This Catholic Journey
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Name: Amber
Location: Reno, Nevada, United States

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!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Scripture in the Mass


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.


Greeting:

Priest: In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 28:19)

People: Amen (1 Chr 16:36)

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 13:13)

People: And also with you.

Penitential Rite:

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. 12:16) 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 16:36)

All: Lord have mercy. (Tb 8:4) Christ have mercy. (1 Tim 1:2) Lord have mercy.

Gloria:

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. (Rev 7:12)
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 1:29)
You are seated at the right hand of the Father, receive our prayer. (Rom 8:34)
For you alone are the Holy One, (Luke 4:34)
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]

All:

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, (Gen 14:19) 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 3:13) by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, (Matt 1:18) and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, (John 19:16) 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 2:17) 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 2:38) 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)

Eucharistic Prayers:

Priest: Lift up your hearts.

People: We lift them up to the Lord. (Lam 3:41)

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)

Preface acclamation:

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)

Eucharistic prayer:

[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 10:17-18) 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 11:36)

Communion Rite:

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)

Communion:

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.]

Dismissal:

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 7:50) 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.]

People: Thanks be to God. (2 Cor 9:15)

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Acts 2:42

Acts 2:42
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.


There was a time, when I was just getting "soft" on Catholicism, when my mom asked, "Is the Catholic Church the church in Acts 2:42?" At the time, I really didn't know. I was just beginning to set aside my misconceptions about the Church so I could learn what they actually teach instead of what I'd been led to believe my whole life. This question, of course, nagged at me for quite some time.

Is the Catholic Church the church in Acts 2:42?

Well, let's take a look...

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship...

For one, it's interesting to point out that this does not say they devoted themselves to Scripture. The apostles at this time weren't necessarily writing down everything they were teaching. They didn't say, "Hey, you can't believe this until it's written in Scripture!" The passed on the teachings orally and the early church devoted themselves to these oral teachings. Today, the Catholic Church devotes themselves to Scripture AND Tradition (the teachings passed on by the apostles')... the word of God comes to us through both means. We see this in other passages like 2 Thess 2:15 where it says, "So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter."

One cannot sit through Mass and not hear the word of God throughout! The entire Mass is a prayer of thanksgiving! More Scripture is read in Mass than in any other church I've attended... In fact, the entire Mass is based in Scripture. How could anyone say we're not devoting ourselves to the apostles' teachings? They simply cannot!

Fellowship is an association of people who share common beliefs or activities. Catholics gather together every day of the week throughout the entire world. There isn't a time when a Mass is not being said. It's like one continuous prayer making it's way to heaven without ceasing. This was prophesied in Malachi 1:11: "My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations," says the LORD Almighty." At the time this was written, God's name was not great among the nations. What other church today has incense and a pure offering (the representation of Christ's sacrifice) in EVERY place, from the rising to the setting of the sun?

...to the breaking of bread...

Every Mass includes the breaking of bread! Holy Communion is offered at every Mass throughout the world. Malachi 1:11 also applies here. This is the pure offering as we continuously remember Christ's sacrifice... It isn't once a month or once a week on a Wednesday... It's EVERY day throughout the entire world! We're definitely not leaving out the breaking of bread in Acts 2:42!

...and to prayer.

The Mass IS a prayer. And within that prayer we say more prayers! Prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of repentance, prayers of praise, prayers of song!

Growing up, I'd have a symbol only communion once a month or so. We'd usually have an opening prayer and a closing prayer for each service. We'd sing a few songs and then a pastor would discuss a topic, read a few verses and give us his interpretation of them, which I generally accepted without question. But how could I know that his interpretation was correct? or that it matched what was taught by the apostles and the earliest of Christians? I often wonder why it never occurred to me to find out if what I was being taught was historically understood the same way.

So, is the Catholic Church the church of Acts 2:42? Without a doubt! In fact, it fits this description more fully than any other. I am so thankful to be Catholic!

Thank you, Jesus, for bringing me into the church of Acts 2:42 in all it's fullness! Amen.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

Catholic Answers recently released a special report entitled, “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing”. It details modern dissenters within the Church... those who have an agenda that is contradictory to the teachings of the Catholic Church and contradictory to what we, as Catholics, are required to uphold. These dissenters promote various ideas that are breaking down the core of theology and morality within the Catholic faith: same-sex marriage, “alternative” lifestyles, pro-abortion, contraception, divorce, the ordination of women, and married priests, just to name a few. Dissenters pose a serious threat to the Church and to the souls who trust that they are receiving sound and orthodox teaching from those in authoritative positions.
Because of these dissenters, it is absolutely essential that Catholics arm themselves with the truth about Catholic teaching and continue to fight against the heresy and false teaching that is creeping up within our own parishes.

In my parish, you ask?

Indeed.

This is a difficult thing to write about but it's also necessary. Sometimes, doing what is right is not the popular thing to do and it often comes with a price to pay in one way or another. But, we've all seen how these things work. First, you allow contraception, then it's abortion for extreme cases, then it's abortion at will, which then leads to euthanasia of babies born with disabilities. You see the progression here? When we make allowances for the seemingly little things, they eventually turn into big things. Before you know it, the value of the truth of life's sanctity is being questioned all over the globe and the fight to keep things right becomes overwhelming.

It is the same way with any good vs. evil, or truth vs. falsehood. As Catholics, we have a right to attend a Mass that is done properly... a good, orthodox, and valid Mass. We have a right to experience the Sacraments the way the Church intends for us to experience them. Catholicism IS the fullness of truth! But, what happens when we allow people from within to decide what's important and what isn't? What happens when we allow those teaching others within the Church to teach things contrary to what the Church teaches? And what happens when we believe these things and carry them out to others, teaching others the wrong we've been taught? Before we know it, the fight to keep things right becomes overwhelming.

I'm not going to go so far as to say that all these people teach error knowing they're doing so. Some are just sincerely wrong. The problem comes when they believe they are above correction... when pride does not allow them to see the error they promote and their hearts are unwilling to change. Having a degree and a few letters after your name does not make you infallible or above correction. We, as humans, are always growing, always learning and always changing. I, for example, never thought in a million years I'd convert to Catholicism. Why? Because my pride did not allow me to see that Catholicism was a fuller truth than what I already knew. Once pride got out of the way, and I realized God had something to show me, I was able to really let the truth sink in.

This brings me to the point. This fall, while attending RCIA, the RCIA Director taught the class that the Bible is inspired but that it contains error. This statement troubled me because I was ALWAYS taught, and believed that the Catholic Church taught, that the Bible is inerrant. In fact, this statement bothered me for months. At first I thought, "Well, maybe she didn't mean to say it that way..." But I thought that even if she didn't mean it that way, that's how it was taught. At this point, I began to look into what the Church actually teaches about the inerrancy of Scripture. To my relief, the Church teaches that ALL of Scripture is inerrant. So, now it was just a matter of discussing it with the director.

So, we were all given evaluations to fill out at the end of the RCIA year and I decided this would be a good time to bring up my issue with the director's statement. Unlike most evaluations, we were asked to identify ourselves (but not until the end of the evaluation). How can one feel good about being honest when they're required to say who they are? Anyway, a couple of weeks later, I received a call from the DRE. She informed me that I do not understand Catholic teaching about Scripture and requested to meet with me about the issue. She emphatically stated, "There ARE errors in Scripture." I figured I should probably agree to meet with her to figure out exactly what her position was on the matter. Perhaps, I was just not understanding what she meant. But, I also decided that I had better look further into the issue and learn about the actual Catholic position regarding the inerrancy of Scripture.

Through my study, I found that the Catholic Church throughout history has ALWAYS taught that Scripture, being authored by God, is fully and entirely without error:

St. Irenaeus in Against Heresies said, "If, however, we cannot discover explanations of all those things in Scripture which are made the subject of investigation, yet let us not on that account seek after any other God besides Him who really exists. For this is the very greatest impiety. We should leave things of that nature to God Who created us, being most properly assured that the Scriptures are indeed perfect, since they were spoken by the Word of God and His Spirit."

St. Clement of Rome in Letter to the Corinthians said, "You have studied the Holy Scriptures, which are true and inspired by the Holy Spirit. You know that nothing contrary to justice or truth has been written in them."

St. Justin Martyr in Dialogue with Trypho said, "But I shall not venture to suppose or to say such a thing [that the Scriptures err]; and if a Scripture which appears to be of such a kind be brought forward, and if there be a pretext [for saying] that it is contrary [to some other] since I am entirely convinced that no Scripture contradicts another, I shall admit rather that I do not understand what is recorded, and shall strive to persuade those who imagine that the Scriptures are contradictory, to be rather of the same opinion as myself."

St. Augustine in Letters said, "[To Jerome, a. 394-395] I think it is extremely dangerous to admit that anything in the Sacred Books should be a lie... If we once admit in that supreme authority even one polite lie, there will be nothing left of those books, because, whenever anyone finds something difficult to practice or hard to believe, he will follow his most dangerous precedent and explain it as the idea or practice of a lying author."

St. Augustine to St. Jerome said, “On my own part I confess...that it is only to those books of Scripture which are now called canonical that I have learned to pay such honor and reverence as to believe most firmly that none of their writers has fallen into any error. And if in these books I meet anything which seems contrary to truth I shall not hesitate to conclude either that the text is faulty or that the translator has not expressed the meaning of the passage, or that I myself do not understand.”

I think these five quotes alone should rest my case but I want to look further because the argument being made against the inerrancy of Scripture will become a grossly obvious misinterpretation of Church documents if one can see and understand the historical position of the Church.

Providentissimus Deus by Pope Leo XIII, written in 1893:
“It is absolutely wrong and forbidden either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture or to admit that the sacred writer has erred. For the system of those who, in order to rid themselves of those difficulties, do not hesitate to concede that divine inspiration regards the things of faith and morals, and nothing beyond...this system cannot be tolerated.... It follows that those who maintain that an error is possible in any genuine passage of the sacred writings either pervert the Catholic notion of inspiration or make God the author of such error.... ...all the Fathers and Doctors [of the Church] agreed that the divine writings, as left by the [sacred authors], are free from all error, [and] they labored earnestly, with no less skill than reverence, to reconcile with each other those numerous passages which seem at variance.”

Here we are told that we cannot limit inspiration to certain parts of Scripture and we cannot say that the writer has erred or we make God the author of error.

Divino Afflante Spiritu by Pope Pius XII 1943:
“...not merely because [the books of the canon] contain revelation without error, but because, having been written under the inspiration of the Holy spirit, they have God for their author...When, subsequently, some Catholic writers, in spite of this solemn definition of Catholic doctrine, by which such divine authority is claimed for the ‘entire books with all their parts’ as to secure freedom from any error whatsoever, [when these Catholic writers] ventured to restrict the truth of Sacred Scripture solely to matters of faith and morals...Leo XIII...justly and rightly condemned these errors.... Finally, it is absolutely wrong and forbidden ‘either to narrow inspiration to certain passages of Holy Scripture, or to admit that the sacred writer has erred’.... For as the substantial Word of God [Jesus Christ] became like to men in all things, ‘except sin,’ so the words of God, expressed in human language, are made like to human speech in every respect, except error.”

Here we are told that it is WRONG to believe that inerrancy of Scripture is limited to matters of faith and morals. Apparently, some tried to make this claim and the Church, through Pope Leo XIII, condemned this belief.

Humani Generis by Pope Pius XII in 1950:
“For some go so far as to pervert the sense of the Vatican Council’s definition [this is Vatican Council I] that God is the author of Holy Scripture, and they put forward again the opinion, already often condemned, which asserts that immunity from error extends only to those parts of the Bible that treat of God or of moral and religious matters.”

Again, in 1950, we're told that it is wrong to restrict inerrancy solely to matters of morality or religion... that ALL of Scripture is inerrant.

Vatican Council II, Dei Verbum:
“Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit.... Since, therefore, all that the...sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture, firmly, faithfully and without error, teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the sacred Scriptures. Thus ‘all Scripture is inspired by God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness...” [2 Tim 3:16].”

So, here we have at Vatican II, the same thing happening... So, what's the problem, you ask? Well, I met with the DRE and found her position, despite her degrees and knowledge of Scripture, to be contradictory to Church teaching. Take a look at the part I made bold in the last paragraph... These 6 short words, have somehow permitted the DRE to believe, contrary to the historical teaching of the Church, that the inerrancy of Scripture is limited to matters of salvation (or faith and morals). She believes that Scripture contradicts itself and that the authors erred on matters not pertaining to faith and morals, such as science and history. She claimed that this Vatican II document CHANGED the Church's teaching on the inerrancy of Scripture. In reality, the Church NEVER changes truth and it NEVER changes it's doctrines. It may change disciplines, but it does NOT change doctrine. I believe it is CLEAR that the Catholic Church teaches that ALL of Scripture is inerrant. However, the DRE is teaching this error, based on her interpretation of Dei Verbum, not only to RCIA students, but to the older children in the parish as well.

Despite my efforts to show the DRE the Church's teaching on the matter, she refused to listen to any Church document that came prior to Vatican II. She claimed that I did not bring her a quote from ONE biblical scholar, when what I brought her was better than any biblical scholar: church documents. Scholars are not infallible. The ordinary Magisterium of the Church IS infallible. I asked the DRE to produce one magisterial document that states explicitly that Scripture contains error or that those six words should be interpreted as she's interpreting them. She could not. On the other hand, I had Church documents, the Catholic Encyclopedia, tracts from Catholic Answers and a letter from a well-known apologist, all of which are aware of this out-of-context interpretation of Dei Verbum and all of which state emphatically that ALL of Scripture is inerrant.

Can you imagine all of these children and adults being taught to believe this and spreading this lie as true Catholic teaching? Can you imagine the damage this can cause to believe that God permitted error on the part of the authors in writing His Sacred Word? We cannot allow people to teach this. It must be stopped... and we must pay attention to what those in leadership positions are teaching in our parishes. We must ensure that the Catholic faith is being properly taught. There is NO room for error on this matter.

I will not go so far as to say that the DRE is purposely trying to deceive people. I believe she is teaching what she truly believes to be Church teaching. I believe, if she could look at the evidence fairly, she would stop teaching this. But I believe she is ignoring all the evidence. I believe she does not understand that the Bible is not to be read literally throughout and that what she sees as contradictions are simply a lack of understanding of the author's intent or of the spiritual nature of what is on the page. Regardless of her degrees and credentials, she is simply wrong on this matter. The Bible is not a history or science book. In addition, we are always developing new understandings of Scripture. Our lack of understanding cannot be reduced to passing it off as error.

This whole ordeal has been difficult for me. I have a lot of respect for the DRE and I don't want to be in conflict with anyone. But, as a Catholic, it is my responsibility to demand that truth be taught in the parish, especially to children. If I just let this slide, who knows what kind of heresy this could snowball into? Sadly, there are many who share her position. There ARE scholars who believe and teach as she does. But it is a direct contradiction of Church teaching and it cannot continue. Dissident biblical scholars pose a huge danger to the faith and regardless of the prestige of the scholar, we must always be looking out for false teachings. Some scholars are bold in their attempts to promote their false viewpoints, giving themselves a nihil obstat, which officially declares their work as free from doctrinal or moral error. Raymond E. Brown, S.S., Joseph A. Fitzmeyer, S.J., and Roland E. Murphy, O.Carm, did just that in their widely used New Jerome Biblical Commentary (Catholic Answers, Beginning Apologetics 7:How to Read the Bible, page 33). In fact, these scholars are guilty of promoting the very interpretation of Dei Verbum that the DRE holds. I only wonder if these were the scholars she wanted me to quote that permitted her to dismiss me because I failed to do so.

Unfortunately, I was unable to convince the DRE of the Church's teaching on the inerrancy of Scripture. May the Lord grant her the grace to change her opinion and may He protect the ears of any who may hear her teach this in the future.
For anyone wishing to read about the "so-called" errors in the Bible, try to find a copy of John W. Haley's Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 1992).

In the meantime, keep a watchful eye for those dissenting against Church teaching and don't just sit back and let it happen. Speak up until it stops! You ARE the Church! You and your children have a right to hear the truth!

The Code of Canon Law states:
Canon 217: Since they are called by baptism to lead a life in keeping with the teaching of the gospel, the Christian faithful have the right to a Christian education by which they are to be instructed properly to strive for the maturity of the human person and at the same time to know and live the mystery of salvation. (emphasis mine)

Canon 229 (paragraph 1): Lay persons are bound by the obligation and posses the right to acquire knowledge of Christian doctrine appropriate to the capacity and condition of each in order for them to be able to live according to this doctrine, announce it themselves, defend it if necessary, and take their part in exercising the apostolate. (emphasis mine)

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bible alone?

In order to find truth,
one must be open to find it...
wherever that may be.


I reached a point where I began to question what was TRUE. Of course, I knew that I had "some" truth but certain things were just not adding up. It was not until I truly opened my heart, that I was able to see the complete truth that God was calling me to see.

One of those things that didn't add up was the idea that the Bible was the "sole rule of faith". Many Protestants, when asked, "What is the pillar of truth?" will reply, "The Bible!"

But the Bible says:

1 Timothy 3:14-15 (NIV)
Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.


The church is the pillar of truth... and if the church is the pillar of truth, aren't Catholics correct when they look to the church for the authority to interpret Scripture? The Bible itself does not make a claim to be the sole rule of faith but it DOES state that the church is the "pillar and foundation of truth".

Christ clearly established a visible Church... but that's for another post!

What I want to talk about is "sola scriptura".

Protestants often argue that the Bible claims to be the sole rule of faith in the following passage:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.


This passage indicates that Scripture is useful... It does not say that Scripture is enough, plenty, or all that is needed... This passage also does not say Scripture "alone". Look at the verse before: 2 Timothy 3:15 (and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus). Since the New Testament did not exist at this time, this was referencing the Old Testament. If we are to use the Protestant interpretation of 2 Timothy 3:16-17, then we might be able to assume that the OT "alone" was to be used as the sole rule of faith. Neither Protestants nor Catholics would agree with that idea! But we CAN agree that the OT is useful, just as the Scripture reads...

The following is another verse often used to "prove" sola scriptura:

John 20:30-31 (NIV)
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.


The problem here is that "this book" refers to the book of John. But would anyone agree that the book of John alone is sufficient? Plus, this passage indicates that it will help us to believe, not that it is necessary in order to believe.

If the Bible was the sole rule of faith, what did early Christians do before the Bible existed?

They passed along traditions! Christ did not condemn ALL traditions... just the traditions of men... but clearly, we were to "stand firm and hold" to some traditions!

2 Thess 2:15 (NAS)
So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

2 Timothy 2:2 (NAS)
The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

1 Corinthians 11:2 (NAS)
Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.


These apostolic teachings (or traditions) have been passed down for 2000 years in the Catholic Church... This means that instead of the Bible as the sole rule of faith, Catholics believe that the Word of God is the sole rule of faith.

Another question that came to mind is: If the Bible is the sole rule of faith and the 25,000+ Protestant, Bible-only denominations all claim to be guided by the Holy Spirit in their interpretation of the Bible, how is it that the Holy Spirit is contradicting Himself? The Holy Spirit cannot contradict Himself.

The Catholic Church has not changed on issues of faith or morals in 2000 years... They hold to the teachings of the apostles... My heart was open and I found the Church that Christ established, the pillar of truth. The Word of God is now my sole rule of faith... this does not disregard the Scriptures but makes the Scriptures come alive in my life so that I can experience the fullness of faith that Christ intended for all Christians. And I've found the unity in the body of Christ that I was seeking

Ephesians 4:4-6 (NIV)
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called- one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

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