04 April, 2013

Answering questions of a former Catholic influenced by Protestant teaching

(Kevin) “I was a Roman Catholic for 43 years. I attended a catholic grade school,and high school.
I knew God sent his Son, to die on the cross for my sins. At some point, I began to have "questions".. about church(catholic ) doctrine.  I had even gone to a priest, and questioned him about my concerns. My responses were "unsatisfactory ",,,as far as I was concerned. I also talking to several other ..."clergy",, from other denominations...etc.,,but I began to have even more concerns, and at this point, my concerns about the Catholic Church became DOUBTS. Keep in mind, that up until now...(40ish years)...I had never been INSIDE ANOTHER CHURCH.

After doing months of studying and research, and talking to pastors from several church's the one question I kept asking myself was, "do you believe the Bible is Gods word"? As I thought back over my youth and my day's of, ccd, first holy communion, catechism ..etc. I began to realize that there were so MANY THINGS the Catholic Church is just...WRONG about.

(Cristoiglesia) Thank you for writing to me about your situation but you are not the first one to have doubts about your faith as a result of investigating Protestants departure from the truth of the Church. Protestantism can be extremely confusing as the example of their more than 30,000 different denominations testifies. Each schismatic sect has some amount of truth with much error and as a result that destroys the unity prayed for and desired by Christ. Jesus prayed that we all be one in His Church as He and the Father are one. I was a Protestant for 50 years and realized that the lack of unity among the Protestants was an example of their departure from being obedient to Christ. Jesus warns of the seduction of the world saying that there will come a time when some will seek out false teachers that satisfy their itching ears. Church shopping and believing that any man can found a Church with more veracity than Christ is the result of man’s pride in his own intellect and his own ability to personally, outside of the Church established by Christ, to choose a path different than the path which Jesus created for us which is the Church. Truly based on His veracity and not man’s is the narrow path to salvation that the Church and the Bible teaches. I am sorry to recognize this but you have been filled with that same pride that encourages you to believe that you have more authority than the Church to decide whether the Church is wrong. Only Jesus has this authority and He has said that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church and that the Church will endure for all times. We can be assured of its veracity as it is recorded in the Scriptures that the Church is not only the sole authority for teaching but is indeed the “pillar and foundation of the truth”. Neither you nor any other entity on earth can usurp that authority and the veracity of the truth of teaching from the Church. We can reject it out of our free will but the truth remains even if it becomes far from us personally. Sadly, the Bible and the Church also teaches that there will be many full of this pride that caused them to reject Christ’s Church and its truth who will hear at judgment “Depart from me, I never knew you”. When you leave the ark of the Church, you place yourself in great danger from the world which is seductive in its sin and condemning in its justification of sin. Be careful when you claim the Church is wrong as it is also a direct attack on Christ and the veracity of His words to the disciples and recorded in Scriptures. You have absolutely no authority to make such a claim which is a direct attack on the ability of Christ to found His Church on a firm foundation that would fulfill His promises of the Church as testimony to the world and comfort to those of us who are in Christ.

(Kevin)Here are a few:

“1)Communion (Jesus died on the cross for ALL SINNERS WHO BELIEVE IN HIM..not just Catholics) Catholics DO NOT HAVE DOMINION..of Jesus body and BLOOD....!!!!!”

Actually, Kevin, Christ died on the Cross for all humanity and not just those who believe in Him. Jesus desires that all of humanity come to the true belief in Him as God and the second person of the Trinity of the one God. The Holy Spirit never ceases to appeal to the law written on everyone’s heart to draw them to Him and to his own Church the Catholic Church. He predestined no one to not have the free will to accept His gift of salvific grace with the only caveat that they believe truly in Him with all their heart and their soul. Such belief would naturally draw them to His Church and to the unity that He desires. I am not exactly sure of what you mean when you say, “Catholics DO NOT HAVE DOMINION..of Jesus body and BLOOD....!!!!!”, but certainly Jesus established His sacerdotal priesthood to provide as His voice and hands with the priest acting in “persona Christi” to confect His great feast of His “Body, Soul, Blood and Divinity so that He can abide in us and we in Him for eternity. Jesus said that unless we eat His Body and drink His Blood then we have no life eternal in us. He did not command us to receive a symbol but the actual ”Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity” in all of its realities on earth and in heaven. Without the priesthood there can be no Eucharist and the Protestant version they call communion is a desecration of the true Commandment to eat His Body and to drink His Blood and does not fulfill the Commandment of our Lord. Such is the teaching of our Lord that Protestants must ignore lest they admit their lack of veracity in their very existence.

(Kevin) “2)Praying to statues (aka idols) is FORBIDDEN by the 10 commandments.”

(Cristoiglesia) Certainly praying to idols and worshipping idols which are false gods is forbidden in the Decalogue. The Bible gives us the example of this as the golden calf that the Israelites made for themselves as a god and worshipped. They actually believed that the “golden calf “ was their God. Such worship is forbidden by God and the Church as one would expect. Here is the official teaching from the Catechism of the Church condemning such practices which you should know as a former Catholic Christian:


2110 The first commandment forbids honoring gods other than the one Lord who has revealed himself to his people. It proscribes superstition and irreligion. Superstition in some sense represents a perverse excess of religion; irreligion is the vice contrary by defect to the virtue of religion.


2111 Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is to fall into superstition.41


2112 The first commandment condemns polytheism. It requires man neither to believe in, nor to venerate, other divinities than the one true God. Scripture constantly recalls this rejection of "idols, [of] silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see." These empty idols make their worshippers empty: "Those who make them are like them; so are all who trust in them."42 God, however, is the "living God"43 who gives life and intervenes in history.

2113 Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons (for example, satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc. Jesus says, "You cannot serve God and mammon."44 Many martyrs died for not adoring "the Beast"45 refusing even to simulate such worship. Idolatry rejects the unique Lordship of God; it is therefore incompatible with communion with God.46

2114 Human life finds its unity in the adoration of the one God. The commandment to worship the Lord alone integrates man and saves him from an endless disintegration. Idolatry is a perversion of man's innate religious sense. An idolater is someone who "transfers his indestructible notion of God to anything other than God."47

The thing is that we Catholics actually agree with Protestants that idolatry is condemned. However, what Catholics realize and Protestants fail to understand, perhaps because of their hatred for anything Catholic, is that God does not prohibit religious images when used properly. An example is the following:

(Exo 25:1 DRB) And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:

(Exo 25:18 DRB) Thou shalt make also two cherubims of beaten gold, on the two sides of the oracle.

(Exo 25:19 DRB) Let one cherub be on the one side, and the other on the other.

(Exo 25:20 DRB) Let them cover both sides of the propitiatory, spreading their wings, and covering the oracle, and let them look one towards the other, their faces being turned towards the propitiatory wherewith the ark is to to be covered.

(Exo 26:1 DRB) And thou shalt make the tabernacle in this manner: Thou shalt make ten curtains of fine twisted linen, and violet and purple, and scarlet twice dyed, diversified with embroidery.

Here God is saying that religious images are pleasing.

God speaks of how Aaron’s vestments should be adorned:

(Exo 28:33 DRB) And beneath at the feet of the same tunic, round about, thou shalt make as it were pomegranates, of violet, and purple, and scarlet twice dyed, with little bells set between:

(Exo 28:34 DRB) So that there shall be a golden bell and a pomegranate, and again another golden bell and a pomegranate.

God tells Moses to make a graven image of a snake to cure snakebites and when the people started worshipping it the king destroyed it:

(Num 21:8 DRB) And the Lord said to him: Make a brazen serpent, and set it up for a sign: whosoever being struck shall look on it, shall live.

(Num 21:9 DRB) Moses therefore made a brazen serpent, and set it up for a sign: which when they that were bitten looked upon, they were healed.

(2Ki 18:4 DRB) He destroyed the high places, and broke the statues in pieces, and cut down the groves, and broke the brazen serpent, which Moses had made: for till that time the children of Israel burnt incense to it: and he called its name Nohestan.

Notice what god said concerning the temple:

(1Ki 6:12 DRB) As for this house, which thou art building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments, walking in them, I will fulfil my word to thee, which I spoke to David thy father.

(1Ki 6:13 DRB) And I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel, and I will not forsake my people Israel.

(1Ki 6:14 DRB) So Solomon built the house, and finished it.

Solomon’s temple was adorned with graven images and statues:

(1Ki 7:25 DRB) And it stood upon twelve oxen, of which three looked towards the north, and three towards the west, and three towards the south, and three towards the east: and the sea was above upon them, and their hinder parts were all hid within.

(1Ki 7:36 DRB) He engraved also in those plates, which were of brass, and in the corners, cherubims, and lions, and palm trees, in likeness of a man standing, so that they seemed not to be engraven, but added round about.

The Scriptures tell us that Solomon’s wisdom came from God:

(1Ki 3:1 DRB) And the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon, and he made affinity with Pharao, the king of Egypt: for he took his daughter, and brought her into the city of David: until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem round about.

(1Ki 3:2 DRB) But yet the people sacrificed in the high places: for there was no temple built to the name of the Lord until that day.

(1Ki 3:3 DRB) And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the precepts of David, his father; only he sacrificed in the high places, and burnt incense.

(1Ki 3:4 DRB) He went therefore to Gabaon, to sacrifice there: for that was the great high place: a thousand victims for holocausts, did Solomon offer upon that altar, in Gabaon.

(1Ki 3:5 DRB) And the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, saying: Ask what thou wilt that I should give thee.

(1Ki 3:6 DRB) And Solomon said: Thou hast shewed great mercy to thy servant David, my father, even as he walked before thee in truth, and justice, and an upright heart with thee: and thou hast kept thy great mercy for him, and hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.

(1Ki 3:7 DRB) And now, O Lord God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David, my father: and I am but a child, and know not how to go out and come in;

(1Ki 3:8 DRB) And thy servant is in the midst of the people which thou hast chosen, an immense people, which cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.

(1Ki 3:9 DRB) Give therefore to thy servant an understanding heart, to judge thy people, and discern between good and evil. For who shall be able to judge this people, thy people, which is so numerous?

(1Ki 3:10 DRB) And the word was pleasing to the Lord, that Solomon had asked such a thing.

(1Ki 3:11 DRB) And the Lord said to Solomon: Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life nor riches, nor the lives of thy enemies, but hast asked for thyself wisdom to discern jndgment;

(1Ki 3:12 DRB) Behold I have done for thee according to thy words, and have given thee a wise and understanding heart, in so much that there hath been no one like thee before thee, nor shall arise after thee.

(1Ki 3:13 DRB) Yea, and the things also which thou didst not ask, I have given thee; to wit, riches and glory: so that no one hath been like thee among the kings in all days heretofore.

(1Ki 3:14 DRB) And if thou wilt walk in my ways, and keep my precepts and my commandments, as thy father walked, I will lengthen thy days.

(1Ki 3:15 DRB) And Solomon awaked, and perceived that it was a dream: and when he was come to Jerusalem, he stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered holocausts, and sacrificed victims of peace offerings, and made a great feast for all his servants.

(1Ki 3:16 DRB) Then there came two women that were harlots, to the king, and stood before him.

(1Ki 3:17 DRB) And one of them said: I beseech thee, my lord, I and this woman dwelt in one house, and I was delivered of a child with her in the chamber.

(1Ki 3:18 DRB) And the third day after I was delivered, she also was delivered; and we were together, and no other person with us in the house; only we two.

(1Ki 3:19 DRB) And this woman's child died in the night: for in her sleep she overlaid him.

(1Ki 3:20 DRB) And rising in the dead time of the night, she took my child from my side, while I, thy handmaid, was asleep, and laid it in her bosom: and laid her dead child in my bosom.

(1Ki 3:21 DRB) And when I arose in the morning, to give my child suck, behold it was dead: but considering him more diligently, when it was clear day, I found that it was not mine which I bore.

(1Ki 3:22 DRB) And the other woman answered: It is not so as thou sayst, but thy child is dead, and mine is alive. On the contrary, she said; Thou liest: for my child liveth, and thy child is dead. And in this manner they strove before the king.

(1Ki 3:23 DRB) Then said the king: The one saith, My child is alive, and thy child is dead. And the other answereth: Nay; but thy child is dead, and mine liveth.

(1Ki 3:24 DRB) The king therefore said: Bring me a sword. And when they had brought a sword before the king,

(1Ki 3:25 DRB) Divide, said he, the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.

(1Ki 3:26 DRB) But the woman, whose child was alive, said to the king; (for her bowels were moved upon her child) I beseech thee, my lord, give her the child alive, and do not kill it. But the other said: Let it be neither mine nor thine; but divide it.

(1Ki 3:27 DRB) The king answered, and said: Give the living child to this woman, and let it not be killed; for she is the mother thereof.

(1Ki 3:28 DRB) And all Israel heard the judgment which the king had judged, and they feared the king, seeing that the wisdom of God was in him to do judgment.

God was not displeased by what Solomon had done:

(1Ki 9:3 DRB) And the Lord said to him: I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, which thou hast made before me: I have sanctified this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and my eyes, and my heart, shall be there always.

The question to those of you who condemn Catholic practices in regards to images is why with the evidence that images can please God when they order our minds towards God you condemn them when God is pleased. After all Christ Himself is called the image (eikon) of the invisible God:

(Col 1:15 DRB) Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

(Kevin) “3)Confession (when Jesus died on the cross,,the veil was TORN FROM TOP TO BOTTOM.......REMOVING...THE SEPARATION between HIM and us) He wants us to have a RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM...........................not a priest...OR A POPE..!!!!!!!
Only JESUS CAN.....(like a priest says),,,absolve you of your sins.”

(Cristoiglesia) I have already shown you that the relationship which is God’s will is to have unity and to be obedient to His Church, the Catholic Church. The priests, bishops and the pope exist for the service to humanity for Christ. The Church provides God’s grace through His Sacraments so that we may endure to final salvation and not fall away into condemnation. Jesus did not teach that we have a personal relationship but a unified corporeal relationship with His in His Church. That is why He built His Church in such an enduring way as it would replace the temple and its sacrifices for the one sacrifice of Christ for the atonement of mankind.

 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.

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.

(Kevin) “4)Purgatory (it's either one or the other). We aren't a "loaf of bread"... We aren't "pre-heating".”

(Cristoiglesia) There are only two eternal destinations which are heaven of hell and the doctrine of Purgatory which is a purgation or cleansing that we receive before entering heaven where no sin can exist. 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)

(Kevin) 5) How is it that the Catholic Church "decides",,,what IS and ISN'T a sin ?????????

(Cristoiglesia) It is based on the teaching of Christ, the Church and the Bible of which all three are in perfect accordance without contradiction. The commission of the Church is to be the authority on matters of faith and practice for all Christians. The Church exercises its teaching authority given by Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit from to the Church by God in the person of Jesus. What is bound on earth by the Church is bound in heaven according to Christ’s teaching in the granting of this authority to the Church.

(Kevin) “6) Who gives the POPE...the "authority",,,to determine..what IS....OR ISN'T a MIRACLE???”

Well the Pope does not act alone but in accordance with the whole Church. But the Pope has no authority not given by Jesus.

Certainly in Matthew 16 Jesus is referring to the prophecy of Isaiah in Isaiah 22 and in doing so He is fulfilling the prophetic imagery prophesied by the prophet Isaiah. The prime minister referred to by Isaiah is a type for the appointment of St. Peter to be the leader, steward and authority over His family or household. It further emphasizes by Christ’s actions in His appointment that He, Jesus, having received the throne of David by virtue of His Father is asserting His claim to the throne of David and as the rightful successor as king of all of Judah and Israel. He fulfills this by asserting the legal precedent necessary to fulfill prophecy and appoints St. Peter as the steward over His kingdom. He is claiming by this action what He came to do which was to establish a new and enduring Covenant with His Kingdom. But was this Kingdom fully established at this time or was it just a stepping stone to the establishing of His Kingdom in His appointment of St. Peter in Matthew 16? Certainly, the time had not yet come for the Prime Minister, St. Peter, to exercise the power of the keys for Christ had not yet revealed His glory or made claim to His kingdom with the establishment of the New Covenant. This would not happen until Calvary where Jesus would from the cross drink of the cup of consummation from the hyssop branch and then utter the words, “it is finished” after which He gave up His Spirit and His glory was revealed. He would finish His redemptive work three days later when He raised from the dead. Only then was all prophecy fulfilled and the law satisfied. St. Peter was now endowed with the Authority of Christ to be the royal steward over Christ’s kingdom. So great was this authority that He had the authority to bind or loose on earth as well as in heaven and became the spiritual father of Christ’s family. The keys represent the supremacy of the power bestowed on St. Peter and he is fastened on a peg and carries the weight of maintaining the King’s (Christ’s) house. So great are the parallels between Eliakim and St. Peter that it is implausible to deny that Eliakim is a type for St. Peter. The new kingdom is not a kingdom of land and of a people but it is the establishment of a spiritual kingdom of God and not of men. Keeping with the typology the office of Eliakim was an enduring office and so too is the office that St. Peter to which he has been appointed. Only the prime minister holds the keys of supreme authority and not only the first among equals but the special and singular authority among the disciples and visible head of the Church.

Let us look directly at the parallels between Isaiah 22 and Matthew 16.

The prime minister in David’s household had successors:

Isa 22:15, 1 Kings 4:6, & 18:3, 2 Kings 10:5, 15:5, 18:18

We see the full authority given to the prime minister:

Isa 22:22, Mat 16:19, Rev 3:7

Further teaching of the authority of the prime minister:

Mat 24:45, Luk 12:42, Gen 41:40, Gen 43:19

(Kevin) “Perhaps you can "enlighten" me?”
Sincerely yours

(Cristoiglesia) I pray that I have and I look forward to helping you further. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

01 April, 2013

Catholic needing help against critics

(John) “Here's the thing, I love languages deeply coming from a multicultural background myself, particularly I love Spanish and Arabic. To practice my speaking skills I have friends from countries where such languages are spoken. Consequently, by learning Arabic, Islam is not far behind. The Muslims believe that their Prophet (Muhammad) was visited by the Arc Angel Gabriel with the word of God and told Muhammad to read, Muhammad being illiterate said he couldn't. My friend directed me to this quote (Isaiah 29:12 Douay-Rheims) And the book shall be given to one that knoweth no letters, and it shall be said to him: Read: and he shall answer: I know no letters. I do not understand who Isaiah is talking about, please could you help me.”

(Cristoiglesia) Isaiah is not prophesying a prophet of God at all in these verses. What is being prophesied is future punishment for Israel. In verses 10-11 it is prophesied that the prophets will have their eyes sealed and those of vision will be asleep to the truth. God will no longer communicate to them divine teaching. These men will no longer desire that which is revealed by God but will be sealed by their own lack of desire to hear the voice of God. Verses 12-13 speaks of someone who’s heart is far from God. I would think that Muslims would be insulted by the fact that this passage which if applied to Muhammad reveals that such a person is not of God. The prophet clearly is prophesying a disobedient Israel. It speaks of a time when understanding will be removed from those who disobey as a punishment. To put it simply contextually it is impossible to be prophetic teaching of the prophet about Muhammad but instead it is about the punishment of an apostate Israel.

Isaiah 29:1-13 DRB

1 Woe to Ariel, to Ariel the city which David took: year is added to year: the solemnities are at an end.

2 And I will make a trench about Ariel, and it shall be in sorrow and mourning, and it shall be to me as Ariel.

3 And I will make a circle round about thee, and will cast up a rampart against thee, and raise up bulwarks to besiege thee.

4 Thou shalt be brought down, thou shalt speak out of the earth, and thy speech shall be heard out of the ground: and thy voice shall be from the earth like that of the python, and out of the ground thy speech shall mutter.

5 And the multitude of them that fan thee, shall be like small dust: and as ashes passing away, the multitude of them that have prevailed against thee.

6 And it shall be at an instant suddenly. A visitation shall come from the Lord of hosts in thunder, and with earthquake, and with a great noise of whirlwind and tempest, and with the flame of devouring fire.

7 And the multitude of all nations that have fought against Ariel, shall be as the dream of a vision by night, and all that have fought, and besieged and prevailed against it.

8 And as he that is hungry dreameth, and eateth, but when he is awake, his soul is empty: and as he that is thirsty dreameth, and drinketh, and after he is awake, is yet faint with thirst, and his soul is empty: so shall be the multitude of all the Gentiles, that have fought against mount Sion.

9 Be astonished, and wander, waver, and stagger: be drunk, and not with wine: stagger, and not with drunkenness.

10 For the Lord hath mingled for you the spirit of a deep sleep, he will shut up your eyes, he will cover your prophets and princes, that see visions.

11 And the vision of all shall be unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which when they shall deliver to one that is learned, they shall say: Read this: and he shall answer: I cannot, for it is sealed.

12 And the book shall be given to one that knoweth no letters, and it shall be said to him: Read: and he shall answer: I know no letters.

13 And the Lord said: Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips glorify me, but their heart is far from me, and they have feared me with the commandment and doctrines of men:  

(John) My second question is about Protestantism. Recently I have become close to Mary and the Rosary, I try to pray it daily (but I'm not perfect). I love the devotion as it brings me happiness and clarity yet many protestants in my philosophy class tell me that not only the Virgin Mary was a sinful woman, my Rosary is an act against God (as they see my prayer to Mary as worship) and no more than a vain repetition. I try to keep my beliefs to myself but it seems as though they seek a reaction. Please can you help me with this matter also.

(Cristoiglesia) Of course, I can help you by explaining to you their errors based not on intellect or scholarship but derived by nothing more than an innate prejudice. It is good that you focus yourself on Christ and His redemptive work on the cross by praying the Rosary which focuses us on Christ’s passion and suffering so that we will develop a deeper relationship with Him through our spirit receiving His Spirit as a result of our understanding and in a deepening devotion as a result of the realities of His suffering revealed by our contemplative prayer.

I am sorry that you have to suffer the attacks on the blessed mother of God but Jesus warned us that the world would hate us as it hated Him. As a result the blessed mother is often a focus of this hatred as she was the epitome of human perfection having been saved from sin at her conception by her Son in preparation for being the God bearer. She was indeed free from sin just as the angel at the annunciation professed.

 Now let's look at the issue of blessed mother's sinless nature. Consider that when the angel addresses the blessed mother at the annunciation, the greeting is almost a name change:

"Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women" (Luke 1:28, KJV).

Mary (Miriam in Hebrew) means "beloved." In biblical times a person's name reflected what they were. Name changes have great theological significance in the Bible and this is almost as if her name is being changed from "beloved" to "thou that art highly favored." Since this is before Jesus has been conceived, to what is the angel referring? No doubt to her singular devotion to God, forsaking all earthly distractions and desecrations, and the fact that she had been conceived without sin in preparation for this event.

Being conceived without sin does not mean that the blessed mother had no need of a redeemer. In fact, like every descendant of Adam, the blessed mother had vital need of a redeemer. The blessed mother's freedom from original sin was an unmerited gift of God in that she was redeemed by Christ at the moment of her conception. It is at the moment of conception that God creates the soul and hers was created in a state of sanctifying grace. If you had the opportunity to create your mother, wouldn't you make her perfect in every way? This is why there are the doctrines of the perpetual virginity and Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Jesus refers to the blessed mother's sinless nature when He addresses her as "woman" in John 2:4 and 19:26. Today, one looks at Him addressing her in this manner and thinks this is disrespectful or that He is admonishing her. In fact, the blessed mother was not the first sinless woman, Adam's wife was also created sinless. When she was first created, Adam named her "woman" (Genesis 2:23). It was after the fall, when she was no longer sinless, that her name was changed to "Eve" (Genesis 3:20). By referring to the blessed mother as "woman," Jesus is recognizing her sinless nature. Like I said earlier, name changes in Holy Scripture are important.

It is sad that your colleagues have such a prejudice against the mother of God that they call our asking her to pray for us as worship directed to her instead of God. In the context of our actions in praying the Rosary the word “pray” can most accurately be defined as “ask”. Obviously they have a lack of knowledge about the Rosary prayer in particular and the purpose of intercessory prayer in general. Intercessory prayer is when we ask another to pray for us in the sense of being our prayer partner. Most of the critics like your colleagues would have no difficulty asking another to pray for them or to honor a request from another to “pray” for them. Only prejudice keeps them from conceiving that prayer to one of the Church Triumphant is , in fact, taught in Scripture which tells us that the prayers of the righteous are of great benefit. We can be certain that the intercessor prayer of the blessed mother to her Son can be beneficial as we have the example of the blessed mother making a request at the wedding of Cana and Christ granting her prayer to Him. Indeed, water became wine as a result of her intercession.

It is disingenuous for anyone 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.

Accusing you of praying vainly when you pray the Rosary prayer without knowing your heart is a personal attack against you. How can they know your heart as they suppose. Please inform them that your prayers are in no way done vainly as is prohibited in Scriptures. By the example of Jesus praying before His crucifixion we know that repetitive prayers are acceptable. Furthermore make it clear to them that asking another person to pray for you or to be your prayer partner, which is what we do when we ask the blessed mother to pray for us, is encouraged in Scriptures rather than discouraged.

(John)I am going to run out of space soon so I will stick with these questions for now. God Bless

(Cristoiglesia) God bless you also. May our Lord be with you.

In Christ
Fr. Joseph