06 May, 2013

Response to an accusation of Marian worship

(Dunwald) “Did you know in Hinduism the people use statues of their god as a focus to send their prayers to their god.”

(Cristoiglesia) I am not an expert on Hinduism but I would assume that your claim is possible. Are you a Hindu? You are incorrect about Christians. In Christianity when we see a statue or picture it reminds us of the person it represents. When we see the blessed Mother of God we are reminded of her Son and we strive to have the same devotion to her son as she. So, a statue of the blessed mother would focus us on Jesus who is God and the second person of the Trinity of one God.

(Dunwald) Catholics do the same thing. They use the statue of Mary to focus on and send their prayers to Mary. This is forbidden by the 2nd commandment.

(Cristoiglesia) Actually you are incorrect. A statue of the blessed mother or a picture would remind us that the blessed mother of God always points to her Son for our salvation. The second Commandment in the Decalogue forbids idolatry and not praying for one another. Perhaps you can explain how asking another person to pray for us to God is idolatry or is forbidden in the second Commandment. Do you in your belief system believe that when one asks another to pray for them that it is idolizing them as a God? Christians do not believe that when we pray for another that we are a God or when we ask another to pray for us that they are God. In fact, all the Christians I have known would think that your belief is very strange indeed if that is what you truly believe.

Now, I understand that you may well be unfamiliar with biblical teaching which tells Christians that God’s greatest Commandment is to love one another as we are all of the same vine and if one is ill from sin or in need then we all suffer. We ask others to pray for us and we are always blessed to pray for others and even pray for those we do not know. For instance I prayed for you that your eyes would be opened to the truth of Scriptures and to Christ’s Church. I do not pray for you because I desire for you to think of me as a god but out of love which fulfills, in part, Christ’s greatest Commandment.

So, in conclusion, there is nothing in the second Commandment about idolatry that forbids intercessory prayer.     

(Dunwald) “The 1st commandment forbids having other gods before God. In the "Hail Mary" prayer you Catholics are asking Mary to intercede for you when you ask her to pray for you.”

(Cristoiglesia) I truly am trying to make sense of this statement of yours. What I do not understand is how asking another person to pray for us and become our prayer partner is against the first Commandment. How is this against the first Commandment unless we believe the person we are asking to pray for us and become our prayer partner is a god? I cannot imagine any Christian believing such nonsense. Certainly not Catholic Christians who are forbidden from such belief. In your beliefs do you actually believe that asking another to pray for you or with you that you would believe them to be a God by doing so? Such beliefs would be far from the thoughts of a Christian. We pray individually and ask others to share in our prayers and indeed pray for us but we never imagine that they could be a god as in Christianity there is only one God expressed in the three persons of the Trinity.

(Dunwald) “Only Jesus Christ can intercede for us, not Mary. This is why you Catholics have crossed over the line from honoring Mary to worshiping Mary.

(Cristoiglesia) Again you seem to not understand the teaching of Christ and the Bible. The Bible never forbids intercessory prayer as you suppose nor does the Church. The Bible and the Church teach that anyone can be a prayer partner for another which is what we call intercession. This is the role also of the blessed mother. So, in your commentary, it would be reasonable to assume that you are saying that anyone that prays for another as an intercessor is considered by Catholic Christians to be a God by the person asking for their prayers. Is that what you are trying to allege here? It would seem as if that is your contention. I assure you that we know that if we ask another to pray for us that we know that they are not God but instead one not unlike ourselves, who is also in need of God’s grace. I assure you that we know that a person praying for us is not God.

(Dunwald) “How can you say you are honoring Mary only when you teach that Mary is equal to Jesus Christ? Only Jesus is our mediator, only Jesus can intercede for us.”

(Cristoiglesia) I know the Catechism of the Catholic Church very well and I assure you that there is no Catholic teaching anyway similar to what you claim. If you can find such a teaching in the Catechism please make me aware of it. The blessed mother of God is not “equal” to Jesus in any way. You are correct that Jesus is our only mediator and that is the teaching of the Catholic Church. However anyone can be an intercessor and intercessory prayer is the way that Christians express their love for one another.

(Dunwald) “To teach Mary can do the same things as Jesus is saying Mary is God and is equal to God.”

(Cristoiglesia) Specifically what teaching are you referring to as I know of no such teaching? Asking someone else to pray for us does not equate to us thinking that they are God or equal to God. From where do you get such nonsense.

(Dunwald) “Its the Catholics who are bearing false witness against Mary.”

(Cristoiglesia) Do you have any evidence whatsoever to support this statement? Can you give any specific incidences of this or are you just making idle accusations without evidence.

(Dunwald) “How pissed off do you think Mary will be when you stand before Jesus for spreading lies about,her?”

(Cristoiglesia) Do you have an example of any lies told about the blessed mother of God? I assure you that lies about the blessed mother do not come from Christ’s own Church that the Bible calls the “pillar and foundation of the truth”.

(Dunwald) “Before you complain about the splinter in my eye you really should remove the log in your eye first, and that log being Marian worship.”

(Cristoiglesia) I have been a Catholic Christian now for over a decade and was a Protestant Christian for 50 years prior to that. In all of this time I have never met anyone that worships the blessed mother. The Church teaches that to worship anyone or anything but God is a mortal sin. If any Catholic worshipped the blessed mother or anyone or thing but God they would cease to be Catholic as such a sin would be an act of Latae Excommunicae. You are the one bearing false witness and not I. You criticize Catholics falsely for violating some of the 10 Commandments yet you violate them without any apology egregiously and without repent.  

(Dunwald) “Will worshiping Mary keep you out of Heaven?”

(Cristoiglesia) Will bearing false witness keep one out of heaven? The answer is yes as it is a mortal sin. If it remains an unrepentant sin it will indeed result in the loss of salvation and the beatific vision. Certainly your claim is correct even if it is contradictory to your premise that Catholics violate the 10 Commandments. If that was indeed true Catholics could not be saved as we would be breaking the Commandments unrepentantly. Since we do not do as you claim then we have nothing to worry about. In contrast bearing false witness without repentance will indeed result in the loss of salvation.

(Dunwald) “No, because Salvation is based on Faith and Grace. But you will not receive any rewards for worshiping Mary.

(Cristoiglesia) Salvation is based on a true faith and not the false faith of heretics and non-believers. Christians worship God who is the Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in one God. Truly it is by God’s grace that we are saved and our response to that grace. Again, you are bearing false witness when you make the claim that Catholic Christians worship anyone or anything but God in the Trinity. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

Part II

(Dunwald) ” Salvation is by Faith that Jesus is God and by the grace of God. Its nothing we have done because we were predestined by God to be one of the Chosen few.”

(Cristoiglesia) It is true that salvation comes by God’s grace, however Jesus died on the cross so that all men may be saved by responding to that grace. We are predestined in the fact that we all have the law written and circumcised on our hearts. It is by this law that man can respond to God’s grace which is abundant to all that simply believe in Him. As a result of this law written on the hearts of all men we may respond to His grace and live eternally in Christ.  Anyone that says that man cannot ignore or reject that grace is a liar as God allows each of His children to reject Him or embrace Him having first given all the essential elements of the law to understand that divine grace by intuitively and freely embracing its simple salvific reality. It is never by God’s will that anyone not be saved as God’s grace is offered to all but it is not irresistible as the heretics claim.

(Dunwald)Lies about Mary.

1. Mary was sinless.

Romans 3:10
"None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”

Romans 3:23
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Romans 5:12
12Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned

Only Jesus Christ was sinless.

Hebrews 4:15
15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

(Cristoiglesia) It is good that you recognize that Jesus is sinless even in his Humanity. He is certainly an exception and contradiction to your misunderstanding of the Scriptures you provided. As a result it is clear that the Scriptures were making a general statement of the condition of man rather than being all inclusive as your eisegesis proclaims. It is obvious that your unjustified prejudice against the blessed mother of God has provoked you to make this error in understanding the Scriptural  teaching on the general state of man and applying it to the blessed mother who was saved from sin by her Son at her conception. The Salvific grace that saved her is the same grace that God gives to us all who cooperate with that grace through our belief in Him.   

(Dunwald) To declare Mary was sinless is making Mary equal to God who is sinless.

(Cristoiglesia) You need to support this statement with some kind of logical explanation. God prepared her with salvific grace at her conception. At her annunciation the angel of God recognized her sinless state calling her full of grace.  No one has ever called her equal to God except those who attack her and try to pretend that she was not the most blessed of all humanity by being chosen before her conception to be the mother of God incarnate.

(Dunwald) I do understand that you Catholics have a hard time understanding what God teaches in the bible, but if you would just ask God to give you the Indwelling of the holy Spirit you too can understand the Bible a lot better than you are doing now.

(Cristoiglesia) Rather than pointing at Catholics and their 2000 years of biblical scholarship and ignoring the fact that all the biblical writers of the New Testament were Catholic Christians perhaps you should study and make you approved to make such claims.  History records that it was entirely Catholics who canonized the Christian Bible under the authority of Christ given to His Church. It is the
Church and its teaching that is declared in the Bible as the truth and not your private interpretation and doctrines of men.

It is interesting and rather ironic that you claim to know my heart when you claim godly qualities usurped by the lack of sin by the blessed mother and yet put yourself as one who knows the hearts of others. You are doing what you claim erroneously that Catholics do with the teaching on the blessed mother of God. Such arrogance suggests that perhaps it may be you who lacks that grace given by God to the Church at Pentecost individually and corporeally. Certainly as a Christian outside the Church you are blessed with some discernment but certainly not the fullness of truth and grace that is within Christ’s own Church and not the man-made counterfeit sects of Protestantism who have some measure of truth with great error.

(Dunwald) “The parable of the Ten Virgins is a very good example of the Catholic Church today.

Matthew 25:1-12
1“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

6“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ 7Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

11“Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

The oil in the Lamps is the Holy Spirit which i believe most Catholics do not have today.”

(Cristoiglesia) It is rather odd that you would relate this to the Catholic Church and those of us who are faithful and obedient to the Church founded by Jesus and the disciples of our Lord. It is clear in Scriptures that it is this Church that was given the Holy Spirit at Pentecost which for 2000 years has protected the Church and individuals who are in Christ from error.
It would seem to a reasonable and knowledgeable person that this parable is more closely related to Protestants who left the Church to found their own sects based on their doctrines of men. The Bible speaks of such people as the Protestants as those who cannot endure sound doctrine. As a result they have chosen to reject Christ’s Church which is the “pillar and foundation of the truth” and follow false teachers who satisfy their itching ears. If you read the Bible without prejudice and have knowledge of history you would know that it is the Church which is with this charism given by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

(Dunwald)”There are two types of Christians. Those who have the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit and truly follow God. And those who do not have the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit and really do not follow God.

(Cristoiglesia) I agree! However would you not agree that it is more reasonable to assume that the obedient to God’s will, that we have unity in His Church, be a clear indication of an indwelling of the Holy Spirit? How would the rejection of His will, by being a member of the confusion of Protestantism, be a sign of this indwelling of the Holy Spirit? Surely the Holy Spirit draws one to His Church rather than the man-made counterfeits of Protestantism.

(Dunwald) ”Also in Matthew 7 God clearly says not everybody who claims to follow Him are a Christian.

Matthew 7:21
21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Just because you think you are a Christian does not mean you are a True Christian.”

(Cristoiglesia) I agree again! But how can one claim to truly follow Him and reject the Church that He built on the firm foundation of Him as the cornerstone and high priest, St Peter and his successors as the prime ministers and the disciples and their successors as the foundation stones.  This Church remains today and endures as Jesus promised as the “pillar and foundation of the truth” and not the sects of the Protestants who represent the confusion in their more than 30,000 different versions representing confusion and disunity. Jesus prayed for unity but Protestants ignore His prayer to the Father that we be one in His Church.

(Dunwald) “This i believe is the case with most Catholics today. They say they follow Jesus but their Hearts are not with Jesus. They have removed Jesus and have put Mary first in their lives.

(Cristoiglesia) We honor the blessed mother because the Bible says that we should recognize that she was uniquely blessed of all humanity. Jesus gave His mother to the Church and the Church was given to her from the cross by her Son. The ministry of the blessed mother is and has always been to point to her Son as the source for all salvation and we as followers of Christ desire to have this same devotion that she exemplifies.

(Dunwald) “You may say Catholics do not worship Mary, but even you cannot discern if they do or do not because i total believe you do not have the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 5:8
Walk as children of light 9(for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit is in the Truth. To teach lies means you do not have the Holy Spirit in You. This is why you are having such a hard time understanding what God says in the Bible.”

(Cristoiglesia) Now you are being ridiculous. The Church clearly and unambiguously teaches that Catholics are forbidden to worship anyone or anything but God. All Catholics know that to worship anyone or anything but God is to cease to be Catholic. Prove it to yourself as all Catholic teaching is recorded in the Catechism. Find any teaching that even suggests what you proclaim in your bearing of false witness against Christ’s own Church. Perhaps you should study what the Bible says about those who insist on bearing false witness against others. The Decalogue says that what you are doing is a mortal sin and as a result will surely murder your soul to Christ unless you repent. You are condemning yourself by your actions. You are also appearing as a fool by telling a Catholic Christian that we worship anyone but God as we certainly do not.

(Dunwald) “Message: 8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8,9

if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:9-13

9For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ 1 Thessalonians 5:9”

(Cristoiglesia) Agreed

(Dunwald)” Again you are lying, salvation is received by Faith and Grace and we receive our Salvation through Jesus Christ not through the Catholic Church like you teach.”

(Cristoiglesia) I have never said that salvation is not by faith grace. You are the one bearing false witness. We do receive salvific grace through the Church which is ordained by Christ to serve His Sacraments to the faithful. Jesus said that if we eat His Body and drink His Blood we will have eternal life and abide in Him forever. That is one of the Commandments of our Lord that most Protestants ignore. It is the Sacraments and in particular the Holy Eucharist that gives us the continuing grace to abide in Him.  Please read John 6 for confirmation. Pay particular attention to Jesus’ colloquy at Capernaum. His teaching is very clear. We must eat His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity to be saved as Christians.

(Dunwald) “Can it be you are having problems understanding what God says in the Scriptures?”

(Cristoiglesia) No, not at all.

(Dunwald) “Listen to the truth from the Holy Spirit instead of the lies from the Catholic Church.”

(Cristoiglesia) The Bible says of the Church that it is the “pillar and foundation of the truth”. But you say that the Bible lies. I believe the Bible and not you or your man-made sect. How can the Church lie and one believe the Bible to be true? You have to accept all the truth or none of it. Jesus said that the Church will endure for all times and will never fall into apostasy. You say it has. I believe Jesus and not you.

(Dunwald) “Paul had a lot to say about people like you.

17I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. Romans 16:17-18

We are to avoid people like you who serve your own appetites and do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ.

13For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15”

(Cristoiglesia) The Church stands for unity and so do I. Jesus prayed for unity the night before His crucifixion in His Church. Protestants represent division and confusion as the more than 30,000 different sects attest and I am not even counting all the non-denominational heretics. The Bible says to avoid those who cause divisions and not join them against Christ’s Church as you have done in your man-made counterfeit sect. the works of Protestantism is division and confusion within the Body of Christ. Only Christ’s own Church represents unity of the faithful.  Clearly St. Paul is speaking of the Protestants in this prophetic description and not the Church that he was a part.

(Dunwald) “You really need to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior before its too late.”

(Cristoiglesia) I did that over 60 years ago and have served Him all my life. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

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