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Archive for April, 2009

The Simplest Logical Argument
For the Sedevacantist Position Against the Vatican 2 Church
By Steven Speray

There are two different religions that claim to be the historic Catholic Church:

The Church of Rome today that follows the teachings, practices, and leaders that followed the Second Vatican Council which we’ll call “Church A”,

and the Underground Church that is the Church of Rome just prior to the same Vatican Council rejecting those same particular teachings, practices, and leaders, which we’ll call “Church B.”

Which is the true Catholic Church? How can we tell?

From the objective point of view, one would have to look at all the arguments from both sides to hear how each side tries to justify their particular position.

Subjectively, bias and prejudice will interfere for most people.

However, by taking Pascal’s Wager to the next level, we can know for sure which church is not the true one without having to look at all of the arguments leaving the subjective to be of goodwill and follow simple logic.

Church A teaches that it has the fullness of means of salvation but that other churches, though not having the fullness of, do have a means of salvation. In other words, the Vatican 2 Church is the primary or best way of getting to heaven while all the others only provide a way.

Church B teaches that it is the only means of salvation. In other words, it is the only way to heaven while all the other churches take you to hell.

If Church B is the true Church, they have a chance to get to heaven, while the members of Church A go to hell.

If Church A is the true Church, they have the best means of getting to heaven, but members of Church B still have a means to salvation.

In other words, Church B cannot lose, when Church A can lose and indeed will lose it all because…

You would not make a wager on a horserace betting that all the horses come in first in a dead heat. You bet on one particular horse to win!

Church A wages on all the horses to win though it believes only one has the best chance of winning.

This is logically absurd.

If one were looking for the one true Church of Christ out of all of the churches of the world claiming to be truly Christian, the very first thing one should ask is which of the churches claim to be the only way to heaven and which churches don’t.

Logically, the true Church of Christ must claim to be the ONLY church with the means of getting to heaven.

Christ would not leave us to decide on His Church with a 50% chance of salvation against a false church with better odds. In other words, He would not leave us a church with an impossible chance of salvation, but rather our only chance of salvation.

The Church of the Second Vatican Council cannot possibly be the true Church based on this one argument alone. Therefore, it must logically be a false church.

The underground church has always taught that She is the ONLY church with the means of getting to heaven, as it has been taught in every generation, which means she alone is the true Catholic Church.

Which of the two churches will you wager your soul on?

You can’t lose in Church B but you will lose it all in Church A.

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THE FOLLOWING WAS A LETTER WRITTEN TO A PROMINANT EVANGELICAL PASTOR WITH HIS OWN TV AND RADIO PROGRAMS. IT WAS WRITTEN IN JANUARY OF 2000 IN RESPONSE TO AN ANTI-CATHOLIC PROGRAM DENOUNCING CATHOLIC BELIEFS ABOUT THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY.

The Truth about the Blessed Virgin Mary In a Nutshell

The good Catholic puts Jesus Christ at the center of his life. As for the Blessed Virgin Mary, he loves and honors her as the highest of all of God’s creation, as Catholics believe God Himself holds her.

She is not worshiped in adoration but in honor only.

Worship can mean adoration (latria) or mere honor (dulia or hyperdulia). Catholics do not honor her any more than the great honor already bestowed on her by God by making her his own mother. Just as Christ obeyed the Law of honoring his mother and Father, so we imitate Christ.

Catholics most certainly pray to her as they do all the angels and saints.

Although all worship (adoration) is prayer, not all prayer is worship. The primary definition of pray is “to ask, implore, and beseech.” Praying is the only form of communication we have with Heaven. When prayer is attributing divinity, it must be directed to God alone.

To pray to the dead is condemned by God, but those in Heaven are not dead. Catholics pray to Mary and the saints as a form of communication, because they’re alive in Christ.

Catholics believe Christ is the one mediator between God and man and that salvation comes only from Him and through Him.

Catholics do not believe that God is too big for us to go straight to Him, because we go straight to Him every day. However, we do ask those older brothers and sisters and mother who have entered Heaven to pray for us and to help us in need, because they are instruments of God’s grace.

Is this unbiblical? Not at all! They are the cloud of witnesses who are concerned with our salvation. (Hebrews 12:1) Mary and the saints are not dead but alive in Christ. We are in the love of Christ as those who have gone before us. Not even death can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:38) and we who belong to Christ belong to His Body the Church. We cannot say we don’t need others in the Body of Christ (I Cor. 12:18-20, 24-25) especially the saints.

The Holy Bible says the prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:16)

Who are more righteous than the saints in Heaven? After all we petition Christians on earth to pray for us (I Timothy 2:1-3), and this doesn’t run contrary to the doctrine that Christ is the one mediator. It is through Christ we pray for one another.

Why not petition those who have gone before us glorified in the Body of Christ who are concerned with our salvation?

This is what praying to Mary and saints is all about. Our Father in Heaven wants us to have a relationship with Mary and our older brothers and sisters in Heaven since after all, we are one big family who will one day be together for all eternity.

We call Mary the “EVER” Virgin because she did not have other children. The brethren of the Lord are not her children. The New Testament mentions “brothers” and “sisters” of the Lord in (Matt. 12:46; Matt. 13:55; Mark 3:31–34; Mark 6:3; Luke 8:19–20; John 2:12, 7:3, 5, 10; Acts 1:14; 1 Cor. 9:5).

“Brother” (Greek: adelphos or plural Adelphoi) and “sister” (adelphe) do not always mean full or half blood brother and sister.

The Old Testament shows that “brother” could mean any male relative from whom you are not descended. Male relatives from whom you are descended are known as “fathers” and all generations who are descended from you are your “sons” as well as cousins, those by marriage, or by law.

Lot is called Abraham’s “brother” (Gen. 14:14), even though, being the son of Haran, Abraham’s brother (Gen. 11:26–28), he was actually Abraham’s nephew.

Jacob is called the “brother” of his uncle Laban (Gen. 29:15). Kish and Eleazar were the sons of Mahli. Kish had sons of his own, but Eleazar had no sons, only daughters, who married their “brethren,” the sons of Kish. These “brethren” were really their cousins (1 Chr. 23:21–22).

(Deut. 23:7; Neh. 5:7; Jer. 34:9) refers to kinsman. See also the reference to the forty-two “brethren” of King Azariah (2 Kgs. 10:13–14) and (2 Sam. 1:26; Amos 1:9) refers to friends.

Be that as it may, there was no word for cousin in Hebrew or Aramaic and the word brother was used to identify them. The Greek word for cousin is anepsios but the New Testament writers translated by transliterating the Hebrew and Aramaic idiom into the Greek text.

We also see this in the Septuagint. The Septuagint was a Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, which came from the Hellenistic Jews 100 years BC. It was this version of the Bible that Christ used as the quotations found in the New Testament came from the Septuagint.

The English translators continued to use the same Hebrew word to identify all kinsmen. A close look at the text will clue us in on which kinsmen the word brother(s) might be or cannot be.

When Mary was told by the Angel Gabriel that she would conceive a son, she asked, “How shall this happen, since I do not know man?” (Luke 1:34)

The early Church Fathers interpreted this (and rightly so) to mean that Mary had made a vow of virginity even through married life. Why ask the question if this were not the case? After all, if Mary planned on having children with Joseph she would not have asked the question. Her marriage with Joseph was the rare type of living like brother and sister.

The first heretic to come up with the idea that Mary had other children was Helvidius in 380 AD. St Jerome in his treatise “On the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Mary” used Holy Scripture and the writings of earlier Fathers as St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Polycarp (disciple of St John the Apostle), and Justin Martyr to completely debunk Helvidius’ position which Jerome called “novel, wicked, and daring affront to the faith of the whole world.”

The following is somewhat how St Jerome argued.

The finding of Jesus in the Temple at age twelve did not hint of the idea that Mary had other children. (Luke 2:41–51). Jesus was known as “the son of Mary” (Mark 6:3), not as “a son of Mary.” Never do we see other children in the Gospels being referred to as children of Mary.

At the foot of the Cross, Jesus entrusted his mother to John (John 19:26-27). John’s blood mother Salome was also at the foot of the Cross and if Jesus had other full blood brothers, why make Mary a mother to John who already has a mother? What about Mary’s other sons?

The answer is that Mary never had any other child. Heretics argue that “brethren of the Lord” must be interpreted as full blood brothers because of other Scripture verses.

(Matthew 1:25): “And he did not know her till she brought forth her firstborn son.”

Heretics fail to understand that “till” here does not always mean until something else happens. We see this word several times in Holy Writ. In (II Sam. 6:23), “Michal the daughter of Saul had no children till the day of her death.” Does this mean that she had children after her death? Of course not.

In (Deuteronomy 34:6), speaking about Moses, “and no man hath known of his sepulcher until this present day.” Does this mean that they know now? Of course not.

In (Genesis 8:6-7) speaking about Noah, “after that forty days were passed Noe, opening the window of the ark which he had made, sent forth a raven: Which went forth and did not return till the waters were dried up upon the earth.” Does this mean the raven returned? Of course not.

Just as till or until does not work to mean some future event in these verses, it also does not imply in (Matthew 1) to mean that Mary and Joseph had relations after the birth of Christ.

First-born also doesn’t imply that there is a second or third-born. As we see in (Exodus 12:2; Numbers 3:12) the Hebrews understood the meaning of first-born to be the child that opens the womb. The first-born son was to be sanctified under the Law. (Exodus 34:20) That child will always be thought of as the first-born regardless.

As for the brothers of the Lord who are mentioned, we know that the mother of James (the Less or Younger) was also named Mary.

When we cross reference the Gospels on the women standing beneath the cross we get a clear picture who is who: “among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee” (Matt. 27:56)

“There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome” (Mark 15:40).

“But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25).

We see that Salome is the mother of the sons of Zebedee (James the Greater and John) and the mother of James and Joseph is the wife of Clopas.

Elsewhere (Matt. 10:3) we see that James is also the son of Alphaeus. This Alphaeus is the same person as Clopas. The Aramaic name for Alphaeus can be rendered in Greek either as Alphaeus or as Clopas.

Some have argued that Alphaeus took a Greek name similar to his Jewish name, the way Saul took the name Paul. James the Less or Younger (brother of the Lord) is the son of Mary and Clopas (Alphaeus). The other “brethren” are the actual full blood brothers of James, which means they are not the sons of the Virgin Mary.

There are other arguments to demonstrate Mary’s perpetual virginity, but the above arguments alone suffice.

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception means that Mary was conceived in her mother Anne’s womb without the stain of original sin. Original sin is the deprivation of sanctifying grace with the stain of a corrupt nature.

Mary was preserved from this sin by God’s grace from the first instant of her existence. She was born and remained throughout her whole life immaculate. Never did she sin nor was affected with a corrupt nature.

This doesn’t mean she is almighty, all knowing, or equal to God. The Angels in Heaven have not sinned and we don’t think of them as being equal to God.

It means that she has completed what Eve failed in the beginning. It means she is the perfect model for the Church. If the imperfect St Paul said to imitate him as a model (I Cor. 4:16, 11:1, Philippians 3:17), how much more than the perfect Virgin Mary?

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is most certainly justified from the Holy Bible.

First, (Genesis 3:15) can be used to identify Mary, who is at enmity with Satan. This comes right after the Original Sin of Adam and Eve.

Here, Holy Scripture says there will be a woman and whose seed will both be at enmity with Satan. The historical Christian faith has always identified Jesus as the “New Adam” but also Mary as the “New Eve.” Incidentally, Jesus identified his mother as “woman” at the wedding feast at Cana (John 2:4) and again at the foot of the cross (John 25:26). Was Jesus reminding us of the prophecy of Genesis 3:15?

Secondly, the Angel Gabriel’s greeting to Mary demonstrates her purity and perfection. The angel Gabriel said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). “Full of grace” is a translation of the Greek word kecharitomene. It therefore expresses a characteristic quality of Mary as it is a title.

The traditional translation, “full of grace,” is by far the best translation for it best captures what the Angel is conveying, rather than the poor translation “highly favored daughter.”

No doubt, Mary is the highly favored daughter of God, but the Greek implies much more. Also, it never mentions the word for daughter.

Kecharitomene is a perfect passive participle of charitoo, meaning “to fill or endow with grace.” Since this term is in the perfect tense, it indicates that Mary was graced from the beginning up until the present.

Mary was always full of God’s grace and she enjoyed that position throughout her whole life. She is the Immaculate Conception. Period!

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was officially defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854. Heretics claim the doctrine was an invention of the Church at that time.

Doctrines are defined formally when controversy arises that needs to be settled or when the Church believes such definitions will draw men closer to God.

Many doctrines and beliefs took years for the Church to define. The Holy Trinity was defined in 325 AD and the Holy Bible was first defined in 380 AD. These were not inventions of the Church but definitions and declarations to clarify the Christian Faith.

Heretics say that Mary was a sinner because of (Rom. 3:23) “all have sinned” and because Mary said her “spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47), and only a sinner needs a Savior.

It is true that Mary needed a Savior. However, unlike the rest of mankind, Christ saved her from absolute death by prevention. Mary is perfect because Christ saved her in anticipation at the moment of her conception.

Just as a drowning man is saved by being pulled out of the deep waters, Mary was prevented from falling in and even getting wet. Just as a man in a deep pit is saved by being pulled out, Mary is prevented from falling into the pit in the first place and being stained with the mud below.

She has more reason to call God her Savior than we do, because he saved her in an even more glorious manner!

As for Romans 3:23, “all have sinned”, we know that infants have not nor could not sin, and even St Paul in (Romans 9:11) implies such when referring to Jacob and Esau.

The extreme mentally ill cannot sin since they have not the ability to reason.

Jesus never sinned (Heb. 4:15).

Both Mary and Jesus followed the Law of Moses of making sin offerings but this was to identify themselves with sinners, not indicate they were sinners needing to make an offering for some sin.

Since there are clear exceptions to Romans 3, it does not follow that Mary must be a sinner based on this verse.

In 1950, Pope Pius XII, in Munificentissimus Deus, defined that Mary, “after the completion of her earthly life was assumed body and soul into the glory of heaven.”

Christ, by his own power, ascended into heaven, but Mary was taken up into Heaven by God.

She didn’t do it under her own power. No one knows if she died or not. The majority says she did die by choice in imitation of her Son and Savior.

Besides Enoch, Elijah and perhaps Moses, other bodily assumptions are mentioned in Holy Writ: Matthew 27:52–53: “The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” (Matthew 27:52-53)

One cannot argue that Mary’s bodily assumption is impossible.

The woman clothed with the sun in the Apocalypse 12:1 can be interpreted to be Mary. In this verse, we see the woman described with a head and feet, which implies a body. She also has a crown of twelve stars implying that she is a queen.

The woman can also be interpreted to be the Church but since the other figures in the Apocalypse represent specific persons such as the dragon who is Satan and the beast who is the antichrist, then it would follow that the woman would most likely be Mary.

There is also the fact that the entire history of the Church has recognized that Mary was taken into Heaven with her body. There is more history to confirm this fact than the Immaculate Conception itself.

Relics of saints are highly prized especially the bones, hair, teeth, etc. There are body relics of every major saint except Mary, who was the greatest human person (Christ was the Divine Person).

Cities and churches boast about the relics of their particular saints but none boast about Mary’s. The reason for this is that the faithful have always known that there are none with Mary since her body was taken up.

When we look at the Ark of the Covenant of the Old Testament in reference to Mary of the New Testament, we see that she is the Ark of the New Covenant.

The Old Testament Ark carried the Word of God in the Ten Commandments, the bread of heaven called manna, the staff of Aaron which symbolized the high priesthood.

Mary carried the Word of God in the person of Jesus, who is the true Bread from Heaven, and the high priest.

The Old Testament Ark was made of incorruptible wood, and Mary is incorrupt.

David said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” (II Sam 6:9) and Elizabeth said, “why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

David danced before the Lord because of the ark (II Sam 6:12-14) and the babe John the Baptist in Elizabeth’s womb leaped when approached by Mary. (Luke 1:41)

Just as the Old Testament Ark was overshadowed by the glory of the Lord in Exodus 40:34-35, so too, Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Ghost in Luke 1:35.

It is no coincidence that Luke wrote about Mary as the New Ark of the Covenant. He drew from the same books of the Old Testament.

St John’s says in his Apocalypse that he sees the Ark of the Covenant in the temple of God in chapter 11:19, and the very next verse describes a “woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.”

No doubt, St John is seeing Mary and is saying that she is the Ark of the New Covenant.

The whole Book is about Christ and his triumph over Satan and his wickedness over the earth. It was Mary that brought us our Lord and Savior, and through her, Christ conquers and reigns.

Since the Immaculate Conception and Assumption are not explicit in Scripture, heretics conclude that the doctrines are false.

This comes from the anti-historical, anti-Scriptural, and anti-logical doctrine of Sola scriptura, or the Protestant “Bible only” doctrine.

The Catholic Church was commissioned by Christ to teach all nations and to teach them infallibly—guided, as he promised, by the Holy Spirit until the end of the world (John 14:26, 16:13).

The mere fact that the Church teaches that something is definitely true is a guarantee that it is true (Matt. 18:17-18, 28:18-20, Luke 10:16, 1 Tim. 3:15).

Heretics will, of course, disagree with this position, but the point is made that the Ever Virgin Mary is immaculate “without sin” using Scripture and logic to do so.

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The following arguments will be given in no particular order.

First there is absolutely no evidence against the existence of God. While this is a negative argument, nevertheless, evidence for the existence of God can be found in logic and reason with the use of historical events.

Documented miracles attest to the existence of God. A miracle is an event that was caused outside the laws of nature such as a raising of the dead and not a mere oddity or an extremely unusual happening. Near death experience or a starting of one’s heart through scientific means would not qualify as a raising of the dead, but one who has been dead for days or years already deteriorating or completely deteriorated and raised by the power of Christ’s name would definitely qualify and such cases are in existence.

The miracle of Lanciano is on-going miracle that is completely against the laws of nature. Living tissue and blood with all the properties of living blood in an uncontrolled environment that is over 1300 years old cannot be explained by any natural or scientific method. The miracle involves a sacrament of the Roman Catholic Church corresponds to the one God of Christians is strong evidence for the existence of God.

Many more examples of miracles can be given but this suffices.

The argument of causality is another example of evidence proving the existence of God.

All things are caused but the initial cause must itself be uncaused. This Uncaused Cause is God.

Nothing cannot cause something into being. Life itself comes from life. Life doesn’t come out of non-life. Therefore, all life must ultimately be caused by that, which is Life itself. This Life being we call God must have existed eternally which is outside of time.

It is illogical to say that all causes come from an endless series of causes and no uncaused caused is necessary. It would mean that the present time of all things are simultaneously the cause and effect of each other. This is absurd. The present now is dependent upon a cause now, which must be outside of time.

From the argument of cause and effect we get the argument of change as evidence for God. If God exists outside of space and time then God must cause space and time.

Matter in space and time changes but it cannot change without a cause. The material universe is the sum of all matter, space, and time. If nothing exists outside of the material universe, then the matter, space, and time cannot change since all of these elements are dependent upon each other. Something must exist outside of the material universe to cause matter, space, and time to change or else it would never change, nor could it even have a potential to change.

The argument of perfection is also good evidence for the existence of God.

We all recognize that some things are better than others, and the degrees of being have levels of goodness. Therefore we recognize the superiority of all the different ways of being. The level or degree of perfection is the standard by which all degrees and levels are measured. If degrees of perfection pertain to being then the ultimate level and perfect being would be God.

Other arguments used to give evidence for the existence of God are the order of the universe and consciousness. However, the most controversial and the most philosophical argument for the existence of God is the Ontological Argument. Devised by Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) as the simplest explanation for God’s existence. It is far from simple. It is so profound that non-thinkers dismiss it as a riddle.

In brief it goes like this: It is greater for something to exist in thought and in reality rather in thought only. Since God is that which a greater cannot be thought then in reality He must exist because it would be impossible to have the thought of a greater than God.

Lastly, men can look at any object and can tell that nature or man either made it. How can one look at the universe as a whole including life and dismiss its cause as not existing? Is this not the ultimate absurdity?

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WHAT’S MISSING ON CHRISTMAS IN A NUTSHELL
By Steven Speray Christmas 1999

Year after year, we see many people scrambling to buy gifts as the hustle and bustle of Christmas takes place. As each year passes, so-called Christians talk about how Christ is once again taken out of Christmas. As secularism creeps in, we are reminded over and over to remember the real reason for the season.

For many so-called Christians, the highlight of the season is the gathering of family and friends, eating, singing carols and going to church to praise God and calling to mind the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

On Christmas day in nearly every church service across America, indeed the world, the most important part of the service will be missing.

It will not be that Christ is forgotten, or taken out of Christmas, for it is in His Holy Name that these so-called Christians namely Evangelicals, Protestants, and Fundamentalists, and even neo-Catholics will come together. Rather, it is the Holy Mass that will be missing from Christmas. Hence the name ‘Christ Mass’ or the ‘Mass of Christ’.

The Holy Mass is the supreme act of Christian worship. It is infinitely greater than any other form of Christian worship. It is the very life, death and Resurrection of Jesus being presented in a liturgical form so that the faithful can participate in Christ’s own prayers and offering His sacrifice to the Father. It is called the Mass (Missa in Latin), because this liturgy concludes with the sending forth (missio) of the faithful.

The Mass was the code name for the worship service of the ancient Christians to keep pagan Rome from finding out and keep the heart of Christianity a secret.

At Holy Mass, not only is there prayer, singing, praising and hearing the Word of God, but also, Christ’s supreme once-and-for-all sacrifice on the cross (Heb. 10:10), and His Resurrection is made present throughout time for all generations to enjoy the benefits of what Christ did and is doing for our sins.

The Mass is not a re-sacrifice, but the same sacrifice represented in an unbloody manner. Above all else, the Mass is the earthly participation in that sacrificial offering going on in Heaven where Jesus prays, and offers Himself up to the Father on our behalf.

Since the mission of Christ began at His birth, the worship service celebrating that day came to be known as Christ Mass or simply Christmas. We see this reality in Scripture with the practice of all faithful Christians throughout history.

In Hebrews 9:23, the sacrifice of the Mass is explained: “Therefore, it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified by these rites, but the heavenly things themselves by better sacrifices than these.” Notice the plural sacrifices as a copy of the heavenly things.

Hebrews 13:10 mentions, “We have an altar.” An altar without a sacrifice would be meaningless. We also see the Mass explained in the First Letter to the Corinthians 11:17-34 clarifying the true nature of the Lord’s Supper which clearly shows that it is not a mere symbol as the Evangelicals, Protestants, and Fundamentalists would have us to believe. Although, without a valid priesthood, they all can only have merely a symbolic Lord’s Supper.

Speaking of the Lord, Psalm 110 reads, “Like Melchizedek, you shall be a priest forever.” As Melchizedek offered bread and wine, so too, Christ would offer up His body and blood in the form of bread and wine (Matt. 26:26-29.)

Christ commands us to do likewise (Luke 22:19.) This new sacrifice would be offered as Holy Writ has it, “For from the Rising of the sun, even to its setting, my name is great among the nations; And everywhere they bring sacrifice to my name, and a pure offering.” (Malachi 1:11)

Only the Holy Mass can, and does fulfill this final prophecy of the Old Testament.

The Holy Mass (Lord’s Supper) is a memorial, but not merely as a psychological remembrance as in non-Catholic services. It is a supernatural copy on Earth of the Heavenly things, viz, Christ continually offering His sacrifice to the Father as He sits at His right hand. Christians are invited to this sacrifice to receive Christ mysteriously on earth by literally eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood as we read in Matt. 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:14-21, John 6:53-57, and I Cor. 11:23-26.

As many of the disciples thought it was a hard saying, (John 6:60) so too, did the Protestant Reformers of the 16th and continual centuries. The difference between the Jews of that time and the Reformers was the Jews recognized that Christ was not speaking symbolically.

To symbolically eat flesh and drink blood, meant to revile and hate the enemy by the ancient Jews, thereby rendering Christ’s words ridiculous and silly since one would have to revile and hate Christ to have eternal life. Had Christ only meant it figuratively, the Jews would have not left Him. They knew well enough that Christ meant literally that His Flesh was real food and His Blood was real drink (John 6:56). Incidentally, it was here that Judas Iscariot left and stopped believing in Jesus (John 6:71).

Christ had warned them not to think of it as cannibalism for the flesh is no avail, but the spirit that gives life (John 6:63). In other words, it is a matter of faith, and will not happen in the bloody way that you are thinking. It is not only the Flesh but also the Soul and Divinity, and this is what gives life.

Christ had told them in John 6:53-54, “unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you do not have life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.”

The Reformers, however, didn’t want to leave Christ as those particular Jews before them. So they changed the theology and created a whole new interpretation of Scripture to fit their understanding of salvation even though it would contradict 1500 years of Christian belief and practice.

Once the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Mass was denied, the Holy Mass ceased with those who separated with the true Church.

Only the Traditional Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches continue to have Jesus Christ substantially present while all the rest of Christianity (if you call them that) can only have Jesus in spirit, though, I would say not even in spirit would Christ be present if His Holy Mass was denied.

If we take another look at the story of Christmas, we see that Jesus was born in a town called Bethlehem, which means House of Bread. (Matt 2:1) Mary had laid Him in a manger, which is a feeding tough for animals. (Luke 2:7) Jesus says that He is the Bread that comes down from Heaven. (John 6:58) Who is the Lamb of God who is to be eaten (John 1:29, Matt. 26:26-28, Exodus 12:3-4, 8-9, 11, 14-16.)

These three prophetic readings in Holy Scripture shows what Christmas is really all about, viz, that Christ came into the world, for the purpose of dying, giving Himself to us in a mystery, and redeeming mankind by saving us from absolute death.

Christ and the Mass are a reality so joined together, that They cannot be truly separated. To deny the Mass would be to deny the mystery of Christ’s salvific work for mankind.

When those Jews left, Jesus then asks, “Will you also go away?”(John 6:67) The Lord’s question is answered by Peter, “You have the words of eternal life.”

To receive in faith the gift of Christ’s Body and Blood at Mass is to fulfill what Jesus intended for those who truly love and follow Him.

Taking the Mass out of Christmas is a rejection of the real reason for the season, which is ultimately that we remember Christ’s birth as we receive Him in Holy Communion at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and be reminded, and prepared for His coming again in glory.

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The Best Bible Translations and Why in a Nutshell

By Steven Speray

There are basically two types of Bible translations, formal equivalence and dynamic equivalence.

Dynamic equivalence means translating the thought process of each word or sentence, or thought-for-thought. The problem with this way of translating may come from the bias of the translator. Many different meanings, ideas or thoughts can come under certain words and sentences. The bias may be in the form of culture or theology, which may give way to extremely false translation.

Formal equivalence is the literal word for word translation. Its only downfall is direct mistranslation, which may include inclusive language.

Then there is the issue of footnotes and commentaries, which range from extremely modernist or liberal based on biased theologies to very accurate based on historic and logical affirmation.

Two examples of popular but bad Bibles

The so-called Catholic NAB or New American Bible uses the formal equivalence. Due to the modernism of its translators, the footnotes include clever but radically altered interpretations from the historical record. For instance, it claims the author of Matthew may not be Matthew and that he borrowed as a source the Gospel of Mark. If this were true, then Matthew wouldn’t truly be inspired but rather a plagiarized work. The NAB charges the Gospels as contradicting one another in reality rather than just in appearance.

The NAB implies some readings are fraudulent and that Christ was sometimes mistaken. You can find all this and much more in the NAB’s footnotes in the Gospel of Matthew alone, not to mention the whole of Scripture. The NAB is so bad that it would not at all be excessive to call it blasphemous. It’s not surprising that Paul VI approved it.

The popular NIV or New International Version uses both types. Because this translation is biased against Catholicism, you get direct and intentional mistranslation with words such as tradition. Since anti-Catholics hate the traditions of Catholicism, each time the Greek paradosis or tradition is used in the Bible in a good way such as Second Thessalonians 2:15, the NIV translates it “teachings” with a footnote that it can be rendered tradition. However, when the paradosis refers to bad traditions as found in Mark 7:8-9, the NIV then correctly translates it tradition.

The commentary found in the NIV is radically biased. For instance, I Peter 3:21 states quite clearly baptism saves. The anti-Catholic translators footnote that Baptism doesn’t really save but only symbolizes. In other words, the Bible doesn’t really mean what it states. The Catholic doctrine of Baptism teaches that water actually does what it symbolizes which is saving the soul by washing it away of sin and Peter is teaching the Catholic doctrine precisely.

Many other Bibles have inclusive language and most have many mistranslations.

As with all Protestant versions of the Bible, many Scriptures are intentionally left out.

Imagine if you will a group of churches that rejected certain books in the Bible such as Genesis, Numbers, Job, as not being the Scriptures or Word of God, because they were considered problematic either historically or theologically.

Yet, this is precisely what the Protestants did with the Christian Bible. They rejected the Old Testament deuterocanonical books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom (of Solomon), Sirach, Baruch, First and Second Maccabees, including parts of Esther and Daniel. Protestants refer to these books as apocrypha. Actually, there is a difference between the apocrypha and the deuterocanonicals.

There are several reasons given by Protestants as to why these books should not be considered canonical, but all such reasons are either false, illogical, and without any merit.

One such reason given is the books are not found in the Hebrew Bible and were rejected by the Jews at the Council of Javneh (Jamnia) in 90 AD. Why this reason is given is puzzling since the Jewish council has no authority whatsoever. It also rejects Christ, all the New Testaments writings, and anything that has to do with the Gentiles.

While it is a fact that the Hebrew Bible does not contain the deuterocanonical books, the Septuagint Bible most certainly contains them and this was the version used by Christ and the Apostles. Even in the Gospels (Mark 7:6-8), Christ quotes from Isaiah found only in the Septuagint version. As a matter of fact, two-thirds of the Old Testament passages quoted in the New Testament come from the Septuagint.

This fact also squashes any argument that would accuse the Catholic Church of adding these books in the Bible. St Athanasius of the fourth century was the first to give the list of all the books in both the Old and New Testaments that we have today.

Considering also that the first Bible with the 27 books of the New Testament were first given in Rome in 380 by the authority of the Roman Pontiff. This doesn’t mean that the books are Scripture based on the authority of the Catholic Church since they are the Scriptures regardless. However, it took the authority of the Catholic Church to discern them in order that the world can be sure. In other words, it took an authority outside of Scripture that must be infallible or else the Canon of Scripture itself would not be. Prior to the 380 AD Roman Council, there was no set Canon of Scripture. In other words, there was no Bible. What constituted the Word of God was up for grabs.

Just because the Church existed with conflicting lists of Scripture before 380 AD also doesn’t mean that one has the right to reject the deuterocanonicals. Some New Testament books were also not always considered Scriptural such as the books Hebrews and the Apocalypse. Therefore, this excuse cannot be logically used with the deuterocanonical books.

The Divine inspiration of Scripture did not provide the list of Scriptures and even if it did, one could not be sure if they were actually the Scriptures. The Quran claims that all its books are the word of God but does that make it so? Of course not. Christ would need to set up an infallible authority to not only to give the Canon but also to provide the limits on interpretation or else the Word of God is only as good as the one interpreting it. The infallible Word of God would not be very useful if you didn’t know the infallible interpretation of it or at least the limit thereof.

Funny thing is, without realizing it Protestants have accepted the infallible authority of the Catholic Church by accepting their Bibles, as the canon was determined for the exception of the books mentioned.

This moves us to the next point used as an excuse not to include the deuterocanonicals, which is that they don’t claim to be Scripture. The problem with this excuse is that neither do many Scriptural books. Should we toss them out also?

The books Sirach and II Maccabees seem to deny they are Scriptural but so does St Paul in I Corinthians 7:12 and 7:40. Should we throw-out First Corinthians too?

Finally, some Protestants will say that the deuterocanonicals have errors. For instance, the books of Judith and Tobit are historically and geographically erroneous. The author of Tobit goes out of his way to let us know his story is fictional, but the Church accepts the stories of God for their theological and moral truths based on what the author is asserting. The Word of God may tell us truths apart from the historical record, and it is the Word of God just the same.

Some Protestants bring up the fact that Judith and the angel Rafael lie and God would be condoning immorality if these books are Scriptural. However, God accepts some deception as praiseworthy under certain circumstances provided that it is contrary to the deception unto sin, such as the Hebrew midwives lying to Pharaoh about the birth of Moses or even Christ saying that He knows not the Day. Other examples would include the saints that have deceived the government when it came to promoting the Faith and to distribute the sacraments under anti-Catholic law as it did in England, Japan, Mexico, and many other places.

Chapter 12 in Second Maccabees most clearly shows the doctrine of Purgatory. Of course, most Protestants would reject this book since their systematic theology won’t allow for the doctrine of Purgatory. But hey, if you don’t like the theology of a certain book in the Bible because it doesn’t line up with your theology, then just toss it out right? Luther hated the New Testament book James because it says man is not justified by faith alone but by faith and works and this did not square up with his theology. Others just twist the second verse of James to mean something different from what it actually states because they know throwing out James would be wrong, but then you’re back to the problem that God’s Word is only as good as the one interpreting it.

Be that as it may, some deuterocanonicals have nothing to be answered for and yet they are still rejected. The reason for this deletion is these books are profoundly Catholic. This is not what Protestants will say. They use the other excuses, but ultimately it comes down to authority.

While there are many good bibles without the deuterocanonicals, such as the KJV, NKJV, and the RSV, why not use the Bible with the same authority that gave us what we have? Of course, the consequences would be devastating for some of those who did.

With all this is in mind, two Bibles stand out as the best translated, best-footnoted, best commentary, and best readable.

While there is no such thing as the perfectly translated English Bible, the Douay-Rheims is the most accurate, and the RSV-CE is the best readable. Both should be used in Bible study and prayerful reading.

The Douay is the only Bible to get two very important verses translated correctly into English.

In Genesis 3:15, the first prophecy of Our Lord and Lady is told. All Bibles but one says “HE” will crush the head of Satan. However, this is a false translation.

The historic rendering of this Hebrew pronoun “hu” has always and should be rendered “SHE,” because the “woman” and not the “seed” is the antecedent of “hu.”

This follows the context, because Gen 3:15 says the enmity is between the “woman” and “Satan”, then it says, between her “seed” and Satan’s “seed.”

If you read the Hebrew pronoun as “he” crushing the head of “Satan” then you have misplaced the context of who has enmity with whom. “She” will crush the head since she was the object that follows and the one who was said to have enmity with “Satan.” We know of course that it is because of her “seed” that she does this.

The next verse is Luke 1:28. The angel Gabriel addresses Mary as kecharitomene. The Douay translates this word as it was translated in Latin. “Hail, full of grace.” It is not a transliteration. All other Bibles give a variation of “Rejoice, O highly favored.” This translation from the Greek lacks what God was conveying to Mary. The Greek is indicating a permanent perfection of favor or grace of a singular kind, not just highly favored. Several saints in Scripture are highly favored, but none are perfectly and permanently favored of a singularly kind and this is what kecharitomene means. It is a title and a description. “Hail, Full of Grace” nails it down.

All the other Bibles take away from Mary what God has told us about her in these two verses. Therefore, only one Bible gives the greatest glory to God by rightly translating these two verses.

Though the Douay is in the older English making it more difficult to read, the RSV-CE helps when using in prayerful study.

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The Rapture Heresy in a Nutshell
By Steven Speray 1999

People all over America are talking about the ‘Rapture.’ A new series of best selling books ‘Left Behind’ exposes this relatively new doctrine. Jack Van Impe preaches it on every one of his TV programs.

What is this Rapture, and is it in the Bible?

The teaching first appeared in the 1800’s from John Nelson Darby (Scottish Dispensationalist) and transferred by CI Scofield into his “Scofield Reference Bible.” Prior to the 1800’s no one claiming Christianity ever heard of this doctrine.

Many psuedo-Christians or heretics use verses such as (I Thess. 4:13-17), when talking about the Rapture, meaning the Church will be taken up with God in the sky before the Great Tribulation and before a 1000-year reign of Christ on earth known as the pre-millennial view or millenarianism. You may have seen bumper stickers with “In Case of Rapture, this Car will be Unmanned.”

Dr. David Jeremiah on his radio program ‘Turning Point’ explains, “that we should be looking for Christ instead of the antichrist, for the Rapture will happen first, and then the antichrist will rise for the Great Tribulation. The Faithful will not have to endure the Great Tribulation.”

Dr. Jeremiah uses (II Thess. 2:7-8) to show why he believes the Rapture happens before the Tribulation. It says, “…But the one who restrains is to do so only for the present, until he removed from the scene. And then the lawless one will be revealed.”

According to Dr. Jeremiah, “the one who restrains is the Holy Spirit and since the church cannot be with out the Holy Spirit then the Rapture happens with the removal of the restraining one.” Dr. David Reagan on his radio program ‘Christ in Prophecy’ says somewhat the same thing. Dr Reagan believes the restraining one is the Church.

Dr Jeremiah, also reasons that we will not be around for the Tribulation because nowhere in the Bible explains how we should go through it.

There are other passages that seem to illustrate a pre-tribulational Rapture. (Matt. 24:40-41) states, “Two men will be out in the field, one will be taken, and one will be left.”

(Luke 17:34-35) gives this account, “I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed: one will be taken, the other left.”

(I Thess. 4:13-17) has it best stating, “For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (‘Will be caught up’ is Rapiemur in Latin, which we get the word ‘Rapture.’)

What are we to make of all this? First, we must be aware that there are many different forms of writing in Holy Scripture. These are called literary genres. They are easily understood when they are read within the culture of the time. The cause of the confusion is when we take a genre of a different culture from another time and place it within the same context of the present culture.

Apocalyptic writing such as the books of Daniel and Revelation is one literary genre common among the ancient Semites. It is filled with strange illusions, bizarre images and numbers that have symbolic meaning.

There are other genres used in Scripture such as the parable, the allegory, and the historical novel. In each literary form, the writer presents but not necessarily asserts the message of God. It is what the writer meant to assert that we must find out. With this in mind, Holy Scripture should be read within the historic context and living Tradition of the Church.

If this is not done, then the interpretations will vary with every whim and best guess of the reader and will ultimately end with denying the very Word of God. Scripture itself warns of traditions of men that will nullify the Word of God.

It is interesting to note that immediately after the paragraph used to proof text the Rapture theology, is found the very Scriptures that tell us about Sacred Tradition. (II Thess. 2:15) “Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.”

What about those passages of Scripture that seem to prove the Rapture?

One should ask how did the early Church fathers interpret these passages. Do other passages in Scripture clearly contradict those interpretations?

Without reading them in its historical and biblical context in accord to Church teaching, would be going against what Scripture itself says. As St. Peter warns, “Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of Scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation” (II Peter 1:20) and “In them there are some things hard to understand that the unlearned and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures.” (II Peter 3:16)

Though many saints have preached a literal 1000-year reign of Christ on earth or millenarianism, never has there been taught this idea of the pre-tribulational Rapture. Scottish Dispensationalists invented this doctrine less than two hundred years ago and it has since become an American phenomenon.

When investigating the Rapture theology, several problems immediately arise. In the foundation verse for the Rapture (I Thess. 4:15-17), we see that this Rapture happens with the coming of the Lord, “for we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, … Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up.” In (Matthew 24:29-31) and (Mark 13:24-27), we see that when Christ comes again it is immediately after the Great Tribulation. The psuedo-Christian heretic would have to conclude two second-comings of Christ to keep from contradicting these two passages, and particularly (II Thess. 2:7-8).

On his TV program JVI Presents, Jack Van Impe denies two second-comings. He reasons that the Rapture happens when the Lord appears in the sky but doesn’t actually make His Second-Coming.

Since Van Impe uses (I Thess 4) to prove his position, he must conclude that very passage that says the “coming of the Lord” is not really the coming of the Lord because that must come later.

Also, the appearance of the Lord in the sky is precisely how Holy Scripture describes the Second Coming. See (Act 1:11)

The fact is the pre-tribulational rapture theorist must believe in two second-comings even if they refuse to acknowledge it as so. Two second-comings is not the historical Christian belief.

Jack Van Impe uses the historical belief in millenarianism to show why the Rapture should be believed. He also misrepresents Catholicism by using her books to show how the Catholic Church also believes in a pre-tribulational Rapture. Unfortunately, he reads into what he wants to see without looking at the whole picture.

Those verses found in (I Thess. 4) that speak of being “caught up” is simply speaking about the resurrection of the body for us all on the last day. It is a Christian dogma. As a matter of fact, on that same day the damned will find themselves being “caught down” in the same manner.

(Matthew 24:40), “One will be taken; and one will be left,” was fulfilled during the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. This whole chapter is on that event which serves as a prototype, or prefigure of the end of time. Look at this verse in light of the next chapter where Christ said he would separate the sheep from the goats. The sheep (Faithful) will be taken and caught up with their bodies, and the goats (unfaithful) will be left and taken down to hell in their bodies. This is the plain explanation of those passages.

In (II Thess. 2:7), the restraining one might be referring to the hierarchy of the Church or perhaps it is St Michael. There is absolutely no reason to believe it is the Holy Spirit or the Church, unless of course you’re trying to make it fit into a new theology.

St. Paul writes as if the Thessalonians know what or who it is. No one knows for sure. It is important to know that whatever or whoever it is will be taken out and the antichrist will rise.

Dr. Jeremiah said Scripture doesn’t say how we should go through the Great Tribulation and reasons that me must be taken up before it happens.

However, (Matthew 10:22, 24:13) states he who endures and perseveres to the end will be saved. St. Matthew is stating quite emphatically that the Faithful might have to suffer greatly as it goes through the Great Tribulation.

(Hebrews 11:32-40, 12:1-13) is clearly saying that the Faithful may and will have to suffer greatly.

St. Peter, who holds the primacy in the hierarchy, in (I Peter 1:3-9, 2:18-25, 3:13-17, 4:1) speaks about suffering while (Matthew 10:16-18) warns us of the coming persecutions.

Dr. David Jeremiah, Dr Dave Reagan, Jack Van Impe, Hal Lindsey, Jerry Jenkins, Tim LaHaye and all those like them who profess a pre-tribulational Rapture are the very false teachers St. Peter warns us against. (II Peter 2:1)

As for the Rapture, our focus is on the coming of the Lord but this will be His Second Coming and we are not thinking about getting out of here before the Great Tribulation for we are now going through it. The number seven represents completeness or wholeness and is erroneous to believe that seven years must be a literal seven rather than a complete and whole time of trial. The number 1000 years also represents a round number of a long period of time. It is not to be taken as a literal 1000 years.

One could argue that 1000 years is a single day since Scripture also has it that a 1000 years is as one day to the Lord. (II Peter 3:8) The point is there are other ways to view the 1000 years of peace rather than the pre-millennialists or millenarianists. Pope Pius XII declared this position couldn’t be safely held.

As for the Second Coming of our Lord, we will be judged as we live since that day will usher in the Final Judgment.

We hold fast to Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and profess in the Apostles’ Creed, “ He will come again to judge the living and the dead.” On that day, the same Apostles’ Creed continues with “I believe in… the resurrection of the body.”

The resurrection of the bodies to the souls of the Faithful is the true Rapture and it happens on the last day of time as we know it when we will enter the age of ages.

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Objections to Purgatory Answered in a Nutshell
By Steven Speray

Imagine if a Christian or anybody for that fact rejected the existence of Heaven or Hell. Would such a person be considered a Christian? Of course not, since Christians must hold to all articles of Faith such as the existence of Heaven or Hell.

Yet, Purgatory is also an article of Faith. It is as real and true as Heaven and Hell. All those claiming to be Christian who knowingly reject it are heretics, who are non-Christians claiming to be Christian.

Purgatory is the place or state which justified man is purified before witnessing the Beatific Vision. This purification could be for the atonement or punishment of forgiven mortal or venial sins and for the inordinate love of self, others, or the world.

Purgatory comes from the word meaning to purge.

There are 4 main objections heretics use for rejecting Purgatory.

Objection number 1: Purgatory is not found in the Holy Bible; therefore it is not an article of Faith.

There are many words not found in the Holy Bible that must be believed such as Holy Trinity, hypostatic union, Incarnation, or even “bible.” These things are based on a deduction of the facts using sound logic and reason. The Canon of Holy Scripture (Books of the Holy Bible) are not even found implicitly in the Holy Bible but must be believed based on an authority outside of Scripture.

All of Scripture is most certainly inspired and can be used for teaching, defending, and promoting the Faith but never does the Scripture say that it ALONE constitutes everything that must be believed. If it did, then you could not even follow it since it does not give an inspired table of contents. How ironic heretics would use such an illogical argument. This is a tradition of man that nullifies the Word of God.

Be that as it may, Purgatory is most certainly found in the Holy Bible by way of implication just as the Holy Trinity and Incarnation.

Apocalypse or Rev. 21:27 says nothing unclean can enter Heaven. This implies that all men must be made clean before entering Heaven.

First Corinthians 3:9-17 states: “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw — each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If any one destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and that temple you are.”

The Day is Judgment Day. The temple is man. Gold, silver, and precious stones represents good works. Wood, hay, and straw represents venial sins. Destruction of the temple is mortal sin.

Mortal sins are sins unto death, and venial sins are sins not unto death (First John 5:16-17). For instance, in Matthew 5:19, Jesus states that men can commit certain sins and even teach others to commit that sin but would be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven. Other sins however, Jesus says would cause men liable to hell fire. Therefore, different types of sins have different types of punishment.

“The person will be saved as going through the fire. Those who destroy the temple will themselves be destroyed.” These verses are not about rewards because St Paul was not only talking about rewards but a JUDGMENT, and as been shown, this judgment varies.

Those who build with gold, silver, and precious stones will be rewarded (this is Heaven), those who build with wood, hay, and straw will suffer but will be saved as going through the fire (this is purgatory), and those who will not build but destroy the temple will themselves be destroyed (this is hell).

The Old Testament Book Second Maccabees 12: 43-45 states: “In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the dead to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin”

Why pray for those eternally lost in Hell or saved in Heaven? This verse clearly references another place for those expiating sin and because it so clear in this book of the Holy Bible, heretics eliminated it precisely because this verse didn’t square up with their systematic theology that rejected Purgatory.

Purgatory is Scriptural and it is logical. Its rejection is anti-scriptural and illogical.

Objection number 2: Purgatory is contrary to First John 1:7 that a Christian is only purified by the blood of Jesus. Christ did it all and nothing can be added to His shedding of blood. Christ’s atonement replaces any atonement needed by man. In other words, Christ’s atonement on the Cross was not good enough if Purgatory is true.

The fact is (I John 1:7) says, “The blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin.” not that “we are purified only by the blood of Jesus.” However, Christ alone purifies and if it is not done on earth then it will be done later. Mortal sin takes one to hell not Purgatory. Again, Purgatory is for the saved sinner who is purged of all imperfections including the atonement of forgiven mortal and venial sins before entering Heaven since nothing unclean can enter Heaven (Apoc. or Rev. 21:27).

The shedding of Christ’s blood is applied to man through justification and sanctification. Christ’s atonement is sufficient and complete. However, it must be applied and we must cooperate by doing our part designated to us by God.

Objection number 3: Purgatory does not fit into the theology that claims Christ’s righteousness is only imputed to man’s soul thereby justifying the man. This justification happens only once. Rom. 4:8 and II Cor. 5:19 denotes that sins no longer count against the justified and Hebrew 10:14 says Christ has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

The fact is Christ’s righteousness is infused into man’s soul, which actually makes the soul righteous. Imputation denotes a covering only. If it were merely imputed then the soul itself would remain unclean. Nothing unclean can enter Heaven; therefore an unclean man with a mere covering or imputation of righteousness would violate the very Word of God. Christ’s righteousness must be infused or else no one could enter Heaven.

It does not happen only once. Justification is a process as Holy Scripture shows. Abraham “believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness (Rom. 4:18-22). Paul was referring to (Gen. 15:6) where Abraham was given the promise of many descendants. This clearly shows Abraham was justified at the time he believed the promise.

“By faith Abraham obeyed…went out, not knowing where he was to go” (Heb. 11:8). This passage refers to (Gen. 12:1-4). We see clearly from Scripture that Abraham had saving Faith years before the promise in (Gen. 15). Abraham could not have saving faith if he were not already justified.

“Was not Abraham our father JUSTIFIED by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? It was reckoned to him as righteousness” (James 2:21-23). Abraham offered Isaac upon the altar in (Gen. 22) years after (Gen.15).

We have three instances where Abraham was re-justified by faith and works, denoting justification as a process.

It is true that St Paul in Romans and Second Corinthians denotes that sins no longer count against the justified but this applies to past sins only, not future sins. St Paul gives future senses of justification. “We wait for the hope of justification” (Gal. 5:5). He also states in (Heb 11:1) that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. If we know absolutely we are going to Heaven, where is our hope? Hope would not be hope if the object could be seen.

As for Hebrews 10:14, St Paul is referring that once sanctified, one is perfected forever provide that one does not sin again. Another translation is, “Being made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.” ‘Being’ is a present participle that denotes an ongoing process.

Since justification and sanctification is a process. It can be said that Purgatory is the finishing process of sanctification. “For our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29).

God is constantly purifying us as we live on earth and it will continue after death if necessary. It is Christ who is doing the purifying by his justice. Purgatory is the application of Christ’s atonement to our souls after death. Christ’s atonement was perfect and complete, but it must be applied.

This objection arose with the ex-Catholics in the 16th century to create a new religion with a new theology. It is anti-Christian.

Objection number 4: Purgatory is contrary to the belief that Christ paid the complete sin debt meaning that He accomplished all that is needed without any cooperation from man.

Jesus tells Christians in (Matt. 6:12-15) in the Lord’s Prayer to “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors…If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

If Jesus paid completely the sin debt of Christians, why would we need to ask the Father to forgive our debts if Jesus already paid them? Jesus even qualifies his next statement with an ‘IF.’ “IF you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” Why would the Father exact the same debt that Jesus supposedly just paid? Would God exact an unfair double payment? Of course not, therefore this objection is ridiculous and even blasphemous.

You will not find a Scripture passage state or imply that Christ paid the complete sin debt of man.

What Christ did on the Cross was redeem man by freeing him (saving) from absolute death. All men would absolutely go to hell without the Cross, but not necessarily granted Heaven (saved as in final salvation) or else all men would go to Heaven. Christ died for all men but He didn’t grant all men salvation into Heaven.

God will save the man who cooperates with His grace by working, praying, and obeying. This is how man builds up the temple St Paul was referring to in First Corinthians.

Provided man does not destroy the temple by mortal sin, his working, praying, and obeying will be tested. As gold is purified by fire, so too, man will be purified by fire of God’s justice. If a man’s working, praying, and obeying are not perfect (wood, hay, and straw), that man will suffer loss but will be saved. This is Purgatory.

Purgatory can be bypassed altogether provided that man suffers all that is needed while on earth.

Interestingly, the proper understanding of Purgatory and salvation gives a new meaning to suffering on earth. All suffering becomes worthy of some cause especially when offered up in unity with the Cross of Christ.

Like fire on earth, suffering on earth can be useful and praiseworthy leading to a greater love for Our Lord or it can be detrimental leading to rage, envy, and despair.

The suffering in Purgatory is a fire good only for purification.

Lastly, Purgatory is part of the historic Christian Faith. It is part of the Holy Gospel first delivered to the Apostles.

Christian worship was done in the early Church for the poor souls in Purgatory, as masses for the dead were commonplace especially in the catacombs.

The historic practices come from this interpretation of these Scripture verses. Any other interpretation that would deny the existence of Purgatory would be contrary to history and logic.

The Holy Scriptures themselves tell us to hold fast to everything that has been taught and delivered from the beginning. (II Thessalonians 2:15, Jude 1) Novel interpretations that run contrary to the historical teachings and practices are warned against by St Paul in (II Timothy 4:3-4) and (Galatians 1:7-9.)

The rejection of Purgatory equals a gospel contrary to Christ.

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CATHOLIC OR NOT

Catholic or Not
(A Catechism on Sedevacantism in a Nutshell)

By Steven Speray Nov. 4. 2007

What is Sedevacantism?

Sedevacantism is a position held by Catholics who are holding fast to the traditional Catholic Faith. Sedevacantism comes from the Latin – Sede Vacant (the Chair is Vacant). Those Catholics who hold this position are called sedevacantists.

What do Sedevacantists believe?

Sedevacantists believe the Chair of Peter or the Papacy is currently vacant. All those who claim to be pope are actually antipopes.

What is an antipope?

An antipope is anyone who claims to be pope but is not actually the pope.

Why do Sedevacantists believe the current “pope” is actually an antipope?

Sedevacantists believe that a true pope must hold the Catholic Faith and do not believe the current “pope” Benedict XVI is a Catholic. They also do not believe other requirements have been fulfilled by the current “pope.”

What are the requirements to be pope?

The first requirement is to be a man. The second requirement is a valid election. The third requirement is the formal consent of the elected. The fourth requirement (only if needed) is to ordain the elected a priest and consecrate him bishop. The fifth requirement is to hold fast to Catholic teachings after one becomes a pope.

Since the current “pope” claims to be Catholic, what is the requirement to be Catholic?

To be a Catholic, one must believe in all the teachings of the Church and not knowingly reject any of them, and practice the faith under the laws of God and the Church. He must also acknowledge legitimate authority and not knowingly reject this authority. Anyone who claims to be a Catholic, but knowingly does not believe, practice and follow the Catholic faith is automatically anathematized. He is at that point, no longer Catholic.

What does anathematize mean?

Anathematize (root word – anathema) means to be cut off or to be accursed. To be excommunicated is another common name for anathema. There is either an automatic anathema or declared anathema attached to every heretic and schismatic. Everyone who is anathematized is no longer a Catholic but rather becomes a non-Catholic heretic or schismatic.

What is a heretic?

A heretic is any Baptized person who knowingly rejects a Catholic teaching or believes in a heresy, which is a false belief.

What is a schismatic?

A schismatic is any Baptized person who knowingly refuses to be in unity with the Church. This can happen by refusing to conform one’s self to lawful authority or lawful authoritative pronouncements.

Who do sedevacantists believe was the last true pope?

It depends on which sedevacantist you ask. The informed Catholic sedevacantist believes it was Pope Pius XII. Some falsely believe Cardinal Siri was elected after Pope Pius XII, and some falsely believe Paul VI.
Is there a true pope out there that is not known to the public?

It is possible that there is a true pope not known, but is not a probable proposition.

Is sedevacantism possible?

Sedevacantism happens every time a pope dies. The Chair of Peter is vacant until another pope is elected. This is called the period of interregnum. Some have argued that there must be a pope within 50 years, but the Church has never declared it. Therefore, it is only the opinion of some that it is an impossible position, and they can only give their fallible opinions why they think it is an impossible position. Only the Magisterium can make that determination, and it has never done so.

Didn’t the First Vatican Council say there would always be pope?

No, the First Vatican Council said the office of papacy is perpetual. This does not mean that there will always be a pope. The Chair of Peter has been vacant for long periods of time before, though never like it has been now.

Will there ever be a new pope?

A future election by ordinary means is not possible. A future election by extraordinary means is possible or God Himself intervenes and supernaturally gives us a pope.

Doesn’t that make the Church wrong at the First Vatican Council since the Chair of Peter is no longer perpetual?

No, the Chair of Peter is always in place. The First Vatican Council did not say the Chair would always be filled. The principle was what the First Vatican Council was addressing, since it was denied that Peter was ever to have successors. The fact is Peter had successors all the way to Pope Pius XII therefore the principle of perpetual succession is in place.

Can the Church survive without a pope? Has it done so before?

The Church has now survived about 50 years without a pope. It has survived 3 and half years in the past as the longest period. It survives each time a pope dies because the Church was not built upon the papacy but on the faith of the first pope. It is the Faith that makes up the Faithful. The Holy Catholic Church is the Faithful who keep the faith.

How can the Church survive without a pope?

It survives by the Grace of God who keeps it alive through the power of the Holy Ghost. As long as one person holds the faith the Catholic Church is alive on earth.

How does Christ tell us to be faithful to Him?

Christ told us to be perfect, to obey the Commandments, to listen to those whom He sent. He told us to reject false teachers, and to listen to His Church.

How can we listen to the Church if there is no pope?

We live in humility and listen to all the teachings handed down by all the true popes. We do not listen to false teachers as Christ said to reject them. Anyone who teaches contrary to any of the teachings handed down is a false teacher. Christ forewarned us of the many of them that will come in the last days. The last five claimants to the papacy have clearly and unambiguously taught contrary to the historic Catholic Faith, therefore it is not possible for any of them to be true popes.

Why does Christ forewarn of false teachers?

Christ warned us of false teachers because they can lead you into hell. Heresy separates us from Christ and anyone who claims to teach in the name of Christ or His Church could fool you into believing heresy that leads you to hell. This is why an anti-pope can be so dangerous because he could teach contrary to Catholic doctrine and fool you into believing that his heresy is really Catholic. This is precisely what has been happening for the past 50 years.

What else do the Scriptures say?

There will be a time when men will not listen to the truth and that God’s people will be associated with the harlot and to come out.

Check out Peter’s Epistles…

Can a Catholic reject some small teaching or practice and still be considered a Catholic?

A Catholic cannot be a Catholic and knowingly reject any Catholic teaching at the same time.

Define Catholic teaching.

A Catholic teaching is any teaching that comes from Christ and the Apostles, the Church and specifically the pope when that teaching concerns our salvation and is given to the whole Church.

What if a true pope knowingly rejects Catholic teaching?

If a true pope knowingly rejects Catholic teaching, he would at once cease to be a Catholic and therefore cease to be pope and would lose all jurisdiction. One cannot be Head of the Church if he is not a member of the Church.

Can a man who knowingly rejects Catholic teaching be elected pope?

A man who knowingly rejects Catholic teaching can be elected pope but must reject his error and hold the faith to actually be pope after his election or else the man would not be a Catholic and therefore not pope.

How is it possible to identify the true Church if a false Church usurps the name?

The Catholic Church instituted by Christ has two particular marks not found in any other church. In one of these particular marks “holy” is found…infallibility and indefectibility. The other mark “Apostolic” is found historicity. A false Church like the Vatican 2 Church is not holy or apostolic. See Appendix to see how the Vatican 2 Church is neither holy nor apostolic.

Our Lord Himself told his Church to remain faithful to Him and to those whom He sends forth provided those whom He sends also remain faithful to Him. Only one Church has done so.

What is infallibility and how does it work? (What does it entail)?

Infallibility is a special chrism or gift of the pope. It means that the pope cannot error in teaching the faithful under certain circumstances. When the pope teaches ex cathedra (from the Chair) meaning as the head of the whole Church to the whole Church anything on faith and morals to be held as truth never to be altered, he is infallible. It is a preventive measure given to him by Christ and the Holy Ghost to prevent heresy (known as the Gates of Hell or Powers of Death) from ever being taught by the Church.

Just as God used fallible men to write the infallible Holy Scriptures, God now uses fallible men to teach the Gospel of the Holy Scriptures infallibly. The Bible would not be completely useful without some interpretations of some passages with some boundaries and limits of interpretations on other passages. The books in the Bible, themselves, have been infallibly determined by the Church to be infallible. It took an infallible authority to tell what the infallible Scriptures are, or else, the Bible itself would not be known. Scriptures are infallible because they are God-breathed, but we would not know what precisely what and which of these God-breathed books are God-breathed without an infallible authority outside of the Bible.

However, infallibility should not be comfused with immutability. Something can be infallible but not necessarily immutable.

Dogmas are infallible and immutable.

Laws and disciplines or practices are infallible but not immutable.

What is indefectibility and how does infallibility effect indefectibility? (It’s implications)

Indefectibility means not defected or not able to be defected. Infallibility prevents the Church from being defected. In other words, truth is immutable. The Church can never proclaim or define an untruth. This aspect of indefectibility insures us infallibility.

Once a truth is proclaimed or defined by the Church, that truth is set in stone, so to speak, never to be altered or changed.

The Church is infallible thus it is indefectible. The Church is indefectible thus it is infallible.

Laws and disciplines are infallible and indefectible. When they change, if they change, it would not because something was wrong with them. Again, they are infallible. They might change to make something better not because they were or had defected in someway.

What must Catholic sedevacantists believe?

Catholic sedevacantists must believe everything the Church has taught and reject everything that is opposed to it.

Is there such a case that a Catholic could resist or reject something that comes from the Church?

Since the Catholic Faith is immaculate in all her universal teachings, laws and disciplines, there would be no need to do so. However, one could resist or reject any individual, even the Pope, if he were to command one to sin. But the pope can’t possibly command one to sin by a universal Church teaching, law, or discipline.

Who can judge a pope if that pope becomes heretical or schismatic?

According to Pope Innocent III and St Robert Bellarmine, any Catholic can make that judgment.

Again, why must a Catholic hold the position of sedevacantism?

He must hold the position of sedevacantism as a matter of faith, since the Church cannot have a heretical pope nor can the Church teach or practice something harmful as the Vatican 2 church does.

How does the Church fulfill the mark “one” now?

The Church fulfills the mark of oneness as it always has; by holding to the faith as it has been defined. Every time a true pope dies, the Church remains one by this means.

What about Christ naming Peter in Matt 16? Did Christ build the Church on the papacy?

Christ built the Church on Peter and his faith together, but not necessarily the office of Peter. The office is a necessary part of the Church as are the sacraments but the Church wasn’t built on them either. Peter’s name represented his faith. If Christ built the Church on the office of Peter, then the foundation of the Church is gone every time a pope dies. Without a foundation, there is no church.

Did the last 5 claimants lose their office or did they never have it?

The last 5 claimants never had it for all had defective elections. Had any of them been validly elected, they would have still lost the office. However, none of them were validly elected.

Appendix

The mark of holiness means that all teachings and practices are holy. The Vatican II church has teachings previously condemned with practices previously condemned as unholy. The mark of apostolicity means it comes from the Apostles, which means the particular teachings and practices that came from Vatican II did not come from the Apostles.

Examples of teachings of Vatican II and how they are condemned:

The Vatican II church teaches:

Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium Chapter 2. The people of God

15. “For several reasons the Church recognizes that it is joined to those who, though baptized and so honored with the Christian name, do not profess the faith in its entirety or do not preserve communion under the successor of St. Peter.”

Condemned by:

Pope Pius IX, Amantissimus (# 3), April 8, 1862: “There are other, almost countless, proofs drawn from the most trustworthy witnesses which clearly and openly testify with great faith, exactitude, respect and obedience that all who want to belong to the true and only Church of Christ must honor and obey this Apostolic See and the Roman Pontiff.”

And

Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (# 13), June 29, 1896: “Therefore if a man does not want to be, or to be called, a heretic, let him not strive to please this or that man… but let him hasten before all things to be in communion with the Roman See.”

The Vatican II Church teaches:

Unitatis Redintegratio (Decree on Ecumenism) 3.

“It follows that these separated churches and communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have by no means been deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation whose efficacy comes from that fullness of grace and truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church.”

Condemned by:

Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (# 9), June 29, 1896: “The Church alone offers to the human race that religion – that state of absolute perfection – which He wished, as it were, to be incorporated in it. And it alone supplies those means of salvation which accord with the ordinary counsels of Providence.”

The Vatican II church teaches:

Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium Chapter 2. The people of God

16. “But the plan of salvation also embraces those who acknowledge the Creator, and among these the Muslims are first; they profess to hold the faith of Abraham and along with us they worship the one merciful God who will judge mankind on the last day.”

And

Nostra aetate (Declaration on the church’s relation to non-Christian religions)

3. “The Church also looks upon Muslims with respect. They worship the one God living and subsistent, merciful and mighty, creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to humanity and to whose decrees, even the hidden ones, they seek to submit themselves whole-heartedly, just as Abraham, to whom the Islamic faith readily relates itself, submitted to God…Hence they have regard for the moral life and worship God in prayer, almsgiving and fasting.”

Condemned by:

The Most Holy Scriptures – St John Chapter 8:

[38] I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” [39] They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do what Abraham did, [40] but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God; this is not what Abraham did. [41] You do what your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.” [42] Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. [43] Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. [44] You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. [45] But, because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.

And

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Basel, Session 19, Sept. 7, 1434: “the abominable sect of Mahomet”

And

Pope Clement V, Council of Vienne, 1311-1312: “It is an insult to the holy name and a disgrace to the Christian faith that in certain parts of the world subject to Christian princes where Saracens (i.e., The followers of Islam, also called Muslims) live, sometimes apart, sometimes intermingled with Christians, the Saracen priests, commonly called Zabazala, in their temples or mosques, in which the Saracens meet to adore the infidel Mahomet, loudly invoke and extol his name each day at certain hours from a high place… This brings disrepute on our faith and gives great scandal to the faithful. These practices cannot be tolerated without displeasing the divine majesty. We therefore, with the sacred council’s approval, strictly forbid such practices henceforth in Christian lands. We enjoin on Catholic princes, one and all. They are to forbid expressly the public invocation of the sacrilegious name of Mahomet… Those who presume to act otherwise are to be so chastised by the princes for their irreverence, that others may be deterred from such boldness.

The Vatican II church teaches:

Dignitatis Humanae (Declaration of religious freedom)

2. “This Vatican synod declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. Such freedom consists in this, that all should have such immunity from coercion by individuals, or by groups, or by any human power, that no one should be force to act against his conscience in religious matters, nor prevented from acting according to his conscience, whether in private or in public, within due limits.”

# 4: “In addition, religious communities are entitled to teach and give witness to their faith publicly in speech and writing without hindrance.”

Condemned by:

Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos (# 15), Aug. 15, 1832:“Here We must include that harmful and never sufficiently denounced freedom to publish any writings whatever and disseminate them to the people, which some dare to demand and promote with so great a clamor. We are horrified to see what monstrous doctrines and prodigious errors are disseminated far and wide in countless books, pamphlets, and other writings which, though small in weight, are very great in malice.”

And

Pope Leo XIII, Libertas (# 42), June 20, 1888: “From what has been said it follows that it is quite unlawful to demand, to defend, or to grant unconditional freedom of thought, of speech, or writing, or of worship, as if these were so many rights given by nature of man.”

And

Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei (# 34), Nov. 1, 1885: “Thus, Gregory XVI in his encyclical letter Mirari Vos, dated August 15, 1832, inveighed with weighty words against the sophisms which even at his time were being publicly inculcated – namely, that no preference should be shown for any particular form of worship; that it is right for individuals to form their own personal judgments about religion; that each man’s conscience is his sole and all-sufficing guide; and that it is lawful for every man to publish his own views, whatever they may be, and even to conspire against the state.”

Examples of practices of the Vatican II church and how they are condemned:

The Vatican II church practices:

Altar girls, female lectors, and female acolytes as in ministers of the Eucharist

Condemned by:

Pope Benedict XIV, Encyclical, July 26, 1755 Allatae Sunt: Women Assisting at Mass

Pope Gelasius in his ninth letter (chap. 26) to the bishops of Lucania condemned the evil practice which had been introduced of women serving the priest at the celebration of Mass. Since this abuse had spread to the Greeks, Innocent IV strictly forbade it in his letter to the bishop of Tusculum: “Women should not dare to serve at the altar; they should be altogether refused this ministry.” We too have forbidden this practice in the same words in Our oft-repeated constitution Etsi Pastoralis, sect. 6, no. 21.

And

St. Paul and the Holy Spirit in the First Letter to the Corinthians 14:33-36 and the First Letter to Timothy 2:8-15.

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CATHOLIC CONFESSION IN A NUTSHELL
By Steven Speray
April 2, 2007

Confession is a major stumbling block for many who might easily become Catholic if it were not for certain beliefs as this one. However, for the Catholic, the sacrament of Confession or Reconciliation is so crucial that refusing to practice it is the same as refusing to be Christian. Rejecting Confession is ultimately rejecting Christ who instituted it. That’s right; it was Jesus who gave us this sacrament. It is clearly mentioned in the Holy Bible when interpreted in the logical and historical context.

An accusation I occasionally hear from the common heretic is: Catholics have it so easy, they can go all week drinking, cursing, and smoking, etc, and go to a priest for confession on Saturday believing they are forgiven and turn around and do it all over again. Yet, the very same heretic is the one who will go all week drinking, cursing and carrying on and then claims to go inside a room and confess secretly to God well aware that he will also do it all over again.

Question: Which would be harder: Going to a priest or secretly to God? Catholics are not looking for the easy way out but the route given to us by Christ.

The fact is good Catholics do not believe they can go on sinning with the presumption of having it all forgiven in Confession. It would be a sacrilege to abuse the Sacrament of Confession with sins one is not truly sorry for. Catholics must be truly repentant with the intention never to sin again. Without both of these elements, Confession is worthless and becomes a sin in itself.

However, is it so that those who claim to go to God in secret actually confess each and every individual sin? Do they actually confess each sin knowing God already knows each and every one of them? I’ll let them answer that one.

Confessing each individual sin is an acknowledgment of what one actually did to offend Almighty God. It is much more profound than merely saying to God that you are sorry for your sins.

In trying to trap the Catholic, the common heretic will ask: Why do Catholics confess their sins to man instead of God since it would be blasphemy to believe man does what only God can do?

This is precisely what the Scribes and Pharisees did with Jesus several times. They accused him of doing only what God can do. And how did Christ answer them each time?

WHAT THE HOLY BIBLE SAYS

“And behold they brought to him a paralytic, lying on the bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” –he then said to the paralytic-“Rise, take up your bed and go home,” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men. (Matthew 9:2-8)

Jesus did not tell them that he was God. He was acting and speaking in His Human Nature proving that He healed the soul of the paralytic by making him physically well. The last verse (8) says that men have been given this power, not so much as the miracle of the physical healing but rather the healing of the soul which the miracle proved had happened. It indicates that Jesus who came to forgive sins has also passed this on to his Church.

To better clarify Christ passing on his divine power of forgiving sins to his Church we turn to other passages in Holy Writ:

“Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you. “ And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:21-23)

All the power given to Jesus by the Father, Christ now gives to his Apostles; not to any one else but only to his Apostles. Christ the God-man breathes the Spirit into his Apostles (just as God breathed life into Adam in Genesis) and gives them power of not only forgiving sins but also the power of retaining them.

The Apostles could not forgive or retain sins unless someone confesses specific committed sins. There it is! The practice of confessing sins to man is found and justified in the Holy Bible. Also, it has been practiced from the time of the Apostles. Catholicism is the religion of the Holy Bible and Christian history.

Today, the common heretic continues to accuse Catholics of doing what they claim only God can do just as the Scribes and Pharisees did with Jesus. See other passages of Scripture such as in (John 8:3-11) when Jesus told the woman caught in Adultery, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.”

Or, in (Luke 7:36-50) when He told the woman who washed his feet, “Your sins are forgiven.”

Yes, Jesus is God and can forgive sins, and just as He has the power to forgive sins we see Him passing it on to His Apostles in (John 20.)

Since these same Apostles were given the special power of forgiving sins so too they passed it on as it was passed on to them.

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespassed against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” (II Corinthians 5:18-20)

The ministry of Reconciliation is the ministry of the Catholic priesthood. It was given only to those whom the power itself has been given. Ordinary layman can forgive sins committed against themselves but not on behalf of God as priests.

“Is any one among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he ahs committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:2-16)

Notice that it is the elders who have the power. Elders are the bishops and priests and no one appoints themselves bishops and priests but must be ordained by them.

For no one gives themselves the power to forgive and anoint, but must be received by someone who has been given this power by someone who has been given this power going back to the Apostles themselves. This is what Apostolic Succession is and it is the only way one receives the power to forgive sins, which ultimately comes from Jesus Christ himself.

For those who would like to argue these Scripture verses and give a different spin on them, I would like to add that by doing so would be contrary to the historical interpretation and practice.

For Catholics, Confession is practiced because it has always been the practice of Apostolic Times, which the Scriptures and history indicate. For the common heretics who try to base their religion on what they think the Bible is saying to them is actually anti-Scriptural and anti-historical because the Scriptures themselves tell us to hold to everything that has been taught and delivered from the beginning. (II Thessalonians 2:15, Jude 1) Novel interpretations that run contrary to the historical teachings and practices are warned against by St Paul in (II Timothy 4:3-4) and (Galatians 1:7-9.)

Rejecting Catholic Confession equals a gospel contrary to Christ.

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