Why I Handle Doubt Differently After Converting to Catholicism

Doubt is a humbling admission, a sign of weakness. We want our leaders to display unwavering confidence. Imagine if Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said at his next rollout,, “This is the best iPad yet. At least I think so. Honestly, sometimes I wake up late at night and envy Jeff Bezos, wonder if I shouldn’t buy a Kindle Fire and retire.” The headlines would not be favorable.

There were times as an evangelical Protestant when I did not have any doubt. My ten weeks serving as a evangelical missionary in the Catholic country of Poland were one of those times, but also exposed ignorance. My conviction discouraged an intellectual curiosity and humility to take seriously the claims of Catholicism, rather than simply propose counter arguments which, in the end, were lightweight.

Though I am firmly Catholic, there are still days when I wonder whether I’m doing Christianity “right.

Do you know why ?I haven’t read everything, don’t know everything. When an Eastern Orthodox man refers me to ancient documents asserting the Roman Catholic Church broke off from them, or a Protestant apologist declares Mary’s high place among the Catholics comes from ancient Roman practices, I don’t always have an answer. I read voraciously before becoming Catholic, and continue to use sites like Catholic Answers, but I haven’t yet consumed many tomes of Christianity, each encyclical and historical controversy.

Yet I am more comforted by my ignorance and doubt as a Catholic than as a Protestant. Without the conviction of apostolic succession, each Protestant, especially evangelical Protestants, must become a Martin Luther and carefully construct their own systematic theology, deciding whether their beliefs line up with the Bible. Most evangelicals would nod and say this is a good thing but, for many, it is exhausting. Marcus Grodi, as do many other converts to the faith, describe wondering as they preached on Sunday how they could be so sure of their interpretation of a core topic like baptism and their Baptist friend down the street could be so wrong.

Catholics, on the other hand, more fully embrace the men and women who have lived before us and, most importantly, Christ’s promise to guide his Church through the apostles and their successors. Anyone who affirms this can more easily say, “I don’t have all of the answers, but wiser men and women than me have gone before me and are kept by the promises of Christ.” This does not negate the importance of apologetics, but I do believe it is a more humble approach and, also, the right approach.

As I delve deeper into Catholicism, answering every question and doubt  has become less urgent. I am more interested in learning about St Teresa of Avila and leccio divina than in scouring Catholic Answers for refutations against Mormonism or the Crusades. My sentiment is the same one St. Peter expressed to the Christ: “Lord, to whom shall we go?”(John 6:68). I love Jesus and I believe he is the Way the Truth and the Life, found most fully in the Roman Catholic Church, and will submit my journey to Him.

Thanks for reading,

-Anthony

Anthony Baratta is a former evangelical youth pastor who left seminary to become Catholic in February of 2012. Anthony is happily married to his wife, Jackie, and actively involved in his local parish.

Advertisements

31 thoughts on “Why I Handle Doubt Differently After Converting to Catholicism

  1. Here’s how St Ignatius dealt with doubt: “Rule 13 of Ignatius’s Rules for Thinking with the Church said: “That we may be altogether of the same mind and in conformity […], if [the Church] shall have defined anything to be black which to our eyes appears to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it to be black.” Doubt can often be an expression of arrogant pride…..especially if you go to the next step of “Since it is doubtful, it can be, may be, or even must be wrong…………and I have figured this out all by myself.” We have to be Jesus today for each other when one of us says “Unless I put my hand into the wound of his side….”. We have to act in accord with God’s will to show the doubter He is risen and He loves you. Guy McClung

    • So…how can you be sure the people who are the determiners of [the church] doctrines are not truly the arrogant ones?

      For example in 1950, with Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII’s infallible definition regarding the Assumption of Mary, there are attached these words:

      Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which We have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.

      And with that definition the church officially has denied one person, the pope, to have removed by God free will..which is also a doctrinal error.

      From the catechism…

      1739 Freedom and sin. Man’s freedom is limited and fallible. In fact, man failed. He freely sinned. By refusing God’s plan of love, he deceived himself and became a slave to sin. This first alienation engendered a multitude of others. From its outset, human history attests the wretchedness and oppression born of the human heart in consequence of the abuse of freedom.

      1738 Freedom is exercised in relationships between human beings. Every human person, created in the image of God, has the natural right to be recognized as a free and responsible being. All owe to each other this duty of respect. The right to the exercise of freedom, especially in moral and religious matters, is an inalienable requirement of the dignity of the human person. This right must be recognized and protected by civil authority within the limits of the common good and public order.32

      1743 “God willed that man should be left in the hand of his own counsel (cf. Sir 15:14), so that he might of his own accord seek his creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him” (GS 17 § 1).

      1744 Freedom is the power to act or not to act, and so to perform deliberate acts of one’s own. Freedom attains perfection in its acts when directed toward God, the sovereign Good.

      1745 Freedom characterizes properly human acts. It makes the human being responsible for acts of which he is the voluntary agent. His deliberate acts properly belong to him.

      1746 The imputability or responsibility for an action can be diminished or nullified by ignorance, duress, fear, and other psychological or social factors.

      1747 The right to the exercise of freedom, especially in religious and moral matters, is an inalienable requirement of the dignity of man. But the exercise of freedom does not entail the putative right to say or do anything.

      None of which excludes the Pope…any Pope… living or dead.

  2. This is a refreshing look at how Catholics should approach apologetics. Faith certainly grants us the firm certainty of possessing the truth. At the same time we know we don’t have all the answers. Just the consoling truth of knowing that Christ will never abandon his Church.

  3. Actually Protestants have it far easier. What a Protestant will do (if he knows Scripture well) is to compare any teachings with Scripture. If the teaching does not line up with Scripture then its not apostolic nor binding. If you ever study the Marain dogmas, indulgences, the papacy or purgatory and look for them in Scripture you will not find support for them. These doctrines were not believed by the church for centuries. It is not true that Christ will not abandon the church. Just read Rev 2:5.

    • Eric, where in the Bible does it say that all knowledge of the faith should come from scripture alone? Please quote the book, chapter and verse. (To assist you, I’ll give you a hint on where to look: it’s not in there…)

      As for your other claims that certain Catholic beliefs were “not believed by the church for centuries”, that’s simply factually incorrect. Take purgatory. Not only have Christians believed this teaching since apostolic times, it’s right there in the Bible! Now, of course the word “purgatory” is not in the Bible but the concept of it is. It’s in many, many places, in fact. Here are just a few.

      In 1 Cor: 10-15, the Bible says, “According to the grace of God given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But each one must be careful how he builds upon it, for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, the work of each will come to light, for the Day will disclose it. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire [itself] will test the quality of each one’s work. If the work stands that some built upon the foundation, that person will receive a wage. But if someone’s work is burned up, that one will suffer loss; the person will be saved but only as through fire. ”

      Note — works will be “burned up” but the “person will be saved but only as through fire”. Is that Heaven? No, why would a person be put through fire in Heaven? Heaven is perfection – it’s without sin — and so are all in it. Is it Hell? Clearly not. The person is saved. Those in Hell are not saved. These souls are saved but their works are tested. If it’s not Heaven and it’s not Hell, where is it? You can call it anything you want. The Catholic Church calls it “Purgatory”. God is perfecting these souls so that they can eventually be welcomed into Heaven.

      Furthermore, 1 Cor: 17 lays out what happens to a person who is not saved, to further drive home the point that these souls (above) are not in Hell. “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.” There is no redemption for that person. They are in Hell with no hope of salvation.

      In Luke 12: 45-48, we see the same theme. “But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful. That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” What happens when someone doesn’t follow the will of God? They are punished and assigned “a place with the unfaithful”. That person is going to Hell. Others who are not as severely disobedient but who still are not acting as they should will be “beaten severely” and others shall be “beaten only lightly” if they were “ignorant” of their “master’s will”. Is that Heaven? Clearly not. Heaven is without sin. There are no beatings in Heaven. And unlike the first group that will be assigned “a place with the unfaithful”, i.e., Hell, the second are being punished. Their sins are being atoned for. It’s not Hell either. Where is it, then? Again, call it what you want.

      You can find references throughout the Old Testament, as well. In Daniel 12:10 we see, “Many shall be refined, purified, and tested, but the wicked shall prove wicked; none of them shall have understanding , but the wise shall have it.” Look at that language, “many shall be refined, purified, and tested.” Why? To make one ready to enter the kingdom of Heaven. If they’re not in Heaven, though, and they’re not lost in Hell, where are they? Again, call it what you want.

      Again, in Zech. 13: 8-9, “In all the land, says the lord, two thirds of them shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left. I will bring the one third through fire, and I will refine them as silver is refined, and I will test them as gold is tested.”

      In Mal. 3: 2-3, “But who will endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire, or like the fuller’s lye. He will sit refining and purifying [silver], and he will purify the sons of Levi, Refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the Lord.” Again, are you saved and without sin or are you cast out? Apparently, some need to be “refined” and “purified”. They are not free of sin. Yet they are not cast out either.

      I could go on but I’ll leave it there. I hope that helps.

      God Bless You,
      Tarses

      • Tares,
        The doctrine of purgatory is not an apostolic doctrine. Paul is not talking about a cleansing of sin I Cor 3 but a testing of the kind of materials a person used for Christ. It is not about sin or making a person fit for heaven.
        Christ paid the entire debt for sin in full. (Col 2:13-14) When a person puts his faith in Christ it is at that moment he is fit for heaven.
        The only thing that cleanses a man from sin is the blood of Christ. See I John 1:7. Fire, purgatory or anything else can cleanse a person from sin except the blood of Christ.

    • Eric, in his innocence, may think it is easy for Protestants to know what is true or not true from just looking at the Bible, but their many divisions in doctrine and their debates with each other show that this is far from the truth. Catholics do rely on the authority of the Church, but we do have our interpretation of “You are Peter (kephas) and upon this rock (kephas) I will build my Church” (Mt 16:18) which of course Eric does not agree with – but aren’t we too just looking at the Bible? Of course, the other point not to be forgotten is who gave us the Bible? By the time it was translated into a universally recognized collection of texts by St. Jerome, the Catholic Church was a very clear and concrete reality which gave that book its necessary recognition as the word of God.

      • Daniele,
        It is quite easy to know what is true or not or what is apostolic or not by knowing the Scripture. Some things in Scripture are not as clear and so there will be different opinions. Protestants are united on a whole host of doctrines such as the deity of Christ, the Trinity, sin, and sanctification to name a few.
        In my dealings with Roman Catholics I have found a wide range of beliefs that are not in harmony with their church teachings.

        The bible was not given to anyone by the Roman Catholic church. The Old Testament predates the church. The canon of the NT was not decided by Rome.

        In fact if you study early church history in the first 5 centuries you will not find a papacy i..e where the bishop of Rome was considered the supreme of the entire church. Other churches did not acknowledge the bishop of Rome as the head of the entire church.
        That took centuries to develop.

  4. Blessed John Henry Newman once said “A thousand difficulties do not add up to one doubt.”

    You might be interested in his book “An Essay In Aid Of A Grammar Of Assent”. In it he really looks at this topic of assent, levels of inference, and certitude. Extremely interesting and thorough, but it does not make for light reading.

    • Dear Eric,
      As I indicated in my previous posting, you are far too optimistic about the doctrinal unity among Protestants. In fact, the World Council of Churches was formed precisely to solve this problem and it has failed miserably – and apparently given up trying. You do cite a (very) few major issues, but such “unity” would not satisfy men like St. Paul. When Jesus prayed for unity, he gave the ideal of the perfect unity between him and his Father (Jn 17:21).
      You mention the divinity of Christ; this is a good illustration of how the universal (i.e. Catholic Church as in the “Apostles Creed”) function. When a traditional doctrine is questioned, it is only then that it becomes the topic of a council; the councils were not called to invent new doctrines. The Arians questioned Christ’s divinity as a party within the Catholic Church. The Council of Nicea told their bishops in 325 that they were wrong. In spite of their considerable political power in the ancient world, they died out over the next couple centuries. Just as then, there are dissident Catholics today; they can vote with their feet, which is why there is two way traffic.
      The issue of what books are in the Bible of St. Jerome and the Roman claims about the Pope were well known for the first thousand years (as you know) and we were united with those churches that now make up the orthodox churches till 1054. If these ideas of Rome were regarded as heresies, it would not have been possible to hold councils without such heresies being called into question. The fact that the no council ruled against these things is in itself the proof that they were not regarded as heresies.
      I am being brief here. If you want accurate information, just pursue these leads on the internet. Though there are a variety of opinions, the truth is not impossible to discover. In questioning Catholic doctrine by your historical comments, you are straying from a strict “sola scriptura”; and this opens the door to Catholic truth. If Luther had the resources we have nowadays (printing had just been invented), it would have been evident to him and everyone else that his concept of salvation by faith alone was not the ancient (or Biblical) concept of salvation by faith. Luther did not deny the Eucharist as many modern Protestants do (and how could this be some minor detail!?). If you investigate this doctrine alone you will see that the Catholic and Orthodox and Coptic concept of the Eucharist can only be explained as a traditional belief handed down from the Apostles.

      • Daniele,
        It is true that large sections of Protestants are unitied on a number of key doctrines such as the Trinity, the deity of Christ, Christ essential for salvation, sin etc.
        Roman Catholics are not one great unified whole. Large number of the average Roman Catholic have all kinds of beliefs that are not in sync with Rome.

        Faith alone in Christ alone is taught in Scripture. See John 3:16, 6:47; Gal 2:16 and Eph 2:8-9 to name a few places where faith alone in Christ is either explicit or implied.

        There are a number of problems with the Eucharist doctrine in your church. This view was not taught by the apostles.

  5. Pingback: Beautiful and Accessible, The Angelus; Say it, Sing It! -BigPulpit.com

  6. Wonderful, Anthony.
    I have been despairing somewhat about what seems to be the collapse of the Catholic blogsphere into partisan shrillness and plain nastiness desperately trying to shore-up positions with calls to arms. It’s all getting ugly.

    Then I read your post. Calm. You are right. It’s exactly what we have. The Church is greater than the present moment. All will be well…

    • Dear Eric,
      I have no idea what you actually have studied about these matters since you just ignore the facts that I have indicated already. To restate briefly, the Copts divided from what are now the Orthodox and Catholic Churches 1,500 years ago; the Orthodox and Catholics have been divided for a thousand years. How can you imagine that in all these churches the literal interpretation of “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life … for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink (Jn 6:54-56) prevailed and was somehow foisted on the faithful with no outcry from traditionalists (if this is truly a deviation from Apostolic tradition as you believe).
      Faith “alone” is taught nowhere in the (original) Greek Bible. Faith is not accompanied by the word “alone” anywhere (although Luther inserted it into his German translation to invent a proof text for those ignorant of Greek, i.e. almost everyone). What the Bible teaches St. Paul makes clear: “if I have faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing” (1 Cor 13: 2). James takes up the whole matter in detail in chapter 2: 14-20 “if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him … do you want proof, you ignoramus that faith without works is useless?”
      If however you just choose to ignore the facts (e.g. the disunity World Council of Churches) and fail to give a rational response (simply restating what you said before) there is not really any use in pretending to have a dialogue in these matters, so I may not bother to respond to your next posting unless you actually face the facts and respond to them. If there is no real dialogue this is just a waste of time.

      • Daniele,
        The World Council of Churches does not speak for Protestantism. There is not complete unity in your church either. Not all Roman Catholics believe the same things. In fact many believe things diametrically opposed to church teachings.

        John 6 is not about the Lord’s supper for a number of reasons. For one, in the supper accounts Jesus does not say that by eating the bread and drinking the wine you gain eternal life. To take the supper accounts literally leads to all kinds of absurdities such as cannibalism and making a piece of bread out to be God. The best way to understand the meaning of the supper is metaphorically. That is the only way to avoid the absurdities of the literal view.

        Luther was not the only one who taught faith alone. Thomas Aquinas did-
        “Thomas Aquinas, Expositio in Ep. I ad Timotheum cap. 1, lect. 3 (Parma ed., 13.588): “Non est ergo in eis [moralibus et caeremonialibus legis] spes iustificationis, sed in sola fide, Rom. 3:28: Arbitramur justificari hominem per fidem, sine operibus legis” (Therefore the hope of justification is not found in them [the moral and ceremonial requirements of the law], but in faith alone, Rom 3:28: We consider a human being to be justified by faith, without the works of the law). Cf. In ep. ad Romanos 4.1 (Parma ed., 13.42a): “reputabitur fides eius, scilicet sola sine operibus exterioribus, ad iustitiam”; In ep. ad Galatas 2.4 (Parma ed., 13.397b): “solum ex fide Christi” [Opera 20.437, b41]).

        Salvation is by grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone.
        Works add nothing to our salvation. Rather as James is teaching that works are evidence that a person has salvation. The works are not the cause of salvation but the evidence of it.

      • Eric,

        Danielle’s summary was quite well done. I’m afraid you are incorrect in your assessment that John 6 is not about the Lord’s Supper. In fact, that view historically did not take hold in the Protestant world until disciples of Martin Luther and John Calvin decided they knew better than all the Christians of the previous 1,500 years. Heck, even Luther and Calvin believed in the real presence! Even today, approximately 80% of all Christians believe in some form of the real presence including Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans (albeit with a slight variation on the belief), and even some Protestant denominations. Your view, one that is not historically Christian is also distinctly a minority view in the Christian world.

        One need only look at John 6 itself to see that Christ meant exactly what he said. Like you, the Jews themselves could not believe that Jesus was speaking literally. They said, “…’How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat?” (John 6:52). Jesus doubles down on his proclamation and indicates that what He’s saying is important by repeating “amen” twice, “Jesus said to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drink my blood remains in me and I in him.’ ” (John 6:53-56).

        What was the response? His disciples, who were listening, said, ” ‘This saying is hard; who can accept it?’ ” (John 6:60). Jesus continues on and, unlike at other times where he would explain a metaphor that his followers did not understand, Jesus continues insisting that he is speaking literally. So what do many of his disciples do who find the teaching too “hard”? “As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of lie and no longer accompanied him.” (John 6:66). Jesus had ever opportunity to explain that he was speaking metaphorically (if he was) yet he continued to insist throughout that he was speaking literally. And then when his disciples complained that they found the teaching too hard, he let them leave. They walked away from Christ over this teaching.

        Further, we know that the apostles continued to take Jesus at his word, again, directly out of the Bible. Look at the language that St. Paul uses in regard to the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 where he reinforces the teaching of the Lord’s Supper. He then goes on to say, ” ‘Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord.’ ” (1 Corinthians 11:27). Look at the language he uses. In modern day English, this would be equivalent to the language of homicide! If the Lord’s Supper is merely a symbol — a metaphor — why on earth would someone be guilty of the equivalent of homicide for partaking unworthily? St. Paul’s comment makes no sense unless he is taking Jesus at his word literally. And of course, he was.

        Of course, if that’s not enough for you that the Church has believed this since the beginning, one need only look at the words of the Church fathers:

        “They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again.” Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to Smyrnaeans, 7,1 (c. A.D. 110).

        “For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.” Justin Martyr, First Apology, 66 (c. A.D. 110-165).

        “[T]he bread over which thanks have been given is the body of their Lord, and the cup His blood…” Irenaeus, Against Heresies, IV:18,4 (c. A.D. 200).

        “He acknowledged the cup (which is a part of the creation) as his own blood, from which he bedews our blood; and the bread (also a part of creation) he affirmed to be his own body, from which he gives increase to our bodies.” Irenaeus, Against Heresies, V:2,2 (c. A.D. 200).

        “Then, having taken the bread and given it to His disciples, He made it His own body, by saying, ‘This is my body,’ that is, the figure of my body. A figure, however, there could not have been, unless there were first a veritable body…He did not understand how ancient was this figure of the body of Christ, who said Himself by Jeremiah: ‘I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter, and I knew not that they devised a device against me, saying, Let us cast the tree upon His bread,’ which means, of course, the cross upon His body. And thus, casting light, as He always did, upon the ancient prophecies, He declared plainly enough what He meant by the bread, when He called the bread His own body. He likewise, when mentioning the cup and making the new testament to be sealed ‘in His blood,’ affirms the reality of His body. For no blood can belong to a body which is not a body of flesh. If any sort of body were presented to our view, which is not one of flesh, not being fleshly, it would not possess blood. Thus, from the evidence of the flesh, we get a proof of the body, and a proof of the flesh from the evidence of the blood.” Tertullian, Against Marcion, 40 (A.D. 212).

        “Having learn these things, and been fully assured that the seeming bread is not bread, though sensible to taste, but the Body of Christ; and that the seeming wine is not wine, though the taste will have it so, but the Blood of Christ; and that of this David sung of old, saying, And bread strengtheneth man’s heart, to make his face to shine with oil, ‘strengthen thou thine heart,’ by partaking thereof as spiritual, and “make the face of thy soul to shine.”” Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, XXII:8 (c. A.D. 350).

        So Eric, which side are you going to take? Do you believe Jesus and have faith even if you don’t fully understand what he meant? That’s the path the apostles took. “Jesus then said to the Twelve, ‘Do you also want to leave?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘ Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’ (John 6:67-68). Or are you going to be like the disciples who found the teaching too hard and you’re just going to walk away from Christ? We’re praying you follow Jesus and his Word — ALL of his Word.

        God Bless You,

        Tarses

  7. Tares,
    Just because something was believed for a long time does not mean it’s true. Secondly, in John 6 it speaks of eating Jesus’s flesh and drinking His blood leads to eternal life. In every place where the supper is discussed it never mentions eternal life. Third, if we take the literal view of John 6 then leads to cannibalism. That’s why the metaphorical view is best.
    At the supper if the disciples took Jesus’s words literally they would have been guilty of sinning because they would have known to drink human blood was forbidden. The fact that they did not protest shows they did not understand Him to be speaking literally but metaphorically.
    So what side will you take? The metaphorical understanding that leads to the truth or the Roman Catholic view that is not supported by Scripture?

  8. Dear Eric,
    First of all, I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Tarses for his wonderful collection of Eucharistic quotes as well as those on purgatory which I will download for future reference. Your answer to him that the ancient faith of Christians is no evidence of the truth of a doctrine could also be applied to any Christian doctrine – is Jesus divine, did he rise from the dead with a real body, is the Bible the word of God, etc.? Your standard of judgment is thus what you personally feel is reasonable or unreasonable. You are your own expert and authority in these matters. What you call “faith” is really faith in your OWN OPINION about your Jesus and his teachings not in the historical Jesus Christ as revealed to us in the Apostolic preaching (“he who hears you hears me”) that is the real foundation of a specifically Christian belief and predates the New Testament.
    Having said that, I shall just add for any interested reader (since the overwhelming testimonies about the Eucharist have no value for you) that in your comments you raise some topics that deserve the attention of any interested observer. You mention that the World Council of Churches does not speak for Protestantism, but my point was not that. My point was that they are simply an example that shows that it is not “easy” for Protestants to find religious truth by simply consulting the Bible that Catholic Church has handed down to us. This is because, like you, in the final analysis, these Protestants end up following their own opinions since there is no authoritative interpretation for them to follow. The early Church, which they have rejected, had authority as we can see in the “council of Jerusalem” that dealt with Jewish customs in the Christian community. The church in Antioch recognized that they needed an authoritative decision on the matter, so they consulted with the authorities in Jerusalem who responded to their question with the words “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us …. “(Acts 15:27).
    Christians needed and still need authority – otherwise the word of God is betrayed by those who interpret it according to their own likes and dislikes. With such authority, St. Paul admonished Timothy to act with authority: “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus ….proclaim the word …. Convince, reprimand … for the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires … will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths … “(2 Tim 4: 1-4). Eric, in your rejection of the Eucharistic tradition, you are precisely the sort of person that Timothy was warned about, and of course, your self-created religion denies other doctrines as well because you do “not tolerate sound doctrine.” These same words apply to all those Catholics who reject the teaching of the Church and were foreseen in this passage.
    You mention that salvation is by “grace alone” that was not the issue in the reformation nor is it now. Thus St. Paul wrote, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work “(2 Phil 2:12-13) – this is what the Bible and Catholics mean by “grace” working in them – God’s action in free human beings. You also mention that salvation is in Christ alone, which is also something Catholics have no problem and that is why it is in their Bible. As far as salvation by “faith alone” goes, you never explained how, if that were true, St. Paul could say: “If I have faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing”(1 Cor 13:2).
    I was pleased that you quoted St. Thomas Aquinas, who died in 1274, talking about justification by faith. This is proof that Catholics were well aware of this truth, and St. Thomas is still a required study in Catholic seminaries. However, do notice that he speaks of JUSTIFICATION by faith. Among the Protestants there is the controversy “once saved, always saved” (or not). Catholics, following the precise idea St. Thomas referred to, speak of justification by faith that is then developed in a life of good works that will be part of our final judgment before God that will determine whether we are ultimately saved. It is possible for a person who was justified at some time to later fail to cooperate with God’s grace. This we see, for example, in the parable of the sower, where it is mentioned that those seeds sown on the rocky ground “believe only for a time and fall away” (Lk 8:13). That is why St. Paul insists that we should “work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work “(2 Phil 2:12-13). That is the reason why our works have value on the day of judgment – they are accomplished by our free cooperation with God, whose grace is their ultimate source. Thus, your statement “works are not the cause of salvation but evidence of it” is not precise. They are not the cause of our initial justification, but they are the grounds on which we shall be judged – like the parable of the sower, “they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance” (Lk 8:15). Jesus teaches the same thing in his parable of the vine and branches where he states “By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit … if you keep my commandments you will remain in my love ….(Jn 15:18-10), at the same time reminding us “without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). It is a work of grace that is at work in us; it is not a matter of salvation by works rather than salvation by faith. It is salvation by grace that is a free gift of God and is the cause of both faith and good works in a creature who will be rewarded for cooperating at the time of judgment.
    I regret that I have had to speak forcefully here, but really I am commanded by St. Paul to “convince” and “reprimand” as we have seen above. I hope that you will carefully think about what has been presented for your consideration and not simply react with displeasure.

  9. Daniele,
    Quoting the church fathers does not make something true. In fact, all that the fathers are doing is expressing their opinions. No one appointed to speak for the entire church. We know Jesus is divine and rose from the dead because that is what the Scripture teaches.
    It is true my faith is based on the facts of Scripture. Your faith is based on what your church teaches you. Even at that you cannot have absolutely certainty. The statement by Jesus “he who hears you hears me” is not about a church but was given in a specific context to His disciples at the time. That is the context. Surely you would not believe that Jesus was speaking through your church during the inquisitions or during the time of the evil popes would you?
    A Christian certainly can and will find truth by studying the Scripture. It is by the Scripture that we come to know Christ and how to mature in Christ. As for the different opinions about it, you have the same problems with church teachings and doctrines. Not all Roman Catholics believe in them as studies show. I experience this all the time when I dialogue with Roman Catholics. Most don’t know Scripture well not to mention their catechisms. Have you read and studied your catechism?
    Church councils can be helpful but also they can also be bad. Take Trent. Trent denied the gospel.
    “If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in divine mercy, which remits sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is this confidence alone that justifies us, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA” (Sixth Session, Canons Concerning Justification, Canon 12).

    “If anyone says that the justice received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works, but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of its increase, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA” (Sixth Session, Canons Concerning Justification, Canon 24).”
    These statements are an outright denial of the gospel of Christ.
    Our works contribute nothing to our salvation. We are saved by the works of Christ i.e. by His life, death and resurrection.(Romans 5:6-10) Our works will be tested and recompensed at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor 5:10, I cor 3:12-15) but this will not affect our salvation because it is sin that condemns and those sins have been paid for in full at the cross. See colossians 2:13-14

    • Again, I ask you Eric, where in the Bible does it say that all knowledge of the faith should be from scripture *alone*? Please quote the book, chapter and verse.

      As for salvation, Catholics know that it is by the Grace of God that we’re saved but we must cooperate with that Grace through our faith and good works. St. James also had something to say on the subject in James 2:14-26. “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can [a]that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, [b]be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is [c]dead, being by itself.

      18 But someone [d]may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that [e]God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and [f]as a result of the works, faith was [g]perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” The quotes you reference from the Council of Trent are directly in line with this scripture.

      As for Catholics who dissent from Church teachings, indeed, they do exist. Our Church is filled with sinners! The difference, though, is that the Church itself has not changed its core teachings in 2,000 years. Although some Catholics have a hard time following some of those teachings — heck, even if many or most Catholics have a hard time following some of the teachings — it does not diminish the absolute consistency of the Church in staying true to those teachings. Truth is Truth even when some in the flock wander wayward.

      God Bless You,
      Tarses

  10. Tarses,
    Never said that “all knowledge of the faith should be from scripture *alone*”. What I am saying is that all apostolic teachings can only come from the Scriptures because only the Scripture alone contains apostolic teachings. Not all teachings are apostolic. Indulgences, purgatory and the Marian dogmas are not apostolic since the apostles never taught such things.
    Your statement –“..Catholics know that it is by the Grace of God that we’re saved but we must cooperate with that Grace through our faith and good works” shows that your salvation depends on your works if you are going to be saved. Apostolic teachings is that it is all of God—8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Eph 2.
    James is not teaching there is work for you to do to be saved but that works gives evidence that you are saved. The works flow from salvation. They do not cause salvation.
    Trent denies this. That’s why your church believes in another gospel. It is not the gospel the apostles taught because it relies on works.
    The Roman Catholic church does not teach what the apostles taught. Just look at the structure of your church and compare it with the New Testament church. In your church there is a supreme head (pope) as church position but in the New Testament church there is no such position. See I Timothy 3. Your leaders are celibate and yet the New Testament church mandates that its bishops be married. There are other teachings that set it apart from the rest of what the apostles taught as I mentioned above. So it is not true that “has not changed its core teachings in 2,000 years.”
    Many Roman Catholics like to claim that the Protestant church is utterly chaotic while the Roman Catholic church is not. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  11. Dear Eric,
    Although you prefer to ignore the most basic question that has been raised, in your next posting (if there is one), it would be MORE HONEST (before moving to other matters) to frankly admit that nowhere in the Bible does it say we are saved by “faith alone” and nowhere does the Bible propose “sola scriptura” as a principle – and these are, so to speak, the two legs of Protestantism. In fact, as you have also not replied to is the statement of St. Paul that “If I have faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing”(1 Cor 13:2).
    What the Bible (that the Protestants have, thanks to the Catholic Church) does say is, “stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours” (2 Thess 2:15) and again “I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold fast to the traditions, just as I handed them on to you” (1 Cor 11:2). What this shows is that the Catholic position on the necessity of following traditional doctrine IS in the Bible, unlike the Protestant “sola scriptura.” Thus your statement “Quoting the Church Fathers does not make something true” does not fit well with what St. Paul says about tradition, especially when we see a consensus among the Fathers, as in the case of the Eucharist. Nor does your statement where you claim that “What I am saying is that all apostolic teachings can only come from the Scriptures because only the Scripture alone contains apostolic teachings” harmonize with these Bible verses I have just cited.
    In the beginning of the 20th century an important division among Protestants arose when the “fundamentalists” rejected the so-called Liberal Protestants who denied such things as the “virgin birth” because in the Liberals’ opinion, such a thing was not possible. The Liberals did not renounce the name of Christian, but they began a process of whittling away the traditional Protestant teaching. Like you, they preferred to interpret the Bible, as you said in your posting “metaphorically.” In fact, this principle is leading to the death of authentic Christianity in its proponents.
    However, as I mentioned in my posting, the Council of Jerusalem and St. Peter’s admonition to Timothy all indicate a Church with authority to decide what is the authentic Christian position. As far as the idea of “sola scriptura” in this context, St Peter clearly states, “Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came from human will, but rather human beings, moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God” (2 Pt 1:20-21). It is in this context that we can understand the assurance of the Council of Jerusalem in speaking authoritatively, confident of the guidance of the Holy Spirit: “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us …. “(Acts 15:27). It is with this same assurance that the successors of the Apostles continue to teach with assurance the correct understanding the Christian faith.
    That is why you misunderstand the verse: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” which then continues: “For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance that we should live in them” (Eph 2:8-10). As I explained to you in the previous posting this is explained by another passage (which must be harmonized with the previous quote): “work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work “(2 Phil 2:12-13). Together, we see the correct understanding: we are saved by grace; the result of this grace is faith by which we are justified and moved by God to freely do the good works which are required of us, which we could not do without his grace. This is why Jesus says in Matthew’s vision of the last judgment: “Come blessed of my Father. Inherit the kingdom … for I was hungry and you gave me food ,” whereas he says to the damned “I was hungry and you gave me no food. I was thirsty and you gave me no drink” (Mt 25: 34-43). Thus it is wrong to say that Catholics believe they have saved themselves by themselves or their works. It is all Christ working in and through them as I said. I MIGHT ADD THAT YOU HAVE IGNORED MOST OF THE SCRIPTURE PASSAGES I HAVE ALREADY INDICATED IN THE PAST. If you can see some reasonable error, you should point it out.
    You also raised the issue of celibacy, it is clear that this was an important issue in the early church since, for example, Paul speaks highly about it in 1 Cor 7 even proposing himself as a model saying: “I wish everyone to be as I am” (1 Cor 7:7). Obviously, in a community with mostly adult converts it would not be practical to require this in the first generation to which Paul is writing, but as we have already seen, the Church has received authority from God, and as “shepherds” of the flock it is not against the spirit of the Gospel to require this in her leaders. In fact, in all the churches that trace their bishops back to the Apostles we see this as a universal requirement for bishops; and priests are never allowed to remarry, even in the case of the death of their spouse. Nor are unmarried priests allowed to take a wife at a later time. Thus, the ideal of St. Paul is recognized by all.
    You raised some other issues as well that would prolong this letter too much. However, all Catholic teaching should be understood in the light of this passage (which goes way beyond sola scriptura and is rooted in “He who hears you hears me” and shows its real meaning): “I have much more to tell you but you cannot bear it now, but when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming” (Jn 16:12-13). This is what we see at the Council of Jerusalem; this is why sola scriptura is not in the Bible, and this is why the Catholic Church continues to respond to the needs of the present age just as she did at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:27).
    Your final claim is “Many Roman Catholics like to claim that the Protestant church is utterly chaotic while the Roman Catholic Church is not. Nothing could be further from the truth.” No Church is perfect; even Judas was an Apostle, but there is a world of difference between the doctrinal unity of the Catholic Church and the sad situation of Protestantism.

  12. Daniele,
    Salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. See John 3:16, Acts 16:29-31, Galatians 2:16 and Ephesians 2:8-9.

    Working out your salvation means you are to live out what God has done in you. In other words you are to live like Christ since His Spirit lives in You. See 2 cor 5:14-15. The fruit of this will be good works. The works don’t save us but are evidence of salvation. It shows that their faith is alive and not dead.
    Working out your salvation does not mean you do something to gain salvation.

    What is your definition of Sola Scriptura?

    What your church has done is to nullify the requirement of Scripture that a man is to be married with children to be a leader. It actually disqualifies married men from being bishops because they are married.

    • Eric,

      I guess it’s my turn to chime in here. Danielle provided you an excellent response and I feel compelled to assist here with my answer.

      As Catholics we believe the entire Bible and to each one of those verses we heartily say, “Amen, brother!” But not a single of those verses says that you are saved by faith *alone*. Take John 3:16, it clearly speaks of the importance of faith in God in salvation. Amen! However, keep reading in John. In John 3:36 we are told, “”Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.” In other words, if you do an evil work, you can lose your salvation even if you have faith in the Lord. Having faith is not enough.

      We see this same message in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the the one who DOES the will of my father in heaven.” (emphasis is mine) It’s clear that how you act — the works you do — can have an impact on your salvation. There are many people who have faith and are crying out “Lord, Lord” but this is clearly not enough.

      Look at passage I previously quoted you in the discussion about Purgatory. In 1 Cor: 10-15, “According to the grace of God given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But each one must be careful how he builds upon it, for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, the work of each will come to light, for the Day will disclose it. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire [itself] will test the quality of each one’s work. If the work stands that some built upon the foundation, that person will receive a wage. But if someone’s work is burned up, that one will suffer loss; the person will be saved but only as through fire.” You are judged by your WORKS. Having faith is necessary but not enough.

      We are saved through grace but we must cooperate with that grace through faith and good works. In the end, we are all judged and the faithful man who commits adultery, fornication, theft, lying, or countless other sins will find himself sitting on the outside looking in DESPITE his faith. The Bible says it and we believe it.

      Now as to your claim that bishops “must be married” and the Church is going against scripture, let’s take a look at 1 Timothy 3 to see what it actually says. From 1 Tim 3:2, “Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable, married only once, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach,”. This passage clearly says that if a bishop is married, he should be married ONLY ONCE. It does NOT say a “bishop must be married”. And as Danielle clearly pointed out, St. Paul indicates that while if he’s married, it should only be once, he believed it better to be like him and be celibate. There is nothing in this passage that the Catholic Church is violating.

      And, of course, you do realize that there are married priests in the Catholic Church, right? There many rites within the Church, in particular many of the Eastern Rite churches, that allow for married priests. But just as the scriptures say, these priests can only be married once. If his wife dies, he is to remain celibate for the rest of his life.

      When speaking of celibacy, as you are, most people are unknowingly referring to the Latin Rite which membership-wise is the largest section of the Catholic Church. But even within the Latin Rite, there are married members of the clergy. Many are converts from other faith traditions, such as the many, many priests who have converted from Anglicanism over the last few years. They receive a special dispensation to allow them to enter the Catholic priesthood with their married status. And just as the scriptures say, if that priest’s wife dies, he can only be married once and so he will remain celibate for the rest of his life.

      I’d like to return also to your previous comment that the Eucharist is not apostolic. I quoted to you Ignatius of Antioch from circa 110 A.D. St. Ignatius learned everything he knew about the faith from St. John the Apostle himself. In those days, all teachings of the Church were by oral tradition with references back to what we today call the Old Testament. Ignatius didn’t have a Bible as we know it to refer to. He certainly did not have the New Testament which was still 300 years away from canonization. In his quote, he clearly articulates a belief in the Eucharist that is consistent with the belief the Catholic Church today espouses. There can be really only one of two explanations for this:

      A. He learned it directly from St. John the Apostle and was passing down the tradition to his own followers that he himself had learned directly from the apostles.

      B. He made it up himself and the entire Catholic Church and later Orthodox, Coptic and even the Lutheran Church picked it up and have been teaching a major doctrine in error since the first generation after the apostles themselves.

      Now, I’m guessing you would pick option B since option A doesn’t really jibe with your disbelief of Jesus’ own words. However, you then have to explain how the other Church fathers that I quoted (along with others I didn’t quote but from whom we have quotes that are similar) all came to the same conclusion. You see, in those days, people verified whether what they were being taught was true or not by whether the person saying it could trace his faith lineage back to the teachings of one of the Apostles. Not all the fathers I quoted trace their faith lineage back to St. John.

      But what about St. Irenaeus? He learned his faith from Polycarp who also learned it directly from St. John the Apostle. Here we have multiple people who trace their knowledge of the faith to St. John who profess a doctrine that is in line with the Catholic Church’s doctrine of the Eucharist.

      Or how about Tertullian? He was from North Africa where the Church was planted by Simon the Zealot. He likewise expresses a doctrine that is in line with the Catholic Church’s teaching yet he had no connection whatsoever to Ignatius. So two separate churches planted by two separate apostles both espousing a doctrine that is consistent with the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist hundreds of years before there was a Bible to consult. How do you explain that?

      Or how about Cyril of Jerusalem? That Church in Jerusalem was initially shepherded by James the Lesser, yet another apostle. Here again, Cyril espouses a doctrine consistent with the Catholic Church’s belief in the real presence, the literal words of Jesus. If Rome had not yet ascended to primacy (as you earlier suggested in saying the Catholic Church did not give us the Bible and it took many, many hundreds of years for its doctrines to be developed) and the Bible was not yet canonized, how is it that these three, separate individuals from three separate parts of the world with churches planted by three different apostles all arrived at the same conclusion? And why aren’t they arriving at your conclusion that it is merely metaphorical? You can say they are only sharing their opinions yet they all arrive at the same conclusion? How? Are you suggesting that the teachings of some of the apostles were wrong? That the men who knew Jesus and witnessed his death and resurrection were teaching in error? And that it took the brave, courageous act of Christians 1,500 years later to set us all straight on the meaning of this passage? I’ve given you multiple examples of Christians from the first 300 years of the Church (prior to the Bible’s canonization) that agree with the teachings of the Catholic Church and of the apostles from whom their teachings descend. Can you give me even one example from the same time period that subscribes to your metaphorical interpretation?

      As for sola scriptura, the common Protestant definition is that all knowledge of the faith can and should come from scripture alone. It’s a position that denigrates tradition as something “man-made” and it elevates scripture as being the one and only source of knowledge that one should use in regard to understanding the faith. Based on your previous comments, this seems to fit with your understanding as well. Are we misunderstanding your position here?

      I admire your tenacity to defend your beliefs. Yet between Danielle and myself, we have poked gaping holes into your misunderstandings of Catholic doctrine. I pray that you consider what we’ve shared with you with an open heart. I also suggest you read the books that I recommended earlier if you truly want to be informed about what the Catholic Church believes and why. At the very least, if you are going to challenge Catholics on their beliefs, you should be informed as possible about those beliefs and that means going straight to the source. I also trust that we may have dispelled any notions you have that Catholics do not know their faith. We all know ones who don’t but here you have clearly met two who know their faith, know the Bible and can defend it. If we’ve accomplished anything here, I hope you at least take away that.

      All Blessings to You,
      Tarses

      • Tarses,
        John 3:36 is not saying that “if you do an evil work, you can lose your salvation even if you have faith in the Lord.” Rather it means that if a person rejects Christ will continue to have the wrath of God on him. The reason this person has the wrath of God on him is that he rejects the only provision for his sin. See Romans 10:9-10

        Matthew 7:21 is not about doing works to be saved but rather that true faith will not fail to produce the fruit of good works. This is precisely the point of Jas 1:22–25; 2:26. Merely saying Jesus is Lord and not having a life that reflects His lordship is not real faith. Works will be produced by those who do have the spirit of Christ in them. True faith will produce fruit.

        It is true that our works will be judged-tested. However, this does not lead to or away from salvation. Salvation was accomplished entirely by Christ. Our works add nothing to what He did. Rather, our works are the fruit of salvation and the result of it. Even our believing in Him is only possible because He makes it possible by His Spirit.

        You did not address the issue on the qualifications for a bishop. Its not about “he should be married ONLY ONCE” but that your church disqualifies any married Roman Catholic man from even being considered. Clearly I Timothy 3 says the bishop is to be married with children.
        Also, Paul never uses his marital status as the basis for being a bishop.

        Are you saying that church fathers spoke for the entire church at the time? i hope not. They are giving their opinions and not pronouncing doctrines for the entire church to believe. They can be wrong. In fact we know some of them were on some issues.
        Have you read the entire works of the church fathers? Its something like 38 volumes.

        The problem with the real presence is that its not supported by Scripture. Exegete the passage in context and you will see they don’t support the doctrine. We also know it leads to absurdities.

        Note what Clement says about John 6:
        Clement’s Paedagogus Book 1, chapter 6,
        “But we are God-taught, and glory in the name of Christ. How then are we not to regard the apostle as attaching this sense to the milk of the babes? And if we who preside over the Churches are shepherds after the image of the good Shepherd, and you the sheep, are we not to regard the Lord as preserving consistency in the use of figurative speech, when He speaks also of the milk of the flock?… Elsewhere the Lord, in the Gospel according to John, brought this out by symbols, when He said: “Eat ye my flesh, and drink my blood; ” describing distinctly by metaphor the drinkable properties of faith and the promise, by means of which the Church, like a human being consisting of many members, is refreshed and grows, is welded together and compacted of both,–of faith, which is the body, and of hope, which is the soul; as also the Lord of flesh and blood. For in reality the blood of faith is hope, in which faith is held as by a vital principle.”

        Origen specifically referred to the eucharistic bread and wine as symbolical.
        “Now, if ‘everything that entereth into the mouth goes into the belly and is cast out into the drought,’ even the meat which has been sanctified through the word of God and prayer, in accordance with the fact that it is material, goes into the belly and is cast out into the draught, but in respect of the prayer which comes upon it, according to the proportion of the faith, becomes a benefit and is a means of clear vision to the mind which looks to that which is beneficial, and it is not the material of the bread but the word which is said over it which is of advantage to him who eats it not unworthily of the Lord. And these things indeed are said of the typical and symbolical body. But many things might be said about the Word Himself who became flesh, and true meat of which he that eateth shall assuredly live for ever, no worthless person being able to eat it; for if it were possible for one who continues worthless to eat of Him who became flesh. who was the Word and the living bread, it would not have been written, that ‘every one who eats of this bread shall live for ever.’” (Origen, Commentary on Mathew 11:14)

        Your definition of Sola Scriptura is not what Protestants believe.

  13. Dear Eric,
    I do not think there is any church that would agree with your statement that all church leaders must be men with children: “What your church has done is to nullify the requirement of Scripture that a man is to be married with children to be a leader. “ What about St. Paul? Do you even bother to actually read (not skim) what others have posted?
    As for Sola Scriptura, Luther’s idea will do quite well since he invented it. The previous paragraph is an illustration of how absurd it can become. As far as the 2 other paragraphs, I have already answered them at great length.
    Having said that, I think that you have plenty to ponder if you are so disposed, and I thank you for giving us a chance to explain in a Biblical perspective the Catholic position which many, like you, do not know or understand. Someone might have benefited from it. In any event, rather than go running around in circles, I think that I have explained enough and that with this posting I can come to an end of our sharing with a sincere prayer that you be filled with the Holy Spirit!

  14. Daniele,
    Paul never uses his marital status as the basis for being a bishop. He spells out clearly that the bishop is to be married with children in I Timothy 3.
    You also do not understand what Sola Scriptura means.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s