SCOTUS: 6 Catholics, 3 Jews, Law, Scholasticism and Tradition

Wednesday, May 12, AD 2010

I read a comment[1] a few weeks ago on GetReligion.org attempting to explain why John Paul Stevens was the last Protestant in the U.S. Supreme Court which simply said that Catholics and Jews have a tradition of being immersed in law (Canon Law and Halakha respectively for Catholics and Jews as an example).

This struck me as interesting because at first glance it kind of makes sense.

Of course there is much more to why the current make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court, 6 Catholics, 2 Jews, and an Episcopalian, is as it is.[2]

But I thought it was an interesting enough topic to dive into.

Lisa Wangsness of the Boston Globe chimes in with her two cents worth [emphases mine]:

Evangelical Protestants have been slow to embrace, or to feel welcomed by, the elite law schools like Harvard and Yale that have become a veritable requirement for Supreme Court nominees. One reason for this, some scholars say, is because of an anti-intellectual strain within evangelicalism.

As Ronald Reagan would say, there you go again, pushing the liberal theory that Christians are stupid (at least Evangelical Protestants).

Lets get beyond these stereotypes done by liberals to Christians.

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47 Responses to SCOTUS: 6 Catholics, 3 Jews, Law, Scholasticism and Tradition

  • The legalistic traditions would be the most obvious theory but I suspect that it’s too abstract to have this disparate an impact. Besides, sola scriptura is much closer to the originalism of the four conservative Catholic justices. The living Magisterium is more analogous to the living constitution that they reject.

    The anti-intellectual strain within evangelicalism makes sense. Part of it may also be that Catholics make more reliable conservative judges and are therefore more appealing Republican appointees but I bet Catholics are overrepresented in the general lawyer population as well.

    Maybe religion is actually hiding an ethnic cultural difference. The legal field was one of the few fields that was relatively tolerant of Jews which is at least partially why they are overrepresented. Maybe anti-Catholic or anti-immigrant sentiment drove the Irish, Italians, and now the Hispanics into law.

    Maybe religion is hiding a regional difference. Five of the justices are from New York, two from California, and one from New Jersey. New York and California are the two biggest lawyer markets. They also happen to have the largest Catholic and Jewish populations. I can’t speak for California, but every ambitious New Yorker wants to be either a lawyer or a banker (another field where Jews, and maybe Catholics, dominate).

    Maybe Catholics and Jews can’t be lumped together. Maybe Jews are overrepresented for historic reasons and Catholics for religious reasons.

    Protestants do have their colleges, seminaries, and Bible study groups, similar to those of Catholics.

    But their emphasis is very different. I’ve heard one Protestant accuse Catholics of being too mechanical in their religious studies.

    Ironic that people got all hot and bothered when the fourth and fifth nominees for the SCOTUS were Catholic’s thus over-representing Catholics in the Judicial branch. But somehow the secularists are excited that the current nominee, Elena Kagan, a Jew, would make SCOTUS 1/3 Jewish.

    They were hot and bothered because Roberts and Alito were conservative Catholics. They had no problem with Sotomayor.

  • Let’s get beyond liberals. Liberals only have insults and lies; and fabricated/imagined crises meant to “grease the skids” for their destructive policy “solutions.”

    If we don’t stop Obama and his horde of liberal idiots (I repeat myself) in congress, and soon the Judiciary, they will cause a degree of economic devastation from which the private sector may never recover.

    Then, they will have succeeeded in making us all serfs, which was their (the two or three that aren’t gays/lesbians/puppy-lovers/morons) plan all along.

  • I take issue with the notion that the conservative justices’ approach is similar to “sola scriptura” and that the “living Constitution” approach is analogous to the living Magisterium.

    Instead, I would say the two approaches to the Constitution are rather more like the difference between how a traditionalist Catholic and a Voice-of-the-Faithful Catholic view the Magisterium.

    Conservative jurisprudence does not reject development in the law; conservative jurisprudence recognizes that the world today is different from the world 200 years ago and that matters will arise that were completely outside the imagination of the Framers. However, conservative jurisprudence also recognizes that developments in the law (1) are better suited to be addressed by legislative bodies rather than courts, and (2) to the extent the courts must develop constitutional doctrine to meet modern challenges, the development must be (a) an organic extension of the rights and values traditionally held by society and (b) be bound to the text of the Constitution as originally enacted and intended by the Framers.

    Justice Scalia famously discussed this view in the Michael H. case, in which a putative father (from an extra-marital affair) sought to use the Court’s “substantive due process” jurisprudence (see, e.g., Griswold and Roe) to overturn a state’s codification of Mansfield’s Rule, which protects the children of a marriage from outside claims of paternity. Scalia, in his majority opinion, attempted to limit the extension of “substantive due process” to those instances where society had traditionally protected such rights:

    1. The § 621 presumption does not infringe upon the due process rights of a man wishing to establish his paternity of a child born to the wife of another man.

    […]

    (b) There is no merit to Michael’s substantive due process claim that he has a constitutionally protected “liberty” interest in the parental relationship he has established with Victoria, and that protection of Gerald’s and Carole’s marital union is an insufficient state interest to support termination of that relationship. Michael has failed to meet his burden of proving that his claimed “liberty” interest is one so deeply imbedded within society’s traditions as to be a fundamental right. Not only has he failed to demonstrate that the interest he seeks to vindicate has traditionally been accorded protection by society, but the common law presumption of legitimacy, and even modern statutory and decisional law, demonstrate that society has historically protected, and continues to protect, the marital family against the sort of claim Michael asserts.

    Scalia explains further:

    In an attempt to limit and guide interpretation of the Clause, we have insisted not merely that the interest denominated as a “liberty” be “fundamental” (a concept that, in isolation, is hard to objectify), but also that it be an interest traditionally protected by our society. [Footnote 2] As we have put it, the Due Process Clause affords only those protections “so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental.” Snyder v. Massachusetts, 291 U. S. 97, 291 U. S. 105 (1934) (Cardozo, J.). Our cases reflect “continual insistence upon respect for the teachings of history [and] solid recognition of the basic values that underlie our society. . . .” Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U. S. 479, 381 U. S. 501 (1965) (Harlan, J., concurring in judgment).

    This insistence that the asserted liberty interest be rooted in history and tradition is evident, as elsewhere, in our cases according constitutional protection to certain parental rights. Michael reads the landmark case of Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U. S. 645 (1972), and the subsequent cases of Quilloin v. Walcott, 434 U. S. 246 (1978), Caban v. Mohammed, 441 U. S. 380 (1979), and Lehr v. Robertson, 463 U. S. 248 (1983), as establishing that a liberty interest is created by biological fatherhood plus an established parental relationship — factors that exist in the present case as well. We think that distorts the rationale of those cases. As we view them, they rest not upon such isolated factors but upon the historic respect — indeed, sanctity would not be too strong a term — traditionally accorded to the relationships that develop within the unitary family. [Footnote 3] See Stanley, supra, at 405 U. S. 651; Quilloin, supra, at 434 U. S. 254-255; Caban, supra, at 441 U. S. 389; Lehr, supra, at 463 U. S. 261. In Stanley, for example, we forbade the destruction of such a family when, upon the death of the mother, the State had sought to remove children from the custody of a father who had lived with and supported them and their mother for 18 years. As Justice Powell stated for the plurality in Moore v. East Cleveland, supra, at 431 U. S. 503:

    “Our decisions establish that the Constitution protects the sanctity of the family precisely because the institution of the family is deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.”

    Thus, the legal issue in the present case reduces to whether the relationship between persons in the situation of Michael and Victoria has been treated as a protected family unit under the historic practices of our society, or whether, on any other basis, it has been accorded special protection. We think it impossible to find that it has. In fact, quite to the contrary, our traditions have protected the marital family (Gerald, Carole, and the child they acknowledge to be theirs) against the sort of claim Michael asserts. [Footnote 4]…

    That’s hardly a “sola scriptura” approach to jurisprudence and, in fact, I would argue that Scalia was relying upon his own Catholic understanding of the Magisterium in formulating that approach.

  • Thanks, Jay, for beating me to it. I owe you.

  • Ditto what Mike said. I’ve written that comment before (although probably not as well).

  • Three comments:

    First, I would not dismiss the existence of an anti-intellectual strain within evangelical Protestantism as mere liberal rhetoric. Certainly there is some of that, but the anti-intellectualism in evangelical Protestantism is well documented, especially by scholars such as Mark Noll, who is himself an evangelical Protestant. It is a part of evangelical Protestantism that many adherents are putting aside, but its historical existence could be a factor.

    Second, we can’t ignore social trends. Mainline Protestantism has been declining in numbers and influence for some time. The lack of mainline Protestants that “percolate up” to the upper echelons of the law is a consequence of that. At the same time, Catholic numbers and influence increased during the same decades. Also, Catholics and Jews during the last century emphasized education, assimilation, and becoming part of the “establishment.” That too, had implications. I would expect the same to happen with evangelical Protestants in the decades to come.

    Third, both Jewish and Catholic teaching has not emphasized, as much as mainline Protestants, a radical separation of church/state and politics/religion. Mainline Protestants, some have argued, emphasized it so much that they made religion irrelevant in the public square.

  • It’s not a perfect fit but there are elements of originalism that more closely resemble sola scriptura. Sola scripturists would also agree that the world is different today. Jay, I don’t think anything you said is inconsistent with sola scriptura.

    It’s funny you mention Michael H. I was just rereading my notes on the case a few days ago. None of the justices objected to Scalia’s view to traditional rights. Brennan’s dissent also looks to traditional rights. But a majority didn’t join Scalia’s footnote 6 for a very different reason. I, along with most the justices, think he’s wrong in his application, if not his approach. Contrary to his assertion that broader classes are more susceptible to conflicting interpretations, Scalia’s approach allows judges to pick conflicting specific classes. Scalia puts Michael H. in the class of “cheating fathers.” One can also place him in the class of “biological fathers.”

  • No, Scalia does not place Michael H. in the class of “cheating fathers”; he places him in the class of those who society and the law don’t want breaking up intact families by challenging the paternity of the children within those families. He’s unwilling to create out of whole cloth a “fundamental right” to do something that society has not traditionally seen fit to give sanction.

    And while one may also place Michael H. in the class of “biological fathers”, that says absolutely nothing regarding the “fundamentalness” of his “right” to have Mansfield’s Rule struck down as unconstitutional. And that’s what’s at stake. The liberal would throw out a centuries old common law rule over some imagined “fundamental right” to claim the child of an intact marriage as one’s own. That’s not akin to a “development of doctrine” – that’s changing the rules to suit one’s own personal view of how the law SHOULD be and fits more in line with how the VOTF crowd view the Magisterium.

  • Furthermore, the reason the “sola scriptura” analogy is inapt is because it an ahistorical reading of how originalists have actually behaved on the Court.

    Protestants whose approach to religion is based on “sola scriptura” reject authority and tradition as having any sway over how they apply their Faith to their lives. They reject developments in doctrine (even while unconsciously accepting such developments as the Trinity and the compilation of the Bible itself). The “sola scriptura” mindset – especially when it is of the fundamentalist variety – is a back-to-the-basics approach with only the Bible and the Holy Spirit as a guide.

    The originalist, in contrast, doesn’t reject authority or tradition or developments in the law that have occurred in the intervening years since the founding. The originalist doesn’t seek to “refound” the American republic as it existed in 1787. In fact, the originalist approach to jurisprudence is actually quite limited in scope by comparison to the Protestant Reformation and the approach of the “sola scriptura” practitioner.

  • Jay,

    Protestants whose approach to religion is based on “sola scriptura” reject authority and tradition as having any sway over how they apply their Faith to their lives. They reject developments in doctrine (even while unconsciously accepting such developments as the Trinity and the compilation of the Bible itself). The “sola scriptura” mindset – especially when it is of the fundamentalist variety – is a back-to-the-basics approach with only the Bible and the Holy Spirit as a guide.

    Thanks for fleshing out what I said in one sentence.

    I’m no law expert nor a lawyer, but I too could see that sola scriptura was an impediment towards doctrinal development for Protestants.

    And with that, originalsim and sola scriptura have no similarities with the respect to doctrinal development.

    Also appreciated your first comment as well…

  • Finally, let’s be honest about why those Catholics opposed to Constitutional originalism try to stigmatize it with the taint of “sola scriptura”: they know that most Catholics, especially conservative ones, take a dim view of “sola scriptura” in the context of theology, so they use the analogy to paint Catholic constitutional originalists as unthinking (in relying on the same intellectually inferior practice as protestant fundamentalists) and/or hypocritical (in doing to the Constitution what they criticize the protestants for doing to Christianity).

    The problem, as I’ve noted above, is that the analogy is inapt. But it is inapt not only because it fails to describe what originalists actually believe and how they actually behave, but because it is a comparison of two completely different institutions established for two completely different reasons and under two completely different sets of circumstances.

  • Evangelical Protestants who take their faith seriously go to any law school they can find that’s conducive to their faith. Catholics just go to the highest-ranked school that will take them – even if that school is not particularly religious. Of course, I am speaking in general terms.

  • Jay, I see that you are anticipating in advance the charge of being trapped in a Calvinist (and very Protestant) dualism by virtue of defending originalism. But you cannot escape; in order for the intellectually cramped Calvinist-Catholic dualistic system to work, any disagreement must be described as an outgrowth of individualism/Calvinism/liberalism.

  • Evangelical Protestants who take their faith seriously go to any law school they can find that’s conducive to their faith. Catholics just go to the highest-ranked school that will take them – even if that school is not particularly religious. Of course, I am speaking in general terms.

    I am not sure how true that is. I have friends and co-workers who are evangelicals that went to Harvard Law, and the Christian (not Catholic) law student group at my school (t-10 or so) was fairly sizable and active. But, of course, these anecdotes don’t really add up to data. You could be right about the general trend.

  • I’d consider myself a Catholic originalist. Sola scriptura (or some weak version of it) can be an perfectly defensible way to interpret the Constitution but not Scripture.

    Originalists reject any develop of new doctrines not grounded in the law as understood at the time of its enactment. They accept tradition only up to the point of enactment. They do not accept the idea that later traditions that could not reasonably be anticipated, can add to the law. On the other hand, Catholics accept that later traditions can add to existing “law” in ways that could not reasonably have been anticipated.

    Even the process of development differs. Originalists reject abstract unifying doctrines and prefer to judge new situations as fitting or not fitting into specific laws or enumerated rights. Catholics, I would argue, work in the opposite direction. Starting with abstract unifying doctrines (e.g., dignity of man), then judging whether the situation falls within an exception (e.g., double effect).

    As for the Michael H. sidetrack, Jay, you demonstrate exactly why Scalia’s methodology is wanting (I’d like to note that this is a different argument than the one over originalism). I described Scalia’s classification of Michael H. as a “cheating father.” You described it as “someone trying to break up a stable family.” Which one are we supposed to use? You also dismissed the implications of classifying Michael H. as simply a “biological father.” Traditionally, biological fathers have rights over their biological children. An appeal to tradition doesn’t work here because both sides can, and did, argue it. If Scalia’s methodology is correct, it’s incomplete, at the very least.

  • Centinel, you wrote:

    Evangelical Protestants who take their faith seriously go to any law school they can find that’s conducive to their faith. Catholics just go to the highest-ranked school that will take them – even if that school is not particularly religious. Of course, I am speaking in general terms.

    That goes beyond generalization, friend. Generalization, philosophically, means abstracting a feature true of each instance of a class, e.g., “Houses have roofs.” Generalization, popularly speaking, means abstracting a feature true of most or even many instances of a class, e.g., “The students at Catholic University are Catholics.”

    What you’ve managed to do is pluck out of a bag of prejudices and biases a dazzling example of complete ignorance EXCEPT of perhaps one or two cases that you know, and a few more that you know of.

    I am close friends with a woman who, as an Evangelical, went to Yale Law School because it was “the highest-ranking school that would take” her, to use your words. Not too shabby. Granted, it’s not the University of Barbados, but I suppose Yale Law will do for her sort. She’s a Catholic now, though. Did you know that there are numerous law schools at Catholic universities bursting at the seams with… all sorts of people?

    Do you think it possible that Catholics might be serious about their faith and go to a law school conducive to it?

    Do you think it possible that an Evangelical might be serious about his faith and yet go to an ungodly school bearing in mind that it is not the law school’s job to nurture his faith, and that he will continue to seek spiritual nourishment through the means he always has – prayer, reading the scriptures, attending a good church?

    C’mon. Your “observation” was entire facile.

  • “Traditionally, biological fathers have rights over their biological children.”

    Not biological fathers who aren’t married to the child’s mother. That’s a very recent development.

  • And I’m sure you’ll say that my last comment illustrates your point about classifications.

    But there will always be classifications when talking about defining rights under the Consitition. The key is to find the classification that does the least amount of damage to the constitutional order, and this is done by limiting the interference of the judiciary into the democratic process by defining the “fundamental right” narrowly enough as not to remove a broad category of activities from democratic oversight (not to mention creating out of whole cloth “rights” that have no basis in the text of the Constitution).

    Scalia’s appeal to tradition is to look at the behavior that society has traditionally valued and protected and determine whether the particular case before the Court meets – with specificity – the activity society has sought to protect.

    The liberal will look at “tradition” and try to broadly define the activity that is “fundamental” to ordered liberty so as to include as much activity as possible and remove it from the democratic process. Thus, Brennan et al looked at Michael H. as a “biological father”, and relying on some very recent precedent (and ignoring other recent precedent – i.e. that “biological fathers” have very few if any rights when abortion and birth control are at issue), tried to make the argument that he had a “fundamental right” to interfere in the inner workings and relationships of an intact family unit.

    What’s “traditional” about that? Nothing. Maintaining Mansfield’s Rule was based on tradition – the tradition of protecting the family, as society has sought to do for generations. The Court’s “fundamental rights” jurisprudence – of very recent vintage – regarding a biological father’s “reproductive rights”, not so much.

  • While not remotely an expert on law, the sociological/historical aspect interests me in regards to biological fathers’ right. It seems to me that the accurate characterization would be that in Western Culture, a biological father can assert paternity rights over illegitimate offspring by effectively “legitimizing” or recognizing them. This, however, assumes that the illegitimate offspring are otherwise simply “fatherless” and unacknowledged.

    The rights of the pater familias as a husband typically include having paternal rights over all children he chooses to acknowledge. So if his wife bears a child which is not, in fact, his, he can effectively make the child his by acknowledging the child as his regardless of actual paternity.

    The idea that a biological father could assert paternity rights over a child he fathered on a married women over the objections of her husband (who is willing to raise the child as his own) would be distinctly un-traditional.

  • Darwin,

    You’re right. It IS distinctly un-traditional. And for over 200 years, under Lord Mansfield’s Rule, such claims cannot be heard.

    Okay, I realize I’ve dominated this thread, so just one last thing on the classifications in Michael H. and how they relate to “tradition”:

    As Restrained Radical notes, both Scalia and Brennan appealed to “tradition” in reaching opposite conclusions in the case. However, a closer examination of the arguments and what respective “tradition” was being sought to be preserved by the opposing Justices, will reveal that one of the Justices was ACTUALLY concerned with remaining faithful to and preserving an established tradition, while the other Justice’s feigned appeal to “tradition” was a complete load of BS from one of the most successful bu11$h**tters who ever sat on the Supreme Court.

    Let’s start off with the fact that the rights of “biological fathers” – the “tradition” to which Justice Brennan appealed – are, as I noted above, a recent development in the law, and there is no long-standing “tradition” of “biological fathers” having legal rights over their offspring outside the context of the marital relationship. Even the parental rights of divorcing parents have always been based on the fact that the parents were married in the first place.

    So, let’s dispense with Brennan’s nonsensical claim that he was appealing to “tradition” and cut right to the chase. Were one to follow his constitutional jurisprudence to its logical conclusion, here’s Bill Brennan’s take on the “rights” of biological fathers:

    * A “biological father” has absolutely NO LEGAL RIGHTS to protect the life of his child should the mother choose to abort the child; HOWEVER …

    * A “biological father” has a “fundamental constitutional right” to interfere in an intact marital family relationship by asserting paternity over a child born inside that marriage should the mother choose to raise the child with her husband.

    * A “biological father” has a “fundamental constitutional right” that overrides an over-200-year-old common law rule – a common law rule known to and explicitly accepted by the drafters of the Constitution – meant to protect marriages from outside attack and children from bastardization.

    That’s Bill Brennan’s definition of “tradition”.

    On the other hand, under Justice Scalia’s approach, here is the state of the law:

    * an over-200-year-old common law rule that was on the books at the time of this Nation’s founding is preserved;

    * the sanctity of the marital family unit is preserved from outside interference by claims from a stanger to that marriage that he is, in fact, the father of a child born to that marriage;

    * the original intent and meaning of the text of the Constitution is preserved from the violence done to the constitutional order whenever a newly created “fundamental right” is used to strike down as “unconstitutional” a law that was fully known to and explicitly acctepted by those who drafted the Constitution.

    Now, which one of those approaches is TRULY concerned with tradition?

  • Personally, I always thought the tradition of offering sympathy to orphans should have helped the Menendez brothers

    😉

  • Jay, your putative domination of this thread has enriched it, and is greatly appreciated at least by me.

  • Agreed, I’ve enjoyed your explanation on this stuff, Jay.

  • I spend the day in Bankruptcy Court and Jay leaves me nothing to say in regard to Constitutional interpretation. Rats! Ah well, I will merely say ditto to what Jay wrote and what Scalia says below:

  • Donald,

    I liked his Chestertonian quote:

    “Some worth doing, is worth doing terribly.”

    Or something to that effect.

  • I should’ve stated this early but I don’t necessarily disagree with the outcome of Michael H. And I do think originalism is the proper method of analysis (while I still maintain this is closer to sola scriptura). I only take issue with Scalia’s method of abstraction outlined in footnote 6. He defines classes that need not be defined in that way.

    Jay & Darwin, it all depends on how you’re defining the tradition and the specific case. The children of a married woman have traditionally been presumed to be the biological children of the husband. Is Lord Mansfield’s Rule designed to protect the husband or the biological father? In the absence of DNA testing, it would seem that it protects the biological father (usually the husband) from spurious paternity claims. Therefore, it appears tradition protects the rights of the biological father. Modern technology has eliminated the need for blunt evidentiary rules.

    Again, I’m not saying that’s right. Only that the very existence of what I think is an alternative reasonable interpretation, undercuts Scalia’s approach.

  • Don, that was a great vid. It would be interesting to see a liberal originalist on the court. Lawrence Lessig, a liberal and a broad originalist, says Kagan thinks as he does. I doubt it but if true, not only would Kagan be the most influential justice, it would also alter the course of American jurisprudence. I’ve believed that the best kind of judicial nominee would be a liberal pro-lifer. Perhaps even more important than overturning Roe is changing the way liberals view abortion.

  • “Is Lord Mansfield’s Rule designed to protect the husband or the biological father? In the absence of DNA testing, it would seem that it protects the biological father (usually the husband) from spurious paternity claims. Therefore, it appears tradition protects the rights of the biological father. Modern technology has eliminated the need for blunt evidentiary rules.”

    I suppose it provides an alternative interpretation to Scalia’s, but it is one that I believe to be ahistorical.

    The historical record will bear out that Lord Mansfield was primarily concerned with the children of marriages not being made bastards, which is a matter wholly unconcerned with determining actual biological paternity. In fact, it was an objective that was often in direct conflict with determining such.

    Preserving intact marital family units from such challenges was not for the purpose of ensuring that the husband’s factual biological paternity was protected from spurious outside claims, but rather to ensure that children were not delegitimized. For that reason, the law created an irrebuttable presumption that the children of a married woman were the legitimate children of her husband.

  • I suppose, from a sociological point of view, a lot has to do with how you interpret the purpose of established cultural norms. It seems to me that the purpose would clearly be that a pater familias be able to determine who he wants to call his children. If he want to acknowledge children he had by a woman other than his wife, he can. If he want to refuse to acknowledge those children, he can. And when his wife bears children he can either acknowledge them, or repudiate his wife and deny them.

    All this sounds rather negative and “patriarchal”, but it also has the effect of making the direct and extended family strong against outside assaults. Good or bad, though, I think it’s hard to deny that it’s “traditional”.

  • “I doubt it but if true, not only would Kagan be the most influential justice, it would also alter the course of American jurisprudence. I’ve believed that the best kind of judicial nominee would be a liberal pro-lifer.”

    I doubt restrainedradical that Kagan will be anything but an orthodox political liberal on the bench. However, the fact that she has no judicial experience on the bench should give her backers pause. Felix Frankfurter, the great advocate of judicial restraint, was a fairly conventional political liberal before he was appointed to the Supreme Court by FDR without judicial experience. Things can look quite differently after one dons the black robe, especially with a life time appointment, and Kagan, perhaps, could end up surprising everyone.

  • I would be astonished if Kagan does not prove to be “anything but an orthodox political liberal” cleverly legislating from the bench whey “necessary.” But I’m prepared to be astonished, and certainly hope that I am.

    In any event. I hope the confirmation process is a smooth one. I’m all for hardball politics, but Kagan is qualified and that should be the end of it. The Dems viciously changed the rules with Bork, and I believe that the temperament within the Senate has never been the same. I’d like to see the Republicans avoid scoring political and polemical points and just plain do the right thing.

  • I agree Mike that the Kagan nomination is not the one for the Republicans to put up a fight on, but one of the main reasons why the Democrats routinely engage in scorched earth tactics in regard to Republican judicial nominees is because the Republicans routinely fail to do the same to Democrat nominees.

  • Fair enough, Don, but it is worth remembering that both Roberts and Alito got through without the Dems resorting to scorched earth practices, which is not to say that they behaved perfectly. I’d rather try to ratchet the practices back to how they are supposed to work. I acknowledge that it is a judgment call as to whether exhibiting good behavior or returning bad behavior is the most effective way to do that.

  • In regard to Alito Mike the Democrats tried but failed to filibuster his nomination. The final vote for his confirmation was 58-42 which is astounding if one of the chief criteria is supposed to be judicial comptence.

    Obama of course voted against confirmation for both Roberts and Alito, two of the best qualified jurists ever nominated to the Supreme Court.

  • Forgot that, Don, thanks. I’d still support Kagan’s nomination, but would also score points by emphasizing the contrast between her treatment and that of Alito, and get lots of digs against Obama for voting against Alito and Roberts.

  • Roberts was confirmed 78–22. He got far more Democratic votes than Sotomayor got Republican votes. Alito had the misfortune of being second. Kagan has the same problem.

  • Wow. Such deep arguments!

    Still, I think a lot of folks are overthinking this situation. A president seeking a pro-life perspective on the high court appoints a Catholic. Another president seeking some pro-life cover also appoints a Catholic. Presidents who seek a reliably pro-abortion leftist or wish to appease leftist elements of their party often appoint a Jew.

  • Restrained Radical,

    There’s no comparison, democrats are far more emotional and vindictive when it comes to voting against well-qualified judges that happen to seem conservative.

    Case in point, Robert Bork who lost the nomination 42-58.

  • The Bork confirmation process was unprecedented. It broke with longstanding Senate tradition, and frankly the Senate has not been the same since. The Dems broke the rules and lied shamelesslessly while doing it. Mutual rancor, payback, and distrust have been the order of the day since.

    While not unopinionated, I am not given to immoderate commentary. In fact I sign my real name as a matter of self-discipline. But let there be no misunderstanding or doubt: Joe Biden made his bones in the Bork hearings and behaved like a consummate dirtbag. I expected such dishonest behavior from the cowardly Senator from Massachusetts, but this was when Biden showed his true character colors.

    Finally, let’s be clear. When the Left decides to play hard ball, you can ususally count on the subtext being their sacrament of abortion. It started with Bork and Palin has been the most recent manifestation.

  • Bork and Thomas are outliners. People like Bork with long controversial paper trails don’t get nominated anymore. And Thomas had to deal with Anita Hill. I don’t think either party has a monopoly on outrage. As I noted before, Roberts had an easier confirmation than Sotomayor who in turn will have had an easier confirmation than Kagan. I predict Kagan’s confirmation to be similar to Alito’s. Four Democrats voted for Alito. I predict 2 or 3 Republicans will vote for Kagan (Snowe, Collins, and maybe Brown).

  • It’s a straw man.

    Bork had the most difficult.

    You can continue to apologize for your democratic party, but facts are facts.

  • While, I do not disagree with the overall thesis expressed herein. I find the characterization of Reform and Hasidic Judaism to be off the mark. I contend that the divisions within Judaism that they represent a division with Judaism but that these division were the result not of dogmatic differences.

    Rather I view the divisions within Judaism as being similar to the differences that exist between religious orders with Catholicism.

    In the sense that each religious order agrees on the truth of the dogma espoused by universal church, their missions differ,and as a result there may exist minor differences within their devotions and practice.

  • Nathan Zimmermann,

    I would like to default to your position because I know very little about Judaism.

    But when I see “conservative” and “reform” Jews advocate for the death of the unborn in absolute violation of the Ten Commandments and then I see “orthodox” Jews express identical views with Catholics and stand up for the unborn, then your analogy does not seem to fit that of Catholic religious orders.

    Catholic religious orders differ in mission, but adhere completely to the teachings of the Church.

    I don’t believe your analogy falls into that category with all due respect.

  • Mr. Edwards,

    I based my analogy upon my experiences and interactions with the aforementioned communities within my native city where even the conservative and reform Jews tend to be more conservative and pro-life.

  • If the Republicans wish to Bork a nominee Solicitor General Kagan’s nomination may be the best opportunity. If President Obama had nominated Judge Merrick Garland, the ability of the Republicans to Bork the nominee would have proved less tenable because, Judge Garland’ nomination was openly advocated by Senator Hatch.

    As addendum to my two previous posts, and to throw a fox into a hen-house. While there is no doubt of the universal church on the subject of abortion and euthanasia, eugenics and Darwinism.

    It should be noted that there existed a split with the church on the subject of eugenics and Darwinism during the 1920s and 1930’s as is evident in the writings of Rev. Hermann Muckermann, the elder brother of Rev. Friederich Muckermann SJ.

  • Nathan:
    There has never been a split regarding either Darwinism or eugenics in Church teaching properly understood The fact that some Catholic priests and theologians have favored abortion rights, for instance (which of course is still the case) does not in any way impair the fact that the Magisterium has remained consistent, even as it develops.
    I have countless Jewish friends. Sadly I know none who consider themselves of the Reform stripe who favor laws forbidding abortions, even though I know many who claim they themselves would not abort a child.

The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism Because Nonsensical Believers & Non Believers Are Unwittingly Showing Many the Way

Wednesday, January 20, AD 2010

Throughout the last few years and specifically the last decade or so, the voluminous number of kooky quotes and statements coming from religious believers (heterodox Catholics included) and non believers alike is mind boggling. It can’t but help push the reasonable minded into the Catholic Church. Most casual observers are familiar with the number of high profile converts and reverts to the Catholic Church in the last 25 years or so. They range from theological luminaries like Dr Scott Hahn and Dr Francis Beckwith to political figures like Deal Hudson, Laura Ingraham and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Many like them have come to the Church after years of study and reason, but many also have come to the Church after years of seeing their particular religious denomination become unrecognizable.

The latest world calamity has given us two examples of sheer kookery coming from a religious leader and a secular voice. After the horrific earthquake that left the western world’s most impoverished nation in tatters, the Reverend Pat Robertson chimed in with a quote that was not only tragically insensitive but historically inaccurate. The onetime presidential candidate (who actually came in second in the 1988 GOP Iowa Caucus) and a leading voice of the Evangelical world blamed the earthquake on Voodoo, a cult that sadly far too many people practice in Haiti.  Robertson voiced his opinion on his popular 700 Club television program. Robertson repeated the fundamentalist canard that in the early 1800s the leaders of a slave revolt fighting against French colonial forces forged a pact with the Satan to thrown off the chains of their oppressors.

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12 Responses to The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism Because Nonsensical Believers & Non Believers Are Unwittingly Showing Many the Way

  • Since when is pro-abortion Brown “the truth”?

  • Who said he was? I never mentioned his name in the article. However, when the people of Massachusetts (the only state who voted for George McGovern) can see the craziness of the left, you can rest assured that they are not alone.

  • “As evidenced by the stunning results in the Massachusetts special election seat vacated following the death of Senator Edward Kennedy, even in the most liberal of locales the public will eventually clamor for the truth.”

    You didn’t have to say his name to mention him — you most certainly mentioned him through that statement. Do not confuse “naming names” as the only way to mention someone. And from all you wrote here, “a pro-choicer” is now the right and the truth.

  • “You didn’t have to say his name to mention him — you most certainly mentioned him through that statement. Do not confuse “naming names” as the only way to mention someone. And from all you wrote here, “a pro-choicer” is now the right and the truth.”

    Hmm, I didn’t get that from this statement. In any case, one doesn’t have to be impeccable to demonstrate the principle that the mind of the people is changing. Brown is obviously not perfect, but I don’t think Dave is talking about his politics or theology so much as the change that his election represents.

  • The change the election represents I don’t think is exactly as Republicans are making it out to be; while some of it might be on Obama, and other aspects of it might be on health care, another aspect people have to remember is Coakley assumed the seat was hers and didn’t campaign properly. That, I think, is the lesson all sides might want to remember: don’t assume you are a sure-win and do nothing because of it. Nothing, however, to do with “truth.” Nothing in the results shows truth wins — since abortion does.

  • I agree with Henry.

    Brown did make the centerpiece of his campaign as a referendum on ObamaCare, though other factors such as Coakley’s poor campaigning certainly played a factor into it.

  • “I agree with Henry.”

    Tito, that’s the first sign of the apocalypse!

  • The truth that believing Catholics shouldn’t be barred from working in emergency rooms certainly won.

    Brown is quite problematic (and it’s not like I sent him money), but at least we are spared the spectacle of another Massachusetts Catholic baying for abortion in DC.

    I’ll take my silver linings where I can find them.

  • Dale

    So, what silver linings do you find for Obama? Can you find some?

  • I questioned authority relentlessly. Holy Mother Church had all the answers.
    Some retreat to the Church, others flee or are driven, some even backtrack, and many seem to crawl, but, always, the door is wide open.
    Inquisitive mind + Road To Damascus (TM) moment = conversion/re-conversion. Sweet.

  • Despite the badly-concealed sneer with which you pose your question, Henry, sure. Haitian relief, support for a limited range of renewable energy sources, uniting (briefly) the country after the Fort Hood terrorist massacre, helping a limited range of distressed homeowners and credit card and equal pay protection come quickly to mind.

    But, as you know, he’s been a pro-abortion stalwart–deceptively so–when it comes to the protection of human life and issues of conscience.

    Thus, my great relief that a putative sister in the Church–one who expressly finds the Catholic faith disqualifying from life-saving work–will not be able to work on a national stage to implement her bigotry, nor be able to lend her support to the most problematic parts of the President’s agenda.

    Your mileage evidently varies.

Pat Robertson, Haiti and History

Thursday, January 14, AD 2010

 

For the benefit of Mr. Robertson.  The Haitians revolted during the French Revolution and the reign of Napoleon I.  The Haitians were never ruled by Napoleon III (1852-1870), having their independence recognized in 1825 by France.  Although Voodoo has been sadly ubiquitous in Haiti, there is no evidence of a pact between Satan and Haitian insurgents, although Robertson is not the only person to propound this myth, which is quite common in some evangelical circles.  A good article debunking this myth is here and here.  This of course is far from the first time that Pat Robertson has said something factually challenged and insulting, although considering the vastness of the tragedy, Robertson expounding his kook theory at this point as Haiti mourns countless dead and lies prostrate is truly beneath contempt.  Certain Catholic religious orders enjoin silence for the good of the souls of their members.  Mr. Robertson could benefit by following their example.

For those wishing to donate to Catholic Relief Services for Haiti, here is a link.

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30 Responses to Pat Robertson, Haiti and History

  • Pat Robertson is a pathetic litlle man. God bless Haiti.

  • I’m not sure which disturbs me more… Robertson’s belief & propagation of this assertion, or the reactions to his comments I’ve read elsewhere which pile non sequiturs on top of one another. e.g. at Politico and The Political Carnival.

  • Some people hear the word “Christian” and think of the nonsense that Robertson spouts. He sets back the cause of the Faith in this country.

  • Perhaps Robertson may have gotten his facts mixed up, but there’s no denying that Haiti seems cursed. A National Geographic article calls the country “possessed by voodoo,” so even if the country did not make a pact with the devil directly, it seems to have done so indirectly by messing around with the occult.

  • At one time (late 70s-early 80s) I watched The 700 Club with some regularity and respected Pat Robertson as a man of God even though I didn’t agree with all his ideas. I still think he means well, but his advancing age combined with his fundamentalist (and from a Catholic point of view, heretical) interpretation of Scripture make him increasingly prone to ill-concieved statements like this.

  • Well at least he’s consistent, because he also blamed the US for 9/11.

    He needs to get a tattoo to remind him not to blame victims for natural disasters. Like one of Job’s self-righteous friends, “this is all your fault you sinner”, its only a tragedy when its personal, but not for someone else.

    Not to mention the fact that something like a pact with the devil is basically impossible to prove, and if anything the french revolution and the likes of Napoleon were far more satanic than whatever happened in Haiti.

  • Rev Robertson may have gotten cause and effect wrong. To wit it is the unfortunate tendency of men living at the mercy of nature, to enter into all sorts of pacts with the devil or even the Devil himself. One can observe this in other countries such as Indonesia and the Phillipines that are particularly prone to earthquakes and storms. In other words the Haitians fear the wrath of Nature and so try to come to some accomodation with Her through misguided and frankly evil rituals. Christians have a role to play in weaning away the Haitians from their voodoo fetishes. And it is a fact that devil worship will turn one’s soul into an ugly mess. But as Jesus Christ taught when the Tower of Siloam fell, all of us have sinned and are under the sign of the hourglass. I pray that God be merciful to the souls of the dead who had no time to prepare for a Confession.

  • I agree about the tower of siloam, a very relevant passage. I think voodoo and Paganism in general are about power and revenge and control, and seeking blessings from the god(s) of this age, as opposed to surrendering oneself to the Lord, essentially demon/Satan worship.

    Listening to Robertson’s comments one more time its as though he’s saying that they are basically victims from a curse of the past. Now we know that there are no curses in Christ, so he is lamenting the fact that they are not Christians, saying that it would not have happened if they were more Christian, and espousing the “generational curse” doctrine. The first one I agree with, but the next two I don’t.

  • “and if anything the french revolution and the likes of Napoleon were far more satanic than whatever happened in Haiti”

    Indeed.

  • “the likes of Napoleon were far more satanic than whatever happened in Haiti.” Napoleon sold the Louisiana Territory to the United States after his brother-in-law was defeated in San Domingue. Some think it was the largest peaceful transfer of land from one nation to another. Maybe the Anglophiles here would prefer Louisiana remained in French control than receive a bargain from a “satanic” vendor.

  • I would be cautious about equating Napoleon and the French Revolution. Very different things with very different moral concerns.

  • Just because we tangentially benefited from the chaos and wickedness that took place in the French revolution, doesn’t mean that it was right, just that we as a competitor nation made out because they needed money. Besides, if the people of that territory identified themselves more as Americans than a French colony it was destined to happen.

    Mike:
    As far as I know, Napoleon rose to power out of the chaos and social dissarray that went on for years after the revolution. They got rid of the old and corrupt establishment and eventually got a secular dictator who led them to war. He was a classic “type of AntiChrist”.

  • Also, for some reason I doubt that Robertson would have blamed this on a generational curse if the earthquake had happened in Israel. It would just be an absolute irrational tragedy.

  • Robertson might want to note that Haiti is 95% Christian.

  • Napoleon did sign the 1801 Concordant with Pope Pius VII, thus ending the “official” persecution of the Church in France.

  • One writer thinks the French should pay Haiti reparations:

    Haiti’s chronic impoverishment began at its birth in 1804, when, having overthrown its French rulers in a bloody, 12-year slave revolt, the newborn nation was subjected to crippling blockades and embargoes. This economic strangulation continued until 1825, when France offered to lift embargoes and recognize the Haitian Republic if the latter would pay restitution to France—for loss of property in Haiti, including slaves—of 150 million gold francs. The sum, about five times Haiti’s export revenue for 1825, was brutal, but Haiti had no choice: Pay up or perish over many more years of economic embargo, not to mention face French threats of invasion and reconquest. To pay, Haiti borrowed money at usurious rates from France, and did not finish paying off its debt until 1947, by which time its fate as the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country had been well and truly sealed.

    One is not impressed with the state of former French colonies – Haiti, Benin, Algeria, Cote d’Ivorie, Vietnam, heck, throw in New Orleans,…, compare that dismal list with Hong Kong and Singapore. Former British colonies are certainly not all garden spots (think ME), but India is a rising democracy.

    While the French certainly squeezed Haiti, I think one also has to take into account the fact that Haiti is a very corrupt society. Like Africa, Haiti has received millions in aid money. What happens to it? Where does it go? Certainly not to the people living in shacks. We know Papa Doc certainly helped himself.

    That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help those poor people now. But I’m at a loss to as to how one improves the lot of Haitians in the long run. Even getting them back to their pre-equakequake level of misery is going to be hard, since what little infrastructure there was is gone.

    One sobering thought: the few professionals, physicians, government officals etc. Haiti had were probably more likely to be in office buildings in Port-au-Prince and thus were more likely to die than someone in a shanty out in the country. I’m not saying professionals are more valuable or loved by God than poor farmers – just that it further complicates the question of how Haiti can function. How can you have a functioning society in this day and age if most of the literate people and professionals are dead?

  • The writer I referred to in the post above is Tunku Varadarajan. Here’s the link:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-01-14/why-haitis-earthquake-is-frances-problem/

  • And Pinky might want to note that 75 to 90 percent of the Haitians practice voodoo, depending on whom you ask.

  • Donna V you cannot blame the French for this. They got the colonies whose populations have low IQs. The British Empire had a large Anglo component in the white nations. The societies of Hong Kong, Singapore are dominated by the Chinese and they are a major player in Malaysia. In India the British ruled with the help of the Brahmin and other educated castes. In all these cases the British were fortunate to find intelligent and capable races to work with. The French were not as fortunate, they had to do everything by themselves. Twenty or thirty ago I would have hesitated to voice these opinions, but I have come to the regrettable conclusion that quite a lot of the difference in performance between nations can be put down to race.

  • The varied fortunes of the predominantly black nations of the West Indies should be more than enough to argue against a racial explanation for Haiti. The sad truth is that Haiti has been badly governed from the time it was a French colonial possession, and that it lacks much in the way of natural resources.

  • It isn’t just Pat Robertson using the Haiti tragedy to push his own agenda.

    Jon Stewart of The Daily Show provides this excellent fisking of Robertson, Rush Limbaugh and Rachel Maddow for their attempts to use Haiti to promote their own agenda (warning: some questionable language):

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-january-14-2010/haiti-earthquake-reactions

    I never thought I’d see the day when Stewart would quote Scripture on the air… and use beautiful and appropriate passages from Isaiah and the Psalms to boot. “Have you read this book? …. You got all this, and you went with an urban legend about a deal with the devil!”

    Also, Rush’s statements and his reaction to a critical caller are perfect examples of what I cannot stand about his show and why I quit listening to it:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20100115/pl_politico/31539

    http://thinkprogress.org/2010/01/14/limbaugh-haiti-tampons/

    Now it probably is true that Obama will find a way to benefit politically from the Haiti situation — any president would — but that does NOT mean that he really doesn’t care about the victims, or that everything he does will be bad or wrong; nor does it mean people shouldn’t give to help earthquake victims because they “already gave” through taxation.

  • “we tangentially benefited” doesn’t exactly express a high opinion of land and the citizens of 15 states…. “if the people of that territory identified themselves more as Americans than a French colony it was destined to happen”…After seeing three changes of government in a lifetime, the citizens of Louisiana hardly thought of themselves as Americans, especially the free men of color who realized they would lose enfranchisement; the states of New England threatened to secede over what they considered President Jefferson’s unconstitutional act and the incorporation of an “alien” (French, Catholic) culture into the United States. The response to Katrina shows how little the pre-Purchase attitudes have changed.

  • Paul: we “tangentially” benefited because America’s gaining of the land was not a direct result of the revolution, but the revolution did eventually lead to the purchase because they needed money.

    Unlike the situation in Haiti, I don’t particularly feel all that bad about Katrina, they were given ample warning and even told to evacuate, and many refused to listen or even prepare for what was coming. Surrounding areas were hit as hard, but the people heeded the warnings. When you’re told to leave and do nothing, that’s not Bush’s fault, that’s your fault. The loss of life and sufering was tragic, but not comparable to Haiti.

    Pax: Voodoo itself is fundamentally Paganism with some Catholic symbolism blended into it, so I’m not surprised the stats are so varied.

    Ivan: I disagree with your racial explanation, but the sad truth is that our continued financial support of haiti enables the corruption and status quo to continue.

    Bill O’Reilly is right that we need to help them, and that its also time to take a serious look at bringing accountability and an effective government and actual economy to the nation, “teach a man to fish” and so on. I’m not saying we should invade them, but enabling the status quo isn’t the right thing to do either.

  • Ivan: It’s not that easy. Thomas Sowell has pointed out that a disproportionate number of blacks with West Indian roots are among the black elite in this country; in Harlem in the 1920’s, they were nicknamed “black Jews” by other blacks because they were adept at business. Sowell thinks that, ironically, the extremely harsh conditions slaves endured in the West Indies has something to do with the relative success their descendants have enjoyed in the States. In the West Indies, the slaves who labored on the sugar cane plantations were not provided food or in some cases, even clothing, like American slaves were. They had to feed themselves from garden plots they tended after exhausting days chopping sugar cane and engage in trade to get cloth and other staples that were provided for American blacks. Cruel, but they developed a barter economy and a sense of self-sufficiency that American slaves did not. American slaves, who were used to having food, clothing and shelter given to them by their masters, had a tough struggle when freedom came, and not only because of the racial discrimination they faced. They weren’t used to operating in a market economy – something unscrupulous whites were quick to take advantage of. West Indians had more savvy.

    You can’t point to genetics because the slaves of the West Indies came from exactly the same genetic stock as the slaves of the American south.

    And yet, the success of the West Indians in the US has not been replicated in Britain, or indeed, in the West Indies itself.

    But the same is also true of the Chinese – an extremely successful, business-savvy minority in countries throughout the Far East. And yet the vast majority of Chinese were and still are very poor, even before the adoption of Communism.

    I’m not completely dismissive of IQ, but people who rely too heavily on that arugment forget that in most of the 3rd World, you have to be born either very rich or be very lucky to escape dire poverty, because the odds are stacked against you. The form of government one lives under is essential.

    Let’s not forget that Russia, a country far richer in natural resources than Haiti, has been miserably poor for centuries. They’ve produced scads of scientists, artists, and chess grandmasters, so I don’t think it’s because gray matter is lacking.

  • Donna V and others you have the better arguments, as you say IQ differences should not be the first cause for the situation in Haiti. Good governance is far more important. We will have to wait another 10-15 years to see the results.

  • Do any of you realize that 80% of these so called devil whorshipping Haitians consider themselves Roman Catholics? Do any of you realize that Pat Robertson and his followers hate Roman Catholics?

  • Bringing change to Haiti is the kind of thing these Washington crooks ought to be thinking about instead of spending tens of millions of tax payer dollars for a photo op in “Copen-Hoggen”, (as if its incorrect to say names in English).

    All they care about is making political hay, and I’m sure if it was there money they wouldn’t be so quick to throw it down rat-holes.

  • Actually, why don’t we send the current congress over to Haiti to govern them, because it might the one place that they will be an improvement in terms of corruption and incompetence.

  • Bernadette, Who, exactly, are you referring to when you ask if “any of us” know Robertson is anti-Catholic? In reading Donald’s initial posts and the ensuing comments, I’m not getting the impression that this blog is a gathering of the Pat Robertson Fan Club.

    And yes, we are aware that Haitians are Catholics, albeit their Catholicism is laced with a very large dose of paganism, i.e. voodoo. The country has more witchdoctors than it has physicians. Do you think that’s a good thing?

  • Ivan: I don’t discount the importance of IQ, by any means. Obviously, a person with an IQ of 90 is not going to become a nuclear physicist. But back in the 1960’s, the “nuture” arguments held sway and now the reverse seems to have happened, with people falling into biological determinism as a way of explaining why some individuals and countries do better than others.

    It seems to me being born with brains will only benefit you if A. you live in a society where there are ample opportunities to succeed and enough freedom to persue opportunities (ie a democracy) and B. your immediate culture values strong family ties, hard work, study, delaying gratification and so on. The Asian-American medical residents I know had all these advantages. One told me it was simply unacceptable for her to bring home a report card with B’s and C’s on it. If a person with the same potential has the misfortune of being born to a desperately poor family in Haiti, what are his or her chances? If there is no opportunity to go to school because you have to focus on simple survival, your potential will remain unrealized. If you’re an very bright person born to a dyfunctional single mom in the US, and everyone around you is indifferent to education and moral values, instead of becoming a doctor, you might become the leader of a drug cartel. The person with the IQ of 90, born into a loving family with a strong work ethic will contribute more to the well-being of society, even if that means working at a low-status but necessary occupation.

Some 500 Years Ago Like An Abduction In the Night, The Virgin Mary Was Taken From Many Christians

Wednesday, December 9, AD 2009

For many Christians today, the thought that the leaders of the Protestant Reformation believed in the Immaculate Conception of Mary or her bodily Assumption into heaven would seem ludicrous, even more bewildering would be the devotions many of the Reformation’s leaders had for the Blessed Mother. Believe or not it, they did. In this month of December when Catholics celebrate three feast day’s commemorating the Mother of our Lord, perhaps it is time to remind our separated brethren of the truths their founder’s believed.

Sometime ago when I was writing my book, The Tide is Turning Toward  Catholicism,  I showed a friend of mine, who is an Evangelical, a homily about the Virgin Mary delivered in the 1500s. I asked him who gave that homily, “probably some pope,” he exclaimed. No, I said it was Martin Luther. He replied, “Dave I trust in almost everything you say, but I am going to have to call you out on this one. I mean isn’t that what the Reformation was all about, ending superstitions like those about Mary?” His mouth dropped when I showed him the passages. I am sure many of today’s Evangelicals, especially of the Calvinist lineage, would have the same reaction.

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84 Responses to Some 500 Years Ago Like An Abduction In the Night, The Virgin Mary Was Taken From Many Christians

  • “The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes
    And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
    And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
    And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
    And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,”

  • Mr. Hartline,

    Can you provide us with some specific examples of Reformation leaders revering the Blessed Virgin Mary?

  • Aegis, go to the link below in regard to Martin Luther and Mary.

    http://www.davidmacd.com/catholic/martin_luther_on_mary.htm

  • Aegis, I have supplied two links to my article. I hope it helps. Take care!

  • Even more amazing, Christians of that age needed no papal declaration for these aspects of the Blessed Mother.

    As for the vehemence against Rome, yes, it is true that leaders and people chose to distance themselves from Roman practices. It’s not so different today: many Catholic conservatives are deeply distrustful of anything that looks like Protestantism or Anglicanism or even Eastern Orthodoxy. Indeed, being called a Protestant is, in some places, a worse epithet than being called a devil. In a way, it’s amazing some Catholics have stilled adhered to the Lord’s Prayer.

  • “Indeed, being called a Protestant is, in some places, a worse epithet than being called a devil. In a way, it’s amazing some Catholics have stilled adhered to the Lord’s Prayer.”

    Todd, where do you find the energy to construct so many straw men?

  • Todd, an absolutely fascinating post. At first I thought one of the fundamentalists who sometimes peppered my site with derogatory comments had returned. Ironically, you said more about self loathing Catholics in one paragraph than others might take several pages to say. Your site seems to emphasise Ecumenism over all things. Yet, for some unknown reason you take a pot shot at one of the bedrock teachings of your own Church, the Chair of Peter. In that Ecumenical spirit which you mention on your site, I will refer to Dr Charles Stanley’s comment; “what else don’t you believe?”

  • The main take-home point of the Reformation is that there is no longer any source of “infallibility” outside of Scripture. Neither Roman tradition nor the views of the Reformers could be held as infallible. Luther was wrong on many points, Calvin too.

    Modern day Protestants have inherited the concept of sola scriptura more than they’ve remained faithful to the beliefs of the Reformers. Scripture does not demand the veneration of Mary. There is no evidence that the early church as a whole held to the immaculate conception and assumption. These were made dogma fairly recently: immaculate conception (1854); assumption (1950).

  • Todd, are you channeling the founding Protestants in making up stuff?

  • Dennis, the Assumption was celebrated and widely believed in the Early Church long before the Canon of the Bible was finalized by the Church Councils and Pope Damasus in 382 AD.

  • It appears one can present many references to Mary, Mother of Our Lord, and her veneration, yet it continues to amaze me of those who try to diminish her role throughout the Bible and the tenent of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption.

  • Thanks again, Dave, for placing before us bits of history that have been forgotten or deliberately obscured. The purported Reformation was a cultural and historical disaster, with evil men culling out a rump faith without devotions, the saints, the Blessed Mother, or Christmas. What an inadequate legacy to leave to the good, loving sincere Protestants of today who have never been told the truths.

  • Jesus loved his mother and so should we.

  • Dennis –

    You are overlooking the evidence of Marian devotion inherent in the Bible.

    Who is it that told us that the Angel Gabriel greeted Mary as Kecharitomene (full of grace)? Luke. Luke was not one of the original 12 disciples – so from whom did Luke learn that Mary was full of grace? Luke is the author of Acts, and we learn in Acts that he was a student of Paul’s, and traveled with Paul. So, it was Paul who taught Luke this teaching. Now, Paul was not one of the original 12 disciples either. So from whom did Paul learn this? Well, we learn in certain later readings of the New Testament that Paul was taught by the early disciples and by Christ himself.

    It is only logical that when we become baptized, and through baptism become members of Christ’s body, we inherit the parents of Christ. Who were Christ’s parents? Mary and God. Therefore, through baptism, our own parents are Mary and God. This is why we call everyone brother and sister – we are all part of one body and all sharing the same parents.

    For proof of this, Paul goes on in Galatians 4:31 to tell us that we are (through baptism) “children not of the slave woman but of the free born woman. Here he is referencing the slave woman as a woman born into sin, whereas the free born woman is one who was not born in submission to sin and later freed, but one who was free from birth which would only be possible if she were cleansed of original sin prior to her birth.

  • I’m not defending Todd here, but I personally am upset when I see many parishes being “protestantized” in architecture and practice.

  • This brings to mind something I believe Mother Teresa said: I wan’t to love Mary like Jesus does and to love Jesus like Mary does…

    How much more of a connection between two people can you get? It is only with a blind eye that people will neglect that true love….

  • I’ll have to dissent from Dennis’ point: without dogmatic declaration, Eastern Christians have venerated Mary through the Immaculate Conception and the Dormition (Assumption) for centuries–to this day.

    I’m also a doubter on the original line of thinking here. Doctrines or venerations of the Virgin were not foremost in the minds of people of the Reformation period. As is true today, Mary was used as a tool on both sides, either a badge of orthodoxy or a point of differentiation.

    The Reformation is far more complex than just an expression against the veneration of Mary or any of the other saints.

    It was in fact the excesses of the Chair of Peter that put Europe to the tipping point. Not only did Martin Luther continue to venerate Mary to his death, but he continued to see himself as a loyal Christian. Human pride, being what it is, hardened the hearts of people on both sides. The Blessed Mother, like many of those living in the 16th and 17th century, were just innocent bystanders in tussles over greed, scandal, tribalism, privilege, power, and whatnot. A unified Christianity may well have been able to bring all of Asia to Christ in the 1600’s, had it not been for the wasted energies fighting Christian wars.

    There’s a lot to lament in the Reformation, but let’s acknowledge a dollop of blame falls to Rome. Far from beinga pot shot, that’s simple acknowledgement of fault.

  • As much as I thought Todd’s earlier comment was unfairly cartoonish, I have to say I think his last post was spot on. Plenty of blame to go around for the Reformation.

  • Someone mentioned that Jesus loved Mary and so should we. Does Jesus love her more than the next guy? Second, i never met Mary, so how can i love her. Jesus loved his disciples, should i adore them.? Mary is just another personality in the bible. The bible is about Jesus, from fron to back. Some weird religion has made Mary a central figure, even a queen in heaven. That was done to keep peoples eyes off Jesus. Now lets see…HUMMMMM..whos job is it to keep us from Jesus? Could it be….SATAN? The devils pet religion is doing a bang up job.

  • “The devils pet religion is doing a bang up job.”

    I applaud you Wayne. It is almost refreshing to see that ignorant, unashamed anti-Catholic bigotry is still alive and well.

  • Wayne, in addition to the documents written and collected by members of the Catholic Church and known as the New Testament, you might wish to consider the comments of these men who lived a few centuries after Christ regarding Mary. I assume their names will be unfamiliar to you, but a little time using google and you will learn all about them.

    Irenaeus

    “The Virgin Mary, being obedient to his word, received from an angel the glad tidings that she would bear God” (Against Heresies, 5:19:1 [A.D. 189]).

    Hippolytus

    “[T]o all generations they [the prophets] have pictured forth the grandest subjects for contemplation and for action. Thus, too, they preached of the advent of God in the flesh to the world, his advent by the spotless and God-bearing (theotokos) Mary in the way of birth and growth, and the manner of his life and conversation with men, and his manifestation by baptism, and the new birth that was to be to all men, and the regeneration by the laver [of baptism]” (Discourse on the End of the World 1 [A.D. 217]).

    Gregory the Wonderworker

    “For Luke, in the inspired Gospel narratives, delivers a testimony not to Joseph only, but also to Mary, the Mother of God, and gives this account with reference to the very family and house of David” (Four Homilies 1 [A.D. 262]).

    “It is our duty to present to God, like sacrifices, all the festivals and hymnal celebrations; and first of all, [the feast of] the Annunciation to the holy Mother of God, to wit, the salutation made to her by the angel, ‘Hail, full of grace!’” (ibid., 2).

    Peter of Alexandria

    “They came to the church of the most blessed Mother of God, and ever-virgin Mary, which, as we began to say, he had constructed in the western quarter, in a suburb, for a cemetery of the martyrs” (The Genuine Acts of Peter of Alexandria [A.D. 305]).

    “We acknowledge the resurrection of the dead, of which Jesus Christ our Lord became the firstling; he bore a body not in appearance but in truth derived from Mary the Mother of God” (Letter to All Non-Egyptian Bishops 12 [A.D. 324]).

    Methodius

    “While the old man [Simeon] was thus exultant, and rejoicing with exceeding great and holy joy, that which had before been spoken of in a figure by the prophet Isaiah, the holy Mother of God now manifestly fulfilled” (Oration on Simeon and Anna 7 [A.D. 305]).

    “Hail to you forever, you virgin Mother of God, our unceasing joy, for unto you do I again return. . . . Hail, you fount of the Son’s love for man. . . . Wherefore, we pray you, the most excellent among women, who boast in the confidence of your maternal honors, that you would unceasingly keep us in remembrance. O holy Mother of God, remember us, I say, who make our boast in you, and who in august hymns celebrate your memory, which will ever live, and never fade away” (ibid., 14).

    Cyril of Jerusalem

    “The Father bears witness from heaven to his Son. The Holy Spirit bears witness, coming down bodily in the form of a dove. The archangel Gabriel bears witness, bringing the good tidings to Mary. The Virgin Mother of God bears witness” (Catechetical Lectures 10:19 [A.D. 350]).

    Ephraim the Syrian

    “Though still a virgin she carried a child in her womb, and the handmaid and work of his wisdom became the Mother of God” (Songs of Praise 1:20 [A.D. 351]).

    Athanasius

    “The Word begotten of the Father from on high, inexpressibly, inexplicably, incomprehensibly, and eternally, is he that is born in time here below of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God” (The Incarnation of the Word of God 8 [A.D. 365]).

    Epiphanius of Salamis

    “Being perfect at the side of the Father and incarnate among us, not in appearance but in truth, he [the Son] reshaped man to perfection in himself from Mary the Mother of God through the Holy Spirit” (The Man Well-Anchored 75 [A.D. 374]).

    Ambrose of Milan

    “The first thing which kindles ardor in learning is the greatness of the teacher. What is greater than the Mother of God? What more glorious than she whom Glory Itself chose?” (The Virgins 2:2[7] [A.D. 377]).

    Gregory of Nazianz

    “If anyone does not agree that holy Mary is Mother of God, he is at odds with the Godhead” (Letter to Cledonius the Priest 101 [A.D. 382]).

    Jerome

    “As to how a virgin became the Mother of God, he [Rufinus] has full knowledge; as to how he himself was born, he knows nothing” (Against Rufinus 2:10 [A.D. 401]).

    “Do not marvel at the novelty of the thing, if a Virgin gives birth to God” (Commentaries on Isaiah 3:7:15 [A.D. 409]).

    Theodore of Mopsuestia

    “When, therefore, they ask, ‘Is Mary mother of man or Mother of God?’ we answer, ‘Both!’ The one by the very nature of what was done and the other by relation” (The Incarnation 15 [A.D. 405]).

    Cyril of Alexandria

    “I have been amazed that some are utterly in doubt as to whether or not the holy Virgin is able to be called the Mother of God. For if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, how should the holy Virgin who bore him not be the Mother of God?” (Letter to the Monks of Egypt 1 [A.D. 427]).

    “This expression, however, ‘the Word was made flesh’ [John 1:14], can mean nothing else but that he partook of flesh and blood like to us; he made our body his own, and came forth man from a woman, not casting off his existence as God, or his generation of God the Father, but even in taking to himself flesh remaining what he was. This the declaration of the correct faith proclaims everywhere. This was the sentiment of the holy Fathers; therefore they ventured to call the holy Virgin ‘the Mother of God,’ not as if the nature of the Word or his divinity had its beginning from the holy Virgin, but because of her was born that holy body with a rational soul, to which the Word, being personally united, is said to be born according to the flesh” (First Letter to Nestorius [A.D. 430]).

    “And since the holy Virgin corporeally brought forth God made one with flesh according to nature, for this reason we also call her Mother of God, not as if the nature of the Word had the beginning of its existence from the flesh” (Third Letter to Nestorius [A.D. 430]).

    “If anyone will not confess that the Emmanuel is very God, and that therefore the holy Virgin is the Mother of God, inasmuch as in the flesh she bore the Word of God made flesh [John 1:14]: let him be anathema” (ibid.).

    John Cassian

    “Now, you heretic, you say (whoever you are who deny that God was born of the Virgin), that Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, cannot be called the Mother of God, but the Mother only of Christ and not of God—for no one, you say, gives birth to one older than herself. And concerning this utterly stupid argument . . . let us prove by divine testimonies both that Christ is God and that Mary is the Mother of God” (On the Incarnation of Christ Against Nestorius 2:2 [A.D. 429]).

    “You cannot then help admitting that the grace comes from God. It is God, then, who has given it. But it has been given by our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore the Lord Jesus Christ is God. But if he is God, as he certainly is, then she who bore God is the Mother of God” (ibid., 2:5).

    Council of Ephesus

    “We confess, then, our Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, perfect God and perfect man, of a rational soul and a body, begotten before all ages from the Father in his Godhead, the same in the last days, for us and for our salvation, born of Mary the Virgin according to his humanity, one and the same consubstantial with the Father in Godhead and consubstantial with us in humanity, for a union of two natures took place. Therefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to this understanding of the unconfused union, we confess the holy Virgin to be the Mother of God because God the Word took flesh and became man and from his very conception united to himself the temple he took from her” (Formula of Union [A.D. 431]).

    Vincent of Lerins

    “Nestorius, whose disease is of an opposite kind, while pretending that he holds two distinct substances in Christ, brings in of a sudden two persons, and with unheard-of wickedness would have two sons of God, two Christs,—one, God, the other, man; one, begotten of his Father, the other, born of his mother. For which reason he maintains that Saint Mary ought to be called, not the Mother of God, but the Mother of Christ” (The Notebooks 12[35] [A.D. 434]).

  • Newman overs the topic pretty well in his reply to Pusey’s EIRENICON, republished as NEWMAN ON THE MOTHER OF GOD.

  • The Bible is about Jesus from cover to cover?

    Dude, what “bible” have you been reading?!?!

    The true Bible is about God’s relationship to creation, man in particular, and His revelation of this relationship to man. It is about BOTH God and MAN. Part of that revelation includes revelation about the mother of the Second Person of the Trinity.

    Your “bible” sounds a little abridged.

  • Wayne, tell me you didn’t just quote the Church Lady. Unironically. Please….

    Oh. You *did.*

    Well, that’s…refreshing.

  • “Seperated brethren”…you mean like my Protestant friends who said that they don’t want to talk to me anymore since I got baptised into the Church?

  • It’s sad that so many Protestants like Wayne don’t do a little study of the early church since I think virtually all Protestant denominations recognize up through the Council of Ephesus. I’ve often gotten the impression that many modern Protestants seem to take the Bible and Creeds as things that came down from Heaven fully formed. If they would study the first four centuries and learn what a difficult time was had in sorting out the Canon from the rest of the writings and the making of the Creeds it would be most helpful, I believe.

  • C-Matt doesnt seem to think the scriptures arent all about Christ. He must be a good catholic. Jesus said” search the scriptures, it is they that testify of me”. Dnald R love to quote men, catholic men, and then expect me to believe it as gospel. He takes it as gospel. The bible warns us that in the last times some will teach the doctrines of men as if they were gospel. The carnal man does not understand the things of the spirit, thats why they love the writings of men, because them they understand.Catholic men also wrote that there is no salvation outside the catholic church.Hogwash on top of hogwash.It dont surprise me that people still fall for this kind of stoneage cult religion. But, as my grandma used to say…it takes all kinds

  • “Dnald R love to quote men, catholic men, and then expect me to believe it as gospel. He takes it as gospel.”

    Sola Scriptura in all its primitive glory! Wayne, the New Testament was written by men, Catholic men. The Catholic Church determined what books to include as part of the New Testament, and what books to exclude. How did the “devil’s pet religion” as you so charmingly designate the Catholic Church, have the ability, and, more importantly, the authority to do this?

  • Wayne correct me if I’m wrong, but did the Holy Bible drop down from Heaven written in American English?

    As far as I know the first book of the New Testament was written around 60 A.D. and the last book written probably around 100-110 A.D. What happened during the time of Christ’s Resurrection in 33 A.D. up until 110 A.D.? Did Christians have the Holy Bible during that time?

    Not to mention the fact that the Holy Bible wasn’t even the “Holy Bible” until the 16th century.

    Please explain to me where I am wrong, etc.

  • Hi Tito, befor the new test was all written down, it was word of mouth. But what does that have to do with anything? You must be a catholic, trying to justify a murderous corrupt organization for no other reason than you belong to it.

  • Everyone,

    I don’t want to be guilty of anti-Roman Catholocism. I am a Lutheran, but I have no hostility towards Catholics. I have a few questions, though:

    1. Where in the Bible is the Bodily Assumption of the Virgin taught?

    2. Where in the Bible does it say that we should pray to the Virgin Mary?

    I don’t want to sound judgemental, but it seems to me that any doctrine that directs a person to someone other than God for salvation or justification is blasphemous. (I am not, however, a member of the Catholic Church and do not want to be guilty of misrepresenting her doctrine. Do I have the essential point right: that Roman Catholocism teaches that Mary can be prayed to, asked for help, etc.)?

    Love in Christ,

    Aidan

  • Wayne,

    It (the New Testament) wasn’t word of mouth. Why do you think the books in the Bible were called “letters” and “epistles”?

    It seems you are corrupting facts of history.

    If you did your own independent investigation you would be surprised at what you found.

  • I would like to add that discussion is perfectly acceptable as long as it is done in civility. To all Protestants who are here to “bash” – in other words, defame – individual practitioners of the Catholic religion, you do not do any justice to God, who commands us in 1 Peter to give an answer to all who ask “in meekness and in fear”, NOT in hatred and bigotry. I submit that – as all of us worship the one true God, the Blessed Trinity – we should all treat each other as brothers and sisters and Christ.

  • Adian, if you call pointing out fallacies in a religion as bashing, then close your eyes. Or pointing out fallacies in anything. You wouldnt have likes Jesus much either. He really socked it to them at times. Catholics give jesus lip service but their heart is far from him. The catholic church has taught its faithfull to look elsewhere for grace. i dont blame the individual catholic person. Hail Mary full of grace. She was at one time. But she awaits resurection like most everyone else.But, some folks are suckered into worshiping her. That why the catholic church discourages reading the bible. Cause of all their unscriptural teaching

  • I note Wayne that you have not answered my question, but since you are an ignorant bigot I didn’t expect one, at least one that was intelligent.

  • “1. Where in the Bible is the Bodily Assumption of the Virgin taught?

    2. Where in the Bible does it say that we should pray to the Virgin Mary?”

    As to one Aidan, nowhere. It is an early tradition and belief of the Catholic Church. Catholics do not rely on Sola Scriptura. The Church created the New Testament and not the other way around.

    As to two Aidan, Catholics do not pray to Mary. We ask her to pray for us and to intercede for us with God. The Hail Mary prayer ends “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

  • I’ve always wondered why Protestants are so quick to denigrate Mary, to insist that she is no different from anybody else. She was chosen to be the mother of Jesus! And she accepted God’s will. That’s why we venerate her!

    As Donald says, we do not pray to her or consider her equal to God. If the Catholic view of Mary seems improper to Protestants, from the Catholic standpoint, the Protestant view of the mother of Jesus seems very disrepectful.

  • As a small child, I think I found Mary especially comforting. The thought of “God watching me” sometimes alarmed me (especially when I had been naughty). The thought of a kind, smiling lady praying for me in Heaven made me feel much better.

  • Where inside the Bible does it say “Bible”?

  • Wayne,

    You haven’t answered nor rebutted any of the questions we posed to you? Why is that?

  • Hi Donald and Tito, i had to go somewhere and just got back. Donald, very few, and i mean very few catholics stick their necks out and say that catholics wrote the new testament.I always thought it was written by people who knew jesus. yes, Paul knew Jesus. Now, in a mad atenpt to make the catholic church holy, you say the catholics wrote it.God used the early fathers of the church to put togeather a bible for us. He uses whom he will. Most people know that the catholic church didnt write the new test.cause it wasnt around.Well since then, the catholic church has shown the world what its about. It took up romes past time of killing christians. Directed from the Holy Office. HAHAHAHA. The catholic church uses holy names for its murderous offices. It even calls this pompus blasphemer Holy Father. And people are buying that.Lets see, what was that name Donald called me? ah yes, ignorant bigot. Well, at least i dont kiss the feet of idols and the rings of child molesters, and you wont catch me bowing down to a statue. but thanks anyway

  • Wayne, still no answer, at least not an intelligent one. You are obviously completely ignorant of early Church history. The Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ. The New Testament is a product of the Catholic Church just as much as the current catechism is. The historical record is crystal clear. You can deny it all you wish but you are railing against stubborn historical facts. As for the rest of your hate filled screed, it merely testifies again that you are simply an ignorant bigot who knows nothing about the Catholic Church. We Catholics have a term for your chief affliction: invincible ignorance. Until you let go of your bitter hate and your stunning ignorance, you will be far from Christ indeed.

  • Wayne, it must be difficult to write posts by the faint light of a burning cross. I admire your talent in that regard.

  • Waiter! I’d like to send my troll back. He’s not very good.

  • Aidan, thanks for your polite & kinds tone… it’s much appreciated. I’d like to try to respond to a couple of your questions and comments.

    You asked about Mary’s assumption and about praying to her, and about finding both in Sacred Scripture. Most Catholic scholars today — including Pope Benedict — would say that while you cannot find every Catholic doctrine stated *explicitly* in Scripture, you can find all of them at least *implicitly*. Because Scripture is the Word of God, we will never completely exhaust our understanding of it and the way in which it all fits together… we’ve been spending 2000 years already mediating on the truths found therein, progressively growing in our understanding of the truths given definitely by Christ and His Apostles. That’s a general comment.

    You asked about praying to Mary; it’s crucial to understand that the prayers which Catholics direct to Mary are of a completely different kind than those we direct to God… adoration and worship are due to God alone, not to any creature, and so in no way are prayers to Mary those of adoration or worship. Rather, they are prayers seeking her intercession, and as such they are completely biblical: St. Paul directs us to pray for one another and to ask for one another’s prayers, and that’s what we do with Mary: we are asking her to pray for us. Just as it is right and good that I ask for the prayers of other Christian with me here on earth, so too is it right and good for me to ask prayers of those who are already with Jesus in heaven… as Jesus Himself said, God is the God of the living, not of the dead: those who have died in Christ are truly alive in Him now.

    Thoughts?

  • I second Dale’s last comment, btw.

  • Only a person with their head in the sand can think Christ started the catholic church. But Christ did tell us how to spot phonies. He said..” by their fruits shall ye know them” What are the fruits of the catholic church? Pogroms agaisnt Jews, the inquisition, the crusades(most cruel and barbarous), homosexual pedophiles by the truckloads,lesbian nuns wholesale, selling get out of hell tickets(only an ignorant catholic would buy), an army of subversives(jesuits), coverups of crimes by priests. These are just some of the fruits of the wonderfull catholic church. My girlfriend was born catholic and went K thru 12 in catholic school. She says that if anyone says catholics dont worship Mary is a damnned LIAR. Her words exactly. She got out of that snakepit called the catholic church, by the way.

  • Oh sorry, i forgot money laundering and drug running

  • Aidan!
    Thanks for the questions…quick answer…i hope this helps
    Bodily Assumption of Mary: nowhere does it state it explicitly…however we can infer.
    Elijah was assumed into heaven…why not the Mother of God?
    Also, Rev 12 “A great sign was seen in the heavens, a Woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet”
    Seems convincing to me. God bless bro!

  • In addition: Mary was the only person whom an Angel praised during a visit. Usually, in the presence of an Angel, men fall to their knees in fright thinking the Angel is God. however, the Angel praised Mary!
    How beautiful and true and fitting!

  • Can we please ignore Wayne and just pray for him? I know it hurts…but let’s ask for the grace to forgive him.

  • “Can we please ignore Wayne and just pray for him?”

    Good idea, Patrick. As is the idea to pray for the grace to forgive.

  • Dear Adian, Mary was not the mother of god. Mary was the mother of a man. Catholics love to say that the woman in revelations was Mary. they were taught that by their appologetics dept. Keep reading. It says she fled to the wilderness to hide. The catholic Mary is queen of heaven, not some chick hiding from the devil in the wilderness.Keep reading. The woman is he bride of christ. We, the saved, are the bride of christ.The 12 stars are the 12 tribes of Israel.Catholic theology is so shabby, only the blind believe it. Jesus said, “if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch”

  • Pray for me to do what? For me to become catholic? Rite. I cant wait to get on my knees in front of a statue.

  • Chris,

    With regard to this:

    “you cannot find every Catholic doctrine stated *explicitly* in Scripture, you can find all of them at least *implicitly*.”

    I was listening to a Protestant minister on the radio not long ago talk about how the Trinity itself is an implicit doctrine.

    If they can accept that one, I don’t see why ones relating to Mary would be so difficult.

  • Hey Joe, you mean that the catholic church can twist scripture to fit any unbiblical idea they come up with.That protetant preacher you mentioned is more than likely unsaved, as is the case with 99.9% of protestant preachers.The trinity is all over the bible.And no, im not going to do any quotes. You catholic BIG THINKERS can find them for yourself.

  • Agreed, Joe: the implicit nature of something as basic as the Trinity is evident from divergent readings of the NT as found among JWs and Mormons.

    To be fair to Protestants, though, some of our doctrines are *more* implicit than others… the Assumption, for instance, isn’t *as* evident as praying to Mary (although Patrick quickly sketched some of those indications above).

    In any case, it’s definitely not a matter of us holding to beliefs which are completely extra-biblical, let alone contrary to Scripture.

  • I would like to note for anyone “silently” reading this comment thread that the best place to find out what the Catholic Church teaches is in her authoritative teaching documents. The next best place is Catholics who are well-versed in those teaching documents. I wouldn’t recommend placing *too* much value in the practices of those in primary or secondary Catholic schools as indicators of Catholic teaching.

  • “Pograms against Jews”

    On the contrary, the Popes have treated the Jews more fairly than any other government in history (comparatively speaking).

    “The Inquisition”

    All govenrments have arbitrary laws, in those days it was Christianity.
    These days, we have seemingly arbitrary laws that can land you in jail or worse.
    It’s just a matter of government not bearing the sword in vain.

    “The Crusades”

    If it weren’t for the Crusades, first of all, you wouldn’t have Christianity or the Bible other than maybe a modified version in Arabic.
    Plus, the first one had to be done to help halt the progress of the Turks (and to protect the Byzantine Rite).
    The Fourth was an embarassment and had none of the righteousness of the First.
    In the case of the Fourth, I would agree.

    “Homosexual pedophiles”

    This is a greatly trumped up charge.
    It is a propblem, but it isn’t even close to every priest, as your language (and attitude) implies.

    “Lesbian nuns”

    There are lesbian Protestants too.
    Some probably more devout than you.
    ‘Sorry.

    “Get out of hell tickets”

    Indulgences is too complicated to describe, so against the propaganda and caricature treament they have gotten in Protestant “reformation” history books, it can do nothing.
    Bigotry is a flood against the humble trickle or reason.

    “Jesuits”

    The worst Jesuit who ever lived is a better, more respectable man than the most virtuous Protestant martyr.
    Just sayin’…

    “Cover ups”

    Paul said keep litigations against fellow Christians within the Church.

    I’m sorry, I’ve just wasted both of our time writing this reply…

  • Charlie,

    A very good starting point in debunking and countering the baseless charges against the Catholic faith.

  • The worst Jesuit who ever lived is a better, more respectable man than the most virtuous Protestant martyr.

    Well, let’s not get too carried away…

  • “Pray for me to do what? For me to become catholic? Rite.”

    I’d say “learn how to spell,” but let’s not presume to seek the miraculous right away.

    On a related point, it’s time for the poisonous troll to get the hook. The angry Catholic-hating lesbian last week got banned a lot faster. We’ve long since passed the point of diminishing returns with this hateful subliterate. Boot him.

  • THE OTHER DAY I AM TALKING TO A ADVENTISTS PASTOR NATIVE OF HONDURAS AND HE TELLS ME IF I CAN PLEASE INTERPRET REV 13 I SAD TO HIM A TALKS IN A WAY ABOUT A WOMEN WHO PRETENDS TO BE MARRY AND HE SAD NO IT IS MARRY I SAD THE DESCRIPTION THAT IT GIVES IS MARRY BUT YOURE SUPOSE TO DEFENDER AND TAKE HER AWAY FROM THE RESTS OF THE CHAPTER HE DID NOT AGREE WITH ME I WANTED TO HIT HIM OVER THE HEAD WITH MY BIBLE BECAUSE HE ACUSE OF MISTERPRETATING BIBLE AND HE TOLD ME I WAS GOING TO BURN IN HELL FOR TAKING AWAY THINGS FROM THE BIBLE SO I SAD SO YOU AINT GOING TO BURN EVEN DO YOURE STANDING BEFORE GOD CALLING HIS MOTHER A HORE .HE SAD NO BECAUSE THAT IS EXACTLY WHO MARRY IS IN THE BIBLE I SAD BUT IF YOU WERE STANDING AT THE DOOR OF THE HOUSE OF JESUS YOU WOULD TELL HIM THAT HE SAD YES.

  • “The worst Jesuit…”

    Well let’s not get too carried away…

    Yes, you’re right, but it is a total nincompoop, a historical charlatan, an ignoramus, a liar, and a bogoted fool who knows about Jesuit history like the missions to India, the ferocious persecution in Japan, and the way their charitable work with Native Americans was cut off because of some paranoid hater threatening the Pope to abolish their Order; not to mention the wonderful kinds of men who were part of it (St. Francis Xavier, St. Ignatius Loyola): and yet condemns the Jesuits.
    Now they have truly been Christians, if anyone has.

  • If you’re referring to Wayne, Charlie, you’ll find me in broad agreement… he’s merely regurgitating the worst anti-Catholic propaganda out there.

    I’d propose that time spent attacking the Catholic Church is better spent in prayer, becoming more familiar with the Jesus whom Catholics supposedly don’t know.

  • Oh, sorry, Chris 🙂
    Should have been more clear.

  • Everyone,

    Thank you for your answers to my questions. I apologize for mis-representing the Hail Mary prayer. Chris, you asked for my thoughts. I do believe in Sola Scriptura, so I do not accept tradition as equal with Scripture. But, by the same token, I do not believe that faith in the bodily Assumption of Mary into heaven is a doctrine that will damn a person, so I don’t like to dispute it too much. 🙂 As for praying to Mary, I do confess that it seems a dangerous doctrine. If one believes it as you do, then it causes no harm. But there are many who would twist it in their hearts and believe that they are praying to Mary for salvation. Many midevil doctors of theology fell into this error. I still disagree with both doctrines, but I thank you for illuminating them for me, and I still believe that Catholocism is a Christian religion.

    Wayne, it is true that Mary was not the mother of the Holy Trinity. But she WAS, in a very real sense, the mother of God the Son in His incarnation on earth. This (if I am not mistaken) is the Catholic teaching; not that she was the mother of God in heaven, but His mother on earth.

    I would like to point out, though, that while the Trinity IS implicitly spelled out in the New Testament, Scriptural support for it is far more concrete than, say, the intercession of the saints or the Assumption of Mary. But again, I believe that so long as a person throws themself at the feet of God the Holy Trinity and pleads His mercy rather than their works for salvation, that person is saved regardless of what other doctrines he may hold. The danger that Protestants see in these doctrines is: 1. We believe Sola Scriptura, and this does not allow them, and 2. Some unstable people might take them too far and worship Mary or the saints. But, while I must be clear in voicing my disagreement of these teachings, I must also say that I do not doubt the personal salvation of any who believe them, nor will I disagree in any manner but one of kindness and love.

    Wayne, you seem to be under the illusion that Protestantism is a united Church. It is not. Even on such elementary matters as Baptism, Communion, and the Election Protestants are divided. Does it follow, then, that only those people who accept EVERY doctrine of the Bible are saved? True, those who do not have all of biblical doctrine are missing out, so to speak, and God might, on Judgement Day, have something to say about it, but that is not for us to decide. And it is not for us to point to an individual and say, “You are not a Christian”. We do not know peoples’ hearts. We do not know if they truly believe or do not believe. There are Christians in every denomination of visible Christendom, and even in some denominations that are overtly anti-christian (i.e. Jehovah’s Witnesses and the LDS Church). You have every right to voice your disagreement, but please do so in a loving and respectful way. If you are not speaking the truth in love to either bring people to Christ or strengthen peoples’ faith in Him, then you are violating His very specific commands. Do not be like the Pharisees and think yourself preferred by God over someone else because you hold a specific doctrine or repudiate a certain teaching.

    I pray that God blesses everyone on this forum.

    Love in Christ,

    Aidan

  • P.S. Interpretations as to whom the woman of Revelation is differ. Some believe her to be Mary, some the Church, some the twelve tribes of Israel. I personally do not take a stance. I agree with Wayne, however, in saying that the saved are the bride of Christ.

  • Aidan I hope you will continue to visit and participate in the comboxes. You are just the type of questioner we like to have visit us.

  • Everyone,

    I know I’ve written a lot already, but a further reading of the forum prompted more comments.

    Wayne, you say that I would not have liked Jesus very much. Please do not insinuate that I have not devoted my heart and soul to my Lord and Savior. I have. I love Him with all of my being. But I am not Him. You are not Him. We must speak the truth, and we must do it directly, but we are not sinless and so cannot do all of the things that Christ did. And besides, am I not being clear as to my position? I have voiced my disagreement with the doctrines of Mary and others in Roman Catholocism. But I have done it (I hope and pray) with gentleness and respect and love (if I have not, please correct me that I might repent and ask the forgiveness of those on the forum). And look at what has happened. Though we disagree and though we have not met each other, the Catholic members of this forum and I have formed bonds of respect and honor towards each other. That is what we are supposed to do with all people, especially brothers and sisters in Christ. That is what Paul had in mind when he pled for unity in the church. Doctrinal unity, certainly, but above all unity of love and purpose. I remind you of St. John’s admonition in his first epistle that those who hate a brother or sister are not Christ’s. I am in no position to judge you, I simply ask that you pray about it.

    Donna, you say that you always thought of God as angry and Mary as smiling upon you. I confess that this view is precisely the kind of thing that Protestants fear regarding doctrines of Mary. For God is a loving God and is perfectly willing at all times to hear us, save us, protect us, dry out tears, pick us up when we fall, not because of our righteousness, but because of His love. So long as we repent and believe, He will wipe our guilt an d shame away. “Cast your cares upon the LORD, and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22). I know that you know that already, and I do not wish to sound condescending or rude, but I felt like the Lord was tugging at me to affirm His love for you and all here.

    Another question: I was under the impression that the idea of the Roman bishop being the universal bishop was not formulated until the sixth or seventh century. Didn’t Jerome say that the title of ecumenical bishop was offered the Pope, but that he refused? Wasn’t Pope Gregory the first to exercise the authority of universal bishop? Curious as to your thoughts. My knowledge of the early Church Fathers is by no means absolute.

    Love in Christ,

    Aidan Clevinger

  • Thank you Mr. McClarey. I appreciate that more than you know.

  • Aidan: Well, that comment I made about Mary was certainly not meant to illustrate any profound theological insight. It was my recollection of how I viewed Mary when I was a child. I think many Catholics develop that emotional attachment to Mary, which is why it hurts on a gut level to see her treated with a lack of respect.

    I know that God is love. But the concept of God, a being that sees and knows all, can be overwhelming, particularly for a small child. Mary is there to affirm and reassure us that God is love and mercy, that He will forgive us. Not that Mary will forgive us – we know only God forgives sins. Asking her to pray for me was a great comfort as a child. But I did not believe, nor was I ever taught that she was a “goddess” or equal to God.

    I’m afraid I don’t have the theological sophistication of most of the posters here so I’m fumbling a bit while their reasoning is much clearer. But it’s a good thing to be asked why, exactly, do you believe as you do. So thanks, Aidan, as you have given me food for thought.

  • Aidan, first of all thank you for engaging us in such a wonderful, faith filled dialogue. I hope you continue to read and comment. As for your question on the rise of popes and papal authority. The Early Church had always recognized the authority of the Successor of Saint Peter. As early as 96 AD, the Church in Corinth wrote to Pope Clement on a theological controversy that had broken out in their city.

    This is particularly telling since they could have easily written to Saint John who was nearby. However, they wrote to Rome. Obviously being a pope was dangerous business, since once the Roman authorities found out who it was, they did their best to kill them. Almost all of the popes of the first two centuries died martyrs. There was a saying in the Early Church, I believe St Augustine used it as well when referring to controversies. He and others would simply say, “Rome has spoken,” which meant the matter was settled. Obviously, this didn’t completely stop heretics like Arius, but they knew they would incur the wrath of the faithful for their open rebellion.

    I realize this may not be taught in many Protestant seminaries or universities (liberal Catholic ones too.) However, rest assured Pope Gregory was not the first to exert his authority.

  • Everyone,

    Thanks again for your answers to all my questions. I can never promise complete agreement, but I can at least gain a greater understanding of the Catholic religion.

    Mr. Hartline, you reference St. Clement’s letter to the Corinthians, and say that they could have written to John. Wasn’t John the pastor of Ephesus? And at the time of the writing of 1 Clement, wasn’t he imprisoned/exiled on Patmos? I could most certainly be wrong about that, but I had always thought that at the time of Clement’s letter to the Corinthians John had been banished from Rome.

    I do not wish to seem as if I don’t trust your word, but I like to research things myself as well as hear informed people. Could you provide source documents in which the Roman bishop exercised ecumenical authority before Pope Gregory?

    Lastly, what is the biblical groundwork for the teaching of the Pope? I know Matthew 16:18-19, but beyond that I’m afraid I’m unfamiliar with the arguments for papal supremacy.

    Thanks again for everyone’s answers. God bless you all!

    Love in Christ,

    Aidan

  • Aidan,

    Here’s a good start.

    The Jews have always had the tradition of a final authority on matters of faith (in this instance, Judaism).

    This is called the “Seat of Moses”. Which is a Jewish saying for explaining that the word is final on this particular matter.

    Some examples from the Holy Bible are from the Holy Gospel of Saint Matthew 23:1-3…

    1 Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; 3 so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.

    “So practice and observe what they tell you.” Here Jesus is telling his followers to listen to the authority of Judaism and “practice and observe”.

    As you should know that the Holy Spirit guides the Church (or in your instance, how you interpret the Bible). Hence the Holy Spirit guides the “Seat of Peter”, which is the successor of the “Seat of Moses”.

    This is a continuation of the authority, or ex cathedra, from the seat, of Peter.

    We see this in the Old Testament in Numbers 7:89…

    89 And when Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with the LORD, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was upon the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; and it spoke to him.

    Again in Leviticus ex cathedra is invoked in 16:2…

    2 and the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at all times into the holy place within the veil, before the mercy seat which is upon the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.

    This final authority was promulgated by God Himself telling Moses in Exodus 25:17-22…

    17 Then you shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth. 18 And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end; of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. 20 The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be. 21 And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark; and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. 22 There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you of all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.

    Notice the description being used by God?

    The seat is built upon the Ark, which contains the Word of God, ie, the Ten Commandments.

    “I will speak with you of all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.”

    Speak with you. Him, God, The Holy Spirit speaks through men of authority, ex cathedra, ie, the Seat of Peter, ie, the Pope.

    Right smack in the Holy Bible.

    Note: Ex Cathedra is roughly translated “from the seat” or “from the chair” of Moses/Peter.

    The term “mercy seat” means chair or seat, it’s a vulgar German translation.

    Hope this helps.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • Its only if you believe that the pope has authority. Or that the Holy Spirit guides the catholic church.

  • Thats only if you believe that authority is with the supposed seat of Peter. Mormons say they have the authority. So what do we do now? I say Jesus is the only authority

  • Wayne,

    Read the Holy Gospel of Saint Matthew 16:19…

    19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

    Or do you not believe what the Holy Bible says?

  • Tito,

    Thank you for the time and care that you took to answer. I offer my comments here:

    Tito, your research is very detailed and opened me up to Scriptural truths I was not formerly aware of. But the Bible does not ascribe this seat to St. Peter. Other than Christ’s reference to the Pharisees possessing the seat of Moses, I believe the only other reference to the Ark of the Covenant is in Revelation, where it is in Heaven with God.

    Isn’t this same authority given to Peter (I understand that the Greek word for “you” is singular in Matthew 16:19) later given to all the Apostles (John 20:21-23) and to all believers (Matthew 18:19-20)? Why, if Peter was the ecumenical bishop, did Paul not seek ordination from him (Galatians 1:16-17) and oppose him when he erred (Galatians 2:11-21)? And why did he say that that “all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas [Peter]”) (1 Corinthians 3:21-22).

    On Matthew 16:18-19; isn’t Christ elsewhere called the “rock”, and doesn’t Ephesians 2:20 say that the Church is build upon Christ and the apostles and prophets? According to this interpretation, the “rock” that Christ shall build His Church on is Peter’s confession of faith, not Peter himself.

    I have the quotation from Jerome: “If the question is concerning authority, the world is greater than the city. Wherever there has been a bishop, whether at Rome, or Eugubium, or Constantinople, or Rhegium, or Alexandria, he is of the same dignity and priesthood”

    Furthermore: “Gregory, writing to the patriarch at Alexandria, forbids that he be called universal bishop. And in the Records he says that in the Council of Chalcedon the primacy was offered to the
    bishop of Rome, but was not accepted.” (Quoted from Philip Melancthon’s Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope”)

    I again thank all here for their respect and attention to my questions, and I pray that God would be glorified through our discussions.

    Love in Christ,

    Aidan

  • Aidan,

    On Matthew 16:18-19; isn’t Christ elsewhere called the “rock”, and doesn’t Ephesians 2:20 say that the Church is build upon Christ and the apostles and prophets? According to this interpretation, the “rock” that Christ shall build His Church on is Peter’s confession of faith, not Peter himself.

    That is the crux of the issue between Catholics and Protestants.

    Protestants believe Jesus was referring to Peter’s faith, while Catholics know that it was referencing Peter and the Church.

    The problem arises in the old Greek. Which is a translation of Aramaic. In Aramaic it is clear that Jesus was speaking of Peter and the Church. But in old Greek it is a bit confusing because of the use of the word Kephas. Which can mean either a small rock or a large rock.

    In this case, in reading of the context of the passage, it is clear that, just as in Aramaic, that Jesus is referring to the Church. Not Peter’s faith.

    Only in English (maybe German and Dutch) do you see that Peter and Rock are distinct. But in any Latin language it is the same word, Peter for Petra and Rock for Petra. Spanish, Peter for Pedro and Rock for Piedra. See the similarities?

    As far as your other questions I will get back to you tomorrow on them.

    Ironically, I have Bible Study to lead tonight (I couldn’t find someone else to do it) so have a good evening!

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • Aidan,

    One last thing before I go and return tomorrow…

    With the destruction of Jerusalem, which included the Temple, the seat of Moses was superseded by the Seat of Peter.

    Read the Holy Gospel of Saint Matthew 16:19…

    19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

    This is clearly a direct command from Jesus, the Son of God, telling Peter that he has given him authority to ‘bind’ and ‘loose’, meaning that it will be ‘bound’ and ‘loosed’ in Heaven as well. At minimum this reads as implicit authority, if not explicit authority (to remove debate on nuance).

    It only goes to Reason that Jesus was establishing a visible Church on earth with final authority.

    I’ll address the rest of your concerns and questions tomorrow, if our readers and/or my colleagues don’t get to it first!

    In Christ,

    Tito

  • Aidan, again it is a pleasure to have this congenial discussion with you. I for one hope it continues. I believe you wondered about my assertion concerning the letter to Pope Clement from Corinth. I believe St John had not yet been exiled, he still lived in Ephesus and Corinth is most certainly closer to Ephesus than Rome. However, the church in Corinth wanted a final answer and they knew that even though St John was an Apostle, he was still outranked by the hand picked Successor to Saint Peter in this case Pope Clement. Keep in mind that (Acts 1:20-26)the succession of Apostles was determined (May Another take his office) which is taken from the 69th Psalm. I believe the original version of the King James Bible even had the verse from Acts translated as “May another take his bishopric.”

    As far as the rock translation goes, it was never questioned until the time of the Reformation. Some Evangelicals had said that Jesus couldn’t be referring to Peter because in Hebrew rock is feminine. However, Jesus spoke Aramaic to his Apostles, not Hebrew or Greek. Judas was probably the only one who understood Hebrew or Greek.

    I say the following as charitably as I know how Aidan. However, it is difficult for many of us to understand how someone (like the Reformation leaders) can come 1,517 years (and often longer) after the fact and claim they know the true translation. It would as if in 3293 AD someone would come forth to say the American Revolution was not as we had been taught. Recently, I heard an Evangelical Preacher on the radio saying Catholics were getting all excited because an angel who appeared to Mary. The preacher said “So what angels have appeared to a lot of people.” True angels have appeared to a lot of people but never with the verse “Hail Full of Grace,” (the Greek “kecharitomene”) which is an extraordinary greeting never found in any other place in the Bible. Usally angels cause people to tremble, in this case it was angel who was being reverant.

    One more thing, as much as Martin Luther disagreed with the Church or some matters on others like the Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary, his dissent was minor if at all. As a matter of fact I believe he said that if anyone didn’t believe in the Eucharist they weren’t Christian and a Crusade should be taken up against them. I do believe he was very ruthless to the point of torture or death to anyone he caught from the “Protestant” side who did not believe in the Eucharist, which I believe is why Munzer started his uprising against Luther and the civil authorities who supported him. Again, Aidan thank you for this wonderful dialogue. Please continue to post. God Bless!

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