Monday, April 13, 2015

Broad Exchange with a Former Catholic, Bible-Only Protestant (vs. John Hallman)

This occurred in the combox of an article I did at Catholic365: What to Do About Mediocre, Milky Homilies at Mass (4-11-15). John Hallman's words will be in blue.

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Read the Bible, and teach it, and you can't go wrong.

I agree! And teach it within the framework of approved Catholic apostolic tradition, so there is no error, since the devil is the father of lies.

Dave Armstrong LOL! Approved by the church fathers. Men, in other words, who still to this day create new "scripture"? Er, no thanks. I understand that to Catholics, the church takes precedence and must be obeyed but as a non-Catholic, I take my authority from God rather than men. That way, I can avoid those sticky things like purgatory, holy water, Mary as a co-Redemtrix and assumed into heaven. these kinds of things require some pretty agile Bible gymnastics, and my back just isn't into it. Carry on, though Dave!

I feel like a mosquito in a crowded locker room: where to begin?

1. No new Scripture has been created. Where you got such a silly notion, would be fun to find out. Only Holy Scripture is inspired. No dif there.

Apologies, just seems like it with the seeming hierarchy of beliefs that are non-Biblical.

Thanks for the apology, but "seems like it" is inadequate to make such a charge. You must document such [outlandish] charges. Once I called you on it, you realized you couldn't, and retracted it, which is admirable.

2. The Church doesn't take "precedence'; rather, we believe in a "three-legged stool" rule of faith: Bible - Church-Tradition. None is "above" the other, and all harmonize with each other. In Protestantism, it is a free-for-all, with hundreds of denominations (a completely unbiblical concept) offering contradictory interpretations and doctrines: including several that can't be traced back to the early Church or the Bible.

Apart from the (false) slam at Protestantism (great try, you're very funny!), you are entitled to equating the church men with the Bible, but I would politely disagree that there is basis for equivalency there. Not to be trite, but when you equate "God says it", with "man says it" and "we've always done it this way", it just seems like something is a wee bit amiss."

Nothing I said about Protestantism above is false. It's all demonstrably true. No Protestant can deny that there are massive internal contradictions, causing confusion among the flock and (logically necessary) error, in cases of contradiction. Falsehood is not from God; it's from the devil. You have yet to prove falsehood in Catholicism. But everyone knows that falsehood is present in Protestantism somewhere -- simply from the presence of contradiction. It's there, and it has a bad effect, as all untruths do.

I merely noted that in our thinking, the Church isn't above the Bible. That is the standard false stereotype. We believe that the Church and tradition are necessary as frameworks for the proper, unified interpretation of the Bible.

You're the one who claimed you were simply following "God rather than men" (standard Protestant boilerplate rhetoric). I showed that it is not as simple as it sounds: that you still must interpret, and when Protestants do that, they invariably disagree with each other, and so someone is therefore wrong.

3. God gave men authority in His Church to represent Him, starting with Peter. False dichotomy, but a very typical one.

I've read those manly interpretations of the Bible verses, and feel that they are still wrong. There is no apostolic succession if you understand what an apostle was. False assumption to justify the popes, but a very typical one.

Really? So Jesus was wrong, when He said, "You are Peter [Rock] and upon this rock I will build my Church"? [Matthew 16:18] Many of the best Protestant commentators concur that Peter (not just his faith) is the Rock. Thus, God gave men authority over His Church. There are also bishops in the Church, as the Bible repeatedly states. Who is your bishop?

You misunderstand apostolic succession. We're not saying that bishops are apostles, but that they succeed the apostles. This is based on explicit biblical example (Acts 1:20-26, where Judas was replaced). In Acts 1:20, "office" (KJV) is "bishopric" in KJV (derived from the Greek, episkopos). Paul also appears to pass his authority on to Timothy. And so it goes down through history.

4. You don't get your authority "from God" but rather, "from God via some particular Protestant denominational tradition." You then say that is "from God" -- but it assumes a fallacious premise.

Nice try, incorrect, but nice since it is what you have to work with. Let's go for 120,000 denominations, shall we? It's not correct, either, but using hyperbole gives you certain flexibility.

You have not offered any reply to what I wrote. I didn't say "120,000 denominations." I said "hundreds." [in my #2 above] For over ten years now, I have argued against using the large numbers, because they are based on wrong categories. Any number of "churches" or "denominations" beyond ONE is unbiblical. There is but one Church.

5. Ah yes: the obligatory laundry list of despised Catholic doctrines. I defend all at great length, offering many biblical arguments. See my blog.

I'll check out your blog, thanks. Should be interesting, if my back can hold up to the gyrations needed to justify these."

I'll pray that God will give you patience to be able to "withstand" so much truth. :-)

6. If you are willing to believe ALL the Bible: not just those portions that are predigested and regurgitated back to you via Protestant preaching and man-made denominational tradition, come talk to us in the Catholic Church.

I pray that you do the same, and read the Bible.

I've been reading the Bible and defending it intensely for over 37 years. I even produced my own NT "version".

I've been a Catholic, for many years, and absorbed all the teaching.

You have shown me scarcely any indication that you understand Catholic teaching, or its rationale. Did you ever read Catholic apologetics while you were a Catholic, so you could grasp why you believed what you did as a Catholic?

And believed it, at least until I started reading the Bible and learning a lot more, and in depth.

. . . and took in Protestant interpretations of it, that stem from man-made traditions, insofar as they contradict Catholic teaching.

Then I realized what the true Word of God is, and what salvation is.

What you realized was a particular Protestant version of all that: elements of which are novel and unbiblical and can't be found in the early Church.

These are not incompatible with Catholicism,

Glad to hear you say that. It shows that you are not [theologically] anti-Catholic and totally immune to reason.

but the Catholics put so many things on it, so many rules, regulations, traditions, and yes even made up stuff, that it seems they've gotten away from the message of Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, for our salvation.

So you say. I've defended all these things you deny. It's what I do for a living, and my specialty is "biblical evidence for Catholicism." Catholicism is a deeply biblical religion. It delves into Scripture in far more depth than any form of Protestantism ever has, because we believe ALL of Scripture and don't arbitrarily ignore large portions. Protestants must do that because many things in the Bible don't fit into their belief-system, such as, e.g., denominations, Scripture Alone, imputed justification, denial of the Real Presence in the Eucharist, and denial of baptismal regeneration.

We can freely accept and rejoice in all of Scripture, because nowhere does it contradict Catholic teaching.

Thanks for the exchange

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Someone else commented:

Amen... but is there any other way for us to reach these Protestants rather than telling them how wrong they are??

Jesus told the Pharisees how wrong they were, in no uncertain terms; substituting their own traditions of men for God's true tradition.

John came in with "guns blazing," and sure enough, is a former Catholic; therefore, he needs to be shown that the false traditions and premises are not in Catholicism, but in the Protestantism that he has adopted. That may come off sounding "negative" but it is exactly what he needs to hear, and so it is loving. It's tough love.

He likely won't accept it now, or even soon, but it never hurts to plant seeds. God can work on Him through His grace, in due course.

In the meantime, many others can read how I respond to him. So it's good all-around.

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Thursday, April 09, 2015

Can We Honor Jesus Christ Through His Mother Mary? (vs. John Cranman)

The following dialogue took place on my Facebook author page. I posted a meme which read: "We never give more honour to Jesus than when we honour his Mother, and we honour her simply and solely to honour him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek -- Jesus, her Son." [St. Louis Marie de Montfort]

This led to the exchange below with one John Cranman (apparently Protestant Reformed). His words will be in blue.

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This is literally vacuous.

Catholics think in terms of "both/and" rather than making false and unnecessary dichotomies ("either/or"). This is also the Hebrew and biblical outlook.

The best way to honor Jesus is to simply do what He says. If we are talking about a hierarchy of ways to honor Christ, I can imagine that living out the Great Commission is way further up there than honoring Mary. So obviously, honoring Mary isn't the "best" way to honor Christ.

You're still thinking in either/or terms. There is no necessity to do that. Doing Jesus' will honors Jesus; so does honoring His mother, which (as it says above) is always intended as primarily honor and glory to the Son, Who made His very mother, as He willed.

Okay; is honoring Mary the primary way to honor Christ, or is it not? Because, the former is what this meme is claiming.

No it's not. It's saying it is up at the top of honoring Jesus, without ruling out other ways of doing that. Both/and. Honoring His mother is honoring Him, in Catholic / biblical both/and thinking. The problem in Protestant thinking (esp. Reformed) is persistent false dichotomies. It can't comprehend honor of anyone besides God, as if such honor detracts from His honor and is necessarily idolatry. Catholics recognize distinctions between adoration and veneration, and also follow the notion of worshiping God through His creation. Thus, Paul writes:

Romans 1:20 (RSV) Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. . . .

Analogously, we can say, "Jesus' eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things [in this instance, Mary] that have been made." That's both/and thinking.

Dave, this is just sophistry then. Why not just speak plainly here? It doesn't say that it's "up at the top". It says that "we never give more honor" than when we honor Mary. I would even argue that it's nowhere near required, nor at the top.

You have to see it as "sophistry" because you are restricted by your own false premises (either/or thinking). I am speaking plainly (and biblically and logically and apostolically). But to you it is sophistry because you don't yet comprehend the biblical both/and outlook. You are too beholden to the traditions of men (either/or dichotomies).

Stating "we never give more honor" is not saying that it is the highest or only form of honoring Christ; only that no other form could give more honor. Technically, then, one could also say, in line with the meme, that "we never give more honor to Christ than simply do what He says." They could both be on the highest level. And indeed they are!

Moreover, the saint makes the following equation: "we honour her simply and solely to honour him." But there's your "both/and" outlook again, which Protestants rarely can conceptualize, because they've relentlessly been taught either/or thinking in their own circles. Thus, they see it as "sophistry" or (also commonly) "idolatry".

These aren't false premises. It has to do with clear communication. The meme communicates an idea. Now if the meme doesn't actually mean what it says, then it's communicating in a very unclear way. That's sort of what sophistry means. Clear communication has nothing to do with the "traditions of men". It has to do with language and passing along ideas.

And what do you mean here?: "Stating "we never give more honor" is not saying that it is the highest or only form of honoring Christ; only that no other form could give more honor." If honoring Mary is the maximal way to honor God, then it logically follows that honoring Mary is the highest way to honor God. But I can't tell whether you are admitting that, or denying it. What you're saying isn't clear.

I'm saying that it is the highest, and so are many other things we can do, as you note. It's the "highest" without excluding other "highests." Both / and . . . And it is the same as honoring Jesus Christ our Lord, as the meme says: "we honour her simply and solely to honour him."

That's what you can't grasp, because you don't see that we can adore God through creatures (and even things) that he has made. Protestantism, for the most part. has no category for that. It's worship God, and no honor or veneration for anyone else, or secondarily venerating them, through which we are primarily adoring God.

Also it's not. Honoring Mary is not the maximal, or highest way we can honor God. That's such nonsense. It's not even anywhere near the top. Dying for Christ, for example, is a much higher way to honor God. Maybe even the ultimate way, as there is nothing greater one can give than to lay down his/her life.

And Jesus nowhere tells us we are obligated to show this ongoing devotion and honor towards Mary. He always points our spiritual devotion towards God, not multiplied entities.

Jesus may not have, but there are a lot of Christian elements He didn't talk about at all, or not explicitly: that come primarily from the epistles. The biblical motif of imitating holy people is similar to veneration (see: Rom 11:14; 1 Cor 4:15-16; 11:1-2; Phil 3:17; 4:9; 1 Thess 1:6-7; 2:9-14; 3:7-9; 1 Tim 4:12; 2 Tim 3:10-14; Heb 6:12; 13:7; Jas 5:10-11; 1 Pet 3:1-2; 5:2-3).

Paul makes it clear more than once that imitating him is in complete harmony with the notion of imitating Christ, whom Paul is imitating (see, e.g., Ephesians 5:1: "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children:): "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ" (1 Cor 11:1); "And you became imitators of us and of the Lord . . ." (1 Thess 1:6). It's not either/or.

By analogy, it is altogether proper to venerate and honor saints, who have more perfectly attained God’s likeness (Matt 22:30; 1 Cor 13:9-12; 2 Cor 3:18; Phil 3:21; Heb 11:40; 1 Jn 3:2; Rev 21:27; 22:14), in light of the example of how “heroes of the faith” are regarded (Hebrews 11) and also the biblical injunctions to honor all sorts of people:

Romans 12:10 love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. (cf. 1 Cor 12:23-26)

Romans 13:6-7 For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.

Ephesians 6:2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), (cf. Ex 20:12; Deut 5:16)

1 Timothy 5:3 Honor widows who are real widows.

1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching;

1 Peter 2:17 Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

1 Peter 3:7 Likewise you husbands, live considerately with your wives, bestowing honor on the woman . . . (cf. Gen 30:20)

King Asa was honored after his death:

2 Chronicles 16:14 They buried him in the tomb which he had hewn out for himself in the city of David. They laid him on a bier which had been filled with various kinds of spices prepared by the perfumer's art; and they made a very great fire in his honor. (cf. 21:19, showing that this was a general practice)

King Hezekiah was also so honored:

2 Chronicles 32:33 And Hezeki'ah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the ascent of the tombs of the sons of David; and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honor at his death.

Only Catholicism tells us otherwise, through its own interpretive liberties. And not everyone agrees with those liberties. So if I'm seeing things through "Protestant" lenses, then likewise you, through Catholic ones.

There are many more examples in the Bible of veneration of both men and angels (often as direct representatives of God):

Genesis 18:1-4, 22 And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. [2] He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men stood in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself [shachah] to the earth, [3] and said, "My lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. [4] Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, . . . [22] So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom; but Abraham still stood before the LORD.

The text in-between goes back and forth, referring to "men" or "they" or "them" (18:9, 16) and "The LORD" or first-person address from God (18:10, 13-14, 17-21) interchangeably, for the same phenomenon and personal / physical / verbal encounter.

Joshua 5:13-15 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man stood before him with his drawn sword in his hand; and Joshua went to him and said to him, "Are you for us, or for our adversaries?" [14] And he said, "No; but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and worshiped [shachah], and said to him, "What does my lord bid his servant?" [15] And the commander of the LORD's army said to Joshua, "Put off your shoes from your feet; for the place where you stand is holy." And Joshua did so.

A "man" is equated with God also in Genesis 32:24, 30. The Angel of the Lord is sometimes referred to as God Himself, but not always; and is venerated. So. for example:

Judges 13:15-22 Mano'ah said to the angel of the LORD, "Pray, let us detain you, and prepare a kid for you." [16] And the angel of the LORD said to Mano'ah, "If you detain me, I will not eat of your food; but if you make ready a burnt offering, then offer it to the LORD." (For Mano'ah did not know that he was the angel of the LORD.) [17] And Mano'ah said to the angel of the LORD, "What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honor you?" [18] And the angel of the LORD said to him, "Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?" [19] So Mano'ah took the kid with the cereal offering, and offered it upon the rock to the LORD, to him who works wonders. [20] And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar while Mano'ah and his wife looked on; and they fell on their faces to the ground. [21] The angel of the LORD appeared no more to Mano'ah and to his wife. Then Mano'ah knew that he was the angel of the LORD. [22] And Mano'ah said to his wife, "We shall surely die, for we have seen God." (cf. 6:12-16, 20-23)

This passage is remarkable in that it goes back and forth between God (13:16, 19, 22) and the angel of the Lord (or of God) as His direct representative (13:15-18, 20-21 and in the larger passage, 13:3, 6, 9, 13). The angel is honored (v. 17), they fall on their faces to worship (v. 20) and at length the angel is equated with God as His visible manifestation (v. 22). But the difference between the angel and God is highlighted by the angel being described as a "man of God" (13:6, 8) and "the man" (13:10-11).

The angel of the Lord is also equated with God (theophany) in Gen 31:11-13; Jud 2:1; but differentiated from God as well, as a representative: (2 Sam 24:16; 1 Ki 19:6-7; 2 Ki 19:35; Dan 3:25, 28; 6:23; Zech 1:8-14).

The Bible, in summary, is quite clear: there is an occasional use of angels or men as direct representatives of God, and they are "worshiped" [i.e., venerated] only insofar as they represent God, as a visual image or object, through whom God is working and communicating. But veneration is strictly separated from the adoration due to God alone (see: Acts 10:25-26; Rom 1:25; Col 2:18; Rev 22:8-9). Everything has to be considered together, as a whole.

All of this explicit biblical evidence is precisely in line with what the Catholic Church teaches. It is the outright prohibition of all veneration and honor of creatures whatever in most forms of Protestantism that is a grossly unbiblical notion.

Moreover, "worship" is used in a wider (literary) sense of showing reverence or obeisance to men of authority (in this instance, a king), in 1 Chronicles 29:20: "And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the LORD your God. And all the congregation blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped [shachah] the LORD, and the king" (KJV). RSV has: "worshiped the LORD, and did obeisance to the king," but it is one Hebrew word applied to both.

Much of what you point out here in scripture is not at all incompatible with my position. Of course we honor people, and even imitate their example. Of course I'd fearfully honor an angel if one were before me.

But that's worlds apart from offering my ongoing spiritual devotion towards any of the above, or singing psalms and praises to them in some ongoing fashion.

Well, John, we Catholics read the same Bible you read, that says "honor all men" -- so we think that the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who was God, is worthy of great honor: above all other creatures. Martin Luther very much thought so, too. It's not just a Catholic thing. He wrote:

The “great things” are nothing less than that she became the Mother of God, in which work so many and such great good things are bestowed on her as pass man’s understanding. For on this there follows all honor, all blessedness, and her unique place in the whole of mankind, among which she has no equal, namely, that she had a child by the Father in heaven, and such a Child. She herself is unable to find a name for this work, it is too exceeding great; all she can do is break out in the fervent cry, are great things, impossible to describe or define. Hence men have crowded all her glory into a single word, calling her the Mother of God. No one can say anything greater of her or to her, though he had as many tongues as there are leaves on the trees, or grass in the fields, or stars in the sky, or sand by the sea. (The Magnificat, June 1521; tr. A. T. W. Steinhaeuser)

[P]raise and thank God through Mary and the grace given her. Laud and love her . . . Similarly, our prayer should include the Mother of God as we say: O God, what a noble person you have created in her! May she be blessed! And so on. And you who honored her so highly, grant also to me . . . (Personal Prayer Book, 1522, tr. Martin H. Bertram; in LW, v. 43)

We do not want to take away from Mary any honor which is her due. . . . let the Blessed Virgin keep her place of honor. Among all the women of the world she has this privilege from God, that as a virgin she gave birth to the Son of God. (Lectures on Genesis, Chapters 1-5, Feb. 1536, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan, tr. George V. Schick; in LW, v. 1) 

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

First Video Ever of Me Teaching Apologetics


By Dave Armstrong

I did an informal Q & A teaching session (1 hr, 17 min. total, in two parts) with a Catholic high school youth group, called ROCK (Relying On Christ our King), in Southgate, Michigan (3-22-15), answering 30 or so questions, completely unprepared and "off the cuff."

Links: Part One / Part Two

I hardly ever do this, whether filmed or not. I did an actual talk / lecture a year or two ago to another high school group. That's even more rare than what I did here, which was almost totally a Q & A session. Blessedly, I wasn't really aware that I was being filmed the whole time. That would have made my perfectionism hit the roof and make me worry too much about what I was saying.

This is me! People are always talking about how the Internet doesn't convey body language, tone, and all the rest that we see visually, or what we hear (inflection and so forth). So now you can see what I'm really like (rather than what the myths of my detractors claim): laid-back, informal, given often to witty remarks and one-liners (sometimes dry humor), unassuming, easy-going.

This is exactly what I would be like (so my family and some friends who have met me say), if you were in my living room talking to me about apologetics. Hopefully, this can overcome the curious stereotype that makes out that apologists are these mean, overbearing, arrogant types who love to tell everyone they are wrong and how stupid they are. I have my faults like anyone else, but those things are not among my besetting sins or shortcomings.

No! I'm here to share with joy, the Good News and the fullness of spiritual and theological truth that is found in the Catholic Church.

What's cool is that in the second part you see a lot of my second-oldest son Michael (almost 22) who was reading the questions and making some comments. You hear my youngest son Matthew (baritone voice just like myself and Michael) with a few questions, but don't see him, because he was filming it. You also see the back of my wife Judy's head in Part 2 (dark, curly hair). I wish she had turned around!

I think it's fun because it is so informal and a sort of group discussion. Part 2 is as informal as can be imagined, in a separate room with everyone feeding their face and walking around, while I answered the questions from index cards. Though I don't do stuff like this much, I immensely enjoyed it. The most fun in apologetics that I ever had in my life was when it was just me and 16 atheists in a room, 3 or 4 years ago. That was a Q & A session, too. I wrote about that but I don't have a transcript of it.

So, enjoy and please let me hear your feedback and what you think. Did your impression of me change too?

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Monday, March 30, 2015

The Usual Non-Debate (Not for Lack of Trying!) with a "Gay Marriage" Advocate (vs. Marco Razzeto)

This exchange and attempted debate (slightly edited) occurred on my Facebook page, in a public post. That post was initiated with a cartoon that depicted a KKK couple asking a black baker to bake their wedding cake. Former Catholic Marco's words will be in blue. I made many spelling and grammar corrections.

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The guy should bake the damn cake. First amendment rights. And in my opinion same sex marriage is constitutionally covered by the pursuit of happiness. Religions and their exclusionary practices are also covered under the first amendment. It's a great country guys!

All we can do is try to reason with rational people who believe in traditional morality, and pray for the ones who aren't and don't.

Who gives a damn if gay people want to get married? If your church opposes it, don't marry gay people, but for God's sake live and let live. Who does gay marriage hurt? Don't give me any BS about it being a bad example for children, either. If you want an electrician, don't call a Quaker. If you need a blood transfusion, don't go to a Jehovah's Witness or Christian Scientist.

Exclusionary religious practices are tolerated as matters of faith, cool. But keep your BS within your own group till judgement day. That day you can scream I told you so as loud as you want. The Crusades are over buddy.
"Who does gay marriage hurt?"

1) The two who got "married" because sodomy hurts them, and is known to produce several deleterious health effects, which is why practicing homosexuals (almost invariably wildly promiscuous) die a lot younger than the res
t of us.

2) Children in such a "marriage" because they need parents of both sexes. Who wants to grow up without a mother? Or without a father?

3) Society, because marriage is the bedrock of civilization. To redefine it will be to start dismantling that (formerly Christian) civilization.

4) Of course, sodomy is a mortal sin, and goes against the natural order (see Romans 1 and 2). If unrepented of, it may very well cause a person to be condemned to hell for eternity. It doesn't have to be. By God's grace, repentance is possible.

5) Sexuality divorced from all relationship whatever to procreation (childbearing) is also mortal sin (the contraceptive mentality). This is why practicing lesbianism is also mortal sin, even though it doesn't involve sodomy.

What a bunch of horse pucky. Especially 2. I'm slightly inclined to agree with point 3. Point one, somewhat true, but that's their right. Intolerance is asinine. I'm ideologically Jewish, but respect your right to believe in Christ. I'm not carrying a cross for anyone and God will smite me when he sees fit.

I still await a rational response from Marco. I won't hold my breath . . . Do you respect our right to believe that sodomy is sin, just as our Jewish ancestors before the time of Christ also believed? Ignorance and blindness are asinine, too.

That's cool my friend. Enjoy your forum. Pat each other on the back on what a bunch of moral and spiritual philosophers you are. I get it. Enjoy.

Oh, it's time for you to depart now, Marco? Once anyone disagrees with you and explains why they do, it's a lot different, huh? 

Dude I'm still here.

Oh good. It sounded like you were giving a little speech prior to your departure. Do you intend to rationally respond to my five points? You asked a question and I answered it. 

Catholics shouldn't be forced into any of that. But let those people go elsewhere who want those things you rebuke. This is the United states of America. Not the United states of Christ. You guys probably think it should be and I encourage you to petition and vote for this country becoming the United States of Christ. It's your rights as Americans to do so. And it's just as much a gay person's [right] to get married.

Do you intend to actually interact with my five points or not? This page is not a forum for you to merely preach, which would be trolling. You're more than welcome to engage in argument, whatever you believe, but I don't tolerate trolls.

Trolling? What the hell is that? 

What you are doing: preaching on a page where you know you will be mostly disagreed with.

You're not gonna burn me at the stake, are you? Ok buddy. I'll let you guys reinforce each other. I didn't realize I walked into a pep rally. Your views are your view. I grew up Catholic and think the religion is mostly beautiful. I just disagree with the fact that it tries to tell non-Catholics how to live.

Anyone else is welcome to step up to the plate and defend so-called "gay marriage." Bye Marco. Thanks for the classic demonstration of the mindless, irrational idealogue. Note, folks, that I repeatedly urged Marco to make his argument. He was more than welcome to, but refused, and so was blocked as a troll.What good is a religion if it does not "tell people how to live"? LOL Ain't that much of the point? Revelation tells us how to live a happy, joyful life, and how to receive eternal life.

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Friday, March 20, 2015

The Raising of Tabitha as a Compelling Indicator of Purgatory (by Tony Gerring)

By Tony Gerring [see Facebook page]

If you are a non-Catholic Christian, can you provide some insight on how you understand this story in Scripture? In Acts 9:36-42, Peter raises the disciple Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9:36-42).

Where did Tabitha's soul go after she died?

Did Tabitha's soul leave heaven and return to earth?

What about Hebrews 9:27?: “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.”

How do you understand this story?

In the New Testament, there are several occurrences of the dead being raised to life after Jesus’ resurrection. In Acts 9:36-42, we read about how Peter raised Tabitha from the dead. Note that Tabitha is specifically called a disciple of Jesus who did good works and gave alms. In verse 37, the Bible tells us she died. According to Protestant understanding, after her death, Tabitha's soul must have gone directly to heaven.

Now if Tabitha had received her heavenly reward and her soul was in heaven with God, then God must have stripped Tabitha of her heavenly reward in order to send her soul back to a sinful, bodily existence on earth. But how could this be? This would violate God's own love and justice: “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” Hebrews 9:27.

In Catholic eschatology, there exists another option – that which is called purgatory. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. (CCC 1030). Furthermore, the “Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.” (CCC 1031)

If Tabitha was among the elect and her soul was undergoing this final purification in order “to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven,” her earthly resurrection would not violate God’s eternal justice, for her soul would not yet have entered into the heavenly reward promised by God.

However, if, as non-Catholic Christians assert, there is no purgatory, then immediately after her death her soul would have entered its heavenly reward. And, in order for Tabitha to be raised from the dead, God must have cast her soul out of heaven in order to return to a sinful, bodily existence on earth. The problem with this explanation is that it defies everything that Christians understand about God and his love and justice.

It is simply not possible for a soul once received into heaven to leave heaven and return to a sinful, earthly existence. This is an impossible theological difficulty for non-Catholic Christians.
However, the raising of Tabitha by Peter as recounted in the book of Acts fits perfectly within Catholic theology, maintains God's love and justice, and still manifest's God power over death on earth as a witness to eternal life in heaven. This story is also one of the strongest and clearest Biblical evidences for the reality of the final purification of the elect after death and before entering heaven.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cardinal Newman's Conversion Odyssey, in His Own Words (September 1839 to December 1845)

Newman in 1845
The following chronological documentation is drawn from entries in my two books:  

The Quotable Newman (Manchester, New Hampshire: Sophia Institute Press, 2012)
Section: "Conversion (His Own)" 

Cardinal Newman: Q & A on Theology, Church History, and Conversion (Lulu, 2015; currently in progress, with the sections relevant here, completed) 
Section: Ch. 6: "Conversion (to Catholicism)"

Sometimes different portions of the same letter are in the two different books, which will be noted. I note to whom letters were written, and also indicate primary sources or secondary sources where I obtained the letters.

My two books also contain Newman's thoughts on Catholic conversion in general, his hindsight reflections on his own conversion from after 1845, and his criticisms of Anglicanism; as well as related remarks on development and other aspects of Church history. But those citations will not be included in this list (minus ten noted exceptions).

Bibliography and Abbreviations

QN  The Quotable Newman (Manchester, New Hampshire: Sophia Institute Press, 2012)

Q&A Cardinal Newman: Q & A on Theology, Church History, and Conversion (Lulu, 2015)

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Apo. Apologia pro Vita Sua (1865; London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1908)

Ble. [Vincent Ferrer Blehl] Pilgrim Journey: John Henry Newman: 1801-1845 (New York: Paulist Press, 2001) 

Keb., Correspondence of John Henry Newman with John Keble and Others, 1839-45 (edited at the Birmingham Oratory, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1917)

LD vii The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, Vol. VII:  Editing the British Critic: January 1839 – December 1840 (edited by Gerard Tracey;  Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995)

LD viii The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, Vol. VIII: Tract 90 and the Jerusalem Bishopric: January 1841 – April 1842 (edited by Gerard Tracey, Oxford University Press, USA, 2000)

LD ix The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, Vol. IX: Littlemore and the Parting of Friends: May 1842-October 1843 (edited by Francis J. McGrath, F.M.S. and Gerard Tracey;  Oxford University Press, 2006)

LD x The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, Vol. X: The Final Step: 1 November I843 – 6 October 1845 (edited by Francis J. McGrath, F.M.S.; Oxford University Press, 2006)

LD xi The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, Vol. XI: Littlemore to Rome: October 1845 to December 1846 (edited by Charles Stephen Dessain, London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1961)

Moz. ii Letters and Correspondence of John Henry Newman During His Life in the English Church, vol. 2 [starting from December 1833] (edited by Anne Mozley; 1891; London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1903)

POL A Packet of Letters: A Selection from the Correspondence of John Henry Newman; edited by Joyce Sugg (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983)

SD Sermons Bearing on Subjects of the Day (1831-1843 / 1869; London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1902)

 Chronological List of Letters and Other Sources

To Frederic Rogers, 22 Sep. 1839 (Q&A / LD vii + QN / Moz. ii)

To S. F. Wood, 29 Sep. 1839 (Q&A / LD vii)

To J. W. Bowden, 4 Nov. 1839 (Q&A / LD vii)

To Robert Williams, 10 Nov. 1839 (Q&A / LD vii)

To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 29 Nov. 1839 (Q&A / LD vii)

To J. W. Bowden, 5 Jan. 1840 (QN / Keb.)

To Edward B. Pusey, 15 Jan. 1840 (Q&A / LD vii)

To J. W. Bowden, 21 Feb. 1840 (QN / Keb.)

To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 25 Feb. 1840 (QN / Moz. ii)

To John Keble, 26 Oct. 1840 (Q&A / LD vii) [from ch. 5: "Anglicanism"]

To Frederick Rogers, 25 Nov. 1840 (QN / Moz. ii)

To Frederic Rogers, 26 Dec. 1840 (Q&A / LD vii) [from ch. 5: "Anglicanism"]

To Richard Westmacott, 8 April 1841 (Q&A / LD viii)

To Charles W. Russell [name unlisted in my book], 26 April 1841 (QN / Apo., ch. 4)

To Charles W. Russell [name unlisted in QN], 5 May 1841 (Q&A / LD viii + QN / Apo., ch. 4)

To Miss Mary Holmes, 6 Sep. 1841 (Q&A / LD viii) [from ch. 5: "Anglicanism"]

To J. R. Hope, 17 Oct. 1841 (Q&A / LD viii + QN / Moz. ii)

To John Keble, 24 Oct. 1841 (Q&A / LD viii + QN / Moz. ii) [1st from ch. 5: "Anglicanism"]

To Henry Wilberforce, 8 Nov. 1841 (Q&A / LD viii)

To J. R. Hope, 24 Nov. 1841 (QN / Keb.)

To Samuel Rickards, 1 Dec. 1841 (Q&A / LD viii + QN / Moz. ii) [1st from ch. 5: "Anglicanism"]

To J. R. Hope, 2 Dec. 1841 (QN / Keb.)

To S. F. Wood, 6 Dec. 1841 (QN / Keb.)

To J. R Hope, 8 Dec. 1841 (Q&A / LD viii)

To S. F. Wood, 13 Dec. 1841 (Q&A / LD viii + QN / Keb.)

To Thomas Mozley, 13 Dec. 1841 (Q&A / LD viii) [from ch. 5: "Anglicanism"]

To R. W. Church, 24 Dec. 1841 (QN / Apo., ch. 4)

To Rev. W. Dodsworth, 27 Dec. 1841 (QN / Keb.) 

To Robert I. Wilberforce, 26 Jan. 1842 (Q&A / LD viii)

To Robert I. Wilberforce, 1 Feb. 1842 (Q&A / LD viii)

To Edward Bellasis, 16 Feb. 1842 (QN / Keb.)

To Thomas Kirkpatrick [name unlisted in my book], 6 March 1842 (QN / Keb.)

To Edward B. Pusey, 24 Aug. 1842 (Q&A / LD ix) [from ch. 5: "Anglicanism"]

To Edward B. Pusey, 16 Oct. 1842 (QN / Apo., ch. 4)

To Miss Mary Holmes, 8 Feb. 1843 (Q&A / LD ix + QN / Ble.)

To John Keble, 14 March 1843 (QN / Keb.)

Diary, 12 April 1843 (Ble.)

To John Keble, 4 May 1843 (Q&A / LD ix + QN / Apo., ch. 4)

To John Keble, 18 May 1843 (QN / Keb.)

To Henry Wilberforce, 9 June 1843 (Q&A / LD ix)

To Mrs. William [Catherine] Froude, 28 July 1843 (Q&A / LD ix)

To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 28 Aug. 1843 (QN / Moz. ii)

To J. B. Mozley, 1 Sep. 1843 (QN / Moz. ii)

To John Keble, 6 Sep. 1843 (QN / Keb.)

To Jemima Mozley, 22 Sep. 1843 (QN / Moz. ii)

Sermon 26: “The Parting of Friends,” 25 Sep. 1843 (SD)

To [sister] Harriett Mozley, 29 Sep. 1843 (QN / Moz. ii)

To [sister] Harriet Mozley, 2 Oct.? 1843 (Q&A / LD ix)

To Henry Edward Manning, 14 Oct. 1843 (QN / Apo., ch. 4)

To Henry Edward Manning, 25 Oct. 1843 (Q&A / LD ix + QN / Apo., ch. 4)

To J. B. Mozley, 24 Nov. 1843 (QN / Moz. ii)

To Henry Edward Manning, 24 Dec. 1843 (QN / Keb.)

To John Keble, 23 Jan. 1844 (QN / Keb.)

To Edward B. Pusey, 19 Feb. 1844 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Ble.)

To J. W. Bowden, 21 Feb. 1844 (QN / Moz. ii)
To Charles John Myers, 25 Feb. 1844 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Ble.)

To Mrs. William [Catherine] Froude, 3 April 1844 (Q&A / LD x)

To Mrs. William [Catherine] Froude, 5 April 1844 (Q&A / LD x) [from ch. 5: "Anglicanism"]

To Mrs. William [Catherine] Froude, 9 April 1844 (Q&A / LD x) [from ch. 5: "Anglicanism"]
To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 21 May 1844 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Ble. & Moz. ii)

To John Keble, 8 June 1844 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Ble. & POL)

To Mrs. William [Catherine] Froude, 9 June 1844 (QN / Ble.)

To John Keble, 13 June 1844 (QN / Keb.)

Memorandum in case of need,” 28 July 1844 (Q&A / LD x)

To E. L. Badely, 23 Aug. 1844 (QN / Keb.)

To Edward B. Pusey, 28 Aug. 1844 (Q&A / LD x)

To Edward Badeley, 9 Sep. 1844 (Q&A / LD x)

Draft,” 30 Oct. 1844 (Q&A / LD x) [from ch. 5: "Anglicanism"]

To Miss Maria Rosina Giberne, 7 Nov. 1844 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Ble.)

To Mrs. William [Catherine] Froude, 12 Nov. 1844 (Q&A / LD x)

To Rev. Edward Coleridge, 12 Nov. 1844 (QN / Keb.)

To Mrs. Elizabeth Bowden, 16 Nov. 1844 (Q&A / LD x)

To Henry Edward Manning [name unlisted in QN], 16 Nov. 1844 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Apo., ch. 4)

To Edward Coleridge, 16 Nov. 1844 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Keb.)

To Robert Wilberforce, 16 Nov. 1844 (QN / Ble.)

To John Keble, 21 Nov. 1844) (Q&A / LD x + QN / Keb.)

To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 24 Nov. 1844 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Moz. ii)

To [sister] Jemima Mozley, Dec. 1844 (QN / Moz. ii)

To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 22 Dec. 1844 (QN / Ble. & Moz. ii)

To Miss Maria Rosina Giberne, 8 Jan. 1845 (QN / Ble. & Apo., ch. 4)

To Edward B. Pusey, 25 Feb. 1845 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Ble.)

To Edward B. Pusey, 12 March 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To Edward B. Pusey, 14 March 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 15 March 1845 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Moz. ii)

To Henry Wilberforce, 20 March 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 22 March 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To Miss Maria Rosina Giberne, 30 March 1845 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Ble.)

To James Bowling Mozley, 2 April 1845 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Moz. ii)

To Robert Francis Wilson, 11 April 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To Henry Wilberforce, 27 April 1845 (QN / Ble.)

To J. R. Hope, 14 May 1845 (QN / Keb.)

To Mrs. William [Catherine] Froude, 10 June 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To J. R. Hope, 10 June 1845 (QN / Keb.)

To Rev. Edward Coleridge, 3 July 1845 (QN / Ble.)

To Richard Westmacott, 11 July 1845 (QN / POL)

To Charles Crawley, 14 July 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To [brother] Francis William Newman, 7 Aug. 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To Miss Maria Rosina Giberne, 24 Aug. 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

Mrs. Elizabeth Bowden, 31 Aug. 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To Simeon Lloyd Pope, 18 Sep. 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To Edward Walford, 21 Sep. 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To Robert Francis Wilson, 25 Sep. 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 9 Oct. 1845 (QN / LD xi)

To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 14 Oct. 1845 (QN / LD xi)

To Edward Badeley, 19 Oct. 1845 (QN / LD xi)

Letter To Harmood W. Banner, 8 Nov. 1845 (QN / LD xi)

Letter to the Marquise de Salvo, 14 Dec. 1845 (QN / LD xi)

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