Merry Christ Mass!

Well it's HERE! It's the Christ Mass Season! Happy Holy Days! Christ Mass started with Midnight Mass on Christ Mass morning, which was last Sunday. The season lasts until the Epiphany, January 6th. This is the time of year to remember the greatest Gift we've ever received - our Redeemer and Savior was born in Bethlehem about 2000 years ago.

Let us pray for peace in the world, let us pray for peace and healing in Christ's Church - and those who have separated themselves from her. May they come to know that it is through this One Church which Jesus intended us to come to Him - for He desires that we are ONE, just as He and the Father are One.


The Reason for the Season!

Let us all pause a moment to remember the "Reason for the Season."

Advent is the time of year we wait in eager anticipation of the Christ Mass, the Christmas Season, but ultimately the reason of His coming was to go through the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Holy Week - the last week of Lent and the beginning of Eastertide. The REAL reason for the season is our salvation - which is celebrated through Easter/Eastertide. From the perspective that every Sunday is truly a "little Easter," then the Advent and Christmastide seasons have meaning all year round.

ChristMass begins with Midnight Mass, of course at midnight during the first minutes of December 25th. This is truly when we should BEGIN the celebration of ChristMass!

This season minimally lasts for twelve days - till the Epiphany, on January 6th. It is these twelve days that we should be celebrating the birth of our Lord. We say "minimally" because Christmastide really lasts at least through Candlemas (February 2nd) and in some ancient traditions, it lasts all the way through Epiphany and ends with the start of the Septuagesima Season.

Why do we celebrate in late December and early January though?
Early Christians sought to calculate the date of Christ's birth based on the idea that Old Testament prophets died either on an anniversary of their birth or of their conception. They reasoned that Jesus died on an anniversary of his conception, so the date of his birth was nine months after the date of Good Friday, either December 25 or January 6. Thus, rather than the date of Christmas being appropriated from pagans by Christians, the opposite is held to have occurred. [See Duchesne (1902) and Talley (1986).]
So, based on these calculations - it seems understandable why the ChristMass Season lasts from December 25th through January 6th or even February 2nd. This also coincides with the time frame many Orthodox celebrate ChristMass - being January 7th. Their reason for doing so on that date is because they did not recognize "the reforms of the Gregorian calendar nor the Revised Julian calendar" (ibid).

Advent is nearly over - and we eagerly await the wee hours of the morning of December 25th, and the First Mass of the day - the Christ Mass. (Noting also, that's why it has the name "Christmas" - in remembrance of the "Christ Mass").

A blessed Advent to all, and I hope your ChristMass is wonderful too!


Feeling the Love of a Beating Heart

White writes:
OK, this is just plain creepy, but then again, the listing of what Frederick had at the castle church at Wittenberg is just as creepy, just not high-tech. There is something so very non-Christian about this kind of thing you wonder how anyone with a scintilla of respect for biblical teaching could possibly find it attractive.
Hmmm, this caught my eye so I looked at the article White refers to:
WARSAW (AFP) - A Polish Dominican monk has asked the Rome clinic that treated John Paul II to give him recordings of the late pope's heartbeat, which he hopes to play to ardent Catholics at Christmas midnight mass.

For years, our hearts beat for him. Today, we want to symbolically listen to his heart," Brother Jan Gora was quoted by the Glos Wielkopolski daily as saying.

"We have taken the first steps" to obtaining recordings of the heartbeat of John Paul II, who died on April 2 in his private apartment at the Vatican, after being hospitalised at the Gemelli Clinic, he said.

If Brother Gora obtains the recording, the late Polish-born pope's heartbeat will be played back during the Agnus Dei at midnight mass in Lednica, in southwestern Poland.

Gemelli Clinic spokesperson Nicola Cerbino told Polish reporters in Rome that he was not sure the clinic even possessed such a recording.

He also said that the ultimate decision on whether to hand over any such recording, if it existed, would fall to the family of the deceased.
So what's so "non-Christian" about this? How is this contrary to "biblical teaching?" White's statements are in complete non-sequitor. The sound of a human heartbeat is quite a moving thing to hear. I remember being there with my wife throughout all her pregnancies, and the first time you hear that baby's heartbeat is one of the more memorable experiences I've ever had. Likewise, to hear the beating of Pope John Paul II's heart would remind us of his humanity, of his heartfelt love in Christlike fashion for all of humanity. This is not Edgar Alan Poe stuff, unless that's where your mind is.

Oh well...

White Has It Wrong Again

Pope Benedict XVI Continues Rome's Move to Full Inclusivism

So goes the heading on White's website. He accuses His Holiness, Benedict XVI, of "inclusivism," and alleges he's in conflict with Pope Pius IX's "Syllabus of Errors." Well, let's see. White opens with:
That low rumbling sound you've been hearing in the east is the sound of Pope Piux IX spinning in his grave (which, oddly, if the listing I saw at the Vatican is accurate, is not actually at St. Peter's) as the Roman leadership has continued moving ever farther away from his Syllabus of Errors and headlong into embracing pure inclusivism. We had noted more than once John Paul II's statements in this regard. On November 30th, Benedict XVI likewise seemed to give his approval to the viewpoint. From the official Vatican webpage we read,

In elucidating the psalm, the Pope also referred to a meditation on the subject by St. Augustine in which, he said, "the great Father of the Church introduces a surprising note: he knows that even among the inhabitants of Babylon there are people committed to peace and goodness, though without sharing the biblical faith. In the end, then, God will lead those people to the heavenly Jerusalem, rewarding them for their pure consciences."

If we look carefully at what White is quoting from the Vatican webpage, Pope Benedict is referring to something St. Augustine said! White's gripe here is not with Pope Benedict, but with St. Augustine! St. Augustine is the one saying people will be rewarded, outside the biblical faith, for their pure consciences. White in his haste to attack Catholicism seems to have overlooked the facts here, and is really attacking one of his favorite sources!

Catholic Debate Forum

Unam Sanctum - One Holy (Church)

This posting is in response to a participant on the Catholic Debate Forum whose allegation is that Unam Sanctum, especially the last sentence of it, is "evil."

Unam Sanctum:

> Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to maintain that the
> Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We believe in
> her firmly and we confess with simplicity that outside of her there
> is neither salvation nor the remission of sins, as the Spouse in the
> Canticles [Sgs 6:8] proclaims: 'One is my dove, my perfect one./
> She is the only one, the chosen of her who bore her,/' and she
> represents one sole mystical body whose Head is Christ and the
> head of Christ is God [1 Cor 11:3]. In her then is one Lord, one
> faith, one baptism [Eph 4:5]. There had been at the time of the
> deluge only one ark of Noah, prefiguring the one Church, which
> ark, having been finished to a single cubit, had only one pilot and
> guide, i.e., Noah, and we read that, outside of this ark, all that
> subsisted on the earth was destroyed.

Nothing evil here. Pope Boniface VII here is just defining WHY
we believe the Church is One. You may disagree with his opinion
here, but this is not "evil."

> We venerate this Church as one, the Lord having said by the
> mouth of the prophet: '/Deliver, O God, my soul from the
> sword and my only one from the hand of the dog/.'
> [Ps 21:20]

He again presents a case for the Church being the "one and
only" of the Lord. Still nothing "evil" here.

> He has prayed for his soul, that is for himself, heart and body;
> and this body, that is to say, the Church, He has called one
> because of the unity of the Spouse, of the faith, of the
> sacraments, and of the charity of the Church.

More of making a case for the Church being one, just as when
husband and wife are one in marriage and love. (Nothing
evil here).

> This is the tunic of the Lord, the seamless tunic, which was
> not rent but which was cast by lot [Jn 19:23- 24].

Another analogy to the unity of the Church, not being divided,
just as Jesus' tunic was not divided. (Still nothing evil).

> Therefore, of the one and only Church there is one body
> and one head, not two heads like a monster; that is, Christ
> and the Vicar of Christ, Peter and the successor of Peter,
> since the Lord speaking to Peter Himself said: '/Feed my
> sheep/' [Jn 21:17], meaning, my sheep in general, not
> these, nor those in particular, whence we understand that
> He entrusted all to him [Peter].

He gives support to the fact that a living body is one, with
only one head - not some two-headed monster. He
furthers with the fact Jesus spoke to Peter, and Peter alone
when He said "Feed My sheep," entrusting them all to
Peter. (Again, nothing "evil" here. You can disagree with
his interpretation, but what he's said is not "evil.")

> Therefore, if the Greeks or others should say that they are
> not confided to Peter and to his successors, they must
> confess not being the sheep of Christ, since Our Lord
> says in John '/there is one sheepfold and one shepherd/.'

More affirmation that the Church, or sheepfold, is to be
one. (Still nothing evil).

> We are informed by the texts of the gospels that in this
> Church and in its power are two swords; namely, the
> spiritual and the temporal. For when the Apostles say:
> '/Behold, here are two swords/' [Lk 22:38] that is to
> say, in the Church, since the Apostles were speaking,
> the Lord did not reply that there were too many, but
> sufficient. Certainly the one who denies that the
> temporal sword is in the power of Peter has not
> listened well to the word of the Lord commanding:
> '/Put up thy sword into thy scabbard/' [Mt 26:52].
> Both, therefore, are in the power of the Church, that
> is to say, the spiritual and the material sword, but the
> former is to be administered for the Church but the
> latter by the Church; the former in the hands of the
> priest; the latter by the hands of kings and soldiers,
> but at the will and sufferance of the priest.

In the ideal world, there are two swords - one is
administered FOR the Church, by kings and soldiers,
and the other is BY the Church, through priests.
The first one is material - for defending the Church
against material foes; the second is for defending the
Church against spiritual foes. Spiritual foes are
defeated by and fear the Eucharist - at the hands of
priests. (Still nothing evil here).

> However, one sword ought to be subordinated to
> the other and temporal authority, subjected to
> spiritual power. For since the Apostle said:
> '/There is no power except from God and the
> things that are, are ordained of God/'
> [Rom 13:1-2], but they would not be ordained if
> one sword were not subordinated to the other
> and if the inferior one, as it were, were not led
> upwards by the other.

More explanation of the two swords and how they work
together - not opposed to each other. (Still nothing

> For, according to the Blessed Dionysius, it is a law of
> the divinity that the lowest things reach the highest
> place by intermediaries. Then, according to the order
> of the universe, all things are not led back to order
> equally and immediately, but the lowest by the
> intermediary, and the inferior by the superior. Hence
> we must recognize the more clearly that spiritual
> power surpasses in dignity and in nobility any
> temporal power whatever, as spiritual things surpass
> the temporal.

Here we have an explanation of the "order" of things in
the universe and that is compared to the Order of God.
(Still nothing evil).

> This we see very clearly also by the payment,
> benediction, and consecration of the tithes, but the
> acceptance of power itself and by the government
> even of things. For with truth as our witness, it
> belongs to spiritual power to establish the terrestrial
> power and to pass judgement if it has not been good.

The above is an explanation of the need for spiritual things
to be above terrestrial or material things. (Still nothing

> Thus is accomplished the prophecy of Jeremias
> concerning the Church and the ecclesiastical power:
> '/Behold to-day I have placed you over nations, and
> over kingdoms/' and the rest. Therefore, if the
> terrestrial power err, it will be judged by the spiritual
> power; but if a minor spiritual power err, it will be
> judged by a superior spiritual power; but if the highest
> power of all err, it can be judged only by God, and
> not by man, according to the testimony of the Apostle:
> '/The spiritual man judgeth of all things and he
> himself is judged by no man/' [1 Cor 2:15].

This is an explanation of why the pope is not judged by
any other man on earth. The a pope is judged by God.
(Again, you might disagree here, but this statement is
not "evil").

> This authority, however, (though it has been given to
> man and is exercised by man), is not human but rather
> divine, granted to Peter by a divine word and
> reaffirmed to him (Peter) and his successors by the
> One Whom Peter confessed, the Lord saying to
> Peter himself, '/Whatsoever you shall bind on earth,
> shall be bound also in Heaven/' etc., [Mt 16:19].
> Therefore whoever resists this power thus ordained by
> God, resists the ordinance of God [Rom 13:2],

Here he explains the divine origin of Peter's authority and
that of his successors.

> ...unless he invent like Manicheus two beginnings, which
> is false and judged by us heretical, since according to
> the testimony of Moses, it is not in the beginnings but in
> the beginning that God created heaven and earth [Gen 1:1].

The analogy to one beginning and one Church. (Still
nothing "evil" here).

> Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that
> it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human
> creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.

This is just the logical conclusion of the earlier statements.
It is the dogmatic definition of this document, and based
on the premise - there is no other logical conclusion.
Since the Church is to be one - and there is one sheepfold
and one shepherd, there can be no validity to separated
churches. It is through the Church that we receive the
sacraments - especially those of Eucharist and Confession
(Reconcilliation), outside the Church neither of these
sacraments are valid. It is through these that we are
given the grace of salvation. Only priests recognized by
the successor of St. Peter to have valid orders can validly
administer these sacraments. These priests are under the
pope - so logically speaking, all the faithful are under or
subject to the pope.

In conclusion, there is nothing "evil" here - it's purely a
logical argument for the EENS (Extra Ecclesiam Nulla
Salus - Outside the Church there is No Salvation).

Catholic Church "dissing" the Bible?

> THE hierarchy of the
> Roman Catholic Church
> has published a teaching
> document instructing the
> faithful that some parts of
> the Bible are not actually
> true.
> The Catholic bishops of
> England, Wales and
> Scotland are warning their
> five million worshippers,
> as well as any others
> drawn to the study of
> scripture, that they should
> not expect "total
> accuracy" from the Bible.

First off, "the Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland" do
not make this a "teaching from the Catholic Church." Yes, they are
PART OF the Magisterium, but they are not THE Magisterium.

Second, the article/position is actually somewhat accurate in that
many parts of the Bible are figurative or even poetic, and not
intended to be a literal history lesson. That being said, many of the
verses quoted at the bottom do not fall into that category. Hence, I
detect some bias in the reporter's claims. I'd like to see the
original statements from those bishops before we can comment much

Scott Windsor
Founder of

Original article:

"Catholic Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible"

By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

THE hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has published a teaching
document instructing the faithful that some parts of the Bible are not actually

The Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland are warning
their five million worshippers, as well as any others drawn to the study of
scripture, that they should not expect "total accuracy" from the Bible.

"We should not expect to find in Scripture full scientific accuracy
or complete historical precision," they say in The Gift of Scripture.

The document is timely, coming as it does amid the rise of the
religious Right, in particular in the US.

Some Christians want a literal interpretation of the story of
creation, as told in Genesis, taught alongside Darwin's theory of evolution in
schools, believing "intelligent design" to be an equally plausible theory of how
the world began.

But the first 11 chapters of Genesis, in which two different and at
times conflicting stories of creation are told, are among those that this
country's Catholic bishops insist cannot be "historical". At most, they say,
they may contain "historical traces".

The document shows how far the Catholic Church has come since the
17th century, when Galileo was condemned as a heretic for flouting a
near-universal belief in the divine inspiration of the Bible by advocating the
Copernican view of the solar system. Only a century ago, Pope Pius X condemned
Modernist Catholic scholars who adapted historical-critical methods of analysing
ancient literature to the Bible.

In the document, the bishops acknowledge their debt to biblical
scholars. They say the Bible must be approached in the knowledge that it is
"God's word expressed in human language" and that proper acknowledgement should
be given both to the word of God and its human dimensions.

They say the Church must offer the gospel in ways "appropriate to
changing times, intelligible and attractive to our contemporaries".

The Bible is true in passages relating to human salvation, they say,
but continue: "We should not expect total accuracy from the Bible in other,
secular matters."

They go on to condemn fundamentalism for its "intransigent
intolerance" and to warn of "significant dangers" involved in a fundamentalist

"Such an approach is dangerous, for example, when people of one
nation or group see in the Bible a mandate for their own superiority, and even
consider themselves permitted by the Bible to use violence against others."

Of the notorious anti-Jewish curse in Matthew 27:25, "His blood be
on us and on our children", a passage used to justify centuries of
anti-Semitism, the bishops say these and other words must never be used again as
a pretext to treat Jewish people with contempt. Describing this passage as an
example of dramatic exaggeration, the bishops say they have had "tragic
consequences" in encouraging hatred and persecution. "The attitudes and language
of first-century quarrels between Jews and Jewish Christians should never again
be emulated in relations between Jews and Christians."

As examples of passages not to be taken literally, the bishops cite
the early chapters of Genesis, comparing them with early creation legends from
other cultures, especially from the ancient East. The bishops say it is clear
that the primary purpose of these chapters was to provide religious teaching and
that they could not be described as historical writing.

Similarly, they refute the apocalyptic prophecies of Revelation, the
last book of the Christian Bible, in which the writer describes the work of the
risen Jesus, the death of the Beast and the wedding feast of Christ the Lamb.

The bishops say: "Such symbolic language must be respected for what
it is, and is not to be interpreted literally. We should not expect to discover
in this book details about the end of the world, about how many will be saved
and about when the end will come."

In their foreword to the teaching document, the two most senior
Catholics of the land, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of
Westminster, and Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of St Andrew's and
Edinburgh, explain its context.

They say people today are searching for what is worthwhile, what has
real value, what can be trusted and what is really true.

The new teaching has been issued as part of the 40th anniversary
celebrations of Dei Verbum, the Second Vatican Council document explaining the
place of Scripture in revelation. In the past 40 years, Catholics have learnt
more than ever before to cherish the Bible. "We have rediscovered the Bible as a
precious treasure, both ancient and ever new."

A Christian charity is sending a film about the Christmas story to
every primary school in Britain after hearing of a young boy who asked his
teacher why Mary and Joseph had named their baby after a swear word. The
Breakout Trust raised £200,000 to make the 30-minute animated film, It's a Boy.
Steve Legg, head of the charity, said: "There are over 12 million children in
the UK and only 756,000 of them go to church regularly.

That leaves a staggering number who are probably not receiving basic
Christian teaching."



Genesis ii, 21-22

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while
he slept he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib
which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her
to the man

Genesis iii, 16

God said to the woman [after she was beguiled by the serpent]: "I
will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth
children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over

Matthew xxvii, 25

The words of the crowd: "His blood be on us and on our children."

Revelation xix,20

And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its
presence had worked the signs by which he deceived those who had received the
mark of the beast and those who worshipped its image. These two were thrown
alive into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone."


Exodus iii, 14

God reveals himself to Moses as: "I am who I am."

Leviticus xxvi,12

"I will be your God, and you shall be my people."

Exodus xx,1-17

The Ten Commandments

Matthew v,7

The Sermon on the Mount

Mark viii,29

Peter declares Jesus to be the Christ

Luke i

The Virgin Birth

John xx,28

Proof of bodily resurrection
(Link to article:,,13509-1811332,00.html )

Sola Scriptura (2)

Just another quick note on the subject. I have recently received "Scripture Alone" by James R. White and also the same title from R.C. Sproul. Look forward to a response!

Sola Scriptura

One of the chief premises, if not THE chief premise, of Protestantism is sola scriptura, or the teaching that the Bible alone is the sole infallible rule of faith. The fatal flaw of that teaching is the teaching itself is not found in the Bible! By it's own standard the teaching of sola scriptura is fallible, and due to the fact that it is NOT taught in Scripture, we'd have to say it's inherently flawed.

Where is this teaching first found? Let's not be satisfied with references which speak to sufficiency - because sola scriptura is not about sufficiency - rather it is about "sola."

Comments anyone?

Sola Fide?

Is sola fide a true teaching of the Church, or is it an invention of heretics in the 16th century? Does the Bible teach sola fide, or does it flat out deny it? This is one of the pillars of Protestantism - and one of the key pillars at that, but is it truth or fiction?

When we look to what the Apostle James wrote in chapter 2 verse 24, we clearly see that faith alone is flat out denied by Scripture! "You see, a man is justified by works and NOT BY faith alone." Can it get any clearer than that? If one reads this objectively, without the presuppositions of Protestantism getting in the way, then one must totally reject the concept of sola fide on the basis that the ONLY place in Scripture where the two words are used together is in flat out denial of the concept!

Your servant in JMJ,

Donate to Help Hurricane Katrina Victims

Mail Checks To:
Catholic Charities USA
2005 Hurricane Relief Fund
PO Box 25168
Alexandria, VA 22313-9788

(800) 919-9338

What can truly be used right now is cash! Send whatever you can afford to help the victimes of Hurricane Katrina which has devastated the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida (and keep in mind, it's not just New Orleans! The "direct hit" was in Mississippi). There's so much that must be done, and too much for the local communitees to do alone - it's going to take ALL of us chipping in to get these people back on their feet.

Was St. Augustine Catholic?

Was St. Augustine Catholic?

"I should not believe the Gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church."

(Against the Epistle of Manichaeus Called Fundamental, 5,6)

Catholic Understanding of the Eucharist

"That Bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God IS THE BODY OF CHRIST. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, IS THE BLOOD OF CHRIST. Through that bread and wine the Lord Christ willed to commend HIS BODY AND BLOOD, WHICH HE POURED OUT FOR US UNTO THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS." (St. Augustine, Sermons 227)

"The Lord Jesus wanted those whose eyes were held lest they should recognize him, to recognize Him in the breaking of the bread [Luke 24:16,30-35]. The faithful know what I am saying. They know Christ in the breaking of the bread. For not all bread, but only that which receives the blessing of Christ, BECOMES CHRIST'S BODY." (St. Augustine, Sermons 234:2)

"What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that THE BREAD IS THE BODY OF CHRIST AND THE CHALICE [WINE] THE BLOOD OF CHRIST." (St. Augustine, Sermons 272)

"How this ['And he was carried in his own hands'] should be understood literally of David, we cannot discover; but we can discover how it is meant of Christ. FOR CHRIST WAS CARRIED IN HIS OWN HANDS, WHEN, REFERRING TO HIS OWN BODY, HE SAID: 'THIS IS MY BODY.' FOR HE CARRIED THAT BODY IN HIS HANDS." (St. Augustine, Psalms 33:1:10)

The Priest and the Mass

"Christ is both the Priest, OFFERING Himself, and Himself the Victim. He willed that the SACRAMENTAL SIGN of this should be the daily Sacrifice of the Church, who, since the Church is His body and He the Head, learns to OFFER herself through Him." (St. Augustine, City of God 10:20)

"By those sacrifices of the Old Law, this one Sacrifice is signified, in which there is a true remission of sins; but not only is no one forbidden to take as food the Blood of this Sacrifice, rather, all who wish to possess life are exhorted to drink thereof." (St. Augustine, Questions on the Heptateuch 3:57)

"...I turn to Christ, because it is He whom I seek here; and I discover how the earth is adored without impiety, how without impiety the footstool of His feet is adored. For He received earth from earth; because flesh is from the earth, and He took flesh from the flesh of Mary. He walked here in the same flesh, AND GAVE US THE SAME FLESH TO BE EATEN UNTO SALVATION. BUT NO ONE EATS THAT FLESH UNLESS FIRST HE ADORES IT; and thus it is discovered how such a footstool of the Lord's feet is adored; AND NOT ONLY DO WE NOT SIN BY ADORING, WE DO SIN BY NOT ADORING." (St. Augustine, Psalms 98:9)

The Mass, The Eucharist and Purgatory:

"But by the prayers of the Holy Church, and by the SALVIFIC SACRIFICE, and by the alms which are given for their spirits, there is no doubt that the dead are aided that the Lord might deal more mercifully with them than their sins would deserve. FOR THE WHOLE CHURCH OBSERVES THIS PRACTICE WHICH WAS HANDED DOWN BY THE FATHERS that it prays for those who have died in the communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, when they are commemorated in their own
place in the Sacrifice itself
[part of the Mass mentions the Saints who have "gone before us"]; and the Sacrifice is OFFERED also in memory of them, on their behalf. If, the works of mercy are celebrated for the sake of those who are being remembered, who would hesitate to recommend them, on whose behalf prayers to God are not offered in vain? It is not at all to be doubted that such prayers are of profit to the dead; but for such of them as lived before their death in a way that makes it possible for these things to be useful to them after death." (St. Augustine, Sermons 172:2)

"There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for other dead who are remembered. It is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended" (Sermons 159:1 [A.D. 411]).

"Temporal punishments are suffered by some in this life only, by some after death, by 'some both here and hereafter, but all of them before that last and strictest judgment. But not all who suffer temporal punishments after death will come to eternal punishments, which are to follow after that judgment" (The City of God 21:13 [A.D. 419]).

"The prayer either of the Church herself or of pious individuals is heard on behalf of certain of the dead, but it is heard for those who, having been regenerated in Christ, did not for the rest of their life in the body do such wickedness that they might be judged unworthy of such mercy [as prayer], nor who yet lived so well that it might be supposed they have no need of such mercy [as prayer]" (ibid., 21:24:2).

"That there should be some fire even after this life is not incredible, and it can be inquired into and either be discovered or left hidden whether some of the faithful may be saved, some more slowly and some more quickly in the greater or lesser degree in which they loved the good things that perish, through a certain PURGATORIAL FIRE" (Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Charity 18:69 [A.D. 421]).

"The time which interposes between the death of a man and the final resurrection holds souls in hidden retreats, accordingly as each is deserving of rest or of hardship, in view of what it merited when it was living in the flesh. Nor can it be denied that the souls of the dead find relief through the piety of their friends and relatives who are still alive, when the Sacrifice of the Mediator [Mass] is offered for them, or when alms are given in the Church. But these things are of profit to those who, when they were alive, merited that they might afterward be able to be helped by these things. There is a certain manner of living, neither so good that there is no need of these helps after death, nor yet so wicked that these helps are of no avail after death" (ibid., 29:109).

Augustine on Mary

Mary, a disciple of Christ

"But look here, my brothers and sisters, concentrate more, I beg you, on what follows, concentrate more on what Christ the Lord said as he stretched out his hand over his disciples: This is my mother and these are my brothers; and whoever does the will of my Father who sent me, that person is a brother to me and a sister and a mother (Mt 12:49-50). Didn't the Virgin Mary do the will of the Father? I mean, she believed by faith, she conceived by faith, she was chosen to be the one from whom salvation in the very midst of the human race would be born for us, she was created by Christ before Christ was created in her. Yes, of course, holy Mary did the will of the Father. And therefore it means more for Mary to have been a disciple of Christ than to have been the mother of Christ. It means more for her, an altogether greater blessing, to have been Christ's disciple than to have been Christ's mother. That is why Mary was blessed, because even before she gave him birth, she bore her teacher in her womb.

Just see if it isn't as I say. While the Lord was passing by, performing divine miracles, with the crowds following him, a woman said: Fortunate is the womb that bore you. And how did the Lord answer, to show that good fortune is not really to be sought in mere family ties? Rather blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it (Lk 11:27-28). So that is why Mary, too, is blessed, because she heard the word of God and kept it. She kept truth safe in her mind even better than she kept flesh safe in her womb. Christ is truth, Christ is flesh; Christ as truth was in Mary's mind, Christ as flesh in Mary's womb; that which is in the mind is greater
than what is carried in the womb.

Mary is holy, Mary is blessed, but the Church is something better than the Virgin Mary. Why? Because Mary is part of the Church, a holy member, a quite exceptional member, the supremely wonderful member, but still a member of the whole body. That being so, it follows that the body is something greater than the member. The Lord is the head, and the whole Christ is head and body. How shall I put it? We have a divine head, we have God as our head." (Sermon 72/A, 7 source:

"It was not the visible sun, but its invisible Creator who consecrated this day for us, when the Virgin Mother, fertile of womb and integral in her virginity, brought him forth, made visible for us, by whom, when he was invisible, she too was created. A Virgin conceiving, a Virgin bearing, a Virgin pregnant, a Virgin bringing forth, a Virgin perpetual. Why do you wonder at this, O man?" (Sermons 186:1 [A.D. 411]

Reference to Ever Virgin Compared/Contrasted to Eve

The hoped-for day of the blessed and venerable Mary ever a Virgin has now come; therefore let our earth rejoice with great gladness, illuminated by the birth of so great a Virgin. For she is the flower of the field from which came forth the priceless lily of the valley; by her child-bearing the nature inherited from our first parents is changed, their fault wiped out. In her that sentence passed on Eve was remitted which said, "In sorrow shall you bring forth children," for Mary brought forth the Lord in joy.

Eve sorrowed, but Mary exulted; Eve carried weeping in her womb, but Mary carried joy, for Eve brought forth a sinner, but Mary innocence itself. The mother of our race brought punishment into the world, but the Mother of our Lord brought salvation into the world. Eve was the source of sin, Mary the source of merit. Eve by killing was a hindrance, Mary by giving life was a help. Eve wounded, Mary healed. Obedience takes the place of disobedience, faith makes up for faithlessness.

Mary may now play on her instruments, the Mother strike the cymbals with swift fingers. The joyful choruses may sound out and songs alternate with sweet harmonies. Hear, then, how she sings, she who leads our chorus. For she say, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid; for, behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed; because He who is mighty has done great things for me." And so the miraculous new birth takes away the cause of our increasing burden of sin, and Mary's song puts an end to the weeping of Eve. (From the Second Nocturn of Matins of the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Augustine on Apostolic Succession

"There are many other things which most properly can keep me in [the Catholic Church's] bosom. The unanimity of peoples and nations keeps me here. Her authority, inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age, keeps me here. The succession of priests, from the very see of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave the charge of feeding his sheep [John 21:15-17], up to the present episcopate, keeps me here. And last, the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics, so much so that, although all heretics want to be called 'Catholic,' when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house" (Against the Letter of Mani Called 'The Foundation' 4:5 [A.D. 397]).

"If the very order of episcopal succession is to be considered, how much more surely, truly, and safely do we number them [the bishops of Rome] from Peter himself, to whom, as to one representing the whole Church, the Lord said, 'Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not conquer it.' Peter was succeeded by Linus, Linus by Clement . . . In this order of succession a Donatist bishop is not to be found" (Letters 53:1:2 [A.D. 412]).

Augustine on Baptismal Regeneration

"It is this one Spirit who makes it possible for an infant to be regenerated ... when that infant is brought to baptism; and it is through this one Spirit that the infant so presented is reborn. For it is not written, `Unless a man be born again by the will of his parents' or `by the faith of those presenting him or ministering to him,' but, `Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit.' The water, therefore, manifesting exteriorly the sacrament of grace, and the Spirit effecting interiorly the benefit of grace, both regenerate in one Christ that man who was generated in Adam" (Letters 98:2 [A.D. 412]).

"Baptism washes away all, absolutely all, our sins, whether of deed, word, or thought, whether sins original or added, whether knowingly or unknowingly contracted" (Against Two Letters of the Pelagians 3:3:5 [A.D. 420]).

Augustine on the necessity of Baptism for Salvation

"There are three ways in which sins are forgiven: in baptism, in prayer, and in the greater humility of penance; yet God does not forgive sins except to the baptized" (Sermons to Catechumens, on the Creed 7:15 [A.D. 395]).

"[According to] Apostolic Tradition ... the Churches of Christ hold inherently that without baptism and participation at the table of the Lord it is impossible for any man to attain either to the kingdom of God or to salvation and life eternal. This is the witness of Scripture too" (Forgiveness and the Just Deserts of Sin, and the Baptism of Infants 1:24:34 [A.D. 412]).

However, Augustine allowed for exceptions, what he called baptism of desire or blood (martyrdom).

"That the place of baptism is sometimes supplied by suffering is supported by a substantial argument which the same blessed Cyprian draws from the circumstance of the thief, to whom, although not baptized, it was said, `Today you shall be with me in paradise' [Luke 23:43]. Considering this over and over again, I find that not only suffering for the name of Christ can supply for that which is lacking by way of baptism, but even faith and conversion of heart [i.e., baptism of desire] if, perhaps, because of the circumstances of the time, recourse cannot be had to the celebration of the mystery of baptism" (ibid., 4:22:29).

Augustine on the Communion of Saints and Intercession

"A Christian people celebrates together in religious solemnity the memorials of the martyrs, both to encourage their being imitated and so that it can share in their merits and be aided by their prayers" (Against Faustus the Manichean [A.D. 400]).

"At the Lord's table we do not commemorate martyrs in the same way that we do others who rest in peace so as to pray for them, but rather that they may pray for us that we may follow in their footsteps" (Homilies on John 84 [A.D. 416]).

"For even now miracles are wrought in the name of Christ, whether by his sacraments or by the prayers or relics of his saints ... The miracle which was wrought at Milan when I was there ... [and when people] had gathered to the bodies of the martyrs Protasius and Gervasius, which had long lain concealed and unknown but where now made known to the bishop Ambrose in a dream and discovered by him" (City of God 22:8 [A.D. 419]).

Augustine on Purgatory and Praying for the Departed

"That there should be some fire even after this life is not incredible, and it can be inquired into and either be discovered or left hidden whether some of the faithful may be saved, some more slowly and some more quickly in the greater or lesser degree in which they loved the good things that perish, through a certain purgatorial fire" (Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Charity 18:69 [A.D. 421]).

"We read in the books of the Maccabees [2 Macc. 12:43] that sacrifice was offered for the dead. But even if it were found nowhere in the Old Testament writings, the authority of the Catholic Church which is clear on this point is of no small weight, where in the prayers of the priest poured forth to the Lord God at his altar the commendation of the dead has its place" (The Care to be Had for the Dead 1:3 [A.D. 421]).

Augustine on the Sacrament of Penance

"When you shall have been baptized, keep to a good life in the commandments of God so that you may preserve your baptism to the very end. I do not tell you that you will live here without sin, but they are venial sins which this life is never without. Baptism was instituted for all sins. For light sins, without which we cannot live, prayer was instituted. ... But do not commit those sins on account of which you would have to be separated from the body of Christ. Perish the thought! For those whom you see doing penance have committed crimes, either adultery or some other enormities. That is why they are doing penance. If their sins were light, daily prayer would suffice to blot them out ... In the Church, therefore, there are three ways in which sins are forgiven: in baptisms, in prayer, and in the greater humility of penance" (Sermon to Catechumens on the Creed 7:15, 8:16 [A.D. 395]).

"I realize what the incontinent can say: ... that if a man, accusing his wife of adultery, kills her, this sin, since it is finished and does not perdure in him [i.e., since he does not keep committing it], if it is committed by a catechumen, is absolved in baptism, and if it is done by one who is baptized, it is healed by penance and reconciliation" (Adulterous Marriages 2:16:16 [A.D. 419]).

Augustine on the deuterocanonicals

"The whole canon of the Scriptures, however, in which we say that consideration is to be applied, is contained in these books: the five of Moses . . . and one book of Joshua [Son of] Nave, one of Judges; one little book which is called Ruth ... then the four of Kingdoms, and the two of Paralipomenon ... [T]here are also others too, of a different order ... such as Job and Tobit and Esther and Judith and the two books of Maccabees, and the two of Esdras ... Then there are the Prophets, in which there is one book of the Psalms of David, and three of Solomon ... But as to those two books, one of which is entitled Wisdom and the other of which is entitled Ecclesiasticus and which are called `of Solomon' because of a certain similarity to his books, it is held most certainly that they were written by Jesus Sirach. They must, however, be accounted among the prophetic books, because of the authority which is deservedly accredited to them" (Christian Instruction 2:8:13 [A.D. 397]).

Augustine on The Rock / Papacy of St. Peter

“Number the bishops from the see of Peter itself. And in that order of Fathers see who succeeded whom, That is the rock against which the gates of hell do not prevail.”
(Psalmus contra partem Donati, 18 (A.D. 393),GCC 51)

“Let us not listen to those who deny that the Church of God is able to forgive all sins. They are wretched indeed, because they do not recognize in Peter the rock and they refuse to believe that the keys of heaven, lost from their own hands, have been given to the Church.” (Christian Combat, 31:33(A.D. 397), in JUR,3:51)

“For if the lineal succession of bishops is to be taken into account, with how much more certainty and benefit to the Church do we reckon back till we reach Peter himself, to whom, as bearing in a figure the whole Church, the Lord said: ‘Upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it !’ The successor of Peter was Linus, and his successors in unbroken continuity were these: -- Clement, Anacletus, Evaristus, Alexander, Sixtus, Telesphorus, Iginus, Anicetus, Pius, Soter, Eleutherius, Victor, Zephirinus, Calixtus, Urbanus, Pontianus, Antherus, Fabianus, Cornelius, Lucius, Stephanus, Xystus, Dionysius, Felix, Eutychianus, Gaius, Marcellinus, Marcellus, Eusebius, Miltiades, Sylvester, Marcus, Julius, Liberius, Damasus, and Siricius, whose successor is the present Bishop Anastasius. In this order of succession no Donatist bishop is found. But, reversing the natural course of things, the Donatists sent to Rome from Africa an ordained bishop, who, putting himself at the head of a few Africans in the great metropolis, gave some notoriety to the name of ‘mountain men,’ or Cutzupits, by which they were known.” (To Generosus, Epistle 53:2(A.D. 400), in NPNF1,I:298)

"When, therefore, He had said to His disciples, 'Will ye also go away?' Peter, that Rock, answered with the voice of all, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.’" (Homilies on John, Tract 11:5(A.D. 417), in NPNF1,VII:76)

“And the Lord, to him to whom a little before He had said, ‘Blessed thou art, and upon this Rock I will build my Church,’ saith, ‘Go back behind, Satan, an offence thou art to Me.’ Why therefore ‘Satan’ is he, that a little before was ‘blessed,’ and a ‘Rock’?" (In Psalms, 56[55]:14[PL 36, 656] (A.D. 418),in NPNF1,VIII:223)

“Peter, who had confessed Him as the Son of God, and in that confession had been called the rock upon which the Church should be built.” (In Psalms, 69:4[PL 36, 869] (A.D. 418), in Butler, 251)

“And if a Jew asks us why we do that, we sound from the rock, we say, This Peter did, this Paul did: from the midst of the rocks we give our voice. But that rock, Peter himself, that great mountain, when he prayed and saw that vision, was watered from above.” (In Psalms, 104[103]:16(A.D. 418),in NPNF1,VIII:513)

“[In my first book against Donatus] I mentioned somewhere with reference to the apostle Peter that ‘the Church is founded upon him as upon a rock.’ This meaning is also sung by many lips in the lines of blessed Ambrose, where, speaking of the domestic cock, he says: ‘When it crows, he, the rock of the Church, absolves from sin.’ But I realize that I have since frequently explained the words of our Lord: ‘Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church’, to the effect that they should be understood as referring to him Peter confessed when he said: ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God’, and as meaning that Peter having been named after this rock, figured the person of the Church, which is built upon this rock and has received the keys of the kingdom of heaven. For what was said to him was not ‘Thou art rock’, but ‘Thou art Peter’. But the rock was Christ, having confessed whom(even as the whole Church confesses) Simon was named Peter. Which of these interpretations is more likely to be correct, let the reader choose.” (Retractations,1:21(A.D. 427),in GILES, 177)

(above papacy citations qtd in: )

Bp. Olmsted Rebuts "Catholic But..."

Rebutting the ‘Catholic but…’

This article is as it appeared in Bp. Olmsted's column of The Catholic Sun. His current article is linked here: This article/column is a wake-up call for Catholics, and the words should be heeded by all, so I have not changed Bp. Olmsted's words at all. This article appeared in Lent of 2004, but it is timeless - so I repost it here and now. Blessings to Bp. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix.

“I am a Catholic businessman but I don’t let the Church influence what I do at the office or in the boardroom;” but Jesus says (Mt 7:21), “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”

“I am a Catholic politician but I don’t let my Catholicism impact on how I vote or what legislation I promote;” but Jesus says (Mt 7:26-27), “Everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

“I am a Catholic physician but I don’t let my faith mold my decisions regarding abortion, contraception, or other medical practices;” but Jesus says Mt 5:37), “Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.”

“I am a Catholic talk show host but I don’t let the Church inhibit my right to say whatever I want on the air;” but in the Letter of James, God says (2:17) “Faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

“I am a Catholic priest but I don’t let Magisterial teaching keep me from dissenting from moral or doctrinal points nor let it limit my own ‘pastoral solutions’;” but at ordination each priest professes a solemn oath, “I believe everything contained in God’s Word, written or handed down in tradition and proposed by the Church… I also firmly accept and hold each and every thing that is proposed by the Church infinitively regarding teaching on faith and morals.”

Lent is the time to kick the “Catholic but...” out of our own daily lives. It is the time to expunge rationalization from our minds and to root out compromise from our hearts. Lent is the time to say a determined “No” to the temptation to water down our faith for personal gain. It is the time to say a much larger “Yes” to Jesus and His Gospel of Life. Lent is the time for Totus Tuus, the time to renew our commitment to love God with all our mind and heart and strength.

The “Catholic but…” syndrome stands in direct contradiction to Jesus’ clear and unequivocal demand (Mk 8:34-36), “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?”

The “Catholic but…” syndrome is not without precedent in history. The fact that Jesus Himself directly and frequently opposed such rationalization shows its prevalence 2000 years ago. How often we are tempted to separate what we do in Church from what we do at home, to isolate what we believe from how we vote or what we do at work or at leisure. How easily we can compartmentalize our lives, thus keeping our adherence to Christ from shaping all that we say and do. This is why the formation of conscience holds such a pivotal role in our effort to grow to full maturity in Christ.

Each Lent, the Church urges us to rekindle our love for Jesus and to take a closer look at how completely we are taking up the Cross that fidelity to Him entails. This means we need to examine our consciences, and to insure that they are formed on the solid foundation of the Gospel.

During these 40 days before the Easter Triduum, the Father shines new light upon our souls so we can discover (or rediscover) the essential connection between truth and freedom, and between faith and culture. When freedom is detached from truth, objectivity goes out the window, relativism reigns, and ethical chaos gives rise to the “Catholic but…” It becomes impossible to establish right from wrong, good from evil. The pursuit of holiness is thrown off course.

To take the time, then, during Lent to form our consciences more fully in accordance with objective truth (known from God’s Revelation and the natural law) not only brings wholeness and integrity to our personal lives; it also makes it possible for us to bring healing and reconciliation to society. Let us take advantage, then, of this Lenten season 2004 to engage seriously in the pursuit of truth and freedom. Here are some concrete suggestions for doing so:

  • Ask the Holy Spirit for His gifts of courage and understanding, humility and right judgment.
  • Consult the Catechism of the Catholic Church to find clear teaching about the moral conscience and its correct formation (See paragraphs #1776-1802).
  • Consider your own family situation, your work and your civic duties, and then ask: “Do I live my whole life as a vocation and a mission from the Lord?”
  • Carve out a few days for a spiritual retreat or at least set aside half a day to go apart from everyday life and examine, with God’s help, how you are integrating the gift of faith in all dimensions of your life.

On the first day of Lent each year, the Lord says to us through St. Paul (2 Cor 6:2), “Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

Now is the time to rebut the “Catholic but…” It is the time to say “Yes” when we mean “Yes,” and to say “No” when we mean “No.” Lent is the time to profess our Catholic faith with gratitude and to put every part of it into practice.

A Debate from FCFC with KJB Only

Re: Methinks the Protestant Protesteth Too Much

I said:

"Demonstrate that my saying that Philip baptized the eunuch AFTER
confirming his faith is a contradiction of 'my boss.' Again, be precise
and include your reference(s)"

KJB responds:

Yes sir! Right away, sir!

Baptism makes us members of Christ's body, Pope Eugene IV, General Council of Florence, “Exultate Deo,” 1439)-3.

Baptism is necessary for salvation. (Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Can. 5 on the Sacrament of Baptism) - 4.

No one can enter the kingdom of God without faith and water baptism.(Pope Pius XI, Quas Primas, Dec. 11, 1925)-8.

Water baptism causes justification (Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Sess. 6, Chap. 7 on Justification)- 12.

Water baptism makes one a member of Christ's body, Pope Eugene IV, General Council of Florence, Exultate Deo, Nov. 22, 1439, ex cathedra.

If you say that water baptism is not necessary for salvation, you are cursed, Pope Paul III, The Council of Trent, canons on the Sacrament of Baptism, canon 5.

Water baptism brings salvation, Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, Constitution 1, 1215, ex cathedra.

Water baptism is the cause of justificationPope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session 6, Chap. 7 on Justification, ex cathedra.

None of these quotes address what you were challenged to show. I asked you to demonstrate from Catholic teaching that Philip waiting to hear the eunuch's profession of faith before baptizing him was somehow contrary to the Catholic Faith or counter to what "my boss" would say. All you cited were references talking about the necessity of baptism, um, Philip seemed pretty certain of the necessity of baptism too. You're dodging, and you seem to think that by presenting a bunch of quotes from Catholic teaching that you're doing your part - but if those quotes don't speak to the challenge issued you, you're just beating the wind.

KJB continues:

Also "catechumens" must beg "the" church before they can be baptized, for faith!

Another tangential statement - and yet another undocumented and unsupported claim.
KJB continues:

The eunuch "confessed" NONE of those crazy beliefs and Philip never would have dreamed of asking him to and so he would be baptizing contrary to your bosses commands.

LOL KJB! Certainly you can find out of context statements and twist them to your own end, but you're making another nonsensical argument. The eunuch professed faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior:

Act 8:36 And as they went on their way, they came to a certain water. And the eunuch said: See, here is water: What doth hinder me from being baptized?
Act 8:37 And Philip said: If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answering, said: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Act 8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still. And they went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch. And he baptized him.

And, all that the Church says about the one baptised is that it is expected that their faith is immature and will grow:


CCC 1253 Baptism is the sacrament of faith. But faith needs the community of believers. It is only within the faith of the Church that each of the faithful can believe. The faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop. The catechumen or the godparent is asked: "What do you ask of God's Church?" The response is: "Faith!"

CCC 1254 For all the baptized, children or adults, faith must grow after Baptism. For this reason the Church celebrates each year at the Easter Vigil the renewal of baptismal promises. Preparation for Baptism leads only to the threshold of new life. Baptism is the source of that new life in Christ from which the entire Christian life springs forth.

So, your attempt to say more is required for baptism and that Philip's baptism was somehow invalid or would not be approved of by the Church today is just flat out wrong. I gave you the chance to document your claim - but you could not. Instead you tried to divert the subject to tangential topics. I have now provided to proof which demonstrates you are totally off the mark. I cited current Catholic teaching that does not expect the faith of one seeking baptism to be the mature faith and fully understanding of ALL the Church teaches.
You're just wrong, but will you admit it? I'll not hold my breath.

KJB then tries to predict my response:

Oh, yeah....before you ask....No, Dukey, I can't prove with documentation acceptable to you that Philip never dreamed that dream...sheesh

Now, do your usual dance as you've done with everyone elses posts that dare disagree with you..."You're confused", "You haven't made your point", "You've failed to do as I asked", etc., etc.

No, I didn't respond that way - I documented what is the REAL teaching on this matter. Have you failed? Yes, I believe you have - and since I've produced the TRUE teaching of the Church on this matter and it totally contradicts what you're saying - there is no way you can succeed in this endeavor, all that's left is your concession.

KJB continues:

After you're all done with that, tell me that Philip told the eunuch that before he could be baptized he'd have to beg "the" church for "faith".

If you won't or can't then you will have disobeyed your boss by saying that Philip's baptism was "legit".

The word "beg" is not there, but I have already quoted for you the Scripture wherein Philip demands the eunuch express his belief in Jesus Christ - and the eunuch complies.

KJB concludes (and finally concedes):

P.S. I apologize to everyone who has waded through this silliness..."Yeah, but you said 850 pages and you can't prove that it would take more than seven!" Gooooood grief, seems that some folks don't know what "exagerration to make a point" means.

Thank you for conceding that you were exagerating, why couldn't you just admit that when you were first challenged? I even asked you to just admit that you "puffed this up" (for whatever reason). So, I also accept your apology for not conceding this sooner and causing everyone who is reading to have to "(wade) through this silliness."

Now, KJB, did you go back and read the section from Trent that you totally misrepresented? I await your retraction of that too.


Work on Sunday? As faithful Catholics, we should not work - nor should we go shopping. Plan your week so that you have everything you need for Sunday, and just go to Church and then spend the rest of the day with your family.

Fox's 95 Theses

Fox's Latest Heretical and Schismatic Methodology and Views

A Response by Scott Windsor

This is a response to Matthew Fox's "95 Theses or Articles of Faith for a Christianity for the Third Millenium" which he posted on his own blogsite, May 14, 2005.

Chapter V: 95 Theses or Articles of Faith for a Christianity for the Third Millennium
Like Luther, I present 95 theses or in my case, 95 faith observations drawn from my 64 years of living and practicing religion and spirituality. I trust I am not alone in recognizing these truths. For me they represent a return to our origins, a return to the spirit and the teaching of Jesus and his prophetic ancestors, and of the Christ which was a spirit that Jesus’ presence and teaching unleashed.
Like Luther, Fox represents his rebellion against the Church
in posting his "Articles of Faith..." at the Castle Church at Wittenburg (his plans to nail them to the door itself, like Luther, were thwarted 1) by the city council which told him he could only get "close" to the door and 2) by the fact that the door is no longer a wooden door, but a metal one!). Still, Fox was seeking the symbolism of a rebel (and later a schismatic heretic) in choosing this setting. Fox, in fact, seems to be quite proud of Luther.

So, let's get on with answering Fox's 95 Theses:

1. God is both Mother and Father.

In the literary Word of God, God is only identified as "Father, Son and Holy Spirit." If we delve into a more theological statement - God is without gender, and is Spirit. Fox's femanist agenda is quite transparent here.

2. At this time in history, God is more Mother than Father because the feminine is most missing and it is important to bring gender balance back.

The feminine is missing from what? Women can and do play an important role in the Church and in society as a whole. Fox is essentially belittling the roles women have played and continue to play in the Church and in the world. But back to the facts - God is genderless! God is not limited by human sexuality or emotionalism nor is God limited by Fox's attempt to engender such demarcation of the Supreme and Supernatural Being.

3. God is always new, always young and always “in the beginning.”

More accurately, God is always - period. God is without beginning and without end. God is eternal. Again, to limit God to "always the beginning" is to prevent God from being eternal.

4. God the Punitive Father is not a God worth honoring but a false god and an idol that serves empire-builders. The notion of a punitive, all-male God, is contrary to the full nature of the Godhead who is as much female and motherly as it is masculine and fatherly.

And this is yet another attempt at emotionalism. The fact is, our God is a Just God - but at the same time is a Gracious and Forgiving God. To paint the Catholic view of God as purely punitive is not an honest representation of the Catholic teaching on God. The "full nature of the Godhead" is not limited by the engenderizations of male OR female.

5. “All the names we give to God come from an understanding of ourselves.” (Eckhart) Thus people who worship a punitive father are themselves punitive.

  • Eckhart does not define God. No human could possibly define God.
  • We've already seen that God is not limited to human defined demarcations (such as punitive).
  • Catholicism does not limit God to merely a punitive God, but also a loving and forgiving God. Catholicism sees God as loving the world so much that God became incarnate and suffered and died as a human to redeem all of humanity - that whosoever believes this, shall not be damned in a purely punitive manner, but will be saved.
  • We could, perhaps, accept Fox's representation of those who worship such a god, but therein lies Fox's fatal flaw, he's constructed a straw man. Catholicism does not worship a punitive god, but God - in all divine qualities - both those we can know and label, and an infinite number that we cannot humanly understand.

6. Theism (the idea that God is ‘out there’ or above and beyond the universe) is false. All things are in God and God is in all things (panentheism).
That would not be an accurate definition of "theism." Let us look at definition provided by Merriam-Webster:

belief in the existence of a god or gods; specifically : belief in the existence of one God viewed as the creative source of man and the world who transcends yet is immanent in the world

So more accurately, not only does God transcend the world, God is immanently in the world. Fox has only presented half the truth and in doing so distorts the truth.

7. Everyone is born a mystic and a lover who experiences the unity of things and all are called to keep this mystic or lover of life alive.

This is relatively meaningless New Age babbling using catch phrases of "mystic" and "lover" but one could insert nearly any adjectives in there and come out with the same meaning. For example, it can be just as easily said, "Everyone is born a fisherman and a mechanic who experiences the unity of things and all are called to keep this fisherman and mechanic alive."

8. All are called to be prophets which is to interfere with injustice.

Prophecy is just one gift of the Holy Spirit, and not all are called to be prophets. That would be analogous to saying all are steering wheels which is to interfere with bad drivers - but if someone else is not called to be the motor, and another to be the wheels, etc., the steering wheel alone is powerless to do anything. Likewise, without Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord - the Body of Christ would be incomplete. As a body has many parts, each serving a purpose, so too is the Body of Christ - and we're not all called to be prophets.

9. Wisdom is Love of Life (See the Book of Wisdom: “This is wisdom: to love life” and Christ in John’s Gospel: “I have come that you may have life and have it in abundance.”)

No argument against this one.

10. God loves all of creation and science can help us more deeply penetrate and appreciate the mysteries and wisdom of God in creation. Science is no enemy of true religion.

Science and religion do not speak the same language. To try to force science into religion or religion into science defeats the purpose of one or the other.

11. Religion is not necessary but spirituality is.

True spirituality does not exist without True Religion.

12. “Jesus does not call us to a new religion but to life.” (Bonhoeffer) Spirituality is living life at a depth of newness and gratitude, courage and creativity, trust and letting go, compassion and justice.

Jesus calls us to follow Him! Jesus built His Church, thus if we truly follow Him, we follow His Church, and reject a "different gospel" being preached by anyone else.

And we should take time to recognize an inconsistency here. Earlier Fox claims that God is not punitive - yet here he recognizes "justice!" What is justice without punitiveness?

13. Spirituality and religion are not the same thing any more than education and learning, law and justice, or commerce and stewardship are the same thing.

No argument here.

14. Christians must distinguish between God (masculine and history, liberation and salvation) and Godhead (feminine and mystery, being and non-action).

This one is just silly. The Godhead is a reference to God.

15. Christians must distinguish between Jesus (an historical figure) and Christ (the experience of God-in-all-things).

This is a false statement. The "Christ" means He, Jesus, is the "Annointed." Fox is redefining terminology here, assumably to confuse and/or convince the simple-minded. "Jesus" is the name we call God the Son, and "Christ" defines Him as the Annointed One.

16. Christians must distinguish between Jesus and Paul.

Another statement of silliness. I know of no Christian who does not distinguish between Jesus the Christ and St. Paul the Apostle (one sent BY the Christ).

17. Jesus, not unlike many spiritual teachers, taught us that we are sons and daughters of God and are to act accordingly by becoming instruments of divine compassion.

No argument here.

18. Ecojustice is a necessity for planetary survival and human ethics and without it we are crucifying the Christ all over again in the form of destruction of forests, waters, species, air and soil.

Again we see reference to "justice" here. Is Fox asserting that there must be punitive actions taken against those who destroy forests, waters, etc.? How unlike the god that Fox would like us to worship! The objective reader here is surely seeing Fox's inconsistency.

19. Sustainability is another word for justice, for what is just is sustainable and what is unjust is not.

Injustice sustains itself quite well in this world. God is just and fair, evil is unjust and unfair. While evil exists, injustice will be sustained.

20. A preferential option for the poor, as found in the base community movement, is far closer to the teaching and spirit of Jesus than is a preferential option for the rich and powerful as found in, for example, Opus Dei.

A preferential option of what? There is not enough information here to comment on one way or the other.

21. Economic Justice requires the work of creativity to birth a system of economics that is global, respectful of the health and wealth of the earth systems and that works for all.

Again with the "justice" aspect! Justice demands that when a crime is committed a penalty is incurred - in another word, "punitiveness."

22. Celebration and worship are key to human community and survival and such reminders of joy deserve new forms that speak in the language of the twenty-first century.

So celebrate and worship in other ways too! However, Jesus taught us how to pray. Jesus taught the Apostles how the Mass should be celebrated - let's not play with what Jesus established for His Church, but by all means - have other celebrations, times of worship and praise - but leave the Mass alone.

23. Sexuality is a sacred act and a spiritual experience, a theophany (revelation of the Divine), a mystical experience. It is holy and deserves to be honored as such.

No argument against this, so long as you're refering to sexuality within the bonds of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. Outside of Matrimony sexual intercourse is a sinful act and deserves to be recognized as such.

24. Creativity is both humanity’s greatest gift and its most powerful weapon for evil and so it ought to be both encouraged and steered to humanity’s most God-like activity which all religions agree is: Compassion.

I don't know about "greatest give," but would not argue that it is not a useful tool/weapon for combatting evil.

25. There is a priesthood of all workers (all who are doing good work are midwives of grace and therefore priests) and this priesthood ought to be honored as sacred and workers should be instructed in spirituality in order to carry on their ministry effectively.

A priest is one who offers sacrifice - yet Fox does not elaborate on the sacrificial aspect of a priest's "work," so this is (again) rather meaningless.

26. Empire-building is incompatible with Jesus’ life and teaching and with Paul’s life and teaching and with the teaching of holy religions.

"Empire-building" has nothing to do with religion, or Jesus' and Paul's teaching and life - that's like saying apples are incompatible with oranges.

27. Ideology is not theology and ideology endangers the faith because it replaces thinking with obedience, and distracts from the responsibility of theology to adapt the wisdom of the past to today’s needs. Instead of theology it demands loyalty oaths to the past.

What Fox has just described here is an ideology of theology! It would seem that Fox, in an effort to come up with 95 different points, got lazy and really didn't think through what he's saying here!

28. Loyalty is not a sufficient criterion for ecclesial office—intelligence and proven conscience is.

No argument here. Intelligence and proven conscience will result in loyalty. Another one not real well thought out.

29. No matter how much the television media fawn over the pope and papacy because it makes good theater, the pope is not the church but has a ministry within the church. Papalolotry is a contemporary form of idolatry and must be resisted by all believers.

No Catholic would claim "the pope is the church," so again - there is no argument here, at least not against Catholicism. It's actually a good thing that the television media drew so much attention to the passing of His Holiness, John Paul II, and relatively little media attention has been given to Benedict XVI thus far.

30. Creating a church of Sycophants is not a holy thing. Sycophants (Webster’s dictionary defines them as “servile self-seeking flatterers”) are not spiritual people for their only virtue is obedience. A Society of Sycophants — sycophant clergy, sycophant seminarians, sycophant bishops, sycophant cardinals, sycophant religious orders of Opus Dei, Legioneers of Christ and Communion and Liberation, and the sycophant press--do not represent in any way the teachings or the person of the historical Jesus who chose to stand up to power rather than amassing it.

The etymology of sycophant comes from the Latin sycophanta slanderer, swindler, from Greek sykophantEs slanderer (source is also Webster's), so IF this were so, then Fox would have a point, but to say every single one of these men of God are self-serving and not seeking to serve God through His Church is in itself a sycophant statement! Fox, who at one time was one of these servants, has rejected his oath taken before God and the Church and become himself that which he now accuses the Church! Again, the accusation he makes here is itself a prime example of sycophantism!

31. Vows of pontifical secrecy are a certain way to corruption and cover-up in the church as in any human organization.

What "vows of secrecy" does Fox refer to here? The whole world was able to see the vows of Pope Benedict XVI on live television! Where's the alleged secrecy? All we have here is yet another straw man argument.

32. Original sin is an ultimate expression of a punitive father God and is not a Biblical teaching. But original blessing (goodness and grace) is biblical.

Baloney! This just shows that Fox doesn't know, or is flat out in rejection of the biblical teaching on this matter!

Rom 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Rom 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

Rom 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Rom 5:11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Rom 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned--

Rom 5:13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

Rom 5:15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.

Clearly the Bible tells us here that through one man sin entered the world, which resulted in our mortality - Rom 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." So I repeat, Fox's proclamation that Original Sin is not biblical is flat out false.

33. The term “original wound” better describes the separation humans experience on leaving the womb and entering the world, a world that is often unjust and unwelcoming than does the term “original sin.”

Original Sin begins when life begins, not just when the living being comes forth from the womb. All of us have sin, and all of us are in need of the Redeemer and it is only through His selfless Sacrifice that we are redeemed. Without Original Sin, there is no need for a Redeemer! Fox, in his effort to come up with a catchy phrase as the title of a sycophant book (Original Blessing) has, in one felled swoop, rejected the entire purpose of Jesus, the Christ, coming into the world!

34. Fascism and the compulsion to control is not the path of peace or compassion and those who practice fascism are not fitting models for sainthood. The seizing of the apparatus of canonization to canonize fascists is a stain on the church.

And yet another straw man! Fox continues to build up these straw man arguments just so he can easily knock them down! He uses emotionally charged words, like "fascism," and falsely implies that it is a "model for sainthood," and then knocks it down. Well, certainly fascism is not a model for sainthood! Just another logical fallacy in Fox's argument, that's all we have here. It must be noted, he chooses such a word to post on this "Theses" which he posts in Germany. Germany still has a bit of a "black-eye" from what it allowed to happen in the 20th century, so I posit that this is yet another sycophant attempt to stir emotionalism, and truly not a valid argument at all.

35. The Spirit of Jesus and other prophets calls people to simple life styles in order that “the people may live.”

There is nothing in Church teaching which opposes "simple life styles," and I'd be rather curious to see where Fox is getting this teaching of "the Spirit of Jesus."

36. Dancing, whose root meaning in many indigenous cultures is the same as breath or spirit, is a very ancient and appropriate form in which to pray.

In some cultures, yes. Even in Jewish culture we have evidence of David dancing in praise of God, but though that too is our heritage, it is not part of our culture. Fox, who was a priest in the Latin Rite (Western culture) is not part of that culture either - but he embraces this culture of others. There is nothing really wrong with embracing other cultures, so long as those cultures do not detract from God. If it is something that can be added to our worship of God, then there is no problem here. Trying to force these cultures upon our existing rubrics without going through proper and respectful channels is wrong and truly was one of Fox's downfalls. Eastern Rites of the Church have long embraced the ethnicity of Eastern cultures.

37. To honor the ancestors and celebrate the communion of saints does not mean putting heroes on pedestals but rather honoring them by living out lives of imagination, courage and compassion in our own time, culture and historical moment as they did in theirs.

No argument here.

38. A diversity of interpretation of the Jesus event and the Christ experience is altogether expected and welcomed as it was in the earliest days of the church.

This is just more of Fox's sycophant catch phrases. "The Jesus Event" and "Christ Experience" are inventions of Fox, and not part of historic Christendom. These phrases are self-serving phrases to stir emotionalistic responses from those who "relate" to them. "The Jesus Event," as Fox calls it, would have to include ALL that Jesus went through from conception, birth and life through His death and resurrection. And again, this "Jesus Event" is made totally meaningless by Fox's rejection of Original Sin! We've already dismissed this "Christ Experience" notion as a misapplication of terminology. Christ means "annointed" - Jesus the Christ = Jesus the Annointed One. The relationship of Christ to Jesus is that Jesus is the One who is the One annointed to redeem the world. Again I repeat, without Original Sin, there is no need for the redemption of mankind, no need for one to be annointed as Redeemer - without Original Sin there is no "Christ."

39. Therefore unity of church does not mean conformity. There is unity in diversity. Coerced unity is not unity.

Conformity does not mean there is no diversity. Conformity to the will of God, "that we be One, as He and the Father are One," is the unity of the Catholic Church. To claim there is no diversity within the Catholic Church is to not know the Catholic Church!

40. The Holy Spirit is perfectly capable of working through participatory democracy in church structures and hierarchical modes of being can indeed interfere with the work of the Spirit.
This one just doesn't make any sense. Is the Holy Spirit capable of working in church structures, or are hierarchical modes of being interfering with the work of the Spirit? Which is Fox's point?

41. The body is an awe-filled sacred Temple of God and this does not mean it is untouchable but rather that all its dimensions, well named by the seven charkas, are as holy as the others.

There's a few different views of chakras, considering the body as the temple of God is not a thought unknown to the Judeo-Christian tradition, but the artificial naming of "chakras" is not. Chakras are part of the meditations of New Age mysticism, and have little bearing on reality. That being said, Fox's point here is that no part of the body is more or less holy than the others, and there really is no argument here.

42. Thus our connection with the earth (first chakra) is holy; and our sexuality (second chakra) is holy; and our moral outrage (third chakra) is holy; and our love that stands up to fear (fourth chakra) is holy; and our prophetic voice that speaks out is holy (fifth chakra); and our intuition and intelligence (sixth chakra) are holy; and our gifts we extend to the community of light beings and ancestors (seventh chakra) are holy.

Again, New Age mysticism aside - these chakras are a bit strange sounding to Western culture, but we too could relate to different levels of spirituality and/or stages of life. Though I reject the tenents of the New Age Movement, this topic of chakras isn't a topic I would choose to do battle against.

43. The prejudice of rationalism and left-brain located in the head must be balanced by attention to the lower charkas as equal places for wisdom and truth and Spirit to act.

The application of imaginary chakras to the physical world is far-reaching, at best. Let's just say we need to let the Holy Spirit work in our lives. This is not something which is an objection against the Catholic Faith.

44. The central chakra, compassion, is the test of the health of all the others which are meant to serve it for “by their fruits you will know them” (Jesus).

Yes, by their fruits we will know them, and compassion plays a role in that. This is not something which is an objection against the Catholic Faith.

45. “Joy is the human’s noblest act.” (Aquinas) Is our culture and its professions, education and religion, promoting joy?

This is not something which is an objection against the Catholic Faith.

46. The human psyche is made for the cosmos and will not be satisfied until the two are re-united and awe, the beginning of wisdom, results from this reunion.

Humanity is made by and for the Creator. The cosmos is made by and for the Creator. Fox's statement here is totally contrary to Catholic teaching (this being an example of Fox's heretical teachings).

47. The four paths named in the creation spiritual tradition more fully name the mystical/prophetic spiritual journey of Jesus and the Jewish tradition than do the three paths of purgation, illumination and union which do not derive from the Jewish and Biblical tradition.

This thought does not seem fully developed, I'd have to know more about Fox is getting at here before further comment.

48. Thus it can be said that God is experienced in experiences of ecstasy, joy, wonder and delight (via positiva).

49. God is experienced in darkness, chaos, nothingness, suffering, silence and in learning to let go and let be (via negativa).

50. God is experienced in acts of creativity and co-creation (via creativa).

Experienced? The Creator has created everything that has an experience. God transcends experience.

51. All people are born creative. It is spirituality’s task to encourage holy imagination for all are born in the “image and likeness” of the Creative One and “the fierce power of imagination is a gift from God.” (Kaballah)

Some people are more creative than others. Being creative is what distinguishes us from the rest of the animal world. The Creator gave us the ability to reason and think and love. It is spirituality's task to get people to recognize and love the Creator.

52. If you can talk you can sing; if you can walk you can dance; if you can talk you are an artist. (African proverb and Native American saying)

Again, this is not something which is an objection against the Catholic Faith.

53. God is experienced in our struggle for justice, healing, compassion and celebration (via transformativa).

Experienced? The Creator has created everything that has an experience. God transcends experience.

54. The Holy Spirit works through all cultures and all spiritual traditions and blows “where it wills” and is not the exclusive domain of any one tradition and never has been.

God chose the Jewish people to be His Chosen people. Their culture was selected over the other cultures of the world because Abraham proved himself justified through his obedience to God. To say there never has ben one tradition over another is simply not true. To equate all spiritualities throughout the world to Catholicism is the heresy of Universalism.

55. God speaks today as in the past through all religions and all cultures and all faith traditions none of which is perfect and an exclusive avenue to truth but all of which can learn from each other.

56. Therefore Interfaith or Deep Ecumenism are a necessary part of spiritual praxis and awareness in our time.

Truth is not to be sacrificed for the sake of ecumenism. There is One God, the Lord God Almighty, and that God is a jealous God. The necessary awareness of our time is the need to recognize the One God who can and has redeemed the world.

57. Since the “number one obstacle to interfaith is a bad relationship with one’s own faith,” (the Dalai Lama) it is important that Christians know their own mystical and prophetic tradition, one that is larger than a religion of empire and its punitive father images of God.

The number one obstacle to interfaith is the fact that not all faiths teach the same thing.

58. The cosmos is God’s holy Temple and our holy home.

The body is the holy Temple of God, isn't it? I refer the reader back to Fox's point number 41.

59. Fourteen billion years of evolution and unfolding of the universe bespeak the intimate sacredness of all that is.

The wonders of nature, no matter how much time one puts upon it, bespeaks the intimate sacredness of all that is.

60. All that is is holy and all that is is related for all being in our universe began as one being just before the fireball erupted.

Without saying it, Fox is espousing the "Big Bang Theory," as if that denies the Creator. If God so willed that the universe began with a "Big Bang," then it did.

61. Interconnectivity is not only a law of physics and of nature but also forms the basis of community and of compassion. Compassion is the working out of our shared interconnectivity both as to our shared joy and our shared suffering and struggle for justice.

Compromising the Truth for the sake of interconnectivity is not an honest approach to religion or spirituality.

62. The universe does not suffer from a shortage of grace and no religious institution is to see its task as rationing grace. Grace is abundant in God’s universe.

Certainly Grace is abundant, but that doesn't change the fact that the means of Grace is through the Sacraments which God gave His Church.

63. Creation, Incarnation and Resurrection are continuously happening on a cosmic as well as a personal scale. So too are Life, Death and Resurrection (regeneration and reincarnation) happening on a cosmic scale as well as a personal one.

Reincarnation is directly opposed to Scripture. Heb 9:27 "And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment."

64. Biophilia or Love of Life is everyone’s daily task.

Love of God is everyone's daily task.

65. Necrophilia or love of death is to be opposed in self and society in all its forms.

This is not something which is an objection against the Catholic Faith.

66. Evil can happen through every people, every nation, every tribe, and every individual human and so vigilance and self-criticism and institutional criticism are always called for.

This is not something which is an objection against the Catholic Faith.

67. Not all who call themselves “Christian” deserve that name just as “not all who say ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven” (Jesus).

This is not something which is an objection against the Catholic Faith.

68. Pedophilia is a terrible wrong but its cover-up by hierarchy is even more despicable.

This is not something which is an objection against the Catholic Faith.

69. Loyalty and obedience are never a greater virtue than conscience and justice.

This is not something which is an objection against the Catholic Faith.

70. Jesus said nothing about condoms, birth control or homosexuality.

Jesus is God, and God's Word explicitly condemns homosexuality in several places. Condoms and other forms of birth control as well as homosexuality are contrary to the nature of human sexuality as God created it. Going against nature is going against God.

71. A church that is more preoccupied with sexual wrongs than with wrongs of injustice is itself sick.

Sexual wrongs are wrongs of injustice. All "wrongs" are injustice.

72. Since homosexuality is found among 464 species and in 8 percent of any given human population, it is altogether natural for those who are born that way and is a gift from God and nature to the greater community.

Since clearly Fox goes against the Scriptures with this teaching, we must reject it as opposed to God's Word.

1Co 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,

1Co 6:10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

1Co 6:11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

1Ti 1:8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully,

1Ti 1:9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers

1Ti 1:10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching,

1Ti 1:11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.

73. Homophobia in any form is a serious sin against love of neighbor, a sin of ignorance of the richness and diversity of God’s creation as well as a sin of exclusion.

It is wrong to hate the sinner, but it is not wrong to hate the sin.

74. Racism, Sexism and militarism are also serious sins.

This is really three different points. Racism is always wrong, Sexism is wrong if unjustly applied, as is militarism. Men and women have their just place in the structure of the Church and society. Likewise, every country has the right and responsibility to defend itself, militarily if necessary.

75. Poverty for the many and luxury for the few is not right or sustainable.

At least 6000 years of human history proves Fox's statement wrong on this. It is very sustainable and has sustained itself. Poverty is not a sin, nor is it a crime against humanity - in fact it is even scriptural that the poor will find it easier to get into heaven than the rich. Fox just has this all wrong.

76. Consumerism is today’s version of gluttony and needs to be confronted by creating an economic system that works for all peoples and all earth’s creatures.

Some people don't really want to be part of a world economic system. Some like the simple life and don't like the hustle and bustle lifestyle of their opposite.

77. Seminaries as we know them, with their excessive emphasis on left-brain work, often kill and corrupt the mystical soul of the young instead of encouraging the mysticism and prophetic consciousness that is there. They should be replaced by wisdom schools.

Seminaries train priests to provide the Sacraments to God's People. A school of wisdom is fine, but it should not replace the seminary.

78. Inner work is required of us all. Therefore spiritual practices of meditation should be available to all and this helps in calming the reptilian brain. Silence or contemplation and learning to be still can and ought to be taught to all children and adults.

"Reptilian brain?" What evidence do we have of this in mammals? That being said, there is nothing stopping people from spiritual practices of meditation.

79. Outer work needs to flow from our inner work just as action flows from non-action and true action from being.

Action from non-action? That doesn't even make sense. The animate (living) from the inanimate (non-living) is impossible.

80. A wise test of right action is this: What is the effect of this action on people seven generations from today?

This is a purely hypothetical proposition. That being said, this is not an objection against the Catholic Faith (as Luther's 95 Theses was) so Fox is making his own statement relatively meaningless.

81. Another test of right action is this: Is what I am doing, is what we are doing, beautiful or not?

I repeat my response to #80.

82. Eros, the passion for living, is a virtue that combats acedia or the lack of energy to begin new things and is also expressed as depression, cynicism or sloth (also known as “couchpotatoitis”).

This is not something which is an objection against the Catholic Faith.

83. The Dark Night of the Soul descends on us all and the proper response is not addiction such as shopping, alcohol, drugs, TV, sex or religion but rather to be with the darkness and learn from it.

Following the teaching of St. John of the Cross on this would be much more preferred than to follow Fox's views.

84. The Dark Night of the Soul is a learning place of great depth. Stillness is required.

Again, follow St. John of the Cross, with guidance from your spiritual advisor, and leave Fox behind - if you want to save your soul.

85. Not only is there a Dark Night of the Soul but also a Dark Night of Society and a Dark Night of our Species.

Pure speculation on a theological thought, but not something based in fact.

86. Chaos is a friend and a teacher and an integral part or prelude to new birth. Therefore it is not to be feared or compulsively controlled.

Only God can bring order from chaos. New birth, under God, is a matter of order - not chaos.

87. Authentic science can and must be one of humanity’s sources of wisdom for it is a source of sacred awe, of childlike wonder, and of truth.

Science is not a source of wisdom, it is a source of knowledge - and sometimes flawed knowledge.

88. When science teaches that matter is “frozen light” (physicist David Bohm) it is freeing human thought from scapegoating flesh as something evil and instead reassuring us that all things are light. This same teaching is found in the Christian Gospels (Christ is the light in all things) and in Buddhist teaching (the Buddha nature is in all things). Therefore, flesh does not sin; it is our choices that are sometimes off center.

Fox makes a HUGE assumption here that "science teaches that matter is frozen light," when in fact "science" does not "teach" this - though some scientists may theorize about it. Science doesn't "teach" the unknown and unprovable, on the contrary - science teaches what is and can be known. Science allows for speculation but to say such speculation is science "teaching" is not an honest representation of true science.

89. The proper objects of the human heart are truth and justice (Aquinas) and all people have a right to these through healthy education and healthy government.

This is not something which is an objection against the Catholic Faith.

90. "God” is only one name for the Divine One and there are an infinite number of names for God and Godhead and still God “has no name and will never be given a name.” (Eckhart)

Jesus, the Christ, is God - and has a name. God Himself tells Moses to call Him "I am."

91. Three highways into the heart are silence and love and grief.

Pure theological and/or philosophical - but not a statement against Catholic teaching.

92. The grief in the human heart needs to be attended to by rituals and practices that, when practiced, will lessen anger and allow creativity to flow anew.

This is not something which is an objection against the Catholic Faith.

93. Two highways out of the heart are creativity and acts of justice and compassion.

Again, "justice" demands consequences - good or bad; reward or punitive. Fox continues to use this word "justice" seemingly without fully understanding the word.

94. Since angels learn exclusively by intuition, when we develop our powers of intuition we can expect to meet angels along the way.

This is yet another purely theological and/or philosophical statement and is not necessarily contrary to Catholic teaching.

95. True intelligence includes feeling, sensitivity, beauty, the gift of nourishment and humor which is a gift of the Spirit, paradox, being its sister.

This is yet another purely theological and/or philosophical statement and is not necessarily contrary to Catholic teaching.

posted by Matthew Fox @ 10:38 AM on May 14, 2005.

And this response is posted by Scott Windsor @ 10:30 PM on August 6, 2005.

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