sins are not private but do harm to the entire Corpus Christi. Remember, Jesus compared us to a vine and a sin infects all Christians and if one continues in the sin the sin or sinful person must be cut away. Jesus commanded His priesthood to forgive sins. This must be a part of the Bible your heretical sect does not teach. Did you know that it is actually Jesus who forgives sin in the Sacrament of Reconciliation as the priest acts in persona Christi. How did you miss this when you were a (cough, cough, wink, wink) Catholic.

“Catholic priests commit blasphemy and to add insult to injury these who confess don't have the assurance of the salvation that Christ GAVE them!.”

Oh my goodness, are you trying to tell me that you also practice the sin of presumption. Do you really think that you somehow know who is saved and who is not? Are you so naïve that you thing that since you did a one time assent, in an emotional moment to belief, that you are owed salvation by our Lord. MY, my, how far you have departed from the truth of Scriptures. Read John 3:16 that says one must continue to believe. No one has an assurance of salvation as the teaching of Scripture is that we are to approach our salvation with fear and trembling which by the way the Bible also says is the beginning of knowledge(Proverbs).

“You adhere to an institution that has changed so much of what true Christianity is supposed to be. Yet you will hide behind the Vatican, all the catholic writings which are merely man made and go against clear scripture. “

I hear this claim often from Protestants and it always makes me smile from the apparent irony of the statement. Here you are a Protestant who proclaims your disobedience and irreconcilable hatred for the only Church Jesus and the disciples founded and instead of loyalty to His Church choose to be a part of a man-made sect in defiance of Christ. You then follow man –made doctrines which are nothing more than the food for heretical doctrines that feed your hatred for Christ’s Church which remains true to the teaching of Jesus and the disciples for all of these 2000 years. Christ’s Church has changed nothing in all these years but it is you who has departed from the faith. Jesus prophesied about people as you saying that there would be those who will no longer be able to endure sound doctrine and will gather around themselves those that satisfy their itching ears. We may not teach what you want to hear but you can be assured by our Lord that what we teach is the truth for He said that His Church will never fall into apostasy and will endure for all times as “the pillar and foundation of the truth.” Your man-made sect has no such promise.

“Then you call yourselves Father! Jesus says in Matthew 23:9, call no man father, referring to a spiritual father.”

Again with this statement you proclaim your lack of spiritual guidance. You come to your conclusion using eisegesis or a proof text methodology. You believe that the Catholic Church teaches falsely and you use this as proof of that false teaching and gloat at your supposed superiority not realizing that your scholarship is lacking and that you have erred in trying to use the Bible as an instrument to attack the very Church who wrote this, St. Matthew was a Catholic Christian. Christians should come to the Scriptures to learn instead of using them as an instrument of hate. You miss the entire meaning of what St. Matthew is trying to say which is truly not what you presume. This may help you to understand:
From the early Church we find that clergy were addressed as father. There are those with little knowledge of history or hermeneutical discipline such as understanding Scriptures within context, who believe that the Bible prohibits one from calling a priest father. The words they rely on come directly from Christ:

(Mat 23:9 DRB) And call none your father upon earth; for one is your father, who is in heaven.

Keeping the verse in context let us look at the verse preceding this verse:

(Mat 23:8 DRB) But be not you called Rabbi. For one is your master: and all you are brethren.

Rabbi means teacher and the Latin word for teacher is doctor so anyone using these terms as well are violating the literal interpretation of the text.

Let us look at the verse after verse 9:

(Mat 23:10 DRB) Neither be ye called masters: for one is your master, Christ.

There is no way that the interpretation could be correct if one reads and understands the Matthew passage in context. He is clearly teaching that one should not look to any human authority as our teacher, father, master, doctor or other titles of respect but instead give to God those things that are reserved for Him. Do you also refuse to call people doctor, teacher, professor, mister, or master? All of these are forbidden as well if we are to accept a literal understanding.

Context also requires that we investigate what the other Scriptures say as well as the understanding of these words by those who followed Christ. There are many instances where the writers of the New Testament contradict a literal understanding of not calling a man father, teacher or master. Consider the following verses:

(Act 5:34 DRB) But one in the council rising up, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, respected by all the people, commanded the men to be put forth a little while.

(Col 4:1 DRB) Masters, do to your servants that which is just and equal: knowing that you also have a master in heaven.

(2Ti 1:11 DRB) Wherein I am appointed a preacher and an apostle and teacher of the Gentiles.

Let us examine the statements of St. Stephen to see if he understood Christ to be speaking literally….In is soliloquy (Acts Chapter 7) before the Sanhedrin before his stoning to martyrdom he used the term father in referring to Abraham Isaac and Jacob as fathers and also to his Israelite ancestors as fathers.

St. John the beloved disciple also did not understand Christ to be teaching literally as we can see in the following verses:

(1Jn 2:13 DRB) I write unto you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one.

(1Jn 2:14 DRB) I write unto you, babes, because you have known the Father. I write unto you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.

(1Jn 2:15 DRB) Love not the world, nor the things which are in the world. If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him.

(1Jn 2:16 DRB) For all that is in the world is the concupiscence of the flesh and the concupiscence of the eyes and the pride of life, which is not of the Father but is of the world.

St. Paul also had a different understanding of Christ’s words than the literalists:

(1Co 4:14 DRB) I write not these things to confound you: but I admonish you as my dearest children.

(1Co 4:15 DRB) For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have begotten you.

(1Co 4:16 DRB) Wherefore, I beseech you, be ye followers of me as I also am of Christ.

St. Paul was speaking of the fact that he is called to shepherd the flock as are all priests. We not only give birth to the Christian through Baptism but also nourish the faithful with the Holy Eucharist and God’s Word. We care for them and bind their spiritual wounds through the delivery of the Sacraments. It is no wonder that we are called father as we care for our Church family as a father cares for his own family.

“Basically your greatest sin is that you have camouflaged the gospel in ornate human mumbo jumbo making it impossible for these who trust you to escape because they are snake fascinated with all the ornamentalism, the flashy and colorful priestly robes, the religiousness of it all.”

We go to Mass to worship Christ and in our worship Christ is present and not just spiritually as He is when all Christians gather in His name but truly, actually and substantially in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Mass is truly heaven on earth and you speak of it as one who is full of jealousy. I am sure that Protestants would worship differently as well if Jesus was among them in the same sense. I do understand having been a protestant minister for 25 years that you do not even desire Him or the great feast He provides that gives the grace to endure in faith but for those of us who do recognize His presence we feel humbled that we are not able to create an atmosphere worthy of the Lord of Lords and Savior of mankind. If at your worship you were truly at the foot of the cross sharing in the very moment of Christ’s sacrifice you would have a different reverence for the moment and a different devotion towards our Lord. We do not have a flashy preacher in the pulpit preaching the Word of God but instead the Word and the Lamb of God is truly with us. Nothing is too good for our Lord and everything we could do is not enough to show our humble thanks for what He has done for us. It is “mumbo jumbo” for those in their carnal senses just as Jesus said but for those of us in the spiritual sense we are experiencing heaven on earth.

“Although I believe a few who go to Catholic churche might be saved...why? Because they actually know the true gospel yet still attend mass and so on.”

Truly some were saved, some are being saved and some will be saved at their death but we all are sanctified and justified by God’s grace by faith. It is not in spite of our obedience to Christ that we are saved but our obedience is proof of our salvation by His grace. May the Lord have mercy on you and may you be saved through His Church by extraordinary grace or by coming home into the fullness of truth. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

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