Sunday, January 23, 2011

“Did The Catholic Church Give Us The Bible?”

Please also read:

This is the question posed at a self styled “Christian” website.  The article makes several claims and assertions in an attempt to detract from the authority given to the Church by God, and we shall deal with the most important of these claims and assertions below.

Let it be noted first, however, that the website making the claims evidently has not discerned the difference between the true Catholic religion and the counterfeit "church" that has been raised up in Rome in these last days, and which fulfills many prophecies given in the book of the Apocalypse (Revelation).

I will present all of my supporting quotations using the Douay Rheims English translation of the Bible for several reasons:

1)      It predates the subversive King James English version by several years,
2)      The King James version has already been used to prove a Catholic doctrine that Protestants reject (so there is no further need to use it rather than a true and duly approved Bible)

“Catholics contend that the whole world is indebted to the Roman Catholic church for the existence of the Bible. This is another of their attempts to exalt the church as an authority in addition to the Bible.”

Catholics attribute nothing more to the Church than does Jesus Christ Himself, in the very Scriptures that the website mentioned above claims to believe in.

St. Matthew 18:17: “And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican”

"If the Bible is a Catholic book, why does it nowhere mention the Catholic Church?"

The constitution of the Church was established by Jesus Christ, even if the exact terminology that would later be used was not yet developed.  Such is the case with the doctrine of the Most Holy Trinity, which is also proposed in Scripture, yet (if you are not blind beyond comprehension) you would never reject the term "Trinity" in reference to God.

Acts of the Apostles 11:26: " And they conversed there in the church a whole year; and they taught a great multitude, so that at Antioch the disciples were first named Christians."

How fitting it is, then, that at Antioch, Christians were first called Catholics:

Ignatius of Antioch was Bishop of Syria about 75-110 AD, and is one of the Apostolic Fathers of the Catholic Church. He followed St. Peter and Evodius as the third Bishop of Antioch, and served just after the time Matthew wrote his Gospel there. Tradition has it St. Peter, on his trip to Antioch to meet St. Paul (Galatians 2:11), designated Ignatius to become Bishop. St. Ignatius was the first to use the term "Catholic Church" in his Letter to the Smyrneans (8:2):

St. Ignatius, Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2: "Wherever the bishop appears let the congregation be present;  just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church."

"Why is there no mention of a pope, a cardinal, an archbishop, a parish priest, a nun, or a member of any other Catholic order?"

The constitution of the Church includes the offices of bishops and the pope and presbyters.  Nuns are those whose lives are dedicated to poverty and the service of God.  A great example of such can be found (not by name, but in practice) in St. Luke 2:37.

"If the Bible is a Catholic book, why is auricular confession, indulgences, prayers to the saints, adoration of Mary, veneration of relics and images, and many other rites and ceremonies of the Catholic Church, left out of it?"

The topic of praying to and venerating Saints, images and relics has already been amply addressed and it is beyond the scope of this article to rehash the topic.

"If the Bible is a Catholic book, how can Catholics account for the passage, "A bishop then, must be blameless, married but once, reserved, prudent, of good conduct, hospitable, a teacher...He should rule well his own household, keeping his children under control and perfectly respectful. For if a man cannot rule his own household, how is he to take care of the church of God?" (1 Tim. 3:2, 4-5). The Catholic Church does not allow a bishop to marry, while the Bible says "he must be married." 

1) This is not to say that a bishop must be married, but that if he be married he must have remained faithful for the duration of his marriage, that is that he must not have been an adulterer.  It is clear from the context of St. Paul's own words that this is the proper understanding:

1 Corinthians 7:8: " But I say to the unmarried, and to the widows: It is good for them if they so continue, even as I."

St. Paul was never married and he was a bishop.  So evidently the  long question above is completely out of context and attributing inconsistency and hypocrisy to the holy St. Paul.  Furthermore, the office of bishop is very much like that of husband, only more solemn, hence it is fitting that if a married man be chosen as bishop, only a man who had been faithful should be eligible.

Ephesians 5:23: "Because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church. He is the saviour of his body."

"Furthermore, if the Bible is a Catholic book, why did they write the Bible as it is, and feel the necessity of putting footnotes at the bottom of the page in effort to keep their subject from believing what is in the text?"

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

Acts of the Apostles 8:30-31: "And Philip running thither, heard him reading the prophet Isaias. And he said: Thinkest thou that thou understandest what thou readest? Who said: And how can I, unless some man shew me?"

"Why does it condemn clerical dress? (Matt. 23:5-6)"

St. Matthew 23:5-7: "And all their works they do for to be seen of men. For they make their phylacteries broad, and enlarge their fringes. And they love the first places at feasts, and the first chairs in the synagogues, And salutations in the market place, and to be called by men, Rabbi."

The above passage has nothing to do with clerical dress, but rather it condemns the pride of the Pharisees who would use their office as a means of seeking their own glory.

"Why does it teach against the adoration of Mary? (Luke 11:27-28)"

The question above is deceptive.  Only God may be adored, but, as has been demonstrated in the article concerning venerating and praying to Saints, it is not only permissible, but laudable and praiseworthy to invoke them.  This is not adoration, the form of honour reserved for God, but a type of veneration that we would offer to a public official or to other superiors for the sake of God (1st St. Peter 2:13).

St. Luke 11:27-28: "And it came to pass, as he spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to him: Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the paps that gave thee suck. But he said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it."

It ought to be understood in the context of Luke's own Gospel.  Who is "full of grace"?  It is the most holy Mary (St. Luke 1:28).  Who shall be called blessed in all generations, whose is the most profound humility and who has had the greatest favours done to her by God?  It is the Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary (St. Luke 1:46-50).

Therefore, St. Luke 11:27-28 ought to be understood as follows:  My mother is not to be honoured on account solely that she gave Me birth, but rather that by her humble hearing and keeping of My word did she deserve this great gift of bearing Me in her body.  Honour her thus."Why does it show that all Christians are priests? (1 Pet. 2:5,9).Why does it condemn the observance of special days? (Gal. 4:9-11) Why does it teach that all Christians are saints? (1 Cor. 1:2).Why does it condemn the making and adoration of images? (Ex. 20:4-5).Why does it teach that baptism is immersion instead of pouring? (Col. 2:12).Why does it forbid us to address religious leaders as "father"? (Matt. 23:9). Why does it teach that Christ is the only foundation and not the apostle Peter? (1 Cor. 3:11). Why does it teach that there is one mediator instead of many? (1 Tim. 2:5). 

"Why is it opposed to the primacy of Peter? (Luke 22:24-27)"

It is a true blindness indeed that would interpret such a passage as contradicting the primacy of St. Peter.  Behold:

St. Luke 22:24-32: "And there was also a strife amongst them, which of them should seem to be the greater.  And he said to them: The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and they that have power over them, are called beneficent.  But you not so: but he that is the greater among you, let him become as the younger; and he that is the leader, as he that serveth.  For which is greater, he that sitteth at table, or he that serveth? Is it not he that sitteth at table? But I am in the midst of you, as he that serveth:  And you are they who have continued with me in my temptations:  And I dispose to you, as my Father hath disposed to me, a kingdom;  That you may eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom: and may sit upon thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren."

"but he that is the greater among you, let him become as the younger; and he that is the leader, as he that serveth"  He does not say that none is greater, but exhorts him rather to be a servant.

"But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren"  He specifically singles out Peter to "confirm the brethren", that is to be a servant to all His fellow Christians.

There could hardly be a more striking example of support for the primacy of the Holy Apostle St. Peter.

"Why does it oppose the idea of purgatory? (Luke 16:26)"

It is nonsense to say that the story of Lazareth and the rich man opposes Purgatory.  The doctrine of Purgatory does NOT state that all people go there.

"Why is it completely silent about infant baptism, instrumental music in worship, indulgences, confession to priests, the rosary, the mass, and many other things in the Catholic Church?

Again, the authors of the above questions are either not trying very hard to discern the truth, or they are blinded by some sin.  The Bible contains, either explicitly, or implicitly in context, support or permission for all of the elements mentioned in this last question.

Infant Baptism

Romans 5:12: " Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned."

St. John 3:5: " Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

St. Matthew 19:14: " But Jesus said to them: Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such."

Instrumental Music in Worship

Psalm 32:2: " Give praise to the Lord on the harp; sing to him with the psaltery, the instrument of ten strings."

Psalm 42:5: "To thee, O God my God, I will give praise upon the harp: why art thou sad, O my soul? and why dost thou disquiet me?"

Psalm 150:4: " Praise him with timbrel and choir: praise him with strings and organs."

 Indulgences (see again the article on Purgatory)

 Confession to a Priest

The Rosary

The Rosary falls under the same category as praying to and venerating Saints, which has already been defended and mentioned in several place in this article.  At this point let us get more specific and show by common sense how important and powerful such a devotion to the Mother of God is when it is prayed with the right dispositions.

The Mass

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