+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
A Real Roman Catholic
Behaves Like He Does & Why the Rest
Of the World Is Repulsed; Also, What the Bible Is
For, the Reason Catholics ‘Preach’, How Come They
Tend to Stick to Themselves, & an Anti-Catholic
Conspiracy Theory Very Briefly Refuted
COMPOSED & EDITED JUNE 2008.
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“Therefore, seeing we have this ministration, according as we have obtained mercy, we faint not; but we renounce the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor adulterating the word of God; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience, in the sight of God. And if our gospel be also hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of unbelievers, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Jesus Christ our Lord; and ourselves your servants through Jesus. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Christ Jesus. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency may be of the power of God, and not of us. In all things we suffer tribulation, but are not distressed; we are straitened, but are not destitute; we suffer persecution, but are not forsaken; we are cast down, but we perish not: always bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodies. For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake; that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you.” (2 Corinthians 4:1-12 DRC)
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
Intended by the Author of This Article
for the Greater Glory of the Adorable Triune Catholic God,
for the Worship of
the Sacred Heart of King Jesus Christ of
for the Praise of the Immaculate Heart of Queen Mary, the Blessed Ever-
Virgin Mother of God,
unto the Protection & Propagation of the Holy Roman Catholic Church &
Her Most Precious Heavenly Dogmas,
under the Euphonious Patronage of St. Cecilia, the Eloquent Patronage
of St. Catherine
Ven. Mariana de Jesus Torres, Virgins &
“Domine, non est
exaltatum cor meum, neque elati
sunt oculi mei. Neque ambulavi
in magnis, neque in mirabilibus super me. Si non humiliter sentiebam, sed exaltavi animam
meam; sicut ablactatus est
super matre sua, ita retributio in anima mea. Speret
St. Francis Xavier, Patron of Catholic Missioners, Ss. Catherine of Alexandria & Francis of Sales, Patrons of Catholic Philosophers & Apologists, respectively, and St. Peter of Verona, the Glorious Martyr, may you be pleased to guide this arrow to its target, either unto eternal life or eternal death! “Now thanks be to God, who always maketh us to triumph in Christ Jesus, and manifesteth the odour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are the good odour of Christ unto God, in them that are saved, and in them that perish. To the one indeed the odour of death unto death: but to the others the odour of life unto life.” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16b DRC)
St. Francis of Assisi, Humble Seraph of the Incarnate God, and St. Dominic the Preacher, Dogged Cherub of the Triune Deity, pray for your children that they may not fail the test but suffer the malice of the wicked gladly and so gain the Crown of Life!
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A NOTE TO THE READER:
I sent the letter which follows to a close relation of mine. Indeed, the same relative to whom I wrote a previous email now posted in the Letters & Admonishments section under the title of Regarding ‘The Epistemologic Works’ Website, Truth, Hell & the Catholic Faith. Upon receiving this previous email, I got a reply that was even longer than the first email this person had sent me. And, again, the tone was very courteous. Nevertheless, after several comments & questions, the deepest concern came tumbling out. Why, this individual wondered, must we as Catholics “shut out” the rest of the family? Why make a point of telling people they’re going to Hell if they don’t become Catholic? Don’t we realize this comes off as ‘cult-like’ & arrogant? Don’t we think we’d make a lot more converts focusing on aspects of Catholicism other than exclusion from the Hope of Heaven via a lack of conversion to the Roman Catholic Faith?
Three considerations then prompted my lengthy response. One, my relative was thoroughly respectful. While not a sure sign of good will (after all, polite interest is not always automatically equivalent to a serious interest), it very well could be, and I, as a matter of spiritual prudence, had to take it as such till shown otherwise for certain. Two, my relative was obviously smart. This in connection with the next consideration was sufficient, all by itself, to justify a long response. Namely, three, that my relative wrote at some length and asked several important questions. These important questions are what, more than anything else, decided me to answer in as much detail as I did.
A final set of observations, then, before the main body of my long letter. First, to preserve this person’s privacy, I have replaced my relative’s name & exact family relation to me with much more anonymous references. Second, I have cleaned up a few typos in the email that I originally sent, as well as changed a modicum of sentences or highlights so as to make the text more accurate or lucid. And, third, I have added chapter divisions to let readers of lesser time & capacity digest things in bite-sized mouthfuls, so to speak, not to mention letting them use the descriptive & synoptic chapter titles as a way to keep the focus in constant overview. May anything that is true or praiseworthy in this work be attributed to the efforts of the Holy Triune God through the immaculate hands of the Blessed Ever-Virgin Mary. And may anything which is false or blameworthy be laid firmly in accusation at my own wayward feet.
+ + + 1. The Problem With Protestants + + +
24 June 2008
My Dear [Relative], X-
Boy, you really are full of information & questions! I honestly thought, in order to save time, that I would dash off something very quick in response to your second email. But I see that that is not possible… not if I’m going to give your words the consideration that they deserve.
Here are most of my individual comments & rejoinders numbered as I go along (a much longer comment & rejoinder comes at the end of these enumerated entries), in nearly the same sequence that the thing which inspired them appeared in your last letter:
1. Not only have I taken your “recommendations into consideration” (your words), but I have literally put one into action. To wit, there is now a brief note just prior to all of the scriptural quotes & their extensive commentary on my website’s home page, letting readers know that what follows may be confusing to them if they don’t already think of themselves as Catholic or Christian or born again. I suggest that they look at Questions & Answers instead, which doesn’t demand as much familiarity with a subject before launching into it. This will have to do until further down the road some months & years from now when I have time to write up books & articles aimed at those of other religions or who don’t lay claim to any religion at all.
2. However, as soon as I had done this, I then discover from your second email that --- surprise! --- you actually “have always considered” yourself “to be a Christian.” (your words again) So my response on The Epistemologic Works to your concern was awry in regard to you in particular, although not necessarily in regard to the potential confusion of readers, who don’t call themselves Catholic, Christian or born again, in general. Nevertheless, I thank you for the info about yourself. I now have a lot better grasp of where you’re at, spiritually speaking.
3. The most pertinent thing you said to me was, “…I do believe in God and the Bible.” You also added later on, “…it makes a whole lot of sense to me to follow God’s word as closely as possible. I believe that we all should be doing so. I… want to have a basis, a foundation to rely upon that makes the MOST sense and feels true in my heart.” Which then leads me to say:
4. Reading the Bible sounds pretty good to most people’s ears, X, but what makes you think you’re going to understand Scripture correctly without some rock solid certainty in the matter? My dear relative, what if you misunderstand something? What if your interpretation of the Bible is wrong? And where does the Bible say it’s supposed to be the “foundation” (your words) upon which we’re to build our religion, the greatest or highest or ultimate authority upon which we’re to rely?
5. This is a fatal flaw of the Protestant Rebellion in the 1500s, which is what led to all of the persons nowadays who call themselves Christian or born again, but aren’t Roman Catholic or ‘Eastern Orthodox’. They started out united in their opposition to the Catholic Church, leaving Her membership. They then went on to split up from each other over and over and over and over again, there being today literally hundreds upon thousands upon millions of separate denominations, congregations & free-floating individuals calling themselves Christian but who can’t agree on anything significant that the Bible says other than that, whatever it is, it sure isn’t what Catholicism says that it is. So which of them are you supposed to follow… if any? And how is reading your bible supposed to clear up confusion about this when every single one of these denominations, congregations or individuals is a totally separate denomination, congregation & individual precisely because they have assumed that, by reading their bibles, they could always correctly decide for themselves what parts of the Bible are important & what parts are not, and --- given the parts which they presume to be important --- that they can always correctly know what the Bible really says to believe & what it does not?
6. You don’t have to take my word for it, though. Read some history on your own. Find an encyclopedia in a nearby public library. Thumb through its pages & look up ‘Christianity’ or ‘Protestantism’. Or go to a website online that specializes in general knowledge. The point is simple: this isn’t hidden away and I don’t have to footnote everything academically for an intelligent person like yourself to be able to verify that what I’m saying is true. The facts are the facts. And the indisputable fact, as publicly demonstrated by the vast, ongoing religious experiment known as Protestantism, is that just reading your bible and relying on your personal opinion to decide what it means is a one-way ticket to spiritual chaos & fragmentation. Neither the Bible ‘alone’ nor even the Bible ‘primarily’ or in the ‘last analysis’ is going to tell you with any ironclad certainty all that you need to believe & do. Nor can your heart or feelings do the trick --- because you aren’t infallible, and both our hearts & our minds are capable of being wrong. If not, then why do lots of people believe sincerely with all of their hearts about spiritual topics while the majority of them can’t agree on anything essential about religion?
7. Incidentally, you asked if the best version of bible to start reading would be the one you gave me on the CD-ROM, which is the King James Version (KJV). It is not. It is a Protestant translation (meaning, produced by those calling themselves Christian or born again but who aren’t Roman Catholic or ‘Eastern Orthodox’) and consequently is filled with errors of translation slanted toward Protestantism & against Catholicism. Viz., the scholars who translated the ancient Hebrew & Greek often purposely --- or at least accidentally, due to ignorance --- chose to render the Hebrew & Greek into English words that do not truly represent the meaning of the words in the original ancient languages. Rather, they would frequently choose words in English that represented what they wanted the language of the ancient biblical text to say. Which is not, on the other hand, to then claim that Protestant translations are never right… only that they are often wrong, frequently on purpose. Ergo, you should read a good Catholic version in English, the sole choice being the Douay Rheims (which I call ‘Douay Rheims Challoner’, or ‘DRC’ for short). A copy can be purchased online from TAN Books at www.tanbooks.com for about $35 (beware, however, that the people who run TAN Books, while thinking themselves Catholic, are not actually Catholic, although the materials which they sell are usually truly Catholic). Other so-called ‘catholic’ versions in English exist, but they have the same problems as all the Protestant bibles --- they translate ‘interpretively’ according to the prejudices of modern times & Protestant passions instead of according to what the ancient text actually says. Should the DRC not be possible for some reason, or it displeases you, then the Protestants’ KJV is the next best choice (Protestant bias, while definitely there in the KJV at the turn of the 17th century, was not as strong as it is today during the last hundred years in newer Protestant translations). Nonetheless, whether DRC or KJV, both are translations made about four hundred years ago. Hence, the language will seem stilted & strange to your ears. It may often be difficult for you to comprehend. So in any case you’re in for a challenge.
8. But there’s no need to belabor the topic. You call yourself a Christian. You say you “believe in God and the Bible” and that “it makes a whole lot of sense to me to follow God’s word” --- by which phrase (“God’s word”) I very reasonably infer you to be talking about the Bible. Consequently, The Epistemologic Works already has plenty of stuff posted on it that’s right up your alley, stuff that, given that the reader believes in God’s existence, thinks Christ is God & respects the Bible highly as having come from God, shows how Catholicism really is what God commands, Christ begins & the Bible reveals. You should check it out. It may not be as short as you’d like things to be; it might as well get more complex than you’d sometimes like things to sound. All the same, I think you’re smart enough to do it. You graduated college, you’ve written two thoughtful (as in full of thought) letters to me, and you comprehended my first letter to you. What’s more, my longer writings are always divided up into little chapters with ear-catching titles, each title summing up nicely the main thrust of its chapter. And, were that not sufficient, my writings are guaranteed not to have really archaic language in them. Hence, if you’re determined to read the whole Bible in a translation that might be rather dated-sounding, why not also read a book that’s nowhere near as long as the Bible and written in more contemporary prose?
9. Number one, read For Those Who Call Themselves Christian or Born Again in the First Things First section. You can find the link to this category near the top of the navigation frame at the left of the website. It’s right underneath the Home link and right above the An Introduction To This Site link.
10. Number two, study Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus in the Books & Articles section. Since you believe in God and the Bible then this book should say nothing that you can’t agree with; it’s chock full of simple good sense, enormous reverence for the Creator, and so many quotes from Scripture that you won’t be able to count them all. More importantly, it follows a very easy & straightforward logic proving that the Catholic Religion is exactly what it claims to be --- God’s One & Only Means to Save Souls. You want the evidence of verses? You got it. You want proof from history? No problem. You want irrefutable reasoning? It’s there. 72 chapters are available online right now (the last three-fifths of the book will arrive, God willing, in another year). Examine it carefully from start to finish.
11. Number three, devour Catholic Ritual Defended in the Books & Articles section. This article should be of particular interest to you since it deals with the relation between Old & New Testaments in the Bible. Moreover, it demolishes the notion that ritual, liturgy & ceremony are ‘boring’ and ‘irrelevant’, or that they are even ‘evil’ or ‘diabolic’. Discover from the pages of the Bible how Catholics imitate the worship of Heaven Above --- and how no one else rightly does the same.
12. Number four, investigate The Dogma of Baptism Upheld & the Lie of ‘Faith Alone’ Cast Down in the Books & Articles section. This book also grapples with the relation between Old & New Testaments, along the way revealing that those who call themselves Christian are actually anti-Bible --- literally, that they don’t really believe what their bibles actually say --- and thus as well are anti-Christ & anti-Catholic. Again, you want proof? The book is chock-full of quotes from the Bible & simple good sense. To wit, it reveals from the very pages of a Protestant bible itself how what Scripture teaches is nothing but Catholicism and thus how Catholics are nothing but biblical since they --- and they solely amongst all other contenders for the name of Christianity --- actually believe everything that the Bible actually says which is truly necessary for a man’s salvation.
+ + + 2. The Bible’s Purpose; Too, a Theory Skewered + + +
But we move on. What are, you have asked, my thoughts on the New
Testament, and what, do I feel, is “the point of the New
Testament?” (your words once more) As I say in Extra Eccesiam Nulla Salus, Chapter 51, “…the purpose of the
Bible is to be a divinely-authored record of the Creator’s dealings with
His people, of those men who are members of His Church from beginning of time
until end of time. And the purpose of His Church after the Fall of Man in the
14. Ergo, my answer to your question is merely this: the New Testament “recalls the fulfillment of God’s Church in His Son while actually upon the earth as a Saviour…” and “…recounts and foretells the completion of God’s Church as She struggles upon the earth against the opposition of Hell until His Son returns from Heaven as a Conquering King & Sagacious Judge…”
15. Yet what is the purpose of the New Testament in the Catholic Faith, you inquire? Based on what I have just said above, it is to constantly remind the Church, which is Jesus’ Body, of Her Past and to continually urge Her on toward Her Future. At every instant it is a precious repository of what Jesus & His Apostles taught and commanded us (though not the only repository), and, having come straight from the Mind of God (since God is its Author, the Holy Spirit literally inspiring the men who wrote it with a divine inerrancy), it is also an inexhaustible wellspring of riches for the soul… i.e., provided that men interpret it correctly. That people often interpret the Bible incorrectly is obvious from its own pages: witness St. Peter’s warning that “destruction” is the fate for those who distort its actual meaning (2 Peter 3:15-16 DRC, KJV & NIV) and Satan’s attempt to lure Jesus into sin by misinterpreting Psalm 91:11-12 in His hearing. (Matthew 4:5-7)
16. Incidentally, I comment in-depth on these two passages from Scripture in Chapters 41 & 42 of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus.
17. Concerning your interpretation of the Old Testament as God being more punishing & requiring animal sacrifices, etc., whereas, in the New, He is more forgiving & doesn’t require animal sacrifices, you are correct that God required animal sacrifices during the Old Covenant Church. This is because God had not yet become a Man to pay the eternal debt of penitent men’s sins. Hence, men had to pay the ‘interest’ on that debt, so to speak, in the meantime so as to avoid His entirely just & necessary foreclosure against them for the sins that had incurred this terrible debt. This was done by shedding the blood of animals, of literally offering these bestial lives in a bare minimum payment that would keep the heavenly ‘repo man’ from demanding their own souls, as it were, in final recompense for a debt they could never pay without ending up in Hell. Once Christ sacrificed His Life upon the Cross, however, these animal sacrifices were no longer needed. Indeed, they became a slap on the Face of God, acting as if the Messiah had not yet come and had not yet accomplished the literally priceless offering that He made in their place during His Passion & Crucifixion.
18. Incidentally, you may read an in-depth summary of this issue in The Dogma of Baptism Upheld & the Lie of ‘Faith Alone’ Cast Down book, Chapters 1s & 1t, as well as in the article, Catholic Ritual Defended. You may also see it summed up in another more roundabout way in Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, Chapter 50.
19. Nevertheless, concerning your interpretation of the Bible that God was more punishing during the Old Covenant (Testament) era, while He is more forgiving during the New Covenant (Testament) era, you are incorrect. This is a common misconception of Protestantism (the rebellion against the Catholic Church in the 1500s, from which descend, spiritually speaking, most of those today who call themselves Christian or born again), having originated all the way back in the 2nd century with a man called Marcion. It stems from people not actually bothering to read the Bible or take it seriously. That is to say, most people never open a Bible up to look for themselves, being content to hear a few little verses quoted at them by some preacher or televangelist or other person going by the title of Christian. But even for those who do look a little more closely, it still doesn’t get through to them since they don’t bother to actually look repeatedly, thoroughly & extremely close at the text of the Bible, thinking it through very carefully. And, frankly, it’s probably just too much for most of them. Scripture is a big book --- a huge book --- as well as complex & metaphorical in some places, its names, events, customs & characters remote from our times, and the writing just too long & involved for most people’s minds to handle nowadays (i.e., they have a really short attention span, a lack of training and no appetite for anything other than pretty empty entertainment).
20. Proof of what I have just said is too lengthy to try to convey right now. Suffice it to say that most folks overlook all the places in the Gospels where Jesus spoke of rather ‘unpleasant things’ --- like sin, punishment & Hell --- while believing in an imaginary ‘jesus’ who only talked about being ‘loving’, ‘sweet’, ‘nice’ & never ‘judged’ anyone or made them feel ‘uncomfortable’. This is nonsense. Jesus was compassionate to those who repented, or who were ready to repent, while stern and even harsh with those who were obstinate & hypocritical in their sin. What’s more, God was often immensely merciful and exceedingly patient with sinners during the Old Covenant. The real problem, though, is merely this: that those who call themselves Christian or born again, having rejected the Catholic Church, have fabricated for themselves a fantasy religion that they pretend to get from the Bible but which they in reality have dreamed up out of their imaginations & prejudices, only after the fact & after their rebellion coming up with a handful of verses they claim ‘supports’ their version of Christianity. A version of Christianity that has absolutely no roots in ancient history, the earliest Christians having believed & taught totally different from what these modern imposters believe & teach. A version of Christianity that also ignores all of those verses in the Bible that obviously do not uphold their twisted take on things.
21. Incidentally, you may find gargantuan amounts of evidence for my assertions in the paragraph above, which is number twenty in this list, in the books & article I have already mentioned several times. To wit, Extra Eccesiam Nulla Salus, The Dogma of Baptism Upheld & the Lie of ‘Faith Alone’ Cast Down and Catholic Ritual Defended. Therefore, please read them carefully & thoroughly.
22. Concerning your understanding that both Jews & Catholics rely on the Old Testament alone, my dear [relative], no, you are incorrect. Religious Jews do indeed rely on what we call the Old Testament, although not solely (most of them rely on the Talmud far more nowadays); meanwhile, almost all Jews, whether religious or not, since the time of Jesus have rejected the New Testament (although not always --- a few have become wonderful Catholics).
23. This bears highlighting, so please pardon my repetition. Real Catholics do not --- I repeat, do not --- reject the New Testament or base themselves solely on the Old Testament. Nor do fake Catholics, for that matter. This mistake on your part is probably derived from the bias that Protestants of a more Evangelic nature have against Catholicism, causing them to accuse Catholics of ‘working’ their way into Heaven. That is to say, people who call themselves Christian or born again almost always claim it is ‘faith alone’ that saves their souls. To obey the commandments of God is fine, they may say, but it is in no way, say they, necessary for them to be saved. This is what they claim. The truth is otherwise.
24. Incidentally, you may see this fantasy of ‘faith alone’ refuted in the Questions & Answers section of the website. Specifically, in the Roman Catholic Church entry, question #213. You may also find it amply rebutted in my book, The Dogma of Baptism Upheld & the Lie of ‘Faith Alone’ Cast Down, especially Chapters 1j-1t.
25. As to your random question out of curiosity regarding my thoughts on The Da Vinci Code, I do not pretend to have read the book or seen the movie. I have not. Notwithstanding, I have read several in-depth reviews of the book & movie --- and not just by people purporting to be Catholic. Hence, I’ve a pretty good idea of what they’re about. More importantly, though, I am very familiar with the theory from which they’re derived. It’s an idea that stretches back for centuries, and one of its many forms achieved some degree of notoriety back in the 1960s amongst scholars in the university crowd. I even have the book. So, what do I think?
26. Speaking as a real Catholic, it’s a bunch of nonsense. The Church is either infallible or She is not. If infallible, then the notion that Jesus didn’t actually establish an Infallible Catholic Church That Is His Body is sheer crap, a diabolic deception calculated to destroy the membership of the Church and eradicate Her influence in this world. But the Church is infallible, therefore the idea is garbage. Mere fallible men pretend to know better, in their limited mental capacity, than the All-Knowing God speaking infallibly through His Catholic Church all the things we need to believe & obey in order to save our souls. End of story.
27. Speaking as a thoughtful scholar, it’s a fascinating theory that invokes a lot of tantalizing & mysterious facts… but it’s still a lot of nonsense when you get right down to it. A huge part of the theory is predicated on circumstantial evidence --- in other words, evidence that a person has to interpret to be what it’s purported to be, but which a man can reasonably interpret in a completely different way & thus doesn’t have to support the ax that the theory’s supporters clearly wish to grind. Plus, there’s a whole lot of skullduggery involved. That is to say, lots of the theory rests upon secret, clandestine & conspiratorial goings-on that are never plainly revealed in the light of publicly documented history… which instead are only ‘hinted at’ or ‘suggested’. Now conspiracy can be fun (and a big waste of time), but the problem with conspiracy is that hard proof & indisputable testimony are scarce resources. So how is anyone to know?
28. The upshot? If you hate or mistrust the Catholic Church, and you can’t stand the thought that Jesus is God or that He taught certain very definite things that we are to believe & obey in order to go to Heaven and to avoid Hell --- much of which is found in the Bible --- then this is your cup of tea. Everything you suspected about the Papacy or Catholicism is ‘proven’ in spades --- and more. It doesn’t matter that the evidence is circumstantial or that the testimony is clandestine. You’re going to believe what you want to believe.
29. Concerning The Da Vinci Code book itself that Dan Brown wrote, it’s fiction. I.e., characters are imaginary and do not represent, ostensibly at least, real human beings either living or dead. However, the theory is real. I.e., it is a theory that actual human beings really do believe or suspect is true. And the author? My take on him, personally, is that he believes the theory is true but doesn’t make it a crusade. However, I could be wrong. It may be terribly crucial to him.
30. A final note: the very real allure of this theory is that certain facts it refers to are truly factual, often even strange & frightening. That is to say, something is going on behind the scenes that someone doesn’t want somebody else to know. What is this something? I don’t have enough time & knowledge right now to comment. All I can say is that I intend to discourse on this subject at length in the future in the Questions & Answers section. (Read the Preface entry in the Q&A category to see a partial listing of topics I intend to address.) As to when this will happen, it depends on the time, strength & resources that I have available.
+ + + 3. “The Greatest & the First Commandment” + + +
Well, my dear [relative], that’s a lot all by itself. But you saved the best for last and so I shall, too, tackle the biggie here at the end of my letter. What, you want to know (for in spite of your delicate words, this is what it boils down to), is all this about Hell and there being no other way to save your soul except in the Catholic Church? Don’t you know this offends people? Don’t you know this sounds weird & ‘cult-like’? Can’t you leave all that out when talking to us about Catholicism --- must you throw in the stuff about sin & damnation? Wouldn’t you convert a whole lot more people if you didn’t go around mentioning that the Church of Rome is always right & Salvation Hers to grant exclusively?
Now, I don’t mean to sound flippant. My putting things the way I just did in the paragraph above is meant to demonstrate a fact --- that I understand your feelings & attitude entirely. Whether or not you’d dare to say this to our faces, whether or not you say in private amongst yourselves the exact same words that I’ve chosen just above, the sentiment that I express in that paragraph is precisely what you feel. How do I know? In the first place, I’m fully aware (as you acknowledged) of what people think about us and the Catholic Faith. Not to mention how, in the second place, I myself once thought & felt the very same thing. As a result, how could I not understand completely?
That said, I don’t pretend to be perfect in everything I’ve spoken or done when it comes to the Catholic Religion. I also don’t pretend to know yet for sure where I may have acted wickedly or spoken foolishly. All I can say is that I’ve worked hard to uphold the two greatest commandments:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matthew 22:37b-39 DRC, emphasis added)
Jesus was answering a teacher of the Old Covenant Law when he said this, the man having asked Him “which was the first commandment of all.” (Mark 12:28c DRC, emphasis added) The point being that everyone nowadays always neglects the “first commandment” (Mark 12:28c) --- the one which “is the greatest” (Matthew 22:38) and wherein Jesus orders men to “love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart” (Matthew 22:37b) --- in favor of “the second” commandment, which is “love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 22:39b) That is to say, people today always ignore the first & greatest commandment, they instead acting as if Jesus never said anything other than to ‘love your neighbor like yourself’.
Yet what does it mean to ‘love God’? The Son of God, God Himself, tells us:
“If you love me, keep my commandments… He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them; he it is that loveth me. And he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father: and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” (John 14:15, 21 DRC, emphasis added)
This is what Jesus informed His Eleven Apostles (minus Judas Iscariot, who had left to betray Him), the implication clear that he who does not love Jesus --- who does not have & obey His commandments --- will neither be loved by His Father nor loved by Him, nor will He show Himself to such a person.
Yet what are God’s Commandments? God Himself upon
“I am the Lord thy God… Thou shalt not have strange gods before me… Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain… Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day.” (Exodus 20:2a, 3, 7a, 8 DRC, emphasis added)
Those who call themselves Christian or born again often like to say that Jesus ‘did away with’ the need to obey these commandments to save one’s soul --- which are part of what is usually known as the ‘Ten Commandments’ --- but this can’t be true since Jesus Himself declared:
“Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled. He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, that unless your justice abound more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-20 DRC, emphasis added)
Pretty sobering stuff, X, if you take seriously what the Bible
tells us that Jesus actually said. Because think about it… if merely
breaking the least commandment makes you the least
in the Kingdom of Heaven, then what does breaking something bigger than
the least commandment do to you? Remember --- you’re already the least
in Heaven for merely breaking the least commandment. So
what’s lesser than the least in the
Do you comprehend?
You can’t get any lesser than the least in the
The commandments I quoted back a few paragraphs ago from Exodus 20 are the first three of God’s Ten Commandments (or first four, as Protestants would like to have it). And they are the first three for a very good reason --- because they are first in importance prior to the last seven. The last seven are also very important, but not as much as the first three. Ergo, the first three are the greatest of commandments from God. Indeed, the first three of the Ten Commandments are what Jesus was referring to when He said that the first & greatest commandment is to “love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart…” (Matthew 22:37b) Whereas the last seven of the Ten Commandments are what He was referring to when He said that the second greatest commandment is to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 22:39b)
Which only makes sense, because the first three of God’s Ten Commandments tell us in broad outline how it is we as human beings are to behave toward God. Whereas, the last seven of God’s Ten Commandments tell us in broad outline how we are to behave toward our fellow human beings. Between God & men, between the Creator & creatures made to look like the Creator, who is more important? God, obviously, since without Him nothing else would even exist in the first place! Consequently why the first three commandments --- having to do with our treatment of God --- are first and thus the most important.
Because He comes first and is thus the most important.
Again, the point?
People today always forget the first & hence greatest of the commandments (love God with your whole heart) in preference for the second & hence lesser of the commandments (love your neighbor like yourself). Yet in doing so, they then render themselves incapable of loving God rightly or truly. Remember --- Jesus has already told us, “If you love me, keep my commandments… He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them; he it is that loveth me.” (John 14:15, 21a-b DRC)
As a result, we can’t rightly or truly love God unless we both have and obey His Ten Commandments, the first three of which concern how we are to behave toward Him (love God with your whole heart) as opposed to how we are to treat our fellow human beings (love your neighbor like yourself). The last seven --- which is the second & hence lesser commandment that Jesus spoke of --- are important, but not as important as the first three, which is the first & hence greatest commandment that Jesus spoke of.
And what is this first & hence greatest commandment, i.e., what are the first three of God’s Ten Commandments? As we already discovered, God begins by telling us that, Number One, “Thou shalt not have strange gods before me…” (Exodus 20:3 DRC)
And what are these “strange gods” that we are not to have before God?
The terminology is old-fashioned and hence odd-sounding to our
modern ears. Notwithstanding, all it means is this: that we have no false
gods standing in the place of the True God Who Created All That Exists
Out of Nothing --- period. And since God, both in the Old Covenant (Testament)
& New Covenant (Testament) Churches gives us but one set of
consistent & harmonious things to believe & obey --- as opposed
to many different inconsistent & contradictory things --- then to say no
false gods is as much as to say no false religions, either. For what
is religion? It is how we worship… and to whom. Yet the members of the
More poignantly, God often remonstrated against the Jews of the Old
Testament for trying to combine the true beliefs & practices of the
The conclusion is clear, my dear X. God hates false gods & false religions. And if not, then why does He tell us, in the very first & greatest of all the Ten Commandments, not to have false gods or false religions in place of the True God & True Religion? And this is merely driven home the more by the next two commandments, the second & third of the Ten Commandments. For in Number Two we read, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain…” (Exodus 20:7a DRC) Pretty much everyone knows that this means not to use God’s Name lightly or stupidly in cussing & swearing. Yet what folks don’t want to remember nowadays is that this also means not to use God’s Name wrongly in the imaginary beliefs & practices of false religion. Proof of this is found in Jesus’ own words, where He says:
“Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it! Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves… Not every one that saith to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. Many will say to me in that day: ‘Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name?’ And then will I profess unto them, ‘I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.’” (Matthew 7:13-15, 21-23 DRC, emphasis added)
Pretty plain. Simply invoking the Name of ‘God’,
‘Lord’, ‘Jesus’, or etc., in your spiritual beliefs or
religious practices is not going to guarantee you entrance into Heaven. Rather,
you must do the will --- obey the commandments --- of this God,
Lord, Jesus & etc., in order to lastingly procure citizenship in the
+ + + 4. Both Jesus & His Church Are Exclusive + + +
Now, why have I bothered telling you all this, my dear [relative]?
Is it not more of the same that you have no desire to hear? Probably. But if
you’re going to understand why Paula & I have dared to antagonize an
entire family, on both sides of our marriage, then you have to understand as
well why we would rather risk the hatred & disapproval of mere human beings
than the hatred & disapproval of God Almighty. It is because we cannot
“But beware of men. For they will deliver you up in councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues. And you shall be brought before governors, and before kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles: but when they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what to speak. For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you. The brother also shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the son: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and shall put them to death. And you shall be hated by all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved… Therefore fear them not. For nothing is covered that shall not be revealed: nor hid, that shall not be known. That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light: and that which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops… Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother-in-law. And as a man’s enemies shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:17-22, 26-27, 32-37 DRC, emphasis added)
Again, pretty sobering, X. Jesus’ actual words in the Bible are not the pleasant stuff which ignorant people like to imagine. They are hard, harsh-sounding & blunt. Not that Jesus never said anything ‘nice’ or ‘attractive’ --- but that selecting only the ‘nice’ stuff while ignoring the rest and making up fairytales about things that he never said is wrong, totally wrong. So wrong that you will not be able to enter Heaven believing what isn’t true, and which often denies what He actually said & literally meant.
Because look at that passage from Matthew’s Gospel in the Bible again, X. Examine it closely. And be honest. Would you not suggest to Jesus, were He on earth right now and a part of your human family, that He not say what He said since it comes off as ‘cultish’ and ‘arrogant’, He acting as if only He is right & that everyone else is mistaken? Would you not chide Him (however gently, just like you’ve done with me in your last letter) for harping on stuff that is not pleasant-sounding, which puts people off & offends them?
My dear [relative], you know this is true. Were it not, then you would not gently chide me for Paula & I daring to tell family members that they’re headed for Hell remaining in their false religion. Because if you have no problem with Jesus’ ‘harsher’ words here in this passage or elsewhere in the Bible, then you would have no problem with Paula & I speaking ‘harshly’ about people going to Hell by not becoming true Catholics. But since you do oppose us for speaking plainly about Hell to those who are not Catholic (however courteous your opposition may be), then, obviously, you’re also not going to like it where Jesus speaks more plainly & ‘harshly’ about the consequences in this life for those who either obey Him or do not believe in Him.
Neither should you imagine that it’s merely a matter of ‘focus’. That is to say, that your beef is not just that we believe in Hell or believe that bad Catholics and non-Catholics go to Hell when they die in their badness & unbelief, but that we make it the ‘main message’ to those around us. Because, X, if you actually read the Bible and especially the New Testament, you find that the main message of both Jesus & His Apostles is exactly this: that Jesus came to save the spiritually lost, and that those who believe in Him can be saved whereas those who do not believe in Him are condemned forever. Furthermore, that the Catholic Church, which is Jesus’ Body, has precisely the same main message: that the Church of Rome seeks to save the spiritually lost, and that those who believe in the Gospel of Roman Catholicism can be saved whereas those who do not believe in this One & Only Gospel of Jesus are condemned to the Flames of Hell forever & ever.
For instance, Jesus Christ declared:
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6b-c DRC, emphasis added)
And the Apostle Peter proclaimed:
“Be it known to you all… that by the name of our Lord
Jesus Christ of
And the Apostle Paul insisted:
“And to you who are troubled, rest with us when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with the angels of his power: in a flame of fire, giving vengeance to them who know not God, and who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who shall suffer eternal punishment in destruction, from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of his power: when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be made wonderful in all them who have believed; because our testimony was believed upon you in that day.” (1 Thessalonians 1:7-10 DRC, emphasis added)
As well, John the Baptist warned:
“He that believeth in the Son, hath life everlasting; but he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36 DRC, emphasis added)
Moreover, Jesus’ Roman Catholic Body declared in the 4th century:
“Whoever willeth to be saved, before all things, it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith: which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.” (Athanasian Creed: Articles 1 & 2, emphasis added)
And a millennium later She proclaimed:
“With Faith urging us we are forced to believe and to hold to the One Holy Catholic Church and also Apostolic, and we firmly believe and simply confess this Church, outside which there is no salvation or remission of sin.” (Pope Boniface VIII’s Unam Sanctum, emphasis added)
And yet again She admonished less than six centuries ago:
“The most Holy Roman Catholic Church firmly believes, professes, and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV’s Cantate Domino, emphasis added)
As well, She recently condemned (not approved, but condemned) the following statements as false & damnable:
“Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find
the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation… Good
hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those
who are not at all in the true
The point is, dear [relative], that neither Jesus nor His Roman
Catholic Church have any other main message except that Salvation can be
found only in Him and thus in His Body, the
It’s that simple.
+ + + 5. Offended! (Tripping Over the Truth) + + +
Nor is it innately ‘offensive’. Because what people always forget --- almost purposely overlooking --- is that, when a real Roman Catholic tells them that there is no Salvation outside the Catholic Church, this then means, necessarily, that there is Salvation for anyone who does enter this Church, believing & doing all that She commands!
How, then, is the Dogma of Exclusive Salvation inherently offensive? Because it’s not exclusive due to something beyond someone’s control… it’s not like a real Catholic is saying, “You can’t be saved because you’re blond. Only dark-haired people can be saved.” And it’s not like a real Catholic is saying, “You can’t be saved because you get hungry & eat food. Only people who starve themselves to death can get into Heaven.” No! Rather, all we dare to say is this: that anybody can save his soul provided he enters the Catholic Church.
Anybody. Period. No exceptions made.
The exclusion, then, happens because people exclude themselves, not because we ourselves exclude them. And the real problem, as a result, is not a matter of ‘cult-like’ behaviour, but a matter of truth & right. That is to say, is what we say true & right? If so, then Paula & I are correct, and people need to become Catholic to save their souls. But if not, then we are terribly mistaken and need to get our heads screwed on straight.
The catch is, we used to be what you guys are. We used to think just like you, talk just like you, believe just like you, and, in general, be exactly what you are when it comes to religion & human behaviour. We therefore already know precisely what it is that you & the rest of the family think & believe. We are already aware of the arguments against the Catholic Faith and why you assume the idea of saving your soul only within the Church of Rome is automatically ridiculous. And we are perfectly well-acquainted with your position for one simple reason: because we thought the same thing at one time!
You guys, on the other hand, are unaware. Not a single one of you has ever been truly Catholic. Not a single one of you has ever truly & carefully talked to us about the reasons why we believe what we believe, or why we have the audacity to say what we say about only Catholics getting into Heaven. None of you has any clue as to all of the historical evidence, scriptural proof & plain good sense for knowing that Catholicism really is God’s One & Only Way to Salvation. And I include you in this, X, not because I’m trying to insult you --- but because, as far as I can tell, you have not yet totally, carefully & thoroughly read the books that I have posted on The Epistemologic Works explaining, in great detail, how it is that anyone can know that the Roman Church is indeed God’s Sole Means of saving his immortal soul. Hence, how can any of you know that we’re ‘mistaken’? Are any of you omniscient or infallible?
Then just what is it that you’re basing your opinion upon?
Merely that we’re ‘offensive sounding’ in what we have the nerve to say?
Well, goodness! A man who knows the earth is round is going to sound ‘offensive’ to the person who thinks the earth is flat, isn’t he? But does that mean that the man who knows the earth is round has to go around talking to people who believe in a flat earth as if their belief is true, or as if his knowledge of a round earth is somehow in ‘doubt’, or not yet ‘proven’?
Of course not!
He says what he says, knowing it to be the truth. He can say it politely, speaking courteously. But it still comes down to this: that in telling the truth about the earth, he’s going to make the flat-earth believer realize that he knows belief in a flat earth is wrong.
End of sentence.
How can anyone get around this? You can’t. Either something is true, or it isn’t. Yet if it is --- and you know it for sure, with excellent evidence & reasoning on your side --- then how can you talk otherwise, pretending it’s not true or that it’s uncertain… and all because you don’t want to ‘offend’ your listener, who insists the earth is flat?
My dear X, you can’t do this. Not if you’re going to be honest; not if you’re going to stand by the truth. And the truth is that some truths offend some people. In fact, some of these truths will offend almost everybody! Now, if the truth being contested is not very important, something that means nothing in the long run, then who cares? Drop the subject. Why fight about it? But if, on the other hand, the truth that is being opposed is a matter of life & death --- even eternal life & death --- then how in the world is anyone supposed to shut his mouth about the topic if he knows better?
Think about it. Like I helped my wife say in writing to another person very recently:
“If your apartment complex were burning down and I came running through your front door to tell you that you’d better get out of there as fast as possible so you don’t die, would you look at me and say, ‘I don’t let anyone preach to me about fires or try to convert others or myself to believing in the danger of burning up in a fire’? I mean, come on! Wouldn’t my warning you about the danger then cause you, at the very least, to take a close look at the evidence for the fire for yourself? Would you go around pretending to know everything already --- as if you could never be wrong about anything --- and wave me away with disdain, saying, ‘Silly girl, I’m never going to burn to death! You can pretend the apartment’s on fire all you like, that’s fine, but you shouldn’t force your belief about the apartment burning down on others’”?
X, the principle is exactly the same.
No one would expect a truly helpful & considerate neighbor to refrain from talking about the threat of a very real fire to someone’s life just because the idea of a fire is ‘offensive’ to this someone. That is to say, no one in his right mind would expect you not to warn him about the fire just because this stubborn person finds your warning ‘disagreeable’ or ‘unbelievable’. To the contrary, the truly loving & thoughtful neighbor will warn this stubborn soul even though he knows the person will react with scorn & disdain.
And why… why will he do so?
Because it’s the right thing to do. That person, however arrogant or unreasonable he may be, is a precious soul in God’s Eyes, made in His Image. Ergo, everything possible must be done in order to save his life. We may not be able to ‘force’ anyone to cooperate in saving his life, but since when has merely daring to tell someone the truth ever been construed as ‘forcing’ something on someone? What if I told a heroin addict he needs to quit shooting his smack? Would you call that an act of ‘injustice’ on my part, would you be so rash as to say I’m trying to ‘force’ my anti-heroin view on this junkie simply by telling him that he shouldn’t do it?
Obviously not. Hence, this is not an issue of trying to ‘force’ something on anyone. Rather, this is a clash over truth & falsehood, between right & wrong. And what disturbs our family about Paula & I saying there’s no Salvation outside the Catholic Church is merely this:
That if we’re right, then the family is wrong. And if the family is wrong, then each & every one of you really is, truly & literally, going to suffer an Everlasting Hellfire should you die in this wrongness, refusing to take the Catholic Church seriously and eventually convert.
Now, X, there’s no ‘nice’ way to say what I have just said. It’s simply the truth, plain & simple. It’s no different than a doctor or a family member telling a patient: “You have cancer of the liver and you’re going to die unless you get this operation done.” Who wants to tell anybody that? Yet someone has to, provided it’s the truth!
Likewise Paula & I. We don’t like having to tell anybody that he’s on the Broad Path to Hell. It’s a sad thing to say --- and no one wants to hear it. Nevertheless, somebody has to tell them. Otherwise, how else are they ever going to know to get the operation done that will save their lives? In other words, the bad part of the story is that they’re headed for death. Whereas, and in contrast, the Good News is that they can still save their lives!
That’s really all we’re saying. It’s all we’ve ever said.
And, yet, saying this gets you into trouble.
So who’s being reasonable and who’s being unreasonable?
Were we to apply public relations strategy to these kinds of situations, then no doctor or family member would ever tell a patient that he’s got cancer and is going to die. After all, nobody wants to hear this, and there’s no ‘nice’ way to say it. Nonetheless, if the patient doesn’t hear it, then how is he going to know to get the operation in order to save his life?
Similarly, were we to apply public relations strategy to these kinds of situations, then no neighbor would ever tell a curmudgeonly acquaintance that his home is on fire and he’ll die if he doesn’t get out of there. After all, he doesn’t want to hear this, and there’s no ‘nice’ way to tell him. Notwithstanding, if the acquaintance doesn’t hear it, then how is he going to know to flee from his home in order to save his life?
My dear [relative], public relations strategies are based on a single thing: to make sure people like you. Consequently, nobody in business or politics ever wants to tell anyone something he’s not going to like. The whole purpose in public relations is this: I’m the one you want, while my competitor is either bad or not as good as me.
Or, as the case might be when it comes to religion --- because nowadays everybody wants to think that one religion is as good as another and that everyone has an unlimited ‘right’ to believe & do whatever he wants --- then the whole purpose in public relations is this: every religion is good and we all agree that being ‘nice’ to everybody is the most important teaching in the world that any religion could have.
Or, to put it perfectly plainly: love your neighbor, God doesn’t care about anything else.
+ + + 6. Where the Rubber Meets the Road + + +
Which then brings us full circle. Because you’ll remember, many paragraphs back, how this is the heart of the issue. That people today elevate the second & lesser commandment over & above the first & greater commandment. Indeed, that they forget the first commandment altogether! To wit, everybody today thinks ‘love your neighbor’ is the only thing of importance that Jesus ever said to believe & do (with the small exception, naturally, that a lot of those who call themselves Christian or born again still insist ‘believing’ in Jesus is critical, too), while no one ever remembers anymore how Jesus said that there is another & greater commandment, one that is even more important than ‘love your neighbor’. Specifically, that we are to ‘love God with all our hearts’.
We then discovered how loving God means to obey the commandments. In particular, the first three of the Ten Commandments. And that this, in turn, means having no false gods & no false religions in your life, instead believing & obeying the True God in His True Religion… the one that He started, and not just the ones that we make up.
So how can I be so sure that the Roman Catholic Faith is the True God’s True Religion and is not a manmade idea?
Read the books & article to find out. I assure you, the evidence of history, scripture & reason itself are all there. You will find plenty of proof & simple good sense for being Catholic in order to save your immortal soul! But, in a nutshell, this proof & sense amounts to this:
That the documents of earliest Christians from the first five centuries after Jesus, which number in the thousands of pages of writings, show the careful investigator how they taught absolutely nothing that is similar to the beliefs & practices of those calling themselves Christian or born again today, but agree only with what Roman Catholics believe & do. Moreover, that the Bible, when read thoroughly and understood completely as a harmonious whole, contradicts absolutely nothing in the Catholic Faith but instead upholds it, contradicting numerous teachings peculiar to those who call themselves Christian or born again today. And, finally, reason itself reveals, when applied to the teachings of those who call themselves Christian or born again today, how their teachings & practices are both self-contradictory and often inconsistent with their own selves or with the nature of humanity’s existence or of the world at large which we inhabit. Whereas, in opposition to this, reason itself reveals absolutely nothing that is either self-contradictory or inconsistent in the teachings & practices of Catholicism or in their relation to the nature of humanity’s existence & the world at large which we inhabit. Finally, that both documents from earliest Christians & the Bible itself reveal how true Christians have always believed & taught that absolutely no one can save his soul apart from believing & obeying what Jesus commanded or belonging to His Body, the Catholic Church, and that Roman Catholics have believed & taught this very same thing until this very day.
But this, X, is where the rubber meets the road. Because if you have no trouble believing what I have just briefly outlined in the paragraph above, then you must try to become Catholic right away. For, as I have already shown you, the Catholic Church teaches that there is absolutely no Hope of Salvation outside membership in Her Religion. Meanwhile, should you have doubts or questions about what I have just asserted in the paragraph above, being unwilling to accept my word for it at face value, then you are spiritually, morally & rationally obligated to check my story out. I.e., you must then take the next step and actually bother to read my books & article to see if what I dare to say really could be --- and is --- the truth about things when it comes to saving your soul. And you are obligated, if for no other reason, than because you know that I am an intelligent, learned & utterly sincere man. I may not be a ‘great man’ in the world’s eyes, having no fame, little power & even less money, but you know me well enough, both from years gone by and during this short email exchange, to be able to tell that I am no fly-by-night. That is to say, I have sought and I have found, and I have most excellent & sensible reasons for doing what I am doing. Indeed, how could I not, seeing as how I put myself in opposition to the rest of the world? What smart person --- or even stupid person, for that matter --- would invite & endure what we have invited upon ourselves & endured unless we, as intelligent persons, have excellent reason for doing what we’re doing, and unless we, even as stupid persons, have supernatural strength to endure it?
In the meantime, don’t be put off by the length or intricacy of these books & article. Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus is especially a pretty simple read, despite the scary-sounding Latin name. Furthermore, and as I said before, I divide all my longer writings into little bite-size chapters and give them simple, ear-catching titles that sum up the contents of that chapter while being easy to remember. Hence, if you just start reading Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus a chapter or two or three at a time, every day or so, then you’re going to do perfectly fine. You won’t be overwhelmed. How do I know? Because you’ve shown your intelligence by the letters that you’ve written me. If you can understand my first email in response to your first email to me, then you can certainly understand the words of the Extra Eccesiam Nulla Salus book, taking the book one little chapter or two at a time. It’s as easy as pie and you won’t have to put on your thinking cap for more than a half-hour at a time. Besides which, if you should find anything that stumps you, just drop me a line. I can clear it up for you in a jiffy. Ergo, you can do it.
+ + + 7. Tyrannized People Pretending To Be Free + + +
Lastly, know that my wife & I have never gone out of our way to buttonhole anyone out of the blue. I have never --- nor has my wife --- gone up to a complete stranger, or even a family member for the first time, and said, “You’re going to Hell if you don’t convert.” If the topic of Catholicism naturally arises, as it often will, I tell the truth where it naturally fits. That is to say, I don’t try to hide the fact that God started the Catholic Religion and this religion alone, and that there is no hope to save your soul for anyone apart from membership in this religion’s Church. Why should I? Simply to not ‘offend’ someone? Yet if that’s my strategy, then not only do I purposely ignore the Primary Reason for God’s Sole Religion of Roman Catholicism (what, in legal terms, is a kind of lying known as ‘equivocation’), but I also convert people imaginarily.
Consider. Were I to hide the fact that no one can get into Heaven apart from dying as a good Catholic, and then someone ‘converts’ just because he’s ‘attracted’ to my form or style of Catholicism, what have I actually ‘converted’ him to? To be Catholic you have to believe all of the teachings of the Catholic Church. And one of the foundational teachings of this Church is that there is no Salvation outside the Catholic Church. Ergo, how can anyone be truly Catholic if he doesn’t believe this… or doesn’t want to believe it? Yet if I refrain from speaking this particular teaching just because everybody today thinks it’s so ‘offensive’, then not a single one of these rather easily-offended persons is going to truly convert unless he first comes to grips with this ‘offensive’ teaching, is he?
X, this is precisely what has happened in the last two hundred years amongst bad Catholics and pretend ‘catholics’. They became enamored with, or scared by, the idea that God doesn’t care what religion you are as long as you’re ‘sincere’ and are ‘nice’ to everybody, and that people of all different types of religions should stop trying to convert each other or call each other wrong. People throughout Europe & North America after the American & French Revolutions were embracing something we now know as ‘religious liberty’ --- that it doesn’t matter what religion you are, either because religion is make-believe and doesn’t actually make a difference after you’re dead, or because God Himself couldn’t care less since He never started a specific religion or commanded everybody to practice a specific religion or, even if He did, since He doesn’t care to hold anyone responsible for not figuring out which of the religions is the one that He started & commands people to believe & practice. In short, it doesn’t matter.
Now, there are a few persons & congregations calling themselves Christian or born again today who buck this long historical trend. They still talk amongst themselves like it’s direly important to convert souls to their brand of ‘christianity’ so that they don’t go to Hell. Nevertheless, the outcome is still the same. Everybody is so steeped in the sacred cow of ‘religious liberty’ that almost nobody, and I repeat, almost nobody --- not even those few persons & congregations calling themselves Christian or born again who still think you have to convert to their religion in order to save your soul --- dares to talk & act, openly and with utter candidness in front of people who are not a part of their religion, like finding the true religion is crucial to saving anyone’s soul.
You know this is the case, my dear [relative]. Because you & I both inhabit the same society, and we have both of us grown up in the modern world. And the modern world preaches at us constantly from day one & throughout our daily lives --- don’t preach at anyone and in this way thus try to ‘force’ them to convert to your way of believing. You are rude, arrogant & narrow-minded if you do. Live & let live. Everybody has their own ‘truth’.
But, of course, this is nonsense. Everybody may want to think something’s ‘true’ in the privacy of his own mind, but if this truth is of such dire & world-shaking importance (like the only way to save souls) then you can’t keep quiet about it just for the sake of not offending anybody without actually revealing (in the most literal sense of how you act) that you don’t really think that it’s so very true & necessary for everyone to know & believe… or else you’d act a lot differently, and be completely open about it.
The bottom line is this:
Either it’s true that you know the only way to save human souls, or you don’t. Either it’s objectively & literally the truth, or it’s not. There’s no two ways about it. The thing is either real or else you’re fooling yourself completely.
End of sentence.
Or, to put it in down-to-earth terms, what if the hypothetical fire as mentioned several paragraphs back were dealt with according to the modern dogma of ‘religious liberty’? To wit, what if buildings being on fire were treated as a matter of mere ‘personal opinion’ and ‘individual liberty’ to either believe or not believe, and not as a matter of tangible & objective reality? What would happen? Why, you’d have houses & apartments burning down to the ground every once in awhile and absolutely nothing done about it. Many people would sit nonchalant in a burning building and lecture you mercilessly if you dare to warn them that they should escape. Fire stations would have nothing to do and thus no purpose for existence since, according to the principle of ‘incendiary liberty’, everyone is free to either believe in fires or not believe in them. Yet, if this is accepted as true, then, as a result, to try to put out a fire is the same as saying that a fire is real… and hence is ‘offensive’ to those who do not believe that fires are real. Ergo, no one should try to eradicate fires. After all --- what’s ‘true’ for you is all very fine, but you shouldn’t attempt to ‘force’ your opinion about fires on everybody else. It’s just not polite.
Well, then, welcome to modern life as it applies to religion. Because that, X, is the justification for not ‘preaching’ to anyone about religion. And ‘preaching’, in this day & age, amounts to merely daring to talk & act like what your religion teaches in regard to saving your soul is, indeed, most literally, tangibly & objectively true. In other words, people ruled by the heavy hand of a so-called ‘religious liberty’ are told from infancy that they’re so fortunate to be ‘free’ to believe or do whatever they want, religiously speaking. Meanwhile, and in reality, they have no real freedom to actually believe that only one religion is true --- and thus literally talk & behave like all others are false --- without hordes of busybody neighbors rushing to condemn them or a tyrannical government & news media not hesitating to vilify them publicly for daring to oppose the reigning regime.
+ + + 8. Separate Paths + + +
Yet why do Paula & I “shut out family members” (your words) from our lives “for not following the same faith”? In actuality, my dear [relative], it is not we that have “shut out” anyone from our lives. That is to say, we never converted to Roman Catholicism with the aim of separating off totally from anyone. We simply discovered a very obvious lesson --- that you can’t upend your life by converting to the One True Religion without everyone getting into a snit about it, and without realizing, sooner or later, that you don’t have much left in common with these people.
Now this is going to seem hard to understand for you, I’d imagine. But think it through carefully. If a man loves baseball so much that he dreams of nothing but playing baseball, of watching baseball, and of talking about baseball, how many people are going to want to be around him very much? Not too many. With the exception of other serious fans of baseball, pretty much everyone else will get bored or annoyed at him. And let’s say this fellow loves baseball so much that he dreams, too, of playing professionally. It’s all he can think about. He practices every chance he gets, he hangs out at baseball fields & studies the moves or plays of every single baseball great that he can find out about. He knows the rules of baseball inside & out. He can cite the stats of countless teams.
I ask you:
Who is going to be this man’s friend, who is he naturally going to spend all of his time with?
Lovers of opera?
Hunters of mushrooms?
No! He is naturally going to associate with those of a like mind, with a similar passion. It’s simply human nature. There doesn’t even have to be any kind of conscious plan that he’s following. He’s just doing what comes natural, what human beings always do --- they tend to hang out with the people who share their instincts, convictions, experience, affections & skills. What’s more, a man who is that adamant about baseball, who wants to play professional, will go so far as to be around professional players as much as he can. And, assuming he gets onto a pro team, he will then practice with them, talk with them, and fraternize with them almost all the time. Again… it’s only natural.
Similarly with us, X. And that doesn’t begin to take into account how we live nearly a thousand miles away from Paula’s side of the family. It’s not like we get down to Los Angeles very often or as if you guys get up here frequently --- if at all. Our lives are different. Too, we’re real Catholics in that we actually dare to have children… lots of them. You have a daughter. You know how much it takes to properly raise just one child. Multiply that six times over. It’s not as scary or hard as people nowadays want to think, but it does take a lot of strength & time. How much time, then, do we have left over to always be thinking about ringing up Paula’s mom or you or Y or your dad, etc.?
And suppose we did call or write every other day, or every week, or something. Then what? What are we supposed to speak about or write about for all of that time? When we say that we are Catholic, we mean that we are Catholic. This is Eternal Life & Death we’re talking about here. It fills our every moment of existence, it consumes our minds. After all, what are we supposed to do for all of eternity --- forever and ever and ever --- if we as Catholics do make it into Heaven to be with God? What… are we suddenly going to find the Catholic Faith to be all-absorbing & all-consuming if it wasn’t so particularly wonderful in our sight on earth to begin with? Are we suddenly going to find ourselves loving to be in Heaven and being with the Saints, if here on earth, before we die, we can hardly find the time or desire to talk about them & think about them now?
Real & serious Catholicism is like a professional sport, X. It is all-consuming. Every day of our lives is practice & testing to see if we’ve got what it takes to belong in Heaven forever & ever. And just like a man playing professionally dreams about winning the World Series, so we, too, as professional Catholics dream about winning the Celestial Series, of going to Heaven for All of Eternity.
Again, what’s the point of going to Heaven forever if you’re not going to take both Heaven & forever seriously? How in the world can this brief earthly life compare with spiritual bliss & existence neverendingly? Which is more important --- this short time of suffering on earth where no one can live forever… or an endless time of peace & reward in Heaven where everyone there lives without ceasing in perfect happiness?
It all depends on where your heart lies. Just like someone far away from his native country yearns for home, so we, also, as real Roman Catholics, long for our Home in Heaven. This earth is not where we belong; our place is with God living in Light Inexpressible.
I don’t expect you to understand. But at least I’ve tried. The rest is in the Hands of God and the Prayers of the Virgin Mary.
In summation, we have not “shut out” our families. We
have simply been Roman Catholic, daring to speak & act like Roman Catholics
have always spoken & acted for nearly 2000 years. Or do you not know how
earliest Christians --- who were Roman Catholic whether or not you know it, or
whether or not you want to believe it --- were ostracized, shunned, unemployed,
tormented & even murdered merely for daring to become Christians? What was
going on then? Were not the pagans of ancient
One man’s ‘dangerous cult’ is another man’s ‘spiritual family’, my dear X. The imperative thing is not, therefore, the fact that someone seems separate & disattached from the things that we consider normal & necessary in this life, but, rather, whether or not what he is believing & doing is true & right. And there is only one way to tell this: by studying the facts and examining the reasoning. And there is one very simple way to do this: by reading my books & article. They present the historical evidence, biblical proof & straightforward sense which you, or anyone calling himself Christian or born again, needs to see for yourself in order to know without a doubt that Roman Catholicism is correct… that it really is God’s Singular Means for Salvation.
+ + + 9. Which Family Will It Be? + + +
My parents refused to do this. Notwithstanding, they also insisted on visiting with us every so often. Meanwhile, we couldn’t stop being Roman Catholic when with them, just so they wouldn’t feel uncomfortable or get offended. We thus still behaved like Catholics even when they were around. Not that I ‘preached’ at them, raising the topic of Salvation at every other word. If anything, I went out of my way not to raise these topics, just so I wouldn’t make them squeamish & upset. If anything, I was too timid about the Catholic Faith for the first few years of my conversion, back in 1997 to 2001! Simply that we would pray in front of them before meals (not pretending to pray ‘with’ them since Catholics cannot be truly united, religiously speaking, with those who are not Catholic), that we would say something Catholic to our children while my parents were listening, or, conversely, that our little children would often say something Catholic to us while my parents were looking on, or that I would read about the lives of the saints at dinnertime (a daily family custom for us) when my parents shared dinner with us inside our home, etc., etc. These and other similar examples are all that I mean by saying that we couldn’t stop being Roman Catholic around them.
All the same, my mother, who absolutely detests the Catholic Religion (she was raised to do so and I was raised in the same way, thinking just like her at one time), could not keep quiet. She had to speak up. Consequently, starting in 2001, she would, every few months or so, explode with anger at me in an email, ripping the Catholic Church to shreds and attacking our teachings & practices. As time went on, the outbursts even came in person two or three times. Which in turn compelled me to respond since Catholics are duty-bound to defend the Religion of Rome where staying silent is equivalent to tacit assent to the attack or might be taken as ‘proving’ the attacker’s claims.
Eventually, these clashes became so serious --- and our growing Catholicism made us feel less & less pleasure in my parents’ presence due to our lack of important things in common with them --- that I gave them an ultimatum: either address my defenses on behalf of the Catholic Faith rationally, answering my specific points, or don’t dare to speak about Catholicism in my hearing ever again since I will rebut you whenever it is necessary. And I also told them: if you can’t admit that you’re capable of being wrong about religion or interpreting the Bible, then what’s the point? Why should we persist in arguing the issue? You despise our company since you despise our Catholicism, yet you won’t stop visiting with us. Then, to top it off, you attack the Church of Rome regularly, yet give no evidence in my sight that you’re taking my responses seriously, willing to admit where the evidence shows you to be wrong or give pertinent evidence on your behalf to support your side. Therefore, why should we continue to see each other?
And there the matter remains till this day for the past year. We
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.
And I go into detail about this clash between my parents & I, X,
because it’s the only thing I can comment on intelligently. That is, I
don’t know enough about Paula’s contact with you guys in
But you can see what our policy is for the present. We do not try to avoid all contact with family members. We will try to speak with them once in awhile if that is easily possible and they show interest in doing so. Howsobeit, there’s only so much we can talk about with them. Our lives are so deeply Catholic, the Faith of Rome so pervading our souls, that we have little in common with most people. And were we to talk about what really is important to us --- what really excites us --- who in the world is going to understand or care? We’ll get puzzled tones & looks at best, outright fear & derision at worst. What is the point of that? Not to mention that we cannot be silent when someone is wicked in our presence. For instance, let’s say someone is talking to us personally and uses God’s Name in vain. We can’t let that pass. It’s too important, and we have to speak up. Nonetheless, if we do, then that’s either going to enrage the person overtly (“you’re judging me, you narrow-minded Catholic”) or chase them away covertly (“man, I don’t ever want to talk to them again”).
Still, it all boils down to one thing. Sooner or later a person who is around us for very long has to decide: do I take their Catholicism seriously & find out why they’re Catholic when no one else in the world is like them today, or do I write them off as a bunch of first-class weirdoes, total nutcases?
X, I very much appreciate your polite words. You have gone out of your way to speak peaceably and I recognize that. I hope this email is not too long for you to digest. I felt I had no choice given your own lengthy second correspondence & clear intelligence. I’m sorry things are not ‘simple enough’ or ‘short enough’ for you on The Epistemologic Works website… and maybe not in this letter, either. Nonetheless, I think you’re intelligent enough to comprehend what I’ve already posted.
May the True God of the True Religion grant graces to your mind to enable you to see, and may Queen Mary the Blessed Ever-Virgin Mother of the Son of God so inflame your heart that you find no rest or contentment in this world till you look closely enough to know that Roman Catholicism is the only way that anyone can hope to find Everlasting Life.
Sincerely your [relative] with the love of Christ’s Cross for your soul,
+ + +
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