22

Analyzing a Christian Tirade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Thoughts: See above thoughts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

8

So Which Is It?

In light of yesterday’s post about Morning Minion’s challenges to Rick Santorum’s authentic Catholicity, I found this column at the Huffington Post to be quite interesting.  (Vox Nova and Huffington Post mentioned on the same blog post?  Please, do not panic.  You eyes will not explode.)  If you recall, this is one of the claims that Tony made about Santorum:

Santorum defines his theology as stemming from the bible (Protestant) as opposed to the single sacred deposit of the Word of God comprising sacred scripture and sacred tradition (Catholic).

On the other hand, Professor Howard Schreber observes:

Rick Santorum is a case in point. Santorum’s is a specifically Catholic form of faith. The recent flap over contraception is only an example of a much deeper phenomenon. As observers have noted, he talks frequently about natural law, but rarely quotes the Bible directly — his arguments draw on a theologically informed view of the nature of the world, not a personal relationship with the text.

Indeed, in the past Santorum has been quite forthright about the fact that he does not look to the Bible for guidance, he relies quite properly on the guidance of the Church. There is obviously nothing wrong with that … but it sits very curiously with traditional Evangelical Protestant attitudes.

Now, one of these individuals sounds more intimately familiar with what Rick Santorum has actually written and said in his life.  I’ll leave it to you to guess which one.

I think that Shreber both overstates the connection between conservative Evangelicals and Catholics and understates the broad schism that still lingers at the heart of their respective philosophies (both theological and political).  But his post is worth a read.

Less worthy of your time – this screed by Daniel Nichols, which concludes thusly:

This is a man [Santorum], in the final analysis, despite his piety, is willing to contradict what his Church teaches to serve America.

This, my friends, is idolatry.

To choose Rick Santorum for president is to choose Nation over Church, this world over heaven, and Mammon over God.

When the secular left has a less unhinged view of Catholic candidates than the Catholic left, and is more willing to engage in actual analysis of what Catholic candidates stand for, we’re in for a world of trouble.

 

47

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

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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84

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

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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12

On the troubles within the ELCA

I attended a Lutheran (ELCA) college, where I majored in theology and philosophy. Much of my junior and senior year, however, were spent engaged in study of Catholic teaching (thanks to the fortunate discovery of Dorothy Day and Cardinal Ratzinger), culminating in my conversion.

In much the same manner as my familial background leads me, even as a convert, to take an interest in Mennonite affairs, I try to stay abreast of Lutheran matters and Lutheran-Catholic relations.

News of late has made for rather grim reading.

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