Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I want to have some fun with this post. It amazes me how the Reformed Protestants twist and selectively quote the Church Fathers in their attempts to justify Sola Scriptura. Just for the fun of it I thought I would try an experiment. I will quote from Pope Benedict XVI and use the methods that modern Protestants use with the Church Fathers, to prove Pope Benedict XVI believes in Scripture Alone. Just pretend Pope Benedict XVI lived in the year 375 and these are his writings. You will be quite amused at what we can do with selective quotes! Just ignore everything else he wrote and look for everything you can that makes it appear as if he believed in Scripture alone as the sole authority. This is a perfect example of what the "Reformed" apologist does.
I can just imagine the Turretin Fan of the year 3020 (Calling himself James White Fan) using these quotes to defend Protestantism in the distant future. Sitting in his basement with his super computer cutting and pasting quotes at a feverish pace! I mean, who can argue? The Pope is caught red-handed; he wrote “the books of Scripture, firmly, faithfully and without error, teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the sacred Scriptures.” That is good enough for me. How about these other quotes?
"You have gathered once again to study a very important topic: Inspiration and Truth of the Bible. This subject not only concerns theology, but the Church herself, because the life and mission of the Church are necessarily based on the Word of God, which is the soul of theology and at the same time the inspiration of all Christian life.
"Therefore since all that the inspired authors or hagiographers state is to be considered as said by the Holy Spirit, the invisible and transcendent Author, it must consequently be acknowledged that “the books of Scripture, firmly, faithfully and without error, teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the sacred Scriptures”
Pope Benedict XVI addressing the members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission on April 23, 2009
"When exegesis—critical analysis or interpretation—does not appeal to theology or when Scripture is not the soul of theology or theology is not rooted in the Scriptures, then there is a problem with the way sacred writings are being interpreted," Pope Benedict XVI Oct. 14 2008.
"The Church must be constantly renewed and rejuvenated and the Word of God, which never ages and is never depleted, is a privileged means to achieve this goal. Indeed, it is the Word of God, through the Holy Spirit, which always guides us to the whole truth. (cf. John 16:13)" Pope Benedict XVI — On Reading Sacred Scripture Epiphany 2006
There are many more I could quote. But as we can see, this business of going back and pulling a paragraph or sentence from a Church Father writing on the importance of Scripture, and then using that to prove Scripture Alone amounts to nothing more than selective quoting. Or should we now declare that the Pope is really a Scripture Alone heretic? There you have it; the Pope said..."Indeed, it is the Word of God, through the Holy Spirit, which always guides us to the whole truth." That proves it!
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Since Protestant historians have twisted the history of the inquisition over the years, I thought I would indulge them with a nice picture of the inquisition wheel!
I ran across this article this morning. If it is accurate then I am quite pleased at Pope Benedict's new investigation of the woman's religious orders in the US, which as we know, many have strayed far away from Catholicism embracing such heresies as women priests, open homosexual lifestyles, the use of contraception and the list goes on. Once again we have people, or groups of people calling themselves Catholic who are not really Catholic in belief at all. Now our Protestant critics like to point out that Catholics are not really united in Church teaching, which is an erroneous conclusion. They like to pit infallible teachings against ones that have not been declared solemnly so, and use that as a means of proving division. Yet what does the Chruch officially teach when it comes to all teaching, not just "infallible" teaching? The CDF published an updated Profession of Faith with three additional paragraphs in 1989 as the article tells us, "Moreover, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim these teachings by a definitive act."
Hopefully this investigation does away with the heresies that have been coming out of some of the religious groups over the last 40 years. Read the complete article here. Drop back over and post your opinion here. I am curious to see how people view this act by the papacy.
Posted by Matthew Bellisario at 10:41 AM
I ran across these texts by St Cyril of Jerusalem in his Catechetical Lectures regarding the Eucharist. Recently some "Reformed" Protestants have used his writings to try and support their heresy of Sola Scriptura. In reading the texts in full context, I found no evidence of this whatsoever. In doing this research I ran across these texts pertaining to the Eucharist. Let me ask this simple question. Without applying any sophistry to the texts, who does St. Cyril appear to be in line with concerning Eucharistic doctrine? The Protestants or the Catholic and Orthodox Churches?
7. Moreover, the things which are hung up at idol festivals , either meat or bread, or other such things polluted by the invocation of the unclean spirits, are reckoned in the pomp of the devil. For as the Bread and Wine of the Eucharist before the invocation of the Holy and Adorable Trinity were simple bread and wine, while after the invocation the Bread becomes the Body of Christ, and the Wine the Blood of Christ , so in like manner such meats belonging to the pomp of Satan, though in their own nature simple, become profane by the invocation of the evil spirit.
(no 7 from Lecture 19)
1. Even of itself the teaching of the Blessed Paul is sufficient to give you a full assurance concerning those Divine Mysteries, of which having been deemed worthy, you have become of the same body and blood with Christ. For you have just heard him say distinctly, That our Lord Jesus Christ in the night in which He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks He broke it, and gave to His disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is My Body: and having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, Take, drink, this is My Blood. Since then He Himself declared and said of the Bread, This is My Body, who shall dare to doubt any longer? And since He has Himself affirmed and said, This is My Blood, who shall ever hesitate, saying, that it is not His blood? (no 1 from lecture 22)
6. Consider therefore the Bread and the Wine not as bare elements, for they are, according to the Lord's declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ; for even though sense suggests this to you, yet let faith establish you. Judge not the matter from the taste, but from faith be fully assured without misgiving, that the Body and Blood of Christ have been vouchsafed to you. (No6 from lecture 22)
9. Having learned 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 strengthens man's heart, to make his face to shine with oil , "strengthen your heart," by partaking thereof as spiritual, and "make the face of your soul to shine." And so having it unveiled with a pure conscience, may you reflect as a mirror the glory of the Lord 2 Corinthians 3:18, and proceed from glory to glory, in Christ Jesus our Lord:— To whom be honour, and might, and glory, for ever and ever. Amen. (No 9 lecture 22)
For the sake of space I did not put the entire letters here. But here is the link to lecture 22 in its entirety so you can read it for yourself in full context, which I always encourage everyone to do for themselves. Many times I have read these "reformed" apologists on the internet mocking the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist telling us that it is obvious by our senses that it is not the real Body and Blood of Our Lord. Well, here we have one of their favorite Church Fathers that they quote twisting his words, telling them, "Consider therefore the Bread and the Wine not as bare elements, for they are, according to the Lord's declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ; for even though sense suggests this to you, yet let faith establish you. Judge not the matter from the taste, but from faith be fully assured without misgiving, that the Body and Blood of Christ have been vouchsafed to you. Not only is Saint Cyril not a friend to their position of Scripture Alone, but he is also not a friend to their Calvinistic views on the Eucharist.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I ran across another post by one of the "Reformed" apologists who once again has taken many early Church Father writings out of context to try and bolster his case for Sola Scriptura. Of course we all know who these guys are that twist the Scriptures and the Fathers to their own destruction. I wanted to peruse through a post by Turretin Fan and show you just how bad his arguments are pertaining to understanding the Scriptures and Sola Scriptura. He calls one of his latest posts,"Flattening Flimsy Flam", where he insults the Catholic apologist Mark Shea. What is amusing is that his own post is what is really the flimsy flam because his arguments are really bad. Lets look at some of the quotes this guy cuts and pastes for his arguments to defend his position of Sola Scriptura as well as the ease of understanding the Scriptures without the help of apostolic Tradition.
Turretin Fan uses this quote from Saint Cyril of Jerusalem,
As Cyril of Jerusalem (about A.D. 315 – 386) put it:
Even to me, who tell thee these things, give not absolute credence, unless thou receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures. For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures.
- Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture IV, Section 17
Turretin Fan takes the Father out of context. What Turretin Fan fails to tell you is that Saint Cyril's work that he quotes from is a catechetical lecture based on the Scriptures, which is why this particular text is focused on the Scriptures. Saint Cyril however never tells us that Scripture alone is how the Church receives its only Divine Revelation and where it gets its only authority from. Cyril is telling his catechumens that the Gospel was not based on clever human reasoning, but that he had based his lectures on Holy Writ. Turretin has reached far beyond the context of the text. No Catholic would disagree that salvation is demonstrated from the Holy Scriptures or that the Gospel is not based on human ingenious reasoning. Next.
Then Turretin Fan quotes Saint Justin Martyr in an attempt to bolster his position that the Scriptures are easy to understand.
Pay attention, therefore, to what I shall record out of the holy Scriptures, which do not need to be expounded, but only listened to.
- Justin Martyr, Dialog With Trypho, Chapter 55
First of all Saint Justin Martyr lived in the middle of the second century. There was not a New Testament canon yet, nor would there be for the next 150 years or more. So the Saint was not even referring to the New Testament as we know it. Secondly the great Saint is only talking about an isolated case here where he is quoting the Scriptures for a specific purpose. Anyone knows that Justin was not making a blanket statement on Scripture as not needing any exposition on them. This is once again a pitiful stretch of the text. If this is so then why does the "Reformer" read the writings of John Calvin in which he expounds upon the Scriptures giving his own interpretation? As many times as I have heard the Reformed apologist tell us that the Scriptures need no aid to their understanding, I am baffled by the pages of Scripture commentaries they refer to. If you have to write anything other than what is in the text itself (in this case the Scriptures), then by definition you are expounding upon the text.
Then Turretin Fan turns to butcher the words of Saint Irenaeus. One has to wonder when this guy will stop. So he writes,
We have many arguments at our disposal, we might, as Irenaeus (about A.D. 130 - 200) did and take the position that the perspicuity of Scripture is self-evident, hidden only from the blind:
Since, therefore, the entire Scriptures, the prophets, and the Gospels, can be clearly, unambiguously, and harmoniously understood by all, although all do not believe them; and since they proclaim that one only God, to the exclusion of all others, formed all things by His word, whether visible or invisible, heavenly or earthly, in the water or under the earth, as I have shown from the very words of Scripture; and since the very system of creation to which we belong testifies, by what falls under our notice, that one Being made and governs it,—those persons will seem truly foolish who blind their eyes to such a clear demonstration, and will not behold the light of the announcement [made to them]; but they put fetters upon themselves, and every one of them imagines, by means of their obscure interpretations of the parables, that he has found out a God of his own.
- Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book 2, Chapter 27, Section 2
Many arguments at his disposal? Many weak arguments. What does this prove? We all have to ask ourselves who the blind one is? The one who reads the Scriptures from within the Church or outside of it. Also once again Saint Irenaeus lived in the middle of the second century, which did not possess a universal New Testament text. So it is obvious that this Saint was not referring to the method of Scripture Alone as Turretin Fan understands it to be. It is impossible. Most likely the Saint was referring to the Gospels and the Old Testament, making light of the parables of Jesus, which are only revealed to those whom Christ had removed the blinders from so they could understand them. If anything this defeats Turretin Fan's own argument. One has to wonder if Turretin Fan has really read this Father at any length because the Saint tells us how we are to understand the Scriptures in the very same letter just a couple of books later. He tells us that they must be understood in harmony with the Church's Tradition and from within the apostolic succession of the bishops, which Turretin rejects. Turretin Fan conveniently forgot that part. A flimsy flam for sure. Lets read it shall we?
"True knowledge is the doctrine of the Apostles, and the ancient constitution of the Church throughout all the world, and the distinctive manifestation of the body of Christ according to the successions of the bishops, by which they have handed down that Church which exists in every place, and has come even unto us, being guarded and preserved, without any forging of Scriptures, by a very complete system of doctrine, and neither addition nor curtailment [in the truth which she believes]; and a lawful and diligent exposition in harmony with the Scriptures, both without danger and without blasphemy; and 'above all, it consists in] the pre-eminent gift of love, which is more precious than knowledge, more glorious than prophecy, and which excels all the other gifts of God." -- Irenaeus, Against Heresies (Bk. 4, Chap. 33)
Turretin Fan then quotes Tertullian who was a heretic himself who also lived in an age where he did not have access to the New Testament as we know it. Be that as it may maybe Turretin forgot about this text that he wrote,
Error of doctrine in the churches must necessarily have produced various issues. When, however, that which is deposited among many is found to be one and the same, it is not the result of error, but of tradition. Can any one, then, be reckless enough to say that they were in error who handed on the tradition" (Prescription against the Heretics,28).
Turretin moves on to St Athanasius where he pulls one sentence out of context,
I wonder if this is where Mr. Shea hopes to gain an edge on folks with less experience in the laboratory than he. I refer to folks like Athanasius (about A.D. 297 - 373) who wrote:
And this is usual with Scriptures, to express itself in inartificial and simple phrases.
- Athanasius, Four Discourses Against the Arians, Discourse 3
OK so is St Athanasius in complete rebellion to the Biblical text of Acts 8:30-31 which reads, "30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked. 31"How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Is he assuming that all Biblical texts are simple phrases? Does the great Saint believe that the Scriptures Alone are his only authority? I think not. During the Arian crisis Saint Athanasius on several occasions told us how the Church defended itself during the Arian crisis. He states that it is not Scripture Alone but that understanding which has been passed down in the Church. For he readily admits that even the Arians referred to Scripture, but not in compliance with that which was handed down within the Church by apostolic Tradition which Turretin Fan rejects.
Accordingly we too, according to your confession of faith, desire to hold the Apostolic tradition , and to live according to the commands of the divine law, that we may be found along with you in that band in which now Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles and Martyrs are rejoicing. So then, though the Arian madness, aided by external power, was so active that our brethren on account of their fury could not even see the open air with freedom, yet by God's favour, according to your prayers, I have been able, though with trouble and danger, to see the brother who is wont to bring me necessaries and the letters of your holiness, along with those of others. And so we have received the books of your most wise and religious soul, in which we have seen the image of an Apostle, the confidence of a Prophet, the teaching of truth, the doctrine of true faith, the way of heaven, the glory of martyrdom, the triumphs against the Arian heresy, the unimpaired tradition of our Fathers, the right rule of the Church's order.
Athanasius. Letter 51 Second Letter to Lucifer.
We can also see this understanding here when he refers to the Arian heresy again,
"But after him (the devil) and with him are all inventors of unlawful heresies, who indeed refer to the Scriptures, but do not hold such opinions as the saints have handed down, and receiving them as the traditions of men, err, because they do not rightly know them nor their power" Athanasius Festal Letter 2
We then move on to Turretin's abuse of Saint Hilary of Poitiers.
Perhaps, as I say, Mr. Shea believes himself a better Christian scientist or laboratory technician in the laboratory of life than Athanasius. If so, then no doubt he will not be shy to proclaim his experimental superiority over Hilary of Poitiers (about A.D. 315 - 367) who declared:
The Lord enunciated the faith of the Gospel in the simplest words that could be found, and fitted His discourses to our understanding, so far as the weakness of our nature allowed Him, without saying anything unworthy of the majesty of His own nature.
- Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 9, Section 40
Ok one has to ask what this proves? Does this anywhere speak of using Scripture Alone as a sole rule of faith? Is Saint Hilary saying that all the Scripture are easy to understand for anyone who reads them? No he does not. He is merely speaking of Jesus and the Gospel which he preached, which from within the Church is easily understood. But as we can see, those who remain outsiders, they have a real hard time with it because they have to spend hours figuring out how to twist these early Fathers into saying something that they never really said.
Turretin continues to rail against Mark Shea by next quoting St. Augustine on understanding the word of God. Somehow Turretin Fan comes to the conclusion that not all things in Scripture are easy to understand, but only the "necessary" things. For someone who hails himself as loving Scripture, and someone who claims it as his only authority, I find his position quite flimsy. So where does the Scriptures tell us what things in it are essential? Is it just the things that Turretin finds essential? Because God gave us the entire Biblical Canon for a reason. It is all essential. But not for the Sola Scripturist. It is only convenient to say that the essential texts are easy. This is the flimsiest yet of his arguments.
TF then moves on to Saint John Chrysostom to try and prove that the Scriptures are easy to understand. He writes,
One wonders whether Mr. Shea is even aware of what John Chrysostom (A.D. 347 - 407) spoke about the perspicuity of Scripture:
What do I come in for, you say, if I do not hear some one discoursing? This is the ruin and destruction of all. For what need of a person to discourse? This necessity arises from our sloth. Wherefore any necessity for a homily? All things are clear and open that are in the divine Scriptures; the necessary things are all plain. But because ye are hearers for pleasure’s sake, for that reason also you seek these things. For tell me, with what pomp of words did Paul speak? and yet he converted the world. Or with what the unlettered Peter? But I know not, you say, the things that are contained in the Scriptures. Why? For are they spoken in Hebrew? Are they in Latin, or in foreign tongues? Are they not in Greek? But they are expressed obscurely, you say: What is it that is obscure? Tell me. Are there not histories? For (of course) you know the plain parts, in that you enquire about the obscure. There are numberless histories in the Scriptures. Tell me one of these. But you cannot. These things are an excuse, and mere words. Every day, you say, one hears the same things. Tell me, then, do you not hear the same things in the theaters? Do you not see the same things in the race-course? Are not all things the same? Is it not always the same sun that rises? Is it not the same food that we use? I should like to ask you, since you say that you every day hear the same things; tell me, from what Prophet was the passage that was read? from what Apostle, or what Epistle? But you cannot tell me—you seem to hear strange things. When therefore you wish to be slothful, you say that they are the same things. But when you are questioned, you are in the case of one who never heard them. If they are the same, you ought to know them. But you are ignorant of them.
- John Chrysostom, Homily 3 on 2 Thessalonians
Did TF learn why the great Saint was writing this or in what context? I think we have a case of cut and paste here. Lets look at what the great Saint is talking about here. First of all this is a homily on 2 Thessalonians 9, 10 “Who shall suffer punishment, even eternal destruction from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of His might, when He shall come to be glorified in His Saints, and to be marveled at in all them that believed.” In it the Saint is disappointed by those coming to Church who think that the Gospel is only something that is coming from him. He is upset that they are not taking the reading of the Scriptures in the Liturgy to heart as the word of God, so he scolds them for it telling them to study the Scriptures because that is where he is getting his information from that he preaches on. This of course is the custom of the Church, to preach on the Scripture of the liturgical day. He is upset that they are not paying attention to the readings, rather they pay more attention to the writings of secular rulers. This understanding from the perspective of Saint John comes with faith within the Church. In reading the text before and after the cut and paste that Turretin Fan used, we can see that he understands the Scriptures to be plainly understood in the context of laboring to understand them in faith and in the Liturgy. Lets look at some of the text before the text quoted, leading into part of it.
They think when they enter in here, that they enter into our presence, they think that what they hear they hear from us. They do not lay to heart, they do not consider, that they are entering into the presence of God, that it is He who addresses them. For when the Reader standing up says, “Thus saith the Lord,” and the Deacon stands and imposes silence on all, he does not say this as doing honor to the Reader, but to Him who speaks to all through him. If they knew that it was God who through His prophet speaks these things, they would cast away all their pride. For if when rulers are addressing them, they do not allow their minds to wander, much less would they, when God is speaking. We are ministers, beloved. We speak not our own things, but the things of God, letters coming from heaven are every day read.
Tell me then, I beseech you, if now, when we are all present some one entered, having a golden girdle, and drawing himself up, and with an air of consequence said that he was sent by the king that is on the earth, and that he brought letters to the whole city concerning matters of importance; would you not then be all turned towards him? Would you not, without any command from a deacon, observe a profound silence? Truly I think so. For I have often heard letters from kings read here. Then if any one comes from a king, you all attend; and does a Prophet come from God, and speak from heaven, and 388no one attend? Or do you not believe that these things are messages from God? These are letters sent from God; therefore let us enter with becoming reverence into the Churches, and let us hearken with fear to the things here said.
What do I come in for, you say, if I do not hear some one discoursing? This is the ruin and destruction of all. For what need of a person to discourse? This necessity arises from our sloth. Wherefore any necessity for a homily? All things are clear and open that are in the divine Scriptures; the necessary things are all plain.
Here Saint John is clearly upset that those who are attending are not paying attention and are living in sloth. They are not listening to the Scriptures in a state of grace, but of contempt. Saint John is merely pointing out that for those who are attentive, and those who believe, they will understand the Scriptures. In fact just after this passage he closes by urging these people to labor at understanding the Scriptures because they are guilty of being lazy and not applying themselves to the Scriptures. It is clear that Saint John believes that the Scriptures are only easy to understand to those that really believe and have faith, not just anyone who decides to read them.
"This state of things is worthy of lamentation—of lamentation and complaint: for the coiner coineth but in vain. For this you ought more especially to attend, because they are the same things, because we give you no labor, nor speak things that are strange or variable. What then, since you say, that those are the same things, but our discourses are not the same things, but we always speak things that are new to you, do you pay heed to these? By no means. But if we say, Why do you not retain even these? “We hear them but once,” you say, “and how can we retain them?” If we say, Why do ye not attend to those other things? “The same things,” you say, “are always said”—and every way these are words of sloth and excuse. But they will not always serve, but there will be a time when we shall lament in vain and without effect. Which may God forbid, and grant that having repented here, and attending with understanding and godly fear to the things spoken, we may both be urged on to the due performance of good works, and may amend our own lives with all diligence, that we may be able to obtain the blessings promised to those who love Him, by the grace and lovingkindness, &c."
This is not the ace in the hole Turretin thought he had found. This is an exposition on the problems that Saint John had with people being lazy not paying attention or taking the Scriptures seriously. Saint John is not saying that the essentials are in the Scriptures alone, nor that they never need to be explained. We can see this in his continued homily on 2nd Thess 2:15 where he clearly appeals to the Church and Tradition as well as Sacred Scripture.
“So then, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye were taught, whether by word, or by Epistle of ours.”
Hence it is manifest, that they did not deliver all things by Epistle, but many things also unwritten, and in like manner both the one and the other are worthy of credit. Therefore let us think the tradition of the Church also worthy of credit. It is a tradition, seek no farther. Here he shows that there were many who were shaken.
Turretin then again cuts and pastes a quote by Athanasius,
"But," says the Arian, "is it not written?" Yes, it is written! And it is necessary that it should be said. But what is well written is ill understood by heretics. If they had understood and grasped the terms in which Christianity is expressed, they would not have called the Lord of glory [1 Corinthians 2:8; cf. James 2:1] a creature nor stumbled over what is well written.
- Athanasius, Epistle to Serapion
If Turretin had done any real research he would know that the proper understanding that Athanasius was referring to is that of Tradition within the Church. The heresy he was addressing was Arianism and he was using Sacred Scripture within the Church Tradition to combat it. I already proved that from the quotes I gave above. Another flimsy flam.
Continuing on through this mess is now proving to be a boring task as we can see that the quotes he uses are taken out of their proper context. What I find to be amusing is that Turretin uses a quote that defeats his own argument. I don't have to say much here, I will just quote exactly what he wrote and see if the text he quotes supports his argument, or defeats it. Does Turretin think that no one will read the text he quoted? Does he expect us to all ignore the parts where Irenaeus is clearly telling us that it is Scripture and Tradition that he appeals to? Does TF know that Irenaeus is referring to the gnostic heresy which proposed that there was a secret oral tradition which interpreted them with this esoteric philosophical understanding?
In fact Irenaeus tells us that there is an authentic Tradition and not a gnostic or secret one known only to this sect. In fact he tells us that the Gnostics are not going by apostolic Tradition, but one of their own making which denied Scripture as being a part of. It is this esoteric knowledge which Irenaeus rebels against. Also once again I point out that there was no New Testament at the time as a canon. The Scriptures Irenaeus is referring to here is most probable the Old Testament to which the gnostics were famous for butchering with their supposed esoteric knowledge which they presumed surpassed that of the Old Testament Scriptures. Let the text speak for itself.
But what about those folks who claim that Scripture is ambiguous and cannot be understood without tradition? We give them the following answer from tradition:
When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition. For [they allege] that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but vivâ voce: wherefore also Paul declared, “But we speak wisdom among those that are perfect, but not the wisdom of this world” [1 Cor. ii. 6]. And this wisdom each one of them alleges to be the fiction of his own inventing, forsooth; so that, according to their idea, the truth properly resides at one time in Valentinus, at another in Marcion, at another in Cerinthus, then afterwards in Basilides, or has even been indifferently in any other opponent, who could speak nothing pertaining to salvation. For every one of these men, being altogether of a perverse disposition, depraving the system of truth, is not ashamed to preach himself.
2. But, again, when we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition, saying that they themselves are wiser not merely than the presbyters, but even than the apostles, because they have discovered the unadulterated truth. For [they maintain] that the apostles intermingled the things of the law with the words of the Saviour; and that not the apostles alone, but even the Lord Himself, spoke as at one time from the Demiurge, at another from the intermediate place, and yet again from the Pleroma, but that they themselves, indubitably, unsulliedly, and purely, have knowledge of the hidden mystery: this is, indeed, to blaspheme their Creator after a most impudent manner! It comes to this, therefore, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition.
3. Such are the adversaries with whom we have to deal, my very dear friend, endeavouring like slippery serpents to escape at all points. Where-fore they must be opposed at all points, if per-chance, by cutting off their retreat, we may succeed in turning them back to the truth. For, though it is not an easy thing for a soul under the influence of error to repent, yet, on the other hand, it is not altogether impossible to escape from error when the truth is brought alongside it.
This whole post by TF as far as I am concerned was the real flimsy flam. Cutting and pasting quotes out of their historical context, as well as their original intent, seems to be the only play these guys can come up with. All it takes is a bit of looking into whom the writer was addressing, and for what reason he was addressing them, to see that all of these quotes support the Catholic position, not the "Reformed" apologist. It is quite amusing to see Turretin Fan's pals going over and congratulating him on this post, all highfiving each other as if he had just defended their position successfully. In every one of these quotes that refers to the ease of understanding the Scriptures it is understood by the author to be within the Church, with valid apostolic succession. Somehow Turretin Fan thinks he is reading them from within that context that these Fathers all attest to. I beg to differ.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
In the first Podcast in this series I discuss the first precept of the Church, "You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor". You can subscribe on Itunes or you can listen to it on the Catholic Champion Website.
Monday, July 20, 2009
I find it funny how Protestants like to attack the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist which is taught by the Catholic Church as being the actual Body and Blood of Christ being presented under the veil of the Sacrament. Protestant apologists frequently like to tell us that the early Fathers would have never thought in this manner, and many even say that their philosophical mentality of the time would not have allowed for the Catholic belief. If that is the case then why do we see writers such as Porphyry writing to Saints such as Saint Jerome in the fourth century, and taking the Scripture verses on the Eucharist such as John Chapter 6 literally? If no one believed it, or was able to believe it, then why did even those who opposed Christianity attack it as if it was what the Christians believed? If it was all just metaphorical as the Protestants insist, then why do we have evidence such as this writing by Porphyry proving that people outside the Church believed that it was a Christian teaching?
Porphyry writes to Saint Jerome complaining about the Christian teaching on the Eucharist from John Chapter 6.
"That saying of the Teacher is a far-famed one, which says, "Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye have no life in yourselves." Truly this saying is not merely beast-like and absurd, but is more absurd than any absurdity, and more beast-like than any fashion of a beast, that a man should taste human flesh, and drink the blood of members of the same tribe and race, and that by doing this he should have eternal life. For, tell, me, if you do this, what excess of savagery do you introduce into life? Rumour does not record---I do not say, this action, but even the mention of this strange and novel deed of impiety. The phantoms of the Furies never revealed this to those who lived in strange ways, nor would the Potidasans have accepted it unless they had been reduced by a savage hunger. Once the banquet of Thyestes became such, owing to a sister's grief, and the Thracian Tereus took his fill of such food unwillingly. Harpagus was deceived by Astyages when he feasted on the flesh of his dearest, and it was against their desire that all these underwent such a pollution. But no one living in a state of peace prepared such a table in his life; no one learnt from a teacher any knowledge so foul. If you look up Scythia in the records, and go through the Macrobian Ethiopians, and if you career through the ocean girdle round about, you will find men who eat, live, and devour roots; you will hear of men who eat reptiles and feed on mice, but they refrain altogether from human flesh.
What then does this saying mean? [Even if there is a mystical meaning hidden in it, yet that does not pardon the outward significance, which places men lower than the beasts. Men have made up strange tales, but nothing so pernicious as this, with which to gull the simple.]
Wherefore it seems to me that neither Mark nor Luke nor even Matthew recorded this, because they regarded the saying as not a comely one, but strange and discordant, and far removed from practiced life. Even you yourself could scarcely be pleased at reading it, and far less any man who has had the advantage of a liberal education."
70. Jerome, Dialogue Against the Pelagians II: 17:
So even those who opposed Christianity in the early centuries of the Church understood this teaching in a way that was literal in meaning. Even for Porphyry it was a stretch to apply only a mystical meaning to it alone. This just brings forth more evidence as to the historical inaccuracies of the Protestants and their inability to apply proper historical context to the writings of the Early Fathers as well. Of course we know that the Church teaches a mystical element to the Eucharist as well as the substantial element. There is a great mystery as to how Christ presents Himself in His real Flesh, yet veiled under the sacramental mystery. This is where the Protestants usually get stumped. They can't quite get how the Eucharist can be substantial as well as mystical. Yet this is what the Church has always taught, and we can see this by the Early Church Father's writings, as well as those who opposed Christianity.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Today many are misinformed of what it means to be a practicing Catholic. There are five general precepts of the Church that one must follow in order to even be considered a practicing Catholic. I will examine these precepts over the next week or two in a series of podcasts. There is more than meets the eye when looking at these precepts, most specifically the second precept. When people calling themselves Catholic live in obstinate rebellion to the Church and her teachings, can they really be practicing Catholics? Hopefully this series will clarify what it means to be a practicing Catholic to those outside the Catholic Church who make accusations towards the Church based on people who are calling themselves practicing Catholics who are really not, because of their failure to adhere to these precepts. I will publish a podcast episode on each of these five precepts so we can examine them one by one. You can subscribe to the Catholic Champion Podcast on Itunes. Just search the Itunes store and type in Catholic Champion and you can download them for free. I will also continue to post them on the Catholicchampion.com website so you can listen to them online there if you don't have Itunes.
The Catechism defines them as follows,
2042 The first precept ("You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor") requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.82
The second precept ("You shall confess your sins at least once a year") ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism's work of conversion and forgiveness.83
The third precept ("You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season") guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord's Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.84
2043 The fourth precept ("You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church") ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.85
The fifth precept ("You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church") means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.86
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I thought this would make a great follow up to my rationalism post. A pal of mine sent this to me today. To me it is a great lesson of the fallibility of the human intellect. What color are the three spirals? Blue, pink and green? Not so, just teal and and pink. The green spiral and the blue spiral are the same color. Check it out on this blog.
Posted by Matthew Bellisario at 8:00 PM
I ran across this real cool video series on YouTube showing the return of the relics of the two great Saints, John Chrysostom and Gregory the Theologian back to Constantinople. There is also some good historical info in them as well, although it is admittedly in favor of the Orthodox position. I put all four parts in order so you don't have to go searching for each part. Each video is like 7 minutes so it is not too long. For some reason the videos are cut off on it. But you can hit the full screen button to view it or go directly to the You Tube page. Enjoy!
Sunday, July 12, 2009
This article is not your typical apologetics article. In fact it may even be the opposite of what a traditional apologist would write to defend his arguments and affirm his faith position. I think however sometimes we just need to step back and ponder the paradoxes of life. I also have an 11 minute podcast to go along with this article. You can get it on Itunes or you can listen to it online here.
In light of a recent blog discussion I was having regarding historical accuracy ad interpretation, I decided I wanted to elaborate on it a bit more. Many of us today are rationalists in mind and heart. It is an imprint that the Age of Enlightenment has left on us. We don't intend to to do it, but it is ingrained in our culture. In fact we are turning into a culture of secularists without even realizing it. In the course of the day we read material and make personal judgments on things all of the time. We examine the facts and dissect things with science and come to logical conclusions. Unfortunately this type of thinking only gets you so far when it comes to choosing what Christian faith you will embrace.
It is true that many people are raised to embrace a certain faith and choose not look outside of that because that is all they have ever known. There are those who are convicted one way or another by a personal experience, bad or good. Many people come to a point where they question everything they have believed and end up rationalizing themselves out of theism into atheism. Rationalism can have its consequences.
The classic example in Western Christianity is the Protestant vs Catholic argument. One side says that the Church is governed by belief in Scripture alone which is given to us by God alone, the other says it is the Church established by Christ alone. Both have their historical problems if we really want to get down to dissecting history and putting it under a magnifying glass.
Protestant apologists like to try and corner Catholics into having to prove the papal primacy from the first 300 or so years of Christianity. There are examples of the Pope being appealed to for various reasons for sure. But one can easily dismiss the historical accounts based on reasons other than papal primacy. One can read history and choose to see what one wants to see. So there must be more than human reason alone to prove the primacy of Peter. Although faith and reason are not opposed, reason alone will not get you the answers you are looking for.
Yes the Catholic can appeal to Scripture as the Protestant can and both pit their interpretations against one another. They can debate over what Matthew 16 means, and tear apart the text and examine it. They can examine the Church Fathers and argue about what they really meant in their writings, although they were written to certain audiences for exclusive reasons over 1700 years ago. But if we shift our focus from the papacy to the New Testament canon, we find ourselves in the same boat as trying to prove the papacy from the first 300 years of Christianity.
If we were to take all of the historical information that we could find and examine it and confined ourselves only to the first 300 or so of Christianity we would be in the same situation as the Catholic trying to prove the papacy from the same isolated period. Some argue that the Scriptures were easy to determine, but anyone who has studied the history of the New Testament Canon knows that there was not a universal consensus until almost the year 400. So where would that leave the rationalist who only will appeal to a certain time period to prove a certain doctrine or belief? Would we follow those who used the The Shepherd of Hermas as Scripture, as some churches did? For example Daniel F. Lieuwen Copyright (c) 1995 in his work tells us, “St. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-c. 215) made use of an open canon. He seemed ``practically unconcerned about canonicity. To him, inspiration is what mattered.''(29) In addition to books that did not make it into the final New Testament canon but which had local canonicity (Barnabas, Didache, I Clement, Revelation of Peter, the Shepherd, the Gospel according to the Hebrews), he also used the Gospel of the Egyptians, Preaching of Peter, Traditions of Matthias, Sibylline Oracles, and the Oral Gospel.(30) He did, however, prefer the four church gospels to all others, although he supplemented them freely with apocryphal gospels. He was the first to treat non-Pauline letters of the apostles (other than I Peter) as scripture-he accepted I Peter, I and II John, and Jude as scripture.(31)” If we can see here that a Church Father was using another canon other than what we have today then why not go with his canon? It says he was the first to introduce non Pauline epistles into use. Why not condemn him as a heretic? Those before him after-all, were using another canon, one which refused to use any non-Pauline epistles. We have a problem here do we not?
If we are going to use our own historical reasoning alone to determine our faith then we are left to an infinite number of possibilities. The only reason we have a settled New Testament canon is because the Church gradually developed the canon by her authority. Ancient Christianity was not one that subscribed to Scripture Alone, and to my knowledge Christ never told anyone that once the New Testament was finished that the Church now operated under a new system of authority.
Many people will disagree with me I know. But to me there is only one authority to follow and that is the one that Christ appointed to be carried on by his apostles by a living, breathing Word. Yes I believe the Scriptures are God's written Word, but I only know that because of the oral testimony of the apostolic Oral Word that was carried on by the apostles successors. I believe that one has to be moved by the Holy Spirit to get that. I believe that yes, history can help us prove certain characteristics about the Church. But the fact is, all of us reading this now are 1700 years removed from that time period and we do not have access to every historical fact that we would like to affirm or oppose our arguments. The fact is, we were not there in the year 300.
It is a fantasy I think that many today think they are practicing the exact Christianity that was being practiced in the year 200 or the year 300. We all want to appeal to antiquity to argue for our faith belief. Yet I believe that no matter what historical inconsistencies that we may find in history, there is only one true Church that Christ established and He alone knew how it was going to spread and grow throughout the world. It is not just historical rationalism that will give us the answers, it is the guidance of the Holy Spirit that opens us up to see beyond the eye of recorded history, and allows us to see into the heavenly kingdom of the true Church. Once we are guided by faith then we can begin to grasp the web of recorded history, which I believe the Church has been at the center of since Jesus gave it to us. If one were to say they were practicing Christianity just like the early Christians did, who would be closer, the Catholic or the Protestant? The Catholic would be living by the living oral word now, just like the a Christian in the 200s, with addition of the later canonized New Testament. The Protestant however would now being following the New Testament canon alone, which none of these early Christians would have even had the slightest inclination towards. They used the Old Testament and only gradually accepted the books of the New Testament. Who is guilty of using the development of doctrine? I'll let you decide.
I would suggest that one read a few good books on the early history of Christianity. Look at the heresies and the bishops opposing one another over the natures of Christ and the person of Christ in the first 450 years of the Church. I promise it will have your head spinning, and the one without a living breathing apostolic authority to tell you who was right would never be able to figure it out on their own. When I started writing this I did not intend this writing to be an argument against Sola Scriptura.
Before I close I would like to point out that the Catholic Church has the highest regard for the Scriptures because they are hers. But if I have learned anything from reading history, the Scriptures cannot defend themselves from those who misinterpret them outside the apostolic Church that gave them to us. They also cannot put themselves together in a Canon without some living divine authority to tell us what they are. Reasoning can only get us to accepting a living divine authority, which must be rooted in faith. It is the intellect and reason that is enlightened by faith. Rationalism alone will only get us so far.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
In my recent conversation with James White on his Dividing Line we had a disagreement as to whether or not St. Athanasius appealed to Rome for help during the Arian crisis. So far every single historical source that I have found says that he did. I think Dr. White may have been mistaken on this particular issue. I understand that the crisis did not end in Rome, but according to my sources, Athanasius clearly appealed to Julius I around 341. When reading the history of the early Church it is hard to keep all of this stuff straight, at least for me anyways.
Scholar Warren H Carroll on pages 21-22 in his book The building of Christendom tells us that Athanasius placed himself under Pope Julius and appealed to him for help during the Arian crisis.
Scholar Adrian Fortescue tells us on page 71 of his book says that Athanasius' appeal went to Rome to Pope Julius I.
The Rev A H Hore M.A on pages 143-144 in his work called Eighteen centuries of the Orthodox Greek Church tells us that Pope Julian had a council exonerating St. Athanasius in 341. Of course we know that the heretics did not stop after that, but never the less, Athanasius did appeal to Rome.
Scholar Dom John Chapman tells us on pages 53-55
It is quite common to find well-read Englishmen speaking as though the history of Arianism was a difficulty in the way of the defenders of the Roman Primacy. They talk as if Rome had but an unimportant share in the troubles of the fourth century, and as if no testimony to the authority of the Papacy could be drawn from the relations between the East and West during the controversy.
This curious notion has its root, of course, in the Anglican manuals of history, in which the action of the Papacy is either ignored, or where this is impossible, minimized. In the following paper it will not be possible to go through the whole period of the Arian distress. I shall confine myself, therefore, to the time which elapsed between the Council of Nicaea in 325 and the Council of Sardica in 343 or 344. During these years the West was at peace, and all the troubles were caused by the Arianizing court party in the East.
Athanasius assembled in consequence a great Council at Alexandria of more than eighty Bishops, which addressed to Julius and to all Bishops a lengthy defense.  This letter was taken to Rome by the envoys of Athanasius. When their arrival became known to Macarius (the priest who had brought the letter to Eusebius) he left hurriedly in the night. His companions, two deacons, were unable to reply to the statements of the Egyptians, so they demanded a synod, and requested the Pope himself to be judge.
Commentary on Pope Julius as Judge (Socrates, Sozomen, others)
It is best to give the words of the authorities: (Athanasius, Apol c. Arian 20):
"The Eusebians (or Eusebius) also wrote to [Pope] Julius, and thinking to frighten us, they asked for a Council to be called, and that Julius himself, if he wished, should be judge."
Socrates, (H.E. ii, II):
"Eusebius having accomplished what he desired, sent an embassy to Julius, Bishop of Rome, calling upon him to be the judge of the charges against Athanasius, and to summon the case to Himself."
Sozomen, (H.E. iii, 7):
"Eusebius...wrote to Julius that he should be judge of what had been decreed at Tyre."
Theodoret, (H.E. ii, 3):
"Athanasius, knowing their plot, retired, and betook himself to the West. For to the Bishop of Rome (Julius was then the Shepherd of that Church) the Eusebians had sent the false accusations which they had put together against Athanasius. And he, following the laws of the Church, both ordered them to repair to Rome, and also summoned the divine Athanasius to judgment. And he, for his part, started at once on receiving the call; but they who had made up the story did not go to Rome, knowing that it would be easy to see through their falsehood."
Sozomen, (iii, 10):
"Julius learning that it was not safe for Athanasius to remain in Egypt then, sent for him to Rome."
Catholic Encyclopedia says,
"Athanasius had ignored the decision of a duly authorized synod. He had returned to his see without the summons of ecclesiastical authority (Apol. c. Ar., loc. cit.). In the year 340, after the failure of the Eusebian malcontents to secure the appointment of an Arian candidate of dubious reputation names Pistus, the notorious Gregory of Cappadocia was forcibly intruded into the Alexandrian See, and Athanasius was obliged to go into hiding. Within a very few weeks he set out for Rome to lay his case before the Church at large. He had made his appeal to Pope Julius, who took up his cause with a whole-heartedness that never wavered down to the day of that holy pontiff's death. The pope summoned a synod of bishops to meet in Rome. After a careful and detailed examination of the entire case, the primate's innocence was proclaimed to the Christian world."
Taken from "Lives of Saints", Published by John J. Crawley & Co., Inc.
"In the midst of all this confusion a Cappadocian priest named Gregory was forcibly installed as patriarch of Alexandria by the city prefect, pagans and Arians having now joined forces against the Catholics. Confronted unceasingly by acts of violence and sacrilege, Athanasius betook himself to Rome to await the hearing of his case by the Pope. A synod was summoned, but the Eusebians who had proposed it failed to appear. The result was a complete vindication of Athanasius, a verdict afterwards endorsed by the Council of Sardica."
Friday, July 10, 2009
In light of the discussion that Dr. White and I had on the Dividing Line yesterday, I am doing some preliminary internet research on the Council of Chalcedon canon 28. I have several books in my library that I have yet to consult on the subject, but I wanted to post up some material from the internet just to show how differently people interpret historical events. Everyone has their own biased interpretation of the event. Yet who gives the best and most detailed examination of this subject? One or two of these are very shallow in their presentations, the others are written on a more scholarly level. The sources are linked below each entry so you can check them out and give your opinions on the matter. I am sure there are more sites out there that have info on the subject, these are just some of the ones I found. For those of you who are interested in the subject, I hope this gets you more familiar with the debate over Canon 28. I hope to have a podcast prepared on this subject as soon as I compile enough credible information on the subject. Fell free to comment on this. The more insightful comments we have on this subject, the better for all of us. Enjoy.
Does Constantinople’s interpretation of canon 28 accurately reflect its original intention or at least represent a legitimate extension of its meaning? Or does it serve simply as a pretext for unwarranted “neo-papalism,” as the Russian Church has charged? A purely historical exploration of what this canon meant in its original context will not answer such questions any more than it will resolve modern differences between Catholic and Orthodox understandings of primacy, products as they are of very different historical circumstances. But such an exploration may be instructive nonetheless. A full study of this subject cannot be undertaken here, but it may be possible to identify some points of agreement and not just points of disagreement. At the very least, it may be possible to identify what the various parties took for granted at the time of the council.
The first and most obvious point is that all parties took for granted the happy coincidence of church and empire. As Christian apologists had recognized long before, the church’s universal vocation (“go into all nations”) and the Roman Empire’s aspirations to universality neatly complemented each other. As Vittorio Peri has put it, “The ecumenism of the Church and that of the State were so intertwined culturally and so ‘harmonized’ between themselves that they became interdependent in the common consciousness and behavior of Christians.”  In this situation, relationships of filiation and dependence in the ecclesiastical sphere quite naturally corresponded closely to the prevailing patterns of government and public life. The gospel spread from major cities to outlying areas, from capitals to dependencies. To a high degree, therefore, the geopolitical importance of a city and the antiquity of its church’s foundation coincided, reducing the potential for conflict between “accommodation” and “apostolicity,” at least until the rise of Constantinople opened the question in a fresh way........Here we come to the main reason why Chalcedon canon 28, in some respects so clear, was also quite ambiguous and potentially misleading. As Archbishop Peter (L’Huillier) has observed, the canon “did not have the purpose of defining the primatial prerogatives of the see of old Rome but only those of the see of Constantinople.”
Source Here. There is a great deal of info on this one giving a nice historical overview of the whole ordeal.
However, Pope Leo refused to agree to this canon; and employing a kind of "line item veto," ordered it struck from the Council documents. In this, Bishop Anatolius of Constantinople writes to Pope Leo, apologizing and explaining how the canon came to be, saying ...
As for those things which the universal Council of Chalcedon recently ordained in favor of the church of Constantinople, let Your Holiness be sure that there was no fault in me, who from my youth have always loved peace and quiet, keeping myself in humility. It was the most reverend clergy of the church of Constantinople who were eager about it, and they were equally supported by the most reverend priests of those parts, who agreed about it. Even so, the whole force of confirmation of the acts was reserved for the authority of Your Blessedness. Therefore, let Your Holiness know for certain that I did nothing to further the matter, knowing always that I held myself bound to avoid the lusts of pride and covetousness. -- Patriarch Anatolius of Constantinople to Pope Leo, Ep 132 (on the subject of canon 28 of Chalcedon).
So, the matter was settled; and, for the next 6 centuries, all Eastern churches speak of only 27 canons of Chalcedon -- the 28th Canon being rendered null and void by Rome's "line item veto." This is supported by all the Greek historians, such as Theodore the Lector (writing in 551 AD), John Skolastikas (writing in 550 AD), Dionysius Exegius (also around 550 AD); and by Roman Popes like Pope St. Gelasius (c. 495) and Pope Symmachus (c. 500) -- all of whom speak of only 27 Canons of Chalcedon.
What is usually called canon 28 (on the honour to be accorded the see of Constantinople) is in fact a resolution passed by the council at the 16th session. It was rejected by the Roman legates.
In the ancient Greek collections, canons 29 and 30 are also attributed to the council:
—canon 29 is an extract from the minutes of the 19th session; and
—canon 30 is an extract from the minutes of the 4th session.
Because of canon 28, which the Roman legates had opposed, the emperor Marcian and Anatolius, patriarch of Constantinople, sought approval for the council from the pope. This is clear from a letter of Anatolius which tries to defend the canon, and especially from a letter of Marcian which explicitly requests confirmation. Because heretics were misinterpreting his withholding approval, the pope ratified the doctrinal decrees on 21 March 453, but rejected canon 28 since it ran counter to the canons of Nicaea and to the privileges of particular churches.
The imperial promulgation was made by Emperor Marcian in 4 edicts of February 452.
This last canon provoked another session of the council, the sixteenth, held on 1 November. The papal legates protested therein against this canon, alleging that they had special instructions from Pope Leo on that subject, that the canon violated the prerogatives of the Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, and was contrary to the canons (vi, vii) of the Council of Nicaea. Their protests, however, were not listened to; and the council persisted in retaining this canon in its Acts. With this incident the Council of Chalcedon was closed.
At the closing of the sessions the council wrote a letter to Pope Leo I, in which the Fathers informed him of what had been done; thanked him for the exposition of Christian Faith contained in his dogmatic epistle; spoke of his legates as having presided over them in his name; and asked for the ratification of the disciplinary matters enacted, particularly canon 28. This letter was handed to the papal legates, who departed for Rome soon after the last session of the council. Similar letters were written to Pope Leo in December by Emperor Marcian and Anatolius of Constantinople. In reply Pope Leo protested most energetically against canon xxviii and declared it null and void as being against the prerogatives of Bishops of Alexandria and Antioch, and against the decrees of the Council of Nicaea. Like protests were contained in the letters written 22 May, 452, to Emperor Marcian, Empress Pulcheria, and Anatolius of Constantinople. Otherwise the pope ratified the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon, but only inasmuch as they referred to matters of faith. This approval was contained in letters written 21 March, 453, to the bishops who took part in the council; hence the Council of Chalcedon, at least as to the first six sessions, became an ecumenical synod, and was considered as such by all Christians, both in the time of Pope Leo and after him....
Canon 28 grants Constantinople equal privileges (isa presbeia) to Rome. The papal legates were not present for the vote on this canon and protested it afterward. The rule was also not ratified by Pope Leo I and is not recognized as canonical by the Catholic Church.
According to some ancient Greek collections, two additional canons are attributed to the council: canon 29, which states that an unworthy bishop cannot be demoted but can be removed, while canon 30 which grants the Egyptians time to consider their rejection of Leo's Tome.
With concerns growing that withholding Rome's approval would be interpreted as a rejection of the entire council, in 453 Leo I confirmed the council’s canons, with a protest only against canon 28.
There you have it: Rome was recognized because it was the Imperial City....Nothing about St. Peter being there....Nothing about Apostolic Succession....Nothing about the Keys etc., etc. Rome's supremacy was purely political and that Canon proves it!!
Leo I (440 - 461) was Pope at that time. He was a man of towering ambition and pride. He was not going to share his city with an upstart like Constantinople. Equality was the last thing that he cared about.
Old Rome was in a very precarious position. Barbarians from the North were at the gates outside . . . greed and corruption were everywhere within. Leo needed a competitive edge if Old Rome was to survive.
It was then that he hit upon the idea of St. Peter and the Keys. If he could convince the world that St. Peter was Bishop of Rome, that he was Head of the Church, and that he (Leo) was his successor then he had a powerful weapon to use against his rivals.
Fr Guettee is correct that St Leo did refer to the Nicene canon in disputing the Chalcedonian canon 28 but St Leo also objected to the rationale of elevating Constantinople for political reasons to second rank. He explained to Emperor Marcian that prominence in the Church is not based upon a secular or political position but on divine appointment. He also notes that Anatolius (the Bishop of Constantinople) holds his position by Leo's favor:
"Let the city of Constantinople have, as we desire, its glory, and, under the protection of God's right hand, long enjoy the rule of your clemency. Yet things secular stand on a different basis from things divine, and there can be no sure building save on that rock which the Lord has laid for a foundation. He that covets what is not his due loses what is his own. Let it be enough for him [Anatolius] that by your piety, and by my gracious favour, he has obtained the bishopric of so great a city. Let him not disdain a royal city, though he cannot make it an apostolic see; and let him on no account hope that he can rise by doing injury to others." (Documents Illustrating Papal Authority, page 327, Leo, Ep. 104, to the Emperor Marcian, P.L. 54.993.)
Pope St Leo did not write as one whose primacy was merely one of "ecclesiastical right." He (and many popes before and after him) claimed they were the successor of St Peter in a unique sense `by the voice of Christ in the gospel.' These claims were acknowledged in the East on various occasions (though it is important to note that the way the Petrine primacy is exercised has seen a development from that era until now). Abbe Guettee's characterization of St Leo does not fit the historical record. Instead, it can be viewed as an attempt to re-write Church history to harmonize with the post-Schism rejection of the papacy.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
I must say that I had a much more pleasant experience today on James White's radio program, the Dividing Line. We had a good discussion on the papacy and I appreciate Dr. White giving me the opportunity to go on the show and discuss this topic. Hopefully he will post it up on his podcast. It will be interesting for me to go back and listen to myself! I will be spending some time in the near future to bring forth some podcasts in addressing some of the questions that Dr. White had for me that I could not answer. I also want to elaborate more on some of the material I prepared that I didn't have the opportunity to get to. I hope that in the future Dr. White and I will be able to have more discussions on other topics pertaining to Roman Catholicism. Thanks again to Dr. White.
Dr. White has posted the program up on his blog. I welcome all comments and thoughts on the discussion. I also welcome any thoughts on points that I missed or answers that I could have countered in more effective manner. Thanks for your thoughts.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
On July 2nd Pope Benedict XVI released an apostolic letter officially delegating all future doctrinal discussions with the Society of St. Pius X to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. To me this looks like a promising move towards future examination of the Vatican II documents. For those who have interpreted these documents in light of Church Tradition it will pose no difficulties. For those however who have for the past 40 years tried to hijack the documents and conjure up new teachings which clearly went against the Tradition of the Church, it will be a wake up call. Of course it is no news that the Vatican II documents were of a different nature than the documents released in other Ecumenical councils before it. The documents were drafted to give guidance on how to implement the Catholic faith in light of modern culture, addressing such issues that fell into the bioethics realm for example, which past Councils had not had to deal with because of recent technological advances. This new dialog will hopefully produce more material to work from regarding aplogetics as well. The English translation is on the EWTN website.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
I am looking forward to discussing the topic of the papacy with Dr. White on this Thursdays Dividing Line program. I will put forth an argument for the papal primacy of the bishop of Rome as well as pose some specific questions to Dr White on specific arguments he has presented in the past to Catholics regarding the papacy. Last night I emailed Dr White from the Aomin website asking him about the format he would like to use on the radio show to make the best of his time. I asked him for 5 or 6 minutes to open the show with so that I can specifically bring forth my argument in a concise manner. So far I have not heard from Dr. White via email. Hopefully he will have some time to get to me tomorrow. I just want to make sure that I am able to pose my questions and have some time to speak and lay out my basic premise so we can avoid wasting time on arguments that I am not posing. I hope to hear from Dr. White soon as to the basic structure and time arrangement that I will have to present my arguments and ask my questions, as well as answer any questions that Dr. White may have for me. I once again thank Dr White for inviting to come back on his show and discuss this topic in detail.
Dr. White has kindly emailed me and given me a few minutes at the beginning of the program to set up my argument. I thank him for the time to do so. I look forward to discussing the topic of the papacy with Dr. White tomorrow at 7Pm ET.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
I've been slapped with the white glove! No pun intended :)
Here is my response to James White and his challenge to me on this weeks Dividing Line program. I have decided to take the James White challenge and discuss the papacy this coming week. I decided it would be better to retort with an audio response. You can listen to it here. Thanks.
Friday, July 3, 2009
In my third episode of the Catholic Champion podcast I have examined some texts by Saint Cyprian on the importance of Apostolic Succession. In this episode I also touch a bit on Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture and how they fit into the unity of the Church and the unity of divine worship. I hope you enjoy this podcast. Let me know if you have any particular topics that you would like to see addressed. May God bless and keep you.
You can listen to this episode here, or on Itunes.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Yesterday at 7PM my time I called into James White's dividing line. I was challenged by him from an earlier post that I posted on him, to come on his radio program and address it. I did just that. What resulted was James White giving about 3 minutes of time, most of which he spoke, then after asking me one question he hung up on me because he did not like my answer to his question. I do not know whether Dr. White knows this or not, but when he speaks or writes something in the apologetics realm, any facts that he uses to build an argument, or use as an example are subject to historical accuracy. Dr. White rejected this notion and said since his main argument of his Sunday school lecture was not Catholicism then I have no right to hold any other statements in his lecture up to historical accuracy. This in a nutshell is what he did. Dr. White says he is going to post the video of the radio program today sometime. You can check it out and see if I was treated with any kind of charity, or any kind of respect on his program.
Later at the end of the program, which I did not hear, White evidently invited me back on to discuss other topics that he wanted to discuss. I am not sure what they are, and if he will let me know what he wants to discuss I will try one more time to call back in to his show, provided he treat me with a little respect next time. We will all see how that works out wont we? I find it funny that White can treat me like this, hang up on me rudely, mock me after he hung up on me, then invite me back again. Anyways, I will give it one more shot.
Here are the two posts that i put up regarding White's historical blunder.
Response to White.
When someone makes a historical inaccuracy like White did, there are serious consequences involved. Some people are wondering why I picked that comment to focus on. I will be very clear here. I picked it because it is a comment which slanders the character of practicing Catholics, that is why. If I had posted something on baptism for example, and in my lead in I mentioned that a majority of Protestants were practicing homosexuals in Germany during the Reformation, would I not have every "Reformed" apologist on their blogs attacking me? Of course I would. But something inaccurately mentioned about Catholics does not have to pass historical scrutiny does it? Not in James White's world I guess. Well, we will see what happens next week.
Above, San Vitale Ravenna, Italy.
In this podcast I want to cover the subject of Christian images. This subject is often the target of Reformed apologists like James White and his side-kick Turretin Fan. They tend to equate all Christian images as being idolatrous. Did the Church go off the rails using Sacred Images in the 500s until the "Reformers" came along to correct Christendom?
Since Turretin says I did not address the main issue of images, I decided to do so in this second podcast. I cover some archaeological evidence such as those of Bigatti at the site of the Annunciation as well as some others. Just the mere fact that Christians have been worshiping at the Annunciation site since the mid 200s tells us that Christians have venerated Our Lady since at least those times, otherwise why pick this particular location to worship and bury their dead? I hope you enjoy this second episode of the Catholic Champion podcast.
Visit Catholic Champion main site for a directory of all podcasts available. Soon they will be available on I Tunes!
Catholic Champion podcast is now available via Itunes!.
Catholic Champion podcasts are now here! I have posted episode 1 here. All of my podcasts will now be posted on my Catholic Champion main website. They are posted in MP3 format. I will of course link to them from my blog as well. The first topic of discussion is Turretin Fan's blog posts on Our Lady of Guadalupe. I hope you enjoy it and I welcome everyone to give their opinion on my first attempt at a podcast.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Last year on two occasions I was able to visit the The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah, Georgia. To say the least, I was pleasantly surprised by the splendor of this Cathedral. I wanted to post a few pictures that I took when I was there last, just after Thanksgiving of 08. The Sacred Imagery in stained glass and painting are well worth the side trip if you are ever traveling along I95 through Georgia. There is also a Latin Mass at 1PM on Sundays for those who would like to attend one if they are in the area.
Here is the official website and they have a virtual tour that you can view.
Here are some interesting facts on the Cathedral that are posted on the website.
In the upper level of the Cathedral there are 55 stained glass windows.
The steeple bell was cast in 1900 in Baltimore, MD and weights 4,730 lbs.
The steeples tower 207 feet in the air, and the crosses on top continue to 214 feet.
For a large image, click on the pictures.