Anglicanism is Divided
So, the actions of the Anglicans in the United States
in consecrating a divorced man, now actively participating
in an openly homosexual relationship, has begun an
official divide in the Anglican community.
This division is seen by some as a "positive."
Is it just me, or does this division among Christians
sound like something that should be praised as a positive?
Perhaps this embracing of division is something some
groups of Protestants just feel some sort of kinship
among a dividing community.
I happen to agree with the underlying sentiment from aomin.org - that being that homosexuality is not something any Christian church should embrace. Certainly, embrace homosexuals and help guide them to better choices. The fact remains that homosexuality, the act of such, not merely the tendencies or even desire thereof, is an abomination to God who clearly in His Word, several times, has made this truth known. The sad part is that there became another schism within the schism of Anglicanism over this. It is the prayer of this writer that there be an acknowledgement of the truth and full unity among Christians be restored to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Thursday, December 11, 2003
Friday, October 17, 2003
"Junk Science" is not Our Stance
A Response by Scott Windsor
Just a note, someone subscribed me (and I
immediately unsubscribed) to an email group
which promotes "Dirt" - and in this first
email I got from them, the following article
appears. I would have just forwarded the
initial email, but the sidebar had several
quite inappropriate pictures (and I am being
quite polite in that description).
I just felt we all should be aware of what
has come from the Vatican recently and the
outcry against it. Some of which, I have
to admit, is justified if Cardinal Trulillo
really said the things he's attributed to
> CRAZY CATHOLIC CONDOM CRAP!
> A high ranking Cardinal has revealed a stunning,
> world-wide tactic in the Roman Catholic Church's
> quest to curb rampant prophylactic abuse among
> AIDS-fearing Catholics from the AIDS-ravaged
> continent of Africa.
> In a recent interview with the BBC, Cardinal Alfonso
> "A-Lo" Lopez Trujillo declared that condoms not only
> do nothing to prevent AIDS, using them actually
> increases one's chances of becoming infected with
Well, we have to agree and disagree with that statement.
Condoms do seem to prevent the AIDS virus from
being transmitted IF the condomn is used throughout
the ENTIRE "marriage act" (let's call it what it is)
BUT, the accuracy is in the fact that if MORAL
CATHOLICS are involved here, there is NO CHANCE of
AIDS among celebate or monogamous married Catholics!
(Not considering a potential tainted blood transfusion,
which a condom doesn't stop either). AIDS is primarily
spread through IMMORALITY! Either through illegal drug
use or non-monogamous participation in "the marriage act."
This, coupled with the fact that to a Catholic the use of
a condomn is ALSO an immoral act. You don't NEED a
condomn if you are a moral person and so is your spouse!
If we take tainted blood transfusions into consideration,
we STILL can trace the tainting of that blood to an
immoral act, somewhere. AIDS does not naturally occur
between moral couples, period.
> "The AIDS virus is roughly 450 times smaller than the
> spermatozoon," the scientifically ignorant cretin
> embarrassingly pontificated. "The spermatozoon can
> easily pass through the net that is formed by the
Well, it is true - that a properly working condom does
prevent spermatazoa from getting through. The problem
is that condomns fail a certain percentage of the time,
and that "net" may include the consideration of such
> Further investigation by the BBC revealed that,
> throughout the Third World, the Roman Church is
> hell-bent on keeping life-saving condoms taboo.
Yes, and should be replaced by a MORAL RESPONSE, not
> They've even gone so far as to float rumors that
> condom manufacturers purposefully infect condoms
> with the AIDS virus in a genocidal plot to thin
> humanity's ranks!
Right, I'd like to see the documentation on that one
directly implicating the Vatican. This claim is not
substantiated in the article, it's just thrown out
and the reader is expected to believe it.
> The Vatican has long held a hard line against
> artificial contraception, believing the use of
> condoms and birth control pills promotes a wanton
> debauchery amongst the sheep of the flock.
No, this would be a misrepresentation of what the
Church's position is on artificial birth control.
The Church opposes it because it corrupts the
natural gift of cooperating in procreation, as
God intended it to be. ANY artificial means to
deliberately attempt to suppress the Will of God
in one's life is immoral. THAT is the reason the
Church stands against condoms and other forms of
artificial birth control.
> But never before has the Church attempted to
> cloak its pointless moralizing in the gilded rags
> of junk science.
If Cardinal Trujillo's words are accurately reported,
then I'd have to agree. His words were "junk science"
and actually bring more criticism than good to the
moral stance of the Church. The Church stands on
MORALITY, not on SCIENCE, and the Church's issue with
condoms is NOT from science, but whether or not a
faithful Catholic should even be in the position to
consider using a condom!
> The World Health Organization was so worried about
> the Church potentially worsening an already rampant
> overpopulation and HIV infection problem that they
> issued a stern statement in rebuke: "These incorrect
> statements about condoms and HIV are dangerous when
> we are facing a global pandemic which has already
> killed more than 20 million people, and cur rently
> affects at least 42 million."
So, rather than just give immoral people a sometimes
effective security blanket, the WHO should be include
that MORAL BEHAVIOR is a GUARANTEE to END the problem
of AIDS! People who do not immorally participate in
"the marriage act" and do not participate in immoral
drug use DO NOT GET AIDS or pass it on!
> The official Vatican response was to label the W.H.O.
> as "a den of baby-murdering, condom-pimping
> Jesus-haters who will most likely burn in Hell for all
> eternity." In lieu of condoms, Cardinal Trujillo
> suggests Catholics protect themselves from HIV/AIDS by
> praying and donating money to the church in the name
> of Sheila, Matron Saint of the HIV+.
I SERIOUSLY doubt that the Vatican "officially" used
the terminology used above! That's pretty ridiculous
to think, but again, the source of this "quote" is not
Again, IF what Cardinal Trujillo allegedly said is true,
then he has brought needless criticism to the Church.
The "science" of this situation lies in the statistical
fact that absolutely NO AIDS would be transmitted if
people were moral. AIDS does not naturally occur when
morality, regarding "the marriage act" is practiced.
We don't need "facts" about condom usage or failure to
make the MORAL STAND that the Church has ALWAYS held.
Saturday, September 13, 2003
As Presented by Jason Engwer
A Reply from Scott Windsor
Jason Engwer presents a challenge to those who reject the
Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura. Mr. Engwer
presents this challenge on his website. Since this is a
public challenge, primarily directed toward Catholics, I
will answer that webpage section by section.
"This is now, beloved, the second epistle that I write
Mr. Engwer begins with a quote from St. Peter, our first Pope:
unto you; and in both of them I stir up your sincere mind by
putting you in remembrance; that ye should remember the words
which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and the
commandments of the Lord and Saviour through your apostles"
- 2 Peter 3:1-2
"This is now, beloved, the second epistle that I write
Shall we then remember the words of our Lord and Savior, Jesus
Christ, who said to the same Peter, "Thou art Peter (Rock), and
upon this Rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell
shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys
of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon
earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou
shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven."
(Matt. 16:18-19) Here, a man, not a book, is given ALL
authority over the Church. Jesus doesn't grant Peter authority
over just certain things, but over "whatsoever" he binds and
"whatsoever" he looses.
Shall we also remember that similar authority is given to the
rest of the Apostles by our Lord when he said to them: "Amen
I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be
bound also in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth,
shall be loosed also in heaven." (Matt. 18:18) Again, granting
to the college of Apostles (our first bishops) a similar
authority He earlier gave to St. Peter alone. Similar, but not
identical, for there is no mention of "the keys" when He grants
the Apostles the authority to bind and loose. "The keys" is
something specially given to St. Peter.
Sola scriptura, as popularly defined by Protestants, including
Mr. Engwer, is that the Bible alone is the sole infallible
rule of faith for Christians. They claim there is no other
infallible source, ONLY the Bible is to be our infallible guide.
But nowhere in the Bible do we find this teaching! If
this were such a foundational teaching for Christians, we would
expect this to be a teaching boldly presented by Jesus and/or
the Gospel and/or Epistle writers. On the contrary, as I have
already documented above, Jesus has given infallible authority
to first Peter alone, and then a bit later to the college of
the Apostles (our first bishops). This authority is infallible
because not only is "whatsoever" they bind bound on earth, but
it is also bound in heaven. Error cannot be bound in heaven,
therefore whatsoever they bind is infallibly bound.
Further, the Apostles hold an "office" and one that must be
filled upon their passing, it is noted from Acts 1:20, 25-26:
"For it is written in the book of Psalms: Let their habitation
become desolate, and let there be none to dwell therein. And
his bishopric let another take... To take the place of this
ministry and apostleship, from which Judas hath by transgression
fallen, that he might go to his own place. And they gave them
lot, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with
the eleven apostles." So this was a "ministry" and a "bishopric"
(some translate "bishopric" to "office") an office which,
according to the Psalms, had to be filled.
The office of "Apostle" or "bishop" is not limited to just those
twelve, for later Saul, renamed to St. Paul, is ordained to the
same office and counted as an Apostle:
Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle,
Rom 11:13 For I say to you, Gentiles: As long indeed as I am the
apostle of the Gentiles,
1Co 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will
1Co 9:1 Am I not I free? Am not I an apostle?
1Co 9:2 And if unto others I be not an apostle, but yet to you I
am. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
1Co 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy
to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
2Co 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,
Gal 1:1 Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus
Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead:
Eph 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God,
Col 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God,
1Ti 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
1Ti 2:7 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher and an apostle
2Ti 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God,
2Ti 1:11 Wherein I am appointed a preacher and an apostle and
teacher of the Gentiles.
Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ
Others called Apostle:
Act 14:14 (14:13) Which, when the apostles Barnabas and Paul had heard...
Phi 2:25 But I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus,
my brother and fellow labourer and fellow soldier, but your apostle:
and he that hath ministered to my wants.
Timothy's authority is equated to Paul's by St. Paul himself:
1Co 4:17 For this cause have I sent to you Timothy, who is my dearest
son and faithful in the Lord. Who will put you in mind of my ways,
which are in Christ Jesus: as I teach every where in every church.
1Co 16:10 Now if Timothy come, see that he be with you without fear:
for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do.
And Sylvanus is mentioned equally with Timothy and "us:"
2Co 1:19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you
by us, by me and Sylvanus and Timothy, was not: It is and It is not.
But, It is, was in him.
1Th 1:1 Paul and Sylvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians:
in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ.
2Th 1:1 Paul and Sylvanus and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians.
Phi 1:1 Paul and Timothy, the servants of Jesus Christ: to all the
saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.
1Th 3:2 And we sent Timothy, our brother and the minister of God in the
gospel of Christ,
The "Office" Continues:
Rom 12:4 For as in one body we have many members, but all the members
have not the same office:
2Co 9:12 Because the administration of this office doth not only
supply the want of the saints, but aboundeth also by many thanksgivings
in the Lord.
1Ti 3:1 A faithful saying: If a man desire the office of a bishop,
he desireth good work.
There's an argument that's often used by Roman Catholics,
So, it is established that there is an office of bishop, and that office
originally held by the Apostles themselves continues in the Christian
Church. It is likewise established that along with the office of the
bishop comes authority of infallibility, either in the successor of
St. Peter alone, or in the unity of the college of bishops. Nowhere in
Scripture do we find that this authority is ended with the death of the
first Apostles (as some Protestants contend). Timothy and Syvanus taught
with the same authority as St. Paul, the Apostle. Epaphroditus is called
an apostle. The true Christian Church is one that is in valid succession
from and in valid unity with the Apostolic succession - and the
one that claims and adheres to this other infallible rule
of faith which is clearly established within the confines of the Scriptures
Eastern Orthodox, and other groups that deny sola scriptura. It's
an argument that can and should be refuted, but it usually isn't.
What I'm referring to is this, that those who adhere to sola
scriptura are criticized for the disagreements that exist among
them. Supposedly, the fact that adherents of sola scriptura
disagree with one another on some issues is evidence that
scripture must be insufficient as a rule of faith. Opponents of
sola scriptura often mention the existence of thousands of
different organizations that all claim to be following sola
scriptura, yet disagree with one another about what the Bible
teaches. Many of those who reject sola scriptura say that this
disunity is unacceptable. We need an infallible interpreter of
scripture to tell us what the Bible actually means, they say.
There's an argument that's often used by Roman Catholics,
While I would agree it is a bit unfair to compare differing groups
of Protestants which claim adherence to sola scriptura, but define
not only different parts of scripture differently, but also differ
on the very definition of sola scriptura itself. However, it is a
valid point that IF sola scriptura was enough to rule and
guide the Christian Church, then the Scriptures - "interpretting
themselves" (as some adherents contend) should present us with one,
clear, undeniable truth - yet there are undeniable differences among
Christians and even among those who claim adherence to sola scriptura.
Whereas it is not real fair to paint with such a broad brush, it is
a valid point to be raised and considered.
Often, this argument isn't even responded to. A lot of people First, they point out that the fact that some people
To make this a more fair comparison, let me ask Mr. Engwer this,
since we obviously disagree on the interpretation of Matthew 16:18,
what makes his interpretation more valid than mine? On what
authority does Mr. Engwer base his interpretation? Mine is based
in the Scripture itself and nearly 2000 years of Catholic
sacred tradition. But, if we rely on "Scripture Alone" then, when
the Scripture says that men can bind or loose things on earth and
the same things are bound or loosed in heaven - since it is totally
unfathomable for error to be bound in heaven, the Scripture itself
is defining an infallible authority in men. This does not denegrate
the infallibility of Scripture itself - but to deny the infallibility
of the Apostles and the office they held and passed down is to deny
the Scriptures. If the "Scriptures Alone" are to be our sole
infallible rule of faith, then we have to deny the Apostles
could and their successors can "bind or loose whatsoever,"
which, again, is a denial of the Scriptures themselves. Clearly,
Mr. Engwer's position is destroyed on this point alone.
who accept sola scriptura don't seem to be prepared to defend the
concept. When advocates of sola scriptura do respond to
the arguments raised against their rule of faith, however, they
usually respond in a few ways.
misinterpret the Bible isn't a problem with the Bible itself.
It's a problem with the fallible people who are interpreting the
Often, this argument isn't even responded to. A lot of people
First, they point out that the fact that some people
They also point out that the groups that oppose sola scriptura
Again, I assert, then WHO is authorized to interpret the
Scriptures to provide us with infallible definitions? Certainly
Mr. Engwer has a point that "fallible people interpretting the
Bible" may misinterpret it - but if there is no other
infallible authority then how can anyone be assured
their "teachers" and "preachers" are providing them with an
"infallible truth" - since by Mr. Engwer's own admission, NONE
of these men are infallible?
have disagreements among themselves as to how to interpret their
rule of faith. Within groups such as Anglicanism, Roman
Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy, there are liberals and
conservatives, as well as people in-between. If disagreements in
interpreting a rule of faith prove that the rule of faith is
insufficient, then there is no sufficient rule of faith. Every
rule of faith that has been proposed can be, and has been,
interpreted in different ways by different people. While it's
true that all Catholics, for example, have organizational unity,
that's because their rule of faith is inseparable from the
organization they follow. Scripture, on the other hand, is not an
organization. When opponents of sola scriptura point to the large
number of separate organizations that advocate sola scriptura,
then contrast that with the unity among the members of their
organization, they're making an invalid comparison. What they're
saying is, "Our organization has more organizational unity
than your group of organizations has." Of course it
does. One organization always has, by definition, more
organizational unity than a group of organizations has. It
couldn't be any other way. It doesn't prove much to say that
Catholics, for example, have organizational unity with one
another, whereas evangelicals don't. By definition, to be
Catholic involves belonging to the Roman Catholic denomination.
It would be impossible for Catholics not to have
organizational unity with one another. Similarly, every member of
a Baptist or Methodist denomination has organizational unity with
every other member of that organization. But within any
organization, including ones that reject sola scriptura, there
can be all sorts of disagreements among liberals, moderates, and
conservatives. It was spiritual rather than organizational unity
that Jesus and the apostles commended (Luke 9:49-50, 1
Corinthians 11:18), and the organizations that deny sola
scriptura have a lot of spiritual disunity within them, just as
there's spiritual disunity among those who practice sola
They also point out that the groups that oppose sola scriptura
Mr. Engwer has built up a strawman here. The problem with sola
scriptura is not that Catholics are more united than
those who adhere to sola scriptura. The problem is, if
sola scriptura is truly the sole infallible rule of
faith then by its very nature it should produce unity among
those that adhere to it.
The fact of the matter is, there IS more unity among the
groups Mr. Engwer mentions (Anglicans, Catholics and Eastern
Orthodoxy) in our central teachings, the Sacraments. It
is through the Sacraments that we receive Grace, and we are not
in disagreement on what we consider sacramental. Mr. Engwer
cannot claim any such unity among Protestant denominations,
especially when discussing the Sacrament of Baptism. Some
"communities" believe that baptism is absolutely necessary,
while others do not. Some demand that baptism must be by
immersion, and/or immersion in running water - others say
sprinkling is enough. Some (Protestant communities) believe
that baptism removes Original Sin, while others believe it
is only a symbol. Some (Protestant communities) believe it
is okay to baptize infants, others demand that baptism is
only valid if done with full consent of the person being
baptized and after they've reached the age of reason. All
these differences over just ONE of the Sacraments,
yet the groups that Mr. Engwer named are completely in
unity over their beliefs in baptism.
Advocates of sola scriptura also point out that their
Anglicans, Catholics and Orthodox are also united in belief in
the Real Presence in the Eucharist. They all consider marriage
the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. They all participate in the
Sacraments of Confession, Confirmation, Holy Orders and Extreme
Unction. These are things which are central to our Faith, and
we are not divided over them. So, even though Mr. Engwer tries
to use this "they are as disunited as we are" argument, his
argument is based in a false premise. Protestantism truly is
disunited in not only these core beliefs of Christianity but
also in what they consider to be essential
beliefs of fellow Christians! As I pointed out earlier, even
over the doctrine of sola scriptura there is not one
definitive statement of what it is. Yes, if we only
look at say "The Reformed Baptist" definition of sola
scriptura, there is one definition.
opponents have to rely on their own fallible interpretations,
even if they don't want to. In order to reach the conclusion that
an organization such as the Roman Catholic Church has the
authority to infallibly interpret the Bible for us, we must interpret
for ourselves the evidence that leads to that conclusion,
including what the Bible teaches. Does a Catholic want to claim
that Matthew 16 and the teachings of the church fathers prove
that the papacy is a true doctrine? How does he make such an
argument without using his own judgment to interpret
Matthew 16 and to decide which church father teachings are
accurate and which aren't? Personal, fallible interpretation is
impossible to avoid.
Advocates of sola scriptura also point out that their
While all of these arguments in defense of sola scriptura are
This part of Mr. Engwer's argumentation is merely a red herring.
Mr. Engwer asserts that somehow everyone must privately
interpret, but he doesn't give us any sort of concrete example.
The fact is we need an infallible interpreter for any
of the teachings we believe, even those from the Bible. We rely
on such an interpreter, even if we do not realize it, even Mr.
Engwer does. For example, we both believe that if we believe
and are baptized, we shall be saved. That's straight from the
Bible - but is our "personal, fallible interpretation" anymore
valid than that of an atheist or a pagan? We believe this
because it is written in the Bible, but we believe the Bible
because it is certified by the Church. The Bible did not
compile itself, it was compiled by the Church. Even the canon
of the Bible was in a state of flux for the first 400 years of
the New Testament Church - even longer if we are to accept the
Protestant canon. The fact of the matter here is, the Church
convened councils that determined the Canon of Sacred Scripture,
several of them, in fact, but most notably the Councils of
Carthage and Hippo at the end of the 4th century. Since the
time of these councils, every single Catholic Bible has had the
identical Canon of Sacred Scripture. When the Protestants
removed several books from the Old Testament Canon, the Church
responded - during the Council of Trent, making the Catholic
Canon a matter of dogma - to end all further discussion among
faithful Christians. Only those unfaithful to the Church that
Jesus Christ founded would continue to reject this canon. But,
I digress... The point here is that we all rely on the
Church, even for the most fundamental of "interpretations" of
the Scriptures. Those who accept a "different gospel" than
the one taught by Christ and continued in His Church are to be
rejected - and we must include the doctrine of sola scriptura
as a "different gospel," since it is clearly not taught
in Scripture itself nor is the terminology even heard of until
about the time of the Protestant revolt.
valid, there's another approach that can be taken, which doesn't
seem to be used much. It's true that groups such as Roman
Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy have disagreements among
themselves, just as there are disagreements among those who
adhere to sola scriptura. In that sense, we're all on equal
While all of these arguments in defense of sola scriptura are
Evangelicals agree with one another about what their rule of
"In that sense" we're not on an equal footing. As has already
been demonstrated, on fundamental issues Catholicism, Orthodoxy
and Anglicanism are quite united - but on the same fundamental
issues "Evangelicalism" cannot make the same claim.
But there's another sense in which adherents of sola
scriptura are actually at an advantage.
faith is. They follow a 66-book canon of scripture. But what
is the rule of faith among those who reject sola scriptura?
Not only do they disagree in their interpretations of their rule
of faith, as advocates of sola scriptura do, but they also
disagree among themselves about what their rule of faith is to
begin with. Catholics, for example, disagree among themselves
about just which papal decrees, council rulings, etc. are
infallible and which are not. A Catholic, an Eastern Orthodox, or
an Anglican may refer to how he follows "the church" or
"tradition", but he's unable to define just what that
is. He can't cite something comparable to the evangelical's
Evangelicals agree with one another about what their rule of
Terms such as "the church" and "tradition"
If this weren't such a serious matter, I'd have to laugh at the
way Mr. Engwer has turned this into a competition. It doesn't
matter, not one iota, if Mr. Engwer can make it appear
that "Evangelicals" have an advantage. This is not a numbers
game. What matters is what the Truth is. The
Truth is the Bible is not the sole infallible rule of
faith, for Jesus Himself gave the charism of infallibility to
men, and these men held offices which were passed on to others.
have been defined in all sorts of different ways by different
people over the centuries. And the alleged authority of "the
church" and "tradition" isn't as verifiable as the
authority of scripture.
Terms such as "the church" and "tradition"
It isn't as verifiable? Hmmm, a bit of a
Freudian slip here, perhaps?
With scripture, there's specific,
compelling evidence of infallibility (prophecy, scientific
foreknowledge, historical evidence of apostolicity, etc.).
And without the Church, the Canon of Sacred Scripture is not
debated on for nearly 400 years, nor ever decided upon,
for it take someone or something to make such a decision, and
to make it final.
is no such evidence for the infallibility of "the
church" or "tradition", at least as those terms
are often used by opponents of sola scriptura.
Oh, but there IS such evidence, and it has been provided
in this article, for those who have eyes to see and ears to
If they can't even
define what their rule of faith is, and there's no specific,
compelling evidence that their rule of faith is infallible,
whatever it is, aren't they in an even worse situation than
the evangelicals they criticize?
Again, this is not a competition nor a matter of which side
appears to be the underdog. And again, our rule of
faith is clear - "whatsoever you shall bind on earth, shall
be bound in heaven..." leaves no doubt that once one of
these men bind something, then it is bound in heaven,
and unless Mr. Engwer is willing to say error can be bound in
heaven, then he can't say there is no evidence.
(For anybody interested in
an illustration of just how bad a situation these people are in,
I recommend visiting the following web page: href="http://www.ntrmin.org/rcchallenge.htm">color="#0000FF">http://www.ntrmin.org/rcchallenge.htm.)
For anyone interested in how every single challenge raised by
Svendsen is answered, please see:
I pose this question, then, to opponents of sola scriptura.
By the way, Eric, it's been since August 31, 2002 and we're still waiting for the check (but we're not holding our breath!).
What is your rule of faith, and how can you verify it and
interpret it without facing the same difficulties that
you criticize in association with sola scriptura?
I pose this question, then, to opponents of sola scriptura.
First off, I do not accept Mr. Engwer's strawman argument. The
chief criticism of sola scriptura is not the statements
of unity, but the very fact that the doctrine of sola
scriptura is not found within the Scriptures. You do not
find a single passage of Scripture stating the Scriptures, alone,
are the sole infallible rule of faith. The argument
about unity is merely a distraction from the real issue at
Consider as well, the terminology
of sola scriptura, which is Latin, is not even heard of
until about the time of the Protestant revolution. Considering
the fact that Latin was the primary language of
nearly all the Early Church Fathers, especially those in
the Western or Latin Rite of the Church, one would
think the terminology of sola scriptura would not
only be recorded by them, but would be prevailent in a majority
the Early Church Father's writings - yet the Fathers are silent.
If one looks objectively at the fallacy, no, the lie of
sola scriptura that has worked its way into and so firmly
rooted itself into doctrine - then one must seriously question
any further acceptance of any who continue to preach this
other gospel. An objective look at this "doctrine" will
force anyone with an ounce of integrity to look elsewhere for
the Truth, for those who have been preaching sola scriptura
whether they realize it or not, have been preaching a lie.
Friday, June 20, 2003
Let Us Pray For Healing
Let us pray for healing in the Diocese of Phoenix. The scandal, the cover-up, and now the criminal act of leaving the scene of a fatal accident has ripped the Bishop from the diocese. Let us not concentrate on the past, but look to the future. Let us pray for a Bishop that will bring about true healing to all the Faithful in the Diocese of Phoenix, and beyond. Let us pray for a spirit of unity that will bring about a true ecumenism and the conversion of those not yet Catholic and the renewal of faith for those Catholics who have slipped away in recent years.
God be with us and with Rome in deciding upon a successor to the Apostolic Office now vacated.
Wednesday, June 18, 2003
O'Brien resigns; Santa Fe archbishop appointed to help troubled Phoenix diocese
Jun. 18, 2003 06:38 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The Vatican has appointed Archbishop Michael Sheehan, the leader of New Mexico's largest Catholic diocese, to help the troubled Diocese of Phoenix through its latest scandal.
The Archdiocese of Santa Fe made the announcement early Wednesday after Pope John Paul II accepted the resignation of Bishop Thomas O'Brien of Phoenix, who has been charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
Sheehan was informed of his new responsibilities during a telephone call Tuesday from Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, the Vatican's ambassador to the United States.
As apostolic administrator, Sheehan has been granted full authority over the Diocese of Phoenix until the Vatican appoints a new bishop.
Sheehan was traveling to Phoenix on Wednesday, said Celine Radigan, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. It was not immediately clear how long Sheehan would stay.
"I know he's going to spend half his time there and half his time here," she said. "Right now, we're just trying to find out details."
Sheehan, who is celebrating his 10th year with the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, will remain the archbishop of Santa Fe while assisting the church in Phoenix.
Sheehan said in a statement that his heart goes out to the clergy and Phoenix's Catholic community.
"You have suffered greatly these last few months. I hope to bring healing," he said. "God's grace will help us through this challenging time."
O'Brien, 67, was charged Tuesday after police investigating a weekend hit-and-run traced a license plate number to the bishop's car and found the windshield caved in.
The bishop told police he thought he had hit a dog or a cat or that someone had thrown a rock at his vehicle. The bishop didn't report the accident, but prosecutors say he attempted to have his windshield fixed.
Prosecutors said the charge against O'Brien wouldn't affect a landmark agreement announced two weeks ago in which the bishop relinquished some of his authority, sparing him from obstruction charges for protecting priests accused of child molestation.
O'Brien had admitted he allowed priests to work with minors after he knew of sexual misconduct allegations against them, and that he transferred them to ministries without telling their new supervisors.
The Vatican didn't give a specific reason Wednesday for O'Brien's decision to resign.
In New Mexico, Sheehan is known for his work in leading the church out of a sex abuse scandal a decade ago in which more than 200 children had been victims of pedophile priests here.
During his tenure, more than 20 priests have been removed for sexual misconduct, the archdiocese settled more than 200 claims and Sheehan established a zero-tolerance policy for offenders.
On Tuesday, more than 500 people attended a special Mass in Albuquerque to honor Sheehan for his 10 years with the archdiocese.
This week also marks Sheehan's 20th year as a bishop. He was ordained the first bishop of the diocese in Lubbock, Texas, on June 17, 1983.
Homilist Monsignor Leo Lucero said Catholics here are blessed with an energetic and hard-working leader in Sheehan. He praised the archbishop for steering "the proverbial boat over troubled waters with insight, unwavering tenacity and the courage given to only a few."
Tuesday, June 17, 2003
Can "Roe" Overturn Roe V. Wade?
The "Roe" of the landmark Roe v. Wade (search) Supreme Court decision is asking the nation's highest court to overturn its 1973 ruling that made abortion legal throughout the United States.
Click here for the story.
Pray for the end to legalized abortion.
Monday, June 16, 2003
More Trouble for Bishop O'Brien
Bishop allegedly involved in fatal hit-and-run accident
By NEWS CHANNEL 3 / azfamily.com Staff
PHOENIX -- Bishop Thomas O'Brien, already embroiled in a sex abuse scandal that accuses him of covering up allegations involving priests, was reportedly involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident.
The accident reportedly involved a pedestrian and two cars near 19th and Glendale avenues around 8:36 p.m. Saturday. Jim Reed, 43, died in the accident.
Bishop Thomas O'Brien opens his car door for Phoenix police investigators.
Phoenix police are reportedly serving search warrants Monday at O'Brien's home near First and Northern avenues. O'Brien was reportedly at his home when police arrived.
Sources tell NEWS CHANNEL 3 that O'Brien was behind the wheel when the accident occurred.
Police spokeswoman Sgt. Lauri Williams told NEWS CHANNEL 3 that witnesses provided police with a license plate number, leading them to O'Brien's home.
Williams said the bishop is talking to investigators and has been cooperative. Williams added that the bishop has remained calm.
According to Williams, the bishop has told investigators that he was driving in the area Saturday night and that he is the only one who drives the car.
Williams said there is damage to the front right side of the bishop's car and said investigators believe the car was involved in Saturday night's accident.
The accident occurred when a man was crossing a west Phoenix street in midblock and was struck by an eastbound vehicle, Williams said. A second vehicle also struck the man. Williams said both drivers failed to stop.
Williams said the Phoenix Police Department is working with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.
The bishop had reportedly just finished conducting confirmation services Saturday night and was on his way to sister's house.
There has been no comment from the bishop.
Victim's family "greatly saddened"
Janice Acothley, the victim's sister, told NEWS CHANNEL 3 Monday that her family is "deeply and greatly saddened by our loss."
Phoenix police investigators stand outside the home of Phoenix Bishop Thomas O'Brien.
Acothley said she "can't believe that a bishop would do this" and said her family wants "justice to be served."
Acothley said her brother, the oldest of nine siblings and the father of four children, was not in a crosswalk Saturday night when he was walking alone.
O'Brien, head of the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, recently had a war of words with Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley over an agreement that O'Brien signed, ending the county attorney's sex abuse investigation into the church.
Romley said by signing the agreement, O'Brien acknowledged his part in covering up allegations of sex abuse by priests and agreed to surrender some of his authority.
However, O'Brien contradicted Romley and said he did not commit a crime because the allegations revealed by Romley date back to the '70s when he was not a bishop.
Friday, June 13, 2003
Bishop O'Brien Responds
Bishop O'Brien's Pastoral Letter to Parishioners
June 7, 8, 2003
My Dearly Beloved in Christ,
This has been a painful and stressful week for our Church, and me personally.
Although I am a Bishop, with a calling from the Church, I am still a human being with emotions like anyone else. I would never want to pretend that my pain in any way super-cedes that of those who have been victimized by sexual abuse, particularly those who have been abused by priests.
I know many of you have questions because there have been conflicting news reports and that is due � in part � to the fact many do not understand our faith, church law and how the Roman Catholic Church serves people.
I know you have heard my many apologies to the victims of child abuse. I believe I can never apologize enough, and being sorry is not enough for those who have been harmed so terribly.
Do I feel responsible?
Yes. As the Bishop, whether or not I had only legal responsibility, the hurt and sorrow for any harm caused by priests or diocesan personnel is mine to shoulder.
You also know as Bishop I am the only one, based on church law, who can remove a priest from ministry or authorize a transfer to another parish.
I act on the recommendations of the Priest Personnel Board, which each year reviews priests� assignments. In the times when I�ve had difficult decisions to make, I made those transfers after spending much time in prayer. I felt in my heart that I had made the right decision and know that God knows I never moved a priest to hide his past sins or to endanger children.
When I became your Bishop, I had never heard the word pedophilia. I, like others, didn�t understand it was an incurable sickness.
I learned � just as law enforcement and health professionals � in the worst way by having to face the reality that our learning curve may have come at the expense of innocent children.
Wherever I have failed or misjudged, though unintentionally, I must acknowledge my mistake and I must carry the wounds of those who were harmed. I ask God, victims of sexual abuse and you, faithful Catholics, to forgive my imperfections.
As church, we have a common goal with the civil authorities to protect people. As church, we have the additional responsibility to nurture and protect their spiritual as well as their physical well-being.
The Catholic Church of Phoenix and Maricopa County Attorney�s Office want the same thing � to ensure that not only is this Diocese doing everything it can to provide a safe environment for Catholic children but for our community as a whole.
I promise you that I will never forget the past for it will remain my driving force toward the future.
I have been Bishop for two decades. I have committed my life to your service.
St. Paul calls us to be ministers of reconciliation. I assure you I want that above all else.
I believe we are taking creative and bold steps.
I ask for your prayers. As we celebrate Pentecost, I beg from God an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Faithfully Yours In Christ,
Most Rev. Bishop Thomas J. O�Brien
Bishop of Phoenix
Original article from the Diocese of Phoenix:
Press Release and Agreement between Bishop O'Brien and Rick Romley, Maricopa County Attorney:
Monday, June 02, 2003
New Email List!
We have a new email list that is not dedicated to apologetics, but any topic(s) that are of interest to Catholics, or a more open channel for those who want to discuss other issues of Catholicism that are not directly apologetic in nature. It is called "Catholic Debate Forum" and to join, just send an email to: email@example.com and you will be part of the new list. New members are moderated for a time to make sure we don't have spammers. Once we're relatively sure of this, moderation is removed.
Bishop admits to sexual abuse cover-up; 6 more indicted
Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien signed an agreement with the county attorney.
Bill Hart and Joseph A. Reaves
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 2, 2003 12:12 PM
Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley announced Monday that Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien has admitted a years-long cover-up of sexual abuse by priests. Romley also announced the indictments of six present and former Arizona priests for sexual misconduct with children.
O'Brien acknowledged in an agreement with Romley that he covered up allegations of sexual abuse by priests for decades and will relinquish some of his power as head of the Phoenix Diocese to avoid possible criminal indictment.
Romley said he could have indicted O'Brien but concluded that reaching the settlement with the bishop and the Phoenix Diocese was a better option.
"I do believe there was sufficient evidence to indict Bishop Thomas O'Brien for obstruction of justice," Romley said. He said the penalty on conviction would likely have ranged from probation to a 2.5-year prison sentence, plus possibly a fine.
O'Brien did want to resign as bishop, Romley said, but the Pope's representative in Washington, D.C., denied O'Brien permission to do so. Romley, who said he was "shocked" by that development, said O'Brien would likely have remained bishop even if charges were brought against him.
"I chose not to go that (prosecution) route, and it's a fair debate," Romley said. "It's not an easy call. But my primary consideration in this entire investigation is that I must assure that the abuse of innocent children stops, and to make sure that it never happens again."
O'Brien could not be immediately reached for comment. He scheduled a news conference for Monday night
The six men whose indictments were announced Monday - all for sexual conduct with a minor and other charges - are:
� The Rev. Joseph Briceno, believed to be in Mexico.
� The Rev. Patrick Colleary, believed to be in Ireland, whose case was already dismissed once for legal reasons.
� The Rev. Paul LeBrun, who served in Avondale and Tolleson, and has been arrested in Indiana.
� The Rev. Karl LeClaire, who served in Mesa.
� Lawrence Lovell, a former priest from Yavapai County.
� The Rev. Henry Perez, now deceased.
Romley said his office was also still investigating two other priests and he would be asking the Vatican to order to Colleary and Briceno to turn themselves in voluntarily to authorities. Otherwise, he said, the investigation is closed.
Romley said his yearlong investigation that looked at conduct of 45 priests and 25 other employees of the diocese. He called it "a very difficult investigation in many different ways," including the efforts to persuade victims to speak.
O'Brien's dramatic admission and his decision to surrender some authority came in a five-page agreement the bishop signed last month when Romley threatened to bring him before a grand jury. The agreement was made public by Romley on Monday.
The legally binding document is one of the most candid confessions by any bishop in the country that official church policy endangered children and allowed some priests to continue molesting minors long after their sexual histories were known.
O'Brien signed the agreement twice in the presence of his lawyers, acknowledging his actions both as an individual and as head of the Phoenix Diocese.
Other features of the agreement include:
� O'Brien will appoint a moderator of the Curia, a sort of "chief of staff," to handle issues concerning sexual misconduct policy
� The diocese will create a youth protection advocate not subject to O'Brien's authority to ensure that all personnel observe the policy on sexual misconduct
� The diocese will pay $300,000 to the county attorney's victims' fund and spend another $300,000 for its own counseling of victims.
� The diocese will create an independent three-person victim assistance panel and provide counseling costs up to $50,000 for each credible victim who comes forward.
In December, O'Brien revealed that at least 50 priests, former priests and church employees had been accused of sexual misconduct with children in the Phoenix Diocese during the past three decades. He declined to identify many of them and denied their actions were covered up.
The agreement O'Brien signed details 14 concessions by the bishop and the diocese, including a pledge to revamp the church hierarchy in Phoenix and provisions for significant financial settlements.
Central to the agreement is an 82-word statement by O'Brien that he knowingly let priests accused of sexual misconduct work with children and that he transferred clergy accused of abuse without telling their superiors or parishioners about the allegations.
Both admissions contrast with repeated denials and assurances by O'Brien.
"No one in this diocese who commits crimes against youths will be protected by the church," O'Brien said at a news conference June 21, when he vowed to "lead the nation" in cleaning up the sex abuse scandal.
Four and a half months later, on Nov. 8, he repeated his vow in a letter read to the faithful in all 89 parishes of the diocese.
"As long as I am your bishop, I will not tolerate any kind of sexual molestation or assault - whether with a child or an adult - by clergy or diocesan employees. I will not alter my commitment to you to provide the safest and most secure environment possible for our children."
Sources close to O'Brien said the bishop offered to resign before signing the sex abuse statement and discussed the possibility with his advisers and Apostolic Nuncio Gabriel Montalvo, the pope's representative in Washington. Only the pope can accept a bishop's resignation.
The Vatican refused to allow O'Brien to step down, the sources said, for fear that such a move would create the impression the church was yielding to pressure from civil authorities and disgruntled faithful.
Last year, the Vatican refused to accept the resignation of embattled Boston Cardinal Bernard Law for similar reasons. Pope John Paul II later relented and accepted Law's resignation Dec. 13.
The agreement O'Brien signed guarantees him immunity from prosecution for any criminal cover-up or for failing to report sexual abuse by priests he supervised.
But Romley reserved the right to bring charges against individual priests accused of sexual misconduct, including O'Brien himself if the bishop ever faced allegations of personal, direct involvement in criminal sexual activity.
In what may be a signal that Romley intends to aggressively pursue sex offenders within the church, his office issued a warrant late last week for a former priest who worked in the West Valley from 1986 to 1993.
The Rev. Paul LeBrun was arrested Friday near the University of Notre Dame campus at a mission house where he had been living since having his privileges to serve as a priest removed two years ago. Two men who said they were abused as boys by LeBrun in Arizona cooperated this year with investigators.
Romley refused to comment on LeBrun's arrest, but the former priest's attorney and the head of his religious order confirmed that he was awaiting extradition to Maricopa County on felony sex charges.
LeBrun transferred to Arizona with O'Brien's permission in 1986 and worked with children at St. John Vianney parish in Goodyear.
He later was youth minister at Blessed Sacrament in Tolleson before returning to Indiana.
Under the agreement O'Brien signed, he will surrender some of his authority to three newly appointed officials.
The bishop agreed to give up power to deal with sex abuse allegations by clergy in the diocese. If he breaches that promise, he can be prosecuted.
A new independent special advocate will handle sexual misconduct complaints with the help of a new diocesan attorney, who replaces the bishop's longtime legal adviser, Greg Leisse, on those cases.
O'Brien also agreed to appoint a moderator of the Curia, the ecclesiastic equivalent of a chief of staff, who will oversee day-to-day administration of the diocese.
The position is optional, but traditionally the vicar general of a diocese becomes moderator of the Curia if one is appointed.
The Phoenix Diocese has two vicars general, Monsignors Richard W. Moyer and Dale J. Fushek. Moyer is chief financial officer for the diocese and most likely to get the new post since Fushek acknowledged last year that he paid $45,000 to settle a sexual harassment claim filed by a male parishioner.
Under the agreement, O'Brien remains titular head of the Phoenix church he has led since November 1981 but will hold diminished powers until he reaches retirement or steps down for health reasons.
Mandatory retirement age for bishops is 75, though the Vatican has approved early retirement requests from bishops who are at least 70. O'Brien is 67.
Friends and aides say O'Brien's health has suffered considerably during the past year in which he and the diocese faced ongoing criminal investigations, several civil lawsuits and intense media scrutiny.
Seven Catholic bishops across the United States have resigned since allegations of sexual abuse by priests and claims of cover-up by senior church leaders began making national headlines in early 2002.
Two of the bishops who resigned were accused of sexually abusing minors.
Two others acknowledged they had sexual relations with male or female adults. And the other three, including 71-year-old Cardinal Law, were at or near retirement age when the pope allowed them to resign amid harsh criticism of their handling of sex abuse allegations.
Bishop Manuel D. Moreno of Tucson, a close friend of O'Brien, was one of the seven who stepped down. He resigned in March at age 72, citing serious health issues, including prostate problems and the onset of Parkinson's disease.
The way to Moreno's retirement was cleared 17 months earlier when the Tucson Diocese faced a series of sexual abuse lawsuits and the Vatican named co-adjutor bishop to work with him.
A co-adjutor is a bishop-in-waiting with guaranteed rights of succession.
Two of Arizona's most prominent attorneys, both Catholic, tried late last year to persuade the Phoenix Diocese to begin a similar power transition by requesting a co-adjutor to work with O'Brien.
Ernest Calderon, president of the Arizona Bar Association, and Michael C. Manning, who represented O'Brien and the diocese for several months, said they were rebuffed by the church when they suggested the co-adjutor option.
The alternative of appointing a moderator of the Curia in Phoenix, rather than a co-adjutor, emerged during prolonged discussions earlier this year. An important difference is that a moderator of the Curia works for, and with, the bishop rather than as a co-equal who will eventually succeed him.
O'Brien's admissions and his decision to revamp the power structure of the diocese were a direct result of pressure from a yearlong criminal investigation that Romley began May 30, 2002.
Several grand juries were empanelled during that investigation. So far, only two men - a priest and a former priest - have been indicted on charges of sexual misconduct with minors that occurred decades ago.
The indictment against the priest was dropped because the statute of limitations on the charges had expired, while the former priest was sentenced to 22 months in prison and cooperated with the grand jury investigations of the church.
Since 1985, three others priests - George Bredemann, Mark Lehman and Joseph Marcel Lessard - have been sentenced to prison or jail time for sex-related offenses. Another 19 of the more than 700 priests who have worked in the Phoenix Diocese since its founding Dec. 9, 1969, have been arrested, suspended from public ministry or named in lawsuits for sex-related offenses.
At a news conference Dec. 13, Romley hinted the pace and scope of his cover-up investigation might be influenced if O'Brien removed himself as head of the Phoenix Diocese.
"That would provide an opportunity for the church to move on and put this issue behind it," Romley said. "That would be a factor that I consider very heavily when I try to weigh the endgame to all of this."
At the same time, Romley was adamant in December that whatever happened with any conspiracy investigation, he intended to aggressively prosecute individual priests or church employees accused of personal misconduct. Nothing he has said since would indicate a change of mind. In fact, the arrest of LeBrun during the weekend seemed a clear signal that Romley's investigations were continuing.
O'Brien isn't the first bishop in the country to acknowledge covering up sexual misconduct by priests under his supervision, but his statement was particularly blunt.
Boston's Cardinal Law admitted he transferred priests with known histories of sexual abuse to new parishes where they continued their abuse. But Law's admission came in court records that were sealed before a Massachusetts judge finally ordered them released.
The closest thing to O'Brien's candid admission came in December when Bishop John B. McCormack of the Roman Catholic Diocese of New Hampshire avoided indictment by signing a statement accepting "responsibility for failures in our system that contributed to the endangerment of children."
While the deal O'Brien signed with Romley ends any threat that he could be indicted for obstructing justice or conspiring to protect priests, legal experts say his admissions could affect current and future civil suits against the diocese.
O'Brien said in December that the diocese had paid less than $2 million to settle sex abuse claims against priests and church employees during the past 20 years. But at least three pending lawsuits accuse the bishop of failing to protect children who were victimized by abusive priests.
The Tucson Diocese last year paid $14 million to settle 11 lawsuits brought by 16 defendants who claimed they were abused by priests. A key element of those suits were claims that two Tucson bishops knew of the priests' behavior and failed to take proper action.
Similar claims against bishops and abusive priests have led to even greater settlements against the church across the country.
In an article headlined "Sex, Greed & God," Forbes magazine reports in its June 9 editions that "the church's legal problems are worse even than most people realize." The article says that $1 billion in damages have been paid out for victims of pedophile priests and indications are "the total will approach $5 billion before the crisis is over."
Sunday, May 11, 2003
Do We Stand For False Ecumenism?
Vatican Message to Buddhists for Feast of Vesakh 2003
"By Persevering in Prayer We Will Contribute to Advancing Peace"
VATICAN CITY, MAY 9, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is the message sent by the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, to Buddhists on the feast of Vesakh.
* * *
Dear Buddhist Friends,
1. As the new President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the office of His Holiness the Pope for relations with people of different religious traditions, I wish to greet you and send this congratulatory message on the occasion of the feast of Vesakh. This gesture of friendship, initiated in 1995 by my predecessor Cardinal Francis Arinze, has almost become a tradition. I wish to continue this good tradition and express my hearty congratulations to each and every one of you.
2. In this message, I would like to invite you, my dear Buddhist friends, to join in prayer for the cause of peace in the world. Observing the current international situation, we cannot but be aware of the acuteness of the question of peace in our world. Since the beginning of this new Millennium, marked by the dramatic events of 11 September 2001, we witness every day fresh scenes of bloodshed, violence, confrontation, and crisis in almost all parts of the world. In the midst of this grave situation, we cannot lead our lives without committing ourselves to advancing the cause of peace in the world.
3. We Christians and Buddhists are convinced that the origin of all conflict is ultimately located in human hearts characterized by selfish desire, specifically by desire for power, domination and wealth often at the expense of others. It is also our common conviction that peace must inhabit people's hearts before it can become a social reality. For us, therefore, the most fundamental and efficient way to advance peace is to do our best to see that the deep-rooted selfishness of human hearts is overcome, so that people may be transformed into true artisans of peace.
4. Pope John Paul II has proclaimed the year from October 2002 to October 2003 the Year of the Rosary of the Virgin Mary. He has earnestly encouraged the frequent recitation of the Rosary in order to pray for peace in the world. His wish to revive the practice of the Rosary is closely connected with the present historical circumstances, which need more than ever constant supplication for the great gift of peace.
5. My Buddhists friends, is it not a wonderful coincidence that you also have a lengthy tradition of using the Mala for prayer? The Rosary for Catholics and the Mala for Buddhists are simple yet profound and meaningful prayer, despite essential differences in their form and content, based on our distinct doctrines and practices. For Catholics, the Rosary represents a most effective means of fostering contemplation of Jesus Christ. For Buddhists, the Mala is used to overcome the 108 sinful desires in order to reach the state of Nirvana. By virtue of their meditative character, these two prayers have in common a calming effect on those who pray them; they lead them to experience and to work for peace, and they produce fruits of love. For Catholics, the repetition and meditation of the holy names of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity and the Virgin Mary in the recitation of the Rosary makes us more willing to assimilate their love and compassion for others, especially for the poor and afflicted. In your Buddhist tradition, praying the Mala helps one to become a peacemaker.
6. Dear Buddhist friends, these are the thoughts I wish to share with you this year. I am convinced that by persevering in prayer we will contribute to advancing peace in the world both now and in the future. May this peace be with you and your families on the feast of Vesakh and at all times.
Archbishop Michael L. Fitzgerald,
Should faithful Catholics be a bit concerned over this document? What we see here is a prime case of false ecumenism. Catholics should be all for striving for unity, but it must be a true unity. The biggest problem we should have with this document is that it is promoting prayer to pagan gods. The document also presents some Catholic truths, but then equivocates true prayers to the One True God with the Mala. It also equivocates the Rosary's contemplation of Jesus Christ with the Mala's use to overcome the 108 sinful desires to reach the state of Nirvana. There can be no comparison to meditation on Jesus Christ to the self-serving motives to reach a false state of Nirvana. Strong words are used here to drive a point home - we, as Catholics, should not be promoting pagan prayer.
Now, what could this document have done different? Let us not just complain without suggesting a proper solution. Let us acknowledge the Buddhist desire for peace. We can even acknowledge their motives behind the Mala, but we should also include the Way, the Truth and the Life. True Nirvana is the paradise of heaven. The way to heaven is not merely through self-improvement, but through Jesus Christ - our God who became Man in order to take our place and our deserved condemnation. Jesus Christ defeated sin and death and became our Redemption. If we accept this and believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, and following what He has commanded - then we shall be made coheirs with Him and have our share in the true Nirvana - heaven. Would it not be better to encourage the Buddhist with their desires for peace and happiness and point them to the true happiness?
What can we do? We can be aware that such documents have been coming from the Vatican, and we can express our concerns in whichever ways we can. We must remain respectful of our elders, but is it respectful to go along with whatever they say when what they say we perceive as wrong? If we truly have respect for them, we will stand up for what is right and hope they will join us.
This Vesakh letter is not the first, there's quite a history of them. Let us take note and be noticed. We want true ecumenism that brings people to true unity in Christ. We do not want to promote prayers to pagan gods.
2003 Vesakh Letter
2002 Vesakh Letter
2001 Vesakh Letter
1999 Vesakh Letter
Wednesday, May 07, 2003
Scott Responds to the CAI and JM Apologies
AND Some of the Reactions to Them
Jacob Michael (hereafter JM) posted his apology, publicly on the NTRMin discussion board. We have a copy of that apology available on this blog as well. JM's apology was well received by the folks at NTRMin, so well that I was pleased I was wearing boots at the time I read it! Personally, I did not think JM's apology went far enough in exposing some of the details that Michael Roberts, aka RW^, aka Mr. X (hereafter MR), had used - including exposing, to remove any doubt that remained (I still had several people coming to the #CathApol Chatroom asking me who "Mr. X" was. I spoke to JM and he said he knew Robert Sungenis (hereafter RS) would be doing that and didn't want to steal RS's thunder. Well, I accepted that and awaited the forecoming apology from RS.
Later, RS of Catholic Apologetics International (CAI) issued an apology from CAI as well. After reading this apology, I was actually pleased that more of the details were "outed" and especially that RS had confirmed the identity of MR. This is something I have been "sitting on" for over two years now, because I had given my word to not say anything about Michael Roberts converting, nor the file that he sent me that was a pre-released transcript from one of the volumes of the King/Webster publication, (Mr. King acknowledged that this file was indeed from the book, though it was not the final form).
What caught me a bit off-guard was I went to read on NTRMin's board and found little, if any, acceptance of RS's apology - and even more criticism, so I went back and reread RS's apology. Now, I'll grant you, some of the criticism is merited. I don't believe RS needed to say everything he said, specifically, he didn't need to justify why that article was posted to CAI in his absence, or permitted to stay after he returned - that's not the point. The point was that false information had been posted, and the "source" of this information was now avoiding all contact, so now the position of CAI was to consider ALL that information as false - and that WAS part of RS's apology!
The point I found ironic was that JM's apology is accepted, lauded, and with so many pats on the back, I'd think JM's back is getting a bit sore! Then, when RS posted an apology he faced almost NO acceptance, and seemingly even MORE criticism than the original article raised! We saw a gracious acceptance of JM and a vitrolic rejection of RS. Now, I'm a Catholic - but I'm not "for" or "against" either JM or RS, and as a somewhat neutral observer here - who did have some involvement in this incident, I believe there's something deeper going on here that the folks on the NTRMin message board are holding in. Now, I agree that more was said by RS than needed to be, and that could be pointed out to him - but to question the sincerity of the apology? Well, in Christian charity, I'd caution everyone from judging RS's motives. Let's accept the CAI apology for the posting of false information, THEN if there's further concerns, raise them - later - but let the apology stand.
American Catholic Truth Society - ACTS
Monday, May 05, 2003
THE CATHOLIC HERALD has a talented team of reporters who write about the main news and current affairs affecting Catholics in England and Wales
In this week's edition: -
Pope prepares to lift restrictions on Tridentine Mass
English bishops request secret report from Latin Mass Society
By Simon Caldwell
The Pope might soon allow the world's Catholic priests the right to celebrate the old rite Latin Mass on Sundays and holy days without the permission of their bishops, according to sources close to the Vatican.
John Paul II is understood to be ready to grant a "universal indult" by the end of the year to permit all priests to choose freely between the celebration of Mass in the so-called Tridentine rite used up to 1962 - before the disciplinary reforms of the Second Vatican Council - and the novus ordo Mass used after 1970.
It will mean that a priest who wants to celebrate old rite Masses will no longer need to apply for an indult to Ecclesia Dei, a pontifical commission set up to study the implications of the Lefebvrist schism, after first gaining permission from his bishop.
The indult may be announced as part of the publication of forthcoming juridical notes on Ecclesia de Eucharistia, the new encyclical on the Eucharist, published on Holy Thursday, in which the Pope affirmed the Church's traditional teaching of the sacrificial nature of the Mass.
It might also be announced at the Basilica of St Mary Major in Rome on May 24, when Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the Prefect for the Congregation of the Clergy and the president of Ecclesia Dei, becomes the first cardinal prefect to celebrate an old rite Mass in a main Roman basilica for 30 years. Organised by the Latin Mass movement, Una Voce, the event is one of many indications that Rome is dropping restrictions on the celebration of the old rite.
Last month, the Holy Father, who celebrated a Tridentine Mass last summer, published a command called Rescriptum ex Audientia to authorise the celebration of the old rite Mass in St Peter's Basilica, Rome, by any priest who possessed an indult.
The Vatican also asked the Scottish bishops, ahead of their five-yearly ad limina visit to Rome in March, to reveal what provisions they made for the celebration of the old rite Mass in their dioceses. Since the meeting, the Scottish bishops have stepped up their provision from just four a year in the whole of the country to at least one a month in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The same requests have been made in a questionnaire to the English and Welsh bishops, whose next ad limina visit to Rome will take place in the autumn. The bishops have invited the Latin Mass Society (LMS), set up to promote the practice of the old rite, to submit a report on the provision of the Tridentine Mass ahead of their low week meeting in London this week when they were scheduled to discuss the issue.
John Medlin, LMS development officer, confirmed that a "full document" had been circulated to the bishops but refused to discuss its contents.
The Mr. X Saga - Conclusion?
Well, CAI (Catholic Apologetics International - Robert Sungenis) has now also offered their apology of the events that led to the posting of information from "Mr. X." Robert has given permission for that apology to be posted here:
CAI Apology: The Case of Michael Roberts
In the last week, a series of regrettable events have transpired which resulted from CAI's interaction with an individual named "Michael Roberts."
My first contact with Mr. Roberts occurred a few months ago. While I was on the Internet, Mr. Roberts sent me an Instant Message in which he claimed that he wanted to help CAI expose "fraudulent" material contained in David King's and William Webster's three volume work on Sola Scriptura. I asked Mr. Roberts what precisely King and Webster did that was so alarming. He claimed that they had seriously mishandled quotes from the Fathers, re-translating certain portions and leaving out other portions that were not favorable to their position.
Since I had had this same experience with certain Protestant apologists (many of whom I name and critique in my book Not By Scripture Alone, including William Webster), and moreover, since I had already done some critical work on King and Webster's books and found many patristic quotes that were indeed seriously compromised (my work on this issue will be soon forthcoming), I thought it plausible that Mr. Roberts was privy to some worthwhile information. I thus told him to do his research and get back to me. I discussed the IM message from Mr. Roberts with CAI staff apologist, Jacob Michael, and thus we were both waiting for Mr. Roberts to contact us again, but he never did.
Recently, while I was away debating a Protestant apologist, Mr. Michael wrote and posted an article for the purpose of rebutting a fictional dialogue created by this same Protestant apologist. In the lengthy rebuttal, Mr. Michael offhandly referred to two relatively minor claims that Mr. Roberts had previously made to me regarding his relationship and work with Mr. King (e.g., (a) that Mr. Roberts, who purported to do research for Mr. King, was converting to Catholicism; and (b) that Mr. King didn't know Latin in order to do any translating). It appears that the former was false, the latter was true. However, rather than interacting with the main points of Mr. Michael's rebuttal, this same Protestant apologist angrily focused completely on a tangential aspect of Mr. Michael's offhand comment, in particular, that Mr. King did all of his own research and never had any help with it at all. Since using research assistants is a common practice among writers, Mr. Michael was somewhat shocked and intimidated by the intensity and focus of this Protestant apologist's complaint. Consequently, he rushed to contact Mr. Roberts for further corroboration. Since Mr. Michael remembered his screen name from his initial IM correspondence with me a few months ago, he was able to contact him.
Mr. Michael completed an interview with Mr. Roberts on 4-21-03. In the interview, Mr. Roberts embellished his accusations and allegations. However, since I had already confirmed to my own satisfaction Mr. Roberts' initial information about King's and Webster's mishandling of patristic quotes, when Mr. Michael ran the interview by me, I assumed that Mr. Roberts was a credible witness. Although we still had some questions about him and his information, CAI accepted his additional claims enough to post them on the website in Mr. Michael�s interview article.
As soon as the interview was posted, we received a couple of strenuous objections from individuals other than Webster and King. To address their objections, CAI did a further investigation into the additional claims of Mr. Roberts. We made calls to various phone numbers that Mr. Roberts gave us in the interview. The numbers and addresses were in New York. We reached both numbers, but no one by the name of Michael Roberts could be located, or at the least, admitted to being Michael Roberts.
Hence, CAI cannot substantiate any of the additional claims made by Mr. Roberts, and thus I am forced to judge them as false, and am happy to do so.
In particular, in the interview of 4-21-03, Michael Roberts claimed that he paid huge sums of money to Mr. King and Mr. Webster towards publication of their three volume work on Sola Scriptura. He also claimed that he was their "research assistant," and was involved in a multi-line conversation with Webster, Andy Anderson, Richard Pierce and Colin Smith, discussing the material that was going to be published in the book. In the alleged conference call, Mr. Roberts said that William Webster asserted he was going to purposely alter quotes from the Fathers to his own advantage.
Although it is clear that Mr. Roberts has indeed interacted with these individuals in the past, Mr. Roberts has refused to supply proof of his alleged donations or proof of the alleged "conference call." As such, we must consider these claims false, and thus we owe Mr. King, Mr. Webster, Mr. Pierce, and Mr. Smith an apology, and I am forthwith making that apology to them now on behalf of all of us at CAI.
Why Mr. Roberts, or someone posing as Mr. Roberts, would make up these particular false allegations, we do not know. He seems to get some macabre satisfaction out of pitting one side against the other. Whatever his (or the person posing as Michael Roberts) motives, he has caused undue harm to both the above-named individuals and CAI. If anyone knows how to contact Michael Roberts, or where he lives, please forward that information to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will contact the proper legal authorities to take care of the matter.
We at CAI fully acknowledge our error. In fact, as Mr. Michael has already indicated to the parties involved, he has chosen to take a hiatus from apologetics, since he feels very badly for what his comments in the original articles have spawned. As for the interview itself, unfortunately, there was a mishap in our protocol and thus it did not pass through our new personnel director before it was posted - a volunteer I had recently asked to edit articles with respect to these kinds of issues.
Finally, we want all concerned to know that we do take these things very seriously. Without sufficient corroboration, any information, especially in these kinds of sensitive areas, is as good as false. We have all learned our lesson, and we hope that Mr. King and Mr. Webster, as well as Mr. Pierce and Mr. Smith, will accept our sincere apology.
In God's Grace,
Catholic Apologetics International
Well, that about settles it, or it would seem to. Michael Roberts, AKA "RW^", AKA "Mr. X" has been exposed - let us hope he does not attempt to perpetrate this on anyone else. How does one who claims to be a "Christian" turn around and deceive people like this?
Let's hope we're closing the book on this one.
Sex! Now that I have your attention...
In #Scripture on Undernet, the topic of sex and homosexuality was raised, here's a synopsis:
[21:59] <Jarus> NoWar, and unfortunately for you, there are scientific studies that have confirmed same-sex activity in dogs
[21:59] <Kozubchik> Snaily face facts, the Homosexual Act is an abomination
[22:00] <BigScott> Koz - yes and it is an unnatural act.
[22:00] <Jarus> tzip, the reality is that people will deny it regardless of how many have observed it and regardless that it has been scientifically documented
[22:01] <BigScott> "nature" only works with male/female.
[22:01] <Jarus> "nature" works with male/male, male/female, female/female
[22:01] <BigScott> Jarus, that's simply not true
[22:02] <Jarus> BigScott, it is quite simply true
[22:02] <Jarus> BigScott, Catholic notions of natural law are hypocritical to the core
[22:02] <BigScott> Jarus, male/male does not reproduce, nor does female/female - hence such a relationship is contrary to nature.
[22:02] <A_C> nature doesn't work with same sex intercourse, homosexual reality in the animal kingdom would doom the species.
[22:03] <BigScott> Jarus, let's not change the subject, just because you're losing this one.
(I said that because Jarus brought up "natural law")
[22:03] <Jarus> BigScott, that is absurd to limit sexuality to simply reproduction - you cannot have your cake and eat it to by claiming that it is unnatural and then reject all the scientific observations and evidence that homosexuality is widespread amongst a variety of species
[22:03] <Jarus> BigScott, your hypocrisy is founded in your rather flexible use of "natural".
[22:03] <BigScott> Jarus, I am talking "nature" - not what you might call "pleasure"
[22:04] <Jarus> BigScott, and I am talking nature by observing that it has been documented widely in a range of species, mammalian, reptilian, insect that such homosexual relations occur from casual interaction to pair-bonding.
[22:04] <Jarus> BigScott, you can deny all of these scientific observations and evidence all you like, but don't pretend to be appealing to nature
[22:05] <BigScott> Jarus, anecdotal "happenings" are not nature.
[22:05] <BigScott> Jarus, just because you might see "some" incidents of this in nature does not make it "natural"
[22:05] <Jarus> BigScott, your denial nothwithstanding
[22:05] <Jarus> BigScott, and just because you deny that it happens does not mean it does not exist
[22:06] <BigScott> Jarus, I do not deny that "some" have been observed - but it is still contrary to the natural act.
[22:06] <Jarus> Yves, pairbonding has been observed in a wide variety of species, even lifetime pairbonding
[22:06] <BigScott> Jarus, consider the end - if any given species were to become solely homosexual - the species would end.
[22:07] <Jarus> BigScott, LOL you are reaching for absurdities now
[22:07] <BigScott> Jarus, so homosexuality is against nature.
[22:07] <BigScott> Jarus, it's not absurd, it's taking your conclusions to an end.
[22:07] <Jarus> BigScott, homosexuality is quite compatible with a species flourishing if it remains a consistently stable proportion of species
[22:08] <Jarus> BigScott, it is quite absurd since you assume that homosexuality can overtake an entire species when all the scientific evidence contradicts your false claims
[22:08] <BigScott> Jarus, "nature" intends for the sexual act to be male/female - male/male and female/female are contrary to nature, regardless of your rationalizations
[22:08] <Jarus> BigScott, again even though homosexuality has been observed in a wide range of species, it is also a consistently minority phenomenon that is maintained, along with the flourishing of species
[22:09] <Jarus> BigScott, regardless of your rationalisations, nature intends no such end
[22:09] <BigScott> Jarus, please cite your "evidence" - I've seen such "studies" too, and it is not a widespread phenomena.
[22:10] <BigScott> Jarus, and if your "scientific studies" are honest, they admit as much upfront, even if you are not doing so here.
[22:10] <Jarus> Bruce Baghemil, Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity
[22:10] <Jarus> BigScott, actually scientific observations observe that homosexuality is quite compatible with the flourishing of species
[22:10] <BigScott> Jarus and if your "scientific studies" are honest, they admit as much upfront, even if you are not doing so here.
[22:11] <Jarus> BigScott, your prejudice and bigotry does not annul the facts of scientific observation
[22:11] <BigScott> oh, now the ad hominems
[22:11] <BigScott> I know I'm winning the argument when you start in with those.
[22:11] <Jarus> BigScott, it is a fact :-) Bigotry is the primary reason for people ignoring the mountain of scientific data and observation in this area
[22:12] <BigScott> Jarus, I'll tell you what, I'll have a look at your reference material, and get back to you... fair enough? I am quite sure I can find holes in it.
[22:12] <Jarus> BigScott, do that if you wish
[22:13] <BigScott> Jarus, I suggest that because you are becoming emotional and irrational in your responses - and I won't go that route.
[22:15] <Jarus> BigScott, don't play the emotional and irrational card :-) You were insane on this very topic not very long ago in #cathapol
[22:16] Jarus will BBL
[22:16] Jarus [jarus@Jarus.users.undernet.org] has quit IRC (Quit: "Great is Truth, and mighty above all things" (I Esdras 4:41))
[22:16] <JanHuss> Jarus: please be nice to big. He has treated me and other guests most rationally and fairly there. More so than I have been treated here by romanist ops and their apologists
I do not deny that such "occurances in nature" happen, but occurances does not make it "natural." The sex act is a natural act whose "primary" intention is to reproduce. One of the ways to make sexual reproduction successful is to make it enjoyable. Just because some animals have found a way to "enjoy sex" with the same sex does not make homosexual sex "natural."
One cannot deny that even in nature, such occurances are "abnormal." They are definitely not "the norm." If this were "normal" and whole populations of species were to participate in homosexuality - the species would cease to exist, hence "nature" demands heterosexual sex for the basic survival of the specie.
JanHuss redirects to a discussion of celibacy:
[22:12] <JanHuss> DID YOU KNOW that when a priest takes a vow of celibacy, this has nothing to do with curtailment of sexual activity such as fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and pedophilia; it simply means he cannot be married? Explanation of Catholic Morals, page 149 says it this way:
[22:12] <JanHuss> �All celibates are not chaste: celibacy is not necessarily chastity;...And one who takes the vow of Celibacy does not break it by sinning against the 6th commandment, he is true to it until he weds.�
[22:18] <BigScott> JanHuss anyway, back to your definition, I have never heard of the book you cite.
[22:19] <BigScott> anyway, here's a "common usage dictionary definition" of celibacy:
[22:19] <BigScott> Main Entry: cel�i�ba�cy
[22:19] <BigScott> Pronunciation: 'se-l&-b&-sE
[22:19] <BigScott> Function: noun
[22:19] <BigScott> Date: 1663
[22:19] <BigScott> 1 : the state of not being married
[22:19] <BigScott> 2 a : abstention from sexual intercourse b : abstention by vow from marriage
[22:21] <JanHuss> BigScott: no one doubts that is not the dictionary definition. However what is the vatikan definition is at question here. To accurately use a dictionary one would have to use one for the time when this doctrine was invented to determine the meaning of the word. But there were none. What is important then is how the vatikan defines it in its actions. Clearly they agree with what I posted
[22:29] <BigScott> JanHuss - here is a comment from the CCC on celibacy....
[22:29] <BigScott> 1599. "In the Latin Church the sacrament of Holy Orders for the presbyterate is normally conferred only on candidates who are ready to embrace celibacy freely and who publicly manifest their intention of staying CELIBATE for the love of God's kingdom and the service of men. "
[22:31] <JanHuss> BigScott: right. but what do they mean by celibate? Clearly if priests who marry are automatically excommunicated, byt perverts, and degenerates ARE NOT, IT SHOWS what the vatikan understanding ot the word is
[22:32] <BigScott> JanHuss the weakness of some officials in the vatican does not change the law.
[22:32] <JanHuss> perverts are child molesters. degenerates are priests who have sex with females
[22:33] <BigScott> JanHuss and a priest who marries is not automatically excommunicated. Please cite the canon law that states so, or retract.
[22:33] <JanHuss> BigScott: sure, but not right now. I am bored with talking about pervert priests
[22:33] <BigScott> JanHuss breaking one's vow of celibacy is not an excommucatable offence... it is a sin, but not one that one is automatically forced out by.
[22:34] <BigScott> JanHuss OK, so you concede the argument. Thanks.
[22:34] JanHuss [CC500@lsanca1-ar16-4-47-060-079.lsanca1.dsl-verizon.net] has left #scripture
...Priest does not break vow of chastity by-adultery (Explanation of Catholic Morals, p. 149). "All celibates are not chaste . . . one who takes the vow of celibacy does not break it by sinning against the sixth commandment; he is true to it till he weds."
http://www.his-church.net/roman.html (anti-Catholic site)
From CATHOLICISM AGAINST ITSELF, Lambert. "Celibates are not chaste: celibacy is not necessarily chastity; by a large majority. Unless something other that selfishness suggests this choice of life, the word is apt to be a misnomer for profligacy, and one who takes the vow of celibacy does not break it by sinning against the sixth commandment. He is true to it until he weds. (EXPLANATION OF CATHOLIC MORALS, p. 149)"
http://associate.com/ministry_files/The_Reading_Room/False_Teaching_n_Teachers_1/Chastity.shtml (Another anti-Catholic site)
Catholicism Against Itself does exist, but if you do a search for "Explanation of Catholic Morals" on Amazon.com, you'll not find it.
So, this ellusive book entitled "Explanation of Catholic Morals" does not seem to exist in print anymore, and the ONLY places it is cited on the Internet is in anti-Catholic web pages. This is hardly a credible source of Catholic doctrine! Most of the citations I found for this book also creditted Catholicism Against Itself as the source, so, at best we're dealing with a secondary source. This is not scholarly research, but it seems our detractors have no problem resorting to such "research."