I am a 34-year-old single mother of three. I am a convert to Catholicism and came into the Church on April 7, 2007. This blog is a collection of thoughts and things I learn in my journey of faith. All comments are welcome!
Against Heresies (Book III, Chapter 3) - St. Irenaeus
The following is a very early list of popes written between 175 and 190, not many years after Irenaeus' Roman visit, lists the order from Peter to Eleutherius:
1. It is within the power of all, therefore, in every Church, who may wish to see the truth, to contemplate clearly the tradition of the apostles manifested throughout the whole world; and we are in a position to reckon up those who were by the apostles instituted bishops in the Churches, and [to demonstrate] the succession of these men to our own times; those who neither taught nor knew of anything like what these [heretics] rave about. For if the apostles had known hidden mysteries, which they were in the habit of imparting to "the perfect" apart and privily from the rest, they would have delivered them especially to those to whom they were also committing the Churches themselves. For they were desirous that these men should be very perfect and blameless in all things, whom also they were leaving behind as their successors, delivering up their own place of government to these men; which men, if they discharged their functions honestly, would be a great boon [to the Church], but if they should fall away, the direst calamity.
2. Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority -- that is, the faithful everywhere -- inasmuch as the Apostolic Tradition has been preserved continuously by those who are everywhere. potentiorem principalitatem necesse est omnem convenire ecclesiam, hoc est eos qui sunt undique fideles, in qua semper ab his qui sunt undique, conservata est ea quâ est ab apostolis traditio].
3. The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric. This man, as he had seen the blessed apostles, and had been conversant with them, might be said to have the preaching of the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their traditions before his eyes. Nor was he alone [in this], for there were many still remaining who had received instructions from the apostles. In the time of this Clement, no small dissension having occurred among the brethren at Corinth, the Church in Rome despatched a most powerful letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace, renewing their faith, and declaring the tradition which it had lately received from the apostles, proclaiming the one God, omnipotent, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Creator of man, who brought on the deluge, and called Abraham, who led the people from the land of Egypt, spake with Moses, set forth the law, sent the prophets, and who has prepared fire for the devil and his angels. From this document, whosoever chooses to do so, may learn that He, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, was preached by the Churches, and may also understand the apostolical tradition of the Church, since this Epistle is of older date than these men who are now propagating falsehood, and who conjure into existence another god beyond the Creator and the Maker of all existing things. To this Clement there succeeded Evaristus. Alexander followed Evaristus; then, sixth from the apostles, Sixtus was appointed; after him, Telephorus, who was gloriously martyred; then Hyginus; after him, Pius; then after him, Anicetus. Sorer having succeeded Anicetus, Eleutherius does now, in the twelfth place from the apostles, hold the inheritance of the episcopate. In this order, and by this succession, the ecclesiastical tradition from the apostles, and the preaching of the truth, have come down to us. And this is most abundant proof that there is one and the same vivifying faith, which has been preserved in the Church from the apostles until now, and handed down in truth.
4. But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time -- a man who was of much greater weight, and a more stedfast witness of truth, than Valentinus, and Marcion, and the rest of the heretics. He it was who, coming to Rome in the time of Anicetus caused many to turn away from the aforesaid heretics to the Church of God, proclaiming that he had received this one and sole truth from the apostles -- that, namely, which is handed down by the Church. There are also those who heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, "Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within." And Polycarp himself replied to Marcion, who met him on one occasion, and said, "Dost thou know me?" "I do know thee, the first-born of Satan." Such was the horror which the apostles and their disciples had against holding even verbal communication with any corrupters of the truth; as Paul also says, "A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself." There is also a very powerful Epistle of Polycarp written to the Philippians, from which those who choose to do so, and are anxious about their salvation, can learn the character of his faith, and the preaching of the truth. Then, again, the Church in Ephesus, founded by Paul, and having John remaining among them permanently until the times of Trajan, is a true witness of the tradition of the apostles.
SEE ALSO: Eusebius, Church History V.6... FULL of language about the succession of Peter. It's completely irrefutable that there was papal succession going all the way back to Peter. To deny it, is to deny historical FACT.
Was the office of the pope a 4th-5th century invention? Here's what the Early Church Fathers say about the office of pope (aka Bishop of Rome)... yes, Rome... where Peter traveled and was then martyred.
"The blessed apostles [Peter and Paul], having founded and built up the church [of Rome] . . . handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus" (Against Heresies 3:3:3 [A.D. 189]).
"[T]his is the way in which the apostolic churches transmit their lists: like the church of the Smyrneans, which records that Polycarp was placed there by John, like the church of the Romans, where Clement was ordained by Peter" (Demurrer Against the Heretics 32:2 [A.D. 200]).
The Little Labyrinth
"Victor . . . was the thirteenth bishop of Rome from Peter" (The Little Labyrinth [A.D. 211], in Eusebius, Church History 5:28:3).
Cyprian of Carthage
"The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. ... ’ [Matt. 16:18]. On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. . . . If someone [today] does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; first edition [A.D. 251]).
"Cornelius was made bishop by the decision of God and of his Christ, by the testimony of almost all the clergy, by the applause of the people then present, by the college of venerable priests and good men, at a time when no one had been made [bishop] before him—when the place of [Pope] Fabian, which is the place of Peter, the dignity of the sacerdotal chair, was vacant. Since it has been occupied both at the will of God and with the ratified consent of all of us, whoever now wishes to become bishop must do so outside. For he cannot have ecclesiastical rank who does not hold to the unity of the Church" (Letters 55:):8 [A.D. 253]).
"With a false bishop appointed for themselves by heretics, they dare even to set sail and carry letters from schismatics and b.asphemers to the chair of Peter and to the principal church [at Rome], in which sacerdotal unity has its source" (ibid., 59:14).
Eusebius of Caesarea
"Paul testifies that Crescens was sent to Gaul [2 Tim. 4:10], but Linus, whom he mentions in the Second Epistle to Timothy [2 Tim. 4:21] as his companion at Rome, was Peter’s successor in the episcopate of the church there, as has already been shown. Clement also, who was appointed third bishop of the church at Rome, was, as Paul testifies, his co-laborer and fellow-soldier [Phil. 4:3]" (Church History 3:4:9–10 [A.D. 312]).
Pope Julius I
"[The] judgment [against Athanasius] ought to have been made, not as it was, but according to the ecclesiastical canon. . . . Are you ignorant that the custom has been to write first to us and then for a just decision to be passed from this place [Rome]? If, then, any such suspicion rested upon the bishop there [Athanasius of Alexandria], notice of it ought to have been written to the church here. But now, after having done as they pleased, they want to obtain our concurrence, although we never condemned him. Not thus are the constitutions of Paul, not thus the traditions of the Fathers. This is another form of procedure, and a novel practice. . . . What I write about this is for the common good. For what we have heard from the blessed apostle Peter, these things I signify to you" (Letter on Behalf of Athanasius [A.D. 341], contained in Athanasius, Apology Against the Arians 20–35).
Council of Sardica
"[I]f any bishop loses the judgment in some case [decided by his fellow bishops] and still believes that he has not a bad but a good case, in order that the case may be judged anew . . . let us honor the memory of the apostle Peter by having those who have given the judgment write to Julius, bishop of Rome, so that if it seem proper he may himself send arbiters and the judgment may be made again by the bishops of a neighboring province" (Canon 3 [A.D. 342]).
"You cannot deny that you are aware that in the city of Rome the episcopal chair was given first to Peter; the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head—that is why he is also called Cephas [‘Rock’]—of all the apostles; the one chair in which unity is maintained by all" (The Schism of the Donatists 2:2 [A.D. 367]).
Epiphanius of Salamis
"At Rome the first apostles and bishops were Peter and Paul, then Linus, then Cletus, then Clement, the contemporary of Peter and Paul" (Medicine Chest Against All Heresies 27:6 [A.D. 375]).
Pope Damasus I
"Likewise it is decreed: . . . [W]e have considered that it ought to be announced that . . . the holy Roman Church has been placed at the forefront not by the conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you shall have bound on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall have loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. The first see [today], therefore, is that of Peter the apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it" (Decree of Damasus 3 [A.D. 382]).
"[Pope] Stephen . . . was the blessed Peter’s twenty-second successor in the See of Rome" (Against the Luciferians 23 [A.D. 383]).
"Clement, of whom the apostle Paul writing to the Philippians says ‘With Clement and others of my fellow-workers whose names are written in the book of life,’ the fourth bishop of Rome after Peter, if indeed the second was Linus and the third Anacletus, although most of the Latins think that Clement was second after the apostle" (Lives of Illustrious Men 15 [A.D. 396]).
"Since the East, shattered as it is by the long-standing feuds, subsisting between its peoples, is bit by bit tearing into shreds the seamless vest of the Lord . . . I think it my duty to consult the chair of Peter, and to turn to a church [Rome] whose faith has been praised by Paul [Rom. 1:8]. I appeal for spiritual food to the church whence I have received the garb of Christ. . . . Evil children have squandered their patrimony; you alone keep your heritage intact" (Letters 15:1 [A.D. 396]).
"I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood prevails" (ibid., 15:2).
"The church here is split into three parts, each eager to seize me for its own. . . . Meanwhile I keep crying, ‘He that is joined to the chair of Peter is accepted by me!’ . . . Therefore, I implore your blessedness [Pope Damasus I] . . . tell me by letter with whom it is that I should communicate in Syria" (ibid., 16:2).
Ambrose of Milan
"[T]hey [the Novatian heretics] have not the succession of Peter, who hold not the chair of Peter, which they rend by wicked schism; and this, too, they do, wickedly denying that sins can be forgiven [by the sacrament of confession] even in the Church, whereas it was said to Peter: ‘I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven’[Matt. 16:19]" (Penance 1:7:33 [A.D. 388]).
"If all men throughout the world were such as you most vainly accuse them of having been, what has the chair of the Roman church done to you, in which Peter sat, and in which Anastasius sits today?" (Against the Letters of Petilani 2:118 [A.D. 402]).
"If the very order of episcopal succession is to be considered, how much more surely, truly, and safely do we number them from Peter himself, to whom, as to one representing the whole Church, the Lord said, ‘Upon this rock I will build my Church’ . . . [Matt. 16:18]. Peter was succeeded by Linus, Linus by Clement, Clement by Anacletus, Anacletus by Evaristus . . . " (Letters 53:1:2 [A.D. 412]).
Council of Ephesus
"Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: ‘There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to today and forever both lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed pope Celestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place, and us he sent to supply his place in this holy synod’" (Acts of the Council, session 3 [A.D. 431]).
Pope Leo I
"As for the resolution of the bishops which is contrary to the Nicene decree, in union with your faithful piety, I declare it to be invalid and annul it by the authority of the holy apostle Peter" (Letters 110 [A.D. 445]).
"Whereupon the blessed Peter, as inspired by God, and about to benefit all nations by his confession, said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Not undeservedly, therefore, was he pronounced blessed by the Lord, and derived from the original Rock that solidity which belonged both to his virtue and to his name [Peter]" (The Tome of Leo [A.D. 449]).
"We exhort you in every respect, honorable brother, to heed obediently what has been written by the most blessed pope of the city of Rome, for blessed Peter, who lives and presides in his own see, provides the truth of faith to those who seek it. For we, by reason of our pursuit of peace and faith, cannot try cases on the faith without the consent of the bishop of Rome" (Letters 25:2 [A.D. 449]).
Council of Chalcedon
"After the reading of the foregoing epistle [The Tome of Leo], the most reverend bishops cried out: ‘This is the faith of the fathers! This is the faith of the apostles! So we all believe! Thus the orthodox believe! Anathema to him who does not thus believe! Peter has spoken thus through Leo! . . . This is the true faith! Those of us who are orthodox thus believe! This is the faith of the Fathers!’" (Acts of the Council, session 2 [A.D. 451]).
Well, the local community college I've been attending informed me that I have enough credits for an Associate of General Studies degree. This is awesome news with amazing timing because I've been considering going for a Bachelor of Arts in Theology! Thing is, I have to find a way to pay for it! I've been unemployed since December so money is tight to begin with. However, God has been providing and will continue to provide.
Guess I better get back to selling rosaries and see if I can get that to take off!
Any and all prayers while I discern whether or not I should pursue this, would be appreciated!
So, there are far too many days, weeks and months between posts but life is just so busy!
Right now, my diocese is working on establishing a program called, "Why Catholic?". I'm currently working on getting involved and am greatly looking forward to the fruit that may come of it. Additionally, I'm planning to be a catechist this coming year and am going through some training for that as well.
I've been unemployed since December and have greatly enjoyed my extended "vacation" and all the time I've been able to spend with the kids... feeling like a stay-at-home-mom. It's come with some financial challenges, of course, but God continues to provide in unforeseen and amazing ways.
My sister's beautiful twin boys are over a year old now and continue to bring so much joy to our lives. It's so awesome to see my sister experience motherhood!
Anyway, God is doing some amazing things... slowly, but surely. I'm still loving all the learning of my faith and always want to share it with others... though I don't think as many people want to hear about it as I want to share it with!
My family remains silent on the subject of faith but I press forward knowing full well that I am right where God wants me!
Catholics are often accused of not being Bible-centered, or Bible-based, etc. However, the Catholic mass proves to be quite the opposite. One might be surprised to learn that every aspect of the mass IS from from Scripture. Additionally, more Scripture is read in one mass than in any Protestant service I've ever attended. It is ignorant and unfair to assert that Catholics aren't Bible-based.
Commentary appears in green.
Priest: In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 28:19)
People: Amen (1 Chr )
Priest: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Cor )
People: And also with you.
All: I confess to almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault. (Jas. 5:16) In my thoughts and in my words, (Rom. ) In what I have done and what I have failed to do; (Jas 3:6) and I ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, all the angel and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God. (1 Thess 5:25)
Priest: May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life. (1 John 1:9)
People: Amen (1 Chr )
All: Lord have mercy. (Tb 8:4) Christ have mercy. (1 Tim 1:2) Lord have mercy.
All: Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. (Luke 2:14) Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, (Rev 19:6) we worship you, (Rev. 22:9) we give you thanks, (Eph. 5:20) we praise you for your glory. () Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, (2 John 3) Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; (John ) You are seated at the right hand of the Father, receive our prayer. (Rom ) For you alone are the Holy One, (Luke ) You alone are Lord, You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ. (Luke 1:32) with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. (John 14:26)
[The Liturgy of the Word consists of four readings from Scripture: the first is typically from the Old Testament, the second a psalm, followed by a reading from one of the epistles. Finally, the Gospel is proclaimed during which the people stand out of respect for the Word. The chosen readings change daily.]
Click here to get today’s liturgical readings from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
[A Sermon on the readings follows.](2 Tim 4:1-2)
Profession of Faith:[the Nicene (or Apostles) Creed]
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, (Gen ) of all that is seen and unseen. (Col 1:16) We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, (Luke 1:35) eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, begotten not made, one in being with the Father. (Heb 1:3) Through him all things were made. (John 1:2-3) For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: (John ) by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, (Matt ) and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, (John ) he suffered, died and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures. (1 Cor 15:3-4) He ascended into heaven (Luke 24:51) and is seated at the right hand of the Father. (Col 3:1) He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead (2 Tim 4:1) and his kingdom will have no end. (Luke 1:33) We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of Life, (Acts ) who proceeds from the Father and the Son. (John 14:16) With the Father and Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets. (1 Peter 1:10-11) We believe in one holy, catholic and apostolic Church. (Rom 12:5) We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. (Acts ) We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. (Rom 6:5) Amen
Liturgy of the Eucharist:
[The gifts are brought to the altar. These include the bread and wine and the offering collected from the people.](Malachi 3:10)
Priest: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made. (Eccl. 3:13) It will become for us the bread of life. (John 6:35)
People: Blessed be God forever. (Ps 68:35)
Priest: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands. It will become our spiritual drink. (Luke 22:17-18)
People: Blessed be God forever. (Ps 68:36)
Priest: Pray, brethren, that our sacrifice may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father. (Heb. 12:28)
People: May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name, for our sake and the good of all his Church. (Ps 50:23)
Priest: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord. (Lam )
Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord Our God. (Col 3:17)
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise. (Col 1:3)
All: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. (Is 6:3) Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest. (Mark 11:9-10)
[There are four of these, based on ancient prayers of the Church. Eucharistic Prayer Two follows as an example:]
Priest: Lord, you are holy indeed, the fountain of all holiness. (2 Macc. 14:36) Let your spirit come upon these gifts (water and wine) to make them holy, so that they may become the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Before he was given up to death, (Phil 2:8) a death he freely accepted, (John -18) he took bread and gave you thanks. He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said: Take this all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you. When supper was ended, he took the cup. Again he gave thanks and praise, gave the cup to his disciples, and said: Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this is memory of me. (Mark 14:22-25) Let us proclaim the mystery of faith.
All: Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life, Lord Jesus, come in glory. (Heb 2:14-15)
Priest: In memory of his death and resurrection, we offer you, Father, this life-giving bread, this saving cup. (John 6:51) We thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you. May all of us who share in the body and blood of Christ be brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor.10:17) Lord, remember your Church throughout the world; make us grow in love together with our Pope and our bishop, and all the clergy. Remember our brothers and sisters who have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again: bring them and all the departed into the light of your presence. (2 Macc 12:45-46) Have mercy on us all; make us worthy to share eternal life with Mary, the virgin Mother of God, with the apostles and with all the saints who have done your will throughout the ages. May we praise you in union with them, and give you glory though your Son, Jesus Christ. (2 Thes 1:4-5) Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.
All: Amen. (Rom )
The Lord’s Prayer:
All: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matt 6:9-13)
Priest: Deliver us, Lord, from every evil and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior, Jesus Christ. (John 17:15)
All: For the kingdom the power and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen
Priest: Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles; I leave you peace, my peace I give to you. (John 14:27) Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom where you live forever and ever.
Priest: The peace of the Lord be with you always! (John 20:19)
People: And also with you!
[The priest then directs the people to exchange a sign, such as a handshake or a kiss, or a word of God’s peace to one another.]
Breaking of the Bread:
All: Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, grant us peace. (John 1:29)
Priest: This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper. (Rev. 19:9)
People: Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed. (Matt 8:8)
[Communion is distributed to the faithful at the altar by the priest and lay ministers.]
Priest: Blessed be the name of the Lord. Now and forever. (Dan 2:20) May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Luke 24:51) Go in peace (Luke ) to love and serve the Lord. (2 Chr 35:3)
[During the blessing the people make the Sign of the Cross, the traditional sign of the baptized and a public sign of their belief in the power of God.]
"Christ was a simple man, a humble man...who taught the word of God...but wasnt [sic]part of a religion, or church...with traditions, and rituals."
Here's the thing... Christ is GOD. There is nothing all that simple about the creator of the universe. The depth of God is so vast, that humanity will never fully comprehend it, no matter how much education or intelligence we have. We cannot, therefore, put Christ into a category of simple. In addition, some of his teachings are difficult to understand. This is evident by the multitude of Christian denominations that all claim to know and teach truth, using the same Scriptures and claiming they are ALL inspired by the Holy Spirit, yet not agreeing with one another on many, if not all, doctrinal issues.
A read of the Old Testament also reveals that God instituted many rituals with the Israelites. There are purposes and reasons for these rituals. Now, since we know that the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament, we can also know that these rituals would likely have had a significant carry-over into the new. A study of early Christian writings would prove this, by the way. (It is not the ritual itself that one should take issue with... Rather, what is in the heart of those participating? Are they doing it in vain or to honor God and build on their relationship with him?)
Hmm... Christ wasn't part of a church?? Really? Scripture explicitly tells us that Christ actually ESTABLISHED an authoritative church. Here are some passages that might cause you to reconsider this assertion:
Mt 16:18-19 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
WOW... A church with the authority to bind and loose... by which the gates of hell will NOT prevail against it. Doesn't leave much room for the Catholic Church to slip off into apostasy within the first few centuries, does it?
Mt 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
If we are to take our issues to "the church" and be considered a heathen if we don't yield to that church, that is supposing that the church has quite a bit of authority to decide such things. It also shows that people must know where this "church" is. The church must be visible.
Col 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
If Christ is going to be the head of the church, don't you think he is, therefore, a PART of that church?
1 Tim 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
The CHURCH is the pillar and ground of the truth! Clearly we see that Christ not only is a part of a Church as it's head, but he is also the one who established it!
Why is it that "religion" has some sort of negative connotation among non-Catholic Christians? Religion is a set of practices centered around God that brings one into communion with God through the reading of Scripture and prayer. This is EXACTLY what Christ established... a religion. There is a difference between practicing religion in VAIN and practicing religion in a way that honors God. Now, if you want to say that God did not establish empty and meaningless religion, I would completely agree with you. But take a look at James 1:26-27, which says, "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
These "Whore of Babylon" attacks that make the Holy Catholic Church out to be the work of Satan himself come as no surprise. After all, Matthew 10:25 states, "It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?" And John 15:18-20 states, "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also."
No other church on the planet gets accused of being the Whore - just the Catholic Church. It's an easy attack... We are the largest Christian body (more than all other denominations combined), so we must have some significant role in God's plan. I suppose if we can't be the Bride in someone's eyes, it's easy to make us into the Whore. Millions of us have followed this "Whore" for 2000 years and out of the Whore have come some of the world's greatest scholars, artists, scientists and musicians. Interesting to think that such extraordinary people could come out such an evil false religion...
As for Ash Wednesday... Catholics and some Protestant denominations practice this because it is a sign of repentance. The use of ashes along with fasting as a sign of repentance is used frequently in the Old Testament (See Jer 6:26, Is 58:5, Dn 9:3 and Jonah 3:6) Jesus also refers to ashes as a sign of repentance (Mt 11:21; Lk 10:13). Since the beginning of the church, ashes have been used in different ways to signify repentance. Today, they remind us of who we are... mortal sinners in need of God's free gift of salvation... "Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return." It reminds us that we are members of the Body of Christ called to daily pick up our crosses and follow Christ in humility and with a repentant heart.
Simple, have you ever considered examining Catholicism from it's source rather than buying into misconceptions and straw man arguments that even Protestant scholars find ridiculous? This whole concept is so new in light of 2000 years of Christianity and is a vitriolic attack that is completely unfounded. It bears false witness against the Catholic Church as it does not accurately portray her teachings. I would hope that you would not want to be a part of such a lack of charity.
I'm sure that your attempt to save Catholics is sincere, as I was once fairly anti-Catholic myself so I know where you're coming from... but you are also sincerely wrong. I urge you to read some of my apologetic posts. I also encourage you to read something written by Pope John Paul II. See if what he's saying truly sounds evil to you - make up your OWN mind about the Catholic Church. The way I see it is if you're going to try to save Catholics, you should know them from the inside, instead of buying into the already refuted misconceptions that have been barfed out through people like Jack Chick, Dave Hunt and Lorraine Boettner.
**All verses quoted in the last two posts are taken from the King James Version**
The following was a comment left to me by "Simple":
So I have a seriouse question for you, and others....Wolves in Sheeps clothing huh?. In the book of revelation they talk of scarlet and purple...isnt most of the etire for the pope, and the vatican...scarlet and purple. Revelation speaks, of pearls...and gold...Isnt the entire roman holy empire...FULL of pearls...and Gold?...please I want you to look something up...I pray and I only want to save lives...log onto Youtube...and look up "bibleortradition"...and then search for revelation 17...theres part 1 and part 2. I seen them and was amazed. Also look into Ash Wensday. Word must be spread. If you dont have it...download it. For your search for God...Download it. Christ was a simple man, a humble man...who taught the word of God...but wasnt part of a religion, or church...with traditions, and rituals...Would he have loved the wealth that is kept, and wasted? Love is all that matters...please, look this up. If you do post a blog. ill read it, then give you my email. I have a purpose.
With all due respect, the videos you mention are so ridiculous and anti-Catholic, they made me want to vomit. It is clear that those who put these videos together know nothing about actual Catholic teaching and they are ignorant to Scripture and how it's been historically understood. Additionally, some of their assumptions are completely laughable... I had to just shake my head in amazement that people actually buy into this crap! It seems to be merely a regurgitation of Dave Hunt's garbage.
But, this is not to say that I can't provide an intelligent response to the accusations made. The real question is, will it even matter to Simple if I do? If I can show that what was presented is nonsense, will Simple stop being an anti-Catholic on a mission to save us from the "Whore of Babylon" or will Simple continue in blindness to save that which is not lost?
Just to be clear, the passage in question is Revelation 17:1-6, which states:
"1And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
2With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
3So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
4And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
5And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
6And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration."
Of course, like many of us have heard like a broken record, in the video, the "Roman Catholic Church" is accused of being the Whore referenced here.
For the sake of brevity, I'm not going to address all the points made in the video, but will address the ones brought up by Simple in his/her comment.
Clothed in "purple and red": For one thing, these colors are worn to convey a particular meaning: purple for royalty and red for the blood of Christian martyrs. One must wonder why, according to the anti-Catholic view presented, these colors are literally applied to clergy vestments (which even high Protestants wear, don't they?) while the woman symbolizes a city. Huh? Second, WHITE is actually the dominant color of the Church, used with other colors and second to white would be likely be green (since that is what is worn the majority of the year). But, regardless, one forgets that God also COMMANDED that these colors be used for priests' vestments (Ex 39:1-2): And of the blue, and purple, and scarlet, they made cloths of service, to do service in the holy place, and made the holy garments for Aaron; as the LORD commanded Moses. And he made the ephod of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. (See also Exodus 28:4-8, 15, 33; 39:1-8, 29)
If this was commanded and pleasing to God then, I see no reason why he would not be pleased with this today. Logically then, the mere wearing of garments in such colors is not "evil" nor does it mean that the Catholic Church is partaking in something that cannot please God. To take the passage in Revelation 17 and apply it to the Catholic Church at the ignorance of other passages which more accurately portray what we're doing is simply not logical.
Pearls and gold: The problem with this argument is that the Vatican, regardless of how "wealthy" it may have been in the past, operates as an independent country... typically in a deficit with a budget the size of the archdiocese of Chicago. And, just to make you aware as well, the Catholic Church is the largest charitable organization in the world. Her money comes from the faithful in their tithes and offerings and she is a steward, not an owner, of that wealth. Plus, to say such a thing is a bit hypocritical when looking at the wealth of Protestant leaders like Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland. What do they do with their wealth?
So, what exactly is the point in raising this argument?
A Journey to Grace Blog is an outreach of Sisters In Christ Inc., a ministry founded in 2004 for the purpose of leading post abortive and sexually abused women to freedom, hope and healing in Jesus Christ.
Please note that it is the intent of the author to accurately present Church teaching. However, the author of this site does not claim or guarantee that everything posted within is perfectly in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Anything found contradictory to Church teaching should promptly be reported to the author via email so that corrections can be made.