Fifth Sunday of Lent - Passion Sunday

 The Fifth Sunday of Lent!


On this day we hear in the Introit (Extraordinary Rite) - 

Psalms 42:1-2
Judge me (or Judica me, in Latin), O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy; deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man, for Thou are my God and my strength. Send forth Thy light and Thy truth: they have conducted me, and brought me unto Thy holy hill, and into Thy tabernacles. Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause form the nation that is not holy; deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man, for Thou art my God and my strength.

Passion Sunday

It is also Passion Sunday, and we cover our sacred artwork with purple cloths, and there they stay until the First Mass of Easter - at Midnight. In some traditions, the veiling takes place on Holy Thursday of Holy Week, but the older tradition starts with Passion Sunday - the beginning of Passiontide, the last two weeks before Holy Week. Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, which is the Sixth Sunday of Lent. 

The Epistle

The Epistle for Passion Sunday (Extraordinary Rite) comes from Hebrews 9:11-15. It teaches us that the sacrificing of the Old Testament has been fulfilled in the Sacrifice of Christ in the New Testament. His Sacrifice is once for all time, for the many whom He has called to the Kingdom. In the Mass we have not a repeated sacrifice, but a re-

The Gospel 

The Gospel comes to us from John 8:46-59. In this passage, the Jews are challenging Jesus, and He emphatically states that He honors the Father - and they have dishonored Him. Not that He seeks His own glory - but the glory of the Father. "Amen, amen, I say unto you, if any man keep My word, he shall not see death for ever." Challenging Him further, the Jews declare He has a devil, because Abraham and the prophets are all dead - "Art Thou greater than our father, Abraham, who is dead?" And He concludes with, "Amen, amen, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I AM." 
Jesus uses the same title God uses for Himself with Moses, "I AM." Here Jesus has definitively declared He IS God, for He is "I AM."

Fourth Sunday of Lent Laetare Sunday


We're halfway through Lent! How are you doing? Have you been able to keep up with your lenten penance (what you gave up for Lent or what you're offering up for Lent, such as a consistent act of charity)?  It's not too late!  It's never too late to offer something up in union with the suffering and Passion of our Lord! THAT is why we do it! When we would have partaken in that which we have offered up, it gives us the opportunity to recall the 40 days Jesus fasted in the desert and then His Passion of Holy Week. Keep in mind, Sunday, especially Laetare Sunday, is not a day of penance - so you do not have to offer up your penance on Sundays. Lent is 40 days, starting on Ash Wednesday, but strictly by the calendar, there are more than 40 days till Easter - UNLESS - you don't count the Sundays - then it works out to exactly 40 days!

Remember too - the vestments for today are NOT PINK! They are "rose."  One way I use to help remember this is "Jesus didn't pink from the dead, He ROSE from the dead!" 

Third Sunday of Lent

Jesus casts out a demon from a dumb (cannot speak) person. He is accused of casting out demons in the name of Beelzebub, "the Prince of Devils." He asks, "If Satan is divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand?" Well, of course, we know it WON'T stand - we've read the book and Jesus wins!

Jesus also cautions that once the unclean spirit is cast out of a person, that spirit wanders around looking for a new place to rest - and not finding any, it sees the soul it once inhabited, and it is all cleaned and swept, so the unclean spirit returns and brings with it seven other spirits even more wicked and thus the last state of the person is worse than the first! Be on your guard! When you have just gone to Confession and have had your "house cleaned" - you are vulnerable to being re-inhabited and potentially be in a worse state than before! Remain strong in your prayers! When you sense temptation returning, pray even harder that you not be turned! Again, so much for the Protestant notion of Once Saved, Always Saved...

White Mans Burden 2.2

This response was started literally YEARS ago (well over a decade), I lost track of it and found it in my "drafts" for this blog so I have reviewed it again, and though sadly the links that James Swan asked me to review no longer exist. That said there is enough here and some primary source links where we can see where White truly did lose the debate and the "bait and switch" or "shell game" he attempts is exposed and clearly shows how and why he lost and loses this debate - hands down.

Back in 2010, I told James Swan I'd be looking deeper into the White/Madrid debate, and to be honest - I lost track of that and am getting back to that now.  In the earlier post, Swan left links for me to look at, but those are no longer valid so I have found these in which to continue:

Transcript of the debate: (this link no longer exists)
Audio of debate (on YouTube): (this link is also no longer valid).
I found the vlog from Sept. 2, 2008 here:  (this link still works as of the date of this posting).

November 1, 1995, James wrote:

The actual debate can be heard here:

White's 2012 - well, 1995 - summary response: This link now takes you to White's 1995 article (cited above).

I started this article using the 2008 response, I will leave what I've entered previously, but keep in mind, that was in response to the video blog (vlog).  

September 2, 2008 - White defends himself first by attacking the response of Patrick Madrid to the 1993 debate between Patrick Madrid and James White on "Does the Bible Teach Sola Scriptura?".  White points out that Madrid uses the terminology of "anti-Catholic" twice in three sentences.  Well, I'm not sure what White's objection is here, he IS an anti-Catholic!  He opposes Catholicism!  I would not say White is anti-Catholic-persons, as he and I have long been on friendly, though sometimes on tenuous, terms.  I think he appreciates the person of Patrick Madrid but still, White is anti-Catholic!  If you're counting, I used the term 3 times in 6 sentences.

Next, White pretends he has the insight into some secret meeting at Catholic Answers headquarters where allegedly it was decided that they (the Catholic apologists) in a debate would wait until there was no time left in the debate for their non-Catholic challengers to respond and then slip in the matter of the Canon (of Sacred Scripture).  Then, with no real time to respond, keep hammering home the fact that the non-Catholic apologist cannot and/or has not responded.  He claims this is exactly what Madrid did in the debate, he waited until the second rebuttal period to introduce this topic - and since White went first, he had no chance to respond. Whether or not this "secret meeting" ever took place is immaterial. That said, White 

In actuality, it is White who brings up the Canon of Sacred Scripture first, and he does so in his Opening Statement!  White, who brought up Cardinal Newman builds a strawman and then knocks it down stating, 

"Paul is not speaking about the extent of the canon but the nature of Scripture itself as originating in God."  

I'm surprised that Madrid did not pounce upon this sooner!  Yes, Madrid does not come back to this topic until just before the Cross-Examination Round, but I don't know how much more White could have said.  In White's 2012 response (to this same debate) he said "That is what I was inviting Mr. Madrid to do: show us another “infallible rule of faith.” He came up with exactly one example in response: the canon of the NT. We will discuss later why this effort failed."  There were no time constraints upon him in this 2012 response, and yet even though he stated he would "get back to this later," the only mentioning of the canon after that point was this:  "It would be profitable to examine Madrid’s statements on the canon of Scripture, and note how he had to move away from the Old Testament and use only the New (since the historical reality of the formation of the OT canon refutes his position). But such will have to be left for another time."  So, even when he has all the time in the world to respond - White has not "lifted the burden."

White then proceeds to tout that in the last 15 years (he recorded this vlog in 2008) that he has learned so much about sola scriptura, he's written books on the subject, defended the subject in debates, etc.  In short, he's setting himself up as the final word on sola scriptura - or at least A final word.

White brings out the allegation that Patrick Madrid claims he will resist from bringing out the 52 pages of Early Church Fathers so that he does not bury White in the quotes.  White scoffs and anachronistically mentions that he has the third volume of the King/Webster series on sola scriptura with over 300 pages of quotes allegedly supporting sola scriptura.   Even if the King/Webster volume was as authoritative as White insinuates it is, and he doesn't cite from it, is he not guilty of the same "bluster" he accuses Catholic Answers of?

After all the "bluster" he claims that Madrid touts that we know who wrote the book of Matthew, and the only way we know this is through our tradition.  Then White brings up unnamed modern Catholic theologians who claim "we don't know who wrote Matthew."  Without facts here to look up, I will not speculate upon who these Catholic scholars are - but I have a pretty good idea to whom White refers.  Modernist revisionism aside, we do know who wrote Matthew - and it was St. Matthew the Apostle.

The next part of this vlog is White's 20 minute opening statement from 1993.  He begins by accusing that there are always some who refuse to give Scripture its proper position.  He quotes St. Basil stating that in matters of dispute we should allow Scripture to decide between us and on which ever side we find doctrines in harmony with the Word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the favor of truth.  Then White asks the question, "Is the Bible the sole infallible rule of faith for the Church, or must we have other revelations from God?  Do we need the Book of Mormon the writings of the Watchtower... or the so-called unwritten apostolic traditions of Rome?"  Now that is NOT what the subject of this debate was!  THE subject of the debate was "Does the Bible Teach Sola Scriptura?"  Next White cleverly manipulates the title of the debate, stating, "Does the Bible teach its own sufficiency to act as the sole rule of faith for the Church?"  Let us note, loud and clear, this is NOT a debate about "sufficiency" but rather "sola."  The bait and switch is in place.

Following the bait and switch above, White begins his actual debate by defining what sola scriptura is NOT.

"First of all, it is not a claim that the Bible contains all knowledge.  The Bible is not exhaustive in every detail... but the Bible does not have to be exhaustive to act as the sole rule of faith for the Church."
"Secondly it is not a denial of the Church's authority to teach God's truth."
"Thirdly, it is not a denial that at times God's Word is spoken. Apostolic teaching was authoritative in and of itself.  Yet the Apostles (anecdotally) prove their teaching through God's Word."
"And finally, sola scriptura is not a denial of the role of the Holy Spirit in guiding and enlightening the Church." 
After this he goes on to define:
"What then is sola scriptura?"  The doctrine of sola scriptura simply stated is that the Scriptures, and the Scriptures alone, are sufficient to function as the regula fide, the rule of faith of the Church.  All that one must believe to be a Christian is found in Scripture and in no other source.  That which is not found in Scripture is not binding upon the Christian conscience.
Note again, the change in topic!  White continues to try to make sufficiency the matter of the debate, and not "sola."  He continues bringing up concepts of sufficiency and has abandoned sola, and then states, "The Scriptures are self-consistent, self-interpreting, and self-authenticating."  Well, so he claims, but he doesn't state where Scripture itself, or shall we say Scripture alone, teaches these doctrines.  So, since these are "not found in Scripture" - then they are "not binding upon the Christian conscience."  White defeats himself in his opening argument! If the subject of this debate were "satis scriptura"- well, let us not fall for the bait and switch!

White interrupts the opening statement here to interject more on what he means by "self-authenticating" - and again it is noted, this is NOT the subject of the debate!  White clarifies that the matter of self-authenticating is not about "canon" (as in the Canon of Sacred Scripture, noting again, it is White who brought up the Canon of Sacred Scripture).  He's essentially conceding that one cannot find the Canon of Sacred Scripture by means of sola scriptura.  He projects that later Madrid will be accusing him of claiming that just "feeling" a book is scriptural and just "feel" that it is inspired.  The fact of the matter is, nowhere within the Canon of Sacred Scripture is the Canon of Sacred Scripture defined! In fact, books were added and subtracted from the Canon for the first four hundred years of the Catholic Church and the Canon would be finalized by St. Jerome - and Jerome's Canon was dogmatically declared at the ecumenical Council of Trent in the sixteenth century!
Why did the Catholic Church wait over 1500 years to dogmatically define the canon? Well, as stated already, the canon was "set" in the fourth century via St. Jerome's translation of Sacred Scripture from the original tongues into the Latin Vulgate. It would not be until the sixteenth century with the dawning of Protestantism that St. Jerome's canon was contested - specifically the inclusion of the deuterocanonicals, which he did not "add" to the canon - they were already there in the Septuagint, or Greek canon, which many, if not most, Christian scholars agree - is what Jesus, as well as the Apostles and Evangelical writers of the books of Sacred Scripture, referred to and cited from - but I digress...
Back to the debate...

White continues...
Now, given this, I would like to explain how I plan on winning my debate this evening with Mr. Madrid.  Sola scriptura is both a positive and a negative statement.  Positively, the doctrine teaches that the Bible is sufficient to function as the sole, infallible rule of faith for the Church.  Negatively, it denies the existence of any other rule of faith as being necessary for the man of God.  Hence, logically, I must do the following things:
  • First, I must demonstrate that the Bible teaches that it is A rule of faith for the Church.
  • Secondly, I must demonstrate that the Bible is sufficient to function as the sole rule of faith for the Church, that is, I must demonstrate its sufficiency, or in the language used in the New Testament itself, that the Bible is artios.
  • And, thirdly, I must demonstrate that the Bible as a sufficient rule of faith does not refer us to any other rule of faith.
Well, again, the topic of the debate is NOT to show the Bible is sufficient, period.  All discussion of sufficiency is nothing more than a red herring argument intended to draw the audience off the scent of the REAL subject - which, again, is "Does the Bible Teach Sola Scriptura?"  Whether or not Scripture refers to "another rule of faith" is irrelevant!  If the Bible does not teach "sola" then the teaching falls under its own weight.  

The above being said the Bible DOES teach that there is another infallible authority!  Sadly, White knows this, all too well, but stands in denial of the plain words of Scripture.  1) In Matthew 16:18 and 2) 18:18 we find Jesus Himself, as recorded IN SCRIPTURE stating that 1) a man and 2) a group of men can bind or loose whatsoever they choose - there is NO LIMITATION here!  Further, what they bind or loose on Earth is bound or loosed in Heaven!  Now, unless White believes God would allow for error to be bound or loosed in Heaven - then these MEN have been given infallible authority - AND that authority is explicitly taught IN Scripture!  White has already lost this debate!  I realize that White will deny the passages in Matthew mean what I said here - but his denial cannot change reality.  Facts are these men were given authority to bind or loose on Earth and what they bound on Earth was bound in Heaven and this authority was not limited in scope for "whatsoever" they should bind, or loose, was bound or loosed in Heaven.  Since I believe that both White and I would agree that no error could be bound in Heaven, then this authority is infallible authority.

That being said, White continues in stating many who oppose sola scriptura use "cheap debating tricks" of trying to get the proponents of sola scriptura to prove a universal negative.  That is, to prove the non-existence of another rule of faith.  Well no, and if some non-sola scriptura debaters use such a "trick," well, they are just missing the obvious - and that is the challenge of THIS debate!  The Catholic position of Madrid is simple - NOWHERE does the Bible teach SOLA scriptura!  That which White is REALLY representing is not sola scriptura, but satis scriptura - or the sufficiency of Scripture.  If THAT were the real topic of this debate, then Madrid (myself and others who have engaged White on the topic of sola scriptura) would have an entirely different approach and argument.  We would have to discuss the difference of materially sufficient v. formally sufficient to begin with; the former can have a valid (Catholic) understanding while the latter would be a false teaching.  However, I digress, THIS debate is about whether or not Scripture teaches sola scriptura and on THAT point, White clearly loses the debate when he does the "cheap debating trick" of the "bait and switch."  By changing the subject he has essentially conceded the entire debate.

Next, White goes with his infamous pen analogy - which is, in reality, just another attempt to shift the burden of proof from himself to his opponent.  He prefaces (and I paraphrase a bit here),
IF this debate were about me having to prove there is no other authority that would be like me holding up my pen, yes, my pen, and declaring there is no other pen like this in the universe.  How would I go about proving it?  To prove there is no other pen like this in the universe I would have to go through all your purses, all your shirt pockets, all the stores in the world which carry pens, go through all the houses on the earth, go to the moon, all the planets in the solar system and the entire universe, looking for another pen like this.  Well, of course, I could not do that.  But you see it would be very easy for Mr. Madrid to win this debate.  All he would have to do is go out and get a Cross Medalist pen, walk up here, hold it next to mine and say, "See, another pen just like yours."  And he has won the debate.  In light of this, I would assert that Mr. Madrid must either recognize this reality and not attempt to win this debate by doing nothing more than relying upon an illogical demand, or he must demonstrate the existence of "the other pen."
Actually, White has merely set the terms of this debate in black and white terms (another common fallacy in debate) and has insisted upon either the absurd or that Madrid present something which is not the topic of the debate!  Remember, the topic of the debate is "Does the Bible Teach Sola Scriptura?"  In short, White is attempting to set an impossible premise for Madrid to fulfill.  That being said, as we have already seen, that "other pen" DOES exist IN SCRIPTURE, (Matthew 16:18 and 18:18), so White - even in his own fallacious terms - has clearly lost the debate.

I will stop here for now. The links which James Swan challenged me to review are no longer valid, if he has another source for those links - I would be more than happy to pick up where I am leaving off here.
In JMJ, 

Second Sunday of Lent

On this the Second Sunday of Lent, the Gospel lesson is on the Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Some might call this a miracle, but in reality, it is the natural state of Jesus as hypostatically both human and divine, as revealed to Sts. Peter, James, and John. Appearing with Jesus are Moses and Elijah. St. Peter states this is a good thing for them to be here and offers to build three tents, or tabernacles, one for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. He no sooner said this and the voice of God the Father rings out, "This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased! Hear Him!" And upon hearing this voice, the three Apostles hid their faces in fear. Jesus came to them and said, "Fear not!" As the Apostles lifted their heads, they were again alone with Jesus. Jesus commanded them not to reveal what they had seen until after the Son of Man has risen from the dead. (Matthew 17:1-9).

So, what have YOU given up for Lent? If you have not yet given up something, consider ADDING something - like a regular prayer routine. First, that's a great thing to get in the habit of doing and even continuing after Lent - and second, it gives you an opportunity not only for more prayer but also to reflect on the Passion of our Lord - celebrated just 6 weeks from now.

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...