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Analyzing a Christian Tirade

When writing about Catholic Faith & Reason on the blogosphere, you might think the longest rants and tirades against such writings come from militant atheists. Many do, but from my experience, many also come from non-Catholic Christians.

I normally do not engage these challenges because I find them too time consuming and seemingly fruitless, but I thought I’d share just one small part of such a tirade in order to demonstrate how you don’t need a lot of theology or Scripture references to refute them.

WARNING: What you are about to read is a direct attack on the Eucharist, and you may find the commenter’s lack of faith & reason disturbing. ***********************************************************************************************************

“I challenge you to an on-line debate at your website on the Eucharist. The madness of this doctrine must be confronted head-on. The Roman Catholic Church claims that the Council of Trent was infallible. However, if it can be shown that they made even one factual error, the claim for infallibility falls to the ground and all Catholic doctrines fall right along with it. The Catechism says, ‘Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly His body He was offering under the species of bread’ (CCC 1376).

No, he did not say any such thing. Trent’s first error was the brazen lie of telling us Jesus said something, when he didn’t. What they did do is tell us what they THINK he meant and then quote him as if he had said so! This is dishonest. Such behavior would not be tolerated by any school of journalism, let alone are we to tolerate it coming from a self-proclaimed ‘infallible’ church council.”

My Thoughts: What is in CCC #1376 is not a direct quote from Scripture; it’s quoting the Council writings. The writers of the Catechism and the Council are teaching with authority about what “This is my body” means (Luke 22:19). Anyone is free to debate any authority and its source, but this is not about lying or a mistaken quote. After the Ascension of Christ, the Apostles and their descendants told others what Jesus said, agreed? They had no New Testament Scriptures to quote from for many, many years, agreed? So how did they teach others what Jesus said? They taught authoritatively by word of mouth (not by Scripture); what Catholics call Oral Tradition or Scared Tradition. This is really about what Jesus meant, as opposed to what was literally said. If your father was no longer around and left nothing in writing, and you then taught your younger brothers and sisters “what Dad said” without direct quotes, does this make you a brazen liar?

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 “The second offense was asserting that Jesus was offering himself in sacrifice right there at the table, when the Text indicates no such thing.   Trent teaches, ‘At the Last Supper, on the night He was betrayed [He] offered up to God the Father His own body and blood under the form of bread and wine…’

Reader, that is a bold-faced lie. Jesus offered up His body ‘on the tree’, per 1 Peter 2:24…i.e., at the cross, no sooner and no later; and certainly not at the Last Supper, and definitely not at any Mass going on today.  Awake!  Jesus said he desired to eat the Passover ‘before I suffer’ (Luke 22:15). That being so, he did not suffer and offer himself in sacrifice to God the Father at the dinner table before he went to the cross!”

My Thoughts: The Church teaches that Jesus offered himself on the cross AND at the last supper AND at every Mass. CCC #1367 “The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: ‘The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.’ ‘And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. . . this sacrifice is truly propitiatory.’”

Is the Church correct or incorrect? Who is to say and by what authority? It seems to always come back to this question.

***********************************************************************************************************

“Their third offense was stealing the word ‘truly’ from John 6:53 (‘Truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man…’) but irresponsibly transporting the word ‘truly’ over to the Last Supper account, where he did not ‘truly’ affirm that at all.”

My Thoughts: See above thoughts.

***********************************************************************************************************

“Instead of letting the Bible breathe on its own, Trent has quoted Jesus out of context. Even if Transubstantiation were true, we are quite sure the Lord would not take kindly to putting words in his mouth.   Need it be said that David required only one stone to kill Goliath?   In like manner, all it takes is just one stone of error to classify Catholicism as counterfeit Christianity.

Since the claim of infallibility is now exposed as false, so too must the doctrine of Transubstantiation be false. This means that Jesus was not speaking literally when he told us to ‘eat my flesh and drink my blood’, but rather, metaphorically. Essentially, ‘eating and drinking’ are synonymous with ‘believing in Christ’ because they both produce the same result: namely, eternal life!”

My Thoughts: Now we get into the crux of the matter. The Bible does not “breathe on its own”. It is people who “breath” and people who teach. The commenter declares that Jesus was speaking metaphorically, but Jesus says no such thing. Why doesn’t he let the Bible “breathe on its own” instead of telling us what he THINKS Jesus meant? The Bible is clear “This is my Body” (Luke 22:19). When God says something is…it is.

I’ll go out on a limb and say the commenter believes that all matters of Christian doctrine and practice should be based on the Bible alone (Sola Scriptura). Anyone who accepts the false teaching of Sola Scriptura first runs into a contradiction and most likely does not realize it. The problem is that this doctrine is not found in the Bible (it’s unbiblical), so you need some other non-biblical source of authority to declare it, which means it violates Sola Scriptura. If this wasn’t clear enough, the Bible itself points us to another authority. In 1Timothy 3:15 the pillar and foundation of Truth is said to be the Church, not Scripture.

Secondly, Scripture is subject to human interpretation. Bible Christians do not use the Bible alone; they use the Bible along with whatever interpretations and traditions their leaders give them. Jesus actually founded one, and only one, universal Church for everybody; a visible and authoritative Church that uses imperfect men, together with the Holy Spirit, to guide us in faith and morals. If there really is a God, He would provide a way for us to know what is true without deterioration from human interpretation. A good Father would not just leave a book behind for us to figure out; a good Father would not leave His children as orphans. He would give us a Catholic, or universal, Church.

So in the last analysis, Jesus founded a Church…not a book. The next time you hear someone say the Catholic Church is not infallible ask, “Are you infallible about that?”

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Ben Butera

Ben Butera is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology and currently a Solutions Development Manager for a global 500 company. In 2010 he was certified as an instructor and Program Leader for his company’s initiative in analytical problem solving and decision making. In 2016 his first book was published entitled "Faith with Good Reason: Finding Truth Through an Analytical Lens". Ben is also co-author of “Two Catholic Men and a Blog”; a blog about Catholic faith and reason. He is a religious education catechist, a husband, a father and lives with his loving wife and three children in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

22 Comments

  1. Thanks Ben.
    I’ve used Eucharistic miracles as a final analysis to seed the heart of those who try to refute the institution of the sacrifice Holy Mass and the real presence of Christ found in Holy Communion, the Eucharist, the blessed Sacrament;
    http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/lanciano.html

    “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”
    Sweeter than honey and rich in kindness.
    We are so privileged and to be held responsible for not sharing our Lord with all we encounter.
    Peace.

  2. Thanks Phil. When I’ve mentioned Church approved miracles to non-Catholics they are sometimes dismissed sort of like UFO sightings; sort of real and sort of not (like an odd anomaly). BTW…Book is in the mail for you!

  3. Yep. I’ve run into Catholics (self-described, at least) with similar beliefs. One apparently thought everything went downhill after Trent. Oh, well. America *is* a traditionally Protestant country. Hardly surprising that the dominant culture has an effect.

    About the Magisterium: I paid attention to some of the more earnest and coherent Protestant groups, who take the ‘Bible only, nothing but the Bible thing’ very seriously. Looking at how they keep from going off the rails, which they had for a few generations, I noticed that they had a sort of council of elders – – – who functioned more-or-less as their Magisterium analog.

    Being Catholic, I see their elders as being smart and dedicated folks: but without the Magisterium’s backing and authority. Under the circumstances, they were doing fairly well. But I’m still a Catholic. 😉

  4. All people need the Catholic Church to interpret the Bible for them. Without the Catholic Church they must interpret the Bible for themselves, a very dangerous affair. “I AM WITH YOU FOR ALL TIMES.” Jesus Christ’s promise fulfilled in the Real Presence. The Real Presence in the tabernacle can only be maintained through transubstantiation.
    Some of my Catholic friends have never heard of transubstantiation. How can one blame the Protestants?

  5. Some points need to be brought into this discussion.
    *
    Matthew 26:26-29 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE) says:
    *
    The Institution of the Lord’s Supper
    26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
    *
    In the Passover Seder the participants drink four cups of wine, the last of which is the Cup of Consummation. It is my understanding that at the Last Supper the cup that was used by Christ in the Institution of the Eucharist was the third cup, the Cup of Blessing. The Passover Seder was left incomplete, and it was not completed until Christ consumed the fourth cup when He took the the bitter wine vinegar that He was given on a sponge during the Crucifixion:
    *
    John 19:28-30 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

    28 After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
    *
    Hyssop branches were used to apply the blood of the lamb to the doorposts during the Passover:
    *
    Exodus 12:22 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

    22 Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood which is in the basin; and none of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning.
    *
    Calvary was an integral part of the Last Supper.

  6. So called “Bible Christians” give me a pain in the rear end. Sola Scrptura is nonsense and those who embrace it, or claim to, can never arrive at the truth. Christ came to do many things, but a “Salvation for Dummies” book wasn’t one of them.

    After 500 years, Protestantism is hopelessly splintered and its mainline denominations are fading away. Evangelicalism is a mile wide and and a quarter inch deep. I run into legions of anti-Catholics at the Breitbart comboxes, which covers the current Pontiff every time he says or does something generally considered dumb by conservatives. They tell the usual crap – Catholics worship idols, Catholics aren’t Christians, Catholics started Islam, the Inquisition murdered millions of Protestants and other stupidity my kids can’t make up. When one brings up the “wealth” of the Vatican I point out the wealth of Joel Osteen and others like him.

    There is a YouTube dimwit named Angela who has gone to Poland and made videos of herself haranging Poles coming out of Mass.

    I better stop.

  7. I have had a long term interest in Contemplative Prayer, and mysticism. The following is my mystical analysis of the lives of Jesus and Mary:
    *
    Christ came both to redeem humankind from its sins, and to establish His Church in the New Covenant ratified in His Own Blood. The Church is called the Mystical Body of Christ. This being the case, the Mystical Body of Christ would be expected to manifest a mystical mode of operation. Mysticism points in turn to the three ways of Contemplative Prayer, the Purgative, the Illuminative, and the Unitive. In a purely human contemplative the way of Contemplative Prayer starts with the Purgative Way, which leads to the Illuminative Way, ending in the Unitive Way, the summit of which St. Teresa of Avila calls the Spiritual Marriage of the Seventh Mansions.
    *
    When we look at the life of Christ it is the mirror image of this progression. His life in mortal flesh starts in the unique union of the Hypostatic Union at the Incarnation and ends in purgation with His Passion and Death on the Cross at Calvary.
    *
    To me the Incarnation is a Prayer of Union. We Catholics call Mary the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. This agrees with the Spiritual Marriage of the Seventh Mansions. The Immaculate Conception and Mary’s Seven Sorrows satisfy the Purgative Way. When you add in Mary’s fiat at the Annunciation this produces the full conformity of wills that makes it possible for her being to be fully illuminated by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit during the Incarnation. Like Christ, Mary’s publicly recorded ministry starts in union with the Incarnation, and she participates in the Purgative Way with Christ with her Seven Sorrows which ends with Christ’s Passion and Death. Christ and Mary’s lives follow a similar mirror image path. This mystical analysis appears to agree with the Catholic Church’s teaching as to mode of operation of the Immaculate Conception. It all centers on the Death of Christ on the Cross.
    *
    By this analysis the Last Supper/Calvary operated in the same mirror image mode of operation.

  8. Mary’s soul was created for Jesus Christ before the fall of Adam. Both Adam and Eve were created directly by God without the work of procreation by man. The sons of men had not yet been procreated.
    Mary sublimated herself to God in free will, in full informed consent. (God forces no one to heaven). Mary became the IMMACULATE CONCEPTION before the fall of Adam. Mary brings all of our love and prayers to Jesus and Jesus offers us up to His Father in heaven, especially Adam and Eve.

    “We Preach Christ and Him Crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23) There is no Resurrection without the Crucifixion. Too many people celebrate the Resurrection before the Crucifixion.

  9. “Too many people celebrate the Resurrection before the Crucifixion”
    Yes, our salvation came only because Christ died for our sins–not because He rose later. That proved He conquered evil and opened the door for us to also rise, but remember, He once asked, which is more difficult, to reawaken the dead or to forgive sins. The latter was accomplished by the crucifixion.

  10. Tell them-
    “The Bible is a Catholic Book, written by Catholics for Catholics, and meant to be read in the context of the Church. Read or attempted to be understood in ANY other such way, and you will tend to get it wrong.”

  11. BPS I agree with you.

    JANUARY 25, 2018
    Fr.Feeney did not suggest like Ann Barnhardt that invisible cases of the baptism of desire were visible exceptions to the dogma EENS
    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2018/01/frfeeney-did-not-suggest-like-ann.html

    -Lionel Andrades

    JANUARY 24, 2018

    Ann Barnhardt still uses Cushingite theology like the other traditionalists
    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2018/01/ann-barnhardt-still-uses-cushingite.html

    OCTOBER 25, 2017
    Louie Verrecchio, Ann Barnhardt, David Domet, the two popes and the CDF Prefect are in heresy : correction and recantation of error needed
    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2017/10/louie-verrecchio-ann-barnhardt-david.html

    SEPTEMBER 19, 2017

    Ann Barnhardt, Chris Ferrara’s reasoning seem rational but their premises and so inferences are wrong
    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2017/09/ann-barnhardt-chris-ferraras-reasoning.html

    AUGUST 2, 2017

    Ann Barnhardt and Eric Gajiewski(Trad Cat Knight) have no denial : they use a false premise to interpret Vatican Council II even when they can avoid it
    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2017/08/ann-barnhardt-and-eric-gajiewskitrad.html

    JULY 31, 2017

    For sedevacantists Eric Gajiewski and Ann Barnhardt LG 16 refers to a visible case and so Vatican Council II contradicts Tradition
    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2017/07/fpr-sedevacantists-eric-gajiewski-and.html

    SEPTEMBER 15, 2016

    Ann Barnhardt with a false premise and conclusion misinterprets the Catholic Faith http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2016/09/ann-barnhardt-with-false-premise-and.html

    Ann Barnhardt is a Catholic even though she violates the Principle of Non Contradiction http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2016/06/ann-barnhardt-is-catholic-even-though.html

    DECEMBER 18, 2015
    Ann Barnhardt interprets magisterial documents with Cushingism
    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2015/12/ann-barnhardt-is-using-cushingism-to.html

    FEBRUARY 7, 2015
    There Is No Salvation Outside The Catholic Church (Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus) – Ann Barnhardt http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2015/02/there-is-no-salvation-outside-catholic.html

    MARCH 1, 2017

    TradCat Knight and Ann Barnhardt interpret extra ecclesiam nulla salus with Cushingism instead of Feeneyism, they use an irrational premise.
    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2017/03/tradcat-knight-and-ann-barnhardt.html

  12. One issue the “Sola Scriptura” folks don’t address is the question of language and translation. If you go to the New Testament, written in Demotic Greek (i.e Greek as of the first and second centuries AD) then translations can become equivocal–witness some of the new Lectionary translations being foisted on us. With respect to the Old Testament, then the Hebrew does not correspond to what folks sometime make of it. Go to Genesis 1 for an example. Finally, it was the Church Fathers in Council that decided which parts of Scripture were canonical, that is to say, truly the Word of God. And that was way back in the 3rd and 4th centuries, way before any of the Scripture Sola theologians of the Reformation.

    My point is that it was the Catholic Church that decided what went in the Bible and what it meant; Protestants who complain about Catholic interpretations of Scripture should invent a time machine and go back 1800 years to change things.

  13. “Their third offense was stealing the word ‘truly’ from John 6:53 (‘Truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man…’) but irresponsibly transporting the word ‘truly’ over to the Last Supper account, where he did not ‘truly’ affirm that at all.”

    So St. John was lying? Or got it wrong? Or Jesus asked the impossible (eat my flesh and blood, but not provide a way for you to do so)? Good thing this dude is here 1,985 years later to set us all straight.

  14. Of course, this guy also runs the risk of “proving” too much. If the RC Church truly did get it wrong, then it is possible it got everything wrong. And because we got everything about Christianity from the RC Church, then there is no way Christianity itself can be relied upon.

  15. Properly understood, the Holy Bible is part of Holy Tradition, that which was handed down from the time of the Apostles to the present day, following Jesus’ Great Commission – Go to all nations and teach as I have taught you. The Old Testament foretells the New Testament (Look up Isaiah and what he said to King Ahaz – The virgin shall bear a son!) .
    Written in ancient languages, and few if any original manuscripts still extant, it is foolhardy to expect the Bible by itself to prove the full depth of Christ’s teaching. Those that act as if ancient Israel spoke English and the King James Version fell from the sky are intellectual lightweights who think that both the Russians and Chinese conspired to elect Trump.

  16. There is a field called textual criticism that involves the study of manuscripts. It is my understanding that the Bible has a manuscript record that is as good as, if not better, than other manuscript records of antiquity.

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