15 October, 2010

Is the Sacrament of Confession Biblical?

Here is a cross post to Michael Brandon's blog, Freedom Through Truth. It deals with a LONG discussion that has been taking place under my last Quebec posting (six weeks ago). Given that the comments have topped 100+ it may be time to bring that discussion into a new thread so that more people can join the conversation.


The essence of the conversation has come down the the legitimacy (or lack there of) of the sacrament of reconciliation (Confession). 'Small Town Guy' a regular participant here on this blog has offered substantial evidence and documentation from his faith tradition to argue that Confession is not 'biblical'. Michael and I have obviously been arguing the opposite position. If you have any interest in this topic, feel free to peruse the earlier comments (here) or offer you comments in this new thread!


My heartfelt thanks to Michael and STG for their diligent and intelligent contribution to this discussion.


Fr. Tim

Freedom Through Truth: Is the Sacrament of Confession Biblical?

30 comments:

  1. St. Paul calls the Sacrament of Reconciliation by name.

    2 Corinthians 5:18-19:
    And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

    Other Bible verses affirming the validity of this Sacrament:

    Matthew 9:2,8:
    And there people brought to Him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Courage, child, your sins are forgiven."... When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to men.
    (Some may argue that God gave the authority to cure lameness, but it's about Jesus being able to forgive sins, and therefore restore the ability to walk)

    Matthew 6:12,14-15:
    And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors... If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.

    John 20:21-23:
    (Jesus) said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, so I send you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."

    1 John 1:9:
    If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all iniquity.

    James 5:14-16:
    Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint (him) with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.

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  2. MoonChild: Thank you! Without using even a single word of your own, you offer a powerful argument!

    May God bless you & keep you in peace.

    Fr. Tim

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  3. Moonchild02, Micael, Tim,

    I am not speaking against the importance of the reconciliation of the sinner to God. The problem is in the Roman church's interpretation which is used to claim the tribunal of the confessional or a "sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation". That is, that confession must be made to a earthly priest, who then gives a penance, and pronounces absolution. None of these verses you quoted support the Roman system of the confessional.

    For example, your first verses, 2 Corinthian 5:18,19 is not referring the Roman system of the confessional at all. It says nothing about it. It often helps to read the surrounding verses to determine the context of a particular verse. These verses are no exception to this rule.

    The apostle Paul does use the word "reconciliation" as Moonchild02 correctly pointed out. However, in what context is this word being used in these verses?

    "So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. And all this is from, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, BE RECONCILED TO GOD." 2 Corinthians ch5 vs 17 to 20. NAB RC Bible

    What is this ministry of reconciliation which the apostle is speaking about here in verse 18?
    The answer is in the context. In these verses Paul is talking about the ministry they have received to persuade others, to appeal to their consciousness (v11), to urge them to go directly to Christ and become no creatures in Christ. This is not a reformation or a renovation or simply a confession to some man. This is becoming a new creature in Christ by work of God in the heart (new birth).

    He makes the point that "whoever is in Christ is a new creature" vs17 This person is reconciled to God and all this is from God (18).

    This ministry of the apostle is to deliver the gospel "God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Chirst" vs18, 19

    The apostle was preaching that reconciliation with God is through spreading the message that Christ has died for them and by believing on Christ, their trespasses would not be counted against them.

    Paul implores those he is speakiing to. He exhorts them to be reconciled with God through Christ. Nowhere in these verse is he speaking about the Roman system of the secret confessional and absolution by an earthly priest. He is speaking about the absolute necessity of being in Christ by faith. Through Christ we are reconciled to God because Christ has paid the price for our sins and thereby reconciled the sinner to God. That is the reconciliation Paul is preaching.

    -more later-

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  4. MBrandon,

    Michael,
    You gave three RC web pages which support the Confessional. One of them quotes a few verses to claim it has biblical sanction.

    AS I explained in the above posting concerning 2 Corinthians ch.5, I am not opposed to reconciliation. This is a vital teaching in the Bible. A sinner must be reconciled to God. The question is: Is the Roman Sacrament of Penance/Confession through the secret confessional to an earthly priest who then gives penance and absolution what the New Testament taught? Or is this a later invention of the Roman Church?

    I explained to some extent in the above posting what reconciliation means.

    Now the verses the website you referred to should be addressed.

    "Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father." (Matthew 18:18-19)

    "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I sent you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." (John 20:21-23)

    The power of binding and loosing and of forgiving or retaining was a declaritive power. Other places in the New Testament show there were no earthly priests in the New Testament dispensation. The declaritive power was a power or duty to preach the gospel, to proclaim the Word of God, but not as priests. They preached the gospel of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. They told how forgiveness of sin and salvation was give to sinful men.

    This is the true meaning of these two passages on binding and loosing and forgiving and retaining. The apostles always directed sinners to Christ. That is what 2 Corinthians chap.5 also talks about. That is what reconciliation is all about.

    When the apostle Peter entered the home of the Roman centurion and the man fell down at his feet and worshipped Peter, Peter raised him up and said "Stand up; I myself also am a man." Acts 10:25,26 Peter directed men (and women) to Christ. They did not sit down and hear confessions and give penance and absolution.
    That was purely a later invention of the RC church.

    Part of the misunderstanding is related to the figurative language used in the binding and loosing. Figurative language is often used throughout the New Testament. The language used in these verses was representative of the power give to the apostles to preach the gospel of salvation by faith in Christ. Those who believe would have their sins forgiven; those who did not believe would not.

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  5. Tim, Michael, MoonChild

    In summary the power to bind and loose, forgive or retain, is simply the declaritive power which the apostles exercised to declare the terms on which God would save His people and forgive their sins.

    It was the gospel that the apostles and disciples were entrusted with, not some power to hear confessions, give penance, and absolution.

    "But as we were judged worthy by God to be entrusted with the gospel, that is how, not as trying to please human beings, but rather God, who judges our hearts." 1 Thessalonians ch2 vs4

    The apostle Paul said "For I am not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: for Jew first, and then Greek." Romans ch1 vs16.

    The apostles always directed sinners to Christ. Never is there a record of an apostle saying "I absolve you" Instead they preached Jesus Christ and pointed sinners to Christ as their Lord and Saviour.

    So why did Rome bring in the Sacrament of Penance? The confessional was invented because it provided a very powerful tool to bring the people into submission and increase the power and control of Rome.

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  6. MoonChild02

    "James 5:14-16:
    Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint (him) with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful."

    Verse 14 refers to the elders of a local church paryiing over someone who is sick that he may be healed. This has nothing to do with the invented sacrament of extreme unction. This verse is referring to the healing of a sick individual. Verse 15 makes this clear where it says "the prayer of faith will save the sick person".

    The latter part of verse 15 has nothing to do with the Roman church's sacrament of penance/confession and absolution. It is simply referring to the sick person's confessing his sins to the Lord. This could be in the presence of the elders who would provide encouragement and pray with him. There is no suggestion this would involve penance and absolution. This is not the idea in this verse.

    Verse 16 speaks about confessing yours sins to one another. The RC NAB uses the word sins but the KJV uses the word faults. Sharing the burden of faults between christians for the purpose of mutual comfort and prayer is probably what this is talking about. Certainly not the confession to a priest of intimate sins who gives penance and absolution as claimed by Rome. Nothing like this is supported by these verses.

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  7. MoonChild02

    Johnson's Bible Commentary on James 5:14-16 should be considered.

    "14-16. Is any sick among you. In the early church, when miraculous gifts were imparted by the laying on of apostolic hands "as a sign to unbelievers," one of these was the gift of healing. In most early churches founded by the apostles some one of the elders would have this gift. There is no more reason for the descent of this gift to our times than of any other miraculous power. This passage, then, describes what was peculiar to the early church. The sick were anointed by the elders with oil, a symbol of the Spirit, which effected the healing, hands were laid, and prayer offered. See Mark 6:13; also Isaiah 1:6, and Luke 10:34. 15. The prayer of faith. The prayer for the sick must be offered in faith to be effectual. If he have committed sins. Often our sickness is due to sins against our body. The Lord, who raises the sick in answer to prayer, will forgive these. 16. Confess your faults. This verse springs from the preceding. We all need healing of our sins. Let the brother confess his faults as a demonstration of repentance and let brethren pray for each other. Repentance, confession and prayer are the conditions of the forgiveness of sins committed by church members."

    The thought here is repentance (a fundamental change of heart), confession to Christ, and prayer directly to Christ or God through Christ. That means, anyone can go directly to God through Christ at this moment whereever he/she is and repent, believe on Christ and receive forgiveness. No man priest necessary.

    Again, there is nothing mentioned here about the RC sacrament of Penance/confession through an earthly priest who gives penance and prounounces absolution. That system was a later invention by the Roman church.

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  8. MoonChild02

    Matthew Henry, a foremost Bible Commentary concerning James 5:14 says:

    "the confession here required is that of Christians to one another, and not, as the papists would have it, to a priest. Where persons have injured one another, acts of injustice must be confessed to those against whom they have been committed. Where persons have tempted one another to sin or have consented in the same evil actions, there they ought mutually to blame themselves and excite each other to repentance. Where crimes are of a public nature, and have done any public mischief, there they ought to be more publicly confessed, so as may best reach to all who are concerned. And sometimes it may be well to confess our faults to some prudent minister or praying friend, that he may help us to plead with God for mercy and pardon. But then we are not to think that James puts us upon telling every thing that we are conscious is amiss in ourselves or in one another; but so far as confession is necessary to our reconciliation with such as are at variance with us, or for gaining information in any point of conscience and making our own spirits quiet and easy, so far we should be ready to confess our faults. And sometimes also it may be of good use to Christians to disclose their peculiar weaknesses and infirmities to one another, where there are great intimacies and friendships, and where they may help each other by their prayers to obtain pardon of their sins and power against them. Those who make confession of their faults one to another should thereupon pray with and for one another. The 13th verse directs persons to pray for themselves: Is any afflicted let him pray; the 14th directs to seek for the prayers of ministers; and the 16th directs private Christians to pray one for another; so that here we have all sorts of prayer (ministerial, social, and secret) recommended."

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  9. Wayne:

    You seem to be responding to comments, but appear to have missed the posting that was the topic here.

    Recently, you quoted Boettner as saying several Church fathers, and two former Catholics turned heretic, had never written about Confession.

    In the subject Post, I found that all of them had spoken about Confession, and refuted your arguments.

    It is fruitless to move on to what some Protestant biblical commentators have to say about Confession, if you haven't first dealt with the other.

    Regards
    Michael

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  10. Michael,

    I will investigate what Boettner said and what I quoted to see if there some error involved. Some of these quotes may be hard to verify. I will get back to you on it asap.

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  11. MBrandon,

    Michael, Did you miss the comments I made about the ancient fathers which were quoted in one of the webpages you gave. I did in fact read those comments carefully and carefully commented on each one. But you said nothing about my comments.

    I have in front of me Boettner's paragraph about the church fathers. Boettner said "auricular confession is not mentioned in the writing of Augustine, Origen, Nestorius, Tertullian, Jerome, Chrysostom, and Athanasius - all of these and many others apparently lived and died without ever thing of going to confession." page 199

    I look back on your reference at:
    http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art50152.asp

    to see if I can find a contradiction with what Boettner said.

    I find two names that Boettner mentioned are listed on your page with what is claimed to be a quote from them. These are Origen and Chrysostom. None of the other names Boettner gave are mentioned.

    If you had carefully read what I had previously said about the quote from Origen, you would realize that Origen was giving a homily on the Old Testament. In fact the homily as concerning Leviticus 2:4 the webpage says. A homily from the Old Testament proves nothing about the Roman Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession. As I pointed out the Old Testament priesthood was only established within the nation of Israel during that dispensation of biblical history. In order to be a priest, one had to have been from the tribe of Levi. They were the only ones who could be a priest. The offered animal sacrifices and did various other rituals. These sacrifices were a picture looking forward to the sacrifice of Christ. If you read Hebrews you will find more about this.
    They were not meant to continue after Christ came so they have no bearing or provide no support for the Roman church's system of confession which was instituted centuries after Christ.

    Secondly, Chrysostom's comment gives no evidence to the Roman system of the confessional, penance, and absolution either. I have explained that in an above posting.
    The verses quoted in Chrysostoms's statement are to be interpreted as a declarative power which Christ gave the apostles, that is, the power to declare the gospel and those who believe will have their sins forgiven and those who don't believe won't. (John 3:36)etc.
    Chrysostom does not give any interpretation which would support the Roman system of the secret confessional to a priest, penance, and absolution.

    Neither Origen or Chrysostom speak about auricular confession as practiced by Roman priests and RCs.

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  12. Michael,

    "In the subject Post, I found that all of them had spoken about Confession, and refuted your arguments."

    You missed the point of Boettner's information. He said the fathers he listed did not speak about AURICULAR confession. This is the form of confession which is to a Roman priest in a confessional where he receives a penance and absolution. That is what Boettner was referring to. These fathers Boettner mentioned may have spoken about confession, but only with reference to the biblical form. That is confession to God and to our brethren in certain circumstances. This is not the same as the auricular confession to an RC priest.

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  13. MBrandon,

    Michael,

    Former RC priest Joseph Zacchello says in his book "Secrets of Romanism" that the texts quoted by Roman Catholics do not prove the dogma of "auricular confession and the power of priests to forgive sins". The church fathers you quoted in your article is what Zacchello is talking about. What they said do not prove they were talking about the RC sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession in the early church. Rather they show that there was a practice of mutual or public acknowledgment of sin. This is a totally a different thing than the Roman confessional where the priest claims the power of Jesus Christ to hear confessions, give penance and absolution. There was no sacrament such as the RC claims in the apostolic church. You won't find it in the New Testament.

    It was pope Innocent III who introduced auricular confession formally. Later the Roman church made auricular confession a requirement at the Lateran council in 1215 A.D. This was also the council that decreed Transubstantiation a dogma. This period in history was the zenith of papal power over the people and nations and also the dark ages.

    The Sacrament of Confession was reinforced within the Roman Church by decrees of the Council of Trent in the 1500s. The Council of Trent was a reaction and defensive mechanism against the Reformation which was taking hold in the 1500s in Europe. The Reformation was a rejection of the darkness and superstitions of Rome and a return to biblical christianity. The people learned from the Bible that they no longer had to go through a priest to confess and receive forgiveness (and salvation), but could go directly to God through Christ.

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  14. Wayne:

    I realise that you are intent on being right, but trotting out heretics and deniers of the Catholic faith as authorities is beneath you. At least, I think if you are a seeker of the truth, that is so. If you were to think that you knew it all already, then I could see it, but I do not believe that to be the case.

    To understand the evolution of confession to the auricular form was not part of this post, though it is an interesting trail to follow.

    It would probably have been impossible for the Church to remain in the practice of public confessions, in a world filled with sinners, where you confess to something that I would later use against you, because I am still a sinner.

    In the end of the first century, and you can do your own research here, but look for Eusebius and the Didache, and then have a go at Clement I, the Church had public confessions as the norm for correction of sinners.

    Big surprise here! Over time, they moved to auricular confession. Is auricular confession of less value than confession to the congregation? I think not. Although, maybe you have experience with that working for you. Love to hear it.

    Within the Catholic Church, we have reams and reams of documentation, only a small percentage of which is online, but the truth is evident to those with open minds and open hearts.

    You might note that while you trot out new thinkers (if that is an appropriate term for them) such as Zachello and Boettner, and use them as authorities about something they know little about, we have chosen in response to look back through the history of the Church to the doctors of the Church and acknowledge thinkers who helped with the issues that the Church faced from day to day - believers not deniers.

    That is because there are no new complaints against the Church. Only everything old is new again.

    I would like to see you stick your neck out and claim in a blog posting what you believe about one of genesis, Eucharist, Confession, and put it out there for others to review. I wonder if Father Tim would allow you to do a guest posting on WTRHTR. I would certainly be prepared to allow you to do it on FTT.


    God Bless You

    Michael

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  15. Michael,

    I am not interested in going to other blogs and forums to post. This forum here has been suitable enough. Tim has been kind enough to allow me to post here. I am not intent on getting on the pulpit to the world. All the information I gave you is fairly common knowledge among those interested in the subject and have studied it a bit.

    I don't claim writings of various individuals, including what some call the "church fathers" are on the same level as holy scripture. If one wishes to debate what was said by who in history, the debate could go on forever without any hope of reaching some understanding. After all, the purpose of discussion has to be to reach some understanding at some point.

    I am sure there are enough theology books in the world to fill a huge library. That is one reason it is better to examine the scripture. That is why theologians always go back to the Scripture to prove what they are claiming. If one doesn't have a sound reference point, there is no basis for believing anything. Even Confessions are not the ultimate authority. They too are man-made, although if they can be proven to be biblical, there is good reason to accept them. But the only ultimate authority is what the Holy Spirit reveals to us in God's Word itself because it is written by God.

    There is a big difference between voluntary confession of sin TO GOD in a general sense among a congregation and the auricular or private MANDATORY confession of an intimate nature to a man priest in a grilled confessional, who can make further inquiry and probe, and then allegedly give penance and absolution. The priest claims to be acting in the place of Jesus Christ where no authority to do so is given in the New Testament. I have already explained what the verses in question actually mean. It was declaritive authority to preach the gospel, not act as a priest to hear individual confessions and give penance and absolution.

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  16. Wayne:

    You said: "I have already explained what the verses in question actually mean."

    As Daniel Patrick Moynihan said: "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts."

    You have expressed an opinion, not what scripture ACTUALLY MEANS. It is obviously a very biased opinion of the scriptures, and it is selective.

    It lacks the historical perspective of the Church that Christ founded, which we as Catholics require, to see if Gamaliel was correct or not in Acts.

    Auricular confession was present in the Church prior to March 6, 459, as Pope St. Leo the Great wrote about it then, and not as if it just happened that day.

    http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Sin/Sin_008.htm

    You do not have to practice auricular confession or even believe in it, but it takes a lot of nerve to come on a Catholic web log of a Roman Catholic priest, and criticise the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church as though God has come down from on high and given you, Wayne, a divine revelation that you must share with us.

    It is hard to have a dialogue with someone who arrogantly presents his opinions as though they were of divine origin.

    I find your thoughts when I filter them down to that they are just opinions, even when you strongly state them,are worthy of comment. However, all that comes back is further criticism.

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  17. Michael,

    If I have expressed my opinion in an arrogant manner, I apologize.

    I have a few questions for you.

    If I believe something I say is of divine origin because it is from the Bible and I say so, why is that arrogant?

    Do you not claim that what you believe is of divine origin?

    Do you believe the Bible is of divine origin?

    Do you believe that RC church hierarchy are the only ones who can understand or interpret the Bible correctly? If so, why?

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  18. "You have expressed an opinion, not what scripture ACTUALLY MEANS."

    Interesting thought. Especially when you consider that "what scripture actually means" is also someone's opinion.

    This is my continued problem with what everyone calls "scripture." It's all interpretation, but no one will admit that. Everyone claims he has the only "truth" of it, and no one agrees with anyone else regarding what that "truth" is. The situation would be hilariously funny, if people didn't take it so seriously that they're willing to kill one another over it.

    Why doesn't everyone just get a life, and leave everyone else to theirs, hm?

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  19. Wayne:

    You have come into Father Tim's house as it were, criticising the construction of his house (the Catholic Church), criticising the furniture (the individual beliefs that we hold hear), and then claimed that "I have already explained what the verses in question actually mean," as though you have the one divine inspiration regarding what some bible verses do actually mean.

    When I finally called you on it as gently as I can, you respond with: "IF I HAVE expressed my opinion in an arrogant manner, I apologize," followed by a string of questions. Makes for a pretty hollow apology.

    I hope that what I believe in matters of faith and morals is of divine origin. I hope that it is consistent with what God meant when He inspired men to write down the scriptures. BUT, I cannot guarantee it, even if I read the bible until my eyes bug out.

    In my case, I look to the Catholic Church to see what my predecessors in the Catholic faith, and particularly the Magisterium of the Church have said about things that I do not understand, or that I want to know better. I trust the Magisterium in matters of faith and morals. If as a Christian, I believe in the efficacy of the sacraments, in substance and form, then I must practice my faith in the Catholic Church. I cannot find this anywhere else.

    If as a Christian, my faith experience does not lead me to that conclusion, then I must practice my faith where it leads me to, and I can find a place where I feel fed and nourished in my beliefs.

    If, in either case, I am open to the word of God being new and fresh every day, I can be open to accepting my brothers and sisters as sinners just like me, who are working out their salvation daily, seeking to know Jesus better moment by moment.

    If I were to take everything that God has revealed to me, both those things that I do know, and those that have still not jelled in my understanding, it would be like one grain of sand on the largest beach in the world.

    If to that we were to add what you and Father Tim had, we would then have 3 grains of sand on the largest beach in the world.

    I do believe that the Roman Catholic Church has been given the full deposit of faith by Christ. But, I am not naive, as I further believe that not one Catholic knows it all, and far too many don't give a hoot about it, and again what I know is miniscule, though actually conversing with you makes me know more.

    I also believe that the separated Christian churches have an incomplete deposit of the original faith that Christ gave us, as evidence by the continual splitting off. Further, I believe that there are a great many Protestant Christians who live the deposit of faith that they have with more vigour, more love of the written word of God, and deeper relationship with Christ than so many of my Catholic brothers and sisters.

    Simply put (in my view), Protestants so often do more with less, while Catholics so often do less with more, and many many times in my life, I have met and been more inspired by my Protestant brothers and sisters and their faith, than what I see here in the RCC.

    If what you claim is of divine origin, and what I claim to be of divine origin contradicts it, who is really speaking with divine inspiration, since God cannot contradict himself?

    Let us give belligerence a rest and accept that God is forming us into His own image daily as we let go of those things that keep us from being for Him fully.

    Michael

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  20. Lady Janus:

    Good point, as per usual.

    You are correct fundamentally. What bible believing people call scripture was a compilation of parts of what had been written at the particular time.

    We believe it to be inspired by God. However, much of what we do daily does not give evidence of that inspiration in our lives.

    The point I think you are raising is why are people prepared to kill over it? Good question, but I have a corollary to that, and think that the more important question is are people prepared to die for it?

    While most claiming to be Christian are prepared to fight to the death to be right, that takes no courage at all, just a dogged determination to be right, truth be damned literally.

    There are others still who have put their faith into their actions more than their words, and have died for their faith. In the Catholic Church, we celebrate our martyrs for the faith, because they let their actions speak louder than their words.

    As St. Francis said, "Preach the Gospel, and if necessary use words."

    Thank you for your input.

    God Bless You

    Michael

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  21. "The point I think you are raising is why are people prepared to kill over it?"

    Well, partly; but that's not all of it. Why is it so important to some people that others fall into line with them on their interpretations? Kill for it, die for it...I just don't get what's so consuming that even your (general, not specific) life or someone else's is actually expendable in the chase to nail down for the entire world the exact meaning that everyone must believe! 'Cause it ain't never gonna happen.

    And martyrs...that's another thing I don't understand. I mean, I understand the level of frustration that can make someone kill in order to gain ground in an endeavor. But I don't understand at all the willingness to die for it. Patton was my kinda guy.

    "'Preach the Gospel, and if necessary use words.'"

    Ah, yes...the silent witness...good concept! Not Francis of Assisi, though. Was there another Saint Francis?

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  22. Michael,

    "Let us give belligerence a rest and accept that God is forming us into His own image daily as we let go of those things that keep us from being for Him fully."

    I agree that we should give belligerence a rest. It is definitely not constructive. I don't think you are convinced of anything I say. If you see my comments, you are free to ignore them or reply as you wish. Perhaps you have become obsessed with my comments because you have made a career out of refuting them on your own blog. Maybe you should include the other millions of people who think the same way I do and the thousands of websites and churches that express similar views. My views are far from unique.

    Why not read John Calvin's book "Institutions of the Christian Religion", one of the ten books that shook the world, written in the 1500s. Or do you automatically dismiss anything that disagrees with Rome and refuse to even look at it. I noticed you use the word heretic to describe those who disagree with the RCC. I thought the RCC decided since Vatican II they were not going to call people heretics, but rather "separated brethren" in an attempt to be a little more conciliatory.

    However, I don't think it is proper for you to say I should not make comments critical of or contrary to what the Roman church teaches. That is going beyond the pale. The internet and this blog is a public forum open to anyone to comment, both those who are followers of the RC and those who are diametrically opposed. I find Tim is much more accomodating and conciliatory even if he doesn't agree with me. I could learn from his gentle and diplomatic approach to people.

    We do also live in a democracy where freedom of speech is a right. Your belief that opposition should be silenced is from the dark ages. That is exactly what Rome did if you examine the history when they created their index of forbidden books and even included the Bible in it. Yes, God's Word, which was meant for the people, was deprived from them unless it was interpreted to them by a priest.

    What do you say about the four or five hundred years of the Inquisition run by Rome in which tens of thousands of "heretics" were tortured and killed? Do you even know the horrors that went on for centuries in the name of defending the RCC? What about the crusades? Do you know anything about this and acknowledge that there is a history of great darkness in the RCC? How is it possible this could be the church that Christ founded? Or is that history all propaganda as far as you're concerned? That's what scares the daylights out of any thinking person today.

    If you knew a fraction of what I have learned in the last 30 years, you might understand why I think the way I do about these things. In my opinion, you desperately need to do some serious reading and research from different sources besides the RCC and Bible study to broaden your thinking. If you think the Majesterium (Roman church hierarchy) is the source of all truth, there is not much I can say to help you. You are trusting fallible men. I will seriously pray about it.

    Wayne

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  23. Good catch Lady Janus.
    The quote so often attributed to Francis of Assisi does not show n any of his writings, though it is consistent with him actually saying " Let all the brothers preach by their words."

    :)
    Michael

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  24. Lady Janus:

    My last comment makes no sense, does it? That's what happens when you are old and try to use an iPod with a tiny screen and keyboard to type a response.

    He actually said: "Let all the brothers, however, preach by their deeds," which makes more sense than my previous misquote of the actual quote that sort of replaces the quote that never was.

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  25. Wayne:

    I repeat, "Let us give belligerence a rest and accept that God is forming us into His own image daily as we let go of those things that keep us from being for Him fully."

    I see that you are a fount of wisdom, having spent the last 30 years reading the writings of our separated brethren (not heretics) to satisfy your animus against the Catholic Church.

    Meanwhile, at least in your version, for the last 30 years of the 60 I have been here, I have sat on my bony/skinny/fat ?ss, soaking up the delusions of the Roman Catholic Church.

    In fact, it is only with your ministrations that I have even looked up from my delusions to see that there is a world outside the Catholic Church.

    Well not so, really.

    I played guitar in a worship band in a Pentecostal Church for some time, and formed an interfaith business men's group that met for years, where we shared our common and different understandings of the Gospel, among other things on my own personal faith journey.

    I also happen to be of Irish origin, so you can speak of atrocities done by people alleging to be representing the Catholic Church, in what they also claimed to be in the name of their faith, and I can agree with you as to the horror of man's inhumanity to man. But, my Irish Catholic family and many others arrived on this continent, rather than starving to death when persecuted because they were Catholic. Swords typically have two edges on them. It is all horror.

    The Catholics don't have a lock on hatred and bigotry, and if you look around at our society today, we Christians (you and me among them) are a group that are being marginalized by society bit by bit, like the frog in a pot of water.

    You have a right of free speech, you think, in this country to speak your mind, where and when you choose. You also have a right to kill your unborn child. Bet you won't be pursuing that one any time soon.

    But, as Christians, we have a responsibility to speak kindly, and with love, to seek to put the animus of the past behind us and to move forward to be One as Jesus and the Father are One.

    If you were to follow the case law on free speech in the country, you would be aware that for Christians that is not really so anymore. You can offend me and Father Tim all you like, because like you we are Christians.

    If you were to write as you do and have it be against the Muslims, as opposed to Catholics, you would find yourself in front of the Canadian Human Rights Commission in short order.

    If you attack the faith of the Catholic Church, I will respond (probably) to defend the Church that I love. I will do so here, and on my own blog, and vigorously. What I say in defence of the Church, I will attempt to ensure is consistent with Church teaching.

    I just think we can go further accepting each other on our individual faith journey, rather than engaging in p?ssing contests, like petulant children.

    God Bless You
    Michael

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  26. Michael, you've got an iPod??? Wow! You're far more technically advanced than I am. I'm resisting even replacing my cellphone after it got stolen a few years ago, and it was just a phone -- no camera, no nothing. Except for the time I spend hunched in front of my monitor on this old boat anchor, I much prefer to unplug myself from the electronic web we've woven for ourselves... ;D

    And yes, your corrected quote makes better sense!

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  27. Michael,

    I accept what Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me." John ch14 vs 6.

    "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

    All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."
    Isaiah ch53 vs 5,6.

    You might like to trust in a church, majesterium, sacraments, earthly priests, etc. I prefer to trust in Jesus and his word. I believe in Jesus as my only saviour. He has said beside Him there is no other. Life is too short. We get one chance. If we toss that aside, we will have the rest of eternity to think about. NO thanks. It is Christ only for me.

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  28. Tim,

    I noticed you have put a delete comment icon beside my comments? Why? Does this give the option to anyone to delete my comments? I don't see this icon beside other people's comments. It appears those who agree with you and the RC don't have the delete option, but because I disagree with the RC, mine can be deleted. Isn't this censorship and discrimination based on beliefs?

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  29. Moonchild02 says

    "We need to pray, pray, pray! Ask Mother Mary, St. Michael, and St. Benedict for help in this fight.

    I wear the St. Michael, St. Benedict, and Miraculous medals to protect myself (I also have the Infant of Prague/Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. Dymphna medals."

    How sad. I don't know how to tell you in a way you will be pleased to hear, but the Bible does not teach we are to pray to anyone except God through Jesus Christ. What is the use of praying to saints, Mary, and having medals to protect yourself? They cannot hear prayers. They are not divine and do not have qualities or powers of God. Praying to them is not supported by the Bible. It is a false man-made religious system. This is easy to prove by examining the Bible. I would encourage you to read the New Testament and find the truth that Jesus alone is our Saviour and he alone is the one to pray to.

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  30. Tim,

    Sorry, I see now the delete icon is for my own use in case I wish to delete my own posting.

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