What is Advent?

Advent is the beginning of the ecclesial calendar. It is
the first season in the Church year. The word comes from
the Latin "advenire" which means "arrival." This is the
season of anticipation of the Messiah wherein we put
ourselves in the place of the ancient Jews. Advent then
culminates with the Christmas season - which begins on
Christmas Day.

The season, though the precise date of when it started is
difficult to ascertain, is of Catholic origins. There is
some evidence of the season as early as the late 4th century.
Christmas itself did not have a concrete date, some
celebrated it on December 25th, others on January 6th. In
the Acts of Saragossa, a synod held in 380, the fourth canon
prescribes a period from December 17th through January 6th,
the Feast of the Epiphany, when no one can be permitted
absence from church. This indicates a "season" of

Late in the 6th century, in 581 AD, at Macon, Gaul, a synod
convened and decreed in its ninth canon a period from
November 11th to the Nativity that the Sacrifice be offered
according to the Lenten rite - demonstrating a call to
penance and sacrifice during the Advent season. When it
was established as 40 Days prior to Christmas, beginning
the day after the feast of St. Martin, November 12th, it
also was called "St. Martin's Lent."

In the Eastern Church, there is no evidence of this season
prior to the 8th century. In Eastern tradition there was
no liturgical change, rather it was - as in the Latin
tradition - a period of fasting and abstinence.

Today the season of Advent is the four sundays prior to
the Feast of the Navitiy (Christmas - or the Christ Mass).
Officially Advent begins with the Evening Prayer 1 of the
Sunday falling on or closest to November 30th and ends
before Evening Prayer 1 of Christmas (the Vigil of Christmas
on December 24th).

Many traditions mark the season, from Advent calendars to
Advent wreaths. Perhaps the most recognizable in the
Church is the Advent wreath. It consists of four candles,
three of them are purple and one is pink. The pink candle
is used on the Third Sunday in Advent to represent the
Gaudate, which means "rejoice" in Latin and is taken from
the first word of the Introit for that Sunday. The joy
of anticipation is stressed on Gaudate Sunday. The Gaudate
Sunday also corresponds with Laetare Sunday in Lent, also
a day in Lent when the vestments are permitted to be rose
colored instead of purple.

Again, the purpose of the Advent season is to recall the
anticipation of God's People awaiting their Messiah. It
is also used for today's Christians in anticipation of the
Second Coming of the Lord. It is a season, much like Lent,
of fasting and penance to prepare one's soul for the
coming of the Lord. We should remember this during the
weeks prior to Christmas - that this period is NOT the
season of Christmas! The wish we should give to one another
instead of "Merry Christmas" should be something like,
"Blessed Advent to you!" And we can start wishing others
a "Merry" or "Blessed Christmas" beginning with the Vigil
of Christmas on Christmas Eve.

I hope you found this educational. If you have more to add,
or perhaps can share your own Advent traditions - please do!

God be with you all!

A blessed Advent to you!


Luther's Snow-Covered Dunghill

He may not have said those exact words, though he has been allegedly quoted as saying such, not merely by Catholics, but even by other Lutherans. The paraphrase may have come from Martin Luther’s Sermon on Our Blessed Hope (St. Louis Ed. IX: 930-957):

"We see grain sowed in the ground. Reason now asks: What happens to the grain in winter that has been sowed in the ground? Is it not a dead, moldy, decayed thing, covered with frost and snow? But in its own time it grows from that dead, moldy, decayed grain into a beautiful green stalk, which flourishes like a forest and produces a full, fat ear on which there are 20, 30, 40 kernels, and thereby finds life where only death existed earlier. Thus God has done with heaven, earth, sun and moon, and does every year with the grain in the field. He calls to that which is nothing that it should become something and does this contrary to all reason. Can He not also do something which serves to glorify the children of God, even though it is contrary to all reason?"

We do get closer to the saying here:
"I said before that our righteousness is dung in the sight of God. Now if God chooses to adorn dung, he can do so" (Luther's Works, Vol. 34, page 184).

In that same document Luther adds:

"All the justified could glory in their works, if they would attribute glory to God with respect to themselves. In this manner they would not be dung, but ornaments" (Luther's Works, Vol. 34, page 178).

In short, I could not find any direct reference to Luther's reference to justification being that we are like a snow-covered dunghill.

If anyone else has further references to be looked at, please post a comment here!


Ms. Ciccone's Shock-value "Show"

Should we be offended over this? Considering the uprising over a misinterpretation of what the Pope said (see next posting) and the radical responses some make when THEIR religion is mocked, isn't it interesting that "radical Christians" aren't out there making death threats to Ms. Ciccone (I wish to refer to her by her last name)? Let us pray for her soul.


What Did Pope Benedict Say at the University of Regensburg

This is the entire text, read it all - not just the out-of-context snippet (in red below, emphasis added) we're seeing in the news: 

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, It is a moving experience for me to stand and give a lecture at this university podium once again. I think back to those years when, after a pleasant period at the Freisinger Hochschule, I began teaching at the University of Bonn. This was in 1959, in the days of the old university made up of ordinary professors. The various chairs had neither assistants nor secretaries, but in recompense there was much direct contact with students and in particular among the professors themselves. We would meet before and after lessons in the rooms of the teaching staff. There was a lively exchange with historians, philosophers, philologists and, naturally, between the two theological faculties. Once a semester there was a dies academicus, when professors from every faculty appeared before the students of the entire university, making possible a genuine experience of universitas: the reality that despite our specializations which at times make it difficult to communicate with each other, we made up a whole, working in everything on the basis of a single rationality with its various aspects and sharing responsibility for the right use of reason-- this reality became a lived experience. The university was also very proud of its two theological faculties. It was clear that, by inquiring about the reasonableness of faith, they too carried out a work which is necessarily part of the whole of the universitas scientiarum, even if not everyone could share the faith which theologians seek to correlate with reason as a whole. This profound sense of coherence within the universe of reason was not troubled, even when it was once reported that a colleague had said there was something odd about our university: it had two faculties devoted to something that did not exist: God. That even in the face of such radical skepticism it is still necessary and reasonable to raise the question of God through the use of reason, and to do so in the context of the tradition of the Christian faith: this, within the university as a whole, was accepted without question. I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (M√ľnster) of part of the dialogue carried on-- perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara-- by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. It was probably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than the responses of the learned Persian. The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur'an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship of the three Laws: the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Qur'an. In this lecture I would like to discuss only one point-- itself rather marginal to the dialogue itself-- which, in the context of the issue of faith and reason, I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue. In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: There is no compulsion in religion. It is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels,” he turns to his interlocutor somewhat brusquely with the central question on the relationship between religion and violence in general, in these words: Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached. The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death.... The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: "For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality." Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practice idolatry. As far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma which nowadays challenges us directly. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true? I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God. Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: In the beginning was the logos. This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts with logos. Logos means both reason and word-- a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist. The encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by chance. The vision of Saint Paul, who saw the roads to Asia barred and in a dream saw a Macedonian man plead with him: Come over to Macedonia and help us! (cf. Acts 16:6-10)-- this vision can be interpreted as a distillation of the intrinsic necessity of a rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek inquiry. In point of fact, this rapprochement had been going on for some time. The mysterious name of God, revealed from the burning bush, a name which separates this God from all other divinities with their many names and declares simply that he is, is already presents a challenge to the notion of myth, to which Socrates's attempt to vanquish and transcend myth stands in close analogy. Within the Old Testament, the process which started at the burning bush came to new maturity at the time of the Exile, when the God of Israel, an Israel now deprived of its land and worship, was proclaimed as the God of heaven and earth and described in a simple formula which echoes the words uttered at the burning bush: I am. This new understanding of God is accompanied by a kind of enlightenment, which finds stark expression in the mockery of gods who are merely the work of human hands (cf. Ps 115). Thus, despite the bitter conflict with those Hellenistic rulers who sought to accommodate it forcibly to the customs and idolatrous cult of the Greeks, biblical faith, in the Hellenistic period, encountered the best of Greek thought at a deep level, resulting in a mutual enrichment evident especially in the later wisdom literature. Today we know that the Greek translation of the Old Testament produced at Alexandria-- the Septuagint-- is more than a simple (and in that sense perhaps less than satisfactory) translation of the Hebrew text: it is an independent textual witness and a distinct and important step in the history of revelation, one which brought about this encounter in a way that was decisive for the birth and spread of Christianity. A profound encounter of faith and reason is taking place here, an encounter between genuine enlightenment and religion. From the very heart of Christian faith and, at the same time, the heart of Greek thought now joined to faith, Manuel II was able to say: Not to act “with logos” is contrary to God's nature. In all honesty, one must observe that in the late Middle Ages we find trends in theology which would sunder this synthesis between the Greek spirit and the Christian spirit. In contrast with the so-called intellectualism of Augustine and Thomas, there arose with Duns Scotus a voluntarism which ultimately led to the claim that we can only know God's voluntas ordinata. Beyond this is the realm of God's freedom, in virtue of which he could have done the opposite of everything he has actually done. This gives rise to positions which clearly approach those of Ibn Hazn and might even lead to the image of a capricious God, who is not even bound to truth and goodness. God's transcendence and otherness are so exalted that our reason, our sense of the true and good, are no longer an authentic mirror of God, whose deepest possibilities remain eternally unattainable and hidden behind his actual decisions. As opposed to this, the faith of the Church has always insisted that between God and us, between his eternal Creator Spirit and our created reason there exists a real analogy, in which unlikeness remains infinitely greater than likeness, yet not to the point of abolishing analogy and its language (cf. Lateran IV). God does not become more divine when we push him away from us in a sheer, impenetrable voluntarism; rather, the truly divine God is the God who has revealed himself as logos and, as logos, has acted and continues to act lovingly on our behalf. Certainly, love transcends knowledge and is thereby capable of perceiving more than thought alone (cf. Eph 3:19); nonetheless it continues to be love of the God who is logos. Consequently, Christian worship is worship in harmony with the eternal Word and with our reason (cf. Rom 12:1). This inner rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry was an event of decisive importance not only from the standpoint of the history of religions, but also from that of world history-– it is an event which concerns us even today. Given this convergence, it is not surprising that Christianity, despite its origins and some significant developments in the East, finally took on its historically decisive character in Europe. We can also express this the other way around: this convergence, with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage, created Europe and remains the foundation of what can rightly be called Europe. The thesis that the critically purified Greek heritage forms an integral part of Christian faith has been countered by the call for a dehellenization of Christianity-– a call which has more and more dominated theological discussions since the beginning of the modern age. Viewed more closely, three stages can be observed in the program of dehellenization: although interconnected, they are clearly distinct from one another in their motivations and objectives. Dehellenization first emerges in connection with the fundamental postulates of the Reformation in the 16th century. Looking at the tradition of scholastic theology, the Reformers thought they were confronted with a faith system totally conditioned by philosophy, that is to say an articulation of the faith based on an alien system of thought. As a result, faith no longer appeared as a living historical Word but as one element of an overarching philosophical system. The principle of sola scriptura, on the other hand, sought faith in its pure, primordial form, as originally found in the biblical Word. Metaphysics appeared as a premise derived from another source, from which faith had to be liberated in order to become once more fully itself. When Kant stated that he needed to set thinking aside in order to make room for faith, he carried this program forward with a radicalism that the Reformers could never have foreseen. He thus anchored faith exclusively in practical reason, denying it access to reality as a whole. The liberal theology of the 19th and 20th centuries ushered in a second stage in the process of dehellenization, with Adolf von Harnack as its outstanding representative. When I was a student, and in the early years of my teaching, this program was highly influential in Catholic theology too. It took as its point of departure Pascal’s distinction between the God of the philosophers and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In my inaugural lecture at Bonn in 1959, I tried to address the issue. I will not repeat here what I said on that occasion, but I would like to describe at least briefly what was new about this second stage of dehellenization. Harnack’s central idea was to return simply to the man Jesus and to his simple message, underneath the accretions of theology and indeed of hellenization: this simple message was seen as the culmination of the religious development of humanity. Jesus was said to have put an end to worship in favor of morality. In the end he was presented as the father of a humanitarian moral message. The fundamental goal was to bring Christianity back into harmony with modern reason, liberating it, that is to say, from seemingly philosophical and theological elements, such as faith in Christ’s divinity and the triune God. In this sense, historical-critical exegesis of the New Testament restored to theology its place within the university: theology, for Harnack, is something essentially historical and therefore strictly scientific. What it is able to say critically about Jesus is, so to speak, an expression of practical reason and consequently it can take its rightful place within the university. Behind this thinking lies the modern self-limitation of reason, classically expressed in Kant’s “Critiques”, but in the meantime further radicalized by the impact of the natural sciences. This modern concept of reason is based, to put it briefly, on a synthesis between Platonism (Cartesianism) and empiricism, a synthesis confirmed by the success of technology. On the one hand it presupposes the mathematical structure of matter, its intrinsic rationality, which makes it possible to understand how matter works and use it efficiently: this basic premise is, so to speak, the Platonic element in the modern understanding of nature. On the other hand, there is nature’s capacity to be exploited for our purposes, and here only the possibility of verification or falsification through experimentation can yield ultimate certainty. The weight between the two poles can, depending on the circumstances, shift from one side to the other. As strongly positivistic a thinker as J. Monod has declared himself a convinced Platonist/Cartesian. This gives rise to two principles which are crucial for the issue we have raised. First, only the kind of certainty resulting from the interplay of mathematical and empirical elements can be considered scientific. Anything that would claim to be science must be measured against this criterion. Hence the human sciences, such as history, psychology, sociology, and philosophy, attempt to conform themselves to this canon of scientificity. A second point, which is important for our reflections, is that by its very nature this method excludes the question of God, making it appear an unscientific or pre-scientific question. Consequently, we are faced with a reduction of the radius of science and reason, one which needs to be questioned. We shall return to this problem later. In the meantime, it must be observed that from this standpoint any attempt to maintain theology’s claim to be “scientific” would end up reducing Christianity to a mere fragment of its former self. But we must say more: it is man himself who ends up being reduced, for the specifically human questions about our origin and destiny, the questions raised by religion and ethics, then have no place within the purview of collective reason as defined by “science” and must thus be relegated to the realm of the subjective. The subject then decides, on the basis of his experiences, what he considers tenable in matters of religion, and the subjective “conscience” becomes the sole arbiter of what is ethical. In this way, though, ethics and religion lose their power to create a community and become a completely personal matter. This is a dangerous state of affairs for humanity, as we see from the disturbing pathologies of religion and reason which necessarily erupt when reason is so reduced that questions of religion and ethics no longer concern it. Attempts to construct an ethic from the rules of evolution or from psychology and sociology, end up being simply inadequate. Before I draw the conclusions to which all this has been leading, I must briefly refer to the third stage of dehellenization, which is now in progress. In the light of our experience with cultural pluralism, it is often said nowadays that the synthesis with Hellenism achieved in the early Church was a preliminary inculturation which ought not to be binding on other cultures. The latter are said to have the right to return to the simple message of the New Testament prior to that inculturation, in order to inculturate it anew in their own particular milieux. This thesis is not only false; it is coarse and lacking in precision. The New Testament was written in Greek and bears the imprint of the Greek spirit, which had already come to maturity as the Old Testament developed. True, there are elements in the evolution of the early Church which do not have to be integrated into all cultures. Nonetheless, the fundamental decisions made about the relationship between faith and the use of human reason are part of the faith itself; they are developments consonant with the nature of faith itself. And so I come to my conclusion. This attempt, painted with broad strokes, at a critique of modern reason from within has nothing to do with putting the clock back to the time before the Enlightenment and rejecting the insights of the modern age. The positive aspects of modernity are to be acknowledged unreservedly: we are all grateful for the marvelous possibilities that it has opened up for mankind and for the progress in humanity that has been granted to us. The scientific ethos, moreover, is the will to be obedient to the truth, and, as such, it embodies an attitude which reflects one of the basic tenets of Christianity. The intention here is not one of retrenchment or negative criticism, but of broadening our concept of reason and its application. While we rejoice in the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them. We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons. In this sense theology rightly belongs in the university and within the wide-ranging dialogue of sciences, not merely as a historical discipline and one of the human sciences, but precisely as theology, as inquiry into the rationality of faith. Only thus do we become capable of that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today. In the Western world it is widely held that only positivistic reason and the forms of philosophy based on it are universally valid. Yet the world’s profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions. A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures. At the same time, as I have attempted to show, modern scientific reason with its intrinsically Platonic element bears within itself a question which points beyond itself and beyond the possibilities of its methodology. Modern scientific reason quite simply has to accept the rational structure of matter and the correspondence between our spirit and the prevailing rational structures of nature as a given, on which its methodology has to be based. Yet the question why this has to be so is a real question, and one which has to be remanded by the natural sciences to other modes and planes of thought: to philosophy and theology. For philosophy and, albeit in a different way, for theology, listening to the great experiences and insights of the religious traditions of humanity, and those of the Christian faith in particular, is a source of knowledge, and to ignore it would be an unacceptable restriction of our listening and responding. Here I am reminded of something Socrates said to Phaedo. In their earlier conversations, many false philosophical opinions had been raised, and so Socrates says: “It would be easily understandable if someone became so annoyed at all these false notions that for the rest of his life he despised and mocked all talk about being - but in this way he would be deprived of the truth of existence and would suffer a great loss”. The West has long been endangered by this aversion to the questions which underlie its rationality, and can only suffer great harm thereby. The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur – this is the program with which a theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our time. “Not to act reasonably (with logos) is contrary to the nature of God”, said Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to his Persian interlocutor. It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures. To rediscover it constantly is the great task of the university.

Thoughts from this weekend's feasts...

Well, Saturday was the Feast of Our Lady of Snow. We celebrate this day because of a miracle of snow, which fell on this day in Rome. Keep in mind, this is the middle of summer in Rome! What preceeded the snow was a vision, shared by a Roman patrician, John and his wife (who were without heirs), and Pope Liberius also had the same vision. Backtracking a little, John and his wife, having no heirs, promised their fortunes in honor of the Virgin Mary. The vision was that the Virgin Mary would show them by a sign where to build a church in her honor. On that evening of August 5th it snowed on the summit of Esquiline Hill. In obedience to the vision, a basilica was built there with the funds from John and his wife.

Snow is often used in Scripture as a reference to purity. Sunday was the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord - and His clothes were made "white as snow." Seeing as how this feast day of Our Lord fell on a Sunday this year, the vestments at the altar were white (instead of green, as the Sundays After Pentecost normally are), white like snow.

Another interesting point our priest brought out in the sermon today was that the Apostles, upon seeing Moses and Elijah there with Jesus immediately wanted to erect three tents (tabernacles), one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah - all equal tabernacles. This was not to be! For though Moses represents the Law, he is not the epitome of the Law, Jesus is. Though Elijah represents the prophets, he is not the epitome of the prophets, Jesus is. After the Apostles had offered to erect these tents, God spoke and refocused their attention stating - "This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased, listen to HIM." At the sound of the voice of the Father, the Apostles dropped to the ground in fear and humble submission. After the Father spoke, they arose - and found only Jesus there with them.

Pray for Peace

A plea has come to my attention, one that asks for Catholics to take action, and if we blog, we are to comment in our blog. The plea comes from a Traditional Catholic site, and the plea is, IMHO, very anti-semetic. I will not provide links to that site, nor will I mention the name. What I will do is encourage Catholics to pray for peace in the Middle-East. Pray for the plight of our Maronite brothers and sisters in Lebanon especially. Do penance, prayer and fasting, as our Holy Father asked for last Sunday.

We, sitting behind our computer screens in the comfort of air conditioned homes in the United States, must also be careful not to just buy into the propaganda from ANY side in this debate. How culpable are the residents of Lebanon in their silence while the Hezbollah build up tens of thousands of terrorist weapons? The short-range rockets have very little true military use - they are meant to shoot "toward" a city-sized target (civilians) in hopes they may hit something which will cause terror among the targeted people. They are not precise enough to be used against any valid military target.

In researching this article I also found some accusing the media (in general) of lying regarding the taking of hostages by Hezbollah. The claim they are making is that these soldiers were allegedly "arrested" in Lebanon. I have a couple problems (at least) with that claim. 1) Hezbollah is not the Lebaneese police. 2) Those Israeli soldiers were attacked, one was killed and two were taken hostage with the demand for a "prisoner exchange." The anti-semetic article overlooks these facts.


Clearing the Smoke of Satan?

It appears there will be several changes to the Catholic liturgy! These changes will take time to impliment. We probably won't see any for up to a couple years, but some of them seem to be well motivated and moving in the right direction.

Does anyone have a list of all the changes being proposed?

A few I've heard of:

"Credo" will be properly translated to "I believe" ("We believe," if I am conjugating correctly, would be "credomus").

"Et cum spiritu tuo" will be properly translated to "And with your spirit" (not "and also with you").

More Latin will be used.

More Gregorian chant will be used.

Several bishops argued to get "and for all" put back to "and for many" (at the consecration of the wine into the Blood of Christ), but (for now) that has been shot down.


Did the Pope Say the Smoke of Satan has Entered the Church?

It's only in Italian on the Vatican website, but it's definitely there and Pope Paul VI said it:
(or click here)

In this document, you will find the words: «da qualche fessura sia entrato il fumo di Satana nel tempio di Dio». I'm no "expert" in Italian, but "il fumo di Satana nel tempio di Dio" IS translated to "the smoke of Satan in the Temple of God." I hope this helps.

Here's a little more:
da qualche fessura sia entrato il fumo di Satana nel tempio di Dio

Using the "babelfish" interpretor through Altavista.com this is translated to: from some fissure the smoke of Satana in the tempio has entered of God We can see this as "from some fissure, the smoke of Satan has entered the Temple of God."

Comments anyone?


What is the Greatest Event in All of History?

What is the Incarnation?

An Article by Scott Windsor

I'm sure that most of you, at first thought, (as did I) answer “The Incarnation is when God became Man.” And you would be correct – but not wholly correct! Yes, the Incarnation, if we think of it soley as a regular noun, it is defined as:


1. a. The act of incarnating.

b. The condition of being incarnated.


And “incarnate” is defined as:


1. a. Invested with bodily nature and form: an incarnate spirit.

b. Embodied in human form; personified: a villain who is evil incarnate.

tr.v. in·car·nat·ed, in·car·nat·ing, in·car·nates

1. a. To give bodily, especially human, form to.

b. To personify.


Now, going back to the first reference, the next definition is:

    2. Incarnation Christianity The doctrine that the Son of God was conceived in the womb of Mary and that Jesus is true God and true man.

So far, it's just as we thought – that one action of God becoming Man, even as a proper noun, the reference (which is to The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000), is still speaking of that one event, but really it is so much more!

The Incarnation of God, as an act of God is an eternal act. It “happened” in time as we see it, during that remarkable event of the Holy Ghost coming upon the Blessed Virgin after she gave her fiat, “Be it done to me according to Thy Will,” and that event is summed up in John 1:14, “And the Word was made Flesh, and dwelt among us” (here, during the liturgy, we all genuflect or bow in respect and awe of God becoming Man). 

As an eternal act of God, it continues to “happen” outside of time, as we perceive it. So, this “once in time” act – actually continues to this day, and we are witness to that Act at each and every valid Mass! When the priest declares (in persona christi) “This IS My Body...” it IS His Body! We are there, at the Incarnation, witnessing the Incarnation! What's more is that the Incarnation is not merely the point in time when God became Man, but it is that point in history wherein God became Man, was born, lived, died and was resurrected! It is through the Incarnation that God redeemed mankind.

The Incarnation is the single event in history which truly changed the world. No other event has had so much impact on all of society as this one Act of God! This is clearly exemplified in the fact that the calendar, used throughout the world (with few exceptions) is based on “A.D.” which is the Latin abbreviation for “Anno Domini” - and translated that is “the year of Our Lord.” To limit the Incarnation to that single point in Mary's life robs us of the true significance of the Incarnation. God merely becoming Man is a great event, but if that's ALL that happened, it would not be so remarkable; afterall, such “incarnations” are part of several religious beliefs. What made The Incarnation so remarkable was that not only did God become Man, but God took upon Himself our sins. He submitted Himself to death and died in our behalf so that we might live again. Then He conquered death and rose again! That is The Incarnation! Not only has The Incarnation happened, it continues to “happen” at every valid Mass. It continues to bring to the present that God became Man and dwells among us, that he lived and died and rose again. That is The Incarnation! That is the great Mysterium Fidei, (Mystery of Faith) which we celebrate through the Mass.

The Modern Catholic Encyclopedia says it this way:

Thus incarnation does not merely concern the conception or birth of the Savior, but the entire redemptive history of the Word made flesh. Moreover, it is human life in all its grandeur and vulnerability that is assumed. As a result, inseparably connected with the understanding of incarnation, is the recognition of kenosis, the self-emptying of God into human form, even unto death. (p. 422, The Modern Catholic Encyclopedia, Michael Glazier, Monika K. Hellwig, editors, copyright 1994, nihil obstat, Robert C. Harren, Censor deputatus; imprimatur, +Jerome Hanus, Bishop of St. Cloud, Minnesota, June 10, 1994).

Anne W. Carrol, in her book, Christ the King: Lord of History, states:

So to find the most important event in the history of the world, we must find an event that had a great influence at the time it occurred, that is still influencing history at the present time, and that even made a difference in history before it occurred.

There is only one event that meets all these requirements. That event is what Christians call the Incarnation: the birth, life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, who was both God and man. (pp. 8-9, Christ the King: Lord of History, Trinity Communications, 1986).

In summary, when asked what is the greatest event in all of history – our answer is “The Incarnation.” What we mean by “The Incarnation,” is not merely that point in time in which God became Man, but His entire life, death and Resurrection, and that “event” continues to this day in every valid Mass (and Divine Liturgy). It is through this Incarnation in which God redeemed the world, and it is through the Mass that this Act is still manifest for us to witness to this day, until He returns in glory.



Showing the Sacraments From Scripture

As requested:
Showing the Sacraments from Scripture:

1) Baptism
John 1:12; 3:14-16; Eph. 2:8-9; Romans 3:19-26; 4; 10:9-13.

2) Confession
John 20:23
* 2 Cor 5:18-19 "...gave us the ministry of reconciliation..."
* 2 Cor 2:10-11 "What I have forgiven... in the presence of Christ..." Paul has forgiven people's sins in the name of Christ.
* 1 John 1:19 "If we confess our sins..."
* James 5:14-16 "...Let him call for the elders of the church... he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another..."
* 2 Chronicles 26:1, Uzziah was chastised for performing priestly functions because he wasn't a priest. He got leprosy and died.

The Bible teaches that the confessing of sins is a usual requisite for obtaining forgiveness.

Numbers 5, 6-7: Speak unto the children of Israel. When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit . . . Then they shall confess their sin which they have done, etc.

Proverbs 28, 13: He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

II Samuel 12, 13: After David confessed his sins to the prophet Nathan he was given assurance of pardon.

Luke 23, 43: When the thief on the cross confessed, our Lord promised him paradise.

I John 1, 9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, etc.

Matt. 3, 5-6: Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan. And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

Acts 19, 18: And many that believed came (to the Apostles), and confessed, and shewed their deeds.

3) Eucharist
John 6:54; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29
The Bible teaches that when making his last will and testament Christ gave to us his own Body and Blood.

Mark 14, 22-24: And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: This is my body. 23. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks. he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. 24. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.

4) Confirmation
2 Tim 1:6, the effect of the Apostles' imposition of
hands is "the grace of God."

5) Holy Matrimony
The Bible teaches that lawful marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power.

Matt. 19, 6: Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.

6) Holy Orders
The Bible teaches that Christ has ambassadors or agents (his bishops and priests) who represent Him in this world.

2 Cor. 5-20: Now then we are ambassadors for Christ as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

I Cor. 4, l: Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

John 20, 21: Then said Jesus to them again. Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you .

7) Extreme Unction
James 5, 14-16: Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders (i. e., priests) of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

Showing the use of relics from Scripture:
The Bible teaches that it is proper and beneficial to venerate the relics of sacred personages or things.

2 King, 2, 8-14: The mantle of Elijah.

Exodus 7, 10: The rod of Aaron.

Matt 9, 20-21: Also Matt. 14-36: The hem of our Lord's garment.

Acts 19, 12: So that from his body were brought unto the sick, handkerchiefs. or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirit went out of them.

Acts 5, 15-16: Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.

More from White on the Subject of Sola Scriptura

(qtd. on: http://www.bringyou.to/apolonio/Real.htm)

Gerry Matatics vs. James White, clip from "Great Debate 2" 1997

Matatics: Did the people in Jesus' day practice sola scriptura? The hearers of our Lord, Yes or No, Mr. White.

White: I have said over, and over, and over again, that sola scriptura --

M: It's a Yes or No.

W: -- is a doctrine that speaks to the normative condition of the church, not to times of enscripturation.

M: So your answer is No?

W: That is exactly what my answer is.

M: Thank you.

W: It is no.

M: Did the apostles practice sola scriptura, Mr. White? Yes or No?

W: No.

M: Thank you

White's "response" to this is:
...he's the one who took 15 seconds from a cross examination with Gerry Matatics on sola scriptura where Matatics asked if the Apostles practiced sola scriptura and I answered they did not (sola scriptura to the normative condition of the church, not to times of enscripturation, of course), and touts this as my "admission" that sola scriptura is not true, etc. I suppose I could ask a Roman Catholic opponent someday if Peter functioned as the Pope during Christ's ministry, and when he said, "Well, no, of course not" I could cut him off, make a clip, and tout it as an admission that Peter wasn't the Pope, but that kind of argumentation is only effective upon those who are not interested in the truth to begin with. I'll leave that kind of trite stuff for the political realm, where truth is irrelevant, and all that matters is what works.

The point is, sola scriptura has not always been the norm for the Church, in fact, it NEVER has been for the Church. Further, though White whines about the shortness of what is quoted from that debate with Matatics, he doesn't provide us with more context here! Would more context help his case, or further Apolonio's? For the sake of rebuttal (fair use) I include the following link to the audio of that entire cross examination of James White by Gerry Matatics:
Great Debate 2, Cross Examination of James White by Gerry Matatics

I assert that not only is what Apolonio said furthered, but White's claims on this topic are utterly destroyed by Mr. Matatics. White introduces a straw man in his imaginary question to an unnamed Roman Catholic opponent regarding whether or not St. Peter functioned as the Pope during Christ's ministry. Mr. Matatics questions were not imaginary, nor does the context of his questions detract from the snippet which Apolonio quotes (above). What I do find a bit interesting, even in this straw man, is that White has implied that it is a "truth" that Peter was indeed Pope - and that if he were to make this sort of edit it would "only be effective upon those who are not interested in the truth to begin with." That's a bit of a diversion from THIS topic, but it is interesting to make note of. Back to the subject at hand... I reiterate, though White has attempted (his usual) distraction and character assassination tactics on Apolonio - when we look (or listen) to the actual context of what Apolonio quoted - we find that Apolonio's quote is furthered - while White's tactics here are completely invalid.

More Sources on Sola Scriptura

Exposing the Baptist "Trail"

First, let's look at a common "chart" often used to
support the Trail of Blood (hereafter ToB):


(Click on chart to see a bigger image)

Let us now quote Mr. Carroll:
} The purpose of this book and chart is to show
} according to History that Baptists have an
} unbroken line of churches since Christ and have
} fulfilled His prophecy -- "I WILL BUILD MY

Clearly Mr. Carroll is claiming an "unbroken
line of churches since Christ," and we will
demonstrate this is a lie, at least as it
relates to the Baptist churches. There were
no "Baptist" churches in the Early Church.

} The horizontal lines at the bottom have between
} them the nicknames given to Baptists during the
} passing years and ages -- Novations (sic),
} Montanists, Paulicians and Waldenses.

Why are ANY of these heresies considered "Baptists?"
PURELY for the reason that they didn't baptize
infants!? Well, let's look and see, shall we?

1) Novatians. Novatus, a schismatic Catholic priest,
named himself a pope - becoming an anti-pope.[1] So
do you really claim Novatianism as part of the
Baptist heritage? No, you really wouldn't if you
REALLY looked at history objectively. So, there's
one lie, and we still have a "hole" from the time
of Christ and the Apostles, now up into the 3rd

2) Montanists. "The sect was founded by a prophet,
Montanus, and two prophetesses, Maximilla and
Prisca, sometimes called Priscilla." [2] Montanists
believed that their prophets superceded and fulfilled
the doctrines of the Apostles, do Baptists believe
their doctrines "supercede" those of the Apostles? [3]
I don't think so. Montanists believed in ecstatic
prophecying and speaking in tongues, there may be
some Baptists who accept this, but most do not.
They emphasized chastity and even forbade marriage,
now does THAT sound like a Baptist practice? No,
it does not. So, we have yet another lie from Mr.

The Montanists and the Novatians existed about the
same time - so we've not really progressed in time
at all in naming these two cults.

3) Paulicians. A cult which actually came out of
another heresy, that of Manichaeism. Let's look
at what the CE says about them: "They rejected
the Old Testament; there was no Incarnation,
Christ was an angel sent into the world by God,
his real mother was the heavenly Jerusalem. His
work consisted only in his teaching; to believe
in him saves men from judgment. The true baptism
and Eucharist consist in hearing his word, as in
John, iv, 10. But many Paulicians, nevertheless,
let their children be baptized by the Catholic
clergy." [4] Uh, oh, they let their children be
baptized by the Catholics! Does that sound like
a "Baptist" church to you? It doesn't to me!
They reject the Old Testament and the Incarnation?
Which Baptists do you know who do this? This cult
doesn't even practice adult baptism - so why does
Mr. Carroll even bother to list them? Is it
solely because they were rejected by the Catholic
Church? It certainly seems so - but nonetheless,
we have another lie from Mr. Carroll, for these
people certainly were NOT "Baptists!" We've also
expanded the "hole" for the Paulicians did not
come into existence until the mid 7th century.
We're up to some 600 years after Jesus Christ,
and still no sign of a "Baptist" church.

4) Waldenses. This cult did not begin until the
late 12th century, named after the founder, Peter
Waldo. In the early years of their cult, one
would have had great difficulty differentiating
them from Roman Catholics. They adhered to the
Seven Sacraments, said Mass and offered prayers
and alms for the dead. [5] Does THAT sound like
a "Baptist" church to you? It sure doesn't to

So, in the four groups Mr. Carroll names by name,
NONE of them can be classified as "Baptists" in
ANY sense of the way Baptists today see themselves.
In fact, I'd venture to guess if ANY of these
cults co-existed with modern Baptists, they'd be
condemned for what they taught and believed.

That being said, though we've gone over 1100 years
in that statement from Mr. Carroll, his "chart"
does go back a bit earlier with another group, a
group called the Anabaptists. Even if we were to
grant him this cult - even HE documents them as
beginning in the late 4th century! (See the
chart). In the early years of the original
Anabaptists, the controversy was NOT over infant
baptism, but over who the valid minister of baptism
could be - e.g., could an heretic validly baptize?
LATER they'd debate over infant baptism. [6] The
term "anabaptists" literally means they RE-baptized
people because they considered the baptism by an
heretic to be invalid, thus the need for a convert
to be "rebaptized." The topic of baptizing infants
came several hundred years later, just prior to the
Protestant revolt. That being said, there is no
"unbroken line" for us to follow between the original
Anabaptists of the 3rd and 4th centuries, to the
more recent Anabaptists who come into light around
the 11th and 12th centuries. To claim THIS as an
"unbroken line" is just not honest - therefore, we
have just exposed yet ANOTHER "lie" from the ToB.

In summary, Mr. Carroll's "chart" is little more
than fantasy. The "red dots" which are supposed
to represent true "Baptist" churches are not
identified, but just apparently placed randomly
or even as if in a pattern, so as to allegedly
demonstrate an "unbroken line." I can get a
crayon out too and make a few more "red dots" on
that chart, and they would be as meaningful as
the ones Carroll has given us. In short, all we
have from the ToB, and especially this chart, is
fantasy of a church which co-existed along side
the Catholic Church since the time of the Apostles.
Mr. Carroll's statements are not supported, nor
are they supportable. It should be quite clear
to anyone who objectively looks at this "chart"
that there truly is no "Trail of Blood" giving
the Baptists an "unbroken line" back to the
Apostles. This is purely a weak attempt to
answer to the Catholic claim of an unbroken
line of succession all the way back to the
Apostles. Unlike Mr. Carroll's unsupported
claims though, Catholics can not only name the
churches - they can name the bishops who sit
in Apostolic succession from the Apostles.

That being said, whether or not you agree with
the Catholic position on Apostolic succession,
you CERTAINLY cannot honestly look at the ToB
and believe the stories and tall tales Mr.
Carroll would have you believe.


[1] http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11138a.htm
[2] http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10521a.htm
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montanus
[4] http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11583b.htm
[5] http://www.edwardtbabinski.us/sheldon/waldenses.html
[6] http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01445b.htm

Happy Birthday!

I just heard, as I was listening to the Pope's Solemn Mass of Easter that today is his birthday!

Happy birthday Pope Benedict XVI!

Cafeteria Catholics - Come NEXT Week, Please!

Those of you who have heard of the "Easter Obligation" and believe that you, as a Catholic, are supposed to attend Mass at least once per year and if it be once per year that it be on Easter Sunday - are sorrily mistaken! Once per year you pack our pews with hypocrisy - and you're only fooling yourselves! It is the OBLIGATION of EVERY Catholic, under the penalty of MORTAL SIN to attend Mass on ALL Sundays AND Holy Days of Obligation. If you're NOT attending EVERY Sunday AND Holy Day, then you're in mortal sin - I certainly HOPE you do not approach the altar and receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord in the Eucharist! To do so only INCREASES your SIN - IF you have not first gone through the Sacrament of Penance (Confession) and SINCERELY confessed your sins AND sincerely resolved "to ammend my life and sin no more," (from the Act of Contrition, do you remember that?) meaning that you have resolved to NOT avoid Mass on Sundays anymore, and that you WILL be there EVERY Sunday AND on Holy Days of Obligation. IF you have done this, I welcome you back with open arms and unending rejoicing! IF you show this year with no intention of being there next week - why bother? You're NOT a practicing Catholic anymore - so who are you really fooling here?

What you've likely confused here is the requirement that every Catholic must participate in the Eucharist at least once during the Eastertide. Eastertide begins with the First Mass of Easter (during Easter Vigil) and ends at Pentecost. ONCE during that time you MUST participate in the Eucharist, and to do so if you have ANY mortal sin on your soul (like not attending Mass every Sunday and Holy Day) then you must FIRST participate in the Sacrament of Penance (Confession/Reconcilliation). So, if you have not gone to confession yet - why bother showing up for Mass this ONE TIME? You are morally forbidden from receiving the Eucharist and this "one time" attendance does NOT fulfill ANY requirement of Catholicism if it is only this "one time" per year. The requirement to participate in Eucharist at least once per year does NOT excuse anyone from attending Mass EVERY Sunday! What it REALLY is, is a requirement to get to Confession at least once per year! You still MUST attend Mass EVERY Sunday, even if you're in mortal sin - you just cannot receive the Eucharist until you've reconciled through the Sacrament of Penance. Again, IF your confession is valid, so is your contrition, and if you didn't MEAN IT when you resolved to ammend your life, then your confession is not valid and you still should NOT receive the Eucharist.

So, if you THINK that you MUST merely attend Mass once per year - the "law" you've misunderstood gives you from Ash Wednesday to Pentecost. Do the rest of us a favor, don't hypocritically fill our pews on Easter Sunday! Come NEXT WEEK so my family and I actually have a place to sit on Easter - OK? While you're at it, try studying your Faith a little - and come to the realization that this once a year gig is NOT fulfilling ANYTHING. If that's ALL you're going to do - don't bother, you're just wasting your time and occupying space. Now again I repeat, if you're going to ammend your life and truly be sitting next to me next week and EVERY week, I welcome you back with open arms! I rejoice with the angels in heaven! If our churches were filled EVERY week, like they will be this Easter Sunday (tomorrow) then we'll be opening more churches (again) and having more Masses every Sunday to accomodate - THIS WE WELCOME!


Pope Calls for the Conversion of the Jews

In the March 15, 2006 General Audience of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI he said:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In coming weeks, our catechesis will focus on the mystery of Christ and the Church. Jesus willed to found his Church upon the Apostles, and it is through their witness that we continue to encounter him. The mission of the Apostles must be seen in the context of the mystery of communion of God’s People, spanning both the old and the new Covenant. Jesus’s entire ministry took place against the backdrop of Israel’s faith and hope, and was aimed at gathering into one the eschatological People of God. Far from a purely individualistic summons to conversion, his mission was directed to the establishment of the community of the new and eternal Covenant. Jesus’ conscious decision to choose the Twelve Apostles was a prophetic sign announcing the eschatological renewal of the twelve tribes of Israel, the dawn of salvation and the fulfilment of God’s promises. In the person of the Apostles, charged with the celebration of the Eucharist and the forgiveness of sins, the Church has been made the sign and instrument of the Kingdom of God in our midst. Christ can never be separated from the Church; through the Church he remains ever present in his people, and in a special way in the successors of the Apostles.

An interesting an bold calling for the conversion of the Jews, don't you think?


Million Dollar Baby - Anti-Catholic Propaganda

Interesting punching bag silhouette looks like a cross on a tabernacle.
Well, when this movie first came out, I did not go to it. I protested, based on what I had heard, that the ending was basically a political statement on euthanasia in opposition to the Catholic Church. I did not want to show my support, even tacitly, in buying a ticket to see it. Well, it was on TV last night on HBO (which we got for free for signing up with cable), so I watched it.

The biggest thing that offended me was the misrepresentation of the Church on this matter. The person was a quadriplegic on a ventilator who wanted to turn off the machine. Clint Eastwood's character, a Catholic, went to his priest to discuss the matter and his priest tells him he cannot do it. Therein lies the rub!  A permanent ventilator is considered to be an "extra-ordinary" means of support, and (I speak from experience here) it is NOT against Church teaching to remove extra-ordinary life support! So the big hype over euthanasia is based in a false dilemma! There WAS NO DILEMMA! There would have been nothing wrong with getting together with the medical staff and clergy and discussing the matter and allowing her to pass on naturally, without the extra-ordinary means of a ventilator. So Eastwood either didn't research this well enough, or deliberately was trying to represent the Church as the "bad guy" in this issue.

Now, I just wish I had seen the movie earlier to help raise the issue that it wasn't a valid issue which Eastwood made the climax of this propaganda! I guess I'm also appalled that I haven't heard this side of the story from other Catholics!  Perhaps the rest of Catholicism, like me, basically boycotted the movie, and we all missed the chance to expose the falsehood being portrayed there? (Sigh)

And to think, that movie won FOUR Academy Awards last year - and IT'S A FRAUD!

I would think even our Protestant friends would support the truth in this matter and step forward and acknowledge that what Eastwood did there truly didn't accurately represent the Catholic Church's position
in a case like that.

As I recall, it came out about the time the Terry Schiavo case was big news, but that case was NOT the same. Schiavo was not on a ventilator - she breathed on her own, and no machines were used to keep her alive.  All she had was a feeding tube, and basic food and water is not "extra-ordinary" and that is why the Church opposes withholding of such from a patient who can otherwise sustain themselves.

Hindsight is 20/20 - but "what if" we could have mobilized a push for the TRUTH about the Church's position on this prior to the Academy Awards? Could we have reduced the hype over the movie AND the anti-Catholic propaganda? That's something we should ALL keep in mind for the future.


Fasting and Lent

Let us LIVE the Catholic life. Let us not hide our Light under a bushel basket! Do your penances in private - but when someone asks you about why you're not eating meat on Friday, gently explain to them that you do this in honor of Good Friday - and everytime you would have partaken in meat - it's a reminder to you of Christ's Ultimate Sacrifice in our behalf. I know most of us do this year-round, but during this time of year more attention is drawn to the Catholic "meatless Fridays."

After Lent is over, we can continue to use this as a witness to our fellow Catholics who might tell us, "Lent is over, you don't have to continue with abstinence from meat on Fridays..." and then you can (gently and charitably) remind them that the requirement of penance on Fridays is STILL a requirement for EVERY Catholic - even so-called Novus Ordo Catholics! We don't HAVE to continue observing the abstinence from meat, but it MUST be "something equivalent." If it has to be equivalent, why not just stick with meat?! Meatless Fridays and Friday Fish Fries used to be one of our identifying marks on our communities! It should be again. Encourage all Catholics to continue meatless Fridays year-round, unless a solemnity falls on a Friday.


First Friday
Lent 2006

Sola Scriptura Discussion from CathApol

Sola Scriptura

A discussion with Scott (BigScott) and Dave (Emanon)
January 5, 2006

[21:17] <BigScott> I just started reading White's book on SS
[21:17] <Emanon-> which book was that?
[21:19] <Emanon-> a new one?
[21:22] <Emanon-> not sure if I ever read one of his specifically on the topic
[21:24] <BigScott> sorry, phone call, back now
[21:27] <BigScott> White's book is from 2004, entitled "Scripture Alone"
[21:28] <BigScott> when I first started reading it, I couldn't believe what I was reading...
[21:28] <BigScott> it was so bad
[21:29] <BigScott> he goes into a bit more as I'm reading on... so I'll reserve judgment - but the opening "3 Arguments" were pathetic.
[21:30] <Emanon-> I just checked I don't have that book by White
[21:34] <Emanon-> but SS is ok by me
[21:35] Bible` [~Bible@203-59-101-231.dyn.iinet.net.au] has joined #CathApol
[21:36] <Emanon-> hi Bible
[21:36] <BigScott> bible is a bot
[21:37] <Emanon-> ok
[21:37] <BigScott> .drb luke 1:28
[21:37] <Bible`> BigScott, Luke 1:28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. (Douay Rheims Bible)
[21:37] <Emanon-> What problem do you have with SS?
[21:37] <BigScott> I'm working on a book
[21:37] <BigScott> :-)
[21:37] <Emanon-> let us say your biggest problem with it?
[21:38] <BigScott> well... lemme pick one...
[21:38] <BigScott> 1) It's not scriptural
[21:38] <Emanon-> pick the major one
[21:38] <BigScott> it's unheard of until about the 16th century
[21:39] <Emanon-> You would say that the bible says to believe Bible + tradition?
[21:39] <BigScott> most of the ECF's that we refer to were "Latin" Fathers - yet not a single one of them used the Latin words "sola scriptura"
[21:40] <BigScott> I would say the Bible tells us that the Church is built upon the foundations of the Apostles.
[21:40] <BigScott> The Apostles were given the authority to lead the Church
[21:41] <BigScott> and their authority can be infallible
[21:41] <Emanon-> I agree with apostolic succession (probably a bit different from you though)....but I don't agree about the infallible part
[21:42] <BigScott> the infallible part is quite scripturally sound
[21:42] <BigScott> "whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven"
[21:43] <BigScott> unless error can be bound in heaven - they have infallible authority
[21:43] <Emanon-> bind and loosing I think refers to church membership & excommunication
[21:44] <BigScott> the Bible says "whatsoever" - not merely church membership and excommunication - in fact those things aren't even mentioned when that authority is given.
[21:44] <BigScott> .drb matt 16:19
[21:44] <Bible`> BigScott, Matthew 16:19 And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. (Douay Rheims Bible)
[21:44] <BigScott> .drb matt 18:18
[21:44] <Bible`> BigScott, Matthew 18:18 Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven. (Douay Rheims Bible)
[21:44] <Emanon-> that would be to say, whatever that the church accepts as its members through faith alone in Christ remain so..but those that are 'loosed' or excommunicated by the valid body of Christ, can be considered not a true part of the body of Christ, i.e. lost
[21:45] <Emanon-> that's how I see it anyway
[21:45] <BigScott> even if we restricted it to that limited interpretation (I believe it can INCLUDE that interpretation, but is not limited to it) it's still "infallible"
[21:46] <BigScott> for that binding (and/or loosing) is in heaven as well
[21:46] <BigScott> can error be bound or loosed in heaven?
[21:46] <BigScott> even if we only apply it to church membership?
[21:46] <Emanon-> I think you are stretching 'binding' to include any statement any church official wants to make and I think that is a stretch
[21:47] <BigScott> well, aside from that (I think you're adding words to Scripture which aren't there) assuming your interpretation - can you answer the questions?
[21:47] <Emanon-> even applied to church membership in the RCC, I don't think anyone would claim that they know infallibly is anyone is saved
[21:48] <BigScott> so you're denying the Church has the authority to bind or loose?
[21:48] <Emanon-> so, regarding church membership or binding in RCC, infallibility is moot
[21:48] <Emanon-> no, I think it does
[21:48] <BigScott> you're not answering the questions
[21:49] <BigScott> <BigScott> can error be bound or loosed in heaven?
[21:49] <BigScott> <BigScott> even if we only apply it to church membership?
[21:49] <Emanon-> Yes, I think the Church has the authority to bind and loose
[21:49] <BigScott> is that binding and loosing so bound and loosed in heaven as well?
[21:50] <Emanon-> are you asking that if a church excommunicates someone that this implies infallibly that the individual is lost?
[21:51] <BigScott> no, I'm asking if "whatsoever" is bound by the Church is also bound in heaven?
[21:52] <BigScott> let's not assume "Catholic Church" just yet.
[21:52] <Emanon-> regarding human souls, I don't think the church in infallible in 'binding' them...that is, when we accept someone as a Christian based upon their profession of faith, sometimes we err and have to excommunicate them when they apostacise
[21:52] <Emanon-> apostasize
[21:53] <Emanon-> however its spelled
[22:06] <BigScott> so... even though you apply this authority solely to church membership - it doesn't apply?
[22:09] <Emanon-> it doens't apply infallibly...if you mean by that that we can say at each instant that any person on the formal roles of a church is absolutely saved
[22:09] <BigScott> so, let me get this straight....
[22:10] <BigScott> The Bible tells us that "whatsoever" they shall bind, shall be bound in heaven. You apply that solely to church membership, but when push comes to shove, it doesn't apply.
[22:10] <BigScott> it's not bound in heaven
[22:10] <BigScott> right?
[22:11] <BigScott> you asked for a "major" one - and I believe that exposes a major flaw right there.
[22:12] <Emanon-> yes, I don't think the church is infallible
[22:12] <BigScott> either the Church has authority to bind and/or loose - or it doesn't.
[22:12] <Emanon-> so you would be saying then that if one is a member of the RCC then they are absolutely saved?
[22:13] <BigScott> Remember, you said this too: <Emanon-> Yes, I think the Church has the authority to bind and loose
[22:13] <BigScott> No, I never said that
[22:14] <BigScott> do you stand by what you said earlier?
[22:14] <BigScott> 5<Emanon-> Yes, I think the Church has the authority to bind and loose
[22:15] <BigScott> ??
[22:15] <Emanon-> BigScott: so you do not apply the verse to binding or loosing souls in an eternal sense?
[22:16] <BigScott> You can just call me "Scott" "BigScott" is a nickname.
[22:16] <Emanon-> ok
[22:16] <BigScott> Your name is Dave, right?
[22:17] <BigScott> I'll answer your question, please answer mine too.
[22:17] <BigScott> I apply Matt 16:19 and 18:18 to "whatsoever" is bound by the Church.
[22:17] <Emanon-> while I could certainly stand to do some research on the particular passage in question as I haven't really studied it that much, as far as I know it does refer to binding and loosing regarding salvation...but only in the sense that the church and her ministries is the vehicle whereby we are saved, I don't think infallibility in this is implied
[22:18] <Emanon-> yes, Dave
[22:18] <Emanon-> are souls bound by the church?
[22:18] <BigScott> some are
[22:19] <BigScott> When the Church has infallibly named someone a "Saint" that is bound on earth and in heaven as well.
[22:19] <BigScott> The Church does not bind souls to hell - that's God's job.
[22:20] <Emanon-> so the vast majority of folks are not bound?
[22:20] <BigScott> for some the Church has recognized them as Saints - for whatever the reason (part of the "whatsoever") and those Saints are infallibly known by the Faithful as Saints in heaven.
[22:20] <BigScott> not by the Church.
[22:21] <Emanon-> ok
[22:21] <BigScott> they may recognize some for their example
[22:21] <BigScott> others for their miraculous lives
[22:21] <BigScott> but once bound on earth, it is bound in heaven... just as Scripture tells us.
[22:22] <BigScott> excommunication is not an infallible binding
[22:22] <Emanon-> how many 'Saints' are there?
[22:22] <BigScott> and an excommunicant can still be considered a Catholic, and still obliged to their "Sunday Obligation" etc.
[22:23] <Emanon-> I agree...they might repent and return (the purpose of the excommunication)
[22:23] <BigScott> an excommunicant cannot partake in the Sacraments, save the Sacrament of Reconcilliation, for they are not in "communion" with the Church.
[22:24] <BigScott> the "way back in" is through the Sacrament of Reconcilliation.
[22:24] <Emanon-> yes
[22:24] <BigScott> as for your question "how many saints are there" - I do not know, off-hand.
[22:24] <BigScott> but I'm sure there are many more than have been so declared/bound as such.
[22:24] <Emanon-> probably not more than 10,000 are there?
[22:25] <Emanon-> or a few thousand
[22:25] <BigScott> well, the "Holy Innocents" are not individually named, but are considered saints
[22:26] <Emanon-> who are hte holy innocents?
[22:28] <BigScott> those are the ones murdered by Herod.
[22:29] <BigScott> .drb matt 2:16
[22:29] <Bible`> BigScott, Matthew 2:16 Then Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding angry: and sending killed all the menchildren that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. (Douay Rheims Bible)
[22:30] <BigScott> the first martyrs for Christ
[22:32] <BigScott> back to your statement... "I don't think infallibility in this is implied"
[22:33] <BigScott> if it is bound on earth AND is bound in heaven - unless you believe error can be bound in heaven, infallibility is not only "implied" - it is explicitly stated.
[22:35] <BigScott> whatever you restrict the application of these verses to, infallibility is clearly stated.
[22:36] <Emanon-> well, in a sense it is infallible...but only in the sense that when the church truly accepts a true believer upon his profession of faith, then, as a true believer (elect), he is infallibly bound in heaven
[22:36] <Emanon-> so all the true believers are infallibly bound in heaven, put it that way
[22:36] <BigScott> you're changing the wording a bit though
[22:37] <Emanon-> the church errs, obviously since the discipline of excommunication exists
[22:37] <BigScott> you're making it the believers themselves doing the binding.
[22:37] <BigScott> that's not what the Scripture says.
[22:38] <BigScott> certainly there have been errors by men IN the Church - but none, I repeat, NONE of those errors have ever been infallibly bound.
[22:38] <BigScott> but back to the point...
[22:39] <BigScott> you have affirmed that the Church "in a sense" is infallible.
[22:39] <BigScott> so much for the Scriptures being the SOLE infallible source.
[22:40] <BigScott> for the Scriptures explicitly tell us that there is ANOTHER infallible source.
[22:40] <BigScott> "sola" scriptura is refuted.
[22:41] <BigScott> The definition White uses is "The Scriptures are the SOLE infallible rule of faith for the Church."
[22:42] <BigScott> maybe you don't agree with White there? That's OK too.
[22:42] <BigScott> :-)
[22:42] <Emanon-> well, of course, I am saying that the infallibility exists only to the extent that the reformed doctrine of election exists...so really, I'm just saying that God is infallible
[22:42] <Emanon-> I'd agree with White on that
[22:43] <BigScott> but you just denied what White professes/defines!
[22:43] <BigScott> 5<Emanon-> well, in a sense it is infallible...
[22:43] <BigScott> what is the "it" you're refering to?
[22:44] <BigScott> the subject we were discussing was the Church.
[22:45] <Emanon-> I'm saying that I agree with White that the Scriptures are the only rule of faith for the church
[22:46] <BigScott> White doesn't say that
[22:46] <Emanon-> add SOLE infallible
[22:46] <BigScott> He testifies that the Church has authority...
[22:46] <Emanon-> or whatever you said above
[22:46] <Emanon-> <BigScott> The definition White uses is "The Scriptures are the SOLE infallible rule of faith for the Church."
[22:47] <BigScott> but you affirmed "in a sense" the Church is also infallible.
[22:47] <BigScott> are you denying that now?
[22:49] <BigScott> It's OK to change your mind... but you pretty much invalidate Matt 16:19 and 18:18 if you do.
[22:50] <Emanon-> I was saying that the sense was only in that the binding is only infallible if the individual is elect
[22:51] <BigScott> right, so you invalidate Matt 16:19 and 18:18 - for it's not the Church which binds - but the individual by their own confession.
[22:52] <BigScott> Jesus told the Apostles, "Whatsoever YOU SHALL BIND..."
[22:52] <Emanon-> its God that binds, through the church....
[22:52] <BigScott> God (Jesus) gave that authority to these men.
[22:53] <Emanon-> God's binding in infallible (election), the church through which God's decision are made however is not itself infallible
[22:53] <Emanon-> else, there would be no such things as excommuniction
[22:54] <Emanon-> or reconciliation
[22:54] <BigScott> excommunication exists expressly because men fail
[22:54] <Emanon-> which are just ways of saying that the church is coming to recognize what God is doing in that individual
[22:54] <BigScott> reconcilliation exists expressly because men fail
[22:55] <Emanon-> but the churches have originally accepted them as believers
[22:55] <BigScott> regardless of the spin - the Church has been given this authority by God.
[22:55] <Emanon-> if they excommunicate, they have a change of heart regarding that individual
[22:56] <BigScott> excommunication happens when an individual has a change of heart - and the Church makes it clear this individual is not in communion with the Church.
[22:56] <BigScott> again, an excommunication is NOT an infallible statement.
[22:57] <BigScott> no one has been infallibly excommunicated.
[22:57] <Emanon-> I agree
[22:58] <Emanon-> or infallibly saved by church decree either, I would say
[22:58] <BigScott> the concept of excommunication and infallibility are not the same thing
[22:58] <Emanon-> we'd disagree on that
[22:58] <BigScott> but you just agreed with that!
[22:59] <BigScott> <BigScott> again, an excommunication is NOT an infallible statement.
[22:59] <BigScott> <BigScott> no one has been infallibly excommunicated.
[22:59] <BigScott> <Emanon-> I agree
[22:59] <BigScott> and I agree with you... <Emanon-> or infallibly saved by church decree either, I would say
[22:59] <Emanon-> I agree that no one has been infallibly excommunicated (declared by church statements to be reprobate)
[23:00] <BigScott> a person infallibly declared to be a saint is not saved BY that declaration - the declaration is a recognition by the Church of something that has already happened.
[23:01] <BigScott> St. Augustine has been recognized by the Church to be in heaven.
[23:01] <Emanon-> yes, I understand
[23:01] <BigScott> ok
[23:01] <Emanon-> I disagree, but I understand your viewpoint
[23:01] <BigScott> you disagree that St. Augustine is in heaven?
[23:02] <Emanon-> no, I think he is there
[23:03] <Emanon-> just that I cannot claim infallibility in that opinion
[23:03] <BigScott> I don't claim an infallible opinion, but I believe that the Church has so bound this on earth, so it is so bound in heaven.
[23:04] <Emanon-> yes, I understand
[23:04] <BigScott> so... did Jesus (God) give men this authority, or not?
[23:07] <Emanon-> he gave them the charge of running the church and admitting members into God's covenant and of excommunicting them if they come to think that they are apostates, but he did not give infallibility to any group of people or to an individual
[23:07] <BigScott> I'll take that as a "no"
[23:08] <BigScott> so... even if these men bind something on earth, it is NOT bound in heaven, right?
[23:09] <BigScott> get the eraser out and erase Matthew 16:19 and 18:18.
[23:09] <Emanon-> did he imbue any man with infallibility, no
[23:09] <BigScott> these verses explicitly state that "whatsoever" THEY bind on earth IS bound in heaven.
[23:10] <Emanon-> not infallibly, no
[23:10] <BigScott> so, they CAN bind it on earth - but they MIGHT be binding in error, thus error can be bound in heaven. (that's the logical end to your argument)
[23:10] <Emanon-> to the extent that true beleivers are meant in this 'binding' then I'd agree it is infallible...but we know that there are tares and wheats in the church
[23:12] <Emanon-> that's not the logical end of my argument....we see binding differently, that's all
[23:12] <BigScott> if it is bound on earth AND bound in heaven - either it's infallible OR error can be bound in heaven.
[23:13] <BigScott> you can't escape this.
[23:14] <Emanon-> but, as I said, I've never studied the passage as intensely as I should...
[23:14] <BigScott> I'll accept that for now...
[23:14] <BigScott> consider what I've said though...
[23:14] <BigScott> I believe there's a major hole there in sola scriptura.
[23:15] <BigScott> for if what I'm saying is correct - AND - we accept that error cannot be bound in heaven, then whatsoever they bind is infallibly bound.
[23:15] <Emanon-> well, SS is the presupposition of my faith...my faith would be like yours if Scripture+tradition were my apriori
[23:16] <BigScott> and we must remember, this charism of infallibility is not widely utilized.
[23:16] <Emanon-> by that last statement do you mean that the RCC does not make many infallible statements?
[23:17] <BigScott> yes
[23:17] <Emanon-> ok
[23:17] <BigScott> most Protestants, I feel, put too much emphasis on "infallibility"
[23:18] <BigScott> it's not utilized with every breath of the Church - and clearly there have been "errors" by men IN the Church, even popes.
[23:18] <Emanon-> they would be summed up in books like Denzinger & Ott, right...the infallible stuff
[23:19] <BigScott> not everything in Denzinger or Ott is infallible, but yes, those are good sources to "sum up" most infallible decrees.
[23:20] <Emanon-> how much of those compilations are infallible statements?
[23:20] <Emanon-> more than 50%?
[23:20] <BigScott> yes
[23:20] <Emanon-> 70%?
[23:20] <BigScott> where ever Ott clarifies with "de fide" that's an infallible teaching
[23:20] <BigScott> not his commentary, but the teaching that he comments on is.
[23:22] <Emanon-> ok, I see the 'de fides'
[23:22] <BigScott> I don't have mine in front of me... but I think there's also statements of "de cert" - which are not explicitly infallible, but have some "certitude"
[23:23] <BigScott> (they're close, but have not been infallibly "defined")
[23:23] <Emanon-> sent. certa.
[23:24] <Emanon-> almost infallible
[23:24] <BigScott> ;-) Thanks
[23:25] <Emanon-> God gives all innocent unbelievers sufficient grace to acheive eternal salvation
[23:25] <Emanon-> that would be a sent. certa. one
[23:26] <BigScott> right
[23:26] <BigScott> there can be discussion/debate on that one
[23:26] <Emanon-> wonder what sent.fidei proxima means?
[23:27] <BigScott> I believe the Latin abbreviations are explained either in the front or in an appendix
[23:27] <Emanon-> Despite men's sins God truly and earnestly desires he salvation of all men (sent. fidei proxima)
[23:28] <Emanon-> seems that would be defide, but guess not....God might not actually desire the salvation of all men
[23:29] <BigScott> A Teaching proximate to Faith (sententia fidei proxima) is a doctrine, which is regarded by theologians generally as a truth of Revelation, but which has not yet been finally promulgated as such by the Church.
[23:29] <Emanon-> yea, seems he ought to have that explained, can't find it
[23:30] <Emanon-> so, the reformed view might be true after all
[23:30] <BigScott> that's from Ott
[23:30] <BigScott> I found it online
[23:30] <Emanon-> yes, from Ott
[23:30] <BigScott> http://www.trosch.org/the/ottintro.htm
[23:34] <BigScott> I should get going... please do study up on Matt 16:19 and 18:18
[23:35] <BigScott> in Matt 16 Jesus is speaking solely to Peter, in 18 He's speaking to the Apostles as a group.
[23:35] <Emanon-> ok, I must be going too...night
[23:35] <Emanon-> thannks for the chat
[23:36] <BigScott> good night, and God bless.
[23:36] Emanon- [Emanon@] has quit IRC (Quit: If it's not a baby, you're not pregnant.)
*** Log file closed: 1/5/2006 11:40:38 PM

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