13 June, 2010

Insightful column from 'The Tablet' examining the excommunication of Sr. Margaret Mary McBride

The one argument that is not made clear (IMO) is that the Bishop did not excommunicate Sr. McBride. He was merely pointing out that she had incurred a 'self-inflicted' excommunication.  The Code of Canon Law makes it unequivocally clear that such a sentence is automatic in its effect if someone actively facilitates an abortion. He was asked what the teaching of the church was when the case was brought to his attention. He just affirmed that her action took her outside of the walls of the Church. This rendered her ineligible to fill the position she did with a Catholic Hospital, so he also took the appropriate action.

She (as most Catholics) knows that there is a straightforward practice for her to follow if she wants to be reconciled to the Church. We are ALL sinners, and nobody on earth can presume to know anothers' state before God. The Church can only control who belongs within its walls; not speak definitively on anyone's state of grace. As to the peril to her soul, that is ultimately up to God to judge. How He will mete out her reward is exclusively a matter between them. 



Further, the Church could not deny her membership within the communion if she desired to return, for Catholics see the Church as the imperfect temporal expression of Christ.  As we celebrated last Week on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, His mercy knows no limit. No one can morally presume to limit His forgiveness in earth if anyone were to call upon it.

Still it is an excellent article in that it does not degenerate into the polemics that pervade too many other contributions to this debate. I think you'll enjoy the read.

Fr. Tim
 


Sister of mercy
Morality of abortion


by Michael Sean Winters
www.thetablet.co.uk




Catholics in America are divided over the formal excommunication of a nun who authorised an abortion to save a mother’s life. It is the latest case to highlight the bitter divisions within the American Church


Most controversies within the Catholic Church do not get their own Wikipedia entry, at least not so soon. But the 14 May decision of Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix, Arizona, to state that Sr Margaret Mary McBride had formally cooperated in the procurement of an abortion and, by that act, had excommunicated herself from the Catholic Church, is no ordinary controversy.


Sr Margaret was vice president of mission integration at the St Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix when, late last year, a mother of three, pregnant with another child, was deemed unable to continue her pregnancy because of pulmonary hyper tension. The condition is a rare disorder that weakens the heart and lungs. For pregnant women suffering from severe pulmonary hypertension, the mortality rate is high.


The Ethics Board at the hospital was convened. The doctors asserted that only an abortion could save the mother’s life and that failure to perform the procedure would result in the death of both the mother and the unborn child. The Ethics Board, on which Sr Margaret sat, agreed to permit the abortion. A statement from the hospital’s administrators said: “If there had been a way to save the pregnancy and still prevent the death of the mother, we would have done it. We are convinced there was not.”


Upon learning of the abortion at the Catholic hospital, Bishop Olmsted ordered Sr Margaret to be reassigned and pronounced the formal excommunication, writing in his statement: “An unborn child is not a disease. While medical professionals should certainly try to save a pregnant mother’s life, the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child. The end does not justify the means.” The bishop quoted from Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae, and from the fifth edition of “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health-care Services” issued at the end of last year by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in support of his decision.


All are agreed that Sr Margaret is an outstanding Christian soul. A doctor at the Phoenix hospital described her as “a kind, soft-spoken, humble, caring, spiritual woman whose spot in Heaven was reserved years ago”. Others make similar claims for Bishop Olmsted. “He is not a crazy bomb-thrower,” I was told by a priest who knew Olmsted when he worked at the Vatican. “He is the sweetest man, a man who loves God.”


In most dioceses, priests are given faculties to absolve a person who has been involved in the procurement of an abortion and to re instate them into full communion. But when a formal pronouncement has been made, only the bishop can restore a person to full communion. Fr Ladislas Orsy SJ, of Georgetown University, said such decrees of excommunication are “exceedingly rare”. Canonists have expressed a wide range of opinions about Bishop Olmsted’s decree.


What is not murky is the response from the pews, where the Phoenix case has quickly become another battleground in the culture wars. Conservative Christians have largely applauded the bishop’s decision. The American Life League invited Catholics to sign a letter of support to Bishop Olmsted: “The individuals signing this letter pledge their support for Bishop Olmsted’s faithful defence of church teaching to accomplish his primary task – the salvation of souls in his diocese – which includes the souls of Sr Margaret McBride, the pre-born child whose death Sr Margaret authorised, the child’s parents, and any other individual involved.”


On EWTN – the Eternal Word Television Network founded in the US in 1981 as a cable channel to present Catholic-themed programming – Fr Robert Sirico, head of the Acton Institute, applauded Bishop Olmsted’s decision and the host, Raymond Arroyo, linked Sr Margaret’s role in permitting the abortion to the advocacy for health-care reform by other Religious women, whom he accused of “dissent” and “disloyalty”.


From the Left come two arguments. The first is that the Catholic Church is wrong to allow “religious dogma” to interfere with a patient’s decisions, as put on National Public Radio by University of Virginia Ethics Professor Lois Shepherd: “We live in a country where these decisions are made by the patients themselves – not by religious dogma. Can hospitals run by the Catholic Church continue to survive if they allow their strict adherence to doctrine to interfere with the basic standards of life-and-death care?”


The argument is a weak one, not least because it ignores the fact that Catholics believe there were two patients involved, and no one procured the consent of the unborn child to the procedure. More importantly, Catholic hospitals grew out of the gospel mandate to care for the afflicted, and those same Gospels are the basis of the Church’s opposition to abortion.
The second argument is slightly different and, ironically, mirrors some of the complaints from the Right. In an op-ed piece in The New York Times, it was put thus by Nicholas Kristof: “We finally have a case where the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy is responding forcefully and speedily to allegations of wrongdoing. But the target isn’t a paedophile priest. Rather, it’s a nun who helped save a woman’s life. Doctors describe her as saintly.”


The article ran around the Catholic blogosphere at the speed of light. Where some conservatives see the Phoenix case as another instance of dissent by Religious women, who are appropriately being investigated by the Vatican, some liberals see the case as another example of the hierarchy’s heavy-handed treatment of Religious women who have given their lives to the Church.


More thoughtful commentary has emerged on both sides as well. In the conservative journal First Things, Michael Liccione questioned the role of Sr Margaret’s subjective intent. He noted that the Church permits abortions that are not intended, for example when a woman has an ectopic pregnancy, requiring the removal of her fallopian tube. This will result in the death of the unborn child, but that is not the intended object of the surgery. Liccione argues that this “law of double effect” may have animated Sr Margaret’s decision, in which case, her moral culpability is diminished.


The more persuasive criticism of Bishop Olmsted’s decision is located here. In such dreadful circumstances, even if the actors make the “wrong” decision, heavy-handed punishment is ill-advised. Liccione writes that “the bishop’s ability to make such a confident judgement in this case seems very unclear – to me and to many others. Moreover, the public outrage over the Phoenix case illustrates the dangers of making politically significant announcements on the basis of moral reasoning that not many people can follow and that even theologically well- educated Catholics disagree about.”


This is also where one encounters the most persuasive arguments in favour of the bishop’s decision. The child is dead, and it is precisely in such difficult decisions that strict adherence to the Church’s moral teachings keeps good people from performing evil acts.


The Catholic bishops may regret that this situation has become another sideshow in the culture wars, but they are in part responsible for the Church’s involvement in those culture wars. The bishops have given support to groups such as the American Life League and EWTN, both of which have turned on the bishops when the bishops have not followed their conservative positions.


There is a yet deeper concern, and one that has not been much commented upon in the Phoenix situation. Yes, the controversy can be seen as a part of the culture wars. But it is also an example of a deeper pathology in American religious experience – the way religion is reduced to ethics in American culture.


“It is a great temptation for the Church to reduce its mission to that of an ethical authority in order to gain access to the public forum,” Mgr Lorenzo Albacete wrote in the Catholic quarterly Communio more than 15 years ago, and the warning remains true. Pope John Paul’s and Pope Benedict’s call for a “New Evangelisation” will be stillborn if the Church can’t find ways to proclaim the Gospel effectively, and a main impediment to that proclam ation is this reduction of religion to ethics.


Today, in America, the Catholic Left reduces the Church’s mission to a social-justice ethic, and the Catholic Right reduces the Church’s mission to its ethics on sexual morality. Bishop Olmsted’s decision has encouraged partisans of both Left and Right to embrace a defensive posture in which it is difficult to even hear the transcendent call of the Crucified who Lives.


When a moralism of the Left or Right trumps mercy, the Gospel is not proclaimed. The most frightening thing about Bishop Olmsted’s decision is, finally, not its justice or lack thereof. It is that, in his multi-paragraph statement announcing the excommunication, he did not even mention God. That is, if you will pardon the expression, damning.

68 comments:

  1. we need to remember 2 things...the Bishop had to do what he did...and God's judgment may not be the same as ours...i admire her for doing what she thought was the Godlike thing to do...may we all have the courage of our convictions

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  2. Anonymous14 June, 2010

    The author of the above article ends with :

    "When a moralism of the Left or Right trumps mercy, the Gospel is not proclaimed."
    While I agree that mercy is important, we cannot have mercy without asking pardon, and we cannot ask pardon without knowing that we have transgressed a law. In this case, the Bishop was merely stating the obvious... that the nun had excommunicated herself, or cut herself off from communion with the Body of Christ, His Church, by condoning an abortion-- even in this difficult case.

    And while I agree with the author that the mission of the Church cannot be reduced to mere ethics, I have a problem with his Leftist versus Rightist Catholicism theories. As I see it, there is only one Church (not a Left or a Right). Perhaps a more important thing to point out is the fact that our faith cannot be reduced to a set or rules. More so, it is about following and loving God, which entails doing His will in all things.
    CA

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  3. There is no doubt this is a high profile and a very sad case. It is obvious this unborn child was very much wanted by his/her family but a medical crises arose and a painful decision needed to be made.

    Yes, the Bishop did what he had to do even though his part was EASY, just follow what was written in a dogma or rules whatever it is called. I call it flexing his muscles.

    Sister Margaret Mary is the one that had to make a difficult and SERIOUS decision in that limited moment in time. In my opinion, it was not only difficult but courageous and the correct one in that special situation.

    The bottom line here is that the husband has his wife back with him and this woman is still a mother to the children she and her hubby have at home.

    I do not like abortion. Nevertheless, to ban all abortions is not only irresponsible but very dangerous for all females(women,teens,& even little girls). Sadly...it is a medical procedure that needs to remain legal. This is my personal opinion.

    Mary G.'s statement is right on target that is if you happened to believe in God.

    "God's judgment may not be the same as ours."

    I believe God is powerful enough to know what to do with the unborn.

    Lina

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  4. Anonymous14 June, 2010

    Lina,
    You say: "Sister Margaret Mary is the one that had to make a difficult and SERIOUS decision in that limited moment in time."
    However, any Catholic, and especially one serving on an ethics committee, has to have enough foresight to realize that this type of case can arise. One cannot wait until it arises to make a decision, and the right decision is always not to take life.
    As to the mother, we are all assuming that she is happy that she did not die. However, she may also be living with a sense of guilt. ie. She could be thinking, "I let my baby die... or, how could I have preferred my own life to that of my child"?
    I have personally met a woman who became very ill during her third pregnancy, and the first thing she said to me was: "I don't care about myself, I just don't want my baby to die". This was no special woman, she was ordinary, but she was following her natural motherly instinct which is that of protecting her child.
    The case in point is further complicated by the fact that some specialists have testified that given the right type of care, there is a chance of saving both mother and child.
    Just some thoughts.
    CA

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  5. Anonymous: Ca

    Thank you for your input on this subject.
    All I know thus far this family went with the decision and I know the Sister was in a meeting with others about it.

    As for the statement: "the right decision is always not to take life". That would be great "CA" in a perfect world or maybe in your little corner of the world.

    Every woman who had an abortion must go through many ups and downs with their feelings/emotions. Hopefully, they will get some help in counseling before and after the abortion medical procedure...only if and when they decide to choose it.

    Makes me wonder if your one of those folks who likes to inflict guilt on any female because your opinions about abortions differs from theirs. We can go back & forth with examples. Many females do not REGRET their abortions.

    It is sad when there is an abortion. Who ever dreams as a little girl when they grow up they will want to have an abortion.

    If a female DECIDES she rather died than abort her unborn then that is her decision. We need to respect that.

    But if YOU insist for her to die against her will and stop her having the procedure that is when You and others are way out of line. Or is the Church so hard up for more holy pictures of female martyrs?

    Your quote CA: "The case in point is further complicated by the fact that some specialists have testified that given the right type of care, there is a chance of saving both mother and child."
    Many pro-lifers just love playing Russian roulette with the woman's life? They always zero in on the unborn. Sorry folks...but the existing female rights comes first whether you agree with this or not.

    It always amazes me when I hear Church leaders(Cardinals, Bishops, priests etc..) talk about the topic like abortion, they seem to know more about medical procedures than the qualified doctors. Remember, these are ALL males. Should I be surprise? No big surprise there!

    I am finish discussing the topic of abortion. We just need to agree to disagree on this subject matter.

    Lina

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  6. Anonymous15 June, 2010

    Lina,
    Please don't get offended, but you seem to imply that I would force a woman to die rather than abort her child. And yet, that is not what I said. I merely stated that objectively speaking, the right decision is to never take life (ie. kill). God did not say ... "Thou shalt not kill, except in cases where an innocent person threatens your own existence". By this I am not pronouncing judgment on a woman who has chosen this because she truly saw no other way out. God in His mercy knows each heart.
    However, if the right decision can sometimes be to kill, then we have begun our descent down the slippery slope of relativistic morality.
    I am happy to agree to disagree.
    Take care!
    CA

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  7. To Anonymous: "CA"

    I am not offended. I should have lighten up on my sarcasm usage.

    I remember my Mom telling me when I was young: "if you are going to kill your baby be ready to die with your baby."
    Needless to say that is the attitude I grew up with until I started thinking for myself. That is, abortion is not good but in certain cases it is the only choice for certain females medical situations.
    Take care,
    Lina

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  8. "If a female DECIDES she rather died than abort her unborn then that is her decision. We need to respect that.

    "But if YOU insist for her to die against her will and stop her having the procedure that is when You and others are way out of line."


    BRAVA, Lina!

    "...you seem to imply that I would force a woman to die rather than abort her child. And yet, that is not what I said."

    Then precisley what DID you say? 'Cause I understood that that was exactly what you were saying.

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  9. Anonymous16 June, 2010

    Lady Janus,

    To state the objective moral reality that it is wrong to take life, is not the same as forcing someone to accept that reality.... unless of course, your own conscience is bothered by it.

    If I tell you it is not a good idea to run a red light and yet you insist on running it, then it is you alone who will suffer the consequences. Can I stop you? Not really.

    Take care,
    CA

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  10. CA, there is no such thing as "objective" morality. All morality is subjective. If it were actually objective, one's conscience (whatever that is) would not matter.

    And "not a good idea" is not the same thing as "wrong" or "illegal." The first is subjective, the third is objective, and the second is up for debate, depending on circumstances. What is "wrong" for one person may be "right" for another or it may be "wrong" for all. But "wrong" is too general a term to be used on its own. It really needs qualifiers.

    Therefore, it would probably be more accurate to say that it is "wrong" to kill someone unless your own life was in danger. And in the case of a pregnant women with a bad pregnancy, that might apply if the person doing the thinking regards a fetus as a person. Then that person will have to make a hard decision and live (or die) with the consequences of that decision. Those who do not regard the fetus as a person, however, will have much less trouble making that decision, and much fewer consequences.

    And running a red light does, indeed, have other-than-personal consequences.

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  11. Anonymous17 June, 2010

    Lady Janus,
    Glad you see that running a red light does indeed have other-than-personal consequences. You assume too much in insisting that abortion affects only the woman who procures it. Do you not believe that it can also (perhaps indirectly) affect others?
    Consider this... if a sister of mine were to abort, that would mean I would miss the possibility of being an aunt to that child. It would also deny my nieces and nephews a sibling and/or cousin. It may well deny the world a Mozart or a Bocelli. It would mean thousands upon thousands of people (the offspring of that one child) would never be born.
    So then, how can you say abortion affects no one else but the woman who procures it?

    As to morality being merely subjective, may I have your bank account number and pin please? [joking]

    CA

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  12. CA, I don't understand how you are linking morality with banking information. At any rate, the answer is no. And that's not a joke.

    As for abortion's "depriving" anyone but the woman of the "right" to be a relative, tough. She is not a brood mare to please other people. It is HER body that is involved, not theirs. As for its preventing thousands upon thousands of people's being born, I see that as a GOOD thing. We are overcrowded as it is; the last thing we need is more people.

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  13. Anonymous19 June, 2010

    Lady Janus,
    The banking information was a joke. I have absolutely no desire to steal your mula. I was merely trying to illustrate the fact that it is never morally licit to steal. Do you not agree?

    As to world over-population, all demographers are now realizing that we have a population implosion in most countries. This is a big problem, as economically there will not be enough workers to fulfill all the functions necessary to keep a society going.

    Note also that I never said that there is a a "right" to aunthood. I merely said that abortion does affect others, because sadly, links and relationships that could have been, are notand will never be--this is about a missed chance. It is not about "rights", but about love. Love for a babe that I could have held and called my niece or nephew, love for a cousin or siblingthat will never be. "Rights" language is not adequate to express the sadness of losing that possibility of loving another human being.
    Hope this makes a little sense?

    CA

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  14. "I was merely trying to illustrate the fact that it is never morally licit to steal. Do you not agree?"

    If you asked for -- and I actually gave you -- my banking information, you would not be stealing my moolah. I would be complicit in its dissapearing from my account, and therefore would have no legal recourse. That's why I said it's not a joke.

    As for whether one can say it's never morally licit to steal, that depends on the situation. If I were a parent with a starving child and no means of paying for food, I would have absolutely no qualms about balancing my child's right to feed against someone else's right to keep his groceries all to himself. That's why I said morality is always subjective -- it always depends on the specific circumstances and the individuals involved.

    It might help if you think of "morality" as a game of rock-paper-scissors; you can decide for yourself how you're going to play the game, but you can never guarantee that the other guy will play the same way.

    "This is a big problem, as economically there will not be enough workers to fulfill all the functions necessary to keep a society going."

    They were warned before they insisted on moving ahead with their grand pyramid schemes to build the current generation's wealth on the increase of the next generation. Now their great social experiment is on the verge of an I-told-you-so style collapse. Excuse me if I don't weep with them -- I thought it was a very bad idea to begin with, and now those of us who know that people are not financial cows to be milked are being vindicated.

    A new style of society will emerge from the rubble of the old. This is change, and change is necessary for growth.

    As for your "missed chances"...too bad. When you place all your own dreams on someone else's being pliable with her body's reproduction, you lose. She is NOT at your service! That is not "love" -- that is subjugation.

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  15. Anonymous19 June, 2010

    Lady Janus,

    When a starving person takes food that he or she needs for his or her sustenance, that is not morally-speaking equivalent to stealing. This is something I learned in a moral theology course, but it is just common sense.
    As to society... won't be really nice if there are no more computer experts to keep internet going. We may be going back to the dark ages. Yikes!!
    Love... is service and it requires relationships- it is not subjugation. Slavery is when you feel you had no choice but to abort another human being. That does not sound like true freedom to me.
    CA

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  16. Anonymous/CA

    "When a starving person takes food that he or she needs for his or her sustenance, that is not morally-speaking equivalent to stealing. This is something I learned in a moral theology course, but it is just common sense."

    That theology has been used for justification of all kinds of evil. It is referred to as liberation theology and was supported by some of the priests in Latin America in the past to justify the communist revolutions and fighting by revolutionaries. The liberation theology may have been later condemned by a pope who tried to reign in what was going on there. That involved a lot of murders, wars, confiscation of private property, etc. such as in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and various other places where you had the Communist revolutionaries.

    The ten commandments simply say "thou shalt not steal" It is does not give any exceptions.

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  17. Anonymous20 June, 2010

    Hi Small Town Guy! No, I was not referring to liberation theology. I am in no way a partisan of marxist-like philosophies.
    What I am referring to is the fact that morally speaking, if you were starving and there were absolutely no other way of getting food, it would not really be "stealing" to take food to alleviate a situation of extreme necessity.

    See here : http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14564b.htm

    "...one in danger of death from want of food, or suffering any form of extreme necessity, may lawfully take from another as much as is required to meet his present distress even though the possessor's opposition be entirely clear. Neither, therefore, would he be bound to restitution if his fortunes subsequently were notably bettered, supposing that what he had converted to his own use was perishable. The reason is that individual ownership of the goods of this world, though according to the natural law, yields to the stronger and more sacred right conferred by natural law upon every man to avail himself of such things as are necessary for his own preservation. St. Thomas (II-II:66:7) declares that in such straits what is taken becomes, because of the dire need experienced, one's very own, and so cannot be said to be stolen. This doctrine is sometimes expressed by saying that at such a time all things become common, and thus one reduced to such utter destitution only exercises his right."
    CA

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  18. CA,

    " The reason is that individual ownership of the goods of this world, though according to the natural law, yields to the stronger and more sacred right conferred by natural law upon every man to avail himself of such things as are necessary for his own preservation. St. Thomas (II-II:66:7) declares that in such straits what is taken becomes, because of the dire need experienced, one's very own, and so cannot be said to be stolen. This doctrine is sometimes expressed by saying that at such a time all things become common, and thus one reduced to such utter destitution only exercises his right."

    I appreciate the fact you are not advocating Marxist type ideologies. Unfortunately, the doctrine you quoted which alegedly came from Thomas Aquinas has no biblical basis; at least, he does not given any Scriptural basis for his claim, which is so often the case in RC. Therefore, it can only be taken with a grain a salt and the opinion of an individual.

    While it sounds reasonable on the surface, it is easy to see that if one accepted it as a basic biblical principle, which I doubt it is, it could be used to justify almost anything. He claims it is a "sacred right" by an unnamed "natural law". In other words, it is purely on the basis that he says so that one is supposed to accept this doctrine. Trouble is it goes against the commandment which I already mentioned forbidding stealing. The Bible also says if a man will not work, let him not eat.
    It does not say if he can't find a job and earn some income, let him take from others.

    Regards

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  19. STG: How about the command to feed the widow and the orphan? How about his response to the pharisees on the question of the sabbath? He offers as an example the theft of food by David and his followers from the priests of the temple. Will these suffice for scriptural foundation for what Cristina has said?

    You're wrong in thinking that RC theology is not based in sacred scripture. It is ENTIRELY based upon scripture. What you parody as 'tradition' is not what it has classically meant for Catholics. 'Tradition' is the orthodox remembering of the earliest understanding of scripture, as taught and lived by the 1st century church.

    As to you condemnation of 'natural law', please understand that it is rooted in the earliest interpretation of the opening line of John's gospel. "In the beginning was the Word..." 'Logos' is understood to mean that God imbued all of creation with the capacity to be understood by man. This imprinted creation with a 'natural law' that reflects the teleological journey through time. If you believe in divine providence and purpose, you have to admit that creation is designed and purposed by God to achieve its proper end. You (as an evangelical) believe the same thing as do orthodox Roman Catholics on almost every aspect of theology. When we sit down and actually example what we believe, I have found FAR MORE agreement with my Evangelical and Pentecostal brethren than disagreement.

    You should check it out.

    I do not say this as an attempt to convert you (you are already a believer in the same Jesus as we hold as our Lord and Savior). I say it to make the argument that all that actually divides evangelicals and Catholics is that we lack a common understanding of the other. It's as if we are speaking different languages but actually describing the same thing.

    I hold it to be a proof of the Holy Spirit's movement upon the earth today that this amazing confluence of theologies that begin from very different starting points. God is collecting together those who have been faithful to the great commission. This can only be a good thing.

    Fr. Tim

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  20. Tim,

    "STG: How about the command to feed the widow and the orphan? How about his response to the pharisees on the question of the sabbath? He offers as an example the theft of food by David and his followers from the priests of the temple. Will these suffice for scriptural foundation for what Cristina has said?"

    In Matthew ch.12 Jesus and his disciples were accused by the Pharisees of breaking the sabbath by picking corn and eating it on the Sabbath. In other words it would not have been wrong for them to pick some corn on the other six days of the week. The Pharisees were not questioning the fact they picked corn; the problem in their mind was that they picked it on the Sabbath. Jesus responded with an example of how David ate some showbread from the House of God. David was given this bread by the priest as an act of mercy and compassion. "So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the Lord, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away." 1 Samuel ch21. vs6.

    In the case of the corn, it was the law given in the Deuteronomy which allowed people who were hungry to help themselves to individual cobs of corn. "When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour's standing corn." Deuteronomy ch.23 vs25.

    This was a special circumstance which is not related to the question of someone stealing something today. If would be clearly illegal for someone, even if they were hungry, to walk into a store and help themselves to groceries. What Jesus said in Matthew ch12 was to point out that mercy and compassion are equally applicable on the Sabbath as on the other six days of the week.

    Our discussion had to do with CA's reference to St. Thomas's claim that natural law permitted someone, in dire necessity, to help themselves to someone else's property; St. Thomas claimed it was not theft in that case. I was disputing that claim. The reference you made to Matt.12 does is a special case which does not support the general claim made by St. Thomas.

    The reference to feeding the widow and orphan is in one of the epistles and is referring to the instructions given to the church to take care of these people within the church. It is not suggesting anybody steal anything to feed them. It is exhorting the church to take care of them.

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  21. Tim,

    "You're wrong in thinking that RC theology is not based in sacred scripture. It is ENTIRELY based upon scripture. What you parody as 'tradition' is not what it has classically meant for Catholics. 'Tradition' is the orthodox remembering of the earliest understanding of scripture, as taught and lived by the 1st century church."

    That is what the RC church claims. But there are many RC doctrines which were developed long after the apostolic age and claimed on the basis of "tradition". Just to mention a few:
    -veneration of Mary
    -sinless perfection of Mary
    -assumption of Mary into heaven.
    -praying to Mary and the saints to intercede on behalf of the sinner. (Bible teaches there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus- 1 Timothy 2:5)
    -transubstantiation
    -purgatory
    -sacrifice of the Mass
    -apostolic succession
    -existence of the papacy

    These are just some of the doctrines which were proclaimed in the past 1800 years and would probably be claimed on the basis of "tradition" and cannot be supported with the Bible.

    Not all tradition is bad. If a tradition is in accordance with what the Bible teaches, Protestants would accept it.
    But if it can't be supported by the Bible or is contrary to the teaching of the Bible, it must be rejected.

    Jesus said this about certain traditions.
    "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Matthew ch15 vs9.

    In other words, Jesus condemned traditions that are the commandments of men. If a tradition that a church practices cannot be proven as a teaching of God, what would or what did Jesus say about it?

    Even the doctrine that the RCC gives equal authority to so-called "sacred tradition", if examined in the light of this verse, must be found wanting.

    Where in the Bible is there any support for any so-called "sacred tradition" which is not taught in the Bible? Isn't this exactly what Jesus was speaking against in Matthew ch15 vs9?

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  22. Tim,

    "You (as an evangelical) believe the same thing as do orthodox Roman Catholics on almost every aspect of theology. When we sit down and actually example what we believe, I have found FAR MORE agreement with my Evangelical and Pentecostal brethren than disagreement."

    Sorry, I must disagree. I would say as a Reformed christian we would disagree with most of the central teachings of the RCC. The difference between the RCC and most Protestant churches is as different as night and day.

    We would find agreement is what the Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed and possibly some other creeds say. However, it is not the wording of those creeds that we disagree on; it is the interpretation of the creeds we would probably find major differences. The RCC has unique doctrines that it developed over the last 1800 years that were rejected in the Reformation because they were not supported by the Bible or contrary to what the Bible teaches.

    Of course we believe in a trinity. But what the RCC believes about Christ is much different than what many Protestant churches believe.

    I'm not sure what your Pentecostal and evangelical friends believe, but it is possible they do not know much about what the RCC teaches and believes. You should be aware there are many people, even in the church I belong to, who know very little about the RCC simply because they have not been exposed to it or studied it. To assume they believe the same way as the RCC is a grave mistake.

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  23. "Slavery is when you feel you had no choice but to abort another human being. That does not sound like true freedom to me."

    Slavery is also when one feels one has no options but to continue with an unwanted pregnancy. Why is it that those who are anti-choice always assume that all women want to be pregnant? Or that those who opt for abortions are somehow being forced into them?

    I will always have a choice. I insist on it. All should have their own choices regarding their own bodies; but no one has the right to make those choices on behalf of anyone else.

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  24. STG:

    The least biblical thing that ever occurred on this planet was what is called the Reformation. It is most definitely not biblical to attempt to destroy what God has created. Particularly, when what you try to replace it with amounts to lies to people about being based on the whole TRUTH.

    Jesus Christ formed a Church on Peter and the Apostles. It is true that there was error in the behaviour of many in the Church. Still is, and always will be. It is a refuge for sinners. There just happens to be no error in the actual teachings of the Church.

    It is untrue to say that the teachings of the Church are not founded and supported by Scripture, but that is a heresy that you support and propound, and for which you will have to stand before God and give an account some day.

    Claiming a doctrine was developed after the Apostolic Age sounds good, but if you were to research any one of the doctrines that you listed above, you would be able to find the scriptural background for them, and would have to admit that you are dead wrong on each and every one of them.

    Of course, if your source of research is Boettner, then you can't get to the truth. Using Boettner's laundry lists and "research" to believe things about the Catholic Church would be like me asking Lady Janus about you, and then forming my beliefs about you and your life from that. No offence meant to Lady J, since I think she would not fall into the pit of trying to explain a person away from comment posts, which is all she knows of you.

    But, if perchance, she gave opinions, they like Boettner, would be unfounded opinions. If I wanted to know you, I would either have to know YOU, or someone who knows you very well, like your mother for example. Then, I might be able to develop an informed opinion on you.

    You come to the party here, Father Tim's party by the way, which is like walking into his home. Then, you write opinion statements about Him and his beliefs, not based on those beliefs themselves, but based on the teachings of an outsider to the Catholic faith, someone with an axe to grind.

    It is a blessing for all Christians to work out their salvation so that they can meet Jesus at the foot of the Cross.

    It is a curse for those who in their arrogance attempt to tell other Christians what they, the other Christians, believe without even asking them, making the assumption that they alone know the path to salvation.

    It is also a curse to so idolise a book, the Bible, as to attempt to limit God to the words of that book, He who is the Word made flesh, and who was in the Beginning. God is far greater than just the printed word, though there is not an untrue word in the bible.

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  25. MBrandon,

    Michael. You have gone overboard in your comments. I never wrote opinion statements about Tim. I did use the Bible to refute religious arguments he made as I would with anyone in a religious debate. You think using the Bible is limiting God? If that were true, why would God have inspired men to write the Bible? Why would God have said all those who follow His (written)Word are of God and those who don't are not of God?

    If the Bible, which is God's Word, is not authoritative above all teachings of men, why did Jesus say "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."? Mark ch9 vs7.

    If traditions cannot be proven as being authorized in Scripture, why should they be accepted? Why did Jesus say "...Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." Mark ch.7 vs9.

    Michael, even the Catholic church claims to accept the Bible as sacred and inspired Scripture. So how can you say it is a curse to so idolise a book? It is not possible to "idolize" what God has spoken. God's words and revelation cannot be separated from God himself. King David wrote in the Psalm "Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them. The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple." Psalm 119 vs 129, 130.

    You are critical of my commenting on here, on Tim's blog. I submitted my comments and he has been gracious to allow them to be posted even though they may disagree with what he believes. You would ban everyone who does not agree with you. Wasn't that the policy of the RCC for many centuries down through the dark ages and the thinking behind the Inquisition in Europe? Rome put the Bible on the index of forbidden books because it exposed it's unbiblical teachiings and anyone who dared to question Rome was a heretic and needed to be brought before the Inquisitors. No, the Reformation was a blessing from God which brought light to Europe and freedom to millions of people.

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  26. Anonymous23 June, 2010

    Lady Janus,
    "Slavery is also when one feels one has no options but to continue with an unwanted pregnancy."

    I agree ... to do anything unwillingly and without love can become a true slavery.

    "Why is it that those who are anti-choice always assume that all women want to be pregnant?"

    Actually, no one is assuming that all women want to be pregnant. However, having sex has obvious consequences.

    "..Or that those who opt for abortions are somehow being forced into them?"

    Yes, I have known women who felt they had no other choice.

    "I will always have a choice. I insist on it. All should have their own choices regarding their own bodies; but no one has the right to make those choices on behalf of anyone else."

    OK.. no need for tantrums! But be serious, it's your own body when it's your appendix. When it's a developing human you carry for 9 months out of a lifespan of 80, it can hardly be called your body.

    CA

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  27. Wayne:

    Again apologies for the delay in responding to your response. Same reasons as before.

    Pardon my irritability.

    Of course, as I said, I believe as does the RCC that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and not just the parts that the Reformers retained. As such, it deserves to be treated with reverence.

    The Bible is an essential part of the Christian faith, as it should be. But Jesus, the Living Word of God is the center, not the Bible. But, the Bible would not exist without the traditions of the early Church on which the canon was determined. It didn't just suddenly appear out of thin air.

    I said that you come to Fr. Tim's blog and "you write opinion statements about Him and his beliefs, not based on those beliefs themselves, but based on the teachings of an outsider to the Catholic faith, someone with an axe to grind."

    First, he is Father Tim to you and me, not Tim, out of respect for his position in the Church. If I met your Pastor, particularly if he had expressed nothing different to me, I would call him Pastor out of respect for his position.

    But, the opinions that you express as facts, are far from that. They are just opinions of someone who stands in opposition to the Church that Christ founded on Peter and the Apostles. It is the same Church that he gave the Eucharist to with specific instructions about its importance. It is the Eucharist that we all need to have life within us, as per John 6:51-59.

    The traditions of the early Church were the understood teachings of the Apostles, who were present with Christ, and all of those traditions are supportable by Scripture, as they should be.

    Where they break down, is when you try to start the Church over again, throwing the baby out with the bath water, and ignoring the traditions that Jesus himself was a part of.

    So, now in Protestant Christianity, you have 20,000 denominations because everyone wants to interpret scripture for themselves. As Doctor Phil says: "How's that working for you?" It's not. The Body of Christ is fragmanted, and Jesus weeps.

    The Catholic Church has been decimated by the movement of many believers to other denominations, which have in turn been decimated by defections over dogma.

    Does it make sense to you that this is what Jesus wanted? It sure does not work for me.

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  28. "...to do anything unwillingly and without love can become a true slavery."

    Not exactly, no. Lots of people to things unwillingly, but they do them anyway for whatever reasons. The slavery becomes evident when they are not allowed a full range of options. And "love" has nothing to do with it.

    "...having sex has obvious consequences."

    Not anymore. Grab that branch and haul yourself into the twenty-first century, willya? The only consequence most people want from sex most of the time is an orgasm.

    "But be serious, it's your own body when it's your appendix. When it's a developing human you carry for 9 months out of a lifespan of 80, it can hardly be called your body."

    I am quite serious. When my body is involved in any way, I get final yea or nay, even over what you think is a person. If I don't think it's a person (and I don't), then it counts for nothing in my decision regarding the integrity and use of my own body.

    If a "developing human" must use somebody else's already-existing body in order to mature towards birth, then it had better make sure that the body in which it is growing is owned by someone who will allow that use of her body. I will not.

    "OK.. no need for tantrums!"

    Cut it out. Such infantile attempts at mischaracterisation are completely uncalled for.

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  29. MBrandon,

    "First, he is Father Tim to you and me, not Tim, out of respect for his position in the Church. If I met your Pastor, particularly if he had expressed nothing different to me, I would call him Pastor out of respect for his position."

    Speak for yourself. Jesus said "And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven." Matthew ch23 vs9

    I have respect for Tim but your demand that everyone else call him Father is absurd. I am not a Roman Catholic, do not belong to your church, and neither do I agree the dogmas which the RCC claims. The reason is simple. I believe what the Bible says, and I accept what Jesus said about calling no man "father".

    If you meet a pastor, you can call him what you wish, first name, last name, Mr., Rev, Pastor, whatever suits you. I doubt he is going to demand that you call him by a certain title as you are demanding. If someone calls him pastor, it should be done by personal desire, not because someone demands it be done.

    Even the apostle Peter warned the elders against lording it over the people when he said "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock." 1 Peter ch5 vs1-3

    You say the church was founded on Peter and the RCC makes that claim as the basis for the papacy and all the authority it claims in the world. Many disagree with that interpretation of Scripture. Many believe the Greek word for "rock" in Matthew was referring to the confession that Peter had just made. "And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Matthew 16:16
    If the word rock referred to Peter, why was not the same Greek word used for rock as for Peter? Why didn't Jesus say Thou art Peter and upon you I will build my church? But he didn't say that. Jesus used a male gender word (Petra). Then he used a different gender word for rock (possibly petros). Different words referring to different things.

    Why did the apostle Paul never mention Peter was the first pope or head of church in his various epistles. If the early church was really founded on Peter, don't you think it is strange that it is not mentioned throughout the epistles. Even Peter himself makes no such claim for himself.

    There might be 20,000 denominations but there is only one true church. That church is made up of all those who have been born again by faith in Christ.

    In John 6: 51-59 Jesus was not referring to the Lord's Supper but the references to eating his flesh and blood were symbols for faith in Christ. The verses are spiritual in nature, not physical. See verse 63. Let me ask you. Are there two ways to eternal life, one by eating Christ's flesh and blood physically, and one by faith in Christ?

    "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." John ch6 vs47.

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  30. Michael & STG: At its essence, you are saying and believing in the same thing, although there is a problem with each of you talking a different language. May I suggest the following as a starting point: That what we (RC & Protestants) share in common is a belief in Jesus creating a Church that exists spiritually continuing his work and bringing creation to its fulfillment when he returns again. I know that the second birth of baptism and faith is the means by which membership is obtained in the Church for all Christ's faithful.

    Where we part ways is when we get into the structures and visions of how the work of this common church is supposed to be done. That's what leads us into the usual pot-pouri of 'either/or' arguments: faith/works, etc.

    What no one can effectively answer for me why it has to be 'either/or'. Why can it not be 'and'?

    IF we believe in the same one Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; second person of the Trinity; He who is to come at the end of time to mete out His final judgment (this is 'RC Beliefs: 101'). Is it not the same for evangelical Christians?

    Do we not both believe that Christ died once on the cross of Calvary for the sins of the world? Do we not both believe that salvation, aside from in and through Christ is impossible?

    The HOW by which we put these beliefs is in dispute. NOT the beliefs themselves. If you honestly believe that Catholics do not believe this, then I do not know how I can convince you. It was what I was taught in the Seminary. It is what I hear other priests saying. It is what even the Pope is saying. If someone as Catholic as JPII and as Protestant as Billy Graham (just to name one) could come to accept this truth, why is it so difficult for us?

    When Christ comes, we will find out which among his 'had it right'. If there is some lacking to atoned for it will be Christ as judge who will decide which of us merit a place among the elect. Why is it so difficult to believe that we will all be rewarded for our faithfulness to his teaching and mission, irrespective of how that desire was expressed?

    Just wondering?

    Fr. Tim

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  31. Anonymous25 June, 2010

    Lady Janus... OK my apologies for the mischaracterization! You say:
    " If a "developing human" must use somebody else's already-existing body in order to mature towards birth, then it had better make sure that the body in which it is growing is owned by someone who will allow that use of her body. I will not."
    Just a question...How ever did you make sure your mother would carry you to term before appearing in her womb at conception? I mean, how did you ensure she would allow you to use her body?
    CA

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  32. Tim,

    "IF we believe in the same one Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; second person of the Trinity; He who is to come at the end of time to mete out His final judgment (this is 'RC Beliefs: 101'). Is it not the same for evangelical Christians?"

    One thing I must give you credit for; you are able to discuss things in a spirit of civility and restraint. I suppose you were trained to or is it a natural gift?

    You have said a lot in your posting which I can't adequately deal with in one reply. Some of it will require some reflection.

    But this one paragraph does bring some interesting thoughts to mind. You say we believe in the same Jesus Christ. Evangelical christians do share the belief with RCs that Jesus is both human and divine, we also believe Jesus was raised from the dead and ascended to heaven, we believe He is coming again at which time there will be a final judgment.

    Where we differ is something that cannot be ignored and which may have incalculable consequences. If I am correct, one the central beliefs the RC has is the literal or physical presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. This is not what we believe. We believe the elements of the Lord's supper are symbols which represent His broken body and shed blood. We also believe Christ died and shed His blood 2000 years ago on the cross and it can never be repeated. We believe this is what Hebrews tells us in chapters 9 to 11 inclusive.

    You say you believe in Jesus as Lord and Saviour and think it is the same as we believe. But what do you believe about Jesus' death? Why is there a need for the Mass? What does it mean? What does Jesus' death mean to you? These are some of the questions which must be asked if you say we believe in the same Jesus. Do we believe the same things about Jesus or are there differences?

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  33. STG: Thanks for the compliment. My approach is all me... not a result of any training beyond what I was taught from my parents about being politic and respectful.

    You ask some essential questions. I will do my best to answer them.

    The Mass: Yes, we believe that via the Mass, Jesus is made actually present in the Eucharist. This is a major point of division between our Churches. But, as Catholics, we do not believe that Jesus HAS TO come back time and time again. His one sacrifice and resurrection is sufficient. We believe that he CHOOSES to come each time the Eucharist is celebrated so as to feed and strengthen us.

    The easiest way I can explain it goes like this: God created everything... including 'time'. He himself (being the Alpha & Omega) exists outside of 'time'. He created it so He must be above it. Thus every 'time' we celebrate the Eucharist, we are accessing that immortal moment when the reparation for our sins was made. For at that moment, all sin that was, and was to come was defeated by in the great Paschal mystery. Thus for Catholics, the Eucharist is as real as is the sacrifice of Christ that we are remembering. We neither believe that the Eucharist repeats not adds anything to what God accomplished in an event that cannot be repeated. Put in simple terms, we believe that Christ dies and shed His blood 2000 years ago on the cross and it can never be repeated. We believe the same thing.

    Do we believe in the same way of worshiping the God who did this for mankind? No. The Mass is the most ancient manner in which this we honor and give thanks to God for this incredible gift: 'incredible' because it is the ONLY way that salvation entered the world. In my (humble) opinion this does not detract from the most important (indeed essential) belief that Jesus Christ died once for the sins of all mankind.

    Let me ask you a question in return. Do you believe that God actually cares HOW we worship or believe in Him as Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Do you believe that God could not work his grace through various ways of worshiping Him? To believe that, means that we are limiting God's power and mercy. This is something that we do not have the power to do.

    This is why the RC Church teaches that the true Church of Christ is a real (yet spiritual) entity that 'subsists' within all Churches that profess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We believe that it subsists within the RC Church just as it also subsists within your evangelical Church. Thus the divisions we put in place which separate us are man-made and are more reflective of our sinfulness than of His grace. Do you agree with this?

    So, if there is a NEED for mass, it is because we NEED it. It in no way reflects upon any weakness on the part of Christ's sacrifice, made once and for all time for all of us. The differences that exist are either signs of our sinfulness or God's super-abundant grace in offering humanity different paths to walk to the same end.


    Fr. Tim

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  34. "Just a question...How ever did you make sure your mother would carry you to term before appearing in her womb at conception? I mean, how did you ensure she would allow you to use her body?"

    Quite obviously, I had nothing to do with her choice. Did you really mean that as a serious question?

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  35. Tim,

    Thank you for your reply and thanks for your tolerance. It is good to meet tolerant people. The world could surely use more of them.

    Now you said "So, if there is a NEED for mass, it is because we NEED it. It in no way reflects upon any weakness on the part of Christ's sacrifice, made once and for all time for all of us."

    The truth I believe is that there is no need or place for the Mass. How can the Mass which purports to be a sacrifice for sin possibly do that when Christ as you said yourself made the sacrifice? When Christ died on the cross, did He say it is finished?

    As you know, Christ offered Himself once and then entered into heaven to appear before God on belhalf of His people, the people he died and shed His blood for.

    "Therefore, it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified by these rites, but the heavenly things themselves by better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf. Not that he might offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own; if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly from the foundation of the world. But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice. Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment, so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him." Hebrews chap.9 vs 23 to 28 Saint Joseph's NAB.

    Since Christ died for the elect, what need is there for some other form of sacrifice for sin, such as the Mass? Is that not a denial that Christ's once for all sacrifice is sufficient?

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  36. STG: In fact, the Mass is our Catholic statement affirming that Christ in fact died ONCE for our sins, and not only is that SUFFICIENT for all time, but it is a sacrifice that extends THROUGH and FOR all time. It is not a repetition of the paschal mystery, it is a connecting to this INCREDIBLE gift of God.

    Fr. Tim

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  37. Wayne:

    For a believing Catholic, criticism of those things that we hold dear does not sit well. Some of us, like Father Tim, are more patient. Some of us like me, sometimes get our backs up. I believe that his approach is much better, and apologize for my stroppy responses to your comments.

    I have taken offence at what I view as intentional misrepresentation of the teachings of the Catholic Church. But, as the bible says: "Love does not take offence." In saying that, I cannot find any reference to an exception clause. Hence my apology to you.

    As I wrote on my own blog, I do appreciate your knowledge of the bible. Regrettably most Catholics are not as steeped in the word of God as you are, and therefor we are not able to easily enter into dialogue about our faith from that perspective.

    Father Tim is addressing your interesting and meaningful questions about the Mass, but I thought something that might interest you is some writings on Eucharistic Miracles

    This link goes to a site that discusses the "Real Presence" as we call it here in the RCC, but also importantly presents several Church approved instances of miracles of the Eucharistic, that support the belief in Christ's presence in the Eucharist.

    http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/a3.html

    I also have on my desk a book "The Biblical Basis for the Catholic Faith" by John Salza, which uses only the Bible to support many major Catholic teachings upon which we disagree.

    I would gladly send it to you for you to read if you wish.

    God Bless You

    Michael

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  38. Mbrandon,

    Michael, apologies accepted. No problem. I undertand where you're coming from and the difficulty of reconciling conflicting views.

    My views of what the Bible teaches are not misrepresentations of the RC teachings. When trying to put into words some of these things, words are often misunderstood or taken in a different way than intended. So written communications is not always the best way of communicating, but it is what we have.

    I will have a look at your link.

    No need to send me a book. I have quite a bit of literature, including a thorough instruction book by parish priests and a catechism. Also we have the internet which has catechisms and endless information online. I have availability to far more information than I have time to read.

    Tim,

    "STG: In fact, the Mass is our Catholic statement affirming that Christ in fact died ONCE for our sins, and not only is that SUFFICIENT for all time, but it is a sacrifice that extends THROUGH and FOR all time. It is not a repetition of the paschal mystery, it is a connecting to this INCREDIBLE gift of God."

    Tim, with all due respect, the information I have in the book "Instructions in the Catholic Faith" by parish priests says in LESSON 32 THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS C. THE MASS IS A PERFECT SACRIFICE, BECAUSE IN THE MASS A PERFECT GIFT IS OFFERED. A few sentences down it says "Christ arranged His religion so that all of us could offer up the most perfect sacrifice. In the Catholic Church we actually offer up Jesus Christ Himself - not goats, oxen, or lambs."

    This is in direct conflict with Holy Scripture. Pauls' Epistle to the Hebrews goes into great detail of Christ's sacrifice. I have pointed to chapters 9, 10, and 11 in the RC Saint Joseph EDition of the New American Bible. The Bible does not authorize this system of the Mass which claims to re-offer Christ again and again as a sacrifice. This is like saying Christ's once for all sacrifice was insufficient. Man has no part in Christ's sacrifice. It is entirely a work of Christ.

    "By this 'will', we have been consecrated through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." Hebrews 10:10

    Only God's Son could offer an acceptable sacrifice to His Father to atone for the sins of His people. Man has no part in this.

    "But this one offered one sacrifice for sins, and took his seat forever at the right hand of God; now he waits until his enemies are made his footstool. For by one offering he has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated." Hebrews ch10 vs12-15

    "he also says: "Their sins and their evildoing I will remember no more.
    Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer offering for sin." Hebrews 11:17,18

    In other words, the Mass is a false system that can never take away sins. Christ has already made the sacrifice 2000 years ago. There is no further sacrifice for sin. True christians look to the one-for-all sacrifice which Christ made on the cross 2000 years ago for their sins. Nothing man can do can possibly add to a perfect sacrifice which Christ has made. It is essential that you see this. You can't have it both ways. Christ's sacrifice 2000 years ago was sufficient and complete. That is why there are no longer priests to offer sacrifices for sin. That all passed when Christ came 2000 years ago and offered Himself once for all.

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  39. STG: Stop and think about this for a moment. How could any HUMAN activity such as a mass be "perfect". The only way that it could be is by connecting it to the perfect and atoning sacrifice of Christ in his death and resurrection. Ergo my comment about 'time' and God existing outside of time. Since He is the one who made the sacrifice, and because it was sufficient for all mankind for all time (those that came before and after Christ), the mass can only be a reconnection to that original act of Christ. The mass is not ANOTHER sacrifice... it is a spiritual act that unites us WITH the sacrifice of Christ.

    Understand the language as it is meant and understood in RC theology and you will see that there is virtually no difference in what we believe.

    Again I say: we worship differently, but is this an indication of one group being 'right' and another 'wrong', or is it a sign of the superabundant grace of God to allow different paths that all coincide with one faith in one Lord, Jesus Christ? IS there only one 'true' earthly church or is there a spiritual entity, created by Christ, founded upon the witness of the apostles which exists with all churches that profess one faith in Jesus Christ?

    One more point: the mass does not and cannot in and of itself take away sin. NOTHING human can do that, only God can. We don't believe that even in the sacrament of confession that WE could forgive sin! (The priest is nothing more than a spiritual aid in bringing our sinfulness before God to seek his forgiveness!) But only if we unite ourselves with the grace of Christ's atoning sacrifice can sin be forgiven and salvation achieved. This is what we as Catholic believe the mass to be - a reconnection with the paschal mystery.

    If you want, I can research material for you to will demonstrate that I am neither lying to you about this, nor am I in error. Just let me know.

    Fr. Tim

    P.S. It is an immense pleasure to find someone with your grace and patience to walk through these issues with me. I SINCERELY hope that you understand that I am in NO WAY at all trying to 'convert' you. You have no need of any conversion so long as you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior and you are every bit as much a faithful Christian as any Catholic. The very fact that we can have this discussion is proof enough that we are both seeking the same thing: salvation through Jesus Christ.

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  40. Father Tim:

    The discussion that is going on here, which by the way began as comments to a posting on the excommunication of Sister McBride, is relevant and meaningful, even if some of us, okay one of us gets his noise out of joint from time to time.

    I personally think that it is important enough to bring out of comments to full blown postings.

    Wayne asks good questions, and does present cogent information. And, your responses in particular are well thought out and presented as well.

    Wayne:

    Having said that both of you particularly are presenting well thought out data to aid in communication, and understanding as well your comment about the difficulty of written communication, it is the medium that we have at present.

    I would prefer, of course to sit across from you and Father Tim and listen, not just to printed words, which get my voice when I read them, but to the words themselves, the body language and particularly the heart.

    It is so difficult to communicate the heart in words, I think, though there are some who do it well.

    Which brings me to some comments that I would like to add to the discussion.

    My faith in Jesus Christ as My Saviour and Lord is a heart felt belief, and His word is written on my heart, far better than I can absorb from the printed page. He has presented Himself to me in many ways over the years. There have been times that I have known He was present, that would be the tiniest part of the whole, and far too many when I did not.

    But, He has appeared to me through miracles that have occurred in my life, including a miraculous healing from debilitating arthritis about 20 years ago.

    But, one of the most amazing signs that I ever saw was a miraculous vision around the Eucharist and its consecration many years ago.

    For a number of years, one of our diocesan priests was a close personal friend. He was the Director of Youth Ministry in its formative stages in our diocese, and lived within our parish boundary, not too far from my own home. He acocmpanied us on family vacations, and we enjoyed his fellowship. He said the mass with reverence for the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

    On one particular Sunday, he was saying mass in our then parish (since closed - sad to say) of St. Joseph's. Behind him on the wall as he said mass, was a beautiful crucifix modeled after the very realistic one that Pope John Paul II used himself.

    I had been contemplating whether I really thought that Christ was present in the Eucharist. I believed it in my head, but it had not yet taken up residence in my heart.

    From where I was sitting in a particular pew, when he raised the Eucharist in the consecration, I had a most unusual vision. I saw the bread being consecrated dissolve into the corpus of Christ that was on the cross immediately behind him. I later asked if anyone else saw what I saw, and no one had, but from that moment on, my belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist moved from my head to my heart.

    For me it is a matter of the heart, the same place in me where He resides, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

    There is nothing more that I can add.

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  41. Tim, Michael,

    "The mass is not ANOTHER sacrifice... it is a spiritual act that unites us WITH the sacrifice of Christ."

    I am not sure where you got that Tim. That is not what the book I mentioned "Instructions in the Catholic Faith" says. As I said the book calls it the Sacrifice of the Mass. The Baltimore Catechism No.2 says #51 Why did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist? Ans. 6. "To continue the sacrifice of the Cross in His Church."

    In other places it is called an unbloody sacrifice.

    Ques. 263. Q. What is the Mass?
    A. The Mass is the unbloody sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ.

    Ques. 265 Q. Is the Mass the same sacrifice as that of the Cross?
    A. The Mass is the same sacrifice as that of the Cross.

    So there it is.

    Paul's epistle to the Hebrews makes it clear Christ was offered once on the cross. Check chapters 9 and 10. There is no warrant anywhere in Scripture for the system of the RC Mass.

    Also, the Bible makes it clear there is no sacrifice for sin possible without the shedding of blood. The Mass is purported to be an unbloody sacrifice. There is no shedding of blood in the Mass.

    Going back in the Old Testament to the time of Moses when God first instituted the ten commandments and various laws and regulations for the children of Israel, he said:

    "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul." Leviticus ch.17 vs11.

    The apostle Paul speaks about Moses and said "Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law pruged with blood; and WITHOUT SHEDDING OF BLOOD IS NO REMISSION." Hebrews ch9 vs21, 22.

    The Old Testament sacrificial system is compared with the ministry which Christ accomplished in Paul's epistle to Hebrews.
    "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redmeption for us." Hebrews ch9 vs12

    It is only the shedding of Christ's blood 2000 years ago that has atoned for sins of His people. The so-called sacrifice of the Mass is therefore worthless and if one is trusting in that for their salvation, they have a false hope. Only Christ's one time sacrifice 2000 years ago atoned for sins. There is salvation in none other but Christ's blood. There is no other atonement for sin possible as the Bible makes clear.

    When Christ died on the cross, the Old Testament priesthood and sacrificial system ended. The veil of the temple was rent in twain. (Matthew ch27 vs51) The RC system of the Mass is a vain attempt to institute a sacrificial system not authorized by Christ and the apostles.

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  42. Michael,

    "My faith in Jesus Christ as My Saviour and Lord is a heart felt belief, and His word is written on my heart, far better than I can absorb from the printed page. He has presented Himself to me in many ways over the years. There have been times that I have known He was present, that would be the tiniest part of the whole, and far too many when I did not."

    It would be impossible for anyone to look into what you related and analyse it. If you really believe in Christ as Saviour then you must stop trusting in a man-made religious system for atonement of sins, which is not authorized in the Bible.

    The important thing is what does God's Word say and what do you personally believe about Christ? Jesus said that God wants His people to worship him in spirit and in truth. Don't put trust in miracles either. There have been many miracles claimed in the world. How much of it is true and how much is false or an illusion is impossible for anybody to say. And don't forget the devil has power also; perhaps he can perform miracles. When Moses dealt with Pharoah, Pharoah's magicians could perform miraculous things as well. (see Exodus) Our faith must not be in miracles, and not in a man-made religious system of atoning for sins, but in the Christ of the Bible and in His atonement.

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  43. STG: "So there it is." EXACTLY!!! Please take a moment and look at what you quoted. I will add the emphasis to demonstrate the point I am trying to make

    1. "The Baltimore Catechism No.2 says #51 Why did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist? Ans. 6. "To CONTINUE THE sacrifice of the Cross in His Church."

    2. "The Baltimore Catechism No.2 says #51 Why did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist? Ans. 6. "To CONTINUE THE sacrifice of the Cross in His Church."

    3. "Ques. 265 Q. Is the Mass the same sacrifice as that of the Cross? A. The Mass IS THE SAME SACRIFICE as that of the Cross."

    Please note: 'IS THE SAME', 'CONTINUE THE SACRIFICE'. The Baltimore Catechism is saying exactly the same thing that I am. That the mass is a uniting with the ONE SACRIFICE of Jesus on the cross. If it were anything else, it would be absolutely USELESS! The only way that it has any merit is if it connects us today with the one sacrifice on the Cross!!

    Let me try to explain it another way. In the Gospels, Jesus tells us that wherever two or three are gathered in his name, he is there amongst them.Correct? How can he be among us if he died, resurrected and then ascended into heaven? Answer: In the same way that he unites us to his saving grace, won for us on the cross that we celebrate in the mass.

    Let me also answer the 'blood' question. In the old covenant with YHWH, the blood of the animal sacrificed was sprinkled on His altar thereby bringing about atonement with God. Agreed? The new covenant of Christ required only the shedding of His blood on the cross for the atonement of all sins, meaning that it is by faith alone in this one sacrifice that man is saved. Correct?

    IF the mass is as we claim it to be (a reconnection with the one sacrifice of Jesus on the cross), then there is no reason for the sprinkling of any other blood on the altar... therefore the mass is the 'bloodless sacrifice'.

    Does this make it any clearer? All I am asking STG is that for one moment you put aside your preconceived notion about what the mass is, and be open to the possibility that what we celebrate is not a re-creation or a repetition of the one, eternal sacrifice of Christ but rather a connection with it.

    Am I claiming that it is the only way? No. I am only claiming that it is ONE way that we, by faith connect ourselves in a visceral and tangible way to the blood of the cross.

    When I die, and face Christ as my eternal Judge, I as a Catholic can only claim salvation through the blood of Christ... and by none other. How is that different from what you believe?

    Fr. Tim

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  44. Dear Wayne:

    You are working so hard to deny that Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist.

    You have a head full of beautiful scripture and tons of knowledge of that scripture, which I greatly admire.

    It isn't about Father Tim or me, or the Roman Catholic Church. It's all about HIM.

    No Christian writer before about 500 AD wrote anything contrary to the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and of the sacrifice of the Mass. They were there or closely connected to it, so do you think they had a better perspective than some guys 2000 years later trying to interpret scripture - that many of them had a hand in writing.

    In my own posting this morning, I have pondered the concepts that you have presented, and scripture quotations.

    But, I have brought it back into the perspective of my personal lived experience of the Eucharist as I described in an earlier comment.

    I have also presented links to proven MIRACLES of the Eucharist that have softened the hearts of atheists, and non-believers.

    I have also provided a link to many of the writings of the early Church about the Eucharist, and what was believed at the time.

    http://freethroughtruth.blogspot.com/2010/06/is-eucharist-that-we-celebrate-real.html


    We love you, Brother.

    Michael

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  45. STG: One last point. You may well believe that HOW we worship is the wrong way to do it, but can you understand that we DO worship the same Lord and Savior? Is it too far a leap for one who holds religious beliefs such as you, to concede that we are both trying to do the same thing, even if we disagree on how we are supposed to do it? That we both believe in the promise of the Hebrew Scriptures; that they were fulfilled in Jesus Christ whose life and teachings are recorded and explained in the Christian Bible; and that it is ONLY through Christ that any and all of the world can be saved?

    Why does acknowledging this simple fact, that we believe in the same God, Lord and Savior, threaten your beliefs in any way? Why must you close the door to God's mercy and grace by saying that Catholics are not saved, and that their worship could not possibly be animated by the Holy Spirit? That what we are arguing about is HOW to implement Scripture in the human models of Church and faith, not the veracity or validity of the scripture themselves?

    As I have said to you and others, I am not interested in or trying to convert anyone here! I am simply claiming that what I hold, believe and practice merits membership in the family of Christians. That as a Catholic, I have reason to hope to receive the gift of eternal life with the God of the Hebrew and Christian Bibles by claiming salvation under the blood of Christ alone.

    Then if we are all Christian, is it not more important to continue the work of the great commission in preparation for Christ's return than to fighting like children squabbling over which one of us "God loves best'? There are more than enough challenges to face to keep busy every Christian confession until His return. I think that He will be most pleased if all his adopted children were able to bring more believers into His sheepfold.

    Fr. Tim

    I eagerly await your answers.

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  46. Amen Father Tim.

    We are just all brothers from different mothers.

    God Bless You

    Michael

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  47. Tim, Michael,

    You place great emphasis on the claim the the body and blood of Christ is present in the Eucharist. The whole claim of what you are doing in the Mass therefore hinges on whether this is true or not. However, we do not believe you have it correct on the that. If your worship is centred in what you claim is the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is false, then you are worshipping a false God, the Eucharist. Would you agree? You claim we are both worshipping the same Lord, but your Lord is, according to RC doctrine in the Eucharist, at least for a while.

    But, and this is a big but, the references to the Lord's Supper in the Bible were not speaking literally about Christ's body and blood being in the Eucharist. They were only figurative, representative, or symbolic. When Christ was sitting at the table at the last supper and said this is my body, referring to a piece of bread, where was Christ? Was he actually in the bread or was He sitting at the table?

    In the Mass, priests claim to bring Jesus Christ down on the alter in the form of bread and wine. But this is done in thousands of churches all over the world. Yet each one claims that Jesus' body and blood is literally present in his church in the form of the bread and wine. This supposedly occurs in thousands of places at the same time.

    But the Bible teaches Jesus' body physically went back into heaven at Pentecost, where He is interceding at the right hand of the Father, until he comes again.

    So it would seem this whole claim about the literal physical presence of Christ cannot be substantiated and makes no sense from a biblical point of view. Christ was physically sitting at the table; he was not literally in the bread and wine. It is nonsense to claim that He was.

    That being the case, the whole business of the Mass being some kind of unbloody continuing sacrifice falls flat.

    Hebrews makes it clear, that Christ sacrificed Himself once on the cross 2000 years ago. It cannot be continued. To claim that he is in the Eucharist and being offered up as a sacrifice for sins seems to deny the once for all sacrifice which Christ already completed. Man has no part or parcel in the sacrifice for sins which Christ already made. Is is a blasphemy to think man can do it. Why can't you see that?

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  48. STG: OK. Let's for a moment that the Catholic belief in the Eucharist is wrong. For the sake of argument, let's stipulate that It is not a 'real presence' of Christ but no more than a fanciful re-enactment of the last supper.

    Now, are Catholics still not Christian? Have they not been baptized into the 2nd birth of salvation spoken of in scripture? Do they not hold to the essential nature of what secularists would call 'the Christ event'? Do they not believe that salvation is won only through the blood of Christ shed on the cross of Calvary? Do they not base their claim to hope upon the evidence of the empty tomb of easter?

    My question to you is sincere: are Catholics not Christians? Are you claiming that they can not be saved by the blood of the cross unless they accept a fundamentalist interpretation held by believers such as you?

    It is my position that you cannot deny Catholic membership in that spiritual reality known in our theology as the 'Church of Christ' simply because you hold to a different interpretation of how scripture can legitimately be applied. So I'm not trying to convince you to become a Catholic. I am asking you to admit Catholics as being among those who belong to Christ.

    Fr. Tim

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  49. Oops. The opening line should read 'Let's GRANT for a moment that the Catholic belief in the Eucharist is wrong....'

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  50. Dear Brother Wayne:

    I am very confused. We take the bible literally when you want to, but not at other times.

    When Jesus was speaking to Peter (Matt 16:17-19), he first called him Simon son of Jonah, then he starts an important sentence when he says "I say to you." Have you ever tried to make sure your audience was listening to you? You say something like "I say to you", or in today's vernacular "Listen to me now."

    So, what followed mattered to Jesus and he said "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church." Jesus spoke Aramaic, and in Aramaic Peter and rock are the same word. It is in the Greek transliteration that the feminine word for rock must be made masculine for the now given name Peter.

    By the way, the early Church all believed that this is what Jesus said and meant. In Acts, the others looked to him as leader.

    OK, they didn't call him Pope. That term came into use later. But, then so did automobile. Not biblical. Guess we better go back to horses. Better dump that outboard motor on your boat too, Brother.

    But, you can twist that any way you want.

    As for the Eucharist, I have given you personal testimony, pointed you to valid Catholic interpretation of the scriptures, and even pointed you to the people of the day, and what they had to say about it. I have even brought to your attention approved miracles of the Eucharist. By the way, the Catholic Church takes miracles very seriously. It studies them for years, and even involves atheists in ther validation, because the truth of the occurrence is more important than trying to give an inch to the devil.

    Yet, your response is that it can't be taken literally, that miracles can be works of the devil, that whatever.

    I remember you saying when I told you about the conversion stories of some well known Protestants that they weren't really believers. Scott Hahn, who was a committed pastor prior to coming to believe in the Real Presence and the truth of the Catholic Church was far more anti-Catholic than you could ever be.

    So, in summary, the truth is only the truth if you, Wayne, say it is.

    God's got your head, brother. He wants your heart. You must be a laugh riot at your family gatherings.

    Try telling your wife that you read a book about her life, and so you know her intimately, and you don't need to know more about her. Jesus is about relationship, about us listening to Him no matter how or where he speaks.

    For example, this morning at morning prayer, three of us prayed over a woman friend who asked to come for prayer. Only one of us actually knew much about her personal story. Yet, during prayer all three of us had different visions, and one had a word of knowledge for her. All three were totally consistent with the issues that she has been facing personally, and also the scripture reading from the Litury of the Hours prayers we had prayed only minutes before was completely on point. She said to us, that she had felt God urge her to come to our morning prayer TODAY specifically.

    Believe what you want, Brother. We will continue to love you no matter what you do or where you are.

    But, Jesus wants to soften that hard self righteous heart of yours. He loved you enough to die for you, to be risen and to send His Holy Spirit to guide you.

    He sure loves you enough to make you grow in faith and trust in Him.

    God Bless You

    Michael

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  51. Michael, Tim,

    But Michael my friend, you are going out in different tangents that have really nothing to do with the bottom line. Emotional arguments, claims of miracles, etc. don't really carry the authority of Scripture. The real issue is what does the Bible say about these things.

    You will find many examples and statments that are obviously figurative language. Examples such as when Jesus said he is the door.(John 10:7)
    The Jewish writers often used figurative language. That was a custom.

    For example, the apostle Jesus said "This cup is the new testament in my blood..." Luke 22:20

    The cup of course was really just a cup; it was not the new testament or new covenant. The cup was actually referring to the wine. The wine was representative of the new covenant.

    When Jesus said "this is my body" and "this is my blood" again He was speaking figuratively. Jesus was referring to the bread as His body and the wine as His blood in a symbolic sense. This figuratively language was often used.

    After He had given the wine to his disciples, Jesus said "For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come." Right here shows that Jesus still regarded the wine which He had given them as wine. He referred to it as the fruit of the vine.

    Another important reason why the doctrine claiming the "real presence" is false is that eating the body and blood of Christ literally would be a form of cannibalism. That is what cannibalism is, eating flesh. That is forbidden in the Bible. Christians are forbidden to eat blood. So it cannot be the true body of blood of Christ.

    When Jesus said "He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life" Johne 6:54 he was speaking of the spiritual relationship between Himself and His people. There are many other examples of figurative language being used in the New Testament. Eating human blood was repulsive to the Jews and is contrary to Scripture and common sense.

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  52. Tim, Michael,

    It is pointless to debate who is a real believer. What is important is what God has said in His Word about the basic truths of christianity. If your faith is in the Eucharist, I believe it is a serious error. Christ is not in the Eucharist. Christ is with His people, and His physical body is in heaven. It is not imaginable that Christ would allow himself to be called down to be in the Eucharist and kept in a container (taberncale) and carried about by men to be dispensed at will. The Bible does not support this doctrine.

    "God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands." Acts 17:24

    "...Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Acts ch1 vs11

    "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." Hebrews ch10 vs 12-14

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  53. Wayne, Dear Brother:

    You work so hard to be right. In the face of objective truth, you cling to subjective truth, which ultimately cannot be wholly true at all.

    You read the bible and interpret it one way, not the way you were born into, but the way that you have discovered on your faith journey.

    Those of us who have stayed in the Catholic Church or returned to it interpret sacred scripture very differently.

    Your interpretation relies on your own intelligence, when you can make subjective statements that something which is deeply spiritual is not true, because it just couldn't be (like the Eucharist). The Church which Christ founded and which has remained intact, bloodied by not bowed, full of sinners, yet committed to the sinless One, has held to its beliefs since the earliest days. For the sake of these beliefs and the One who gave them to us, Catholic men and women have chosen martyrdom, over renunciation. If you threatened to kill me if I would not renounce the Eucharist, I would cling to my belief in it, because I have seen it. I know it to be profoundly true, in the Word of God, and in my own personal experience of it.

    If the life of the Church does not mirror in its own weakened human condition what the Living Word of God said, did and promised then it is a lie, a sham.

    So, Jesus promised us miracles in the Bible, and He has kept his end of that bargain.

    Why would the devil make a piece of consecrated bread bleed and turn to flesh? What would he gain by people increasing their faith in their Lord and Saviour, which was the fruit of that miracle?

    Why would the devil heal a man through the laying on of hands, of crippling arthritis, just so that man would dedicate his life to serving God for its remainder, regardless of what trials come his way? That would be self defeating.

    The belief of the earliest Christians who witnessed the Saviour, and those who followed shortly after is objective truth. They were there. They saw it with their own eyes. They took what He said, and put it into practice. They performed miracles as He promised.

    When you say your prayers as you prepare to go to sleep this evening, ask Jesus to make it very clear to you that Father Tim and I are liars and you should run away as fast as you can, or they are telling the truth and you should run as fast as you can towards them, or that all is well in the world, and there is room for us all in the Body of Christ.

    Drop all of your preconceived notions of what scripture says, and ask God to fill in any gaps in that wonderful knowledge that you already possess, for it is formidable, and I say that sincerely.

    I remain
    Yours in Christ whom we do our best to serve.

    Michael

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  54. I inadvertently referred to Jesus as an apostle. Of course he is not an apostle, but did choose the 12 apostles.

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  55. MBrandon,

    "You work so hard to be right. In the face of objective truth, you cling to subjective truth, which ultimately cannot be wholly true at all."

    Michael, I have given you Scriptures from Paul's Epistle to Hebrews. The Holy Ghost inspired Paul to write the epistle. The words are not mine. Have you really read what the apostle said? Can you honestly say you have read it and understood chapters 7 to 10?

    We have examined the official books of the RCC which describe what the mass is. It is a continual offering for sin, as it is offered daily.

    Boettner says "Where there is a continual offering for sin, as when the sacrament of the mass is offered daily, it means that sins are really never taken away, and that those who are called priests pretend to continue the unfinished work of Christ." page 183 "Roman Catholicism"

    The apostle said near the beginning of the epistle to the Hebrews: "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?" Hebrews ch2 vs 3,4

    I have given you what I believe is the truth. I don't know what more I can say.

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  56. Dear Brother Wayne:

    I am very grateful that you concluded with the following: "I have given you what I believe is the truth. I don't know what more I can say."

    I am not grateful because maybe this will end, which you might think, but because you have given what "you believe" to be the truth.

    That is the very best that any one of us can do, give the best account we can of what we believe in our hearts to be the truth.

    You are a blessing.

    Let us take Hebrews, since you referenced it.

    Hebrews is not believed by students of it to have been written by Paul personally, since it bears none of his usual style methods in it, but that is of only minor concern, since it clearly is doctrinally consistent with him.

    But, though it in fact does not look much like a letter, it is clearly an exhortation to the Hebrews, comparing the New Covenant with the Old Covenant, and exhorting the Hebrews not to return to Judaism and its methods.

    You quoted Hebrews in your last comment: "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?" Hebrews ch2 vs 3,4

    "Signs and wonders and divers miracles." Divers means many and different, and the most different of these was the miracle of the Eucharist.

    The Eucharistic meal is a miracle. How else could it be described, unless you want to describe it as absolutely illogical lunacy. Call it the latter at your own peril.

    The actual living and breathing writers of the Gospels and Epistles, along with the people of the day believed that Christ was present in the Eucharist whenever they celebrated it together. The words of the Bible in the context of the time when it was written LITERALLY describe the Eucharist as the Church believes it to be.

    I do not require you to believe it to be sure that Jesus loves you and that He is working His miraculous love into your life daily.

    I too have given you what I believe is the truth, objectively, where the actual lived out faith supports the statements I have made to you.

    I am unable to throw out 1,500 years of Church teaching, and history because someone decided that he could reform what Christ created.

    But, I value your faith. I am prepared to wait until we meet in heaven, and let Jesus sort it out for us.

    Yours in Christ

    Michael

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  57. You took my innocuous posting about repentance and confessing to God to receive forgiveness off. How sad. Somebody maybe complained they didn't like it. Perhaps it doesn't fit with their false dogma about confession and penance. Should it be removed for that reason? It was not abusive, obscene, profane, libelous, or unreasonable, but was merely the truth from the Bible with a couple of Scriptures quoted to support it.

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  58. STG: Sorry. I do not know what you are referring to. I have not deleted any comments from the blog and you have not offered anything offensive! Is it possible to repost?

    Fr. Tim

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  59. Tim,

    I apologize if you have not deleted it. I believe you. I can't seem to find it. But I will repost something similar when I can. Thanks.

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  60. @ Wayne: "False" dogma? All dogma is false to somebody. Including yours.

    You'd get along with people a whole lot better if you didn't insult them before you even meet them.

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  61. Lady Janus,

    If I say some dogma is false, it is not insulting somone. It has nothing to do with an individual. You think what I believe is false, but I don't consider that as meaning you are insulting me.

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  62. "If I say some dogma is false, it is not insulting somone."

    Yes it is. You are insulting those who believe it is true, calling their judgment into question.

    "You think what I believe is false..."

    Wrong. I think what you believe is up to you. That doesn't mean I think it's false. It just means it's not my flava.

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  63. Lady Janus,

    I know whatever I say you will probably never agree. If you did agree, it would probably knock me off my chair. All I can say is the Bible commands christians to contend for the true faith.

    Jude wrote in his epistle to christians:

    "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Jude vs3.

    The question is then, should christians obey God or men (women)?

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  64. Wayne, you're asking me??? LOL!

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  65. Tim,

    "3. "Ques. 265 Q. Is the Mass the same sacrifice as that of the Cross? A. The Mass IS THE SAME SACRIFICE as that of the Cross."

    I just had another look at your comments where you answered this question. You said

    "Please note: 'IS THE SAME', 'CONTINUE THE SACRIFICE'. The Baltimore Catechism is saying exactly the same thing that I am. That the mass is a uniting with the ONE SACRIFICE of Jesus on the cross. If it were anything else, it would be absolutely USELESS! The only way that it has any merit is if it connects us today with the one sacrifice on the Cross!!"

    Tim, the question must be asked why do you believe you need the mass to have Christ's sacrifice have any merit or to be applied to you? Paul's epistle to the Hebrews talks about how Christ offered himself once as a sacrifice for sin. Where does it say anywhere in the Bible anything about a so-called mass being necessary to have this sacrifice applied to a believer?

    "But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice." Hebrews ch9 vs26 Saint Josephs NAB

    It clearly says His one sacrifice took away sin.

    It says nothing about needing an earthly man to hold a mass for this sacrifice of Christ to be applied.

    "Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment, so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many,..." Hebrews ch9 vs27,28 Saint Joseph's NAB.

    How does this once for all sacrifice of Christ apply to believers? Perhaps it is made more clear in other passages.

    "In him we were chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ. In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit..." Ephesians ch1 vs11 to13 Saint Josephs NAB

    So Christ by His grace (unmerited favour) chose those who He would give the gift of faith; those are the one's he sacrificed Himself for. The verse says He has also sealed them with the Holy Spirit.

    This means man has no part in this choosing. It is entirely by God's grace. They receive the gift of faith and believe that Christ died for them. There is not need for another intermediate system such as the mass to try to make Christ's sacrifice apply to them. It automatically applies to Christ's elect people.
    Do this make sense to you Tim?

    More verses emphasize that is God who does the saving.
    "But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved)(UNMERITED FAVOUR), raised us up with him, and seated us with him the heavens in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the immeasureable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus." Ephesians ch2 vs4 to 7.

    So this work of Christ is entirely by God's grace or unmerited favour because that is what grace is. We cannot merit becoming one of God's elect by masses or any other efforts. Simply believe in Christ's once for all sacrifice and you are saved, or one of the elect.

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  66. STG: Before I deal with the meat of your post, may I make a request? The Baltimore Catechism was replaced 20 years ago. It's formulations and expressions were found to be too narrow and incomplete as it was written with the assumption that people would possess certain concepts and base teachings that would permit them to properly interpret the catechism. The most recent catechism is written in a manner that is easier understood today. Would you be able to get your hands on a copy? The index is very detailed in guiding anyone to the appropriate teachings and it would be helpful if we worked from the same text and interpret it as the Church understands it today.

    Give me 24 hr and I'll post a response to your questions. Today is pretty packed already and I want to give what you so due consideration.

    Thanks.

    Fr. Tim

    ReplyDelete
  67. 'say' not not 'so' (proof of my lack of concentration)

    Fr. Tim

    ReplyDelete
  68. Tim, Have a safe and enjoyable fishing trip. Great to get away for a while. Lord willing, we will continue the discussion with you sometime after you get back.

    ReplyDelete

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