Part Two of Protestant Protests Rebutted (Chapters 22-40)
+ + + 22. Catholic Dogmas Never Change + + +
= Point #22
You said, “But I do want to suggest one more item. That is that the Catholic church has changed its policies, beliefs and rituals considerably over a long period of time. Starting about 300 A.D. with prayers for the dead to 1965 A.D. with Mary proclaimed mother of the church, there are 26 new things introduced and some of them are quite serious in nature…” [2nd email of ‘Joy Given’ to Paul Doughton on 16 October 2008]
Depending on what you mean by the word ‘policies’, I might be able to agree on that issue. The leaders of the Catholic Church have, in response to changing circumstances, sometimes altered their political or social policies, or adapted disciplinary laws to meet various situations. For instance, the very first Catholics allowed priests to be married since there were not yet enough Catholic men who had chosen, from earliest youth, to remain unmarried. Hence, to have enough priests, the Church of the first century or two permitted married men to enter the priesthood, provided the man had no more than one wife (multiple wives were still common at that point in time, but in no way the dominant norm). However, by later centuries the need for such men had passed. There were plenty of young men who had freely chosen to forego wives. And the unmarried man being far less burdened with worldly concerns (like how to please his wife, how to provide for his children, and etc., etc.), then it made fantastic sense to require all priests to be chaste, voluntarily relinquishing any aim for married life. This is how it’s been in the western part of the Catholic Church for a millennium and a half; the eastern part of the Catholic Church continued to permit married priests in small numbers whilst requiring their bishops, without exception, to be unmarried.
As well, I can agree partially that rituals in the Catholic Church have changed. Partly, in the sense that certain rituals have grown since ancient times. For example, the Holy Mass was shorter and not as complicated in earliest centuries. Notwithstanding, the changes to the Holy Mass are magnifications & elucidations, not diminutions & contradictions. That is to say, what has changed in the Mass are holy & reverent additions that bring out even more clearly what the Mass has always been about --- not something opposed to what Catholics before knew the Mass to be, or subtractions from what the Mass once was in earlier days. In other words, Catholics have always known the Mass to be the Sacrifice of God’s Word on the Cross represented (i.e., re-presented, as in presented again) in His Eucharistic Flesh & Blood, and the prayers of the Mass have always reflected this knowledge. A specific example is the Last Gospel read toward the end of every Mass in the Catholic Church of the west. In the first millennium Catholics did not do this gospel reading. During the first half of the 2nd millennium, though, the Pope began to require it at the close of every Mass in the western half of the Church, thus reminding Catholics of how the focus of the Mass is Jesus Christ, Who is God’s Word Incarnate, and Who they, as Catholics in good standing (not prevented by mortal sin, or so forth), not only have the privilege but the obligation to receive in the Eucharist, which is the Flesh & Blood of Jesus under the humble & unbloody appearance of bread & wine. Other rituals have grown in similar ways, here-and-there through the years.
Nevertheless, when it comes to beliefs, I must firmly correct you. Because, no, Catholics have neither ‘changed’ old beliefs nor ‘introduced’ new beliefs in contradiction to what was taught & believed previously. It’s easy to see why Protestants assert this fallacy, though. They hear that the Catholic Church defined such-and-such a dogma in such-and-such a year, and then presume, without knowing any better, that this dogma only came about --- and was thus originated --- in that year, no Catholic believing in it beforehand. Or they find out that a new word was coined to describe something, and then presume, without knowing any better, that this new word stands for a new belief that Catholics never before knew about or upheld.
These assumptions are wrong. We have rebutted them already in Point #10 of this email, but let us go into more detail here --- even repeating ourselves to an extent --- so as to clear up any misconceptions or biases that may remain in your mind.
As to the latter assumption first, that a new word means a new belief, we examine a term familiar to most Protestants. To wit, ‘Trinity’. This word stands for the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church that our Creator is One God in Three Persons. It was coined by the end of the second century, and later invoked by the beginning of the fourth century in opposition to Arian heresy, which heresy claimed that Jesus was not truly as much God (or always God) as He was human. Nevertheless, does this mean that Christians prior to the fourth century --- or prior to the end of the second century --- didn’t believe in the Trinity, that God was Three in One?
Well-educated & thoughtful Protestants would never pretend so. They say they find the Trinity taught in the Bible, which is their sole or highest authority (most of them will insist) for their religious beliefs. Hence, how could earliest Christians have not believed in the Trinity when, as Protestants like to think, the Trinity is supported by the Bible? Did not earliest Christians read their bibles? Did they not believe what Sacred Scripture says? Ergo, conclude such Protestants, ancient Christians always held belief in the Trinity, and even if the word itself did not exist prior to the end of the 2nd century or become common until the AD 300s. The term ‘Trinity’ merely expressed this ancient & perpetual belief in a more convenient way.
Likewise the term ‘transubstantiation’. Clever Protestants love to say that Catholics didn’t believe in transubstantiation just because it was never officially & infallibly affirmed as Catholic terminology until AD 1215. Yet a simple but thorough reading of thousands of pages of ancient Christian writings from the first millennium --- from century one to century ten --- reveals that this was not so. All ‘transubstantiation’ means is that the bread & wine during Mass becomes, most literally, the Eucharistic Flesh & Blood of Jesus after the priest consecrates them with the proper prayers. And Christian writings of the first millennium, from start to finish, constantly demonstrate their unwavering belief that transubstantiation occurred during Mass… and regardless of the Catholic Church not officially using this word until the AD 1200s!
It’s just like the Trinity. Same principle, same situation. Words change & originate; the perpetual teachings that these words describe do not.
Which brings us to the initial assumption. Namely, that Catholics don’t believe in a dogmatic definition prior to the infallible definition of that dogma. And again, the furor over transubstantiation demonstrates our point most excellently. Christian writings from the 1st century until AD 1215 show that Catholics always believed in transubstantiation. It was not something new in the thirteenth century. However, what was new is the fact that a lot of Catholics began to doubt transubstantiation near the beginning of the 2nd millennium. This unbelief became so rampant by the turn of the thirteenth century that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church could not refuse to act in a sweeping manner without being guilty of negligence. They had to protect even more Catholics from falling out of the Catholic Church by being infected with these doubts. And since many doubts about religion are the result of unclear teaching in some matter, then the hierarchy acted at the 4th Lateran Council to squelch these doubts with unambiguous terminology. To wit, they seized upon the word, ‘transubstantiation’, which had been used by theologians for some time to describe what happens during consecration of the bread & wine at Mass, and pressed it into official service to uphold the perpetual teaching that Jesus’ Flesh & Blood are really and truly present under the mere appearance of bread & wine after they have been consecrated by the priest. No new teaching arose, simply a new word to describe an old teaching.
No new teaching arose --- simply a new word to describe an old teaching.
This is often the case in the history of the Catholic Church since there is usually no need to infallibly define something unless that something is first doubted or disbelieved. As long as Catholics are doctrinally undisturbed, the urgency is not there. Commonly held teaching & belief from the beginning is sufficient. Up pops a new heresy, though --- or the spread of old heresy that was never very popular at first --- and you have a different situation. The leaders of the Church must act. They must defend the perpetual & unchanging Faith.
This is exactly what happened with the Arian heresy, too. Christians had always believed that the Creator was One God in Three Divine Persons. There was no need, prior to the 4th century, to officially define this belief with greater precision, or to infallibly condemn heresies that claimed the contrary. Only after Arianism arose and became popular in the early AD 300s, with the consequent loss of untold numbers of formerly Catholic souls to the damnation of Hell, did an infallible definition & condemnation become necessary. It was at this point that the word ‘Trinity’ then became prevalent, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church pressing it into official service to banish Arian confusion and defend orthodoxy.
Therefore, my dear soul, without going into excruciating & lengthy detail here about all of the other dogmas you threw out in your email as examples of supposedly new dogmas being innovated within the Catholic Church over the centuries, you can see how your reasoning is askew. You presume to be, out of thin air, what is not actually the case.
Yet, of course, this still ignores the obvious. Because what about you and your ‘born again christianity’? You merely tarred Catholicism with the accusation of ‘changing dogmas’ in response to me pointing out a cold, hard, historical fact. Accordingly, that Protestants --- and even ‘born again’ adherents in the last several decades --- have changed & morphed their beliefs continuously since they started with Martin Luther’s Rebellion in 1517. Thus, your charge against Catholicism was a kind of ‘tit for tat’.
Nonetheless, the original observation remains. What about you? How can you trust in a religion that changes from decade to decade, or from continent to continent, or from individual to individual? Even were you to refuse to back down from your accusation against Catholic dogma, this does absolutely nothing to solve the very real & critical problem of constant Protestant fragmentation & evolution over what is necessary to believe & obey in order to save one’s immortal soul.
Again and again, my poor dear soul, it comes down to the need for infallibility. God cannot rightly or reasonably require from men the necessity to believe dogmas unless there is utter certainty without any possibility of doubt regarding these beliefs. Because popular opinions change over the years. People differ within their own communities and across continents around the world. Men are often confused & blind. They are mistaken. Human beings decide to rebel and resist that which before was accepted & upheld.
So how are we to survive these upheavals & shifts? How are we to defend ourselves from changing fads & fashions, or against the rebellions & arguments of rabblerousing souls? How are we to preserve certainty about the truth necessary to save our souls? Plainly, so-called ‘christians’ differ from one another about what is important and what is true.
How are we to tell who is right?
The Bible alone cannot do it. If it could, then Protestants would never have fragmented all over the place during a few short centuries. Evangelics would not argue with each other about what is truly necessary to believe or do so as to go to Heaven. ‘Born again’ adherents would not separate over matters of ‘style of worship’ or ‘pastoral approach’, knowing instead, from their bibles, what is really important and what is not, and what is worth separating over and what is not… not to mention what is the best way to worship & the right way to pastor, and what is not. Even more tellingly, they would never go on calling these separated peers ‘fellow christians’ when, in fact, there is no real unity between the various sides on anything other than, perhaps, their ‘sinner’s prayer theology’.
This is the real issue, my dear ‘Joy Given’: the failure of Protestantism to provide perpetual & consistent assurance about the divine means of salvation since the AD 1500s. No real form of your religion existed prior to 1517. Hence, how can you stake the fate of your immortal soul on the shifting tenets & practices of people who can’t even agree, during a mere five hundred years, on what is necessary to believe & do in order to be saved? All the while you call such contradictory persons your fellow ‘christians’!
Do you perceive the quicksand underneath your feet?
+ + + 23. The
= Point #23
You said, “My closing request of you would be this: would you please attempt to convince me through only the teachings of Christ that your church is the only church and that all your beliefs, rituals and laws are what Christ taught while on this earth. I do not find them in the scripture. I do not find them in the apostles’ teachings either. Isn’t it strange to you that Christ never spoke of all these things…” [2nd email of ‘Joy Given’ to Paul Doughton on 16 October 2008]
My dear soul, that is what --- to a great extent --- The Epistemologic Works website is all about:
Showing Evangelic Protestants, from their own bibles, that the Catholic Faith is the One True Religion commanded by God. And, of course, this naturally includes lots of quotes from or passages about Jesus in the Gospels.
But what you really want, were you to know yourself well enough or to be honest about it, is for Jesus somewhere in the Gospels to come straight out in contemporary religious terms and explicitly say:
“The Roman Catholic Church is the only religion in which a man can save his soul. The rightful Bishop of Rome is to be its leader. He is infallible regarding matters of faith & morals. I myself have decreed that it is so, and I guarantee, by my divine power, that it shall be so. Let there be no doubts or quarrels. All that the Catholic Church teaches --- which is my Body --- through the supreme & infallible authority of the Pope is what I teach, too. Believe Catholicism down through the centuries until I return, or else be damned forever.”
This is what you really want. Nay, what you implicitly demand. Thus, you know very well that you risk nothing by making your “closing request” --- your demand will not be met since Jesus did not anywhere in the Gospels say what I have quoted above to illustrate your stance.
And this does not even begin to address the hidden assumption in your request. Viz., that the Bible is the sole or highest authority for the religious beliefs of anyone calling himself a ‘christian’. An assumption that is, ironically and devastatingly enough, not even upheld by the Bible itself! Ergo, how can anyone claim to believe in ‘scripture alone’ while, at the same time, Sacred Scripture doesn’t say to believe in nothing except the Bible?
Yet I have already addressed how ‘born again christianity’ denies plain good sense when it comes to the Bible in Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus in the B&A section of the website, chapters 37 to 42, as well as in chapters 3b & 9g of The Dogma of Baptism Upheld & the Lie of ‘Faith Alone’ Cast Down in the same section. I have also addressed the inability of the Bible all by itself to give any man assurance of knowing the necessary truth in Point #1 of this email, and in the L&A section with Regarding the Bible, Infallibility & the Church.
The bottom line is, no one has to ‘prove’ Catholicism from the Bible to prove that Catholicism is the One True Religion of God Almighty. It is neither sensible nor fair to demand that it be so. It’s like demanding that the Bible prove nuclear physics to believe that nuclear physics is an accurate description of how things operate in our world at a level too small to be directly seen. After all, isn’t God the Maker of All That Exists? Didn’t He form the rules & operations of things at a level too small to be seen directly? Then shouldn’t the Bible, which is His sole or highest way of speaking to us (say Evangelics) --- and which is never wrong, being inerrant --- say something that is significant about nuclear physics, the very foundation of our physical existence?
Yet if this seems silly to you, my dear soul --- the Bible not being, and never intended by God to be, a systematic textbook on nuclear physics or for religious teaching --- then you have a glimpse of how unreasonable is your implied demand that Jesus be thoroughly explicit in the Gospels, in more recent religious terms, about the Roman Catholic Church. Because He says plenty about Roman Catholic dogmas without necessarily using the terminology that is current today or being perfectly explicit! The crucial thing is what He was actually talking about, not the particular words that He used to say it.
For instance, does Jesus anywhere explicitly talk about the Trinity? No, He doesn’t. The word ‘Trinity’ is not in His vocabulary as recorded for us to read in the canonical Gospels of Sacred Scripture. Nevertheless, does Jesus mention His Father in Heaven as being God, or the Spirit in similar fashion, and does He make it unmistakable, however indirectly, that He Himself is God? Yes, He does. Consequently, the Trinity is neither contradicted nor left unmentioned by Jesus. It is what He was actually talking about that matters when it comes to the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity, not the particular words that He used in saying it… and most well-studied Protestants know this to be true.
It is an identical matter in discussing other dogmas of the Catholic Church. Please keep a close eye on The Epistemologic Works in the years ahead. You will see, Heaven willing, many other writings using Sacred Scripture to uphold Catholic teaching as time goes by. Meanwhile, look at what is already there, especially Catholic Ritual Defended and The Dogma of Baptism Upheld. That is a taste of what is to come, in the sense that I will post many things using the verses of Sacred Scripture & plain simple sense to demonstrate that Roman Catholicism is not only compatible with the Bible, but that it is the only thing, ultimately, that is fully compatible with the Bible, hands down, case closed.
Lastly, and in some ways most critically, it is a foolish notion to presume that the Bible is the sole means which God uses to communicate to men the things they need to know & believe in order to save their souls. The Bible nowhere says that this is so. In fact, the sensible man, looking closely at the Bible and thinking it through carefully, can see that it necessarily must be the case that God uses more than just the Bible to speak to us. Easy to understand proof for this assertion is found in my book, Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, from chapters 34 to 69. Please read it through thoroughly & assiduously. I don’t need to repeat myself here.
‘Born again christianity’ itself is evidence that Jesus does not need to address everything explicitly using current ways of saying things (‘terminology’) in order for us to conclude that something is true. Were this not the reality, then there would be no need for ‘born again’ adherents to have preachers, books, tapes, television, websites & all the other stuff they use to spread their religion. The Bible itself would be enough. A man could, in the middle of Antarctica, hypothetically find a bible lying in the snow --- having been raised by atheists who never uttered a word to him about Protestantism or other religions, and having never met anyone else other than similarly tight-lipped atheists --- read it fully, and become ‘born again’ just like you, talking the same way, acting the same way, and believing everything that you do.
But this is not the reality. People become ‘born again christians’ because other ‘born again christians’ talk to them, preach to them, instruct them, befriend them, or otherwise let them know what it is that a ‘born again christian’ must believe & do so as to ‘save’ his soul. This is why, despite the wide variety of ‘christians’ out there, they all tend to talk alike and act alike in many ways --- because they interact with each other, reinforcing each other’s sentiments or behaviour. As a result, ‘born again christians’ themselves believe & do many, many things that are not spoken of explicitly, or at all, in the Bible, which they pass on to one another through word & example. Things that are, quite bluntly, manmade traditions. Which leads us to observe:
Just because the Bible doesn’t explicitly say something, doesn’t mean it isn’t so.
Just because the Bible doesn’t explicitly mention something, doesn’t mean that it isn’t surely the truth and even sometimes necessary to know to save your soul!
After all, did not the Beloved Disciple say in his Gospel that Jesus did lots of other things which are not written down for us to read?
“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book… And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” (John 20:30, 21:25 KJV)
And are we to suppose out of thin air --- based on the fallible assurances of ‘born again christians’ like yourself --- that real Christians never bothered to remember any of these things that weren’t written down for the Bible or elsewhere early on, or that none of these “many other signs” and “many other things” are important to know & believe?
The Bible certainly doesn’t say that this is so!
Please be humble & honest, my dear soul. Because ‘born again christianity’ is itself evidence of the truth that there is more to believe than merely what is found explicitly stated in the Bible. For what do ‘born again christians’ usually insist? Right… that it is the Bible alone upon which they are to depend for religious instruction & authority. Yet does the Bible anywhere explicitly say that this is so? No, it does not. Therefore, it is a tradition to which ‘born again christians’ adhere that causes them to teach this!
Self-styled ‘born again christians’ rely on a tradition to believe that it is ‘scripture alone’ upon which they are to depend for their religious beliefs!
End of sentence.
Their ‘scripture alone’ belief is a heresy. Nevertheless, inasmuch as they believe in it, then how can they condemn believing in something not found in the Bible when they themselves believe in something crucial to their religion that is not found explicitly said in their bibles… namely, that the Bible alone is their sole or highest religious authority, knowledge of the contents of which permits them, think they, to save their souls?
Do you understand?
Evangelic Protestants cannot uphold ‘scripture alone’ and trash other ways of God speaking to us --- like Sacred Tradition --- without shooting themselves in the foot and revealing themselves to be either fools or hypocrites or both. They have nothing to stand upon. They do not practice what they preach. So how can you reasonably & justly expect me to meet a standard that you yourself do not --- and cannot --- keep?
My poor dear ‘Joy Given’, I very properly use only three things over & over again to defend the Catholic Faith against ‘born again christian’ lies:
One, simple good sense.
Two, the testimony of history.
And, three, the precious words of the Bible.
These all by themselves are more than enough to show the good-willed Protestant the truth of Roman Catholicism. If a man will not listen to these things… well, it’s just like what St. Abraham is reported to have said in response to the dead rich man’s request in Christ’s parable in the Gospel:
“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.’ Then he said, ‘I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ Abraham saith unto him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.’ And he said unto him, ‘If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.’” (Luke 16:19-31 KJV)
‘Born again christians’, like almost all men, have the God-given gift of intelligent minds. They also have the testimony of history --- that is to say, the ability to know, by reading their ancient words, what men who are Christians have always said & done since the beginning of Christianity nearly two thousand years ago. And, thanks to Protestants claiming to reverence the words of Sacred Scripture (and even though they don’t actually understand what their bibles say, nor do most of them truly care), men still have till this very day, in the midst of the Great Apostasy when almost no one is really Catholic any more, the words of God Almighty Himself preserved for them to examine if they will only trouble to open their bibles, read with curious minds, and not pretend to know something they cannot know without an infallible authority to explain it to them.
Notwithstanding, the words of the Bible are enough, in many circumstances --- even in Protestant translations --- to prove to such men the falseness of Protestant belief.
There are many examples available, but I needn’t repeat myself here. You can read my many other writings on the website thus far to see that I do not boast idly. Furthermore, you can patiently await more of my writings to be posted on the website in coming years to see that my words are most literally true --- that Catholicism drips from every single page of Sacred Scripture, even from the pages of poorly translated Protestant bibles. It was, in fact, as I have said before, the pages of a New International Version (NIV) bible that began my conversion to Catholicism some twelve years ago. What’s more, and as I noted in Point #10 already, Philippians 2:12 & James 2:24 demonstrate this reality. They clearly contradict Protestant teaching --- that ‘faith’ all by itself saves men --- yet most ‘born again christians’ scarcely take notice. The words of the Bible do not really matter to them, just as the words of St. Moses & the Prophets did not really matter to the dead rich man’s five brothers. And if these things are not enough… the precious words of Sacred Scripture, the testimony of history about what our forefathers taught & believed from the very beginning with Jesus & His Apostles, not to mention simple good sense that readily exposes the self-contradictions & inherent flaws of ‘born again’ teaching… then were a dead family member to appear to ‘born again christians’ and preach to them Catholicism, they still would not change their minds.
Or, as the case may be, were Jesus Himself to have been recorded as saying what I hypothetically quoted Him as saying at the start of this Point about Catholicism being the Only True Religion, it would do nothing to change the minds of ‘born again christians’. They would simply find some other way to explain away and discount God’s plain & simple words --- and just as they already do with, for instance, His plain, simple & very, very Catholic words in both Philippians 2:12 & James 2:24 about ‘faith alone’ not saving a man, but always in conjunction with a man’s works, too!
But what Jesus & the Apostles actually said is sufficient. What the Bible truly testifies is more than adequate. What the Church of the Bible --- Roman Catholicism --- infallibly declares is plenty enough to convince the good-willed man of minimal intelligence, who is willing to admit his fallibility and place his religious prejudices to the side.
There is no real need for anything greater, nor would it suffice to change the minds of men who are obstinately unwilling to change.
Because men tend to believe what they want to believe is true, and not what is true regardless of what they want to believe.
+ + + 24. Trampling the Word of God + + +
= Point #24
You said, “I have not been able to rid my heart of the great sorrow that I feel for you in that you have chosen to not honor the word of God as the word of God.” [3rd email of ‘Joy Given’ to Paul Doughton on 6 November 2008]
This has already been extremely well-addressed. I honor most highly the Word of God, Who is Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Incarnate Son of God & God Almighty Himself from All Eternity. See the book, Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, chapters 35 to 42 to find the evidence for this. I also honor the written Word of God, which is Sacred Scripture and only ‘sacred’ because it comes from God, Who is its Divine Author. Look at chapters 35 to 69 to see this demonstrated conclusively. And, not least of all, I honor the remembered Word of God, which is Sacred Tradition. Again, look at all of chapters 35 to 69 of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus to find this demonstrated both overwhelmingly & conclusively.
My dear ‘Joy Given’, it is you, as a Protestant or ‘born again’ adherent, that fails to honor the Word of God. You fail to heed what Jesus teaches us infallibly through His Body, the Roman Catholic Church, which is the Pillar & Ground of the Truth. (1 Timothy 3:15-16) You rely on a fallacious manmade tradition to uphold your heresy of ‘scripture alone’, which, sadly enough, opposes Sacred Scripture by pretending to rest upon the Bible, when, in fact, the Bible nowhere says that it is to be ‘scripture alone’ that a man should depend upon. And you trash Sacred Scripture by ignoring all of the verses & their plain, literal meanings that do not comport with your religious falsehoods --- such as the ‘scripture alone’ heresy, the ‘faith alone’ lie, and etc., etc.
But, again, this has already been extremely well-addressed by me elsewhere. The many verses that you quoted in your third email just prior to the quote above at the start of this part of my email, Point #24, intended by you to support your ‘scripture alone’ heresy, are red herrings. None of them plainly, literally & explicitly says that it is to be ‘scripture alone’ upon which a man is to rely to the exclusion of everything else. Moreover, you ignore the very simple problem, noted in Point #1 of this email, that the Bible has many passages that are “hard to be understood,” as St. Peter inerrantly remarks in 2 Peter 3:16. (KJV) Passages that those who are “unlearned and unstable” distort “unto their own destruction.”
How can a man avoid miscomprehending these difficult passages --- and thus Hell itself as God’s just punishment --- unless he has an authoritative guide from God to infallibly interpret them for us according to God’s intended meaning?
You would have me rely upon you as if you’re infallible, incapable of misinterpreting Sacred Scripture. That I will not do. And yet, indubitably, you deny the infallibility of a rightful pope and even though a pope never claims to be never wrong about anything religious… only that, when he teaches the Church as a whole, he is prevented by the Spirit of Truth --- the Third Person of God --- from teaching dogmatic or moral falsehoods.
Dear soul, do you espy your unfounded prejudice & outright hypocrisy in this matter?
+ + + 25. I Choose to Bear the Yoke of Christ + + +
= Point #25
You said, “I pray that you will grow very weary of the bondage that you have willingly placed yourself within…” [3rd email of ‘Joy Given’ to Paul Doughton on 6 November 2008]
As I said to my parents a couple of years ago:
“You claim, dear parents, that Roman Catholicism is ‘bondage’. I tell you it is not so, having stood on both your side of things and now upon the Roman Catholic side. I thus speak out of intimate knowledge. Rather, the man who looks into the Catholic Faith and obeys it is, in the divinely inspired words of the Apostle James, like he who ‘...looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.’ (James 1:25 KJV)” [The Dogma of Baptism Upheld & the Lie of ‘Faith Alone’ Cast Down, chapter 3b]
The Roman Catholic Religion is God’s “perfect law of liberty,” which, if a man faithfully professes & follows till the end of his life, will cause him to be “blessed in his deed.” (James 1:25 KJV)
And as Jesus said:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 KJV)
The point is, these words from Jesus about the yoke His followers bear is not an argument for ‘born again christianity’ like you would prefer to think, my dear soul. This is because ‘born again christians’ love to tout how ‘easy’ their religion is, how your imaginary ‘jesus’ does everything for you. But if this is what Jesus intended to say in the quote above, then He should have said:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. For I have no yoke to place upon you, and all you have to do is trust in me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Because I have no yoke to place upon your shoulders and there is no burden in following me.” (Matthew 11:28-30 MBBAV --- ‘Make-Believe Born Again Version’)
Yet this is not what He said, is it? Jesus did not announce that following Him involves no burden or no yoke, only that His yoke is easy and that His burden is light. In other words, Jesus never promises to do everything for a man. Rather, He promises to make his good follower’s yoke easy and his burden light --- easy enough and light enough that His follower can successfully carry the yoke & burden that is his to carry.
This is a big difference from ‘born again christianity’, which promises their followers that their imaginary ‘jesus’ does everything for them, and that he doesn’t want them to suffer or be in pain at all. When, in fact, any parent who imitated this philosophy in raising children in our fallen world would create little monsters of willfulness & weakness!
Think about it. Does not a good parent know that he cannot keep his children from all suffering in this world? Does he not know that, sometimes, it is best for his child to suffer and bear his tribulation? Is this not the only way, oftentimes, that a man will learn to be strong, or learn to be good, by suffering the trials that come his way patiently & without giving up?
Of course it is. The good parent merely learns to discern how much he ought to do for his child in alleviating his suffering. But --- and this is crucial --- he does not try to take away all of the child’s suffering all of the time. To do so would be to mollycoddle the child, creating a weakling or a wicked brute that thinks everything has to go his way continuously. He would either wilt under trial when grown up, or else throw hideous temper tantrums at the fact that he has to feel pain… or both.
Now, if this is the understanding of a wise & decent parent on earth, then how is it that a Christian’s Father in Heaven doesn’t have this same understanding, but instead would seek to alleviate all of His earthly child’s sufferings on earth all of the time?
How is this wise & decent of God in our world of expiatory pain & suffering?
This is why Jesus did not say that He has no yoke or burden to give to His follower. Because no yoke and no burden would not create the kind of soul that a man must have to be truly Jesus’ follower.
As Jesus also said:
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24b-e KJV)
“And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27 KJV)
And to the obedient but rich man He said:
“One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” (Mark 10:21b-c KJV)
Which is why He said, too:
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple… So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26, 33 KJV)
The gist of it all?
Jesus does indeed give His followers yokes & burdens to bear. This is why He talks about a man having to deny himself & take up his cross in order to follow Him. Nevertheless, given that a man winds up, if only eventually, forsaking all that he has for the sake of following Jesus… well, then, truly, this man’s yoke is easy & his burden is light. For Jesus does not leave this man unsupported or unrewarded. Graces are poured into his soul, lightening his burden, and angelic ministrations are proffered him, making his yoke easy to bear. In other words --- and as all great Catholic saints discovered, testifying the same thing --- the life of moral perfection is difficult from a worldly point of view (which is the fallible & mistaken opinion of practically everyone in the world!) but it is easy and rewarding for he who perseveres in Jesus’ Catholic Faith. Which is why, once more, we turn to St. James’ words in this matter:
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (James 1:22-25 KJV)
+ + + 26. In Defense of Life! (Part 2) + + +
= Point #26
You said, “I just finished visiting your web site and was amazed to find a rebuttal to the list of persecutions against so called heretics by your chosen church that I sent to you in my e-mail recently. It seems that you have not addressed the real issues of the canons, bulls and other orders given by the many popes all down through history.” [4th email of ‘Joy Given’ to Paul Doughton on 11 November 2008]
Actually, my dear & misled soul, I have addressed these “canons, bulls and other orders given by the many popes all down through history.” It’s just that I don’t need to address each & every single one of them, individually, in order to answer your charges against the Roman Catholic Church for the Inquisition, etc. I don’t, because we’re not talking about the exact deaths or number of deaths experienced by various people at the hands of Roman Catholics here --- that is not what I am disputing with you or with others like you. Instead, we’re talking about the reason for these deaths and whether or not any of them were justified.
We are not talking about the exact deaths or number of deaths experienced by various persons at the hands of Roman Catholics during certain inquisitions or what-have-you. Rather, we are talking about the reason for these deaths and if, indeed, as good Catholics have always said, most, if not all, of these deaths are sufficiently justified in God’s Sight as being in accordance with His Holy Will.
Satisfactorily answer this actual issue on behalf of Catholicism, and all of the individual examples you have dredged up --- whether accurate or not --- disappear into irrelevance. Because the root problem is that you presume --- out of thin air --- that these deaths are automatically to be considered wrong & unjustified. You presume this because you subscribe to two Modern Religious Dogmas, as we remarked in Point #14. Namely, Modern Religious Dogma #1:
“Thou shalt not act like only one religion is true, or that the members of this one true religion ought to oppose, suppress, or otherwise harass the members of other religions when they say they have a good reason and the earthly power to do so.”
And Modern Religious Dogma #2:
“The individual will is supreme. Thou shalt not restrict an individual from doing whatever he wishes to do, unless his actions hurt another individual (‘hurt’ being defined as whatever popular modern opinion thinks it to be) or violate Modern Religious Dogma #1.”
Almost everybody in our part of the world today subscribes to these two Modern Religious Dogmas, having been drenched in the Masonic philosophy of the French Revolution since 1789. You are so soaked in it that you don’t even recognize that it is so. You simply take it for granted, like the very air that you breathe. Which is why you can’t understand that I don’t take it for granted, too, not being ashamed of what my Church did during the times of the Holy Inquisition. This puzzles you and confounds you.
But you need not be puzzled and need not be confounded. Merely let go of your Modern Religious Dogmas, recognizing that you have them and stop taking them for granted, and examine with a fresh mind all that I have written in defense of the Church’s actions, which is quite extensive now. You will see that what I have said is quite sensible. Provided that Roman Catholicism really is, as I assert, the Only Way That God Has Given To Us To Save Our Souls, then, most certainly, the Church and Her nations were wholly justified in doing what they did to defend both the Catholic Faith & Catholic nations from betrayal or attack.
Because, in either case, the eternal fate of priceless & immortal souls are at stake.
Therefore, my dear modernistically-minded reader, read thoroughly the answers to Questions 307-360 in Roman Catholic Church in the Q&A section of the website, and, if necessary, read again Points #2 & 13-21 of this email. You would also do well to review Regarding ‘Scripture Alone’, ‘Faith Alone’ & the So-Called ‘Crimes’ of the Catholic Church in the L&A section of The Epistemologic Works. All of these together address very thoroughly & adequately the premises underlying attacks against, and defenses of, Roman Catholicism for Her purported ‘crimes’ in protecting Herself & Her members from traitors or other foes. There is no need for me to talk individually about your several specific charges against the Catholic Church in your email of November 11th, 2008. The overarching principle which undergirds the Church’s actions during the Middle Ages is what we have to grapple with --- not every single separate accusation of a supposed ‘crime’ that She committed.
+ + + 27. What Is Real Love? + + +
= Point #27
You said, “I am writing today because of my deep concern for your life. You see I have just spent some hours on your site and am deeply concerned over your complete disrespect for your natural family. This is not the way of Christ as I know it and have lived it for years. I am not taking any sides against you in this matter but I felt such pain in my spirit as I read your response to your earthly father and your disparaging remarks concerning your earthly mother. How can you call this the love of Christ which the rest of your site invites me to believe in through the Roman Catholic Church? I am confused by your double standard in this matter.” [5th email of ‘Joy Given’ to Paul Doughton on 2 December 2008]
My poor dear soul, I have not disrespected my earthly family. Not that I claim to be perfectly wise & all-holy --- it’s possible that I have said or done something that was foolish or wicked. That’s possible because I am not yet a great saint, and, even if I were, I would not believe myself to be so wise & holy since all real saints denounce their great foolishness & wickedness until the moment of their deaths.
But we are not really talking about myself here. So I don’t have to protest my humility or how foolish & wicked I am. We are instead talking about defending the Catholic Faith in the face of all kinds of attacks & lies against Her. And my words in defense of Roman Catholicism stand or fall regardless of any foolish or wicked choice of words on my part. That is to say, foolish or wicked words on my part do not destroy the simple good sense & solid hard evidence that I cite on behalf of the One True Faith of Roman Catholicism. Moreover, the words I have written could often be written by any Catholic, not just by me. Many things I have said --- and the way I have said them --- are merely echoes of what Catholics have said in defense of Roman Catholicism thousands of years ago. I know, because I’ve read hundreds & hundreds of pages of the writings of ancient Christians.
Therefore, my dear ‘Joy Given’, it is as I said in my introduction to The Dogma of Baptism Upheld that I wrote some two years ago to refute the persistent attacks & obstinate religious lies of my parents, especially my mother:
“Please note, then (for there are some who will accuse me of injustice), that I did not angrily demand anything from my parents immediately after my conversion; I did not illogically expect them to convert without first investigating carefully what I said. And I did not speak severely or stridently to them to begin with. To the contrary, I was far too soft-spoken, kowtowing to their prejudices and not wishing to provoke a fight. No, what led to these letters --- ten years after I’d started converting --- was the mere fact that I had converted. They couldn’t stand seeing me act like a Catholic & couldn’t bear hearing me talk like a Catholic, all the while they insisted on keeping me company. And although I wouldn’t go out of the way to chide them for their heresy, disparaging remarks about the Catholic Faith would slip from my mother’s mouth, usually in emails, and sometimes a fiery tirade. Which in turn would force me to respond in defense of the Faith. Sadly, neither she nor my father would ever grapple realistically with Catholicism, they instead relying upon old Protestant fables & secular biases. No amount of asking or explanations on my part could ever convince them that they needed to take the hard evidence & good sense of the Church seriously… until these letters. Yet even so they wouldn’t back down, admitting their wrongs against God’s Catholic Religion. Hence my final stridency: they had exhausted all other more pleasant & amiable approaches. Anything less was to let them get away with murder --- murder both of Catholicism and of their souls.” [The Dogma of Baptism Upheld & the Lie of ‘Faith Alone’ Cast Down, A Note to the Reader. All emphases in conjunction with bold emphasis is added.]
It is also as I said in my book, The World Offended, that I wrote last year in response to another extended family member:
“And there the matter remains till this day for the past
year. We moved to
“Either my father & mother here on earth below… or My Father & Mother in Heaven Above. Either the man & woman who sired me in this life… or the Uncreated Creator & His Greatest of Creatures, the Blessed Virgin Mary, who are siring me into the Life to Come.
“Not that I don’t love my human parents. I do very dearly. I have said this to them over & over & over again in my former correspondence, and I would hug them or tell them so in person. As well, I know that they love me. The issue is not then a lack of human love & affection. There are some things far more crucial than display of affection, and human love is not measured solely by warmth of words & touch of flesh. No, the clash here is much more fundamental --- they hate the Catholic Faith, the very thing we hold to be more precious than anything else in the world. Ergo, they also hate being around us since we’re truly Catholic. But, to top it off --- and this is the breaking point --- my mother cannot refrain from attacking Catholicism while, at the same time, neither she nor my father has ever grappled honestly with my defense of Catholicism. There is thus no other choice. Refraining from contact with them is my only option at this point in time.” [The World Offended, Chapter 9. Some emphases in conjunction with bold emphasis is added.]
That, then, my dear soul, is the actual state of affairs between myself and my parents. It was not a swift & precipitous thing, nor a malicious & vindictive move upon my part. It was, to the contrary, slow to develop and a conclusion that I found myself compelled to take due to the force of events --- most of which were beyond my control. In short, I had tried quiet diplomacy with them, even to the point of timidity. Then my mother began a series of periodic attacks, viciously slandering Catholicism & boastfully upholding her ‘born again christianity’. I could not remain silent. Nevertheless, tactful defenses on my side did not avail. There was no real grappling on their side with my actual, literal & specific points… only a litany of tired old grievances toward Roman Catholics & hackneyed complaints against the Roman Catholic Faith. We talked past one another, achieving nothing. I then became, in the final four years of the ten years I maintained regular contact with my parents while espousing Catholicity, increasingly strident & militant. I had no other recourse. And, of course, one cannot wage war with someone indefinitely. Hence, if peace is not possible --- and neither side surrenders --- then separation is the only way to go.
Yet disrespect? Do you think I have been ‘disrespectful’ to my family or parents?
Again, without claiming moral perfection for myself, I must point out the obvious: that you do not know what ‘respect’ really is, or the actual situation that I faced. Respect, like love, is something that is accorded to someone in an order of precedence. In other words, there are those we love least, those we love more, those we love most, and so forth and so on. Similarly, respect.
My parents I love more than most anyone on earth, apart from my wife & children. I therefore respect them highly, despite our breach in religion. Howsoever, I love most --- and necessarily must love most of all --- my Family that is in Heaven. To wit, the Triune Catholic God, the Blessed Ever-Virgin Mary, and the Saints, Angels, Virgins & Martyrs above in the invisible world that we do not normally see with our physical eyes. This is the import of Jesus saying what we looked at previously in Point #26:
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple… So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26, 33 KJV)
So, while I am to “honour” my father & mother on earth, as the fourth of the Ten Commandments says (Exodus 20:12 & Deuteronomy 5:16 KJV), I am to “love” the Triune Catholic Lord my God above all other things. (Matthew 22:37-40 & Mark 12:29-31, referencing Exodus 20:3 & Deuteronomy 5:7) These other things which I must put under the Creator include my parents. They are not exceptions. Ergo why Jesus said what He said in the quote directly above this paragraph, in Luke 14:26 & 33, that a man must hate his father & mother, his wife, children, brothers & sisters --- yes, and even his own life --- in comparison to how much he must love Jesus Christ.
It is not, as a foolish man might think, that Jesus is telling his disciples to go out of their way to be mean, nasty, vengeful, hurtful & violent toward their earthly families. Rather, it is that a man must love & respect Jesus far more than any of these other persons who are, in many cases, so incredibly important to most of us. So much so that, if it comes down to it, a person must be willing to choose Jesus & the Triune God of the Catholic Church in preference to his very own father, mother, wife, children, brothers or sisters… even over his own life.
In short, he must be willing to die to himself for the sake of God & His One True Religion.
This is why earliest Christians (who were nothing but Roman
Catholics) willingly sacrificed themselves to the pagan
It is the same with myself and my parents, as well as, to an extent, the rest of my earthly family. I have had to choose between mollifying them and staying true to God’s Catholic Religion. I cannot do both. It is one or the other for as long as my parents refuse to take Roman Catholicism seriously & stop attacking it, and for as long as the rest of my family members ignore the Roman Catholic Faith with a resounding silence that seems to speak louder than mere words.
This, then, my dear ‘Joy Given’, is the facts. You must judge rightly. But whether or not you judge me rightly, my words to my family defending the Roman Catholic Faith stand regardless of my wisdom & holiness, or lack thereof. Because what I have said is either objectively true or it is not. Yet a prejudice cannot suffice for objectivity, and malice does not substitute for right judgment. To the contrary, it is simple good sense, the ancient & documented testimony of history, and the precious words of the Bible --- interpreted reasonably & correctly --- that can reveal the truth to your mind of what I say.
+ + + 28. Why My Parents & I Fought + + +
= Point #28
You said, “I also wondered when you mentioned that neither your mother or your father or for that matter any of the family asked you your reasons for leaving the faith they raised you in for this Roman Catholic faith, why you wonder about that. I wondered why you thought that they would need to ask. They probably feel that they know why you left. Have you considered that point?” [5th email of ‘Joy Given’ to Paul Doughton on 2 December 2008]
My dear soul, I have indeed. The problem is, no one in my family could truly know me without being mystified about why I would become a real Roman Catholic (as opposed to the fake kind so prevalent nowadays during the Great Apostasy). Therefore, be they not mystified, then either they never truly knew me --- not actually, right down to my core --- or else they are too proud or too afraid to ask. Personally, I think it’s a combination of all three. They are too afraid, because the lie of ‘religious liberty’ --- wherein a person can be any religion he wants, regardless of which religion is actually true --- makes people hesitant to talk about religion with each other, asking blunt or probing questions. And they are too proud, because ‘born again christianity’ causes its adherents to presume --- without actually knowing so, being misled by ignorance --- that Catholicism is ‘diabolic’ or ‘enslavement’, and couldn’t possibly be supported with excellent reasons & divine authority. And they are clueless, because they have never really known me to the very essence of my being --- not even my parents --- and hence have not realized that no ridiculous whim or passing fancy was responsible for my conversion, but that it was straightforward sense, historical facts & scriptural testimony which did the job.
They have, in a word, presumed to be infallible, incapable of misinterpreting Sacred Scripture in some tragic or horrendous way, and failed to wonder why --- or at least ask why --- I would ditch all that I had known & thought to be true, upending my life for the shockingly radical (in the eyes of the world) demands of a religion that was both utterly foreign and almost totally repulsive to my previous existence.
= Point #29
You said, “I also wondered if they truly attacked you or were they just defending their own faith and you have responded as one under attack. Have you considered that they probably feel attacked also?” [5th email of ‘Joy Given’ to Paul Doughton on 2 December 2008]
I have indeed. I comprehend their feelings & thoughts quite thoroughly.
Because I myself once felt & thought just like they do!
You forget, my poor dear soul (or have never recognized the fact in the first place), that I was raised for some twenty years by my parents, knowing them intimately. I also knew them very well for the ten or so years after this first period of my life. Religiously speaking, I used to think just like them, talk just like them, feel just like them, and, in every way conceivable, was just like them in my spiritual beliefs & outlook in the very first part of my life. I therefore understand how they would feel attacked by the mere fact that I converted to that which they viewed with reprehension & horror. Notwithstanding, there was no stridency or militancy in my speech or actions toward them to begin with. It is not I who began combative argumentation or scathing comments. That came only after my poor mother started sending occasional, deprecating emails to me in 2001… four years following my initial conversion, when all my words to them concerning religion up till then were friendly and even milquetoast in their appearance.
Consequently, there can be no uncertainty about where the contention came from. It arose from my parents’ --- and especially my mother’s --- innate hatred which they bore toward the Roman Catholic Faith. To be fair to them, it may very well have been exacerbated by the financial difficulties they found themselves in at that time. This was stressful All the same, it cannot excuse their relentless animosity toward Catholicism. They could have been truthful & humble, admitting that they did not know it all and were not infallible when interpreting Sacred Scripture. They also think me very intelligent, and seem proud of this cleverness. Thus, where is their curiosity about my very clever & intelligent investigation of Catholicism? Instead, they nonsensically discount my intelligence --- despite being pleased with it --- and use it against me, claiming, in so many words, that I am so smart as to be ‘blinded’ by the allure of Catholicism, just as I have been supposedly allured by many previous ‘wild ideas’ in my life.
Yet you cannot have it both ways. Either I am smart enough to figure Catholicism out, or I am too stupid to avoid a trap. And the only way to know for sure, if you haven’t stood on the side of Catholicism as well as on the side of Protestantism like I have, is to study the facts carefully, not assuming you know enough already to remain rooted in your past notions. And the simplest way to do this would have been to just ask me: “So why did you decide to ditch ‘born again christianity’ for Roman Catholicism, upending your life? What could have been so compelling that you would risk all your friends & family” --- because all of them were jeopardized & eventually lost to me due to their belligerence toward the Catholic Faith --- “for the sake of being a Roman Catholic? What is this strange sacrifice all about?”
That wouldn’t have been too hard, and it would have been very sensible. There was no need, humanly speaking, for my conversion to turn into a battle royal during the course of a long decade.
+ + + 29. Truth & Falsehood Are at War + + +
= Point #30
You said, “Please forgive me, Paul, but I pick up a lot of hostility in your writing on your website which is very familiar to me as I have been under hostile attack from a loved one for a long time now.” [5th email of ‘Joy Given’ to Paul Doughton on 2 December 2008]
I am indeed sorry for your situation, just as I am --- believe it or not --- for my parents’ situation in regard to me. I realize my parents are hurt. I sympathize. But I cannot let my sympathy get in the way of my higher duty: to uphold the Catholic Faith in the face of their relentless, belligerent & askew attacks upon Catholicism. In other words, I must love my God & His One True Religion more than I do my parents & their feelings.
Too, my parents (and particularly my mother, since she led the charge in these matters) were not actually ‘responding’ to my defenses of Catholicism; had they been doing that, then they would have engaged my very specific points that I made in response to various accusations or assaults that they launched. Au contraire, it was almost always a ‘talking past one another’. I would make many points and then, in reply, my mother would launch into a litany of other issues regarding Catholicism, as she saw it, that did not bear any direct relevance or pertinence to the very specific points that I had made. Hence, no progress could ever be accomplished. It was a wandering, irrational pattern of communication. Then, to top it off, when I would (very rarely) get her to nail down a particular topic with exactness & finality, she could never bring herself to acknowledge where she had been in the wrong.
But would she then relent in her charges?
This is what I encountered for years. This is what I struggled with.
I don’t tell this to you to gain your empathy. I tell it to you so that 1) you can judge the situation rightly & justly, and so that 2) you can avoid the same pitfalls for yourself. It is thus not rancorous hostility for no good reason that I indulged with my parents. It was a necessary argument in defense of the Saving Truth. There is nothing wrong with rational argumentation, provided something is worth arguing about. However, to be rational, it must stick to certain points that are important and get them fleshed out entirely, so that anyone can see where the truth lies and what someone is required to believe & do, given that he truly cares about the truth and is honest about it.
Now perhaps my parents, perhaps my mother, were not capable of doing this. Not everyone is, I suppose --- which is a travesty --- and weak minds & sloppy thinking are a hallmark of the era of the Great Apostasy during which we live. But I gave to my parents, in May of 2001 --- and in person, face-to-face --- the opportunity to talk to me about the Catholic Faith, airing their grievances against it, in simple, easy terms and in digestible chunks of time. That is to say, they could have taken me up on this offer (which, by the way, they did agree to do, but then flaked out, not even telling me that they were backing out and my mother later claiming that she had just forgot) and had an interesting time discussing Catholicism with me over several months or years, with the aim of the side that found itself in the wrong eventually converting (or, in my case, re-converting).
As a result, the ‘hostility’ you pick up on is not immoral hostility but reasonable & just opposition. It was the only option I had in dealing with persons who just happened to be my parents, but who could not bring themselves to acknowledge that they were not sufficiently knowledgeable about the Catholic Faith and not infallible when it came to interpreting the Bible in those things that are absolutely necessary to get right, lest one’s immortal soul be lost for an eternity to Hell. In fine, I was confronting obstinate & arrogant heretics who wanted to spend friendly family time with me or communicate with me, but who could not bear seeing my obvious Catholicity and would not refrain from attacking Catholicism in my sight because of it.
Do you understand now?
= Point #31
You said, “…it is hard to believe that the will of God is to act in cruel fashion against the parents that are to be honored all the days of your life. Such contradiction of Scripture bothers me and always will.” [5th email of ‘Joy Given’ to Paul Doughton on 2 December 2008]
I have already answered this charge adequately, my dear ‘Joy Given’. Honoring one’s parents does not mean forsaking God & His Religion, nor allowing your parents to savage His Religion without rebuttal. Please review Points #27-30 in this email, and read chapters 8 & 9 in The World Offended as found in the B&A section of the website to comprehend even better.
Furthermore, ‘honoring father & mother’ means more than just honoring one’s earthly parents. In the widest sense, it means obeying any rightful authority, apart from obeying a command to sin. And in the biggest sense, for a Catholic it means honoring his Heavenly Father (the Triune Catholic God, Creator of All That Exists) & Heavenly Mother (the Blessed Ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of the Second Person of the Godhead, Jesus Christ) above all else. Consequently, I acted in obedience to this commandment in defending Catholicism to my parents. I did not enjoy having to get so blunt or harsh at times defending the Catholic Faith. Nonetheless, it was necessary.
And, to be very frank, it finally got them to take Catholicism seriously. They may still be obstinate, not willing to admit where they are obviously in the wrong, but at least my mother started studying the Catholic Faith with some eagerness. And at least, judging by some of her responses, it was hitting a nerve… I.e., she realized where she was in the wrong, even if unwilling to acknowledge it. This is, believe it or not, progress.
Not that sheer toughness can convert someone. But when softness gets nowhere over the years and ugly belligerence on the part of foes continues unabated, then only toughness is going to get through to such people, humanly speaking. They are too blind and too proud otherwise. The graces needed to miraculously convert their stubborn souls will have to come from Heaven --- that’s not something I can make happen all on my own.
But I can stand firm. I can use my God-given intelligence to defend
His Faith ably & tenaciously. I can fight the good fight. Which, while not
a battle against flesh & blood primarily, as
This is the battle I have been fighting, a battle over ideas. Indeed, a battle over truth & falsehood. My parents have chosen thus far to uphold the side of falsehood. I have chosen the other side, the side of truth. Truth that has Eternal Repercussions.
Now do you see why I have had to speak as I have done, even to my earthly parents, who I love dearly?
+ + + 30. Mary, Infallibility & Knowing the Truth + + +
= Point #32
You said, “I wonder how you justify worship of Mary?” [5th email of ‘Joy Given’ to Paul Doughton on 2 December 2008]
This is a very easy charge to refute, my dear soul. Please see chapters 6b & 9e-9f in The Dogma of Baptism Upheld book in the B&A section of The Epistemologic Works.
= Point #33
You said, “I wonder how you justify the premise that a church on this earth could be infallible when it is filled with fallible people and ruled and run by fallible people. How can an earthly church run by humans be infallible? I wonder if you think that you are infallible? Your website certainly could leave one with that impression a good deal of the time.” [5th email of ‘Joy Given’ to Paul Doughton on 2 December 2008]
How can a Church, that is filled with fallible members, be infallible?
The Church, which is Jesus’ Body (for instance, Colossians 1:18, 24 & Ephesians 1:22-23, 5:22-33), is infallible because Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to them, Who protects the visible head & leader of this Church (a pope) from teaching falsehoods about faith or morals when instructing Jesus’ Church Body on earth officially as a whole.
Consequently, the Church as a whole is infallible since no one can be Catholic who does not profess all that the popes of this Church, Jesus’ Body, have infallibly declared through the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, Who protects them.
Or would you pretend that the Holy Spirit is not all-knowing & all-powerful? Or do you pretend that God has declared that He would never act in such a way on behalf of poor, lost, confused & feeble men, who are so easily led astray by lies & misunderstandings otherwise? And if God doesn’t do this for men --- even though you have no clear & explicit declaration from Him to such an effect --- then how are men to save their souls when God has made it perfectly clear in the Bible that getting the truths of Christianity straight & correct is how this is to be done? For instance:
“Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines.” (Hebrews 13:9a KJV)
“But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine… in doctrine shewing uncorruptness… A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.” (Titus 2:1 & 7b, 3:10-11 KJV)
“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” (1 Timothy 4:16 KJV)
We repeat, lest the utterly imperative point be lost:
“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them…” (1 Timothy 4:16a KJV)
“…for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” (1 Timothy 4:16 KJV)
My dear ‘Joy Given’, as a ‘born again christian’ you almost certainly act like you are personally infallible… and even if you don’t know it, or won’t admit it. You think people have to acknowledge Jesus as God Almighty, know that He died for their sins on the Cross and resurrected to life afterward, believe that He forgives them if they will just say a ‘sinner’s prayer’ --- or something to this effect, confessing that they’re sinners and are sorry for their iniquities --- and do so because the Bible tells you that you should do so.
The presumption of infallibility in all of this?
Pretty much all Evangelic Protestants don’t think it’s possible for them to misunderstand something in the Bible that is crucial for them to get right. That is to say, they think they know everything in their bibles (which is hardly anything, really, as roughly outlined above) that is necessary to know, there being no possibility they could ever be wrong about this tiny little pittance of ‘essential’ teachings.
Now, what is this if not… infallibility?
Do you grasp what I am saying?
You yourself, as a ‘born again christian’, practice a de facto ‘infallibility’ by presuming that you could never be wrong in either knowing what’s crucial to know in your bibles or in interpreting these crucial things rightly. Yet in doing so, you have to presume yourself to be infallible!
Meanwhile (and ironically so), you will undoubtedly chide a Roman Catholic for believing his Church to be infallible.
Is this not the pot (‘born again christian’) calling the kettle (real Roman Catholic) black?
And this doesn’t begin to address the belief of most ‘born again’ Evangelics that the Bible is the sole or supreme way that God speaks to human beings, teaching them what to believe. A belief that they not only assume that they can’t be mistaken about, but which they cannot ever afford to be mistaken about if they’re going to keep on being ‘born again’ Evangelics without any doubts about their personal correctness!
Not that ‘born again’ Evangelics can’t be wrong about their bibles, misinterpreting them. They may or may not admit this much. But that they cannot be wrong --- so they think --- about anything in their bibles (which isn’t much when you get right down to it!) that is absolutely necessary to know & believe in order to get themselves into Heaven.
In short, they think themselves infallible in believing that the Bible is God’s only way, or supreme way, of talking to them (and in spite of the Bible nowhere explicitly saying this); that they can know everything in the Bible that is absolutely necessary to know in order to save their souls (which amounts to very little, as we have seen); and that they interpret these few things rightly & understand them correctly (as opposed to misunderstanding biblical passages & believing a spiritual lie) without any chance of a mistake.
No typical Protestant or Evangelic or ‘born again christian’ or ‘follower of jesus’ ever thinks that he can be wrong about these matters, as broadly delineated in the paragraph just previous to this one.
Nevertheless, if this is what the typical ‘born again christian’ thinks & does, then what’s his problem with an infallible Church? For a ‘born again’ adherent to deny the possibility of an infallible Catholic Church out-of-hand is to be hypocritical. I.e., they --- the ‘born again christian’ --- can practice infallibility, but the Catholic cannot. And why?
Because the ‘born again’ adherent doesn’t like what the Catholic Church infallibly teaches.
Not that Catholicism couldn’t possibly be true, the ‘born again christian’ knowing absolutely for certain that Catholic teaching is false… because for a Protestant to claim this is, plain as day, the same as him claiming to be infallible. As in, “I couldn’t possibly be wrong about Catholicism being wrong since I, a ‘born again christian’, am infallible and can’t ever make a mistake when it comes to my religious beliefs and interpreting my bible, or when I must condemn the religious beliefs of others, like the dogmas of those silly Roman Catholics.”
Again, hypocrisy on the part of ‘born again’ Protestants.
Because the real issue is not can someone on earth be infallible (the ‘born again’ person has to presume infallibility for himself, even if he doesn’t know it), but, rather, has God made anyone on earth infallible about those things that really matter to be right about? Indeed, things which matter so much so that, if anybody is mistaken about them, the person dying in these false beliefs goes to Hell forevermore.
That’s the real issue. That’s the crucial question that must be answered correctly lest a wrong answer wind up damning the mistaken person eternally.
And, I dare to say, the question can be very readily answered by looking at simple good sense, the testimony of history, and Sacred Scripture.
Easy as pie.
For, my dear soul --- and as I’ve already said --- how else is a man to save his soul by believing what must be gotten right (God having made it so), when there is no way to be sure he’s not misled by ignorance, passion, fear, prejudice or other kind of obstacle? How many people have we known to have --- how many times have we ourselves --- been guilty of presuming to know what is not actually correct? Sometimes it’s as tiny as misremembering a name. Or perhaps it’s as annoying as someone impugning another for being guilty of what he’s not actually guilty of. In either case, the truth is not actually recognized; a person believes a falsehood.
Now put this ability to be mistaken into the realm of religion. How do you know, my dear soul, for absolute certain that you are not wrong about your ‘born again christianity’? How do you know for sure, no error possible, that you do not misinterpret your bible, or that the bibles you have are accurate collections of what God has really said? How do you know, with total impossibility of being wrong, that you are not mistaken about something crucial in your spiritual beliefs? Nevertheless, if you can’t be utterly certain --- no chance at all of being wrong --- then you are betting your immortal soul on a mere guess.
You may want to think your guess is very likely. But what guess, however likely you want to think it (and that’s all it comes down to when you don’t know something with infallible certainty --- a desire to think it likely), is worth betting the eternal fate of your immortal soul on?
Whereas, on the other hand, if you really don’t think you can be mistaken about your bible being an accurate collection of God’s words to humankind; and if you really don’t think that you can be mistaken about what is truly important in your bible to understand lest, by misunderstanding it, you go to Hell; and if you really don’t think that you can be mistaken about what is absolutely critical to understand rightly in your bible… well, then, you truly do think yourself infallible, don’t you? And so the question becomes:
Why am I to believe you to be infallible and trust your religious teaching, rather than believe that a pope is infallible and trust in his religious teaching?
Why am I to prefer you and your teaching?
Doesn’t make much sense, does it?
And here’s the kicker:
I don’t think that I’m infallible.
Yet when I was a ‘born again christian’, I did, without even knowing it, act like I was infallible. I therefore know from personal experience what I’m talking about where ‘born again christians’ are concerned. I therefore share with you what you need to realize & acknowledge in order to spare you from continuing to do what I used to do, lost in false religion like I once was in a haze of pretended ‘certainty’.
But if I sound like I think that I’m infallible in many of my writings on the website, then I suggest to you that you’re mistaking two things for something that they aren’t. To wit:
One, you mistake my absolute confidence in the Catholic Church’s infallible dogmas as a confidence in my own self, as if I think myself to be infallible.
Or, two, you mistake my relative confidence in my experience & my intelligence in figuring out religious conflicts as a confidence that knows no bounds --- again, as if I think myself to be infallible in these matters.
However, neither is the case.
As to the first, it is only reasonable that I act confidently. Indeed, with supreme confidence. Not in myself, but in God’s Church. For knowing that Jesus’ Body, the Catholic Church, is guaranteed infallibility by God Himself, the Holy Spirit, then how could I not have absolute confidence in Her infallible dogmas?
Nonetheless, as to the second suspicion that I often act in religious matters, apart from infallible dogmas, with extremely great confidence… well, what man does not act with relative confidence --- and quite certainly so --- when his intelligence is strong, his experience wide, and his conclusions thus sound & firm based on the facts?
In other words, I don’t think that something other than the Church’s infallible dogmas is infallibly certain. All the same, there are things that are so simple, so straightforward, and so sensible as to be beyond final skepticism, as if they are unknowable or uncertain. For instance, most men nowadays believe that the earth is a sphere. Yet who has flown high enough above the earth to see that our home orb is truly spherical? Not many of us. We thus, most of us, don’t have direct personal knowledge that it is so. Howsobeit, are we then to deny that it is a sound & firm conclusion based on the facts? Are we to view the idea of a spherical earth with final skepticism, as if it is unknowable or uncertain?
Of course not!
Even without the eyewitness testimony of astronauts in the last fifty years, we know from excellent reasoning --- based on facts that are directly knowable --- that the earth must be a ball. E.g., the fact that our horizon expands the higher we ascend. Or the fact that the earth casts a circular shadow on the moon when there is a lunar eclipse. Or that the sun’s rays strike the earth’s surface at a different angle at the same time at different latitudes. Or that we perceive slowly shifting fields of stars at night the farther north or the farther south we travel. Or that we can sail due east and eventually come back to the same spot on earth from the west --- and vice versa. And so forth and so on, etc., etc.
The point is, the idea of a spherical earth, while not infallibly certain --- and not something most of us witness directly for ourselves from high above the earth --- is, notwithstanding, a very factual, reasonable & hence morally certain conclusion. How then could a man who knows this act as if his knowledge is uncertain, or that the idea is unknowable? Could he speak timidly to a flat-earth believer, so as not to offend the man with his supreme confidence in the idea of a spherical earth?
However politely he might wish to speak to the flat-earth believer, he could never, were he to be true to what he very reasonably concludes, contradict himself and act as if a spherical earth was uncertain or unknowable!
Likewise with me, my dear ‘Joy Given’. I cannot write timidly about the topics I address on The Epistemologic Works website. The sense is too simple & straightforward, the documents of ancient history too ample & clear, the words of the Bible too often plain & indisputable, the definitive declarations of God’s Catholic Church too numerous & stark for any other conclusions to be reasonably drawn. Feigning uncertainty or timidity, or acting as if these things are unknowable, would be a lie or false humility. A humility or timidity that would not persuade anyone. For while you are offended at me for my great confidence about things that you don’t want to agree with, there are always others who will find this confidence, allied with good sense & solid facts, to be compelling & exciting. They will be thrilled to see the truth!
+ + + 31. ‘New’ Doctrine Notion Refuted + + +
= Point #34
You said, “I wonder why, if you are part of the perfect infallible church, why has this church taken years to get it all together with its creeds, dogmas, and cannons and bulls? Talk about change --- the Catholic church has added more new doctrine and rules and regulations than any other church that I have ever studied and I have studied quite a few in my long life time. The changes in the Roman Catholic church span a time frame from 300 A. D. to 1965 A. D. when they finally got around to calling Mary the mother of their church. Her immaculate conception wasn’t know about until 1854 A. D. and her assumption into heaven wasn’t known about until 1950 A. D. This doesn't sound too infallible to me.” [5th email of ‘Joy Given’ to Paul Doughton on 2 December 2008]
We have already addressed this criticism regarding supposed doctrinal innovations in Point #22. Please review it if you have forgotten or need a deeper comprehension of what I explained.
In the meantime, I reiterate the same principle using a different example in reference to what you wrote in the quote above:
Catholics were not ignorant of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception prior to AD 1854. Proof of this is simple. Because centuries & centuries before the 1800s the Roman Catholic Church had officially condoned a special mass to be said in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception throughout the world. Now, if this was something not known about prior to the 19th century, and thus not believed, then why would the Church have done this? Truly, how could the Church have done this, the doctrine not known (per your notion) before Pius IX defined it in the 1850s?
Once again the truth is otherwise. Many things were handed down by the Twelve Apostles in the 1st century that either weren’t generally known amongst all Catholics or else were not confirmed by the Papacy with an infallible guarantee. Such was the belief in Mary’s Immaculate Conception. The doctrine was held by many Catholics in the first millennium. In fact, probably most Catholics accepted it. It was not until the turn of the 2nd millennium that the belief was called into question, a theological debate ensuing. However, the doctrine never having been infallibly defined, the Church allowed this debate to occur in order to clarify the matter from all angles. It was therefore not a question of already defined dogma, wherein questioning of such would make one a heretic and cause you to be thrown out of the Church.
After a few hundred years more, though, the Church closed down
debate and let members everywhere celebrate the blessed event as a moral
certainty. A Catholic could still, in theory, doubt the doctrine and remain
Catholic --- although unwisely so, in my opinion. But by 1854 all doubts had
been banished. Practically no one could find any logical reasons to deny this
teaching; all lingering theological questions had been answered sensibly &
to the perfect satisfaction of everyone in the Church. The Pope then acted to
confirm this sentiment of members everywhere. By doing so he not only used the
gift of the Holy Spirit to remove all uncertainty in the matter (making it
heretical to deny the teaching from that point onward) but also honored
God’s Mother (because the Person of Jesus is indeed fully God and Mary
truly is His Mother, any mother giving birth to a whole person
and not just to a physical body or a human nature), thereby invoking His
Blessing upon His Catholic Church in response. For what good son does not
relish honoring his mother, provided she is worthy of such honor? It is the
same with Jesus, Who obeys the Ten Commandments by honoring both His Father
from All Eternity in Heaven Above and His Mother from AD 1 in
Incidentally, the argument just given in regard to the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception also applies to the Dogma of Her Glorious Assumption into Heaven.
But a last comment on your quote above, my dear soul. For you mentioned the Church confirming Mary as the Mother of the Church in AD 1965. A belief, by the way, that I hold. Nevertheless, the world has been in full-fledged apostasy against the Catholic Faith since that same year, the Great Apostasy erupting openly in earnest by the 1950s. Hence, there was no legally functioning hierarchy of the Catholic Church at that time, and there will be no legally functioning hierarchy until God relents in His punishment of the world for their sins and for the laxity of nominal Catholics in the past few hundred years. Much like the Church of the Old Testament suffered apostasy during the Babylonian exile, wherein the Temple was destroyed and the sacrifices halted until priests returned some seventy years later, so the Church of the New Testament suffers now, Her leadership in spiritual exile and destined to be so until God allows the Church’s membership to regain Her heavenly home here on earth (Her priests operating normally and the Mass offered licitly throughout the world again), worshipping Him in all the fullness of Her ecclesial organization.
In fine, there have been no true popes since 1951 (the ones ruling as popes since then have been false Catholics and hence fake popes, known as antipopes, something that has occurred at least thirty times during the Church’s 2000 year existence). Ergo, the Church could not have infallibly defined Mary’s Motherhood of the Church in 1965. This state of things is called sedevacantism, from the Latin phrase ‘sede vacante’ for ‘the chair (i.e., throne) is empty’, meaning that St. Peter’s Priestly Throne in Rome sits vacant without a successor until God sees fit to renew the Church after the Great Apostasy is brought miraculously to an end.
+ + + 32. The Only Reason I Converted + + +
= Point #35
You said, “I wonder so much about you and your faith. I wonder why you left the faith of your parents. I wonder if you ever really knew the faith of your parents. You see my loved one probably did not know. They thought they did but they had a head knowledge that belied the heart and so they never knew real conversion. Could that be your case also? I wonder.” [5th email of ‘Joy Given’ to Paul Doughton on 2 December 2008]
My poor dear soul, with all due respect I tell you that this is not the case. This is where neither you truly know me nor did my earthly family right down to my core, not even my parents. For I most certainly did believe in my ‘born again’ heresy growing up --- not just from the ‘head’ but from the ‘heart’ --- and it was clear, hard facts that converted me to Catholicism, not a search for something novel or formal. That is to say, I didn’t want to convert to Catholicism --- real Catholicism --- before I did. I had a brief dalliance with a phony Catholicism in the early ’80s & early ’90s, the Novus Ordoism (New Order) that has been prevalent since the Vatican II Pseudo-Council from 1962 to 1965. These are the kind of ‘catholics’ who make nice with all the other ‘jesus’ religions, calling them by the name of ‘christian’ as if they actually follow all that Christ taught & commanded. But real Catholicism caught me totally by surprise, knocking me for a loop with its ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ teaching. It shocked me to begin with, arousing my prejudices against it.
That you and my parents may think I wasn’t really a ‘born again’ adherent is a convenient excuse not to take seriously those same clear, hard facts that so successfully converted me to the Roman Catholic Faith. Because if you, and if my parents, gave up this fantasy about me, then you would be left with a nagging puzzle that only one explanation can solve. To wit, the riddle that you yourself expressed, saying:
“I wonder why you left the faith of your parents.”
Why, indeed, when this was all I had known and I was so satisfied with it during the first three decades of my life? Why would I leave the literally dozens of friends and hundreds of acquaintances that I had made, losing their affection, and all for the very foreign & mysterious realm of Roman Catholicism, whose rituals & liturgy made my skin crawl before I got used to them? Why would I abandon the comfort of the known for the unknown? Why would I give up an easy ‘salvation’ for one of faith & works?
There is only one decent explanation, as I have just said. Namely:
Good simple sense, the documents of Christian history, and the testimony of my own Protestant bible revealed to me that Christianity had always been, since day number one with Jesus & His Apostles, Roman Catholic in belief & practice and nought else.
This is what changed me. This is what started my conversion. This is why I left my former Evangelicism to embrace Catholicism… because there was no other way to save my soul, God having commanded all men to enter His Son’s Body, the Catholic Church, and having given us no other means to have hope of entering Heaven.
End of sentence.
+ + + 33. A Short Deter into the Jesuits + + +
= Point #36
You said, “I wonder how you can embrace a church that spawned the Jesuits? I wonder if you know that the Masons are connected with the Jesuits which your church spawned? I wonder if you know all that the Jesuits have done under the orders of the Popes of the Romanist Catholic Church?” [5th email of ‘Joy Given’ to Paul Doughton on 2 December 2008]
The Jesuits were a holy religious order raised by God through St. Ignatius of Loyola in the 16th century to combat Protestantism, Freemasonry & other enemies of the Church during the very troubled times which led up to the Great Apostasy that we now endure. Of course, you won’t like this since they often very successfully opposed the new & false religion of Martin Luther’s Protestantism, out of which came your Evangelicism or ‘born again christianity’. You will easily believe all sorts of lies about them, or distort the truth about their history by misinterpreting it according to modernist principles or Protestant thinking, much as you do with the Inquisition & Crusades.
However, it is likely that Freemasons infiltrated their religious
order later on during the 18th or 19th centuries.
Freemasons are natural foes of the Roman Catholic Church and popes have said so
officially & publicly since the early 1700s. One way they have attacked the
Church is by infiltrating the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, planting
Masonic priests & bishops throughout the world and especially in
+ + + 34. Your Real Problem With Infallibility + + +
= Point #37
You said, “I wonder if you realize that your church is not holy and is not infallible. No church is infallible. Only God is infallible. God’s word is infallible. Why do you fault your mother and father for simply believing that? I wonder?” [5th email of ‘Joy Given’ to Paul Doughton on 2 December 2008]
We have just addressed this in Point #33. Please review it if you’re still shaky on this subject, my dear soul.
Meanwhile, your statement that “Only God is infallible” is patently false. Infallibility comes solely from God; but God can choose to make infallible by His Power who He will. Or do you pretend that the Bible is not inerrant?
Yet if inerrant, how did it get inerrant? Who wrote it? God? But God did not personally come down to earth in physical form to pen the books of the Bible. He used mere men to do so. But if mere men, then how did they manage to write something that is without error?
Ah… could it be the gift of infallibility?
Theologically speaking, the inerrancy of the Bible is somewhat different from the infallibility of a pope. Still, the two are very similar, both depending on the gift of God, of the Holy Spirit, to prevent error from being propagated under the guise of Divine Approval. Or, to put it alternatively, to prevent falsehood from masquerading as truth. In either case, though, it is the Holy Spirit Who operates, granting the men used as tools to communicate in religious matters with an infallible inerrancy. Consequently, while it is not the man himself who is innately infallible, it is the office or duty that he fulfills --- say, of a prophet or an apostle or a pope or etc. --- which gains for him, in this office or duty, the God-Given Gift of Infallible Inerrancy. Otherwise, how could anyone on this earth act on behalf of God so as to give anyone absolute assurance of the truth about things necessary to know in order to save one’s immortal soul?
You see, then, my dear ‘Joy Given’, how you really don’t have a problem with infallibility. You as a ‘born again christian’ presume yourself to be infallible, as I remarked in Point #33. You don’t realize it, or didn’t realize it until I pointed it out to you now (and probably still don’t want to admit it), but you certainly have to admit, having no innate problem with it, that the apostles, prophets & other writers of Sacred Scripture were guided by the Holy Spirit to write what they wrote for the Bible infallibly, with no error to be found. No, your problem is with this same basic gift from the Holy Spirit being exercised authoritatively later on, in more recent times since the 1st century… particularly right now, in modern times. Because the Bible of ancient times you can ignore or misinterpret, not taking seriously the things in it that you don’t like and pretending it doesn’t say what you don’t want it to be saying.
But a Roman Catholic Church that is the Body of Christ on earth and has spoken infallibly since then, confirming with divinely-granted authority the very teachings that you detest?
Mmm, that’s a different matter. That’s beyond the pale for you. That is, frankly, unbearable. For then, were you to take God’s infallible statements through a pope seriously, you would have to give up all of your ‘born again’ notions, discarding them as false. Yet this is hard & distasteful. It is frightening & reprehensible. You would have to do just what I did --- admit that you have been wrong for your entire life up until this very day, religiously speaking. And then you would have to turn everything upside down, losing all your friends most likely, and embracing a life that is alien, strange, difficult to understand, and at complete odds with the biases that your parents & family handed down to you, and whether or not they themselves were Evangelic Protestant.
Because the whole world is against the Catholic Faith. And I mean, the whole world. You think being an old-fashioned ‘born again christian’ is hard, living at odds with everyone around you? Try being truly Roman Catholic. Not that everything is hard. One receives graces from God, the protection of His Mother, the Blessed Ever-Virgin Mary, as well as the love of the Saints & Angels and, of course, the Sole Hope of Life Everlasting… but it is a sacrifice, humanly speaking, an enormous sacrifice. And you have to love the truth to make it happen. Jesus is the Truth, and His Body, the Church, is the Pillar & Ground of this Saving Truth. Which is why I fell in love with Catholicism despite being raised to despise it. Because the Truth is worth it, if only to save my soul.
Your soul, too, my dear ‘Joy Given’, is precious. Too precious to throw away in Hell simply because you can’t get over your aversion to God giving mere men the privilege of exercising Holy Spirit-endowed infallibility in order to uphold the Saving Truth of Jesus’ Body, the Roman Catholic Church. Surmount this barrier! By the grace of the Triune Catholic God, you can do so successfully.
Just ask for it. Get on you knees right now and pray for this priceless gift!
+ + + 35. Standing Up to ‘Born Again’ Biblical Bullies + + +
= Point #38
You said, “I wonder why you adore a wafer as the body of Christ? I wonder why you think you are drinking blood when you offer the mass? I wonder where you got these ideas for they are not in my Bible. I wonder how you justify it all?” [5th email of ‘Joy Given’ to Paul Doughton on 2 December 2008]
Be careful, my dear soul. It is easy to speak confidently before looking at all the facts. Heaven willing, I shall post books & articles someday soon upholding the Doctrine of the Eucharist with good simple sense, the testimony of ancient Christian documents, and the verses of your own bibles. If you have read my website thoroughly & meticulously, then you know that I don’t boast idly; I have already shown, for instance, how I am more than capable of upholding the Sacrament of Baptism, the necessity of good works along with faith & Marian veneration with confident aplomb. You should be patient & humble and await for me to do the same with the Dogma of the Eucharist before claiming a ‘lack of biblical evidence’ for such doctrines, because your self-assurance is misplaced and you misuse St. Paul’s writings “…in which are some things hard to be understood,” as St. Peter tells us with divinely-inspired inerrancy, “which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:16b-d KJV)
Yet we get ahead of ourselves. For you make two unacknowledged assumptions in your quote above. First, that the Bible alone is the ‘rule of faith’ for you & your religion, and should be so for everyone. And, two, that you know the Bible adequately, and interpret its words correctly when claiming to find ‘no evidence’ for the Eucharist in its pages.
Both assumptions are false, as I found out during my conversion. The Bible nowhere touts itself to be the only rule of religion. And if it did, who vouches for the honesty & accuracy of the Bible? That is, why should someone believe a book just because the book states something as if it were true? No one trusts what a book says unless he trusts its author. Yet who is to say that God authored the Bible? You? And yet you, my dear soul, are not infallible. Therefore, how is someone who is intelligent & sincere to conclude that you are correct about the Bible when you could, after all, be mistaken, and this someone has very understandable doubts about the origin of everything in Sacred Scripture?
The solution is facile, dear ‘Joy Given’. It is the Catholic Church which officially recognized in the fourth century --- and thus canonized before anyone else thought of doing so --- the books of Sacred Scripture as divinely authored. Prior to this, lots of Christians considered many books to be part of the Bible that not even Protestants today think belong to Holy Scripture (for instance, St. Clement’s 1st Letter to the Corinthians & the Shepherd of Hermes) and other Christians rejected several books that nowadays all Protestants believe belong to Holy Scripture (e.g., St. John’s Revelation & St. Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews). Hence, it is an infallible Catholic Church which preserved its pages for over one thousand years until Protestants co-opted some of its words for their own heretical use, and Protestants at the beginning of their existence disagreed about what books belonged in their bibles when translating it! (For example, Martin Luther wanted to jettison the Letter of St. James as an ‘epistle of straw’ since it couldn’t adequately mesh with his manmade idea of ‘faith alone’ saving his soul.)
Moreover, dear soul, and as we have already seen, you have no legs to stand on since you are not personally infallible and do not claim to belong to a church that is infallible. So how can you convince me that you know for sure which parts of the Bible are crucial to get right and that you get these important parts understood correctly?
In other words, why am I to take your criticism of the Eucharist seriously? Who says Sacred Scripture is the only ‘rule of faith’? Who says you interpret the Bible correctly? And who says I as a Catholic have to defend Catholic dogma biblically?
Upon what authority do you stand when it is you who must personally interpret the Bible to mean whatever its verses may mean, and when you will not came straight out and say that you are infallible or that you rely on somebody else’s position who is infallible? You won’t accept the Catholic Church’s divinely-protected infallible interpretation of Sacred Scripture, but why am I as a Catholic to then accept your fallible interpretation of the Bible as if it were infallible and able to save my immortal soul if I believe in & accept your very fallible interpretation of the words of Sacred Scripture?
Nevertheless, I take up the challenge gladly… but on my terms. I do so because the Catholic Church is the Guardian of Sacred Scripture, not Protestants or Evangelics or ‘born again’ adherents or ‘followers of jesus’ or so forth. Ergo, nothing in its pages, when understood rightly & wholly, can contradict anything the Roman Catholic Church teaches infallibly. I also do so because I know that at least a few souls will hunger for the Saving Truth and that a biblical defense of the Catholic Faith will appeal to their minds, bringing them out of the darkness of heretical religion. But always on my terms as a real Catholic, reminding heretical souls of their false biblical assumptions & undercutting their self-contradictory ‘born again’ myths. In this way I simultaneously use the Sword of Sacred Scripture to both save valuable souls and defend God’s One & Only Roman Catholic Religion.
Yet back to the Bible upholding the Doctrine of the Eucharist... for yes, you read what I said above correctly:
The verses of the Bible, even your own translations, obviously support belief in the Holy Eucharist as the Very Flesh & Blood of Jesus Christ!
It’s just that you’ve never learned to see it, either not having read your bible sufficiently, or, having read those verses that plainly uphold the Eucharist, automatically explaining them away with the manmade traditions of a ‘born again christianity’.
My parents were the same way, misled & indifferent. This is why they never bothered asking me about my conversion. Not even easy questions like, “How can you worship the Eucharist when it’s just a piece of bread?” Had they done so, and been humble enough to listen to me patiently --- if not with an avid curiosity --- then I could have very easily shown them the simple good sense, overwhelming testimony of ancient Christian documents, and verses from their own bibles that comport perfectly with --- and only perfectly with --- the Roman Catholic Dogma of the Eucharist. In other words, the Bible literally & at face value upholds the Doctrine of the Eucharist, not the manmade idea of a ‘born again’ interpretation that merely explains away the literal words of God in Sacred Scripture! And while they would probably claim, like you, that they didn’t need to ask about the Catholic Religion, presuming to know all of the arguments for Catholicism without talking to me, I can vouch for the fact that this presumption is false.
Easy. Because I was raised by them, having been taught by them all of their ‘born again’ beliefs, including their disbelief in Catholic dogmas! As a result, I know their purported ‘understanding’ of Roman Catholicism inside-and-out. Their arguments against Roman Catholic Religion were my arguments. Their thinking in these matters was my thinking for at least the first twenty years of my life.
And what I discovered, much to my surprise when I began to convert, is that my parents’ arguments against Catholicism didn’t hold water. The Catholic Church had plenty of simple, sensible & straightforward answers to the criticisms that ‘born again christians’ typically make. And yet these typical ‘born again’ arguments are what my parents presume to think are so very ‘true’ & ‘unanswerable’!
Plainly, my parents aren’t in the know. If they were, then they would have taught me adequate responses to real & actual Catholic teachings & defenses… not the hackneyed versions of Catholicism that Evangelics like to hold up to public scrutiny as if they were real, attacking a straw man, nor the only-halfway-there versions of Catholic arguments that Evangelics love to shoot down, never troubling to learn about all of the arguments & facts that knowledgeable Catholics will marshal in defense of their Holy Faith.
Therefore, my dear soul, please bide your time and refrain from criticizing dogmas that you don’t fully comprehend and don’t want to believe before fairly examining all of the evidence from a real Catholic’s side of things; and, in the meantime, please read all of the stuff that I’ve already posted, carefully and with a humble mind, not presuming yourself to be infallible or that you know everything already about the Roman Catholic Faith.
+ + + 36. Is It Really Just the Bible All by Itself? + + +
= Point #39
You said, “I wonder why not one single apostle in his epistles ever prayed to Mary for comfort, help or salvation. Don’t you wonder? I wonder why the rosary was not ever once mentioned in the New Testament? But you can find like objects of worship in the Hindu religion. Scary don’t you think?” [5th email of ‘Joy Given’ to Paul Doughton on 2 December 2008]
And I wonder why not one single apostle in his epistles ever mentioned the teaching of ‘faith alone’ as the sole means of salvation. Don’t you wonder, my dear soul?
Think it through, ‘Joy Given’. Just because something isn’t explicitly mentioned in Sacred Scripture doesn’t mean that it isn’t true, or isn’t important. Proof of this is your heresy of ‘faith alone’. Nowhere did any writer of Sacred Scripture link the word ‘alone’ (or some equivalent thereof) and the word ‘faith’ together anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, and as you should know previously from earlier points in this email, at least one biblical writer (in James 2:24) explicitly opposed the religious fantasy of ‘faith alone’!
And yet you believe in it.
Clearly, the Bible alone is not enough for you --- for you believe above & beyond what is written there.
Now, if you can do such a thing, why can’t a Catholic?
Or is there one standard for a ‘born again’ adherent and another standard altogether for a member of the Roman Catholic Church?
Be sensible, my dear soul. It is a manmade tradition that says there is nothing worth knowing or believing beyond what is explicitly stated in the Bible. The Bible itself does not explicitly say this; nor does it subtly imply it, either. As a matter of fact, it is the opposite… the Bible very starkly implies that there is far more to know that is necessary to believe than what is found stated explicitly in the Bible! Please read chapters 35 to 68 in Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus in the B&A section to see that this is overwhelmingly true.
But why is the Rosary not once mentioned by name in the New Testament?
Easy, my dear ‘Joy Given’… because neither the precise practice of the Rosary nor the word itself came about until centuries later after the writing of the New Testament.
But don’t you wonder why Sunday School is not ever once mentioned by name in the New Testament? How do Protestants justify this relatively recent religious practice (the idea of ‘Sunday School’ wasn’t innovated until the 19th century) when their bibles are completely silent in the matter?
Plainly I’m being facetious. But with an excellent point. Because if ‘born again christians’ can practice something of a religious nature that was neither done during the time of the writing of the New Testament nor called by the name that it is known by now --- namely, Sunday School --- in much more recent times, then how can Protestants fault Catholics for practicing something of a religious nature that was neither done as it is now during the time of the writing of the New Testament nor called by the name that it goes by now, in much more recent times? Accordingly, praying the Most Holy Rosary.
Do you see, my poor soul?
Once again, hypocrisy. Inadvertent hypocrisy, I’m sure, upon your part, yet hypocrisy nonetheless.
Furthermore, how is it that Evangelic Protestants often wear crosses around their necks or on their clothing? Isn’t this a religious practice? That no ‘born again christian’ thinks it necessary to save his soul is immaterial. The point is, they do it because they’re inspired by their religion, a Protestant-derived ‘born again christianity’. Yet don’t they know that many Hindus also wear religious objects upon themselves, objects associated with the worship of their religion?
Frightening, isn’t it?
My dear soul, you are casting stones at me without realizing how big a target that you yourself present to smart Roman Catholics for them to cast stones at you. Just because other religions that are false do something which may resemble the True Religion doesn’t then make what the True Religion does into something false, too. Protestants will often wear crosses, a symbol they think to take unto themselves as representing what they believe. Likewise some Hindus wear a symbol of their religion upon themselves. Is the wearing of a religious symbol upon the body or clothing then to be condemned just because a contradictory religion does something similar elsewhere?
Of course not.
How is it, then, you condemn Catholicism for practicing the Rosary just because Hindus or what-have-you might practice something that is similar in superficial appearance? It’s not the superficial appearance that matters, but the intelligent aim & religious principle upon which it is based that counts!
Be the religious principle true & good, then the practice, if intelligent & rightly done, is fine… and regardless of what another but false religion does.
+ + + 37. Read Mary Exalted + + +
= Point #40
You said, “And where did all those other kids come from? Did Joseph have a concubine? Don’t you wonder? I wonder why the Scripture clearly states that Joseph didn’t know his wife until after..... which clearly implies that at some point he knew her as a wife. I wonder why your church insists on her eternal virginity?” [5th email of ‘Joy Given’ to Paul Doughton on 2 December 2008]
My dear soul, I have thought about all of these things. I had to grapple with them, confronting what I had been taught as a ‘born again christian’, before I could of a good conscience convert to Roman Catholicism. Again, this is something my parents would never bring themselves to do, finding out why I converted & how I found solutions to concerns like these. For if they thought their ‘born again christianity’ so sure & unanswerable, then why didn’t they get together with me during the ten long years I was learning to practice Catholicism and still in regular contact with them and ask me these things, challenging me intelligently?
Instead, my mother simply lashed out at me periodically from 2001 till 2007, making no attempt at hearing me out fully and letting me explain, face-to-face, what it is that I had found out and how I could justify rejecting everything that she & my father had taught me to believe.
This is not even reasonable of them.
But as to the “kids” you mentioned in the quote above, I presume you to be speaking about what almost all Evangelics assume, that the ‘brothers’ mentioned in passing in the Gospels are referring to ‘further children’ of St. Joseph & Queen Mary after Jesus had been born. This idea sounds very persuasive on the surface of things, given that your prejudices are already on the side of Protestantism. The problem is, such persons never bother seriously examining what real Catholics have to say on behalf of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Perpetual Virginity or to think it through quite carefully. So please listen closely, and don’t pretend you can interpret your bible infallibly without any possibility of error on your part.
To begin with, read the first half of my article, Mary Exalted, which is posted on the home page of The Epistemologic Works. Just scroll down past the opening words, past the picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Guadalupe, and to the words of Genesis 3:14-15. After this quote, I offer scriptural commentary. Then I quote another passage from the Bible, and more scriptural commentary. And so on and so forth, for several passages in a row.
Go down past the quotes & commentaries for Genesis 3:14-15, Ruth 2:4-5a, d, 3:9b-11 & Luke 1:26-56, until you come to the quote from Judith 13:3-31, which is a book from what Protestants call the ‘apocrypha’ and what Catholics call the ‘deuterocanonical books’ of the Bible. Read this quote and its following commentary. In it you will find a paragraph referring to these “kids” and why it does not have to mean what Protestants want so very badly to think that it means. Then go back up to the commentary for Luke 1:26-56 and read it carefully. Because it further demonstrates how the Blessed Virgin Mary had to have taken, just as Catholics have always said, a vow to be perpetually virgin (a nun!) from Her earliest youth.
Indeed, you should read all of Mary Exalted that is posted on the home page. It is only the first half of the whole article, as I have said --- and it is not yet in the format that I will have it in for final, full posting --- but it is well worth reading, notwithstanding. I have designed it specifically for ‘born again’ adherents like yourself, who doubt Mary’s spiritual prerogatives and try to defend their stance by referring to Sacred Scripture. Please pay especially minute attention to the quote near the end from Revelation 11:16-12:1, 5-17, and the lengthy commentary that comes afterward. Mary’s Queenship, Holy Immaculacy & Perpetual Virginity are touched on in this commentary, and also in previous commentaries, with some detail, refuting Protestant criticisms soundly.
+ + + 38. Hung Up on the Tine of a ‘Till’ + + +
Yet as to the scriptural passage where it says St. Joseph did not ‘know’ his wife --- the Blessed Virgin Mary --- until Jesus was born (Matthew 1:24-25), this is not a new error on the part of Protestants, they pretending to interpret these verses infallibly as if they could never be wrong. Practically all Christians (read: Roman Catholics) understood Mary to be perpetually virgin till the end of Her life during the first few centuries after Christ. Then, in the fourth century, a man named Helvidius first widely popularized the idea that Mary bore children with Joseph after Jesus was born, basing his interpretation on these very verses and claiming that the ‘brothers’ of Jesus were other offspring of Joseph & Mary following the birth of Jesus.
Fortunately, there was a Catholic man named
He & you presume that there is only one way to ever correctly interpret the word “till” (KJV) or “until” (NIV), and etc., depending on the particular translation invoked, in the verses of Matthew 1:24-25. Accordingly, you presume that “Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus…” (KJV) must mean, without any other interpretations being possible, that Joseph knew Mary in a marital sense after Jesus was born. The term “till” in these verses, say you & Helvidius, means the restriction is only applicable prior to the event, not subsequent to it. For while your statement is somewhat laudably cautious about the word “till” or “until” in Matthew 1:25 (“…which clearly implies that at some point he knew her as a wife…”, underline added), this is what every ‘born again christian’ wants to believe.
The problem is, this same word --- “till” or “until” --- is in other verses of the Bible. Verses that, if we interpret this word just like you & Helvidius interpret it in Matthew 1:24-25, make no sense at all in their context. That is to say, it becomes plain that the word “till” or “until” does not have to mean what you & Helvidius insist that it means without any other reasonable possibilities. For instance, in Phillipians 1:10 we read:
“That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ…” (KJV)
Does the word “till” here mean that a Christian is to be “sincere and without offence” only before the return of Christ, but that after Christ’s return he may --- indeed, even must --- then behave insincerely & offensively?
Or take Matthew 13:33b-e:
“The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” (KJV)
Does this mean that the woman then stopped ‘hiding’ the leaven (yeast) in the meal (dough) after the whole was leavened (all the dough had yeast in it) and took it back out of the dough, microscopic yeast particle by microscopic yeast particle till it was gone?
But if the very idea seems silly to you, dear ‘Joy Given’ --- no one being capable of getting yeast out of bread dough once it’s mixed in and has spread for long awhile --- then our point is made. The term “till” does not have to mean --- indeed, cannot always mean --- the halting of a particular condition after an event has occurred. Because if it did, then the two verses I have just cited would become absurd. Literally, they would make no good sense. Well-behaved Christians could suddenly become sinful monsters once Christ returns, and, inexplicably, billions & trillions of microscopic yeast cells could be taken, bit by tedious little bit, back out of a batch of dough after they’ve already spread throughout the batch & caused it to rise.
Incidentally, the first example (Phillipians 1:10) in the KJV translates the Greek term ‘eis’ whilst the second example (Matthew 13:33) translates a similar Greek word, ‘heos’. The latter is the very word in Greek that is translated by the KJV scholars in Matthew 1:25 as “till”. Yet passing on to the Old Testament & the Hebrew language, other examples abound. We cite a couple, starting with 1 Chronicles 28:20.
“And David said to Solomon his son, ‘Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.” (KJV)
The term “until” is, of course, absolutely identical in
meaning to the term “till”, which is merely a form of the word
“until”. Hence, this example is perfectly appropriate. And does
King David intend to say to his son, Solomon, that God
will be with him, not fail him, nor forsake him, only up to the moment in
time that he finishes the
Clearly not. In fact, Sacred Scripture makes
the opposite plain. Prior to finishing the
“It was a true report which I heard in mine own land of thine
acts, and of thy wisdom: howbeit I believed not their words, until I
came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the one half of the
greatness of thy wisdom was not told me: for thou exceedest
the fame that I heard. Happy are thy men, and happy are these
thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy
wisdom. Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee to set thee on
his throne, to be king for the Lord thy God: because thy God loved
Quite vividly, God had not left Solomon, failed him or abandoned
him after the
Or consider Judges 19:26-28.
“Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her lord was, till it was light. And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way: and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold. And he said unto her, ‘Up, and let us be going.’ But none answered. Then the man took her up upon an ass, and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place.” (KJV)
This woman was the concubine of an Israelite priest, raped & tormented by townsmen all night long while her husband was safe & sound in the house of a hospitable inhabitant of the place. The townsmen demanded to have their way with the traveling priest, being violent perverts who took advantage of either man or woman, and satisfied their lust with his concubine instead when the house’s host suggested the idea to their twisted minds in order to spare the priestly husband. In the morning the perverted rapists left her for dead, as the husband himself makes plain both by his own deed (he cut her corpse into twelve pieces to send a fragment to all the tribes of Israel so as to galvanize them into stopping this kind of wickedness) and his testimony later to the gathered Israelites:
“I came into Gibeah that belongeth to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to lodge. And
the men of Gibeah rose against me, and beset the
house round about upon me by night, and thought to have slain me: and my
concubine have they forced, that she is dead. And I took my concubine,
and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the country of the
The point is, the rapists left the woman half senseless, she collapsing at the threshold of the door of the house where her priestly husband had lodged. Or, as the Bible says, she “…fell down at the door of the man’s house where her lord was, till it was light.” (Judges 19:26b KJV) Are we then to conclude, based on the word “till” and interpreting it the way you do in Matthew 1:25, that after it was light --- that is, dawn had arrived --- she got up and stopped lying motionless (i.e., dead) at the threshold of the door?
To think otherwise is ridiculous. The woman is dead and will not move again. Ergo, a reader of the Bible cannot always intelligently presume, based merely on the words “till” or “until”, that one particular situation continues the same up to the moment of a particular event and then changes completely after or subsequent to the event. For if this were always the case and this is how the word “till” or “until” in the Bible is always to be correctly interpreted, then God would have left King Solomon immediately once the Temple was done being built, and the woman lying dead at the door of the house would have gotten up alive once her priestly husband exited in the morning and told her to depart with him.
But this is not how things always work. Hence, the words “till” or “until” must be interpreted correctly according to the specific situation that is described. This is yet another example of how infallibility is a necessary component to saving one’s soul, this need of infallibility being met for Catholics, who are God’s Chosen People, by the Holy Spirit protecting a pope from teaching something in error to the Church as a whole. ‘Born again christians’ such as yourself, my poor dear ‘Joy Given’, do not have this infallibility. Consequently, you see the word “till” in Matthew 1:25 and figure that this implies that Joseph & Mary had other children after Jesus was born. I mean, what else can you think when your prejudices are automatically against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church? And since the Catholic Church authoritatively tells us that the Blessed Virgin Mary was a perpetual virgin, then you certainly don’t want to believe in Her perpetual virginity.
Yet what is the opposite of a perpetual virgin? Why, a normal, everyday wife, of course (that is, ‘normal’ & ‘everyday’ up until recent times in the past century, when so-called ‘contraception’ has caused childless marriages or one-child families to become common). As a result, think you and others like you, the term “till” or “until” must mean that Mary bore children with Joseph after the birth of Jesus. It is not what the Bible actually & explicitly says, however!
+ + + 39. Does Being ‘1st’ Always Mean There’s a 2nd? + + +
Still, what about the term “firstborn” in this passage? To wit:
“Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus…” (Matthew 1:24-25 KJV)
Doesn’t this, think those who are against the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also ‘prove’ that she had to have had other children after Jesus, presumably with her husband, Joseph? After all, doesn’t “firstborn” clearly imply that there were those children who were ‘second born’ or ‘third born’ or ‘fourth born’, and etc., etc.?
Again, the appearance is misleading. Or, should we say, the appearance is as a person wants to see it, according to his prejudices. The Protestant reader takes the circumstances of the words of this passage and interprets them according to his already-settled beliefs in the matter, and regardless of whether or not there is another reasonable way to interpret the circumstances of the passage’s words. Or, to put it differently, the reader who doesn’t want to believe in Mary’s Perpetual Virginity takes circumstantial evidence --- evidence that does not rationally demand only one particular interpretation --- and treats this evidence as if it were specific & ironclad proof, thereby pretending that the issue is closed.
Nevertheless, we have seen how the word “till” or “until” cannot rationally demand, in the Bible, but one single correct interpretation wherever the word might be used. The same goes for the term “firstborn”. The question, then, is not what it appears like to you, but what is it meant to appear like by God, who is the Author of Sacred Scripture? That is to say, what is the actual reality of the situation, and hence the correct interpretation?
And again, we can see the necessity of infallibility. Because the only reason you want to interpret the word “firstborn” to mean that Mary had other children after Jesus, my dear ‘Joy Given’, is that you despise veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary and you hate the thought of a vow of virginity for religious reasons being a superior or better state of life than that of marital relations & bearing children. Ergo, in your sight, “firstborn” must mean --- and cannot mean anything else --- that Mary bore further children.
When, and in reality, the term “firstborn” only normally means that the child being spoken of is the first to have come out of the woman’s womb, and not that this child is then necessarily the first of several to exit her womb.
Or can you not admit the possibility of a woman having only one child during her whole, entire life?
Even in pre-modern times, before children became despised & hated and considered restrictions on an enjoyable adult life, women sometimes bore but a single child during their whole lives!
For instance, Sarah, the wife of Abraham, desperately wanted a child. Her wish was denied her until old age, when it was thought impossible for her to any longer conceive. Then, against all expectations, she miraculously bore Isaac in her elder years. He was her firstborn child & son. (Genesis 21:1-7)
Yet did she have any further children after this?
No, she did not. The Bible mentions no other children of Sarah anywhere in its verses, and in spite of Genesis speaking very starkly about the several other children of Abraham that he sired via other wives or concubines. (For instance, Genesis 25:1-6 & 1 Chronicles 1:27-34.) Isaac was her only son.
Did this, then, make Isaac any less her ‘firstborn’ child, deprived, as Sarah was, of a second born or a third born or a fourth born, and etc., etc.?
Of course not.
Isaac was her firstborn child regardless of whether or not she had any further children.
Or, to get really exact, let us investigate scripturally the
account of the man,
“And Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived… And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.” (Genesis 25:21, 24-26 KJV)
So we see that, of the two children --- Esau & Jacob (or
“And the Lord said unto Moses, ‘When
thou goest to return into
If God can, through Isaac, rightly call Jacob (Israel, as He nicknamed him in Genesis 32:28) his “firstborn” even though Esau was, strictly speaking according to which child came out of the womb of Rebekah first, the firstborn from Rebekah’s womb, the wife of Isaac, who was the promised son of Abraham and through whom all His most incredible promises to Abraham would be fulfilled… then we see that “firstborn” must be, to the Israelites in the Church of the Old Covenant, a term that is descriptive of the privilege of that child to inherit certain divine prerogatives, and not a term which necessarily implies any other children were born after him to his father, or even that the child himself is truly, in the most literal sense of the word, the very first born son of the father who sired him!
Do you comprehend, my dear ‘Joy Given’?
There is absolutely nothing in Sacred Scripture that requires us to always interpret the word ‘firstborn’ in the Bible to mean that there were other children born to the mother or father after a firstborn child or even that a particular child called the ‘firstborn’ is truly, in the most literal sense of the word, a child who was the very first born of the mother or father in the verses being studied!
Instead, we must know the context of the verses being looked at to be able to have a chance of getting right what it is that they mean. Indeed, and even more importantly, we must know, in many cases, with infallible authority the correct interpretation of the passage in question before we can draw definite conclusions.
Such is the case with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the passage of Matthew 1:24-25 (as well as the passage from Luke 2:6-7, for that matter). And this is, in the Bible, yet one more example of how, as St. Peter the Original Pope warned the earliest Catholics, there are passages from Sacred Scripture “…which are… hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:16c-f KJV)
But concerning criticisms about references in the Bible to Jesus’ ‘brothers’, we refer you again to Mary Exalted, the first half of which is posted on the opening home page of The Epistemologic Works website. Just scroll down far enough to read it. For while I do not claim to have written something so lengthy that it is exhaustive in defending Queen Mary and Her God-Given Celestial Privileges (that will come later, Heaven willing, with the book, She Crushes the Serpent’s Head, or in other writings), there is plenty of good evidence & simple good sense in what I have already written to show the man of good will, who is not pretending to interpret the Bible infallibly or to never be wrong, that Roman Catholicism is entirely reasonable & upheld with most excellent proof.
Please study the website carefully with a humble mind, especially those parts that I have specifically recommended in answering your many challenges & questions.
+ + + 40. Conclusion + + +
Yet we draw to a close. I have gone through your five long emails from late last year quite assiduously, carefully choosing to rebut certain challenges or respond to particular questions. This is not because I cannot rebut all challenges or respond to every question, but because I must, given both my limitations of time & strength and your limitations of time & strength (not to mention the limitations of time & strength of others who will read this), draw the line somewhere. I have not the liberty to address everything; my resources are limited. Nor have you the liberty to read everything; your resources are limited. I therefore choose carefully what is most pertinent to address, or what the Holy Spirit settles upon my heart to address as especially crucial for you & others to know.
Or, to put it alternatively, I have found simple & reasonable solutions to every challenge you issue. But neither you nor I have the days & energy to go through each of these solutions in a relatively short period of time in written format.
Ergo, I choose judiciously what to address.
My dear ‘Joy Given’, the Creator of All That Exists has very purposely granted most of us adequate minds & wills to seek that which He commands us to do, especially when it comes to finding & living the teachings & commandments of His One True Religion. Jesus did not order many different & contradictory things. A person cannot be a ‘christian’ just because he calls himself by the name of ‘christian’.
To be a Christian, a man must actually know, believe, profess & obey all that Christ actually makes real, teaches is true, requires that we espouse & demands that we obey. Only then, in doing this, can any man be a real Christian. The earliest documents of Christianity show very clearly how absolutely no one calling himself a Christian --- and accepted in general by other Christians as such --- taught & believed anything unique to what ‘born again christians’ or ‘followers of jesus’ teach & believe in the past five hundred years since the debut of Martin Luther & his Protestant Rebellion. These writings show instead how ancient Christians taught & believed only Roman Catholicism.
End of sentence.
Moreover, a careful study of the Bible reveals that its pages, when understood completely & in total harmony with all other verses in Sacred Scripture --- and not taking certain verses or fragments of verses out of context, misinterpreting them, as Protestants are so often wont to do --- uphold absolutely nothing except what the Roman Catholic Church teaches, in utter opposition to anything that is peculiar to what ‘born again christians’ or ‘followers of jesus’ teach & believe.
Finally, a rigorous review of all that Protestantism teaches, or has taught in years past, shows how ‘born again christianity’ is inherently confused, contradicting itself. Whereas, and in clear contradistinction, absolutely nothing in Roman Catholicism is at odds with its own self, everything that the Catholic Church teaches being totally consistent & entirely harmonious with itself, with Sacred Scripture, and with the documents of Christian history.
Please take these words seriously. Your eternal fate rides upon them. I do not idly boast, as I have said before and as you can determine for yourself if you just take the time & work to read carefully what I have written & posted to The Epistemologic Works.
You may also, should you reveal yourself to be of good will & humble spirit, write me further, inquiring about the Catholic Faith. In fact, I will gladly talk to you one-on-one if that helps you and we could arrange it. I will not consider such efforts wasted on my part, provided you are not talking past me & obstinately failing to address my specific points. E.g., and as I said previously, please don’t keep slinging more-and-more accusations at the Roman Catholic Church when you write to me. Rather, take what has already been said in my rebuttal and address these specific points in some detail.
Indeed, make the best beginning of all for a Protestant by acknowledging that you are not infallible when it comes to interpreting the words of the Bible.
Only then will we make significant headway.
My dear precious soul, I love you with the charity of the Triune Catholic God & His Blessed Ever-Virgin Mother, Mary the Queen of Highest Heaven. I pray for His graces upon you, that your mind might be enlightened and your heart miraculously softened to accept the infallible teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, His Son’s Body, some of which I have imparted to you. Jesus is the Truth, His Body the Church is the Pillar & Ground of this Truth, and there is no other way to save your immortal soul without knowing, believing, professing & obeying this same Truth.
Pontius Pilate nearly two thousand years ago asked, “What is truth?”
I tell you, repeating the words of Sacred Scripture,
that Jesus the Uncreated Creator is the Source of All Truth and that His
Sincerely yours in the Charity of Jesus Christ & the Prayers of His Blessed Mother,
+ + +
Part One of Protestant Protests Rebutted (Chapters 1-21)
+ + +
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