The Filioque

Many Eastern Orthodox will try to tell us that we are heretics due to "The Filioque" in the Nicene Creed, which "filioque" means "and the Son" in speaking of the procession of the Holy Ghost.  The original wording of the creed only says of the Holy Ghost that He "proceeds from the Father."  To "proceed" is to "come from" or from the perspective of the credo, it is from whom someone is "sent."  

Catholics have always believed this proceeding comes from both the Father and the Son.  The Filioque was added to the creed to clarify the teaching on the Trinity - AND it is quite scriptural too!  See:
John 16:7 - But I tell you the truth: it is expedient to you that I go: for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
The Orthodox cannot declare us heretics for following not only the TRUTH, but that Truth as it is explicitly expressed in Scripture!  Clearly here Scripture attests to the fact that the Holy Ghost would be "sent" by the Son too.

Let us continue to pray that one day Orthodoxy and Catholicism will be one again, just as Jesus desires for us.  After nearly 1000 years of separation, it's time to let the politics of the 11th century go and become One Fold again.

Can I get an "Amen?"

Women Priest?

St. Catherine of Siena

Saint and Doctor of the Catholic Church, St. Catherine of Siena is one of the great Saints of the Catholic Church.  April 29th is her feast day, which is the anniversary of her death in 1380 at the young age of 33 years old.  In 1430 her body was found, incorrupt.
St. Catherine was given the penance of the stigmata, however this was not known while she was alive - it was a penance she kept to herself and it was discovered after her death.  She is sometimes depicted, as above, with a crown of thorns for in a vision Jesus had offered her the choice between two crowns, one of gold the other of thorns - she chose the crown of thorns.  

She was born with her twin sister, Giovanna, but Giovanna died shortly after birth.  St. Catherine was the 23rd child in their family (but at least half of the other children died).  The 25th child, a daughter, was also named Giovanna.

St. Catherine wrote over 300 letters, most of which exist to this day.  Perhaps the most famous work of hers is The Dialogue of Divine Providence, which is the dialog of a soul which "rises up" to God and God Himself.

She is one of two Saints declared to be Patron of Italy - the other is St. Francis of Assisi.

St. Catherine of Siena is also the patron of Theta Phi Alpha which adopted her motto as their own:  “Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.”

For more reading:

Answering a non-Catholic Objection

Non-Catholic “Roger” states:
You have never proven through Scripture that the RCC has anything to do with the Church that Jesus started. All that you have given is one assumption based upon other assumptions - that lead you to a false conclusion.
I reply:
Other than the fact that the Catholic Church has believed in the True Presence of Christ throughout the centuries without break to today. And we have a written record of such a belief from the first generation beyond the apostles(Ignatius of Antioch, 107 AD). So, at least, the belief in the True Presence has been in existence in the same church for nearly 2000 years. Can your belief in a symbolic presence only (if that is what you truly believe) be proven the same way?
But beyond that. To prove through Scripture that the Catholic Church is the Church that Jesus started, all one needs to do is look at the Nicean Creed..."I believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church". The Church Christ founded is apostolic. It has its roots in the teachings of the apostles for Jesus said to His apostles "He who receives you receives Me, and he who rejects you, rejects Me and the One who sent Me." (Matt 10:1,40). Jesus freely gives His authority to the apostles in order for them to effectively convert the world.

But first let's start with Matt 28:18-20:
18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Three things to look at here in these verses. First, Jesus commands to make disciples of ALL nations. Jesus knew that this task was never going to be done by these 12 apostles alone. Others had to take their place once they died. Second, Jesus says that He will be with THEM to the very end of the age. How is that possible since the apostles all died before the end of the first century? That because Jesus was speaking to the twelve as the representatives of His Church. Third, Jesus sends them off with what kind of authority? With the authority of Jesus Himself. This is also confirmed in the Gospel of John, chapter 20, verse 21 which says "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."
The apostles have divinely appointed authority. And this authority is transferred to others as successors through the laying on of hands. The first thing Peter does after Jesus ascends into heaven is implement apostolic succession. Matthias is ordained with full apostolic authority (Acts 1:15-16). The authority of Judas' office (his 'bishopric') is respected notwithstanding his egregious sin. The necessity to have apostolic succession in order for the Church to survive was understood by all. God never said, "I'll give you leaders with authority for about 400 years, but after the Bible is compiled, you are all on your own."

The apostles authority was to be given to successors since Jesus' command of teaching (with authority) to all nations was a command unfeasible for those twelve alone. They had to share this authority to others to fulfill Jesus' command. They gave this authority to others through the laying on of hands (Acts 6:6, 1 Tim 4:14, 2 Tim 1:1-6). And this is to go on through multiple generations as shown in 2 Tim 2:2. This verse shows God's intention is to transfer authority to successors. It goes beyond the death of the apostles.
“22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. 23 With them they sent the following letter:
The apostles and elders, your brothers, to the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:Greetings.
24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing.   (Acts 15:22-27)
Preachers of the Word must be sent by the bishops in union with the Church. We must trace this authority to the apostles. Who sent you Roger? My bishop was sent by a previous bishop who was sent by a previous one all the way back in history to one of the twelve apostles themselves. Can you claim the same of your teachers of the Word?

God Bless

Pope Francis, Jesus Not Found Outside the Church

Pope Francis said that people cannot be fully united to Jesus outside of the Church during a Mass to commemorate Saint George, the saint he is named after.

You cannot find Jesus outside the Church,” he said April 23 in the Apostolic Palace’s Pauline Chapel.

It is the Mother Church who gives us Jesus, who gives us the identity that is not only a seal, it is a belonging,” he declared in his homily.

The pontiff spoke about Christian identity as well as persecution, making it the sixth time in two weeks he has mentioned those who suffer for the faith.

Speaking about the Gospel reading for today from Saint John, Pope Francis underscored that “the missionary expansion of the Church began precisely at a time of persecution.”

“They had this apostolic fervor within them, and that is how the faith spread!” he exclaimed.

It was through the Holy Spirit’s initiative that the Gospel was proclaimed to the Gentiles, the Pope noted, and the Spirit “pushes more and more in this direction of opening the proclamation of the Gospel to all.”

The pontiff also repeated a line from his April 17 homily in St. Martha’s residence, when he emphasized that being a Christian is not like having “an identity card.”

“Christian identity is belonging to the Church, because all of these (the apostles) belonged to the Church, the Mother Church, because finding Jesus outside the Church is impossible,” he said.

“The great Paul VI said it is an absurd dichotomy to want to live with Jesus but without the Church, following Jesus out of the Church, loving Jesus without the Church,” he added.

Pope Francis said that “if we are not sheep of Jesus, faith does not come” and that it is “a rosewater faith and a faith without substance.”

The Pope also commented on Barnabas, who was sent to Antioch and was glad to see that the grace of God had encouraged people there to remain true disciples.

“Let us think of the consolations that Barnabas had, which is the sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing,” he preached.

“Let us ask the Lord for this frankness, this apostolic fervor that impels us to move forward, as brothers, all of us forward,” he remarked.

After the Mass in the papal chapel, the Swiss Guard band offered a brief musical performance in the Courtyard of Saint Damaso for the Pope’s name day.

Remember - ALL FRIDAYS

Well, Lent is over (for the Latin Church, it's still going on for the Eastern Orthodox) so many/most Catholics have likely gone back to eating meat on Fridays - AND - are not offering up any other "equivalent" penance in its place!  What's this?  We STILL need to be giving up meat on Fridays?  Well, YES - sort of.  Canon Law in Canon 1250 decrees that Fridays throughout the year are days of penance, not just during Lent!  The only difference is currently outside of Lent the penance does not have to be meat - but it HAS to be something AND according to one's local ecclesial authority, and that is according to Canon 1252.  The bishops have come to realize how this has confused many Catholics and that those misinformed Catholics who do NOTHING on Fridays throughout the year are actually in direct violation of Canon Law!  So, it is rumored that the bishops are considering going back to "the way it was" and stick with "Meatless Fridays" throughout the year (except on solemnities if one falls on a Friday).

Now, again, if you're NOT going to abstain from meat on Fridays, you NEED to be doing SOMETHING and what you choose should be an equivalent sacrifice/penance on your part.  So, with that in mind - why not stick to abstaining from meat?!  Meatless Fridays USED to be synonymous with Catholicism!  It USED to be so popular that many restaurants offered "Fish Fry Fridays" so they would not lose the Catholic business on Fridays.   I urge you to join me in giving up meat on ALL FRIDAYS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.

A further reminder as to WHY we do this...  it is because EVERY Friday is like a "little Good Friday" and EVERY Sunday is like a "little Easter Sunday."  EVERY Sunday we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!  You can't have Easter without Good Friday!  When we give up meat on Fridays then at every meal where we would have or may have had meat, and/or while we are out with our non-Catholic friends and they are eating meat - we call to mind the REASON we're not partaking in meat on Fridays is to call our attention to the Cross of Christ.  In some small way this little sacrifice unites us to His Ultimate Sacrifice of the Cross.  With that in mind, we joyfully offer up our penance on Fridays - ALL Fridays throughout the year.

Apostolic Succession and Infallibility

sw: Since Ron is insistent upon distracting from sola v. solo scriptura, and I cannot add a new topic to the GB Blog, I am responding here under the heading of Ron’s subject matter which is apostolic succession coupled with infallibility.

199 Ron said,  April 15, 2013 at 10:31 pm

sw: As Jesus was sent, so also He sent His Apostles – which means that they too were to continue to “send out” others, just as they had been sent by Jesus. … And where does Scripture tell you that the apostolic office (bishop) would cease with the death of the last Apostle?
Again, please provide the syllogism. Don’t just give me fragmented premises and don’t argue fallaciously from silence as you have. I want to know how you get from “send out others” to an infallible magisterium? Given that there is no biblical precedent for a perpetual apostolate, the burden of proof for your argument from silence falls squarely upon you to show that Scripture teaches that there would be such an office. I’m sorry but incredible claims require credible proofs. So again, please provide syllogisms for these incredible claims of yours.

sw: Well, I believe I have done this already, but will do so again especially since I am posting this to my blog, where many may not have read my previous replies.  I reject the allegation that I have argued from silence, if that were true the thread this came from would not be one of the most prolific on Green Baggins.  Granted, it is not the most prolific and I was not part of the earlier discussions, but with over 200 replies it is one of the most in recent weeks/months.  I joined in at comment #77.  A syllogism, for those who do not know, is “a deductive scheme of a formal argument consisting of a major and a minor premise and a conclusion” (Merriam-Webster) so I will construct my response in precisely that format.

sw: Formal argument:  As the Father sent Jesus, He sent out the Apostles - thus as they were sent out, they too send others out - or else they were not doing as Jesus commanded them to do.  Jesus enabled the Apostles with the charism of infallibility and this charism is passed down to their successors.
sw: Major premise:  Jesus established the bishoprick (called this in Acts 1:20 KJV/DRB), which is the “office” held by the Apostles.  Clearly that office was to have a successor, as we see in Acts 1:20, and clearly history demonstrates that this “office” is demonstrated throughout the history of the Church all the way to the current day.  The word for bishop or “overseer” is used many times throughout the New Testament.  God’s Word lays the solid foundation of the office of the bishop.  That this office was meant to be passed down is also clear, not only from Acts 1:20, but also where Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, I also send you” (John 20:21).  Jesus sent them out as Apostles, in fact that is what the word “apostle” means, “to send” (Merriam-Webster especially see etymology).  Now, if they were “sent” the same way Jesus was “sent,” then they too must “send” others just as they were “sent.”  To fail to send others the same way they were sent would have been to fail at the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).  If they failed here, then Jesus failed to build His Church, as He promised (Matthew 16:18).  This brings us to the next section.
sw: Minor premise:  The Apostles were enabled with the charism of infallibility.  We see this explicitly expressed in Matthew 16:19 to St. Peter, alone; and to the Apostles as a group in Matthew 18:18.
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 upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.
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.
Note, in Matthew 16:19, Jesus is speaking directly to, and only to, St. Peter.  In Matthew 18:18 Jesus isn’t speaking to any one individual, but to the whole group of them assembled there.  Of equal note, in 18:18 the Apostles are the only ones there.  This is not a charism given to everyone in the Church, but only to our first bishops, the Apostles.  How is this infallibility, you might ask?  Simply stated, if something is bound or loosed in heaven, then it must be infallibly bound for no error could possibly be bound or loosed in heaven.  Some argue (as Turretinfan does in comment 211) that this charism only applies to the forgiveness of sins - but there is no such limitation in these passages!  If fact, the passages explicitly deny any limitation with the use of the word “whatsoever.”  They don’t say “whatsoever sins you shall bind/loose...” but simply “whatsoever you shall bind/loose...”  To limit these passages to the forgiveness (or retention) of sins is to import a word to the text which is not there.  Besides, this authority to forgive or retain sins is also explicitly granted to the Apostles in John 20:23.  To say that Matthew 16:19 and 18:18 are limited to the forgiveness of sins is pure eisegesis.
sw: Conclusion:  Our first bishops, the Apostles, were sent out exactly as Jesus commanded them - and just as the Son was sent, so too they were sent.  Part of Jesus’ commission of being sent out was to send others (the Apostles) out.  Likewise part of the Apostles commission is to send out others to lead, just as they lead.  Jesus gave to the Apostles the charism of infallibility and likewise the Apostles give to those whom they send out this same charism.  Again, to do anything less would be a failure of their apostleship.  I have documented several valid apostolic successions which begin with an Apostle and continue to this day.
sw: This essentially answers all of Ron’s points from his posting, but I will go through the entire post...
sw:  Yet again, no where does Scripture say that Scripture alone is what the Church is built upon. Scripture, in fact, says the Church is built upon St. Peter (Matthew 16:18-19) and upon The Twelve Apostles (Rev. 21:14), but never says the Church is built upon a book which did not even exist as such for some 400 years, certainly not even close to the form/format we call “The Bible” today.
You want to assume something for “Peter” and the “Twelve” that is neither Peter nor the Twelve. Accordingly, your own proof-texts betray you. In other words, you appeal to Peter and the Twelve but you want to make Peter and the Twelve out to be something other than Peter and the Twelve, like a perpetual line of Roman Catholic pontiffs.
You have a wild card you haven’t thrown and we all know what it is. It’s the unproven assumption your entire system is built upon, which has no redemptive-historical precedence. Now of course, we know that Scripture is authoritative. Yet if the apostles are no longer with us, then all we have is Scripture. Scripture is the de facto position we might say. The “alone” part comes because no syllogism from Scripture can be provided that would necessitate another ultimate authority to stand alongside Scripture.

sw: The syllogism I provided above (and have provided previously, but not in such a formal format) demonstrates that I am assuming nothing, but accepting and believing God’s Word.  I have presented the foundation of Apostolic succession and then provided a link to several actual and valid successions from several of the Apostles.  There is no “unproven assumption” here, and no hidden “wild card” - but plain and simple facts for those who have eyes to see.  So, that men have been given infallible authority - Scripture itself testifies to “another ultimate authority to stand alongside Scripture.

sw: Actually, Jesus – several times – broke with “what was written” to demonstrate their fallacy of adhering so firmly to “The Law” saying, “you say ‘it is written, but I say…’” Do you need me to list out those examples to you?
I think your exegesis is flawed because it leads you to pit the law against Jesus. Jesus’ issue was with any perversion of the law. Or are you saying that Jesus “broke with” the true meaning of his own law? If not, then your point is a non-issue.

sw: You are most certainly entitled to think as you wish, but the fact is that Jesus came to fulfill the Law and six times He used this precise format in Matthew 5:
Matthew 5:21-22 - You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not kill. And whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment.  But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council. And whosoever shall say, Thou Fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Matthew 5:27-28 - You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not commit adultery.  But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Matthew 5:31-32 - And it hath been said, Whoseoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a bill of divorce.  But I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, excepting for the cause of fornication, maketh her to commit adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery.
Matthew 5:33-34 - Again you have heard that it was said to them of old, Thou shalt not forswear thyself: but thou shalt perform thy oaths to the Lord.  But I say to you not to swear at all, neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God.
Matthew 5:38-39 - You have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.  But I say to you not to resist evil: but if one strike thee on thy right cheek, turn to him also the other.
Matthew 5:43:44 - You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thy enemy.  But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you.
sw: So Ron, I have said nothing that wasn’t said already by Jesus Christ, Himself.

sw: It is, yet another, pure anachronism to attempt to apply sola scriptura to Adam and Eve!
In other words, it’s off limits for me to appeal to OT precedent in order to establish burden of proof. Yet precedence determines burden of proof. Consequently, I’m not permitted to reason according to the only philosophical basis upon which an argument from silence may be deemed fallacious.
Scott, I will hand you this. You went for the jugular like a good Roman Catholic. You realize that your argument is based upon sola-silence. So, rather than try to overcome the objection to your argument from silence, namely the lack of biblical precedence for your position, you made the most unusual appeal to “anachronism.” Very innovative but no cigar.

sw: Actually, Ron, the reason it is anachronism is quite simple, and I don’t think it’s innovative, but if you wish to give me that, sobeit.  The reason it is an anachronism is because there was no Scripture for Adam and Eve, so how could we apply a concept of
sola scriptura to them?


Eternal Security

From what I understand of the belief of eternal security is that once one accepts Jesus Christ into their hearts and pray the ‘sinners’ prayer then there is no sin, no evil this individual can do so as to keep them from reaching heaven.  They only need to believe in Jesus (John 3:16) and they’ll be ‘saved’.  They have absolute assurance of salvation.  And since works do not gain our salvation, our works cannot contribute to our losing our salvation.  We are now “hid” with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).  There is “no condemnation” for those in Christ (Romans 8:1-2).

In fact some also bring up John 10:27 as proof that they can never lose their salvation since Jesus proclaims that “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”  And yet nowhere do we find that one cannot willingly jump out of His hands through ones own choosing.

In fact, one Protestant writes:

“However, it is not merely from the Levitical laws that we were discharged, but also from the moral ones.  God only has one law.  Does that mean we can sin freely?  No, for God hates sin, and if we love God, we will live according to His commandments.  However, it does mean that no sin will be held against us once we receive Christ, for upon receiving Christ we are discharged from the very law against which our sins would have been reckoned.”

Let’s look at the question of absolute assurance.  Is there such a teaching in Scripture?  NO, there isn’t.  Romans 8:1-2 does not say absolute assurance.

Rom 8:1-2  “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

And Romans 6:15-16 says that sin leads to death.  Now, this verse is found in the SAME letter as the verse supposedly showing absolute assurance.  Decidedly, Paul does not agree with this.  We are not discharged from the moral law because there are consequences to sinning!! 

For example, what happens if a believer in Jesus cannot forgive the sins of another?  Jesus Himself says that: “…if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Mat 6:14-15)

God is infinite in His resources, He spares nothing to convince us to come to Him and remain BUT because of our free will, we are always free to refuse God's infinite help and support and in this way even lose our own salvation and therefore the Protestant doctrine of Eternal Security is unequivocally false.
God Bless

Prayer for Boston Marathon Victims

4/15/2013 - Boston Marathon rocked by two explosions.

Two bombs went off, more devices reportedly found. Two dead, dozens injured. Let us pray for comfort in this time of suffering and loss.

Let us not rush to judgment and perhaps cast blame on the wrong parties, and for now pray for comfort and peace for those individuals directly affected. Lord have mercy.

More later, sent this from my Windows Phone.

OK, home now...  some updates.

They are now reporting 3 dead, about 140 injured, some critically - including several with loss of limbs.

Marathon Witness: Explosions 'Like a War Zone': ABCNEWS.COM - Rachel Sibley says chaos resulted from explosions at the annual Boston marathon.

On my drive home I heard an interview with someone who saw a child, untouched by the physical explosion, but just standing there in complete shock.  Not all the victims were physically hurt.

Continued prayers for ALL those affected by this act of terrorism.

Update, 4/16/2013 - No additional explosives found or detonated.

The only devices found were the two which went off, there are no other bombs in the area.  No word on suspect(s) and no organization has taken credit.

Suspicious bag at the location of the second bomb blast...

Update, 4/17/2013

Death toll has not climbed, still at 3.  170 people injured.  Over a dozen still in critical condition.  Several conflicting reports throughout the day of arrests made, but ultimately authorities said no one has been arrested yet.

Update, 4/18/2013

I pulled the pictures I posted earlier as the FBI is saying the two individuals pictured below are the suspects and that "Suspect #2" was seen dropping his backpack at the location of the second explosion just moments before it blew up.
Suspect #2                                     Suspect #1

Update, 4/19/2013

Brothers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have been named as Suspect #1 and #2 respectively.  Last night they attempted to rob a convenience store and in their flight they killed an MIT Police officer.  A bit later Tamerlan was killed in an exchange of gunfire with the police - it has also been reported that some sort of explosive vest also went off and contributed to his death.  Dzhokhar (friends pronounced it Jokhar) is still on the loose, but at the time of this writing, is cornered in a home in Watertown, MA which is surrounded by police and FBI.

As of this evening it is reported that Dzhokhar is alive and has been arrested.  

Lord have mercy.  Let the people of the Boston area get some rest tonight.


Green Baggins Sola Scriptura Discussion

I am posting this message to my own blog because in its original form, it does not show up at Green Baggins. I did post it there, after removing the URL to this blog (I put it back in for posting here), but I misspelled a closing tag of a blockquote, so it appeared totally as quoted text - AND - my first part of the response appears to be "Ron's" words - so rather than repost it there, I am posting it here. If the readers here find it interesting, use the link to "170" below (we're not afraid of links to Protestant sites here) and you can scroll through the history of that discussion. Currently they are starting to digress into ad hominem (which, sadly, is typical) so I'm not sure how much longer I will remain there.

I have also color coded the response here to make it clearer who said what and when.

In 170 Ron said:
(sw) Matthew 16:18-19 and 18:18 – MEN are given infallible authority.
Scott, Please provide a series of premises strung together in a valid form of argumentation that leads to the grand conclusion of a perpetual, infallible magisterium located in Rome.
The citation of Matthew 16 and 18 was not to show "perpetual, infallible magisterium" - only that MEN were given infallible authority. You're getting ahead of yourself. First acknowledge the premise before moving on to things built upon the premise. If you do not accept the premise, there's no sense in moving on to "perpetual..."
(sw)1 Timothy 3:15 – It is the Church which is declared to be the “pillar and bulwark/foundation of truth” – not a collection of books which nearly 400 years after St. Paul wrote that to St. Timothy would be assembled into the canon of the Vulgate and eventually be dogmatically declared as THE Canon of Sacred Scripture.
Jesus promised to build his church. (Matt. 16:18)
Agreed! His Church, ONE Church - not thousands of churches, but that is a digression into yet another topic (one I sufficiently cover in several articles on the CathApol Blog, ).
Jesus also told his apostles that those who received them received Him. (Matt. 10:40) The implication is that the building project of the Lord was to be founded upon the words of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus being the chief cornerstone. (The reason being, Jesus and the apostles are no longer here, but their words are.) (Eph. 2:20)
As Jesus was set, so also He sent His Apostles - which means that they too were to continue to "send out" others, just as they had been sent by Jesus. (This also answers your anachronistic request from your first comment in this posting).
The apostolic tradition was both oral and written (II Thess. 2:15) but only the written apostolic tradition has been providentially preserved. Accordingly, Scripture alone is what the church is built upon, which must have been God’s intention since Scripture alone is all he left us in keeping with Christ Jesus’ promise to build his church.
And where does Scripture tell you that the apostolic office (bishop) would cease with the death of the last Apostle?
So, in keeping with the analogy of Scripture, whatever it means to you that the church is the foundation of the truth it must harmonize with the premise that Scripture alone is what the church is built upon, which is to say her sure foundation. Please just don’t provide a Scripture reference as your rejoinder, provide an argument to defend Roman Catholic tradition.
Yet again, no where does Scripture say that Scripture alone is what the Church is built upon. Scripture, in fact, says the Church is built upon St. Peter (Matthew 16:18-19) and upon The Twelve Apostles (Rev. 21:14), but never says the Church is built upon a book which did not even exist as such for some 400 years, certainly not even close to the form/format we call "The Bible" today.
(sw) No where does Scripture say it is or is to be the sole infallible rule of faith for the Church – no where.
Does the Old Testament uphold this principle you assert?
That would be your question to answer. I've presented the negative assertion, prove me wrong in presenting the positive. Silence on this matter lends itself to concession.
Didn’t Jesus blister the religious leaders of his day for operating according this Roman Catholic premise, that Scripture alone does not provide the only infallible rule of faith and practice?
Actually, Jesus - several times - broke with "what was written" to demonstrate their fallacy of adhering so firmly to "The Law" saying, "you say 'it is written, but I say...'" Do you need me to list out those examples to you?
While we’re at it, didn’t Satan try to tempt Adam and Eve and even Jesus with this Roman Catholic axiom?
It is, yet another, pure anachronism to attempt to apply sola scriptura to Adam and Eve! As for applying it to Satan tempting Jesus, Satan attempted to use Scripture to tempt Jesus, so Jesus used Scripture to answer him. The irony here is that I'm trying to get you (or anyone else) to defend sola scriptura, not satis scriptura, with Scripture - and no one can (because no such support/defense exists).
Is it not an unworkable principle (not to mention unwise) to act contrary to divine precedent, in this case OT precedent, without explicit divine instruction or good and necessary inference?
The OT was a time of the Prophets - and clear was NOT based AT ALL in sola scriptura. You gain no points for attempting to say the oT supports your case.
What NT argument have you offered to abandon the consistent testimony of redemptive history on this matter?
You're "bobbing and weaving" here, or in logical rhetoric terminology, a "red herring." I challenged that there is no "no where" any support in Scripture for sola scriptura, so to try the "table turning/red herring" tactic here is simply, in your terms, bobbing and weaving. That you claim it is 'the consistent testimony of redemptive history' is simply "begging the question" (another common fallacy of rhetoric).
(sw)If Scripture is sufficient, then why do we need “apologetics” of ANY sort?
We are to engage in apologetics because God says so. Secondly, unbelievers don’t submit to Scripture so we “do” apologetics in the hope that men might be saved. The same principle applies to why we should engage in polemics, for God’s glory.
Thank you for conceding that sola scriptura is NOT the premise of the existence of apologetics organizations! Rather, according to your testimony, it is partim scriptura/partim verbum Dei. Yes, yes, yes - I know you will equivocate "Scripture" with "Word of God" but "verbum" means "spoken" while "scriptus/scriptura" means "written." Words mean things.
(sw)Why do we need Green Baggins, Beggars All, Triablogue, AOMin, etc. to tell us what Scripture means?
That Scripture must be interpreted according to sound hermeneutical principles is not at odds with the sufficiency of Scripture. Moreover, that God gives the church teachers does not undermine, at least in any logical sense, the doctrine of sufficiency. You might wish to argue that if Scripture is perspicuous then we don’t need teachers, but that too would prove to be a baseless argument.
All I am saying is they are not necessary according to the unscriptural premise of sola scriptura. Let us add to the description: partim scriptura/partim verbum Dei/partim apologeticus


Ron also said, in #180 on Green Baggins:

The bobbing and weaving remark was intended to refer to your actual responses (to the others). You hadn’t responded to me.
I actually reserved judgment on why you hadn’t responded to my comments. Had I assumed the worse, which I didn’t, I would have called your non-responses to me a complete hit-the-canvas duck rather than a dodge. Glad to see it was just an oversight on your part.
I’m glad to let the others deal with your responses to me as I’ll be tied up for quite some time. They’re all more than capable.
I'll respond here...  Does that mean you're "ducking" out?


Gosnell Murder Trial and Time Magazine

In the flurry of articles (like our previous CathApol article) hitting the scenes, Time Magazine online in their "Heatlth and Family" section published an article yesterday attempting to answer to the charge that the press isn't covering this case, and while the article starts out by recognizing the heinousness of "Dr." Gosnell's offenses, but after the first paragraph another article is inserted, "Why the Pa. Abortion Doc's Case Is About Poverty, Not Roe v. Wade" which closes with:
 It’s likely that he was the cheapest abortion provider around in a community that’s not accustomed to the highest health-care standards anyway.
As if that is supposed to justify the fact that "Dr." Gosnell was committing late-term abortions (beyond 24 weeks) and since the procedure would be rather difficult, he would induce labor then the child is born, ALIVE, and (in his terms) to "ensure fetal demise" he would stab into the baby's neck with a pair of scissors and cut the spinal cord.  Some report are that the babies are literally screaming in agony while he is doing this.

This is NOT about Roe v. Wade, it's about MURDER.  It is also about a "doctor" running  a "clinic" in unhealthy, unsanitary conditions and with a staff which. while administering "medicines" and other duties which normally would have been provided by a Registered Nurse, NONE of them were licensed to practice medicine.  The staff is facing charges as well.

Also in this article it includes a brief summary of the Report of the Grand Jury (which formally charged Gosnell on January 20, 2013) with these points:

  • Fetuses, fetal remains and dismembered baby parts — especially, for some reason, baby feet — in bags, jars, milk jugs and cat-food containers kept around the clinic, in the freezer and in the basement; some containers were stored in the same refrigerator where clinic staff kept their lunches
  • Instruments that were not properly sterilized or discarded, which allegedly spread venereal disease to several patients
  • Cats roaming and excreting freely in the filthy clinic

Why was Gosnell "saving" these things, and especially "baby feet" - were these some sort of "trophies" for him?

It seems not always did Gosnell (I think I'll stop using "Dr." in his title) induce labor to remove the child from the mother as there are charges of "failure to remove all the fetal parts from a uterus, his puncturing a uterus, tearing a cervix and colon, and refusing to call in assistance from another hospital when a patient convulsed and fell on the floor."

Time's reporter, Belinda Luscombe, continues to describe "At least one woman, Karnamaya Mongar, 41, died in Gosnell’s care, after his untrained staff administered an overdose of Demerol" and then in the next paragraph goes back to saying this case has "much more to do with poverty than Roe v. Wade" and then provides another link on "The Complicated Link Between Abortion and Mental Health".

In short, it seems to this writer that Time Magazine is attempting to do some "damage control" because of their lack of coverage.  Yes, the report defends that several outlets reported this back in 2011 - ONCE - but then we look at the sensationalism of the Jody Arias trial we have to ask WHY?  Some outlets are beginning to give a bit more coverage, but not nearly in the proportion the Arias Trial is getting.

Please use the "share" buttons on this article to help spread the word!  "Like" it on Facebook, "Tweet" it on Twitter, etc.

Gosnell Murder Trial

Many of you may not have even heard of this until recently, if at all.  "Dr." Gosnell is on trial for murder with horrendous charges related to his abortion methods, some include testimony of an aborted baby literally screaming in agony as "Dr." Gosnell severs its spine.  The baby was born alive, and a "doctor" who is pledged to "do no harm" coldly murders the child.

Why haven't you heard?  This trial has been going on since March 18th!  It seems like all the major news networks are so obsessed with the Jodi Arias trial that they turn a blind eye to an even more graphic and tragic murder case.  Below is a shot of the seats at the Gosnell trial which are reserved for the press...
Do you hear the crickets!?  THIS is why you haven't heard - the "press" isn't there!  Well, don't feel bad, I hadn't heard of this prior to yesterday myself, but I'm hoping to make a change in that and do my part to echo the "news" about this case.  If you agree with me, please "share" this posting and help spread the word!  Tune out the Arias trial and start demanding to hear about Gosnell's trial.


Pope Francis Announces New Panel

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis marked his first month as pontiff on Saturday by naming eight cardinals from around the globe to a permanent advisory group to counsel him on running the Catholic Church and reforming the Vatican bureaucracy – a bombshell announcement that indicates he intends a shift in how the papacy should function.
The panel includes only one current Vatican official; the rest are cardinals from North, Central and South America, Africa, Asia, Europe and Australia – a clear indication that Francis wants to reflect the universal nature of the church as he goes about governing.
More here.

Got Questions?

This is an open post where I am inviting anyone who might be reading along to ask a question of me or one or all of the contributors to the CathApol Blog.   We may answer in the combox or if it is a question which would be better answered in a full article, we may do it that way too.  You may also use this to request an article be written on a given topic.


This article should catch the interest of both Catholics and Evangelical Protestants alike...

Defense Department classifies Catholics, evangelicals as extremists

By Lachlan Markay - The Washington Free Beacon - Friday, April 5, 2013    

The Defense Department came under fire Thursday for a U.S. Army Reserve presentation that classified Catholics and Evangelical Protestants as “extremist” religious groups alongside al Qaeda and the Ku Klux Klan.

The presentation detailed a number of extremist threats within the U.S. military, including white supremacist groups, street gangs, and religious sects.

The presentation identified seventeen religious organizations in a slide titled “religious extremism.” They include al Qaeda, Hamas, the Filipino separatist group Abu Sayyaf, and the Ku Klux Klan, which the slide identifies as a Christian organization.

“Religious extremism is not limited to any single religion, ethnic group, or region of the world,” the slide explains, in language that closely resembles the text of a Wikipedia page on “extremism.”

While outfits such as al Qaeda and the KKK are explicitly violent, the presentation also lists Catholicism and evangelical Protestantism as extremist groups.

More than half of all Americans identify themselves as members of those two Christian denominations. National Public Radio reported in 2005 that 40 percent of active duty military personnel were evangelical Christians.

“Men and women of faith who have served the Army faithfully for centuries shouldn’t be likened to those who have regularly threatened the peace and security of the United States,” said Col. Ron Crews, a retired Army chaplain and the executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty.

“It is dishonorable for any U.S. military entity to allow this type of wrongheaded characterization,” Crews said in a news release.

Crews also criticized the presentation for citing the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center to support its findings.

The SPLC has dubbed organizations “hate groups” for promoting Christian teachings on morality and sexuality.

A SPLC map of “hate groups” was used by a gunman in 2012 to target the conservative Family Research Council for its position on gay marriage. The gunman shot a security guard at the FRC’s headquarters. The SPLC has refused to comment on its role in the shooting.

The Archdiocese for the Military Services, a Catholic organization that trains and endorses military priests and chaplains, said in a release that it was “astounded that Catholics were listed alongside groups that are, by their very mission and nature, violent and extremist.”

The AMS called on the Pentagon “to review these materials and to ensure that tax-payer funds are never again used to present blatantly anti-religious material to the men and women in uniform.”

An Army spokesperson said the presentation “was produced by an individual without anyone in the chain of command’s knowledge or permission.” The Army removed the offending slide after receiving complaints.

The person responsible for the presentation, the spokesperson said, “was not a subject matter expert, and produced the material after conducting Internet research.”

President Barack Obama is scheduled to posthumously award the Congressional Medal of Honor next week to Catholic Army Chaplain Emil Kapaun, who died in a North Korean military prison in 1951.
“It is hard to understand how a priest like Chaplain Kapaun can be honored in one breath while his faith-group is dishonored in another,” Crews said.

On the contrary...

Homosexual Rights and Religious Liberties

By Scott Windsor

Well, as promised, I am writing another article to deal more with the topic of the article I quoted from (Gay Rights and Religious Liberties, by Skye Jethani) in my previous posting on this subject.  One might first notice that I don't use the same title as the original author.  I don't because I'm not into sugar coating the topic, and I believe that's exactly what the use of "gay" does to the subject of homosexuality.  It sounds so much happier, freer, etc. and that's because the original meaning of the word "gay" means exactly those things!  It is no accident that this word is chosen, and it is no accident that I avoid using it.  Does that make me bigoted?  I hope not.  All I'm doing is sticking to the precise word without the sugar coating.

So, back to that article.  The author, a pastor himself, Skye Jethani, breaks his article down into sub-topics, so I will address each sub-topic.  Before the sub-topics, he opened with the story I quoted in my previous article about the silly approach both sides had taken at his college when he was a freshman there - except Jethani calls the GLBA tactic "silly" and the Christian group (which he doesn't name) he calls their tactic "stupid."  I was a bit offended by Jethani's statement, perhaps even bias, here.  The Christian group's tactic was actually quite clever - and matched the silliness of the GLBA plot.

On with the response to Jethani...


Jethani seems upset, or at best - disappointed in the fact that Newsweek declared 1976 "The Year of the Evangelical" as opposed to, perhaps "The Year of the Homosexual."  Why?  Because Evangelicals were making a huge impact on the political scene, and comprise a very large piece to the overall picture, both politically and religiously.  He objects because 1976 was also the same year that an openly homosexual person was elected to public office in San Francisco.  Well, this might have been big news for the homosexual community, but it was not for mainstream America - but indeed it was a turning point for the homosexual community.  While I agree it was big for the homosexual community, objectively speaking it is not all that big a deal at the time for the rest of America - so this event does not trump the hugeness of the Evangelical movement in 1976 which would lead to the "Moral Majority" (founded in 1979) which for about a decade, had an impressive impact on the American political scene.

Jethani also cites statistics:
For the church this framing has been costly. According to Gallop, in the 1970s 66 percent of Americans said they had a strong or high confidence in the church. Today it is only 44 percent. In 1994 only 27 percent supported same sex marriage. Today it is over 50 percent.
Well, we all know how numbers can be played with, but even accepting these numbers as fact - Christianity is NOT a democracy!  If one is true to their Christian morals and stance - then one is not affected by some sort of numbers game.  If even only 1% remained faithful to Judeo-Christian morals, then it would be that 1% which remained "right."  My friend who pointed me to this article said it wasn't about morals - but the subject of morals is unavoidable when we're discussing homosexuality.  Why would we just ignore the 600 pound gorilla in the room?  On that, I'll let my original article stand.

Jethani closes this section with this summary:
Therefore, rather than asking: Whose values will dominate the public square? we should be asking: Whose identity is welcomed into the public square? Do we believe LGTB citizens ought to bring their identity into government, business, the media, and education without fear of discrimination? And likewise, do we believe a Christian holding traditional beliefs should be able to bring their identity into the public square without fear of discrimination? Framed this way, the issue ceases to be about winning or losing, or which group gets control and which is pushed back into the closet, and it becomes about learning to share the public square as Americans with different beliefs about marriage and sexuality but all possessing inherent God-given worth.
The only "side" which seems to be so concerned about "winning" influence is the homosexual side.  The arguments I hear from the "other" side are based in, "they already have equal rights."  What is it they are really trying to accomplish here?  It would seem the goal of the homosexual community is to get the Christian community to not only accept the sinner, but to accept the sin too - otherwise, why insist upon "homosexual marriage" when a "civil union" creates essentially the same thing?   When they speak of "dominating the public square," just think about it - "they" make up such a minute percentage of society, yet "they" are already dominating in the realm of "the public square!"   "They" are not satisfied, however, with the fact that "they" already have such an influence on public discussion, "they" want "victory."


In this section Jethani brings up the fact that in the 17th century those who came to America were essentially founding the "New World" upon Christian values and that they believed if they upheld these God would bless them and if they abandoned these principles, God would curse them.  Jethani cites some modern televangelists who blame America's morality for things like 9/11 and even the hurricanes and other disasters relating to the John Winthrop sermon of 1630, where the New World is the "city upon the hill" - and President Reagan echoed the sentiment as well.   Failure to be that "city upon the hill" will result in punishment.   In short, due to the moral decay these disasters are merely a reaping of what we have sowed.

Jethani writes:
According to this logic, the way to prevent terrorist attacks and natural disasters is by earning the Almighty’s protection through moral behavior, adherence to prayer, traditional family values, and frequent worship. This popular belief about God was also prevalent in Jesus’ day. It followed a simple formula—God blessed the righteous and cursed the unrighteous. Obey his commandments, it was taught, and one could avoid disease, accumulate wealth, and find favor with God and men. The equation worked just as well in reverse. Those with material blessings were seen as righteous and those who suffered did so because they were sinners.
Not necessarily so.  Not everything "bad" which happens is due to a "bad" act in Christian thought.  Sometimes "bad things happen to good people" can be a "test" of their faith and/or fortitude.  It might be convenient to use Jethani's cookie-cutter approach, but we cannot force such an interpretation on every situation/disaster which America faces - or any other country for that matter.  I realize he's trying to point out fallacious thinking, but in reality that is NOT the thinking for the majority of Americans, religious or otherwise.

Jethani's Conclusion

Jethani states: 
As Christians, as those clothed in the gospel of peace, we cannot, and should not, demand that everyone share our beliefs. But we can, and should, demand that everyone share our freedoms. When this happens, we will find the courage to take off the armor of the culture war and put on the image of Christ. We will find the grace to put aside fear and take up love. And we can be assured that Christ will be lifted up in the public square and draw all people to himself.
The point is, like it or not, the United States of America was founded upon Judeo-Christian standards.   We believe in those standards and we do not appreciate it when a (minority) group of people get together in opposition to our standards and attempt to force us to accept their standard.  That being said, while we do not want to see our standards whittled away, by the same token, the "rights" of minority groups and individuals cannot be ignored - and even respected.  In fact, the "rights" of religious groups are protected by the United States Constitution.

This is not a matter of putting aside fear and taking up love.  If we truly love our homosexual friends then we don't pretend that a homosexual relationship is some sort of blessing and/or give our blessing to such.  When Jesus stood with the harlot caught in the act of adultery (which, when you come down to it - homosexuality in practice is equivalent to adultery), after getting the hypocrites to leave her alone, He did not turn to her and say, "Go, continue to practice your sin."  No!  He told her she was forgiven and "Go, and sin no more."

Is It A Right?

The bottom line here is the homosexual groups argue that marriage is a right, and they demand equal rights.  Marriage, however, is not a "right" - it is something, much like a drivers license (when it comes to the "state" regulating it) making it a privilege.  No one has a "right" to a driver's license, and likewise no one has a "right" to a marriage license.  This matter of "licensing" (taking it out of religious context for the moment) is purely a "states rights" issue.  The states have the "right" to license whomever they choose.

An attempt to make this a matter of civil rights is quite displaced.  The homosexual community is constantly making comparisons to the Civil Rights Movement (CRM) in the United States and to people like Martin Luther King, Jr.  Those who stood for the CRM should be totally offended by the comparisons.  By in large, the homosexual community is accepted and treated fairly.  Yes, there are some pockets of "homophobes" who mistreat them, but these actions of these homophobes is already illegal!   Homosexuals already have "rights" under the law from such things the CRM protested against.  Continued comparisons to the plight of African-American citizens to homosexuals wanting to redefine marriage should be taken as quite insulting to those who lived through the CRM, and especially those who gave up their lives for the CRM.

Now, that which IS a "right" and IS protected by the United States Constitution is the "right" of "religion" to exist.  Marriage, while "licensed" by the state, is still commonly and traditionally administered by religion.  The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony can ONLY be "sacramental" within the confines of the Church.  Now, I realize that the homosexual community is not currently campaigning for the Church to accept and "bless" homosexual unions, but the fact is they have made such campaigns - and even "won" some in some religions, even some which call themselves "Christian."  From the religious, especially Jewish and Christian view, homosexuality is not a "right" - but a "wrong," and one which cannot be accepted or "blessed" by any truly Christian standard.

Is Is A Wrong?

This is the real bottom line for Christians.  As my previous article points out, homosexuality is a "wrong" and one which is repeatedly condemned as such in both the Old and New Testaments of Holy Scripture.  There's really no getting around this, from the aspect of "religious freedom" (which is part of the title of the article I am responding to!).  What is really happening here is the homosexual community is infringing upon the rights of the Christian community to uphold the standards upon which this country was founded.  They would like the Christian community to give their nod (blessing) to homosexual unions and just stand by and accept the redefining of marriage to include that which Christians see as an abomination before the Lord.  


All too often we see the argument being used that it (homosexual marriage) is becoming more and more accepted throughout the United States (and the world) as if that sort of thinking should influence the Christian stance.   Whose opinion dominates the public square truly is not the issue here.   On the public square in another topic, that of abortion, the abortionists have "won" that "position" but organizations like the Catholic Church have not and will not "give up the war" in that respect.  Catholicism, along with other groups who believe abortion is murder will continue to stand up for the rights of the unborn and fight for those rights until the "public square" comes around to acknowledge these facts.  Similarly, we hold to the same standard on the matter of homosexual marriage - regardless of what the court of popular opinion may adjudicate. 


I was criticized in my original article that Jethani's article was not about morals, but rather upon religious freedom.  My question to whom would criticize me on this is - how can the two be separated?   It was Jethani who brought Jesus into the discussion and questioned what He would do - and as I said, He would not bless this "movement" nor should Jethani or those who support homosexual marriage expect true followers of Christ to ever accept the concept anymore than we accept abortion. 


Well, many, if not most, states already have such "civil unions" on the books wherein those of the same sex enter into a contract with each other - which when push comes to shove, isn't that "civilly speaking" all that a marriage license does?   The homosexual community already has this ability, even "right" if you will, in many states - and they have this "right" without impinging upon the "right" of the state to define "marriage" as the union between a man and a woman.  Where this battle should be fought is in those states which do not even allow for the "civil union" of homosexual persons.  

I have had and continue to have several friends who identify themselves as homosexual in either preference and/or in actual participation.  I do not shun these people in the public world, and they know my feelings on their chosen lifestyle.  We rarely get into discussions on morals - for they know where I stand.  Essentially I see this attempt to get me/us (Christians) to "accept" homosexual marriage as an attempt to get around the moral discussion by making it purely a political/civil discussion.  As I said before though, I compare this to trying to get us to accept legalized murder - which is precisely what happened in the abortion debate.  If the marriage debate ends similarly, I will be saddened, but I will not accept that a "homosexual marriage" is anymore "right" than abortion is, and when asked, I will continue to voice my concern for MY "freedom of religious rights" which are being whittled away by those who pick and choose which of God's Laws they will follow - or reject God's Laws altogether.  

Thank you for reading, and I do invite respectful discussion/debate on this topic.


PS - I should clarify too... those who identify themselves as "homosexual" in preference, but have not acted upon it are not what I would call "homosexuals."  To BE a homosexual requires more than desire.  To BE a murderer, one has to murder someone.  To BE a rapist, one has to commit rape on another.   To BE a homosexual one must have participated in the act and/or continue to participate in it.  Those who are not actively participating I would consider to be, sexually speaking, celibate.  

Feast of the Assumption

 The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - another example of "not-so-ordinary" days! These are COUNTING days - and...