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Archive for the ‘Protestantism’ Category

Calvinism, named after Protestant Reformer John Calvin, is a theological position held by many denominations, such as the Presbyterians and the Baptists. However, I don’t think all of these Protestants really understand what their religions are actually teaching.

The leaders of Calvinism have created the acronym TULIP as a tool to help identify the main five points of Calvinism:

T = Total depravity: After the fall of Adam and Eve, man lost the ability to do as he ought in the sight of God. Such a man is considered “dead” in his will do as he ought.

U= Unconditional election: Before the beginning of time, God choice whom He will save and whom He will damn according to his own purposes apart from any conditions or qualities related to those persons. John Calvin taught that God created part of mankind for heaven and part of mankind for hell.

L=Limited Atonement: Christ’s death on the cross will only be applied to the elect unto salvation, not to all men. Christ draws only the elect to Himself, not all men. It is only the elect to whom God will give the ability to come to Him and do as he ought.

I=Irresistible grace: The grace given by Christ to the totally depraved man that gives him the desire and ability to come to Him and do as he ought. Because the man is dead in his will, this grace awakens the “dead” man, and he can’t resist being woken up and doing what the grace gives him to do. Only the elect are given this grace. The rest of mankind are left dead in their will to do as they ought, which they can’t do because God doesn’t give them the ability.

P=Perseverance of the saints: The elect are secured by God’s grace. They can’t lose their salvation.

The implications

-If you are not one of the elect, you can’t be saved under any conditions. Christ didn’t shed His blood for you, and He will not do anything whatsoever to help you overcome your fallen condition.

-God created most men to be damned since He created them without the ability to do good and He will not give them the ability to do good. Therefore, if God didn’t choose you, it’s because He created you to suffer the fires of hell forever, and there’s nothing you can do about it because Christ will not give you the grace to overcome.

-If you are one of the elect, you will be saved regardless of the situations. If God used secondary means through the preaching of others, He would have saved you anyway by some other means.

-If you’re saved, it’s because God did it all and you did nothing. But if that’s true, you only believed and loved Christ, because He MADE you believe and love Him. How do we know this is true? It’s because if you’re dead in your free will to do as you ought, God would have to make you alive in your free will which you CAN’T RESIST. He MAKES you know, desire, love, and serve Him because you didn’t choose to do so in cooperation with Him.

-When Christ said,Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you (Matt. 11:28)”, He knows that those that are given grace will do so regardless and for those who will not be given grace, He weeps crocodile tears.

-The Calvinist god is the great puppet master. Their christ is the devil!  

As Pope Pius XI declared in 1923, “It is in these heresies [of the Reformation] that we discover the beginnings of that apostasy of mankind from the Church, the sad and disastrous effects of which are deplored, even to the present hour, by every fair mind.”

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Lutherans, Anglicans and Methodists say the Apostles Creed claiming the church is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.

Contrary to Catholicism’s definition, oneness or unity simply means the Church made up by believers across denominational lines are united to Christ. There is no formal unity. It doesn’t require a unity of faith in all doctrine, but a merely an acceptance of Christ as Lord and Savior with some basic beliefs surrounding Christianity. There’s no definition as to what constitutes what beliefs are necessary. However, if there was a denial of hell, Christ’s divinity, or Trinity, you may not be considered by these particular Protestants as Christians united to Christ.

Vatican 2 redefined the nature of the Church by promulgating this Protestant understanding. The Vatican 2 religion through its popes promote this Protestant understanding in decrees, letters, addresses, and other documents, such as the Balamand Statement and the Joint Declaration with Lutherans.

In Lumen Gentium, Vatican 2 declared:

     “This is the one Church of Christ which in the Creed is professed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic…”

According to same Vatican 2 religion, this Church of Christ is also formally divided and not unified in faith.

In Unitatis Redintegratio, Vatican 2 declared:

     4. “Nevertheless, the divisions among Christians prevent the Church from realizing in practice the fullness of Catholicity proper to her, in those of her sons and daughters who, though attached to her by baptism, are yet separated from full communion with her.  Furthermore, the Church herself finds it more difficult to express in actual life her full Catholicity in all its bearings.”

This statement makes no sense unless Vatican 2 is saying the Eastern Orthodox and Protestants and their false religions make up the Church of Christ. However, the Vatican 2 popes have removed all doubt that this, indeed, is what Vatican 2 means:

In 1972, Paul VI addressed the newly elected Patriarch of Constantinople a telegram saying: “At the moment when you assume a heavy charge in the service of the Church of Christ…” (L’Osservatore Romano, July 27, 1972, p. 12)

In a 2006 Joint Declaration with the Eastern Orthodox, Benedict XVI referred to Patriarch Bartholomew and himself “as Pastors in the Church of Christ.” (www.zenit.org, Zenit news report, Nov. 30, 2006)

The following year in the Common Declaration with the Eastern Orthodox, Benedict XVI referred to Archbishop Chrysostomos II and himself “as Pastors in the Church.”

That same year Benedict XVI’s told the Eastern Orthodox Romanian Patriarchate: “I also wish to express my earnest good wishes for you and your brother Bishops as you guide the Church in this time of transition.”

In a Jan. 22, 2013 L’Osservatore Romano article titled: The divisions among Christians disfigure the face of the Church, it was written that Benedict XVI said, “One of the gravest sins ‘that disfigure the Church’s face’ is the sin ‘against her visible unity’.”

On May 25, 1995, John Paul II, in Ut Unum Sint, n. 59, approved the 1993 Balamand declaration, which declared:

     14. It is in this perspective that the Catholic Churches and the Orthodox Churches recognize each other as Sister Churches, responsible together for maintaining the Church of God in fidelity to the divine purpose, most especially in what concerns unity. According to the words of Pope John Paul II, the ecumenical endeavour of the Sister Churches of East and West, grounded in dialogue and prayer, is the search for perfect and total communion which is neither absorption nor fusion but a meeting in truth and love (cf. Slavorum Apostoli, n. 27).

According to this statement, the visible Church of God is divided and the Eastern Orthodox churches form the one Church of God.

The Nov. 1, 1999 Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification  by the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church states:

     44. We give thanks to the Lord for this decisive step forward on the way to overcoming the division of the church. We ask the Holy Spirit to lead us further toward that visible unity which is Christ’s will.

Again, we see the rejection of the dogma on the visible unity of the Church and the heresy that Lutherans are part of the Body of Christ the Church. John Paul II approved and blessed the Joint Declaration.

The Vatican 2 religion and popes hold the Protestant-style oneness doctrine opposed to the Catholic definition.

The Catholic doctrine of oneness is so foundational, deviation from it amounts to an avalanche of heresies. The Trinity is one, Christ is one with His Body, and the Church must be one in faith. If it were divided in faith, Christ would be divided with truth, Christ’s prayer for unity would be a failure, the true Church couldn’t be identified because it would not truly exist, the Catholic definition would be false, Scripture and particular I Tim. 3:15 would be a lie, thus making the gates of hell the prevailer of the Church and ultimately proving Christianity a false religion.

The Church is one in faith or else Christ is not Lord.

What I find astounding is how pseudo-traditionalist “Catholics” hold to the same heretical principle of oneness as Vatican 2 and Protestantism. They claim to hold the oneness dogma, while outwardly being divided in faith with Vatican 2 and their pope. What blindness! 

For further reading see That They May Be One (Ut Unum Sint) 

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Protestantism originated with ex-Catholic monk Martin Luther, who protested against Catholicism. He didn’t completely reject all the doctrines of Catholicism, but he did reject some of them.

Protestantism rapidly expanded into splinter groups and has since moved much further left in doctrine and practice than when Luther first broke away. It eventually led to the French Revolution to the Bolshevik Revolution. Its final end is Antichrist and the worship of self. Man becomes the final arbiter of truth.

Pope Pius XI declared on Jan. 26, 1923:

Like those brilliant examples of Christian perfection and wisdom to whom We have just referred, he seemed to have been sent especially by God to contend against the heresies begotten by the Reformation. It is in these heresies that we discover the beginnings of that apostasy of mankind from the Church, the sad and disastrous effects of which are deplored, even to the present hour, by every fair mind. (Rerum Omnium Perturbationem – St. Francis De Sales)

If Protestantism is the beginning of the great apostasy foretold in Scripture, then the culmination of it is the Vatican praising, promoting, and promulgating Protestantism, which has ultimately led the Vatican into supporting Communism, Earth Worship, and Satanism.

When we Catholics denounce the Vatican 2 popes and religion as being not Catholic, we get accused of being Protestant by those of the Vatican 2 religion that support Protestantism and its disastrous effects.

The following 35 bullet points are a small example of the Protestantism in the Vatican 2 religion.

THE PRAISING OF PROTESTANTISM AND ITS FOUNDER

1. The Vatican’s Veneration of Arch-Heretic Martin Luther with a statue of him in the Vatican. [1] 

2. The Vatican released a stamp in honor of Martin Luther on the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Revolt on Oct. 31, 2017. [2]

3. In 1983, John Paul II went to the Lutheran church in Rome for the 500th anniversary of Luther’s birth in his honor. [3]

4. On March 14, 2010, in the same Lutheran church in Rome, Benedict XVI preached on the anniversary of the joint declaration on justification with Luther’s heresy. [4]

5. On September 23, 2011, Benedict XVI presented Martin Luther as model for Catholics when he met with the Lutheran council in Erfurt, Germany, celebrated an ecumenical service in the chapel of the Lutheran monastery of St. Augustine, bowed towards their empty altar, and prayed alongside a woman bishop. [5]

6. Vatican claims Catholics can now recognize Martin Luther as a “Witness to the Gospel.” [6]

7. Francis celebrated the Protestant Revolt with the Lutherans in Sweden in 2016. [7]

8. My local priest told us that when he was in the novus ordo seminary, there was talk about canonizing Martin Luther. Tradition in Action asked the question: Will Luther Be the Next Canonized Saint? by Atila Sinke Guimaraes (traditioninaction.org)

THE PROMOTION OF PROTESTANT WORSHIP AND IMITATING IT

9. The Novus Ordo Missae (new mass) promulgated by Paul VI was concocted by 6 Protestants, which resembles both Luther’s and Cramner’s services. [8] Paul VI publicly thanked them for their assistance in re-editing in a new manner liturgical texts … so that the lex orandi (the law of prayer) conformed better with the lex credendi (the law of belief). [9]

10. In the Novus Ordo Missae, as in the Lutheran service, the words of Consecration – the very heart of the Traditional Rite – are now part of what is called the “Institution Narrative,” an expression not found in the traditional Missals of the Church. This change makes the priest a narrator rather than another Christ who acts “in the Person of Christ” when consecrating the bread and wine for a valid Eucharist.

11. In the new rite of Holy Orders, which is the sacrament of the priesthood, Paul VI changed the form to mirror the invalid Anglican orders. Thus the new rite of Paul VI is at best a doubtful sacrament making novus ordo bishops and priests doubtful. [10]

12. John Paul II allowed the creation of the Anglican Use form of the Latin Rite, which incorporates the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. 

13. On October 4, 2003 at the Vatican, John Paul II kisses the hand of Rowan Williams (traditioninaction.org) head of the Anglican sect and recognizing the fake bishop and apostate religion.

14. We see the John Paul II, Bendict XVI, and Francis promoting Protestant worship and other false religious worship in THE DIABOLICAL ASSISI EVENTS.

15. Benedict XVI declared: “It is our fervent hope that the Anglican Communion will remain grounded in the Gospels and the Apostolic Tradition which form our common patrimony… The world needs our witness… May the Lord continue to bless you and your family, and may he strengthen you in your ministry to the Anglican Communion!” (L’Osservatore Romano, Nov. 29, 2006, p. 6, Benedict XVI, Address to Anglican “Archbishop of Canterbury,” on Nov. 23, 2006)

16. When addressing Protestants at World Youth Day, on August 19, 2005, Benedict XVI stated: “And we now ask: What does it mean to restore the unity of all Christians?… this unity does not mean what could be called ecumenism of the return: that is, to deny and to reject one’s own faith history. Absolutely not!” (L’Osservatore Romano, August 24, 2005, p. 8)

17. “It means that the Catholic does not insist on the dissolution of the Protestant confessions and the demolishing of their churches but hopes, rather, that they will be strengthened in their confessions and in their ecclesial reality.” (Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology, 1982, p. 202)

18. When the Pastor couldn’t make it: Francis reveals he once led a Lutheran Service

19. “Pope” Francis says he used to Preach at Presbyterian Church in Buenos Aires

20. Francis’ Double Standard: Traditional Latin Mass forbidden, Anglican Service is fine

21. Profanation in Rome: Anglican Liturgy celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica

22. Francis: Lutherans are “Members of one and the same Mystical Body of Christ” as Catholics

23 More “Papal” Heresy: Francis the Lutheran denies Catholic Dogma on Merit

24. Francis: “I like the Lutherans who follow the True Faith of Jesus Christ”

25. On May 9, 2015, at the Vatican, Francis receives a blessing from about 100 Protestant Pentecostal ministers from around the world. [11]

26. Francis Receives “Blessing” from Archlayman of Canterbury

THE PROMULGATION OF PROTESTANT HERESIES AS CATHOLIC DOCTRINE

27. Benedict XVI professed a Protestant understanding of the atonement in his book “Jesus of Nazereth” who quotes a majority of Protestant theologians as supporting cast. [12]

28. Francis drops another Heresy Bomb: “Friendship with Jesus cannot be broken”

29. “My Brother Bishop” — Francis Greets Anglican-Pentecostal Heretic

30. Invalid Resignation or Invalid Election? Benedict XVI’s Denial of the Dogma of Papal Primacy

31. The Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches

32. Francis denounces Apologetics, Seeking Conversion of Protestants

33. On religious liberty, Vatican 2 declared: “The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself. (2) This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.” Yet, in the Bull Exsurge Domine, June 15, 1520 by Pope Leo X, #33, condemned Luther for saying that it’s against the Spirit to burn a heretic. Vatican 2 actually sides with Luther against Pope Leo X’s condemnation. It would be against the Spirit to burn a heretic if man has a God-given civil right to religious liberty because of the dignity of the human person. The last 2 Catholic constitutions left in the world were dissolved after Vatican 2’s declaration. [13]

34. On the four marks of the Church, Vatican 2 redefined the nature of the Church and declared the Protestant understanding of One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. [14]

35. The Vatican declared that Protestant religions, such as Lutheranism, make up the Church of Christ. Thus, Protestantism makes up the Ark of Salvation. [15]

 

Footnotes

[1] The Vatican’s Veneration of Arch-Heretic Martin Luther

[2] Vatican releases Postage Stamp honoring Martin Luther – Novus Ordo Watch

[3] Luther: No, Absolutely No – Plinio Correa de Oliveira (traditioninaction.org)

POPE PRAISES LUTHER IN AN APPEAL FOR UNITY ON PROTEST ANNIVERSARY – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

[4] Benedict XVI at the Evangelical Lutheran church in Rome (traditioninaction.org)

[5] In Erfurt Benedict presents Luther as a model for Catholics (traditioninaction.org)

[6] Vatican: Catholics can now recognize Martin Luther as a “Witness to the Gospel” – Novus Ordo Watch

[7] Francis celebrates Reformation with Lutherans in Sweden: Full Coverage – Novus Ordo Watch

[8] Pope Paul VI poses with the six Protestants who helped to write the Novus Ordo Mass – New Mass @ TraditionInAction.org

[9] (Fr. Rama Coomaraswamy, The Problems with the New Mass, TAN Books p. 24)

[10] Why Catholics Can’t Accept the New Rite of Holy Orders for Priests and Bishops

[11] Pope receives ‘blessing’ from Protestants ministers (traditioninaction.org)

[12] Dr. Robert Sungenis’ Recent Review of Benedict XVI’s “Jesus of Nazareth” | Speray’s Catholicism in a Nutshell (wordpress.com)

[13] Religious Liberty and the Dignity of the Human Person

[14] Why Sedevacantism? And Missing the Marks: The Church of Vatican 2

[15] That They May Be One (Ut Unum Sint)

 

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It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins (II Maccabees 12:46).

This verse tells us that sins can be forgiven after death by the intercession of prayers of those who still live.

St. Paul through the Holy Ghost tells us in the Apocalypse the defiled will not enter Heaven. [1] Yet, all good men are defiled in someway. There may be an attachment to sin even through ignorance and the punishment due to forgiven mortal sin. Men don’t always repair and make restitutions for their sins, which is a type of defilement. Therefore, a place of purgation and purification must exist in order that God’s justice and mercy apply perfectly and completely. How this works is explained in St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians.

9 For we are God’s coadjutors: you are God’s husbandry; you are God’s building.

10 According to the grace of God that is given to me, as a wise architect, I have laid the foundation; and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid; which is Christ Jesus. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble: 13 Every man’s work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work burn, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire. 16 Know you not, that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

17 But if any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which you are (I Cor. 3:9-17).

The “day of the Lord” is Judgment Day. The temple is man. Gold, silver, and precious stones represents good works deserving of a reward (Heaven). Wood, hay, and stubble represents venial sins, which gets burned up (Purgatory). Violating the temple is mortal sin and those that do so will be destroyed (Hell).

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 and this is what St. Paul describes.

Lastly, Jesus implicitely tells that Purgatory exists:

“And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come (Matt. 12:32).”

Fr. Leo Haydock writes in his Bible commentary that St. Augustine (De Civ. 1.xxi. c. 13) and Pope St. Gregory the Great (Dial. Iv, c. 39) understood the passage to refer to Purgatory. St. Augustine said this passage would not be true, if some sins were not forgiven in the world to come; and St. Gregory says, we are to believe from these words in the existence of the fire of purgatory, to expiate our smaller offenses, before the day of judgment. St. Isidore and Ven. Bede say the same. St. Bernard, speaking of heretics, says they do not believe in purgatory; let them then inquire of our Savior, what he meant by these words.” [2]

Fr. Cornelius à Lapide S.J. writes in his commentary, “S. Aug. (21 Civit. 24), S. Greg. (4 dialog. 39), Isidore, Bede, S. Bern., and others, quoted by Bellarmine (Lib. 2. de Purgat. sec. 4), prove from this passage, that there is a Purgatory after this life. For it would be unmeaning to say, shall not be forgiven nor in the world to come, if there were no remission of sins in the world to come. Thus a person would speak vainly who said, I will never marry a wife, neither in this world, nor in the world to come, since no wife can be married in the world to come. Mark adds, and gives greater force to the saying: but shall be guilty of eternal damnation. Moreover mortal sins are expiated in Purgatory, so far only as pertains to their punishment, but venial sins as regards both fault and punishment.” [3]

In the past, I’ve answered certain objections to Purgatory, [4] but the bottom line is that the Church is the pillar and ground for the truth (I Tim. 3:15) and the Church from its beginning has believed in Purgatory. We clearly see it in the Holy Bible. According to Apostolic traditions, liturgies were offered for the poor souls in Purgatory. We also see prayers offered for the dead in the catacombs.

The 3rd century heretics known as the Apostolici (a sect of Encratites) denied Purgatory, but could not have done so if the universal belief didn’t already exist.

Later heretics such as the Cathars (Waldenses) of the 12th century denied the existence of Purgatory. Some of the Eastern Orthodox (Greek and Russian) denied it after the “Orthodox Confession of Petrus Mogilas” was drawn up around 1640 AD. The Protestants denied it in the 16th century. The fact that they all denied Purgatory demonstrates that it existed before they existed.

The 2nd Council of Lyons (1274), Pope Benedict XII, in the dogmatic constitution “Benedietus Deus” (1336), Council of Florence (1439), and the Council of Trent (1563) defined Purgatory from a universal belief to a dogma of the Catholic Faith. [5]

God has spoken and His Church, the Pillar and Ground for the truth has spoken. Purgatory is real!

 

Footnotes:

[1] There shall not enter into it any thing defiled, or that worketh abomination or maketh a lie, but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb (Apoc. 21:27).

[2] The Haydock Bible

[3] CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Cornelius Cornelii a Lapide (newadvent.org)

[4] OBJECTIONS TO PURGATORY ANSWERED IN A NUTSHELL

[5] Benedictus Deus (On the Beatific Vision of God) | EWTN

~The Council of Trent – Session 25~

 

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Paul VI presiding over the introductory ingress of the Council, flanked by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani (left), Cardinal Camerlengo Benedetto Aloisi Masella and Monsignor Enrico Dante (future Cardinal), Papal Master of Ceremonies (right), and two Papal gentlemen.

 

The Second Vatican Council declared in Lumen Gentium ch2, “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.”

The council continued in Unitatis Redintegratio: 3. Even in the beginnings of this one and only Church of God there arose certain rifts, (19) which the Apostle strongly condemned. (20) But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions made their appearance and quite large communities came to be separated from full communion with the Catholic Church – for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame. The children who are born into these Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection. For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect. The differences that exist in varying degrees between them and the Catholic Church – whether in doctrine and sometimes in discipline, or concerning the structure of the Church – do indeed create many obstacles, sometimes serious ones, to full ecclesiastical communion. The ecumenical movement is striving to overcome these obstacles. But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ’s body, (21) and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church. (22)”

This last sentence is false on several levels and sounds much like the fundamental heresy of the Protestant Revolt of the 16th century, once saved, always saved.

Being justified in baptism does not mean one automatically remains justified, nor does it mean one will always remain a member of Christ’s body. Even Scripture tells us so.

“If any one abide not in me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth  (John 15: 6).”

To be cast off as a branch, one must first be a member of the tree. This verse implies that a member of Christ can be cut off from Christ. 

“See then the goodness and the severity of God: towards them indeed that are fallen, the severity; but towards thee, the goodness of God, if thou abide in goodness, otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again (Rom 11: 22).”

The context is in believing. Has every baptized individual remained believing in our day?  None has fallen away and been cut off? That’s the implication of Vatican 2.

The next problem with Vatican 2’s declaration that “all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ’s body, and have a right to be called Christian” is the fact that if it were true, then no one, not even the Church, would have a right to call such persons heretics, schismatics, or apostates. They could only be called Christians in error or separated brethren.

The Vatican 2 religion is quite aware of this, because you might find the word heresy, schism, or apostasy in their language, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find them officially calling someone a heretic, schismatic, or apostate. If you did, it would only show their hypocrisy and/or ignorance of their own teaching.

Even the Vatican 2 saint Faustina claimed that Jesus identified Protestants as heretics and Eastern Orthodox as Schismatics. In St. Faustina’s Diary, she records Our Lord’s words in 1937, long before Vatican II, for the fifth day of the Divine Mercy Novena: “Today, bring to Me the souls of heretics and schismatics and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy.”

However, the Vatican 2 religion’s Official Novena for Congregational use declared:

It was decided to adopt the designation “separated brethren” in place of heretics and schismatics because of Vatican II’s unambiguous designation concerning the relationship of Christians not in communion with the Apostolic See of Rome in the Body of Christ. The continuous and consistent use of that designation by every Pope since the Council reaffirms that decision.

However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation, those who at present are born into these communities, and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers.For men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in some, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church.,span>

Apparently, the Vatican 2 religion didn’t think Our Lord knew how improper it was to call baptized non-Catholics heretics and schismatics, since they have a right to be called Christian.

True popes have been abundantly clear that only Catholics are Christians.

Pope Pius XII declared: “To be Christian one must be Roman. One must recognize the oneness of Christ’s Church that is governed by one successor of the Prince of the Apostles who is the Bishop of Rome, Christ’s Vicar on earth” (Allocution to the Irish pilgrims of October 8, 1957).

Pope Leo XIII declared in Satis Cognitum, “5 So the Christian is a Catholic as long as he lives in the body: cut off from it he becomes a hereticthe life of the spirit follows not the amputated member.”

The implication of the Vatican 2 teaching is that the Church was guilty of prohibiting a God-given right of certain individuals to be called Christian, which necessarily means the Church was evil. It also means the Church has been wrong for years.

Vatican 2 is good at accusing the Catholic Church of being evil for prohibiting God-given rights to individuals. It also taught in Dignitatis Humanae that men have a God-given civil right to give witness to their faith publicly in speech and writing without hindrance. [1]

Again, the implication is that the Church was guilty of prohibiting this right to Muslims at the Council of Vienne in 1312. [2] It also means that Martin Luther was right “That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit” which was condemned by in Bull Exsurge Domine, June 15, 1520 by Pope Leo X. Not only would it be against the will of the Spirit to burn them, but to call them heretics to begin with. All have a right to be called Christian.

To follow Vatican 2 is to reject the Catholic Faith as it was believed before the council. In other words, Vatican 2 is taking its queues from the Protestant Revolt with its own revolution. The Church was wrong and we’re going to set it right.

So the next time a pseudo-Catholic calls you a heretic, tell them their magisterium tells you we have a right to be called Christian. Get with your program or get out of your religion.

Footnotes

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

[2] Pope Clement V, Council of Vienne, 1311-1312: “It is an insult to the holy nameand 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 maje sty.  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.”

 

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Many Protestants believe in a once-saved-always-saved doctrine. They believe a true Christian can never lose his salvation. They will point to verses such as Heb. 10:14:

For by one oblation he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Rom: 8:38-39:

For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor might, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

and John 10:28:

And I give them life everlasting; and they shall not perish for ever, and no man shall pluck them out of my hand.

We can answer the Hebrews quote by saying that the sacrifice of Christ does prefect forever those that are sanctified provided we never sin again. Each time we sin, we turn to Christ and His sacrifice, which once again perfects us forever unless we sin again. A few verses later, we are told that Christians can lose salvation.

We answer the Romans quote by noting that it’s true that no one and no thing can make us cease or even hinder our love for Christ. However, we can choose by our own free will to stop loving Christ. God doesn’t make us love Him.

We answer the St. John quote by noting that God is speaking about His elect of whom only He knows. We don’t know who belongs in the group. I’m sure many damned individuals believed themselves to be part of the elect. Even St. Paul was not sure for he told us in I Cor. 9:27:

But I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway.

These proof-text Bible verses do not support eternal security for all Christians. The fact remains that true Christians can lose their salvation as the Bible clearly tells us.

He who endures to the end will be saved. (Matt. 24:13, Mark 13:13, James 1:12, Matt. 10:22)

We must endure to the end or else we will not be saved.

John 15: 6:

If any one abide not in me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth.

To be cast off as a branch, one must first be a member of the tree. This verse implies that a member of Christ can be cut off to be burned.

Rom 11: 22-23:

See then the goodness and the severity of God: towards them indeed that are fallen, the severity; but towards thee, the goodness of God, if thou abide in goodness, otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.

Again, to be cut off implies that one was a member first. Thus, salvation can be lost.

I Cor. 6: 9-11:

Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, Nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God. And such some of you were; but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of our God.

St. Paul is warning those who have been sanctified and justified that they could be deceived and go back to their old ways for such people will not be saved. Period!

I Cor. 15: 1-2:

Now I make known unto you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand; By which also you are saved, if you hold fast after what manner I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain.

St. Paul qualifies his teaching with an “if” or else.

Heb. 3:12-14:

Take heed, brethren, lest perhaps there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, to depart from the living God. But exhort one another every day, whilst it is called to day, that none of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ: yet so, if we hold the beginning of his substance firm unto the end.

This is another warning to those in Christ that they could possibly lose their salvation.

Heb. 6:4-6:

For it is impossible for those who were once illuminated, have tasted also the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, Have moreover tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, And are fallen away: to be renewed again to penance, crucifying again to themselves the Son of God, and making him a mockery.

Only a Christian can be made a partaker of the Holy Ghost. He can lose his salvation.

Heb. 10:26-29:

For if we sin wilfully after having the knowledge of the truth, there is now left no sacrifice for sins But a certain dreadful expectation of judgment, and the rage of a fire which shall consume the adversaries. A man making void the law of Moses, dieth without any mercy under two or three witnesses: How much more, do you think he deserveth worse punishments, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath esteemed the blood of the testament unclean, by which he was sanctified, and hath offered an affront to the Spirit of grace?

II Peter 2:20-21:

For if, flying from the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they be again entangled in them and overcome: their latter state is become unto them worse than the former. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of justice, than after they have known it, to turn back from that holy commandment which was delivered to them.

These two verses are echoing each other. It’s better to never be a Christian than to stop being Christian.

 

 

 

 

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Sola Scriptura (by Scripture Alone) is the Protestant doctrine, by which the Protestant religions were founded and by which they stand or fall. It means:

     a. The Scriptures alone are the supreme and sufficient authority in all spiritual matters.

     b. All truth necessary for salvation and spiritual life is taught either explicitly or implicitly in Scripture.

     c. The Word of God is found in the Scriptures alone.

     d. The Scriptures are the final interpreter of Scripture.

     e. The Scriptures alone are infallible.

Problems with Sola Scriptura

     a. It’s not historical. The doctrine of Sola Scriptura is not found in Christian history prior to the Reformation. Not a single Church father can be used to justify its existence.

     b. It’s not biblical. Bible verses used to defend Sola Scriptura don’t work, nor can they work for 2 reasons: (A.) For as soon as a Bible verse is used to defend Scripture alone, the Scriptures that were written afterwards would necessarily be negated. (B.) The Bible itself rejects the notion of Scripture alone (as shown in the next section).

     c. It’s a man-made tradition that nullifies the Word of God (Mark 7:13), because the Word of God is found in both written and oral form, not written alone (II Thess. 2:14).  The Scriptures provide information that the Church makes the final decisions, not each individual (I Tim. 3:15, Matt. 18:17-18, Titus 2:15, Matt. 16:18).

     d. It has no foundation. There is no inspired table of contents. Therefore, no authority could definitively provide a Canon of Scripture. An infallible collection of infallible books is impossible without an infallible authority outside of Scripture. Sola Scriptura-ists must hold that the Bible is a fallible collection of books necessarily leaving no absolute assurance that the Bible is God’s Word. A sure belief in the Bible is essentially groundless.

     e. It’s self-refuting because it’s not really Sola Scriptura. The quantifying state of sola is one and only. However, the final authority comes down to each individual interpreting Scripture and what Scripture interprets what Scripture. Therefore, it’s the Scriptures and the person’s best guess, which has the supreme authority, not the Scriptures alone.

     f. It’s impractical. Sola Scriptura is a recipe for a divided body of believers, not a unified body of believers as Christ intended (Eph. 4:3-5).

Bible Verses Used to Defend Sola Scriptura and the Catholic Response

     2 Tim. 3:16-17: “All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.”

This verse concerns the qualitative aspect of Scripture, not the quantitative aspect of Scripture. Sola Scriptura is about the quantitative aspect, hence the numerical sola or one and only. Since the New Testament wasn’t formed at that time, St. Paul was specifically referring to the Old Testament. We could easily fill in the words “All scripture” with “The Torah” or “The Gospel of Matthew” or any specific book in the Bible and the teaching by St. Paul would still be true, because each book in the bible is inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work. In fact, the Greek word “All” in verse 16 means “Every.” 2 Tim. 3:16-17 doesn’t support the doctrine of Sola Scriptura whatsoever.

     1 Cor. 4:6: “But these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollo, for your sakes; that in us you may learn, that one be not puffed up against the other for another, above that which is written.”

Cornelius a Lapide explained this verse in his biblical commentary 400 years ago: Ver. 6.—And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself, &c. “Above that which is written” may refer (1.) to ch. i. 2, 3;  or (2.) with S. Chrysostom it may mean “contrary to that which is written” in Holy Scripture against pride. It is foolish, therefore, for the Protestants to abuse this passage into an argument against tradition.  S. Paul evidently means that what he had said against their idle boasting of the gifts of their teachers, and about not caring for the applause and opinion of men, but only for God’s, had been said of them in the person of himself and Apollos. He had been speaking of others in his own name, so as to avoid offending any of the Corinthian teachers, or their disciples, by mentioning their names. That ye might learn in us, therefore, is the expression of his desire, that when he speaks of himself or Apollos, they may apply what he said to the other teachers, who had been the occasion of the schism, of which he and Apollos were guiltless. He urges the Corinthians by his own example of moderation and conciliatory disposition not to be puffed up, or boast of one against another, viz., for this or that catechist or teacher, by saying, “I was baptized by Paul; I was converted by Apollos.” It is, too, an exhortation to the teachers not to be proud and puffed up because they might be wiser or more eloquent than other teachers, or boast of their disciples as being better instructed than those of other teachers, above that which he had just now written. For in what follows he is reproving the teachers rather than disciples; but he does it in a mild way and under another name, the teachers, I mean, who has been the chief cause of the empty contention and divisions among his Corinthian disciples. This will be seen by reference to ch. v. 15, 18, 19, and also ch. iii. 10, as well as to the whole of ch. xi. of the Second Epistle. For the false teachers whom he here speaks of mildly, because they had not yet disclosed their true nature, are the same apparently as those that in 2 Cor. xi. he speaks more severely of as imposters, and guilty of Judaising, and teaching false doctrine. Hence, as Chrysostom, Theophylact, and Œcumenius point put, S. Paul first censures the teachers in the words, “that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written,” i.e., that you, teachers, might learn from me and Apollos that you are, as I said before, merely stewards of God. Then he proceeds to rebuke the disciples in the words, “that no one of you be puffed up for one against another,” i.e., that no disciple boast of his teacher as wiser or more eloquent than another.  S. Paul, then, while he seems to continue his address to the Corinthians, is in them and through them reproving their teachers. Just so a tutor endowed with tact and judgment will, when he wishes to chide a king’s sons, chide their servants, as if they were guilty, that so the princes may take it to themselves.

     Rev. 22:18-19: “To all who hear the words of prophecy this book contains, I give this warning. If anyone adds to them, God will add to his punishment the plagues which this book threatens; and if anyone cancels a word in this book of prophecy, God will cancel his share in the book of life, in the holy city, in all that this book promises.”

“This book” is referring to the Book of Revelation only. It’s not referring to the Bible, since the Bible is the collection of Books that constitute the Word of God, hence the name “bible” which means book of books. Even if this verse in Revelation meant the whole Bible, what would have constituted the whole Bible when St. John wrote Revelation? It wasn’t until the Fourth century, when Catholic Bishop St. Athanasius was the first person ever to acknowledge the 27 books of the New Testament as we have it today. For centuries, the Church was unclear as to what precisely constituted the Word of God in Holy Writ. The Bible was first given by the authority of the Catholic Church affirming the Canon of Scripture in 380 AD at the synod of Rome. There was no Bible when St. John wrote Revelation.

Bible Verses that Torpedo Sola Scriptura

II Thess. 2:14: “Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.”

The Word of God is passed down in both written and oral form. To hold fast only to that what is written to the exclusion of what is passed down orally is a tradition of men that nullifies the Word of God. Mark 7:13: “Making void the word of God by your own tradition, which you have given forth. And many other such like things you do.”

Matt. 28:20: “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” Rom. 10:17: “Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ.” And John 21:25: “But there are also many other things which Jesus did; which, if they were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written.”

Luke 10:16: He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me.”

I Thess. 2:13: “Therefore, we also give thanks to God without ceasing: because, that when you had received of us the word of the hearing of God, you received it not as the word of men, but (as it is indeed) the word of God, who worketh in you that have believed.”

II Thess. 3:6: “And we charge you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother walking disorderly, and not according to the tradition which they have received of us.”

II John 12: Having more things to write unto you, I would not by paper and ink: for I hope that I shall be with you, and speak face to face: that your joy may be full.”

II Tim. 2:2: “And the things which thou hast heard of me by many witnesses, the same commend to faithful men, who shall be fit to teach others also.”

John 16:13: “But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you.”

 

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The subject of whether Protestants and Orthodox are Christians and their religions are part of the Church of Christ comes up frequently on “Catholic” Relevant Radio, youtube, etc.

According to the religion of Vatican 2, which falls in line with  some Protestants, membership in the Church includes all who are baptized and profess Christ while rejecting dogmas of the Catholic Church.

The Vatican 2 religion has gone out of its way to say that the Eastern Orthodox religion is part of the one Church of Christ in the Balamand statement. [1] It also implied that the Lutheran churches are part of the Church of Christ. [2]

Vatican 2 apologists such as Msgr. Stuart W. Swetland, S.T.D., and Patrick Madrid don’t hesitate for a second to say that the Church has never changed a doctrine while in the same breath saying Protestants and Orthodox are Christians but without the fullness of truth.

To the contrary, the great Pope Leo XIII reiterated in Satis Cognitum what the Church has always taught and practiced. Below are the relevant parts.

“4 Jesus Christ did not, in point of fact, institute a Church to embrace several communities similar in nature, but in themselves distinct, and lacking those bonds which render the Church unique and indivisible after that manner in which in the symbol of our faith we profess: ‘I believe in one Church.’ ‘The Church in respect of its unity belongs to the category of things indivisible by nature, though heretics try to divide it into many parts… And so dispersed members, separated one from the other, cannot be united with one and the same head. ‘There is one God, and one Christ; and His Church is one and the faith is one; and one the people, joined together in the solid unity of the body in the bond of concord. This unity cannot be broken, nor the one body divided by the separation of its constituent parts’….

5 So the Christian is a Catholic as long as he lives in the body: cut off from it he becomes a hereticthe life of the spirit follows not the amputated member.

9 The Church, founded on these principles and mindful of her office, has done nothing with greater zeal and endeavour than she has displayed in guarding the integrity of the faith. Hence she regarded as rebels and expelled from the ranks of her children all who held beliefs on any point of doctrine different from her own. The Arians, the Montanists, the Novatians, the Quartodecimans, the Eutychians, did not certainly reject all Catholic doctrine: they abandoned only a tertian portion of it. Still who does not know that they were declared heretics and banished from the bosom of the Church? In like manner were condemned all authors of heretical tenets who followed them in subsequent ages. “There can be nothing more dangerous than those heretics who admit nearly the whole cycle of doctrine, and yet by one word, as with a drop of poison, infect the real and simple faith taught by our Lord and handed down by Apostolic tradition” (Auctor Tract. de Fide Orthodoxa contra Arianos)….

The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium….

St. Augustine notes that other heresies may spring up, to a single one of which, should any one give his assent, he is by the very fact cut off from Catholic unity. “No one who merely disbelieves in all (these heresies) can for that reason regard himself as a Catholic or call himself one. For there may be or may arise some other heresies, which are not set out in this work of ours, and, if any one holds to one single one of these he is not a Catholic” (S. Augustinus, De Haeresibus, n. 88)…

And as souls cannot be perfectly united in charity unless minds agree in faith, he wishes all to hold the same faith: “One Lord, one faith,” and this so perfectly one as to prevent all danger of error: “that henceforth we be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the wickedness of men, by cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. iv., 14): and this he teaches is to be observed, not for a time only – “but until we all meet in the unity of faith…unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ” (13). But, in what has Christ placed the primary principle, and the means of preserving this unity? In that – “He gave some Apostles – and other some pastors and doctors, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (11-12). …

In this wise, all cause for doubting being removed, can it be lawful for anyone to reject any one of those truths without by the very fact falling into heresy? without separating himself from the Church? – without repudiating in one sweeping act the whole of Christian teaching? For such is the nature of faith that nothing can be more absurd than to accept some things and reject others…

Pope Pius XI continued with the subject and declared in Mortalium animos:

11. Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors.

For since the mystical body of Christ, in the same manner as His physical body, is one, compacted and fitly joined together, it were foolish and out of place to say that the mystical body is made up of members which are disunited and scattered abroad: whosoever therefore is not united with the body is no member of it, neither is he in communion with Christ its head.

Since the Second Vatican Council, Rome now calls heretics and schismatics Christians or separated brethren, and even denies that they are heretics and schismatics.

For instance, Vatican II states:

The children who are born into these Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection…. But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ’s body, and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.” (Second Vatican Council, Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, Chapter 1, para. 3)

Children born and raised in false churches would be accused of the sin of separation if they come to know or should know better and remain separated. We don’t presume that everybody remains invincibly ignorant. Regardless, only God can read hearts. We don’t presume to know if one is truly guilty or innocent. To say they all “are members of Christ’s body, and have a right to be called Christian” is a reversal in Church teaching.

We demonstrated that Pope Leo XIII taught exactly the opposite in Satis Cognitum.

Pope Pius XII declared:To be Christian one must be Roman. One must recognize the oneness of Christ’s Church that is governed by one successor of the Prince of the Apostles who is the Bishop of Rome, Christ’s Vicar on earth” (Allocution to the Irish pilgrims of October 8, 1957).

The terms heretics and schismatics are canonical and doctrinal Catholic terminology referring to the baptized some of whom were justified by faith at one time. Non-baptized persons aren’t called heretics and schismatics, but rather infidels, heathens, pagans, etc. We have long standing and official Catholic terminology which the Vatican 2 religion deems inappropriate, inaccurate, and counterfactual.

We might call heretics “Christians” in conventional language, but to claim they have a “right” to the Christian name would make calling them heretics and schismatics wrong and hateful. Yet, Popes have called Protestants and Orthodox heretics in official documents. Just a few examples include Pope Benedict XIV in Ex Quo (On the Euchologion – 1756), Pope Pius VI in Charitas (In the Civil Oath in France – 1791), Pope Gregory XVI in Summo Iugiter Studio (On Mixed Marriages – 1832) and Probe Nostis (On the Propogation of the Faith – 1840), and Pope Pius IX in Omnem Sollicitudinem (On the Greek-Ruthenian Rite – 1874). Pope Leo XIII used it the most in several documents.

Pope Leo XIII also declared in Satis Cognitum: “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.”

 

Footnotes:

[1] The 1993 Balamand Statement approved by John Paul II on May 25, 1995, in Ut Unum Sint, n. 59, declared:

  1. In fact, especially since the panorthodox Conferences and the Second Vatican Council, the re- discovery and the giving again of proper value to the Church as communion, both on the part of Orthodox and of Catholics, has radically altered perspectives and thus attitudes. On each side it is recognized that what Christ has entrusted to his Church – profession of apostolic faith, participation in the same sacraments, above all the one priesthood celebrating the one sacrifice of Christ, the apostolic succession of bishops – cannot be considered the exclusive property of one of our Churches.
  2. It is in this perspective that the Catholic Churches and the Orthodox Churches recognize each other as Sister Churches, responsible together for maintaining the Church of God in fidelity to the divine purpose, most especially in what concerns unity. According to the words of Pope John Paul II, the ecumenical endeavour of the Sister Churches of East and West, grounded in dialogue and prayer, is the search for perfect and total communion which is neither absorption nor fusion but a meeting in truth and love (cf. Slavorum Apostoli, n. 27).

[2]  JOINT DECLARATION ON THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION

by the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church Nov. 1, 1999

  1. We give thanks to the Lord for this decisive step forward on the way to overcoming the division of the church. We ask the Holy Spirit to lead us further toward that visible unity which is Christ’s will.

John Paul II approved and blessed the Joint Declaration as seen below.

PRESENTATION OF THE JOINT STATEMENT

Edward Cardinal Cassidy

President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

  1. On the Catholic side, the Official Common Statement and the Annex have been approved by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. His Holiness Pope John Paul II has been informed accordingly and has given his blessing for the signing of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, together with the Official Common Statement with its attached Annex on the date and in the place to be decided by the two partners.

 

 

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The Eastern Orthodox and Protestant religions reject papal primacy. In an attempt to discredit the historicity of papal primacy, they misrepresent the Fathers and Saints on the issues leaving out the context, full meaning, and full teaching of each authority. This study will answer, explain, and expound on certain quotes used against papal primacy, plus add quotes to prove papal primacy. The point of this study is to demonstrate how to answer cherry-picked quotes taken out of context and to prove that papal primacy was indeed recognized by the early Church.

One ex-Catholic, now Eastern Orthodox, posted the following quotes with the conclusion reading, “The Patristic witness on this point is so clear we need add nothing more to it –the point is settled – St. Peter did not receive any greater dignity or authority than the other Apostles. Already, the fundamental premise of Roman Catholicism is shaken and the edifice totters –if Peter did not have superior authority, Rome cannot have received it from him either.”

The quotes are in red and I will follow with the Catholic answer, which, by the way, has already been answered many times by many other Catholics.

St. Ambrose of Milan: “He (St. Peter), then, who before was silent, to teach us that we ought not to repeat the words of the impious, this one, I say, when he heard, ‘But who do you say I am,’ immediately, not unmindful of his station, exercised his primacy, that is, the primacy of confession, not of honor; the primacy of belief, not of rank. This, then, is Peter, who has replied for the rest of the Apostles; rather, before the rest of men….” (Saint Ambrose, The Sacrament of the Incarnation of Our Lord, IV.32-V.34.)

Every Catholic agrees with St. Ambrose because Peter was not yet pope when he made his confession. Peter wasn’t acting pope until Pentecost.

St. Ambrose fully believed that Peter became the head and foundation of the whole Church. He wrote: “[Christ] made answer: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church . . .’ Could he not, then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom, acting on his own authority, he gave the kingdom, whom he called the rock, thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]?” (The Faith, 379 A.D.)

“They [the Novatian heretics] have not the succession of Peter, who hold not the chair of Peter, which they rend by wicked schism; and this, too, they do, wickedly denying that sins can be forgiven (by the sacrament of confession) even in the Church, whereas it was said to Peter:  ‘I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on Earth, shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever thou shall loose on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven.'”  (On Penance, 388 A.D.)

“It is to Peter that He says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church’ (Matthew 16:18). Where Peter is, there is the Church. And where the Church, no death is there, but life eternal.” (Commentary on Twelve Psalms of David, 389 A.D.)

St. Cyprian of Carthage: “To all the apostles, after His resurrection, He gives an equal power…the other Apostles also were what Peter was, endued with an equal fellowship both of honor and power…”(On the Unity of the Catholic Church, 4.)

​The above quote is incomplete. St. Cyprian says, “It is on one man that He builds the Church; and although He assigns a like power to all the Apostles after His resurrection…nevertheless, in order that unity might be clearly shown, He established by his own authority a source for that unity, which takes its beginning from one man alone. Indeed, the other Apostles were that also which Peter was, being endowed with an equal portion of dignity and power; but the origin is ground in unity, so that it may be made clear there is but one Church of Christ. …If someone does not hold fast to this unity of the Church, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he resists and withstands the Church, can he still be confident that he is in the Church…? Most especially must we bishops, who exercise authority in the Church, hold firmly and insist upon this unity, whereby we may demonstrate also that the episcopate itself is one and undivided. Let no one mislead the brotherhood with a lie, let no one corrupt the faith by a faithless perversion of the truth. The episcopate is one, of which each bishop holds his part within the undivided structure.”

In no way does St. Cyprian deny the papacy. Each and every Apostle had apostolic authority over the whole Church. They had jurisdiction over the Church as Peter, which is the equal portion of dignity and power that’s being referred to. The difference with Peter is that he had supreme authority, the final say so to speak, as was demonstrated at the Council of Jerusalem. Peter’s successors maintained full apostolic authority and jurisdiction, hence, the “Apostolic See.” The other sees do not possess jurisdiction over the whole Church.

Another distinction is the power of Orders and the power of Office. A bishop can have one without the other. A layman can possess the jurisdiction of the office of bishop as a bishop-elect but he would not have the power of orders and a consecrated bishop can have the power of orders but not the jurisdiction of an office.

As far as the power of Orders is concerned, all bishops have the same power. The power of the office concerns jurisdiction. The pope has full and supreme jurisdiction. All bishops are subject to the pope.

If we take a look at St. Cyprian’s original letter, we see that Peter’s office carries a certain type of dignity and power unlike any other office in the Church:

“The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven’… On him he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep, and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair, and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were also what Peter was; but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he deserts the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?” (The Unity of the Catholic Church, first edition 251 AD.)

St. Cyprian never rejected his original letter.

St. Isidore of Seville: “The other Apostles were made equal with Peter in a fellowship of dignity and power.”(De Ecclesiasticus, II.5, M.P.L., Vol. 83, Col. 781-782.)

Again, each Apostle had the same jurisdiction over the Church as Peter, which is the equal portion of dignity and power that’s being referred to. However, the context of St. Isidore’s writing was about the episcopacy or the power of orders. The other Apostles were made equal in fellowship of dignity and power as Peter as far as being a bishop is concerned. The papal office is another and distinct office in the Church and it can be occupied by a mere layman such as Pope Hadrian V who was never even a priest. St. Isidore wasn’t referring to Peter’s Chair as Pope but rather his rank as bishop.

We can easily prove that St. Isidore recognized papal primacy. His older brother St. Leander was first made Bishop of Seville. He was a close friend of Pope St. Gregory the Great, who sent him the pallium.

The Catholic encyclopedia explains what the pallium is and what it symbolizes http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11427a.htm

Pope St. Gregory used his authority over other bishops and councils. It was clear that he was the head of the Church. His letters also indicate his authority as head of the Church.

It’s true that Pope St. Gregory rejected the title “universal bishop” in the sense that it necessarily meant there are no other bishops. He explained this point in Book 9, Letter 68.

In this very letter, Pope St. Gregory was using his supreme authority as pope to condemn the Bishop of Constantinople.

In Book 3, Letter 30, Pope St. Gregory declares, “Inasmuch as it is manifest that the Apostolic See is, by the ordering of God, set over all Churches, there is, among our manifold cares, special demand for our attention, when our decision is awaited with a view to the consecration of a bishop.  . . . you are to cause him to be consecrated by his own bishops, as ancient usage requires, with the assent of our authority, and the help of the Lord; to the end that through the observance of such custom both the Apostolic See may retain the power belonging to it, and at the same time may not diminish the rights which it has conceded to others.”

In Book 9, Letter 12, Pope St. Gregory declared, “For as to what they say about the Church of Constantinople, who can doubt that it is subject to the Apostolic See, as both the most pious lord the emperor and our brother the bishop of that city continually acknowledge?”

If any bishop denied papal primacy, Pope St. Gregory would have set him straight.

When St. Leander died, his brother St. Isidore became Bishop of Seville. Again, St. Gregory the Great showed his apostolic authority by sending him the pallium, which St. Isidore accepted.

St. Isidore never denied papal primacy. In fact, he recognized it by his actions. Not only that, but all of St. Isidore’s writings are promoted by the popes themselves.

St. Bede: “Although it may seem that this power of loosing and binding was given by the Lord only to Peter, we must nevertheless know without any doubt that it was given to the other Apostles, as Christ Himself testified when, after the triumph of His Passion and Resurrection, He appeared to them and breathed upon them, and said to them all, ‘Receive ye the Holy Spirit: if ye forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven to them; if ye retain the sins of any, they are retained [Jn. 20:22, 23].

​St. Bede’s interpretation of Matt. 16:19 is a different perspective from his contemporaries, but it doesn’t deny Peter’s primacy in authority. Bede is interpreting the binding and loosing in Matt. 16 with the same binding and loosing in Jn. 20, which is about binding and loosing of sins. All priests have the same power as bishops in binding and loosing of sins. However, Bede didn’t hold that priests and bishops have the same authority. He writes, “In my nineteenth year I was admitted to the diaconate, in my thirtieth to the priest, both by the hands of the most reverend Bishop John (St. John of Beverley), and at the bidding of Abbot Ceolfrid.” Bishops ordain priests and consecrate bishops but priests don’t have the power to do either. Thus they have different powers. St. Bede is not denying the authority of Peter as the head of the Church.

St. Cyril of Alexandria: “One therefore is Christ both Son and Lord, not as if a man had attained only such a conjunction with God as consists in a unity of dignity alone or of authority. For it is not equality of dignity which unites natures; for then Peter and John, who were of equal dignity with each other, being both Apostles and holy disciples would have been one, and yet the two are not one….”(St. Cyril, 2nd Epistle to Nestorius.)

St. Cyril is making a point. He’s not denying Peter’s authority as pope. In fact, he made this statement at the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD, after he appealed to Pope St. Celestine I to settle the matter against Nestorius, the Patriarch of Constantinople. The result was the Third Ecumenical Council at Ephesus in 431 AD, which condemned Nestorius. In the Acts of the Council, session 3, it’s declared:

“Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: ‘There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to today and forever both lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed pope Celestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place, and us he sent to supply his place in this holy synod.’”

The great council of the East witnesses to the Catholic dogma that Peter and his successors are head of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church.”

St. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem (d. 386) is another Eastern Father who tells us that only Peter has the keys and is the chief of the apostles:

[Simon Magus] so deceived the city of Rome that Claudius erected a statue of him. . . . While the error was extending itself, Peter and Paul arrived, a noble pair and the rulers of the Church, and they set the error aright. . . . They launched the weapon of their like-mindedness in prayer against the Magus, and struck him down to earth. It was marvelous enough, and yet no marvel at all, for Peter was there—he that carries about the keys of heaven. …In the power of the same Holy Spirit, Peter, both the chief of the apostles and the keeper of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, in the name of Christ healed Aeneas the paralytic at Lydda, which is now called Diospolis; and at Joppa he raised the beneficent Tabitha from the dead.” (Catechetical Lectures [350 AD] 6:14 and 17:27).

St. John Chrysostom, according the Eastern Orthodox, “has not recognized in the Church any dignity superior to the apostolate in general.”

“Of all spiritual magistratures,” he says, “the greatest is the apostolate. How do we know this? Because the apostle precedes all others. As the consul is the first of civil magistrates, so is the apostle the first of spiritual magistrates. St. Paul himself, when he enumerates these dignities, places at their head the prerogatives of the apostolate. What does he say? ‘And God has set some in the church; first, apostles; secondarily, prophets; thirdly, teachers.’ Do you observe the summit of these dignities? Do you mark that the apostle is at the apex of the hierarchy–no one before, none above him. For he says: ‘First, apostles.’ And not only is the apostolate the first of all dignities, but also the root and foundation thereof.” (Homily upon the Utility of Reading Holy Scripture; cited in Abbe Guettee, The Papacy.)

[NOTE: Since being an Apostle is the highest rulership in the church, the root and foundation, then there is no office for St. Peter to have higher than the other Apostles –and note that St. Paul says, God set some, that is, a plural number, in the church, first apostles –again a plural number, yet a Papal Petrine primacy demands that the highest rank be singular.]

The argument fails to make proper distinctions. St. John Chrysostom is commenting on I Cor. 12:28-30, which reads,

“And God indeed hath set some in the church; first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly doctors: after that miracles: then the graces of healings, helps, governments, kinds of tongues, interpretations of speeches. 29. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all doctors? 30. Are all workers of miracles? Have all the grace of healing?”

The Bible is giving a general outline of authority and other positions in the Church. St. John Chrysostom is pointing to the fact that the Apostles are higher than all the other parts of the Church. The Apostles are also bishops but the other bishops don’t have the jurisdiction of the Apostles. Again, some bishops have more authority than other bishops because of the power of an office. St. John Chyrsostom is not dealing with the papal office which is about a specific office among the Apostles. He explains Peter’s Office in other writings. For instance,

“Peter, that head of the Apostles, the first in the Church, the friend of Christ, who received the revelation not from man but from the Father….this Peter, and when I say Peter, I mean the unbroken Rock, the unshaken foundation, the great apostle, the first of the disciples, the first called, the first to obey.” (De Eleemos III, 4, vol II, 298[300], taken from Dom John Chapman)

This is one of many teachings from St. John Chrysostom on papal primacy. To argue that this great saint didn’t recognize papal primacy is absurd.

Whenever we see a quote from a Father or saint about Peter’s relationship with others, pay attention to the context and in what sense he’s referring to.

The following additional quotes support papal primacy.

St. Jerome:

“Not long afterwards the illustrious Anastasius succeeded to the Pontificate. Rome did not merit to possess him long, lest the world’s head should be severed under such a bishop [when Alaric took Rome, AD 410]. Nay, he was taken away, lest he should essay by his prayers to bend the sentence once decided, as the Lord said to Jeremias: ‘Pray not for this people.’ … You say, what has this to do with the illustrious Marcella? She was the cause of the heretic’s condemnation, by producing witnesses’…” (Ep 127, c. x, 958[1093] taken from Dom John Chapman’s Studies on the Early Papacy and originally from the “Dublin Review” (January 1898). Dom John Chapman OSB (25 April 1865 – 7 November 1933)

St. Theodore the Studite to Pope St. Leo III:

“To the most holy and great father of fathers, to our lord Leo, apostolic pope, Theodore, the most humble priest and abbot of the Studion….

Since it is to the great Peter that Christ our God gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven and entrusted the dignity of chief of the flock , it is to Peter, that is to say, his successor, that one ought to submit every innovation which is made in the Catholic Church by those who turn aside from the truth. That is what we humble and lowly monks have learnt from the ancient fathers. Therefore, a new teaching having arisen recently in the midst of our Church here, we believed we ought, first through the medium of one of our fathers, the most holy archimandrite Ephiphanius, and then by this simple letter, to submit it to the angel of your supreme beatitude. There has been held, o Ruler divine of all rulers, a synod of prevaricators, as says the prophet Jeremiah, a council of adulterers. These men have not been content to conspire in favor of the priest who blessed the adulterous marriage and to receive him into communion, but, to merit the name of perfect heretic, have excommunicated in a second synod all those who do not cleave to their error, or rather the Church catholic herself…I borrow now the cry of the coryphaeus of the Apostles, calling Christ to his succor when the waves of the sea were risen up, and I say to your blessedness who are the Representative of Christ, ‘O first shepherd of the Church which is under heaven’, save us now, we perish. Imitate the Christ your master, stretch out your hand to your Church as he stretched out his hand to Peter. Peter began to sink in the waves, while our Church is still once more submerged in the depths of heresy. Emulate, we beg you, the great Pope whose name you bear, and just as he on the appearance of the Eutychian heresy, stood erect spiritually as a lion with his dogmatic letters, so in your turn (I dare to say it because of your name) roar divinely, or rather send forth your thunders against the present heresy. For if they, usurping an authority which does not belong to them, have dared to convene a heretical council, while those who, following ancient custom, have not even the right of convoking an orthodox one without your knowledge, it seems absolutely necessary, we dare to say it to you, that your divine primacy should call together a lawful council, so that the Catholic dogma may drive away heresy and that neither your primacy may be anathematized with all the orthodox by these new voices without authority, nor that wills evilly disposed may find in this adulterous council an excuse for being involved in sin. It is in order to obey your divine authority as chief pastor that we have set forth these things as it befitted our nothingness, we the least members of the Church. For the rest we beg your holiness to count us among your sheep and to enlighten and to strengthen us by your holy prayers… It is of myself, a humble fishermen held in prison, that I write to you this letter, because my father and companion the monk, as well as my brother the Archbishop of Thessaloniki, are imprisoned in other islands. But they say the same things as I, and with me prostrate themselves at the sacred feet of your blessedness” (Patrologia Graeca 99, 1017 – Epistle 1)

The list of quotes could go on and on proving that papal primacy was recognized by the whole Church. Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestantism doesn’t have a leg to stand on. They are man-made traditions that nullify the Word of God (Mark 7:13).

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The following story was taken from https://www.olrl.org/stories/wizclip.shtml

I’m posting the story here to help spread the truth of Catholicism and make others aware of the seriousness of living correctly. Read it carefully!

THE MYSTERY OF THE WIZARD CLIP

“One of the most wonderful manifestations of God’s benevolence during the struggles of the primitive Church in these United States” – such is the impressive estimate of the learned Jesuit scholar, Father Joseph M. Finotti, concerning the extraordinary but little known spiritual drama which took place some 200 years ago near Martinsburg, West Virginia.

And in fact, in the year 1797, on a farm near the present Middleway, Jefferson County, West Virginia, a Lutheran family was saved from diabolical persecutions by a Catholic priest and then instructed in the Catholic religion by a mysterious, invisible Voice from the other world, that continued for seventeen years to enlighten, guide, and inspire these former Protestants and their Catholic friends to live as fervent and model Christians. Frequently during those years, this mystic Voice, whose “influence was always beneficial,” communicated timely warnings, prophecies, and messages of charity and mercy for many persons, which resulted in numerous conversions.

That such seemingly miraculous phenomena did actually take place has never been questioned by serious historians. According to the scholarly Professor P. J. Mahon, in his Trials and Triumphs of the Catholic Church in America (Chicago, 1907), “no facts are better substantiated.” Non-Catholic authorities also confirm the truth of the events. In 1904, an article in The West Virginia Historical Magazine admitted, “the people there had no doubt of the facts related.” And as recently as 1941, the West Virginia guidebook of the American Guide Series compiled by the Writers’ Program of the Works Project Administration gave nearly a whole page to an objective account of the locally famous Mystery of the Wizard Clip.

We shall now narrate the principal incidents of this fascinating and significant chapter in the early history of the Catholic Church in the United States. This will be, for the most part, in the same words as they are recorded by eyewitnesses and by the children of eyewitnesses in Father J. M. Finotti’s valuable collection of documents entitled The Mystery of the Wizard Clip (Baltimore, 1879, 143p.). Holy Scripture teaches us “it is honorable to reveal and confess the works of God” (Tobias 12:7). And it is our hope and prayer that many American Catholics – and non-Catholics too – may come to share Father Finotti’s conviction that this stirring historical narrative “draws our heart near to God; it teaches lessons of supernatural wisdom; the Finger of God is Here! … Herein lies the beauty of the story.”

Adam Livingston was an honest and industrious Lutheran who owned considerable property in York County, Pennsylvania. Due to mysterious causes, however, his property began to diminish in various ways: his barn burned down, and his horses and cattle died. As these losses continued, Livingston and his family decided to move. Early in the seventeen nineties, therefore, with his second wife and several children, he left Pennsylvania and migrated to the lower end of the lovely Shenandoah Valley, where he settled on a large estate of the triangle formed by Charlestown, Martinsburg, and Winchester, all of which were then in the state of Virginia.

But there too the same mysterious forces continued to afflict the Livingston household. There too the cattle and horses died. Now the very house in which Adam and his wife and children lived seemed to have become haunted: at night, they were kept awake by weird noises, such as loud knocks and rumblings as of galloping horses and wagons. But even in daylight, their furniture would be suddenly banged about and their crockery smashed onto the floor by invisible hands. Chunks of fire rolled out of the beds across the rooms. At times, the heads and legs of chickens and geese were seen to drop off suddenly. But by far the most sensational of these devilish afflictions was the strange persistent clipping and cutting that attacked almost every piece of cloth and leather on the Livingston estate. Sheets, table clothes, shirts, dresses, suits and even leather boots and saddles, whether in use or locked up in closets, were skillfully slit and clipped into crescent-shaped strips by invisible shears! The noise of the scissors clipping merrily away was distinctly heard on many occasions by members of the family.

One old woman in Martinsburg, wishing to satisfy her curiosity, went to visit the Livingstons, but before entering the haunted house, she carefully took off her new silk hat and wrapped it in her large handkerchief, to save it from being clipped. Upon leaving, however, she found her new hat cut into small ribbons! Poor old Mr. Livingston’s mental torture was acute and he turned to the Bible for help against these attacks, which were clearly diabolical. As Father Gallitzin later wrote, “the good old man reading in his Bible that Christ had given to His ministers power over evil spirits, started from his home to Winchester in Virginia, and having, with tears in his eyes, related to his minister the history of his distress, losses and sufferings, begged of him to come to his house and to exercise in his favor the power he had received from Jesus Christ. The parson candidly confessed that he had no such power. The good man. . .therefore rationally concluded that Parson S ____ could not be a minister of Christ …and applied to other persons calling themselves ministers of Christ, some of whom promised relief. They came, prayed and read; but they prayed and read in vain…”

As a result of so many disappointments, Mr. Livingston almost came to the conclusion that Christ no longer had any true ministers on earth. So in desperation he turned to some local conjurers or magicians, one of whom promised to banish the evil spirit if paid a good sum in advance, but refused the job when the shrewd old farmer offered to pay him double that amount – after he succeeded! Three others came very confidently from Winchester, but took to their heels when they saw a large stone whirl around the living room without any support for fifteen minutes!

Then one night, Mr. Livingston had a strange dream. He saw a beautiful Church and in it a “minister dressed in peculiar robes” and he heard a voice say to him, “That is the man who can relieve you.” He decided to search that same morning for the minister dressed in robes. He was directed to the estate of a distinguished Catholic family named McSherry. Late that evening Mrs. McSherry saw Mr. Livingston, whose farm was about four miles away, coming toward her house and she met him at the gate. When he asked to see the priest, she told him there was no priest there then, but that one would “hold church” at a home in Shepherdstown the following Sunday morning.

On the next Sunday, the McSherrys met Mr. Livingston in the Catholic home in Shepherdstown. As soon as the priest, Father Dennis Cahill of Hagerstown, appeared at the altar vested for Mass, the old Lutheran farmer suddenly burst into tears and exclaimed, “That is the very man I saw in my dream – he is the one who will relieve me!” When the Mass was over, going right to the priest, he poured out his sad story and earnestly begged him for help. After much persuasion, Fr. Cahill agreed to visit the haunted house. The priest questioned the whole Livingston family, but they all told him exactly the same story. He therefore consented to say some prayers and to sprinkle the house with Holy Water. And as he was leaving, a sum of money that had lately vanished mysteriously from the farmer’s locked chest was suddenly laid by invisible hands on the doorsill between the priest’s feet!

Now the Livingston home became quiet for several days. But soon the weird noises and dreaded clipping started again. So Father Cahill came a second time and celebrated Holy Mass in the house, after which the various disturbances ceased – for good! The old Lutheran farmer was so deeply grateful for having obtained the relief that had been promised him, that he thereupon decided to accept the Catholic religion with all his family.

It was at this time, in the fall of the year 1797, that a very remarkable young priest was sent by his superiors to investigate these strange happenings at Cliptown: the 27 year old Father Demetrius A. “Smith”, who was born Prince “Mitri” Gallitzin, the son of a German countess and a Russian prince-ambassador of the Empress Catherine the Great. Later, during his forty years of holy and heroic service to God at Loretto, Pa., he was to become famous as the great “Apostle of the Alleghenies.” Here is his testimony: “My view in coming to Virginia and remaining there three months was to investigate those extraordinary facts at Livingston’s, of which I had heard so much … and which I could not prevail upon myself to believe; but I was soon converted to a full belief of them. No lawyer in a court of justice did ever examine or cross-examine witnesses more strictly than I did all those I could procure.” Through the divine power of the True Church of Christ, the evil spirits were banished and in their place appeared a Spirit of Light and Truth whose inspiring spiritual guidance brought about profound changes for the good in the lives of the Livingstons, the McSherrys and their neighbors.

One evening, after he had been a Catholic for several weeks, Mr. Livingston perceived a dazzling light in one corner of his room and in an instant the whole house became filled with almost blinding light. And then the old man began to hear a mysterious Voice, which instructed him in the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist. Often the Voice would come and exclaim, “I want prayers” It would awaken Mr. and Mrs. Livingston at night and tell them to pray hard for perseverance and for sinners. Sometimes it made them pray for three hours; they admitted that it did not seem to be more than a few minutes. And it would suddenly summon the whole family in the evenings with these words: “Come-take your seats!” And then it would instruct them very thoroughly in the various dogmas of the Catholic religion.

It emphasized that although they could not see the person who was speaking to them, they should always obey the visible voice, which was the priest. Some of the young children are reported to have seen the author of the Voice. It revealed to Mr. Livingston that it had once been in the flesh as he was, and that if he persevered he would know who it was before his death. But he must have taken the secret to the grave when he died in 1820. The Voice, having sung three times, very beautifully in Latin and in English the Livingstons naturally thought that their mysterious visitor had perhaps been a priest. And indeed, during the next seventeen years the Voice acted as a wise but strict spiritual director for the Livingston and McSherry families.

Whenever it came – sometimes accompanied by the bright light, it would say, ” In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, three great Names! None greater on earth! None greater in Heaven!” Once it ordered the Livingstons to keep a forty days’ fast with three hours of prayer each day. It also commanded them to keep March 4th each year as a special holy day, in thanksgiving for their conversion. And it was on that day, at the end of the forty days’ fast, that Mr. Livingston heard it sing so beautifully, as also on one All Souls Day. It said the souls in Purgatory were much rejoiced on the day of All Souls on which the whole world was praying for them.

Every night the Voice would join the family in their prayers, saying the Rosary with them and instructing them how to pray well. It also explained the Mass to them and stated that “One Mass was more acceptable to Almighty God than all the sighs and tears of the whole world put together, for it was God, a pure God, offered up to God.” It stressed what a blessing it is for us to have the merciful Mother of God as our Advocate and that she has great power on behalf of poor sinners. And because Mrs. Livingston, who had been a Presbyterian, was somewhat stubborn about honoring the Blessed Virgin, the Voice insisted that in the second part of the Hail Mary they say, “Holy, Holy, Holy Mary, Mother of God…”

Once when one of the Livingston girls went to confession and failed to mention a certain sin through shame, the Voice not only told the whole family that she had not mentioned it, but reminded her of it and pressed her to confess it as soon as possible.

When Mr. Livingston’s son Henry came of age, he refused to do the reaping unless his father paid him regular harvest wages. But very soon he was taken with a pain in his knee, which became so swollen and infected that he was confined to bed for eighteen months. After he had suffered that length of time, the Voice announced that “he had satisfied the Justice of God for his disobedience and disrespect to his father,” and the young man was healed. He must have taken this severe lesson to heart, for it is recorded that he too lived a very holy life henceforth. On the other hand, Father Gallitzin wrote that some of the other Livingston children, “I believe they care very little for the Church.”

It was particularly for the souls suffering in Purgatory that the Voice urged the Livingstons and McSherrys to pray, promising them that these souls, when delivered, would intercede for them at the throne of Almighty God. It told Mr. Livingston that every prayer they said for the poor souls was like a fresh plaster on a sore wound. And it gave them several unforgettable examples of the sufferings of Purgatory.

One day when Mr. Livingston was working in the fields with his sons, all of a sudden he was apparently taken ill, for they saw him turn deathly pale and double up. As they helped him to walk home, he explained that he had just heard a soul in Purgatory screaming for help. And later he often said that he could never forget that shriek – it had been so dreadful!

One night the Voice made the Livingstons get up three times to pray for a certain soul in Purgatory. And when one of the girls began to think that after all the souls could have saved themselves and they deserved their pains and anyhow the whole thing was exaggerated, suddenly they all heard a voice shrieking: “Help! Help!” When asked what kind of help was needed it replied, “Prayers – for we are in excruciating torments. Hand me something – and you will be convinced!” And as soon as a shirt was held up, a whole human hand was burned into it, leaving the spaces between the fingers not scorched. The entire family saw both the flame and the hand. On another occasion, the letters IHS were cleanly burned in deep red colors on a vest. These supernaturally marked objects, as well as some of the clipped cloth, were kept and seen by many persons for over thirty years, although unfortunately they were all eventually lost or destroyed.

The Voice often spoke of the grave troubles that were hanging over the world, and it told Mr. Livingston to inform Mrs. McSherry “she would not live to see it, but her children would – war, pestilence and famine!” It added that those of the family who would remain faithful to God would not suffer from these scourges and that they would know when they were in God’s favor. And as a matter of fact, during the Civil War, none of the eight sons and daughters received the slightest injury, except for one son who died from overexertion in his work in a military hospital.

Mrs. McSherry asked where the soul of her former confessor was, expecting to hear that he was long since in Heaven, as he had been a very holy priest who had died seventeen years before. The Voice replied, “Father F____ is still detained in the scorching flames of Purgatory, on account of some carelessness in the management of some property of orphans he had charge of. He trusted it to someone else, and did not see to it that it was properly attended to.”

Early one morning Mr. Livingston went over to the McSherry estate and told Mrs. McSherry that the Voice had just informed him that her sister, Mrs. Mary Spalding, had died at midnight in Baltimore, that she was in Purgatory “for over-indulgence to her children,” and that Masses should be offered for her soul. Several days later, a letter arrived from Baltimore announcing the death of Mrs. Spalding at the very hour mentioned by the Voice. Mrs. McSherry had eighty Masses said for her sister. And one day when she was walking to the Livingston’s with her husband, the gates were all opened for them to pass through, without anyone touching them. The Voice explained, “Mrs. Mary Spalding had opened them.” Mrs. McSherry had a brother at Georgetown College studying for the priesthood. Through Mr. Livingston, the Voice informed her that her brother had become a blasphemer, who openly stated that he did not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament nor the power to priests to forgive sins. The Voice added that if he died in that state of mind he would open his eyes in the raging flames below among the damned. The Voice commanded his brothers and sisters to go to him, fall upon their knees and say to him, “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, why will you not believe that there is a God and that nothing is difficult or impossible to Him. It is as easy for Him to give us His Precious Body and Blood as to give us a cup of cold water.” But he did not return to God and, as the Voice foretold, he died in his sins. He was thrown from a horse and died of a broken neck. This sad event occurred in Kentucky.

The mystic Voice from the other world always placed just as much stress upon living a true Christian life as upon praying for the souls in Purgatory. It strongly recommended hospitality and it often severely warned the Livingstons and the McSherrys against the vanities of the world and especially against fashions. It urged the wealthy McSherrys to set aside all pride and vanity and to humble themselves to the earth as though they were sackcloth and ashes. It informed them that some of their relatives who had been long detained in Purgatory because of their worldliness, very much lamented their children being so worldly and so full of worldly grandeur. It claimed that ruffles and fringes, flounces and tuckers and “modesty pieces” (Lace worn over the bosom) were all inventions of Satan. Our Lord had come meek and lowly, it asserted, and so how could we, sinful worms of the earth, deck and adorn our sinful bodies? It declared that thousands of persons were burning in hell forever because of grievous sins that had resulted from their wishing to follow the fashions of the world. Once when three McSherry girls were fitting on some new dresses and admiring themselves, the large mirror before which they were standing was suddenly shattered into hundreds of tiny pieces! In this connection, it is certainly significant that Father Gallitzin, who was intimately acquainted with the teachings of the Voice, always strongly opposed any ostentation in his parishioners, especially in the dress of the women at church and he frequently preached against such display.

On one occasion, when Mr. Livingston’s family assembled in one room, they saw a man in the midst of them and supposing him to be a beggar, as he was poorly dressed and barefooted, the day being cold, Mr. Livingston offered him clothes and shoes, which he accepted but said they were not needed where he came from. He tarried for some time, instructing them in the Christian doctrine and talking to them. He told them; “Luther and Calvin were in Hell and every soul that was lost through their fault added to their torments.” When he left the house, Mr. Livingston thought to watch him, to see where he went, as they had not seen him when he came in; they saw him go out by the front part of the house and then disappear.

As was only to be expected, these extraordinary events and revelations resulted in the conversion of many friends and relatives of the two favored families. In fact, during one winter fourteen persons are known to have joined the Catholic Church in the region around “Priest’s Place,” as the Livingston property now came to be called. And the Catholics nearby of Maryland and Virginia were inspired to lead better lives, particularly when they saw that the Livingstons and the McSherrys, under the guidance of the mystic Voice, had become ardent lay-apostles of Christ. Mr. Livingston, before his conversion, bore his losses very impatiently, but after his conversion, he never complained.

In January 1800, when the Protestant wife of the somewhat lax Catholic, Mr. Joseph Minghini, fell dangerously ill, at the bidding of the Voice Mrs. McSherry visited and consoled her. After they had repeated an Act of Contrition together, the dying woman seemed to be truly penitent and ready to see a priest. But her husband protested that she had her own preachers and that there was no priest within forty miles. Finally, however, as the Voice had urged and predicted, Father Gallitzin was summoned and he received Mrs. Minghini into the Church. The Voice had also specified that the messenger would meet both Father Cahill and Father Gallitzin, but that the latter was the one intended for the woman, “as being of a milder nature.” A few weeks later, in a letter to Bishop Carroll, Father Gallitzin described the conversion as “miraculous”. When Mrs. McSherry returned home, she dreamed that she saw a little child strike a great rock with a stick, whereupon the stone crumbled to dust. The next morning the Voice informed her through the Livingstons that Mrs. Minghini had died during the night and that her sins had crumbled away, like the rock, as a result of her sincere contrition and the priest’s absolution.

Another striking incident, however, served as a vivid warning against waiting for a deathbed conversion. The Protestant wife of a Catholic man in Winchester being near death and having finally asked for a priest, a messenger was sent to the McSherry’s estate and found the priest there. But when they searched for the priest’s horse, Old Bull, in a small nearby field called Spring Pasture, where it had been seen only a few moments before, no one could find the horse! After considerable searching and delay, one of Mr. McSherry’s horses was saddled and the priest left. Soon afterwards Old Bull was heard neighing and was found in the middle of Spring Pasture to the utter amazement of the thirty persons who had just searched for him in vain. Then Mr. Livingston was told by the Voice that the horse had been there all the time. That it had been made invisible, because the woman put off her conversion until the last moment, that she had died before the priest could reach her – as was subsequently confirmed – and that Almighty God had permitted this as a warning to the living not to depend on a death-bed repentance. The Voice frequently advised the Livingstons to pray for perseverance and that there was but one Church out of which there was no salvation.

One night, in hard rain, a stranger came to Mr. McSherry and asked for a night’s lodging. It was most convenient for Mrs. McSherry to put him in the room where the Priest usually slept and where the Church vestments, etc. were kept. They both knew him to be a Methodist Preacher. After retiring, Mr. & Mrs. McSherry heard someone walking briskly about in that room, somewhat like one heavily booted. They were kept awake the whole night and much disturbed. In the morning, they asked the stranger whether he had not been sick during the night; but he replied, no, he had slept very well. Mr. Livingston meantime, came and told them they had had an unpleasant night, being kept awake. The Voice had told him to tell them; “God had permitted them to be disturbed to punish them for harboring him in a place where sacred things were kept – a minister of the devil.”

In August 1804, Mr. McSherry nearly died of a severe illness. Having had some unpleasant difference with Father Cahill, he had not been to confession and communion for some time. But now the Voice told Mr. Livingston to go to Mr. McSherry and “his dear helpmate,” as it always called his wife (according to Father Gallitzin), and to tell them that Mr. McSherry “should humble himself and go to confession, and touch Christ through the Church and he would be cured.” The apparently dying man immediately sent for Father Cahill and that same night, which his family thought would be his last, he made his confession, received Holy Communion, made his thanksgiving and then fell into a peaceful sleep. The next morning he was up before anyone else and when his family saw him walking around the house, some of them at first thought he was a ghost. Actually, though still pale and emaciated, he was completely cured. And he lived until September 7, 1822.

Mr. Livingston’s second wife, despite the fact that she heard the Voice more frequently than anyone, was never sincerely converted. She herself used to say that she was the Judas of the family, and she constantly tried to falsify whatever the Voice said. One Thursday evening when some meat-soup was left after dinner, she decided to serve it on Friday and she therefore locked it in the cellar. But the next morning she found the pot in which she had left the soup filled with exactly the same quantity of clear water! And the Voice told her that it had done it for “it was more proper to take water than to violate the rules of the Church!” Mrs. Livingston herself told Mrs. McSherry the whole occurrence. She also stated that the Voice had said, “If she would not submit to the rules of the Roman Catholic Church, she would open her eyes in Hell.” The Voice also prophesied that she would die in her own home and room, and so when she became ill she deliberately left the house, in order to prove the Voice wrong, and went to live with a Quaker family, whose daughter happened to be dying. This girl told Mrs. Livingston that she wanted some spiritual help but did not know just what it was she needed. The Voice informed Mrs. Livingston that it was Baptism and urged her to arrange for it. After the girl died without being baptized, the Voice told Mrs. Livingston that this would appear against her on Judgment Day. And when she was near death, she was obliged by circumstances to beg to be taken home, where she died in her own room, just as the Voice had foretold. Everything that the Voice predicted happened accordingly.

One of the Livingston girls, Eve, became a very saintly woman. However, once after joining the Catholic Church, she went to a Protestant meeting and while there, she was moved to tears at the sight of so many persons who did not know anything of the True Church. But the Voice reproved her for going to the meeting, saying that she “had committed a great sin, as the people thought she was affected by what she heard – they did not know her thoughts.” Eve Livingston spent much of her time with the devout old Mrs. McSherry, and after she died “in the odor of sanctity,” the Voice declared, “Her soul did not even pass through Purgatory.”

Mrs. McSherry, “the dear helpmate,” had at least two remarkable mystical experiences. One day she was frightened at seeing a cradle containing her infant son William being rocked violently without anyone touching it. Later the Voice told her through Mr. Livingston, “it was the Devil who was trying to destroy the child, knowing that he would one day be his enemy.” And in fact, that child became the Very Reverend William McSherry, one of the Provincials of the Society of Jesus in the United States.

One Sunday Mrs. McSherry stayed home with a sick child while the rest of the family went to Church. As she was praying for her child in an upstairs room, she suddenly saw a beautiful person standing before her in a light cloud, with one hand up and the other down, and a nail running through each hand, who said to her: “Whatsoever you do for one of My little ones, you do it for Me.” She told no one about this marvelous vision, until the priest informed her that the Voice had described it to Mr. Livingston.

One night the good old farmer and his daughter Charlotte were sitting together. The Voice spoke from a bright light in a corner of the room and told the girl that the Devil had been trying to tempt her all day and would have succeeded, if she had not been holding in her arms all the time a neighbor’s baby; “the innocence of the babe had protected her.”

Of course, in those times as today many persons refused to believe what they heard about these supernatural events. Once when Mr. Livingston wanted to warn some acquaintances about their way of living, the Voice said, “No – they are like Dives: if they will not hear the Church, they will not hear a voice from the dead.” However, soon after his conversion, the former Lutheran went to Baltimore to see Bishop Carroll and the wise and cautious old “Founding Father” of the Catholic Church in the United States, after a thorough examination, declared he thought the man had received his knowledge from above. Nevertheless, the Voice warned Mr. Livingston that many people would not believe these things, that even some priests would laugh and not believe and that when he saw this, he should not try to convince them.

Mr. Livingston seems to have become especially devoted to Father Gallitzin, whom he visited at Conewago near Gettysburg only a year or two after joining the Catholic Church. He is known to have walked there and back, and the Voice told him “that it had been with him the whole way.” It is also said, though without conclusive evidence, that through Mr. Livingston the Voice disclosed to Father Gallitzin some of his future sufferings and advised him how to bear them. In any case it is a significant fact that, according to Father Gallitzin, “Mr. Livingston removed from Virginia to Bedford County, Pennsylvania, about twenty miles from here (Loretta), where he died in the spring of 1820. I had Mass at his house repeatedly. He continued, to the last, very attentive to his duties, but did not receive the rites of the Church in his last sickness, which carried him off too quick to afford any chance of sending for a priest.”

Let us end our story with this wise advice from Father Joseph M. Finotti, S.J.: “The narrative of the Clip is for edification; it draws our heart near to God, it teaches lessons of supernatural wisdom. With uncovered head, then, unsandalled feet, and humble brow we approach the spot and reverently exclaim – The Finger of God is here!”

One of the greatest truths this story confirms is the infallible teaching of the Church that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church. Please recall Mrs. Livingston’s statement that the Voice told her, “If she would not submit to rules of the Roman Catholic Church she would open up her eyes in Hell.” The teachings of the Church, as confirmed by the Voice, not only apply to Mrs. Livingston, but to all who wish to be saved. Pray and work for the salvation of souls. Distribute this wondrous story of the Wizard Clip so that many others may benefit from its revelations.

 

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