08 October, 2010

Refuting criticisms of the Church with one claiming to have been a Catholic Catechist

(Legal doesn’t make it right) “The New Testament was not penned by any Catholic. All of the writers of the New Testament were Jews, apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, who never converted to the religion of Roman Catholicism.”

(Cristoiglesia) The New Testament writers were all Christians and followers of Christ. They were a part of the Church formed at Pentecost which was the Catholic Church. You would be correct if you stated that they were Jewish and Gentile converts; all biblical, historical and patristic evidence point to this fact. Jesus and the disciples founded only one Church and that is the Catholic Church which is the enduring Church promised by our Lord. The Bible says of the Church that it is the “pillar and foundation of the truth”. When they were baptized at Pentecost they became Catholic Christians.

(Legal doesn’t make it right) “In fact, how could they as Roman Catholicism was never officiated as the recognized Christian religion of the Roman Empire until 380 AD when Theodosius I, Gratian, and Valentinian II issued the Edict of Thessalonica?”

(Cristoiglesia) This is a very strange leap of 300+ years from the beginning of the Church at Pentecost. We Christians believe that we began as the result of the teaching of Jesus and the disciples and were given the Paraclete at Pentecost which we attribute to the beginning of the Church. The fact that a Roman Emperor recognized the Church and made it the official religion of the Empire has nothing to do with the founding of the Church centuries earlier. Until that time the Church had been persecuted by the Romans and many of us were martyred in the Roman Arena for the entertainment of the populace. It is certainly a miracle from God that an Emperor of our persecutors would become a supporter of the Church. Praise God! But, this had nothing to do with the founding of the Church 300+ years earlier.

(Legal doesn’t make it right) “We know that the Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity in 312 AD, but the official State religion was still considerably pagan.”

(Cristoiglesia) No we do not, the evidence was that he remained a Pagan his entire life. Legend says that he was baptized on his death bed by two heretical Arian bishops. In the Edict of Milan he proclaimed freedom of religion in the Empire and the persecution of Christians ceased.

(Legal doesn’t make it right) “Nevertheless, none of the Apostles could be considered "Catholic" and they died as Jewish followers of Christ.”

(Cristoiglesia) Are you aware that Christianity is perfected Judaism? They were certainly all Catholic Christians from Pentecost onward. There could be a cogent argument that they were Christian even before Pentecost.

(Legal doesn’t make it right) “The last apostle to die was John around 120 AD, centuries before Roman Catholicism was instituted in 380 AD.”

(Cristoiglesia) Let us clear something up that seems to have you extremely confused. It was the Protestants of the 16th century that coined the name “Roman” Catholic as a pejorative name. Before then we were known only as Catholic and there were no others claiming to be Christians except the Orthodox.

If any denomination is guilty of practicing man-made traditions that have no Biblical basis, it would be Roman Catholics.
Really, I am a former Protestant and anti-Catholic like you and after 50 years of trying to prove the Church wrong I have been impotent in finding any error. I really tried but every time the veracity of Catholic teaching was impossible to deny. There is not a single man-made tradition that is contrary in any way to Scriptures. In fact the Church is the personification of those Scriptures.

(Legal doesn’t make it right) “A few that come to mind, as I am a former Roman Catholic taught the Catechism and having gone through several "sacraments" myself,”

(Cristoiglesia) Well, we shall see if you learned anything as a Catholic.

(Legal doesn’t make it right) “include (1) kneeling and worshipping before statues of Mary, dead saints, and Jesus, which is in direct violation of God's second commandment (Exodus 20:4) against making or bowing before graven images and idols;”

(Cristoiglesia) Well your first citation belies your statement of having been a Catechist. If you had been a catechist you would know that there is no idolatry in the Catholic Church. The Catechism forbids the worship of anyone or anything but God. You would also know that it is impossible for saints to be dead but are actually more alive than we are in the presence of our Lord. You would also learn that when praying to saints it is not a form of worship but is instead a request for them to pray for us just as we ask others to pray for us and us for them out of Christian love for one another. There is no biblical prohibition for praying in the presence of religious art such as a statue or praying anywhere else for that matter. An idol is something that is worshiped and Catholics only worship God. If you had indeed been a catechist you would not have embarrassed yourself with such a nonsensical accusation.

(Legal doesn’t make it right) “(2) praying the Rosary, which contradicts what Jesus Himself instructed His disciples (Matthew 6:7) not to pray using "vain repetitions"; there are 59 minor beads and 10 "decades" in the Catholic rosary, and for each bead you pray (RECITE) a "Hail Mary", the Apostles Creed, Glory Be, or an Our Father chant. This may be considered a form of witchcraft and neither honors nor impresses the Almighty God through empty incantations;”

(Cristoiglesia) Oh, so now you are being critical of Catholics for praying to God excessively and complaining that such constant prayer is sinful or prohibited in Scriptures. If you did not read the writing of St. Matthew with a prejudiced supposition you would see that Jesus was not saying that we can only say a prayer once but was instead warning against vain prayers. And in context He gave an example so that future readers like yourself would not make the error you have made in using eisegesis instead of coming to the Scriptures to learn. If you had been a Catholic and especially if you had been a catechist you would know that no Catholic prays the Rosary vainly. The truth is that the Rosary is a contemplation on Christ’s passion and mysteries which is completely Christocentric and the kind of prayers that our Lord and Savior would be most pleased to hear. Calling prayers to God empty incantations sounds like a statement coming from and Atheist and not one claiming Christianity.

(Legal doesn’t make it right) “(3) the false doctrine of "Purgatory", which has no Biblical basis and is a heresy whose origin can be traced to pagan roots in Egypt. Purgatory claims that a soul that is "unfit for heaven" must first be purged to atone for venial sins that had not been properly cleansed while on earth. This teaching is in direct contradiction with what is taught about salvation and Jesus' work of atonement in the Bible, Hebrews 9:11-12 "When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained ETERNAL REDEMPTION." Hebrews 10:10 "And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL." Romans 10:9-10 "That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." Roman Catholics teach that we must add to Jesus' work of Atonement on the Cross, that Christ's blood was insufficient to save us from our sins. This is unbiblical and dishonors Christ's sacrifice. Jesus saved us from our sins, once for all time, on the Cross at Calvary. There are no more "works" that a person can add towards salvation for Jesus paid the price of sin in full.”

(Cristoiglesia) I guess you never read the fact that a sinful soul cannot be in the presence of God:

Isaiah 59:1-2 (King James Version)

1Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
2But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Revelation 21:27 (King James Version)

27And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Are you saying that the prophet Isaiah or St. John are contradicting God? I really don’t think you want to give that impression but your use of proof texts to contradict this prophetic teaching is suspect in its face.
As for your claim that the doctrine of Purgatory is not biblical the fact is that it is one of the most biblical of Christian doctrines.
There is a common Protestant misunderstanding of purgatory. At least one protestant minister, John Wesley, spoke of perfectionism in this life, possible but rare. He is one of the few to proclaim that one can be sanctified in this life and he left the Moravian Church over this issue after a rebuke by Count Zinzendorf for this teaching.

People in purgatory are already justified by receiving the supernatural eternal life into our souls through Baptism making us a part of the Body of Christ. Those in purgatory have accepted Christ by faith and have not rejected Him by unrepentant mortal sin. It is a place where one is purified by fire (Mal 3:2). Imagine the joy of being in purgatory and knowing that you are there because you have passed judgment and are assured of being in the presence of God in heaven. Purgatory is not an eternal destination, there are only two, heaven or hell.

We should not think of purgatory as some kind of legal punishment for past sins as it would be under the old law. Those in purgatory are already new creatures changed by Christ’s grace, they are the adopted children and part of God’s family in purgatory one receives final discipline and cleansing preparing one for the perfection of heaven. Catholics believe that sanctification is a process and is not completed when one comes to belief. So purgatory is not a suggestion that Christ’s atonement is insufficient but that we have not yet completed our sanctification through the grace of Christ.

Cleansing or sanctification is a gradual process and we must endure to the end to be saved.

(Mat 10:22 DRB) And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.

(Mat 24:13 DRB) But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved.

(Mar 13:13 DRB) And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake. But he that shall endure unto the end, he shall be saved.

Catholic soteriology recognizes that for some of us the process was not completed at death or that we died with unrepentant sin.

(Heb 9:27 DRB) And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment:

The judgment is our eternal destiny and for those whose name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life, heaven is assured. But we know that one must be free of sin to be in God’s presence.

(1Ti 6:14 DRB) That thou keep the commandment without spot, blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,

It may be that one is not prepared to be in our Lord’s presence as we may still be with spiritual shortcomings or temporal effects of forgiven sins on our soul making it necessary for some form of purification to enter heaven in God’s presence. Since this is a process of purgation it is called purgatory and it is in keeping with prophecy of the prophet Habakkuk who said that only that which is holy may enter heaven.

(Hab 1:13 DRB) Thy eyes are too pure to behold evil, and thou canst not look on iniquity. Why lookest thou upon them that do unjust things, and holdest thy peace when the wicked devoureth the man that is more just than himself?

St. Paul also taught of a process of purgation which may involve suffering on the soul of Christians and in his first letter to the Corinthian Church he describes the process of purgation after death.

(1Co 3:10 DRB) According to the grace of God that is given to me, as a wise architect, I have laid the foundation: and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

(1Co 3:11 DRB) For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid: which is Christ Jesus.

(1Co 3:12 DRB) Now, if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble:

(1Co 3:13 DRB) Every man's work shall be manifest. For the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire. And the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is.

(1Co 3:14 DRB) If any man's work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

(1Co 3:15 DRB) If any mans work burn, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.

St. Paul speaks metaphorically that the results of sin that remain on one’s soul is like “wood, hay and straw” and are burned away in the process of final purification to be received in the presence of the Lord. St. Paul also speaks of one’s works as “gold, silver and precious stones” which are refined and retained.

This passage reminds me of what Christ said in the following indicating that some sins may be forgiven after death.

(Mat 12:32 DRB) And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him neither in this world, nor in the world to come.

Purgatory is also related to the parable of the unforgiving servant which is as follows…

(Mat 18:32 DRB) Then his lord called him: and said to him: Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all the debt, because thou besoughtest me:

(Mat 18:33 DRB) Shouldst not thou then have had compassion also on thy fellow servant, even as I had compassion on thee?

(Mat 18:34 DRB) And his lord being angry, delivered him to the torturers until he paid all the debt.

After telling the parable Christ emphasizes His message lest it be misunderstood with this warning……..

(Mat 18:35 DRB) So also shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you forgive not every one his brother from your hearts.

Christ was warning us of the danger of a hard heart or anger making us unwilling to forgive others. We should acknowledge that these are the signs and example of a defective soul in need of purgation so that he that is imperfect may be in the presence of God and dwell in glory. (See CCC 1030-1032)

Now if you had been a catechist as you claimed you would know that the Church has condemned the heresy of Pelagianism that you accuse us of. The Church does not in any way teach that works of the law, which is the biblical condemnation, should be added to merit salvation. We unequivocally deny that works merit salvation. What we do not teach is the Protestant heresy of faith alone which teaching is condemned in the book of James and is truly not biblical. There is no teaching in all of Catholic theology that says that Christ’s atoning sacrifice was insufficient for salvation. The Church teaches the antithesis of this.

(Legal doesn’t make it right) “This is a small list of heresies which the Catholic church professes, but do not have any Biblical basis, and which were added several centuries after Christ and the Apostles began to spread the Gospel of salvation:
(1) Veneration and worship of Mary as Co-Redemptrix with Jesus (431 AD). Compare with Paul's teaching in 1 Timothy 2:5, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,"”

(Cristoiglesia) There is no worship of the blessed mother or anyone else. The faithful under Catholic teaching are forbidden from such worship and to do so would be to sin and cease to be a Catholic Christian. There was never a teaching that you suggest citing 431AD or any other time. There is nothing in Catholic teaching that contradicts in any was 1Tim 2:5. The following will instruct you of the truth:
Jesus Christ is our Redeemer, Mediator, Advocate. Christ is assisted by the Virgin Mary in her triune role as co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocatrix. The following 13 points are an important part of a correct understanding of this doctrine.

1. Mary's triune role as co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocatrix is a reflection of the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity.

2. All three aspects of this one role are substantially different from, and wholly subordinate to, Christ's triune role as Redeemer, Mediator, Advocate.

3. Mary's role is different from, and subordinate to, Christ's role because, in God's plan for Creation, the role given to women is different from, and subordinate to, the role given to men.

4. The "co-" prefix in co-Redemptrix refers to Mary's cooperation with us; it does not mean that Mary is co-Redeemer, not even with and under Christ. (The "co-" prefix should not be capitalized, since it refers to our mere human efforts towards our salvation; the "R" in co-Redemptrix should be capitalized since it refers to Divine efforts towards our salvation.)

5. Mary is not a co-Redeemer and is not able to save anyone, not even with and under Christ. Christ alone redeems; Mary merely immerses herself in all that Christ does toward our redemption. Her role is not co-redemptive.

6. Mary is Mediatrix of Grace, but not of all graces. She is not Mediatrix of the graces that flows from Christ's Divine nature to His human nature; there is no mediation within the hypostatic union of the Divine and human natures of Christ. She is not the Mediatrix of the graces that she herself receives from Christ; in that case, she is the recipient, not the Mediatrix. In all other cases, Mary is the Mediatrix of Grace.
Our Lady of Medjugorje, message of August 31, 1982: "I do not dispose all graces. I receive from God what I obtain through prayer. God has placed His complete trust in me. I particularly protect those who have been consecrated to me."
7. Mary is also Mediatrix of Divine Providence and of mercy and of all that God does within Creation, except with respect to Christ and herself.

8. Mary is Advocatrix. The term "Advocate," when applied to the Virgin Mary, is theologically deficient because it lacks the feminine form, which would distinguish Mary's different and subordinate role from Christ's role as Advocate. Use of the Latin form of the word allows a clear theological definition to be attached to the term, unfettered by the various connotations which the word "advocate" has when translated into various languages.

9. The expression "Advocate of the People of God" can only be used to refer to Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit. The Virgin Mary has no role of advocacy herself; instead, her role as Advocatrix is to immerse herself in Christ's role as our Advocate. Mary is not "Advocate of the People of God," but rather she is a humble assistant to Christ, the Advocate of the People of God.

10. Mary does not stand before God as co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocatrix. In truth, only Christ stands before God to redeem, mediate, and advocate. The Virgin Mary humbly kneels before Christ, in worship of Him, as she assists Christ fully in His work of redemption, mediation, advocacy.

11. Mary's role as co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocatrix is not properly described as a role "with and under" Christ. The term "with and under" does indicate that her role is subordinate, but it also improperly describes that role as if it were a separate role. In truth, Mary completely immerses herself in all that Christ does for our salvation. She has no role of redemption, mediation, or advocacy of her own; all her acts toward our salvation occur in Christ, not "with and under" Christ.

12. Mary is truly co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocatrix. But this true doctrine is neither the fifth Marian dogma, nor is it the final Marian dogma. The claim that this doctrine is "the fifth and final Marian dogma" is a serious theological error which contradicts the teaching of the Church. The further claim that the declaration of this dogma is necessary to usher in a time of peace, or even the last days, is a false claim.

13. Theological works about Mary's triune role as co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocatrix should omit any and all references to various false private revelations, including those of Ida Peerdeman at Amsterdam and others. A number of false private revelations have preyed upon the faithful by using this doctrine, or their own distorted version of it, as bait to drag unsuspecting souls into a trap of false teachings and false worship. Any teachings or documents on this topic should either omit all mention of such private revelations, or should clearly condemn them and the false doctrines which they promote.

by Ronald L. Conte, Jr.

(Legal doesn’t make it right) “(2) Celibacy of the priesthood (1079 AD) and the tradition of Lent (998 AD). Compare with Paul's admonition in 1 Timothy 4:1-5, "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer."

(Cristoiglesia) If you had been a catechist you would have known the following:
This is a discipline for some Catholic priests but not for all. The majority of priests make a vow of chastity. There are 23 Rites in the Catholic Church. 22 of the 23 Rites do not have the discipline of chastity nor do they require that all priests are chosen from the chaste. Even in the Roman Rite that has the discipline it is a choice. The Church does not forbid anyone to marry as is the teaching of St. Paul in his epistle to St Timothy. However the Church does honor those who choose chastity and make their vow’s to God as is taught by St. Paul, St John and Jesus in Word and/or in practice. Both Jesus and St. Paul taught that the ideal state of clergy was chaste and not married. But you are correct that St. Paul taught against forbidding to marry as it is against God’s commandment to multiply.

St Paul- “I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs – how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world – how he can please his wife – and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs. Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world – how she can please her husband” (1 Corinthians 7: 32-34)

“He who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry he does even better (1 Corinthians 7: 38)

Jesus- “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of Heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it” (Matthew 19: 10-12).

St. John- “ There are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure...purchased from among men and offered as first fruits to God and the Lamb (Revelation 14:4)
Fasting is a traditional doctrine of Christian spirituality that a constituent part of repentance, of turning away from sin and back to God, includes some form of penance, without which the Christian is unlikely to remain on the narrow path and be saved (Jer. 18:11, 25:5; Ez. 18:30, 33:11-15; Joel 2:12; Mt. 3:2; Mt. 4:17; Acts 2:38). Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed (Lk. 5:35). The general law of penance, therefore, is part of the law of God for man. (http://www.ewtn.com/faith/lent/fast.htm)

(Legal doesn’t make it right) “(3) Confession of sins to another sinful person, the priest, and the priest claiming to forgive sins (1215 AD). Compare with the Bible's instructions on how to confess sin directly to God in Psalm 51, Luke 7:48, Luke 15:21, and 1 John 1:8-9. God never transferred this power to forgive sins to anyone, contrary to what Catholic tradition and teaching hold. Only God forgives sins (Micah 7:18).”

(Cristoiglesia) I do not think that you do not believe that Jesus has the power to forgive sins. Certainly we both agree that He does. If Jesus has this power a God I am sure that you can agree that He has other Divine powers as well. He exercises this power in giving the apostles and the successors the authority to forgive sins acting in persona Christi for He knew that this continuing authority would be needed in the ministry of His Church. But when one hears the Words of the priest that they are forgiven it is the will of Jesus that does the forgiving.

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

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

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.

(Legal doesn’t make it right) “(4) Calling priests "father" and giving other sinful clergy titles of "spiritual authority." Compare with Jesus' teaching in Matthew 20:25-28 "Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" and in Matthew 23:9 "And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven." This term "father" is indicative of an office of spiritual authority, not one of paternal descent.”

(Cristoiglesia) If you had been a catechist or a Catholic you would know the following:
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.

(Legal doesn’t make it right) “There are many other man-made traditions Roman Catholics profess, some as a dogmatic requirement for inclusion in their fold or else a person might face being branded a "heretic" and being excommunicated. Not that salvation can be obtained in any church; salvation comes by grace through faith in Christ Jesus' sacrifice, and that is all.”

(Cristoiglesia) Many others you claim yet you have been impotent to name just one. As for being branded a heretic that has to do with one teaching falsely and the title is earned. Certainly every Catholic would agree that salvation comes by grace through faith but the Catholic would argue cogently from Scriptures that this salvific grace comes through the Church.

(Legal doesn’t make it right) “No church or man claiming priestly authority can absolve us of sin. Only God can forgive sins and our sins are cleansed by accepting Jesus' work of atonement on our behalf, the righteous for the unrighteous.”

(Cristoiglesia) Jesus gave authority to the priesthood to forgive sins so your argument against this normative way of forgiveness is with Jesus. Ones sins are not “cleansed” by accepting Jesus’ work of atonement. They are cleansed by repentance and absolution. The demons know and accept His atonement but are not saved. We are cleansed of sin by Baptism and reconciled back into the familial relationship with God when we fall into sin by repenting and seeking absolution.

(Legal doesn’t make it right) “You claim that Protestant churches teach secular humanism; however, I would like to point out that it is the Roman Catholic Church that is leading the ecumenical charge to unite worldwide religions, even those staunchly opposed to Christianity. Considering this, it is crucial to examine Roman Catholics' stance on other religions in light of what we are warned in the Bible in James 4:4, "You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." I urge you, heed the warning from God Himself: "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes." Revelation 18:4-5.”

(Cristoiglesia) Did Jesus give the great commission to His Church to only preach to the choir? No, He said to preach the Gospel to all men and especially sinners or those who do not know Him. Who of humanity to you desire not be saved and where can you justify such a position from Scripture. Jesus reaches out to sinners and to the worldly to bring them into the familial relationship with Him in His Church. Christianity is not an exclusive club that forbids some to join because of their sinfulness. Do you really think that it is being an enemy of God to try to evangelize the world or the worldly? What you describe disdainfully and pride fully as worldly is exactly what Jesus commanded His Church to act. Every Catholic Christian at the end of Mass is reminded to go and preach the Gospel by word and by deed. We are to be an example to the world of righteousness and devotion and we are each reminded of our God given task. We are not to ignore the commission God gave us as a way of serving Him.

(Legal doesn’t make it right) “Recall the Roman Catholic Church's bloody Inquisition, persecution of early Protestant Christians.”

(Cristoiglesia) Your history is flawed in that the Inquisitions were secular in nature and the role the Church played in the Inquisitions was to end them. You are flawed also by thinking there were Protestant Christians who were targeted in the Inquisitions as there were no Protestants when the Inquisitions were in progress.

(Legal doesn’t make it right) ,” refusal to allow any "laity" the opportunity to learn about the Bible. The Roman Catholic Church is stained with the blood of Christ's martyrs and she will answer for them one day”

(Cristoiglesia) You are trying to come to conclusions without complete knowledge and with misunderstanding. The Church has the responsibility as the teaching authority given by Christ to protect the deposit of the Sacred Tradition, of which the Bible is a part. It has another responsibility to be the shepherd for those the Holy Spirit brings to faith. The quotes you have listed in your question illustrates the Church doing exactly what Christ commissioned the Church to do which is to halt the distribution and use of heretical interpretations. Authority for interpretation according to the Bible is the Church and not individuals.(2 Peter 1:20)

Another error you make is assuming that most people knew how to read an write in their vernacular language. The fact is that educated people knew how to read and write Latin and it was much more likely that if one read that it was Latin only. There are also great advantages for the Church to have a common language which is Latin. What that meant was that one could travel throughout the world and understand the Mass wherever they were. Today the use of vernacular language to the Church is similar to what happened at the Tower of Babel. It is a hindrance to theological understanding instead of being helpful.

Another error you make is assuming that the vernacular translations that were banned were accurate to the original texts. They were not and many lacked acceptable scholarship. Such heretical texts were sure to cause misunderstandings and cause people to understand the Scriptures incorrectly.

Another error you make is assuming that the culture then is the same as today. There was little difference between Church and state and the lines continued to be blurred. The harsh methods that were used in those days were common place if if we can find the horrendous today. If you remember Calvin murdered so many in Geneva that he got the name the butcher of Geneva. They were murdered for opposing His teachings. Looking back this treatment was wrong even though it was for the right intentions. BTW, the quotes were taken out of context in that you failed to take into account the culture of the era when coming to your conclusions.

Your errors continue in presuming that the Church would forbid anyone from reading the Bible because Catholic doctrines and dogma are contrary to the Church. This is impossible if one trusts and believes in Jesus' teaching. Jesus said that His Church is the enduring Church that is the "pillar and ground of the truth". It was Catholic Christians who wrote the New Testament and the Church that canonized those books that they judged inspired all under the authority given to the Church by Jesus. Since the Church wrote the Bible and canonized it, is it not logical that the Church would, in fact encourage people to read it? Of course and the Church always has; just not heretical interpretations. So, if you really believe that the Church has doctrines and dogmas contrary to the Bible you are in need of further study and the grace of the Holy Spirit to recognize His Church from the book about His Church. Truly the Catholic Church is the only Church with a legitimate claim of being a Bible Church since the NT is about the Church.

As a Catholic, I see the testimony of the Church in being responsible in its commission by Christ to His Church. The Church is protecting God's Word and shepherding His faithful. We can be further encouraged to know that His Church, the ark for humanity from an evil world, will be the enduring pillar and ground of the truth until He comes again.

The Catholic Church through history did not kill martyrs but were instead the martyrs and victims. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph