Saturday, December 28, 2013

HAS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH BEEN A FRIEND OF THE BIBLE?



Much has been written about the Catholic Church (both pro and con) concerning its faithfulness to the Scriptures.  But today we’d like to pose some questions concerning Catholicism and its attitude toward the Bible over the years:  Has the Catholic Church ever banned the Bible?  Have popes ever forbidden the Scriptures to the common people?  Have they ever tried to limit access to the Sacred Writings in the vernacular (i.e., the common language of the people)?  In this article, we hope to clear up some misunderstandings concerning this issue.

Sometimes the Protestant claims against the Catholic Church on this topic are exaggerated.  But there are extremes on both sides.  But for those who believe that the Catholic Church has never restricted the reading of Scripture, please note the following…

A Few Popes

According to the "New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia" (online), here is a short list of popes and brief comments concerning their restrictions on the reading, owning, printing, or distribution of the Scriptures:


  • Gregory VII (1080 A.D.) prevented the Bohemian people from obtaining the Bible in their own language because he feared it would lead to “irreverence and wrong interpretation of the inspired text.”

  • Innocent III (1199) wrote to the Bishop of Metz (a city in France) and said that the practice of reading the Scriptures, though praiseworthy, was “dangerous for the simple and unlearned.”    

  • Gregory IX (1229), in the Council (Synod) of Toulouse, prohibited the laity (non-clergy) from having the books of the Old or New Testament, and “most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books.” (Canon 14 - Emphasis added)          

  • Gregory IX (1233), in the Council (Synod) of Tarragona, issued a similar prohibition, stating that no one (whether “cleric or layman”) may possess Scripture in “the Romance language” (referring to the vernacular).  If anyone had such books, he was to turn the writings over to the authorities (to be burned), until he was “cleared of all suspicion.” (Canon 2)                 

  • Gregory XII (1408), in the Third Synod of Oxford, only allowed the laity to read versions that were approved by the church authorities.

  • Pius IV (1564), in his constitution, “Dominici Gregis,” published the “Index of Prohibited Books.”  In it, Scripture reading was again limited to only those persons approved by the bishop. 

  • Clement VIII (1596) added the above restriction to the fourth rule of the Index.

  • Sixtus V (1598) reserved this power of approval to himself or to the “Sacred Congregation of the Index.”              

  • Clement XI (1713), in his Papal Bull “Unigenitus,” in condemning certain teachings, questioned the necessity of reading the Bible.

  • Benedict XIV (1757) allowed the reading of vernacular versions by the laity, but only with the Church’s approval, or with footnotes from the fathers or of “learned and pious authors.”

  • Pius VI (1794), in his Papal Bull “Auctorem Fidei,” continued the condemnation by Clement XI (above).
  • Pius VII (1816) warned against allowing the laity to read the Scriptures “indiscriminately” in the vernacular.
  • Gregory XVI (1836) again allowed only Church-approved reading of the Bible.

  • Gregory XVI (1844) repeated the same regulation (above) when writing against Bible Societies in his encyclical, “Inter praecipuas.”


A Few Others

All of these popes, and more, suppressed the Scriptures in some form or another.  Other popes issuing similar restrictions include:


  • Leo XII (1824) wrote against the work of the “Bible Society” in his papal encyclical “Ubi primum.”


  • Pius VIII (1829) wrote against unapproved vernacular versions of the Bible in the papal encyclical “Traditi humilitati.”

  • Pius IX (1846), in his papal encyclical, “Qui pluribus,” was writing against the Bible Societies who would “ceaselessly force on people of all kinds, even the uneducated, gifts of the Bible.”  How horrible!  What beasts these Bible Societies must have been, to “force” this gift of God’s Word upon the people!

  • Leo XIII (1897), in his apostolic constitution “Officiorum ac Munerum,” softened the punishment for these “crimes” of Bible reading somewhat, yet continued to prohibit the Word in the vernacular.  It was still only allowed by those who were approved by the Catholic Church.  

For anyone who would like to research / confirm these facts, most (if not all) of these can be found online on Catholic websites (e.g., EWTN, the “New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia,” the official Vatican website, etc.).

So, if anyone tells you that the Catholic Church (through its popes) never restricted or banned the Bible, he is either misinformed or he is a liar.  It may not have been a complete or total ban, but they were nevertheless bans which sometimes included severe (and punishable) restrictions. 

But Why?

But the question is, why would the Catholic Church ever ban Scripture AT ALL?

Catholics will say that these were only local bans, and supposedly, all these restrictions were only temporary regulations.  Supposedly, they were protecting the purity of Scripture.  They tell us that only the “unfaithful” or “corrupt” translations of the Bible were banned, or that it was only the “deuterocanonical-deprived” (Protestant) versions that were forbidden to be read by its members.  They will say that the Catholic Church has only forbidden Bible reading when “it was almost certain to cause serious spiritual harm.”  ("New Advent" article linked above)

Note that the Council of Trent’s Rule 4 on prohibited books (the section titled, “Ten Rules concerning prohibited books drawn up by the fathers chosen by the Council of Trent and approved by Pope Pius”) spoke of Scripture reading by the uneducated as doing “more harm than good” because it could be abused by certain people.  But if that’s the case, why take a chance with the Eucharist?  If they are afraid of having something precious (like Scripture) violated by abuse, then shouldn’t the Eucharist also be withheld for the same reason?  The possibility of “serious harm” is certainly present here in the Eucharist, as well, since it too can be abused by the individual (1 Corinthians 11:27-29).  But no one in the Catholic Church stopped giving the Eucharist to the poor and uneducated because of possible abuse.  The fact is, personal Scripture reading, like receiving the Eucharist (or Communion), is an issue of personal accountability.  Both are to be done responsibly, and with the right attitude.  But keeping it away from those who don’t abuse it is not the answer.

And if these bans were only temporary, then why did pope after pope continue to issue them?  It’s funny, but it seems that none of these quotes restricting the reading of Scripture ever mention being only “temporary.”  If there was indeed some abuse of Scripture, then keeping the people from reading it was hardly the correct way of handling the situation.  Remember, even in the days of the apostles there were Gnostics and other heretics who abused Scripture.  But Jesus and the apostles often pointed the people to the Scriptures; they never tried to ban anyone from reading them because of possible abuse or misunderstanding.  This would be like forbidding innocent couples to have children just because some might possibly abuse their children, or might not raise them perfectly.

Ulterior Motive?

One must ask, were these popes who restricted God’s Word really concerned about “maintaining the purity of the Scriptures”?  Were these bans really put into place to prevent heresy, or was it something else?  Could it be that they were trying to hide something?  Or that it was all about power and control?  According to Catholic Historian Paul Johnson:

“In the West, the clergy had begun to assert an exclusive interpretive, indeed custodial, right to the Bible as early as the ninth century; and from about 1080 there had been frequent instances of the Pope, councils and bishops forbidding not only vernacular translations but any reading at all, by laymen, of the Bible taken as a whole. In some ways this was the most scandalous aspect of the medieval Latin Church. From the Waldensians onwards, attempts to scrutinize the Bible became proof presumptive of heresy - a man or woman might burn for it alone - and, conversely, the heterodox were increasingly convinced that the Bible was incompatible with papal and clerical claims.” (“A History of Christianity,” Weidenfeld and Nicolson, Copyright 1976, page 273)

Why did it bother the Catholic Church so much to have the Bible in the language of the common man?  They seem to be saying that it would be better to be altogether deprived of personal Bible reading than to have some misunderstandings of it (even if these misunderstandings could be corrected later).

After all, if the papacy and Catholicism itself are truly scriptural concepts, what did the Church have to fear by allowing them to freely read the Bible in their own language?  Perhaps the Catholic Church was beginning to realize that many of its own members were recognizing the inconsistencies between Scripture and the Catholic Church’s doctrines. 

Why Latin?

And if the Catholic Church really wanted to clearly stress the pure truth to the common people, then why was the Mass performed for so long in Latin?  Since the majority of the people were uneducated and only the educated understood Latin, then why have the Mass done in that language?  If a proper understanding was so important (as they claim), why not have the Mass in a language that everyone could understand?  On the one hand, they claim that it is important to avoid heresy and confusion, yet, on the other hand, they shroud the message in mystery.

It is these types of things that cause us to doubt the sincerity of the Catholic Church when they say that they are concerned for the souls of the common people, and that they wanted God’s Word put into their hands.  There just never seemed to be any kind of priority, or much of a serious encouragement of Bible reading throughout the centuries on the part of the Catholic Church.  It seems that only recently that this has changed to some extent.

Leo XIII

There are also other reasons for questioning some popes’ concern for “protecting the purity of Scripture.”  We will use some of the popes listed above (who banned or restricted Scripture) as examples:

First, Pope Leo XIII was known as “the Rosary Pope,” since he wrote so much about (and encouraged the use of) the rosary.  He wrote at least eleven official documents on the rosary.  But reciting the rosary is a totally unbiblical and pagan practice.  See here:


If Leo XIII was truly concerned about keeping the truths of the Bible pure and undefiled, he would have led others away from this unbiblical (and anti-biblical) concept.  And no doubt many other popes have encouraged praying the rosary, as well.  But this does not support sound doctrine.

Pius IX

Next, Pope Pius IX also adds to our suspicion of an ulterior motive from the Church.  In 1854, he “infallibly” proclaimed that Mary (the mother of Jesus) was “immaculately conceived”; that is, from the moment that she was conceived, she had no sin (and remained sinless throughout her entire life).  This “infallible” teaching of Pius IX was not only not a biblical concept, but it was anti-biblical, as well.  See here:


Is the doctrine of the “Immaculate Conception” another example of a pope’s concern for “doctrinal purity”?  It seems that Pius IX was little worried about false doctrine or scriptural truth!

Another issue concerning Pope Pius IX is his behavior during the First Vatican Council, which he presided over, beginning in 1869.  According to the “New Catholic Encyclopedia” (Copyright 1967):

“One of the chief issues dividing Catholics on the eve of the council was that of a possible definition of papal infallibility.” (Volume XIV, p. 561) 
 
Pius IX’s definition of papal infallibility was different from many others in the Church, and this caused some very serious divisions in the Catholic Church.

Former Catholic (Jesuit) priest and historian, Peter de Rosa, gives us some interesting details on the events of that Council and how it was handled by the pope.  For all practical purposes, the vote was rigged in the sense that many who attended the council were on the pope’s payroll and under intense pressure, so most dared not vote against him.  For many bishops, it was either vote against their conscience or publicly offend the “Holy Father” by voting against him.  Therefore, many of them abstained.  Although many in the Church were against his constitution, “Pius IX refused to listen to the opposition, claiming he was ‘merely the mouthpiece of the Holy Ghost.’”  De Rosa points out that the council’s decision “did not adequately mirror the mind of the Western church.  A very important truth was at stake and the decree was felt by many to be defective.”  One outspoken bishop (Strossmayer) complained that this particular council “lacks both liberty and truth.” (“Vicars of Christ, The Dark Side of the Papacy,”, Poolbeg Press, Copyright 2000, p. 133-136) 
  
You see, for Pius IX, this was all about power; he was a power-hungry pope who pressured his subjects to “agree” with his unbiblical (and even non-Traditional) idea of papal infallibility.  At one point, Bishop Guidi of Bologna pointed out that Pius’ view of infallibility was not supported by Sacred Tradition.  Pius then thundered, “I AM Tradition… I AM the Church!”  What a fine example of humility and sound doctrine!  After this, any references to his concern for “purity of Scripture” ring hollow.  It is evident that his concern was not about the purity of doctrine, but about CONTROL of doctrine.

Innocent III

Another pope listed above, Innocent III, initiated the Crusade against the Albigenses, which gave rise to the medieval Inquisition.  So, the Catholic Church began putting many “heretics” to death.  Other popes would participate in other crusades and inquisitions, as well.  But is this the way Jesus taught us to deal with the enemies of the faith?  Can we trust these popes’ loyalty to the Scriptures when they showed such disregard for the most basic principles of the gospel?

Backlash

Question:  Why doesn’t the Catholic Church kill heretics today?  Obviously, they’d have to admit that this is wrong.  Jesus never said to kill heretics.  And if it’s wrong today, then it was also wrong in the days of the Crusades / Inquisitions.  All of this killing of “heretics” was to maintain power for the Catholic Church.  It was not about devotion to the truth or protecting Scripture.

What about the backlash from the Crusades and Inquisition?  It is our personal opinion that it is because of the Catholic Church and their involvement in these events that more people have turned away from God and have become atheists than for any other reason.

The well-known German Catholic priest and theologian, Johann Joseph Ignaz Von Dollinger wrote about the Catholic Church’s inquisitions:

“From 1200 to 1500 the long series of Papal ordinances on the Inquisition, ever increasing in severity and cruelty, and their whole policy towards heresy, runs on without a break. It is a rigidly consistent system of legislation: every Pope confirms and improves upon the devices of his predecessor. All is directed to the one end, of completely uprooting every difference of belief... The Inquisition ... contradicted the simplest principles of Christian justice and love to our neighbor, and would have been rejected with universal horror in the ancient Church.”  (The Pope and the Council, Roberts Brothers, Copyright 1870, p. 192-193)

Conclusion

No doubt, other examples could be given, but this is just a sampling of some popes’ attitudes and lack of true concern for Scripture.  Here we see that the ones who banned or restricted the reading of the Bible (supposedly for reasons of “faithfulness”) are the very ones violating that same Bible.  In at least some cases, their “concern” is at best, lip service, and at worst, deliberately withholding the Word of Life from the common people.  But to restrict personal Bible reading is to restrict personal spiritual growth.

In fairness, it is true that over the centuries the Catholic Church had its monks copy and preserve the Scriptures.   But we’ll have to give more credit to these monks than to some of the popes.  Popes speak of concern for “serious spiritual harm” in the Church, yet they are masters of spiritual harm, due to their false doctrine and their power and influence.  The bottom line is that the Catholic Church can hardly be considered a friend of the Bible, even today, when it has so many teachings contrary to the sacred Scriptures. 

 

20 comments:

  1. >>>HAS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH BEEN A FRIEND OF THE BIBLE?<<<

    The short answer is, "YES!"

    >>>Much has been written about the Catholic Church (both pro and con) concerning its faithfulness to the Scriptures. But today we’d like to pose some questions concerning Catholicism and its attitude toward the Bible over the years: Has the Catholic Church ever banned the Bible?<<<

    No. The Catholic Church has banned false interpretations of the Bible.

    But I think what you mean to be asking should read, "Has the Catholic Church ever forbidden its members to read the Bible without proper guidance from the Church?" The answer to that question is, "Yes." The Catholic Church does forbid, to this day, that anyone should read the Bible without following the guidance of the Church.

    >>> Have popes ever forbidden the Scriptures to the common people? Have they ever tried to limit access to the Sacred Writings in the vernacular (i.e., the common language of the people)? In this article, we hope to clear up some misunderstandings concerning this issue.<<<

    Looks to me as though you're adding to the misunderstandings rather than trying to clear them up.

    >>>Sometimes the Protestant claims against the Catholic Church on this topic are exaggerated. But there are extremes on both sides. But for those who believe that the Catholic Church has never restricted the reading of Scripture, please note the following…
    A Few Popes
    According to the "New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia" (online), here is a short list of popes and brief comments concerning their restrictions on the reading, owning, printing, or distribution of the Scriptures:<<<

    All of these Popes have followed the admonitions of Scripture in so doing. I'll show you.

    >>>Gregory VII (1080 A.D.) prevented the Bohemian people from obtaining the Bible in their own language because he feared it would lead to “irreverence and wrong interpretation of the inspired text.”<<<

    Hebrews 13:7
    King James Version (KJV)
    7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

    cont'd

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    >>>Innocent III (1199) wrote to the Bishop of Metz (a city in France) and said that the practice of reading the Scriptures, though praiseworthy, was “dangerous for the simple and unlearned.” <<<

    2 Peter 3:16
    As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

    >>>Gregory IX (1229), in the Council (Synod) of Toulouse, prohibited the laity (non-clergy) from having the books of the Old or New Testament, and “most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books.” (Canon 14 - Emphasis added)

    Gregory IX (1233), in the Council (Synod) of Tarragona, issued a similar prohibition, stating that no one (whether “cleric or layman”) may possess Scripture in “the Romance language” (referring to the vernacular). If anyone had such books, he was to turn the writings over to the authorities (to be burned), until he was “cleared of all suspicion.” (Canon 2) <<<

    This answer below addresses both the Council of Toulouse and Tarragona.

    Catholicism and Fundamentalism
    by Karl Keating

    10. Bible forbidden to laymen, placed on the Index of Forbidden Books by the Council of Toulouse in A.D. 1229 a) [The] Index was established in 1543, so a council held in 1229 hardly could have listed a book on it...The council held in Toulouse dealt with the Albigensian heresy, a variety of Manichaeanism, which maintained that marriage is evil because the flesh is evil...In order to promulgate their views, the Albigensians used vernacular versions of the Bible to “substantiate” their theories...[and they] were twisting the Bible to support an immoral

    Matthew 16:18-19
    King James Version (KJV)
    18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

    >>>Gregory XII (1408), in the Third Synod of Oxford, only allowed the laity to read versions that were approved by the church authorities.<<<

    That sounds reasonable to me. What do you find wrong with that?

    cont'd

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    >>>Pius IV (1564), in his constitution, “Dominici Gregis,” published the “Index of Prohibited Books.” In it, Scripture reading was again limited to only those persons approved by the bishop. <<<

    Still good. It is the Church which is entrusted with the Teaching of the Word of God:

    Matthew 28:19-20
    King James Version (KJV)
    19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

    20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

    >>>Clement VIII (1596) added the above restriction to the fourth rule of the Index.

    Sixtus V (1598) reserved this power of approval to himself or to the “Sacred Congregation of the Index.” <<<

    Still good. See above.

    >>>Clement XI (1713), in his Papal Bull “Unigenitus,” in condemning certain teachings, questioned the necessity of reading the Bible.<<<

    See above. The Church is the authorized Teacher of the Word of God. See also Eph 3:10 which says:
    Ephesians 3:10
    King James Version (KJV)
    10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

    >>>Benedict XIV (1757) allowed the reading of vernacular versions by the laity, but only with the Church’s approval, or with footnotes from the fathers or of “learned and pious authors.”<<<

    Excellent!

    >>>Pius VI (1794), in his Papal Bull “Auctorem Fidei,” continued the condemnation by Clement XI (above).<<<

    Still good. The Church is still the organization established by Jesus Christ and authorized to Teach His Doctrines.

    >>>Pius VII (1816) warned against allowing the laity to read the Scriptures “indiscriminately” in the vernacular.<<<

    Good warning. The Protestant denominations are a good indicator of what would happen to Cathlicism if all Catholics were allowed to read Scripture "indiscriminately".

    >>>Gregory XVI (1836) again allowed only Church-approved reading of the Bible.
    Gregory XVI (1844) repeated the same regulation (above) when writing against Bible Societies in his encyclical, “Inter praecipuas.”
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13635b.htm<<<

    No problem there. The Catholic Church has the authority given by Christ to make rules for her disciples.
    Matthew 28:18-19
    King James Version (KJV)
    18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

    19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

    cont'd

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    >>>A Few Others
    All of these popes, and more, suppressed the Scriptures in some form or another. Other popes issuing similar restrictions include:<<<

    You are mixing in your presuppositions. All of these Popes protected the Laity from misinterpretations of the Scriptures and from uneducated twisting of the Scriptures which would lead them to eternal destruction.

    >>>Leo XII (1824) wrote against the work of the “Bible Society” in his papal encyclical “Ubi primum.”<<<

    The Bible Society must have been mixing in Protestant errors. They have done so in the past.

    >>>Pius VIII (1829) wrote against unapproved vernacular versions of the Bible in the papal encyclical “Traditi humiliate.”

    That is perfectly Scriptural. The Church has the authority given by Jesus Christ to "bind and loose on earth and it is bound and loosed in heaven (Matt 16:18-19)."

    >>>Pius IX (1846), in his papal encyclical, “Qui pluribus,” was writing against the Bible Societies who would “ceaselessly force on people of all kinds, even the uneducated, gifts of the Bible.” How horrible! What beasts these Bible Societies must have been, to “force” this gift of God’s Word upon the people!<<<

    It is horrible when you realize that they were giving them Protestant versions of the Scriptures which contained, as Protestant Bibles do to this day, many errors which can lead the uneducated to the destruction of their souls.

    >>>Leo XIII (1897), in his apostolic constitution “Officiorum ac Munerum,” softened the punishment for these “crimes” of Bible reading somewhat, yet continued to prohibit the Word in the vernacular. It was still only allowed by those who were approved by the Catholic Church. <<<

    Excellent! The Church continues to obey Christ!

    >>>For anyone who would like to research / confirm these facts, most (if not all) of these can be found online on Catholic websites (e.g., EWTN, the “New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia,” the official Vatican website, etc.).<<<

    They are welcomed to do so. The Catholic Church promotes good and honest history. Not the twisting which you are doing above. Better that they read it from a Catholic source than from you trying to charge the Church insidious reasons for the good she is doing.

    cont'd

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    >>>So, if anyone tells you that the Catholic Church (through its popes) never restricted or banned the Bible, he is either misinformed or he is a liar. It may not have been a complete or total ban, but they were nevertheless bans which sometimes included severe (and punishable) restrictions. <<<

    The Church has never restricted or banned the Bible unless there were errors in that Bible. The Church has often placed safeguards in the reading of the Bible so that her members would not be led astray by false teachers or by their own erroneous understanding of the Bible.


    >>>But Why?<<<

    You know why, Russell. Because the Church is the organization appointed and authorized by Jesus Christ to teach His Commands.


    >>>But the question is, why would the Catholic Church ever ban Scripture AT ALL?<<<

    That is the way you look at it. The Church has never banned Scripture. The Church has banned erroneous interpretations of Scripture.

    >>>Catholics will say that these were only local bans, and supposedly, all these restrictions were only temporary regulations. <<<

    I told you that you knew the reasons.

    >>>Supposedly, they were protecting the purity of Scripture. <<<

    Absolutely!

    >>>They tell us that only the “unfaithful” or “corrupt” translations of the Bible were banned, or that it was only the “deuterocanonical-deprived” (Protestant) versions that were forbidden to be read by its members. <<<

    That is true!

    >>>They will say that the Catholic Church has only forbidden Bible reading when “it was almost certain to cause serious spiritual harm.” ("New Advent" article linked above)<<<

    Thank you!

    >>>Note that the Council of Trent’s Rule 4 on prohibited books (the section titled, “Ten Rules concerning prohibited books drawn up by the fathers chosen by the Council of Trent and approved by Pope Pius”) spoke of Scripture reading by the uneducated as doing “more harm than good” because it could be abused by certain people. <<<

    As it was abused by the Reformers and continues to be abused by people like you. No disrespect intended. It is merely the truth.

    >>>But if that’s the case, why take a chance with the Eucharist? If they are afraid of having something precious (like Scripture) violated by abuse, then shouldn’t the Eucharist also be withheld for the same reason? <<<

    Not sure what you mean there. No one is permitted to confect the Eucharist except duly ordained Priests. Anyone who receives the Eucharist without a proper disposition of faith is warned of the fact that they will condemn themselves in so doing.

    What's the point of your question?

    cont'd

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    >>>The possibility of “serious harm” is certainly present here in the Eucharist, as well, since it too can be abused by the individual (1 Corinthians 11:27-29). But no one in the Catholic Church stopped giving the Eucharist to the poor and uneducated because of possible abuse.<<<

    They have in the past. Protestants object to the fact that the Church, at one point, restricted the laity from receiving Eucharist to once a year. They also object to the fact that at one point, the Church restricted receiving of the Eucharist to the Bread only. As a rule, Protestants object to any exercise of Catholic Church authority.

    >>>The fact is, personal Scripture reading, like receiving the Eucharist (or Communion), is an issue of personal accountability. Both are to be done responsibly, and with the right attitude. But keeping it away from those who don’t abuse it is not the answer.<<<

    On the contrary, there is no strictly personal accountability. In the Old Testament and the New, God expects His chosen leaders to admonish and guide His people to salvation. If they fail in this duty, they will be dealt with sternly:
    Hosea 4:6

    My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

    James 3:1

    My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

    >>>And if these bans were only temporary, then why did pope after pope continue to issue them? <<<

    Because they were still needed. The existence of Protestantism is proof that it is needed even today.

    >>>It’s funny, but it seems that none of these quotes restricting the reading of Scripture ever mention being only “temporary.” If there was indeed some abuse of Scripture, then keeping the people from reading it was hardly the correct way of handling the situation. Remember, even in the days of the apostles there were Gnostics and other heretics who abused Scripture. But Jesus and the apostles often pointed the people to the Scriptures; they never tried to ban anyone from reading them because of possible abuse or misunderstanding. This would be like forbidding innocent couples to have children just because some might possibly abuse their children, or might not raise them perfectly.<<<

    You are mistaken. Scripture shows that the Church is the official Teacher of the Word of God by Tradition or Scripture. You just refuse to acknowledge that which the Scriptures are telling you:
    Hebrews 13:17
    King James Version (KJV)
    17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

    cont'd

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    >>>Ulterior Motive?<<<

    This is your problem. You always cast aspersions upon the Catholic Church regardless of the reasonableness of her actions.

    >>>One must ask, were these popes who restricted God’s Word really concerned about “maintaining the purity of the Scriptures”? Were these bans really put into place to prevent heresy, or was it something else? Could it be that they were trying to hide something? Or that it was all about power and control? <<<

    It was and remains about the salvation of souls.

    >>>According to Catholic Historian Paul Johnson:
    “In the West, the clergy had begun to assert an exclusive interpretive, indeed custodial, right to the Bible as early as the ninth century; and from about 1080 there had been frequent instances of the Pope, councils and bishops forbidding not only vernacular translations but any reading at all, by laymen, of the Bible taken as a whole. In some ways this was the most scandalous aspect of the medieval Latin Church. From the Waldensians onwards, attempts to scrutinize the Bible became proof presumptive of heresy - a man or woman might burn for it alone - and, conversely, the heterodox were increasingly convinced that the Bible was incompatible with papal and clerical claims.” (“A History of Christianity,” Weidenfeld and Nicolson, Copyright 1976, page 273)<<<

    He is just a man with an opinion. That is all. If his opinion were correct, then Jesus would be wrong. We prefer to believe Jesus when He said, "the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church (Matt 16:18-19).

    >>>Why did it bother the Catholic Church so much to have the Bible in the language of the common man? <<<

    Because the unlearned twist the Word of God to their own destruction (2 Pet 3:15-16).

    >>>They seem to be saying that it would be better to be altogether deprived of personal Bible reading than to have some misunderstandings of it (even if these misunderstandings could be corrected later).<<<

    That is correct. As we have seen, the Protestant misunderstandings have not been corrected for over 500 years and proliferate to this day. Adding error upon error to their twisting of Scripture.

    >>>After all, if the papacy and Catholicism itself are truly scriptural concepts,<<<

    They are. The Papacy and the Catholic Church can both be traced to Matt 16:18-19. However, a better understanding is this. The Bible is a Catholic record of early Church Teaching. It is the Catholic Church which wrote about Christ, and about itself, and Catholic Doctrine in the New Testament of the Bible.

    >>>what did the Church have to fear by allowing them to freely read the Bible in their own language? <<<

    That they would lose their souls by following false teachers like Luther, Calvin and Zwingli.

    >>>Perhaps the Catholic Church was beginning to realize that many of its own members were recognizing the inconsistencies between Scripture and the Catholic Church’s doctrines. <<<

    No. The Catholic Church always knew that at a time would come when people would, "not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; (2 Timothy 4:3}".

    cont'd

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  8. cont'd

    >>>Why Latin?<<<

    Because it was the universal language of its day. It was a very wise decision for the Church to use the Latin language. It simplified teaching, preaching and even record keeping.

    >>>And if the Catholic Church really wanted to clearly stress the pure truth to the common people, then why was the Mass performed for so long in Latin? <<<

    The teaching part of the Mass, the homily, was always done in the vernacular.

    >>>Since the majority of the people were uneducated and only the educated understood Latin, then why have the Mass done in that language?<<<

    What would be easier in your opinion, to teach in one language or to teach in 1000 languages?

    If you have one person who understands Latin and English, another who understands Latin and Spanish, another who understands Latin and Portuguese. And you have a teacher who speaks Latin and Greek, in which language do you think they should all be taught?

    >>> If a proper understanding was so important (as they claim), why not have the Mass in a language that everyone could understand? On the one hand, they claim that it is important to avoid heresy and confusion, yet, on the other hand, they shroud the message in mystery.<<<

    Proper understanding has always been important. Teaching the Doctrines of Christianity to the laity has never been restricted to the Latin. That has always been done in the vernacular.

    >>>It is these types of things that cause us to doubt the sincerity of the Catholic Church when they say that they are concerned for the souls of the common people, and that they wanted God’s Word put into their hands. <<<

    It is those objections like yours which cause me to doubt the sincerity of Protestants who object to such an obviously logical solution to the problem of teaching the whole world. The Protestant solution results in anarchy. Another Tower of Babel. The Catholic solution was sheer genius. Teach in one language, pray in one language. Simplicity itself.

    >>>There just never seemed to be any kind of priority, or much of a serious encouragement of Bible reading throughout the centuries on the part of the Catholic Church. It seems that only recently that this has changed to some extent.<<<

    You are wrong. It is because of the Catholic Church's commitment to the spreading of the Word of God by Sacred Tradition through word and epistle (2 Thess 2:15) that the Church placed such a high priority in the proper transmission of the Doctrines of Jesus Christ.

    >>>Leo XIII
    There are also other reasons for questioning some popes’ concern for “protecting the purity of Scripture.” We will use some of the popes listed above (who banned or restricted Scripture) as examples:
    First, Pope Leo XIII was known as “the Rosary Pope,” since he wrote so much about (and encouraged the use of) the rosary. He wrote at least eleven official documents on the rosary. But reciting the rosary is a totally unbiblical and pagan practice. See here:
    http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2010/05/catholic-rosary.html<<<

    You're mistaken. Only those who don't understand the Rosary would make such a cockamamie charge. The Rosary is the prayerful meditation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is perfectly in line with the Word of God.
    1 Timothy 4:15-16
    King James Version (KJV)
    15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

    16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

    cont'd

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  9. cont'd

    >>>If Leo XIII was truly concerned about keeping the truths of the Bible pure and undefiled,<<<

    He was.

    >>>he would have led others away from this unbiblical (and anti-biblical) concept. <<<

    The Rosary is perfectly biblical. As I mentioned above, it is a meditation on the Gospels of Jesus Christ and is based upon the Our Father (Matt 6:9-13).

    >>>And no doubt many other popes have encouraged praying the rosary, as well. But this does not support sound doctrine.<<<

    Sure it does. Your objection rests upon the term, "use not vain repetitions".
    Matthew 6:7
    King James Version (KJV)
    7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

    But the praying of the Rosary is not vain. A meditation on the word of God can't possibly be vain. It is repetitious. How can we help but repeating the Our Father? If we pray it more than once, we have repeated. Jesus did not prohibit repetition. He repeated VAIN repetition. Two very different concepts.

    >>>Pius IX
    Next, Pope Pius IX also adds to our suspicion of an ulterior motive from the Church. In 1854, he “infallibly” proclaimed that Mary (the mother of Jesus) was “immaculately conceived”; that is, from the moment that she was conceived, she had no sin (and remained sinless throughout her entire life). This “infallible” teaching of Pius IX was not only not a biblical concept, but it was anti-biblical, as well. See here:
    http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2011/05/was-mary-without-sin.html<<<

    It is, in fact, perfectly Biblical. In the very beginning, God revealed that He would put enmity between The Woman and the Serpent. That Woman is Mary.

    Genesis 3:15
    King James Version (KJV)
    15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

    Mary never had anything in common with the Serpent because of this enmity. Therefore, she never sinned.

    cont'd

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  10. cont'd

    >>>Is the doctrine of the “Immaculate Conception” another example of a pope’s concern for “doctrinal purity”? It seems that Pius IX was little worried about false doctrine or scriptural truth!<<<

    I'm glad you said this. It is a beautiful example of how Protestants twist the truth in order to trick people into believing their false doctrines. "Doctrinal purity" means freedom from "doctrinal error". Therefore, he is very concerned about false doctrine and maintaining Scriptural Truth.

    >>>Another issue concerning Pope Pius IX is his behavior during the First Vatican Council, which he presided over, beginning in 1869. According to the “New Catholic Encyclopedia” (Copyright 1967):
    “One of the chief issues dividing Catholics on the eve of the council was that of a possible definition of papal infallibility.” (Volume XIV, p. 561)

    Pius IX’s definition of papal infallibility was different from many others in the Church, and this caused some very serious divisions in the Catholic Church.

    Former Catholic (Jesuit) priest and historian, Peter de Rosa, gives us some interesting details on the events of that Council and how it was handled by the pope. For all practical purposes, the vote was rigged in the sense that many who attended the council were on the pope’s payroll and under intense pressure, so most dared not vote against him. For many bishops, it was either vote against their conscience or publicly offend the “Holy Father” by voting against him. Therefore, many of them abstained. Although many in the Church were against his constitution, “Pius IX refused to listen to the opposition, claiming he was ‘merely the mouthpiece of the Holy Ghost.’” De Rosa points out that the council’s decision “did not adequately mirror the mind of the Western church. A very important truth was at stake and the decree was felt by many to be defective.” One outspoken bishop (Strossmayer) complained that this particular council “lacks both liberty and truth.” (“Vicars of Christ, The Dark Side of the Papacy,”, Poolbeg Press, Copyright 2000, p. 133-136)

    You see, for Pius IX, this was all about power; he was a power-hungry pope who pressured his subjects to “agree” with his unbiblical (and even non-Traditional) idea of papal infallibility. At one point, Bishop Guidi of Bologna pointed out that Pius’ view of infallibility was not supported by Sacred Tradition. Pius then thundered, “I AM Tradition… I AM the Church!” What a fine example of humility and sound doctrine! After this, any references to his concern for “purity of Scripture” ring hollow. It is evident that his concern was not about the purity of doctrine, but about CONTROL of doctrine.<<<

    Its funny how Protestants quickly forget Scripture when it is convenient for them. Scripture holds the following admonitions against what you have just done:
    1 Corinthians 2:15
    But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

    The Pope is the highest ranking spiritual man on this earth. Therefore, he is not here for you to judge him.

    Romans 14:4
    Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

    He is God's servant and therefore God's to judge.

    But you, like most Protestants, could care less what Scripture says.

    cont'd

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  11. cont'd

    >>>Innocent III
    Another pope listed above, Innocent III, initiated the Crusade against the Albigenses, which gave rise to the medieval Inquisition. So, the Catholic Church began putting many “heretics” to death. Other popes would participate in other crusades and inquisitions, as well. But is this the way Jesus taught us to deal with the enemies of the faith? Can we trust these popes’ loyalty to the Scriptures when they showed such disregard for the most basic principles of the gospel?<<<

    All these Popes upheld Biblical principles. The Inquisitions were used to find those Muslims who were posing as Christians. Much like today, they were infiltrating Christian society with the intention of destroying it. Do you remember September 11th? It is largely because of the Inquisitions that you are not praying to Allah five times a day. But you will no doubt deny and reject your debt of gratitude to the Catholic Church for your ability to worship Christ today.

    >>>
    Backlash
    Question: Why doesn’t the Catholic Church kill heretics today? <<<

    The Catholic Church has never killed anyone. Period.

    >>>Obviously, they’d have to admit that this is wrong. Jesus never said to kill heretics. And if it’s wrong today, then it was also wrong in the days of the Crusades / Inquisitions. All of this killing of “heretics” was to maintain power for the Catholic Church. It was not about devotion to the truth or protecting Scripture.<<<

    The Catholic Church never killed any heretics during the Crusades or the Inquisitions. You are simply passing along anti-Catholic lies.

    In the Crusades, Catholics went to war with Muslims and freed the Eastern Catholics (who are now the Orthodox) from Muslim hostile rule. Any Christians living in Muslim territory know what this is about.

    The Inquisitions were conducted to identify Muslim infiltrators posing as Christians. The governments of the lands wherein these judgements were made were the ones who carried out any punishments.

    cont'd

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  12. cont'd

    >>>What about the backlash from the Crusades and Inquisition? It is our personal opinion that it is because of the Catholic Church and their involvement in these events that more people have turned away from God and have become atheists than for any other reason.<<<

    Then you can blame yourselves for passing on the lies which you have done. If people had known the truth they would not have converted away from God.

    >>>The well-known German Catholic priest and theologian, Johann Joseph Ignaz Von Dollinger wrote about the Catholic Church’s inquisitions:
    “From 1200 to 1500 the long series of Papal ordinances on the Inquisition, ever increasing in severity and cruelty, and their whole policy towards heresy, runs on without a break. It is a rigidly consistent system of legislation: every Pope confirms and improves upon the devices of his predecessor. All is directed to the one end, of completely uprooting every difference of belief... The Inquisition ... contradicted the simplest principles of Christian justice and love to our neighbor, and would have been rejected with universal horror in the ancient Church.” (The Pope and the Council, Roberts Brothers, Copyright 1870, p. 192-193)<<<

    Well known where? In anti-Catholic circles, that's where. He is a man who followed in Luther's footsteps and sought to undermine the Catholic Church. He was excommunicated for his efforts.

    >>>Conclusion
    No doubt, other examples could be given, but this is just a sampling of some popes’ attitudes and lack of true concern for Scripture. Here we see that the ones who banned or restricted the reading of the Bible (supposedly for reasons of “faithfulness”) are the very ones violating that same Bible. In at least some cases, their “concern” is at best, lip service, and at worst, deliberately withholding the Word of Life from the common people. But to restrict personal Bible reading is to restrict personal spiritual growth. <<<

    No, what we see is your twisting of the facts to make it appear as though the Catholic Church was against the Bible. But you have contradicted all that you said above in the following sentence:

    >>>In fairness, it is true that over the centuries the Catholic Church had its monks copy and preserve the Scriptures.<<<

    THANK YOU! It is because of the Catholic Church that you even have the remnant of a Bible that you have left. If it had been up to the Protestants, even more of the Bible would have been cast out than the seven books which they removed from the Bible.

    >>>But we’ll have to give more credit to these monks than to some of the popes. Popes speak of concern for “serious spiritual harm” in the Church, yet they are masters of spiritual harm, due to their false doctrine and their power and influence. The bottom line is that the Catholic Church can hardly be considered a friend of the Bible, even today, when it has so many teachings contrary to the sacred Scriptures. <<<

    It is Protestants who have caused the spiritual harm. It is Protestants whose doctrines are completely in contradiction to Scripture. I am proving this in my series of responses to your notes on Sola Scriptura series.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

    ReplyDelete
  13. You should not believe in the bible because it is just a 'tool', preserved for two thousand years by the 'satanic' catholic church ( as you Protestants claim it is) to spread its 'false' doctrines. It 'might have added new words or altered the texts to teach its doctrines' ( as you Protestants think it did), so you should not believe in the bible you have now. With that said, you have to either reject the bible or accept both the bible and church authority

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hello Buu Thong Trann,

    Thank you for your comments.

    You said that I would have to either reject the bible or accept both the bible AND church authority. But I DO accept both. I don’t know why so many Catholics think that we (Protestants) either hate church authority or don’t believe in church authority. I’ve said many times in this blog that I do believe in true God-ordained church authority. It’s just that it is a LESSER authority than the Bible. True church authority / leaders will recognize that the Scriptures are the final and ultimate authority for the church, and true church authority will never contradict the Bible. I’ve been pointing out for years that the Catholic Church often contradicts the Bible that it claims to love.

    Yes, we sometimes need leaders to guide us. I’ve never denied that. No man is an island. But God has made the gospel simple enough for the great majority of people to understand its principles if they humbly and prayerfully approach His Scriptures with the proper attitude.

    Buu, when you subject yourself to a leader - any leader - make sure that what he is teaching lines up with Scripture. And the only way to know for sure is to prayerfully study the Bible for yourself. Then you can see how the Catholic Church measures up against it. Don’t stake your eternal destiny on an organization, a denomination, or a label.

    In His Name,
    Russell

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hello De Maria,

    (Part 1)

    I just want to comment on a few things you said. First, you mentioned Catholic apologist Karl Keating’s comments about the “Index of Forbidden Books” and when it was first created, and how this ties in with the councils of Toulouse and Tarragona. Keating says that the “index was established in 1543, so a council held in 1229 hardly could have listed a book on it…” (Catholicism and Fundamentalism, page 45).

    But this is a straw man argument, since it has nothing whatsoever to do with any of my arguments in the article. I never said or implied that the “Index” was in effect before 1543.

    I had said that a number of popes suppressed the Scriptures in one form or another, and you said:

    “You are mixing in your presuppositions. All of these Popes protected the Laity from misinterpretations of the Scriptures and from uneducated twisting of the Scriptures which would lead them to eternal destruction.”

    Tell me, when the Pharisees and scribes abused the Scriptures (e.g., Mark 7:9-13; Matthew 15:3-6), did Jesus take their scrolls and say, “You are abusing the Law / Scriptures, therefore I must take them away from you so I can protect you from misinterpretations”? No, He never suggested such a thing. It was never a consideration for Jesus or the apostles to prohibit the Scriptures to anyone interested.

    I had stated early on in the article that the information I mentioned could be found on Catholic websites, and you said:

    “The Catholic Church promotes good and honest history. Not the twisting which you are doing above.”

    De Maria, you are falsely accusing me of twisting the truth BEFORE I had actually even commented on those events. I’m not “twisting” anything. I was simply quoting the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia. THEY are the ones who are admitting that these were instances when the Catholic Church banned Scripture.

    I had pointed out the excuses that Catholics use to defend their restricting of Bible reading, and you seem to agree with (and actually believe) those excuses. You apparently think that these are good reasons, but I went on to demonstrate that some of the Catholic Church’s leaders don’t really care about “pure doctrine.” That’s the whole point of the article.

    I mentioned the fact that if Scripture is to be withheld from the general public so it doesn’t get abused, then the Eucharist should ALSO be withheld just in case it is abused by those receiving it. And you said:

    “Anyone who receives the Eucharist without a proper disposition of faith is warned of the fact that they will condemn themselves in so doing.”

    I agree. But why not avoid any possible abuse and withhold it (the Eucharist) from the poor and uneducated, as they did with Scripture? It seems the Catholic Church is being inconsistent here. If prohibition cures abuse, then why not prohibit both Scripture and the Eucharist, since either can be abused?

    Concerning the Eucharist, you said, “There is no strictly personal accountability. In the Old Testament and the New, God expects His chosen leaders to admonish and guide His people to salvation. If they fail in this duty, they will be dealt with sternly:”

    That’s true, but does this mean that God CANNOT punish you for following false teaching if your priest / bishop / pope would happen to be wrong? Is that what you are saying? No personal accountability? But you just admitted above that a person CAN INDEED be condemned (and is therefore accountable) by abusing the Eucharist. We are all accountable to God for what we believe. No one can claim ignorance on Judgment Day when standing before God. And no one will be able to escape judgment by blaming it on the pope / priest / minister.






    ReplyDelete
  16. (Part 2)

    I argued that the bans were not just “temporary,” since they were issued by several popes in a row. And you said that this was because they were still needed (and you pointed to Protestantism as proof of that need).

    Ok, then no one can use the excuse that it was “only temporary,” as some Catholics claim, can they? It is, in fact, an excuse; one that you have fallen victim to.

    I quoted Catholic historian Paul Johnson concerning the Catholic Church’s attitude toward the Scriptures, and you said:

    “He is just a man with an opinion. That is all…”

    But someone could say the same thing about everything that YOU say. Are you a historian? How is it that so many historians, even Catholic ones (who are being brutally honest), point out unflattering things like this about their own Church? It is because the evidence certainly points in that direction.

    You continued:

    “If his [Paul Johnson’s] opinion were correct, then Jesus would be wrong.” [Referring to Matthew 16:18]

    De Maria, it is true that the gates of Hell WILL NOT ultimately prevail against the church. But your understanding of this verse AND of the true meaning of “the church” is simply wrong. So please quit making this ridiculous assertion. If Paul Johnson’s “opinion” is correct, it only demonstrates that the Catholic Church is not the true church, after all (big surprise); it DOESN’T have to mean that the gates of Hell have prevailed against the true church.

    I asked what did the Catholic Church have to fear by allowing them to freely read the Bible in their own language, and you said:

    “That they would lose their souls by following false teachers like Luther, Calvin and Zwingli.”

    But why do you insist that personal Bible reading MUST end in wrong interpretation? This is such an arrogant and elitist mindset – as though we must leave everything to “the experts.” But it is a common Catholic mindset, especially in its leadership.

    I gave some background on Pius IX’s dealings with the First Vatican Council, and this account comes from a former Catholic historian and is, no doubt, unflattering. But it is interesting that now you are accusing me of “judging” the former pope. Then you turn around and say right after that:

    “But you, like most Protestants, could care less what Scripture says.”

    If I am guilty of “judging,” then so are you. But observing a pope’s fruit is not necessarily judging him in the sense of Matthew 7:1-5. But it does tell us a lot. You shall know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:16).

    There are so many more things that I could respond to, but neither time nor prudence allow me to go farther. De Maria, you and I have been discussing and debating many things over the years, and recently it quickly gets to the point of frustration for me, which makes me often wonder if I am not just “casting pearls” (Matthew 7:6).

    For many Catholics like yourself, there is this “The-Catholic-Church-is-the-true-Church-of-Jesus-Christ-because-she-SAYS-she-is-no-matter-how-you-interpret-the-Bible” mentality. The Church can do no wrong.

    You keep referring to “the Church,” and use certain Scriptures repeatedly (e.g., Hebrews 13:17; 2 Peter 3:15-16; Matthew 16:18-19, and 28:18-20; and Ephesians 3:10) but you prove nothing. The Scriptures you present do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to demonstrate that the modern Catholic Church is the church of Jesus Christ. I will ask the reader to take an honest and prayerful look at each of these Scriptures, IN CONTEXT, and evaluate whether De Maria’s claims are convincing. I am confident that a truly honest study of these Scriptures will not support Catholic claims. That’s what this blog is about – pointing Catholics to the truth and answering Catholic claims through Scripture and common sense.

    In His Name,
    Russell

    ReplyDelete
  17. RussellJanuary 16, 2014 at 10:26 PM
Hello De Maria,



    (Part 1)

But this is a straw man argument, since it has nothing whatsoever to do with any of my arguments in the article. I never said or implied that the “Index” was in effect before 1543.


    You missed the point. Read my response more closely. You claimed that the Bible was suppressed because of a language problem. Whereas, it was to fight the Manichaean heresy that the Pope restricted the free interpretation of the Bible.



    Tell me, when the Pharisees and scribes abused the Scriptures (e.g., Mark 7:9-13; Matthew 15:3-6), did Jesus take their scrolls and say, “You are abusing the Law / Scriptures, therefore I must take them away from you so I can protect you from misinterpretations”? No, He never suggested such a thing. It was never a consideration for Jesus or the apostles to prohibit the Scriptures to anyone interested.

    Tell me, did the Pharisees recognize the authority of Jesus Christ? I've read the Scriptures and the Pharisees did not believe in Jesus. Therefore, Jesus could not have ordered them to stop misusing the Scriptures, unless He wanted to use His Godly authority. Which He didn't at that time. However, He instructed the Church to make disciples of the world. That means that He instructed the Church to become the MASTER of the world.

    De Maria, you are falsely accusing me of twisting the truth BEFORE I had actually even commented on those events. I’m not “twisting” anything. I was simply quoting the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia. THEY are the ones who are admitting that these were instances when the Catholic Church banned Scripture.

    Lol! Your words are loaded with anti-Catholic presuppositions. It is one thing to "ban Scripture". It is quite another to ban false interpretations of Scripture and falsely translated versions of the Bible in order to protect the laity when those are the central causes of heresies in the Church.

    

I had pointed out the excuses that Catholics use to defend their restricting of Bible reading, and you seem to agree with (and actually believe) those excuses. You apparently think that these are good reasons, but I went on to demonstrate that some of the Catholic Church’s leaders don’t really care about “pure doctrine.” That’s the whole point of the article.

    You made your opinions clear. I made mine clear. There are two sides to every argument. I believe the Catholic Church continues to be the one institution that cares more about pure Christian doctrine. Certainly, Protestants do not. They hardly agree even with each other

    .
I agree. But why not avoid any possible abuse and withhold it (the Eucharist) from the poor and uneducated, as they did with Scripture? It seems the Catholic Church is being inconsistent here. If prohibition cures abuse, then why not prohibit both Scripture and the Eucharist, since either can be abused?

    It is you that is being inconsistent. At times the Church has restricted the Eucharist. And at times it has restricted the Bible. Today, it restricts neither.



    cont'd

    ReplyDelete
  18. Part 1 cont'd

    Russell said:
    That’s true, but does this mean that God CANNOT punish you for following false teaching if your priest / bishop / pope would happen to be wrong?

    No. But have you not read in Scripture:
    Luke 12:46-48
    King James Version (KJV)
    46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
    47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

    In addition, the Church itself, in ecumenical council is infallible. And also the Pope speaking ex-cathedra.

    Is that what you are saying?

    No.

    No personal accountability?

    The Church teaches, "Mea culpa!" You know that.

    But you just admitted above that a person CAN INDEED be condemned (and is therefore accountable) by abusing the Eucharist. We are all accountable to God for what we believe. No one can claim ignorance on Judgment Day when standing before God. And no one will be able to escape judgment by blaming it on the pope / priest / minister.

    Nor will anyone be able to escape judgment by blaming it on the Bible alone. Or by claiming salvation by faith alone. We will all stand before the Just Judge on the Last Day.

    So, what's your point. That you don't want to obey the Scripture?

    Hebrews 13:17 King James Version (KJV) 17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

    ReplyDelete
  19. RussellJanuary 16, 2014 at 10:32 PM
(Part 2)

I argued that the bans were not just “temporary,” since they were issued by several popes in a row. And you said that this was because they were still needed (and you pointed to Protestantism as proof of that need). 

Ok, then no one can use the excuse that it was “only temporary,” as some Catholics claim, can they? It is, in fact, an excuse; one that you have fallen victim to.

    You are twisting the argument. Our government issues temporary curfews whenever they are needed. By your argument, temporary curfews are permanent simply because they are still needed today when emergencies arise.

    The other, more subtle implication which you are making is that the Church does not have the authority to make any restrictions. But you are wrong. The Church was appointed by Jesus Christ to make disciples of the world and was given His authority in this world.

    

But someone could say the same thing about everything that YOU say.

    True. But if it is about you or I or anyone else, what is the point of this discussion?

    You know as well as I do that I can list many more Catholic historians who agree with me than you can those who agree with you. But what is the point?

    De Maria, it is true that the gates of Hell WILL NOT ultimately prevail against the church.

    They will not ever prevail against Christ's Church.

    But your understanding of this verse AND of the true meaning of “the church” is simply wrong. So please quit making this ridiculous assertion.

    My stance is precisely the opposite. I believe that your understanding of this verse and of the true meaning of "the church" is simply wrong. Therefore, you need to quit making your ridiculous assertions.

    If Paul Johnson’s “opinion” is correct, it only demonstrates that the Catholic Church is not the true church, after all (big surprise);.

    But Paul Johnson is wrong and the Catholic Church is the true Church.

    it DOESN’T have to mean that the gates of Hell have prevailed against the true church

    If there is no church in this world with pure doctrine, then the gates of hell have prevailed against the Church.

But why do you insist that personal Bible reading MUST end in wrong interpretation?

    1. When did I say that?
    2. I provided three examples, Luther, Calvin and Zwingli, where personal bible reading did end in wrong interpretation.

    This is such an arrogant and elitist mindset – as though we must leave everything to “the experts.” But it is a common Catholic mindset, especially in its leadership.

    It is Biblical:
    Hebrews 13:7
    King James Version (KJV)
    7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

    ….If I am guilty of “judging,” then so are you…..

    I am comparing your deeds to Scripture. Whereas you are accusing a man of God.
    1 Corinthians 2:15
    But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

    cont'd

    ReplyDelete
  20. Part 2 cont'd

    Russell said:
    There are so many more things that I could respond to, but neither time nor prudence allow me to go farther. De Maria, you and I have been discussing and debating many things over the years, and recently it quickly gets to the point of frustration for me, which makes me often wonder if I am not just “casting pearls” (Matthew 7:6).

    I feel the same way about talking to Protestants. Even when things are proven to them from Scripture, they prefer to remain in their errors.

For many Catholics like yourself, there is this “The-Catholic-Church-is-the-true-Church-of-Jesus-Christ-because-she-SAYS-she-is-no-matter-how-you-interpret-the-Bible” mentality. The Church can do no wrong.

    Scripture says:
    Ephesians 3:10
    King James Version (KJV)
    10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

    

You keep referring to “the Church,” and use certain Scriptures repeatedly (e.g., Hebrews 13:17; 2 Peter 3:15-16; Matthew 16:18-19, and 28:18-20; and Ephesians 3:10) but you prove nothing. The Scriptures you present do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to demonstrate that the modern Catholic Church is the church of Jesus Christ. I will ask the reader to take an honest and prayerful look at each of these Scriptures, IN CONTEXT, and evaluate whether De Maria’s claims are convincing. I am confident that a truly honest study of these Scriptures will not support Catholic claims. That’s what this blog is about – pointing Catholics to the truth and answering Catholic claims through Scripture and common sense.

    Thank you. That's all I ask. Prayerfully consider those verses and compare them to that which the Protestants teach. See which the Holy Spirit tell you are in accordance with the Word of God.

In His Name,
Russell

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

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