Tuesday, June 30, 2009
29. The Angel has the face of an adult, but the forehead of a child. This is for us to understand that only those who are like little children will enter into the kingdom of Heaven.
Turretin Fan has made a gross error in his assessment of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He pokes fun at the image and then remarks that Jesus is stuck at the bottom of the image. His exact written words were, "(source - as you'll see in the clearer image there, Jesus isn't completely missing, he's just hiding down at the bottom of the picture - direct link to picture). I guess as usual, Turretin did no research on the subject before making a fool of himself once again. Anyone who has studied the image knows that the depiction at the bottom of the image is an angel, and not Jesus as Turretin has falsely stated. You can read the entire bumbling, nonsensical post here.
The "angel" at the bottom of the image was seen by the Indians as an "intermediary god" carrying in a new era, the beginning of a new civilization. One era was at an end -- had died -- and a new one was beginning, was being born.
Here are some sources that prove my point. When it comes to Catholicism, Turretin Fan knows little, and cannot be trusted to critique anything pertaining to the subject. Here is just one more example. When someone cannot even get simple facts like this right, they surely cannot be trusted to argue the more complex theological issues with any accuracy. Way to go Turretin Fan! I guess as long as Turretin Fan thinks it is Jesus at the bottom, then that is all that matters. We all do know that Turretin Fan has a long history of telling Catholics what they really believe and what the Catholic Church really teaches! I guess all the Catholics are wrong, and he is right.
What a surprise! Turretin Fan has finally admitted that he was in error on this post. He updated his blogpost soon after I posted mine.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Pope Benedict XVI has allowed scientific research to confirm the age of the relics below Saint Peter's of Saint Paul. The tomb placed underneath the epigraph "Paulo Apostolo Mart" (meaning "Paul the Apostle and Martyr") has now been dated by science to the first century giving us more evidence as to the authenticity of the relic. We know that Christians have venerated the martyr's and Saint's relics since the earliest Christian churches were established. This is yet another example of a relic that has been in place since before the time of Constantine. Constantine built the original Saint Peter's as a pilgrimage site for Christians to come and venerate the relics of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. The complete article is here. I know it must be hard for anti-Catholics around the world to continuously see historical finds like this confirm Catholicism. As Saint John Henry Newman once said, “To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant,”.
Each year it seems that more evidence is unearthed confirming Catholicism as the original Christian Church. Just 10 days ago another image was discovered during restoration work at the Catacomb of Saint Thekla. It once again confirms the Christian tradition of sacred images. An image of Saint Paul has been discovered dating back to the 4th century. The news article is found here. What I find interesting is that if we look at icons of Saint Paul throughout Christendom that came after this particular one just discovered, they all have a similar character about them. If you are interested in the imagery of the different Saints, and how they verify certain characteristics about the Saints handed on by imagery in tradition, then I recommend Henry Maguire's book called 'The Icons Of Their Bodies'. To those iconoclasts that go against the Ecumenical Catholic Church, her Tradition and her Councils, this one's for you.
Monday, June 22, 2009
All major Protestant denominations before 1930 believed that using contraception was immoral, and their conclusion was based on their interpretation of Scripture Alone. (Genesis 38)
How and why did their interpretations change after 1930? What gives these Protestant denominations the authority to change the earlier and correct interpretation of this passage of Scripture?
Fact. Martin Luther's Lectures on Genesis 38 interprets the sin of Onan as equivalent to a contraceptive act, which was viewed by Luther as a disgraceful sin:
"Onan must have been a malicious and incorrigible scoundrel. This is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, yes, a Sodomitic sin. For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates, and when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed. Accordingly, it was a most disgraceful crime to produce semen and excite the woman, and to frustrate her at that very moment."
Why do those Protestants today that hail Luther as a great Christian, and a great leader, now reject his interpretation of this passage, and now say that it does not refer to contraception at all?
Friday, June 19, 2009
White's smokescreen defense of his anti-Catholic comment.
I was hoping to be done with the James White comment and move on to some other cool stuff, but James White has responded to my recent blog on his Dividing line radio program. You can read my whole original post and critique of his comment here. Then you can read this response post in the proper context.
James White's says on his radio program that he was giving a background setting to his commentary on Matthew 23:37 in his recent video that I commented on. James says he was not addressing Roman Catholicism. Yet, did he not do just that? James laughs at his comment as if the comment meant nothing. White says his historical comments in the video are not disputable, yet he gave no sound argument for his historical comment. If I missed it, please point it out. Let us go back to the original comment that he made in reference to Catholics, which he claims was not meant to address Catholics. “It has been rightly said that a large portion of the guards at Buchenwald and Auschewitz were practicing Catholics.” James White says on his radio program that I am hiding behind my keyboard, yet does White ever defend his comment that I disputed? No, he does not. He plays the sound-bite and yet never tells us where he gets his historical information from. Here is my question to James White. Is this comment, this sentence, “It has been rightly said that a large portion of the guards at Buchenwald and Auschewitz were practicing Catholics.”, historically accurate? If you think so, then please prove it. If not then admit your error instead of trying to divert attention away from it. I also will say this. If you set up a time when you will address this sentence, which you claim to be historically accurate, and indisputable, I will gladly call into your radio program and address this topic alone. I have plenty of historical evidence to debunk your statement. The fact is, if we read history we know that there were not large portions of Nazi guards in these prison camps that were actively practicing the Catholic faith.
Question number 2. Is a passing comment like this in a video not open to historical scrutiny? If White had no intention of addressing Catholics then why does he link this whole statement addressing the Nazi prison guards as being “practicing Catholics”, as a reason in his video for people looking at Matthew 23 as potentially being anti-Semitic? Do we all just take White's historical statement as being fact, or do we look at the statement and hold it up to the light of historical accuracy to see if it is indeed a fact. James White on his Dividing Line then invited me to debate him over Greek texts. Again does White defend his historical comment? No, he never does. What do Greek texts have to do with the historical accuracy of this statement about Catholics and Nazi prison guards at concentration camps? Now White has tried to turn around the argument and is now calling me a bigot because I do not agree with his inaccurate historical comment, which he claimed that “large portions” of Nazis prison guards were “practicing Catholics.” Who has made the erroneous comment? Was it me or James White?
Question 3. Wouldn't the person who has made the unapologetic historical inaccuracy be the bigot by definition? Again, you can listen to this pathetic defense of White's here. I am tired of arguing about this, and it is now up to White to either provide proof of his comment, or retract it. I am not going to address Turretin Fan because the fact is he has not provided any factual evidence to back it up either, and he has resorted to the same tactic that White has. Smoke Screen.
James White went on his radio show, bowed himself up like Rick Flair, and acted as if he is calling me out in some wrestling match. Yet White never, ever made any effort to back up his historical comment. The only reference he even made to anything historical about Germany was the there were Catholics in the South and Lutherans in the North. So what? White then went off into Greek Texts and threw down his glove to me as if he alone is the all-knowing sage who decides what can and can't be debated. It is if White is above being addressed in this manner, on this historical topic. Unless I want to challenge him on something that he sees as being worthy of a challenge, then apparently that makes me a bigot for challenging him on the matter. Please feel free to comment if you think I am missing something here.
Let me sum this up in a logical manner.
Fact or fiction? Did James White successfully defend his comment? Yes or no? Was this response not the typical definition of a Red Herring?
A Red Herring is a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue. The basic idea is to "win" an argument by leading attention away from the argument and to another topic.
Is the following sentence true?
“It has been rightly said that a large portion of the guards at Buchenwald and Auschewitz were practicing Catholics.”
Listen to the first few minutes of White's DL radio program and plug in his response. Does the fallacy play out or not?
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
In researching the subject of Biblical manuscripts I have found it helpful to compile a running list of web sites that have information on this subject. I will post both Protestant and Catholic sites alike in search of the most information I can compile on the subject. Please help me out if you know of any good resources and I will add them to the list. Recommended books are needed as well. Thanks.
New Advent-Biblical Criticism (Textual)
New Advent- Septuagint Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912.
The Septuagint Online
Notes on the Septuagint- R. Grant Jones
Comparing Translations- Robert J. Jordan
The Encyclopedia of New Testament Textual Criticism
TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism
Textual Criticism Example
This post is more of a question to my readers rather than being of the usual explanatory nature. I invite all to participate to post and give their thoughts on this subject. I enjoy learning about Biblical manuscripts and how they have been handed on to us in our Bibles today. Most of you know that there is a difference between the Protestant and Catholic Canon of Scripture. The Septuagint form of the Old Testament has been carried down in the Orthodox and Catholic traditions, while the Protestants have chosen to carry the Masoretic, or Hebrew text of the Old Testament. I will readily admit that I am not a Biblical scholar, but only a hack when it comes to this subject, hence I am asking for some help here.
In looking at the textual variants in the book of Genesis between the Septuagint and the Hebrew text that we have there are several differences in the texts. I will list some of them below. These textual variants are not small differences, and the meaning behind the text at times are very different. These are just a few examples below. There is a complete list of the textual differences here on this website. Check it out, it is very interesting to look at the highlighted differences that this guy points out.
From the Septuagint
1.2 But the earth was invisible and unfinished, and darkness was over the abyss, and the Spirit of God moved over the water.
From the Hebrew
And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
From the Septuagint
2.4 This is the book of the genesis of heaven and earth, when they were made, in the day in which God made the heaven and the earth
From the Hebrew
These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that Yahweh God made earth and heaven.
From the Septuagint
3.6 And the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes to look upon and beautiful to contemplate, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave unto her husband also with her; and they ate.
From the Hebrew
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and she gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.
The Catholic Church teaches that all of Sacred Scripture is inspired, and that it is without error in all things. That means that the historical record is without error as well as things that pertain to theology and so forth. This has been the constant teaching of the Church. I will not go into demonstrating that here, that is the platform I am working from on this post. The Catholic Church also has decided with its authority from God what books and texts of books are part of the Canon and which are not. If it were left to each individual to pick and choose the canon among ourselves going by our own research, we would all honestly conclude that we would probably not come up with the same books, or the same texts of the books from these ancient manuscripts that the Catholic the Church did. Some books were disputed even among the early churches.
Now to my point. We have differences in the above texts from the Septuagint and the Masoretic text. Which of these is guaranteed to be the proper inspired text? I know the Church has pointed out that the original manuscripts were the pure and true inspired text, since we do lose something when we translate things. These texts however do differ enough for us to question which is the true text. Since I am Catholic I take the Church's word for it that the Spetuagint is the text chosen by the Church. How would anyone else outside the Catholic or Orthodox Church decide that the Hebrew text is the correct one? How would they decide which manuscripts to follow?
My second point is, even among the Septuagint manuscripts and the Hebrew manuscripts themselves, there are differences. How does the Catholic Church, and those outside the Catholic Church decide which manuscripts to use? Without the original manuscripts how do we know which texts are the closest, or the exact as the originals?
From doing some reading I know there are certain rules for trying to decide which textual variant is the correct one. For example using the dates of the manuscripts as well geographical distribution are referenced. Some scholars say the shorter the text the more accurate it is, and one author writes that it is crucial to find the text which best accounts for the rise of the other variant readings from that particular author. Even with these tools how did the Catholic church, and those outside the Church decide with infallible certainty that the text we have now is the correct, or most correct text, next to the original Biblical manuscripts?
In being a Catholic I have a luxury in just taking the Church's word for it. That being said, I would like to know how the Catholic Church decided this, and secondly I am interested to know how Protestants have come to decide what text they will go by, since it is the only rule of faith they profess. After-all, one variation of text can lead someone to believe a certain dogma or teaching that would differ from another using another variant. All comments are welcome.
Here is an interesting source as to how a method of textual criticism is used with several manuscripts containing the passage of John 1:3. In the explanations concerning punctuation some of the conclusions drawn are still not 100% certain.
Monday, June 15, 2009
James White says that a large number of guards in WWII German concentration camps were practicing Catholics! Really??(Updated)
Updates are posted at the bottom of the article.
James White at Alpha and Omega has once again proven why he is an anti-Catholic bigot. He is now saying that large portions of the guards in German concentration camps were “practicing Catholics.” White says in his video (posted below for easy reference) at minute marker 3:20 “It has been rightly said that a large portion of the guards at Buchenwald and Auschewitz were practicing Catholics.” It is apparent that this video was taken from a Sunday school class of his. I guess he is teaching children at his church this garbage? Correct me if I am wrong about this. Above the video it says, 'Taken from PRBC Sunday School, June 14, 2009. The PRBC is linked to here, which appears to be his. (It has been brought to my attention that the Sunday School is for adults)
First of all I would love to know where James White got his information that tells us large amounts of the guards were “practicing” Catholics. White makes it seem as if this is a proven fact. Secondly, what does he consider the definition of “practicing Catholics” to be? Were they daily communicants in good standing with the Catholic Church? Were the guards that murdered Catholic priests and religious “practicing” their faith? White is a disgrace, and he frankly makes me sick in stating something like this. White has chosen to use this example in his latest video to once again take a cheap shot at Catholics in general. I guess he thinks that by saying something like this will make people think that killing innocent people is part of Catholic religious practice. I am curious, was James White in these camps watching these guards go to mass each day, witnessing them spend time in prayer and devotion, and then witnessing them go out and burn and gas Jewish men, women and children?
I guess White doesn’t know that German guards killed thousands of Catholic priests and monks in many of the death camps. I am sure all of these “practicing Catholics” just loved killing off the priests that they went to daily communion for.
It is well known from my source, (White never gives us a source for his “well-known” "rightly said" factoid) the Jewish Virtual Library, that death camps often had special houses for Catholic clergy, which were incarcerated in the camps and singled out for special punishments.
“June 3, 1942 - Polish Priests Deported to Dachau - Almost 60 Polish priests and monks arrive at Dachau from the Auschwitz camp in occupied Poland. More than 2,700 clergy, mostly Catholic clergy from occupied Poland, are incarcerated in Dachau during the camp's existence. The Germans attempt to undermine the leadership of the Catholic Church in Poland as part of their plan to Germanize occupied Poland. The SS holds Catholic clergy together in Barrack 26, the so-called "Priest Barracks" in Dachau.
We know that the treatment of Catholic priests at Auschwitz was not much different. Saint Maximilian Kolbe was murdered in 1941 at the camp.
A survivor of the holocaust tells in her own survival story, "Lengyel wrote about a Roman Catholic nun who was forced to stand, nude, while SS guards stomped on her rosary beads and performed obscene dances while wearing her habit" (Lace 61).” I guess those guards were practicing Catholics as well. I guess these practicing Catholic guards prayed their rosary beads while at the same time stomping the nuns beads into the ground.
History tells us that White's factoid, that he freely tossed out in his video, is complete garbage. It is known (By credible sources) that in Germany the general attitude towards the Catholic faith was one of growing intolerance. Gita Sereny's book called 'Into That Darkness' tells us, “Imposing restrictive measures on Church organizations (both Protestant and Catholic), and constantly attempting to recondition the minds of the young by abolishing Catholic schools and publications, they moved carefully and gradually, but they moved." Historians tell us that nationalism was the motivating factor of the German's attitudes, and not any religion be it Protestant or Catholic. To make a bold claim like White does in assuming that a “large” number of guards in these prison camps were practicing Catholics is an absurd and foolish accusation to make. Does White know that just before the war the majority of the religious population in Germany were Protestant and not Catholic?
According to one article (http://www.germanculture.com.ua/library/facts/bl_religion.htm), “prior to World War II, about two-thirds of the German population was Protestant and the remainder Roman Catholic. I guess the guards were hand picked from Catholic parts of Germany only? Maybe from this data we can conclude that a great number of the guards were practicing Protestants? This is also absurd. In 1941 the Nazi authorities decreed the dissolution of all Catholic monasteries and abbeys in the German Reich. A recent news article also tells us, “more than 300 monasteries and Catholic institutions were seized by the Nazis without compensation between 1940 and 1942. More than 10,000 clerics were evicted from their homes and a total of 2,720 clerics -- 1,780 from Poland and 447 from Germany -- were interned in Dachau concentration camp until the end of the war.”
Finally we know that before the War started, secularism became widespread in Germany. Christianity had declined in Germany at the time the Nazis came to power. In his book, The Dictators, Richard Overy states that before WWI Germany was already becoming secular, and that after that war, 1918-1931, 2.4 million evangelicals renounced their faith. In Prussia only 21% took communion, and in Hamburg only 5%. Professor Lichtenberger in his 1937 book, The Third Reich, describes the religious life of the Weimar Republic as a place in which the large cities were "spiritual cemeteries." A Tribune Herald writer states, “The plan to take Christ out of Christmas was part of an overall program to re-paganize the German people during the rise of the Third Reich, in keeping with notions of Nazi "racial purity." The religion of Hitler's state was a "kind of murky pantheism," a thinly veiled attempt to overlay paganized, nationalistic fervor over Christianity. Traditional Christianity was seen as "foreign" and suspect to the sovereignty of the Third Reich.”
An article written by Karol Jozef Gajewski sheds more light on the attitude towards practicing Catholics in Germany during the Nazi regime. "It was clear from Mueller’s documentation that clergy were being singled out for ridicule, humiliation and punishment. The famous ‘Currency’ and ‘Immorality’ trials which peaked in 1935 and 1936, resulted in the imprisonment and fining of hundreds of clergy.
The ‘Immorality’ trials sought to destroy the reputation of Catholic religious, aimed in particular at those working in primary and secondary schools. Priests, monks, lay-brothers and nuns were accused of “perverted and immoral” lifestyles — euphemisms for homosexuality and paedophilia. The Gestapo set numerous traps in order to furnish bogus evidence."
He continues further in telling how even Catholic schools in Bavaria, which was the Catholic heartland of Germany had been under severe oppression. "Thus, on October 27, 1938, Adolf Wagner, Bavarian Minister of the Interior stated with pride: “The denominational schools throughout the whole of Bavaria have now been transformed into Community schools.” By January 1939 it was estimated that more than 10,000 Catholic schools had been suppressed and by the end of April that year the London Catholic Herald reported that a further 3,300 schools had been abolished by decree in what was described as “A black day for the Catholic Rhineland.”
You can go to this resource (DIOCESAN REPORTS ON THE DESECRATION OF CRUCIFIXES, ETC) and see official reports made by several Catholic churches just before the war that were vandalized by the Nazis.
Hitler himself said, ""Christianity is an invention of sick brains"
-- Adolf Hitler, 13 December 1941
This sounds to me like a less than perfect garden to harvest practicing Catholic guards out of. It is plain to see that the prison guards who were raised Catholic, were obviously not practicing their faith, nor were ones who were raised in Protestantism. There are many examples like Rudolf Höss an SS officer in Auschwitz, that were raised Catholic, yet rejected their Catholic upbringing before joining the SS. White once again proves why he will only be remembered by many, as an anti-catholic bigot who will take any cheap shot he can to attack the Catholic faith. I ask James White to produce the "rightly said" evidence that a "large" portion of German guards in these prison camps were "practicing Catholics." I want numbers as to how many guards in relation to the total amount of prison guards at these camps were proven to be practicing the Catholic faith, and I want it from documented credible sources.
You can go to this resource for more information on Catholicism in Nazi Germany.
Source update: Edward Bartlett-Jones has an article on Hitler's view of Christianity as well as the SS's attitudes towards Christianity. It seems that James White's unsubstantiated claim is refuted at every turn when we actually refer real historical sources. The article says, "The SS were particularly anti-Christian, and officers and men were encouraged to leave the Church, although those that refused to renounce their Christian faith were not visibly punished, perhaps because their otherwise faithful adherence to SS codes of behaviour gave the lie to any claim of true Christian affiliation. The SS also brought in its own neo-pagan rituals for marriage ceremonies and baptisms."
A comment such as the one stated by White in his video can only come from a twisted mind. If the SS were particularly anti- christian, it is apparent that a "large portion" of them were not "practicing Catholics."
Another article by Patrick J. Gallo writes about Dachau and the treatment of priests in the camp, "Priests were not immune to beatings, starvation or medical experimentation. From the very moment they entered the camp, prisoners were beaten by the SS guards who tried to break their spirit by physical violence. Father Andreas Rieser, who seemed unbroken, was singled out by one guard and beaten repeatedly. The guard then forced the priest to fashion a crown from a piece of barbed wire, a sick representation of Christ's crown of thorns. Beatings were frequent and took place without rhyme or reason. In one portion of the camp stood a crematorium that was used to dispose of those who died in the camp."
Update: The guy who calls himself Turretin Fan has posted some nonsense on his blog stating, "Dr. White simply mentioned an historical fact in passing during a Sunday-school lesson on Matthew 23:37." How is this historical fact? I don't care if its mentioned in passing or not. Sources please! Turretin has conveniently forgot to include them like his buddy James White. I'll give everyone a clue. There is no proof that a large portion of the guards were practicing Catholics. It is mere speculation promulgated by anti-Catholic propaganda. I realized that soon after posting, White's side-monkey would have to post on it. No surprise. Sources please. Evidence is needed before passing off garbage like this as historical fact. Turretin then uses statistics that go against White's moronic theory to try and justify the foolish statement. History tells us only 1/3 of the German population were baptized Catholic. It is most assuredly that even a smaller portion were "practicing Catholics", and even a smaller amount were actual guards in the camps. Turretin is as bad at math as he is with theology.
Turretin asks, "Amazing! Does Bellisario even know the definition of a bigot?"
Webster's New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition, defines it this way:
1. a person who holds blindly and intolerantly to a particular creed, opinion, etc.
2. a narrow-minded, prejudiced person
Yes, he is the perfect definition Turretin.
End Update 6-16-09 2:05PM
It seems that Turretin has finally realized that White's statement was a foolish one. He recently commented on his blog the following. "I looked around real quick but there doesn't seem to be much data on the religious affiliation of Nazi Prison Guards."
I await the apologies of James White for making such a foolish claim, and trying to pass it off as a fact without first quoting a source to back it up.
End Update: 6-1-6-09 5:30PM
Update 3. Turretin Fan says, "Honestly, who besides you cares if he slipped up and should have said "Lutherans" rather than "Catholics"? It makes no difference to the discussion he was providing."
So now White slipped up? White makes a statement telling his entire Sunday School class that large portions of the guards were practicing Catholics by accident? He slipped up? No one cares that someone makes a comment like this because it is a passing comment not really relevant to the discussion he was providing? Then why make the comment at all if it is not relevant? The answer is that White took a cheap, twisted shot at Catholics in general. Now that he is called out on it, Turretin is now trying to turn the argument the other direction asking me to prove that his statement was in error. I guess Turretin does not realize that it is the accusing party's job to substantiate their argument, no the other way around. Be that as it may, this whole post provides plenty of evidence to the contrary. Guards were known not to be religious at all, and in fact religion was frowned upon in the SS. Turretin, you as well are delusional. You will defend your buddy White no matter what sick, foolish, outrageous and unsubstantiated argument he brings forth. Catholics await White's apology.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
I have had the pleasure of receiving a copy of Leonard J Nelson III's new book called Diagnosis Critical. You do not want to miss this one. It is a great book focusing on the situation that the Catholic health care system in America currently finds itself. Far from being only a survey of the opposition that poses a threat to the Catholic health care system, it goes through the Catholic health care system and explains its development and history as well. It goes through how the Catholic health care system works and how it follows the ERDs (Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services) established for a proper Catholic identity regarding health care.
The book is well written and documented with plenty of sources and has notes in the back for easy reference to source materials. With the importance of bioethics in today's culture this book could not come at a better time. Today's pop culture is doing everything it can to undermine the Catholic Church's teaching on abortion, contraception, and euthanasia, to name a few. This book shows how various entities are at work trying to achieve this. The Catholic Health Care system is the last stand in today's world for achieving proper, ethical health care. Subjects such as Plan-B contraceptives are covered, as well as end of life issues. The FOCA act is also looked at in chapter 10, which deals with the protection of conscientious objection. The Catholic hospitals that have been giving free health care to millions of people for so many years finds its very existence being threatened.
The book is laid out in six sections. Part I is the moral foundations of Catholic Health Care. Part II covers what Catholic identity in health care is. Part III covers the struggle to maintain that identity. Part IV covers conscientious objection. Part V covers end of life issues which has a serious impact on man's view of the human person. Finally part VI covers social justice and health care reform. If you are interested in Catholic bioethics issues then I recommend adding this book to your library. You can pick up the book at the Catholic Company website.
Visit The Catholic Company for great Catholic books and gifts.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Early this year I published three Church Fathers and their belief in man's freewill. I looked at Saint Justin Martyr, Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, and Saint Jerome. All three of these Early Church Fathers uphold the teaching of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches which teach that man was created by God with freewill, despite God's foreknowledge of each person and how each will choose. The beauty of the orthodox teaching is that we accept God's obvious foreknowledge of how every person will choose, yet also accepting the gift that God gives man to freely choose his own end in temporal time. This mystery was also accepted by the early Church Fathers, yet 'Reformed' Protestants refuse to accept this gift from God, rejecting freewill as part of God's creation. I wanted to put all three of these articles together for easy reference. The next time a Calvinist tells you that God has not given man the ability to act freely you can tell them that these three Saints clearly disagree with them.
Justin Martyr weighs in on man's freewill.
Today we often see "Reformed" apologists interpreting Romans as well as other books of Sacred Scripture incorrectly. They try to prove a false doctrine which makes God creating some men for hell and others for heaven, with no reference to their freewill co-operation with God. They claim that the Catholic Church is incorrect in teaching that men have freewill and wrongly cite them as being semi-pelagians. I wanted to post a part of Justin Martyr's writing to Trypho sometime near the year 150AD. I suppose this probably is not going to be an early enough source for some people, but hey, it is almost within 100 years of Jesus' death. I would like the "Reformers" to provide a reference outside of Scripture proving their interpretation earlier than this that contradicts it. Justin clearly taught the Catholic position on man's freewill. He clearly understands Romans like the Catholic Church does, and makes the proper reference to David, which the "Reformers" constantly reject. Well, we have a source from the mid 100s that contradicts their interpretation, in favor of the Catholic.
Chapter 141. Free-will in men and angels
Justin: But that you may not have a pretext for saying that Christ must have been crucified, and that those who transgressed must have been among your nation, and that the matter could not have been otherwise, I said briefly by anticipation, that God, wishing men and angels to follow His will, resolved to create them free to do righteousness; possessing reason, that they may know by whom they are created, and through whom they, not existing formerly, do now exist; and with a law that they should be judged by Him, if they do anything contrary to right reason: and of ourselves we, men and angels, shall be convicted of having acted sinfully, unless we repent beforehand. But if the word of God foretells that some angels and men shall be certainly punished, it did so because it foreknew that they would be unchangeably [wicked], but not because God had created them so. So that if they repent, all who wish for it can obtain mercy from God: and the Scripture foretells that they shall be blessed, saying, 'Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputes not sin;' that is, having repented of his sins, that he may receive remission of them from God; and not as you deceive yourselves, and some others who resemble you in this, who say, that even though they be sinners, but know God, the Lord will not impute sin to them. We have as proof of this the one fall of David, which happened through his boasting, which was forgiven then when he so mourned and wept, as it is written. But if even to such a man no remission was granted before repentance, and only when this great king, and anointed one, and prophet, mourned and conducted himself so, how can the impure and utterly abandoned, if they weep not, and mourn not, and repent not, entertain the hope that the Lord will not impute to them sin?
It seems that Justin is not interpreting the Scriptures like modern "Reformed" apologists are doing. Justin was martyred in Rome around 162AD. He is also considered to the founder of Christian Philosophy. I will do another article on Justin where he clearly writes that the Eucharist is indeed the same flesh that was made incarnate. Stay tuned for another hard hitting issue of the Catholic Champion blog!
Irenaeus of Lyons Weighs in on Man's Freewill
Here is a second part of my ongoing series on man's freewill, which is rejected by the Protestant “Reformed” Church. Here is another early source which once again completely agrees with Catholic teaching on freewill. Saint Irenaeus is our second early witness, along with Justin Martyr from very early in the Church who agree with Catholic doctrine on man's freewill. If we read we can see that Irenaeus is not interpreting Saint Paul like John Calvin did or any of the modern “Reformed” apologists. He wrote this around 180AD. Again, I suppose this isn't early enough for the “Reformed” apologists. I guess Christianity was already corrupted by then right? I guess both Justin Martyr in 150 and now Irenaeus in 180 are both interpreting Saint Paul incorrectly right? Just like the Catholic and Orthodox Church's? If you are going to buy that then I have some other goods to sell you too. As I asked in my first post. I want to see an earlier interpretation of Saint Paul that supports the “Reformed” position.
These excerpts are from Against Heresies (Book IV, Chapter 37)
1. This expression [of our Lord], "How often would I have gathered your children together, and you would not," Matthew 23:37 set forth the ancient law of human liberty, because God made man a free [agent] from the beginning, possessing his own power, even as he does his own soul, to obey the behests (ad utendum sententia) of God voluntarily, and not by compulsion of God. For there is no coercion with God, but a good will [towards us] is present with Him continually. And therefore does He give good counsel to all. And in man, as well as in angels, He has placed the power of choice (for angels are rational beings), so that those who had yielded obedience might justly possess what is good, given indeed by God, but preserved by themselves. On the other hand, they who have not obeyed shall, with justice, be not found in possession of the good, and shall receive condign punishment: for God did kindly bestow on them what was good; but they themselves did not diligently keep it, nor deem it something precious, but poured contempt upon His super-eminent goodness. Rejecting therefore the good, and as it were spuing it out, they shall all deservedly incur the just judgment of God, which also the Apostle Paul testifies in his Epistle to the Romans, where he says, "But do you despise the riches of His goodness, and patience, and long-suffering, being ignorant that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But according to your hardness and impenitent heart, you store to yourself wrath against the day of wrath, and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God." "But glory and honour," he says, "to every one that does good." God therefore has given that which is good, as the apostle tells us in this Epistle, and they who work it shall receive glory and honour, because they have done that which is good when they had it in their power not to do it; but those who do it not shall receive the just judgment of God, because they did not work good when they had it in their power so to do.
2. But if some had been made by nature bad, and others good, these latter would not be deserving of praise for being good, for such were they created; nor would the former be reprehensible, for thus they were made [originally]. But since all men are of the same nature, able both to hold fast and to do what is good; and, on the other hand, having also the power to cast it from them and not to do it—some do justly receive praise even among men who are under the control of good laws (and much more from God), and obtain deserved testimony of their choice of good in general, and of persevering therein; but the others are blamed, and receive a just condemnation, because of their rejection of what is fair and good. And therefore the prophets used to exhort men to what was good, to act justly and to work righteousness, as I have so largely demonstrated, because it is in our power so to do, and because by excessive negligence we might become forgetful, and thus stand in need of that good counsel which the good God has given us to know by means of the prophets.
4. No doubt, if any one is unwilling to follow the Gospel itself, it is in his power [to reject it], but it is not expedient. For it is in man's power to disobey God, and to forfeit what is good; but [such conduct] brings no small amount of injury and mischief. And on this account Paul says, "All things are lawful to me, but all things are not expedient;" 1 Corinthians 6:12 referring both to the liberty of man, in which respect "all things are lawful," God exercising no compulsion in regard to him; and [by the expression] "not expedient" pointing out that we "should not use our liberty as a cloak of maliciousness," 1 Peter 2:16 for this is not expedient. And again he says, "Speak every man truth with his neighbour." Ephesians 4:25 And, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor scurrility, which are not convenient, but rather giving of thanks." Ephesians 4:29 And, "For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord; walk honestly as children of the light, not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in anger and jealousy. And such were some of you; but you have been washed, but you have been sanctified in the name of our Lord." 1 Corinthians 6:11 If then it were not in our power to do or not to do these things, what reason had the apostle, and much more the Lord Himself, to give us counsel to do some things, and to abstain from others? But because man is possessed of free will from the beginning, and God is possessed of free will, in whose likeness man was created, advice is always given to him to keep fast the good, which thing is done by means of obedience to God.
Saint Jerome weighs in on man's freewill.
This is the 3rd of an ongoing series refuting the false doctrine of predestination that Calvinists teach in place of the truth. This Doctor of the Church wrote a letter on this very subject. It is letter 133 to Ctesiphon. I wanted to post a few excerpts from it and bold type the text that emphasizes important points on freewill. Saint Jerome wrote this in the year 415. We can see that he is passing along the faith that those that came before him did. His assessment is exactly that of Justin Martyr and Saint Irenaeus. It is well worth reading the entire letter. Saint Jerome teaches, just like the Catholic Church does, that grace is first required, but that man has freewill and he must co-operate with God's grace as well. Saint Jerome is obviously arguing in this letter against those who believe, like Pelagius that human freewill is all that is needed. The great Saint readily admits that man has freewill, but salvation first is offered by God's grace, which without it man would be helpless. This is true Catholic teaching. Without God's help we cannot do good, nor co-operate with Him. Saint Jerome makes this very clear in this letter. I guess he was a Semi-Pelagian too?
Here is the link to the entire letter.
5. The better to deceive men they have added to the maxim given above the saving clause "but not without the grace of God;" and this may at the first blush take in some readers. However, when it is carefully sifted and considered, it can deceive nobody. For while they acknowledge the grace of God, they tell us that our acts do not depend upon His help. Rather, they understand by the grace of God free will and the commandments of the Law. They quote Isaiah's words: "God has given the law to aid men," and say that we ought to thank Him for having created us such that of our own free will we can choose the good and avoid the evil. Nor do they see that in alleging this the devil uses their lips to hiss out an intolerable blasphemy. For if God's grace is limited to this that He has formed us with wills of our own, and if we are to rest content with free will, not seeking the divine aid lest this should be impaired, we should cease to pray; for we cannot entreat God's mercy to give us daily what is already in our hands having been given to us once for all. Those who think thus make prayer impossible and boast that free will makes them not merely controllers of themselves but as powerful as God. For they need no external help. Away with fasting, away with every form of self-restraint! For why need I strive to win by toil what has once for all been placed within my reach? The argument that I am using is not mine; it is that put forward by a disciple of Pelagius, or rather one who is the teacher and commander of his whole army. This man, who is the opposite of Paul for he is a vessel of perdition, roams through thickets— not, as his partisans say, of syllogisms, but of solecisms, and theorizes thus: "If I do nothing without the help of God and if all that I do is His act, I cease to labour and the crown that I shall win will belong not to me but to the grace of God. It is idle for Him to have given me the power of choice if I cannot use it without His constant help. For will that requires external support ceases to be will. God has given me freedom of choice, but what becomes of this if I cannot do as I wish?" Accordingly he propounds the following dilemma: "Either once for all I use the power which is given to me, and so preserve the freedom of my will; or I need the help of another, in which case the freedom of my will is wholly abrogated."
6. Surely the man who says this is no ordinary blasphemer; the poison of his heresy is no common poison. Since our wills are free, they argue, we are no longer dependent upon God; and they forget the Apostle's words "what have you that thou did not receive? Now if you received it why do you glory as if you had not received it?" 1 Corinthians 4:7 A nice return, truly, does a man make to God when to assert the freedom of his will he rebels against Him! For our parts we gladly embrace this freedom, but we never forget to thank the Giver; knowing that we are powerless unless He continually preserves in us His own gift......
10. It is in vain that you misrepresent me and try to convince the ignorant that I condemn free will. Let him who condemns it be himself condemned. We have been created endowed with free will; still it is not this which distinguishes us from the brutes. For human free will, as I have said before, depends upon the help of God and needs His aid moment by moment, a thing which you and yours do not choose to admit. Your position is that, if a man once has free will, he no longer needs the help of God. It is true that freedom of the will brings with it freedom of decision. Still man does not act immediately on his free will, but requires God's aid who Himself needs no aid........
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
James Swan over at Beggars All appears to be still out of joint over my other recent Luther posts. I recently began a study of the Catholic Encyclopedia's work on the subject of Luther's life. This is my third entry in that series called Luther: Satan's Bagpipe. Of course Swan, who uses the source (The Catholic Encyclopedia) regularly to attack Catholics with, rejects the entries which do not agree with his pathetic ideas. Unfortunately for Swan, the Catholic Encyclopedia paints an all too real portrait of the heretic Luther, which is too sour for him to swallow. Looking at his hero, which his blog is named after, in a real and sobering light is just too much for him to bear.
If we look closer at Luther we begin to notice something that is very telling. We begin to see that over his life he becomes more and more vulgar towards people. Where is the example of grace in his life? The Catholic Encyclopedia tells us, "It was this "terrible temper" which brought on the tragedy of alienation, that drove from him his most devoted friends and zealous co-labourers. Every contradiction set him ablaze. "Hardly one of us", in the lament of one of his votaries, "can escape Luther's anger and his public scourging" (Corp. Ref., V, 314). He was not emulating a life representative of Christ's or any of the Saint's lives. The Saints even when faced with disease and rejection became more Christ-like, not more vulgar and temperamental. He was moving in the opposite direction. Instead of becoming more at peace with God and with others, he becomes more vicious towards others. Even though he claims to be praying to God, his words are often telling of his real inner disposition. Of course only God can ultimately know a man's heart, but if we are to judge a man by his fruits we would have to consider Luther to be a rotten apple for sure.
Luther began to lose friends in his older age and was no longer the great hero he was once hailed. "The Luther, who from a distance was still honoured as the hero and leader of the new church, was only tolerated at its centre in consideration of his past services" (Ranke, op. cit., II, 421). The zealous band of men, who once clustered about their standard-bearer, dwindled to an insignificant few, insignificant in number, intellectuality, and personal prestige. A sense of isolation palled the days of his decline." The Catholic Encyclopedia also tells us that not only did Luther alienate himself from his friends, but he became a legend in his own mind. He frequently began to merge myth and reality, and even resorted to fabricating stories about himself. "It not alone affected his disposition, but played the most astonishing pranks with his memory. The oftener he details to his table companions, the faithful chroniclers who gave us his "Tischreden", the horrors of the papacy, the more starless does the night of his monastic life appear. "The picture of his youth grows darker and darker. He finally becomes a myth to himself. Not only do dates shift themselves, but also facts. When the old man drops into telling tales, the past attains the plasticity of wax. He ascribes the same words promiscuously now to this, now to that friend or enemy" (Hausrath, op. cit., II, 432).
His late works are a mess to say the least. Luther became a confused, poor soul who could no longer keep his own theology straight. This is not so surprising being that even his fans today cannot form a rational, theological thought to save their lives. The CE tells us about his distortions and contradictions in his last days, "It was this period that gave birth to the incredibilities, exaggerations, distortions, contradictions, inconsistencies, that make his later writing an inextricable web to untangle and for three hundred years have supplied uncritical historiography with the cock-and-bull fables which unfortunately have been accepted on their face value." His last days as I have pointed out in another article show him to be in a state of despair and despondency.
Unfortunately for Luther his last days would not be spent in a state of peace, but would be spent attacking the Church and the Jewish people. He had become sick in his ending years and while in this state he stepped up his anti-Semitic rhetoric and his attacks on the papacy. "It was while in this agony of body and torture of mind, that his unsurpassable and irreproducible coarseness attained its culminating point of virtuosity in his anti-Semitic and antipapal pamphlets. "Against the Jews and their Lies" was followed in quick succession by his even more frenzied fusillade "On the Schem Hamphoras" (1542) and "Against the Papacy established by the Devil" (1545). Here, especially in the latter, all coherent thought and utterance is buried in a torrential deluge of vituperation "for which no pen, much less a printing press have ever been found" (Menzel, op. cit., II, 352).
Luther also wrote verses to caricatures of the pope that were drawn up to mock the papacy, to a point where even his own friends and followers could not tolerate it any longer. In fact many who knew him began to even ignore the old fool in his last temper tantrums, which had also plagued his whole life. "His mastery in his chosen method of controversy remained unchallenged. His friends had "a feeling of sorrow. His scolding remained unanswered, but also unnoticed" (Ranke, op. cit., II, 121). Accompanying this last volcanic eruption, as a sort of illustrated commentary "that the common man, who is unable to read, may see and understand what he thought of the papacy" (Forstemann), were issued the nine celebrated caricatures of the pope by Lucas Cranach, with expository verses by Luther. These, "the coarsest drawings that the history of caricature of all times has ever produced" (Lange, "Der Papstesel", Gottingen, 1891,89), were so inexpressibly vile that a common impulse of decency demanded their summary suppression by his friends."
His last acts are telling in that he prayed for the destruction of the papacy on his deathbed. "His last act was, as he predicted and prayed for, an attack on the papacy." I wonder who he could have been praying to? We know that it could not have been God, for God would never entertain the destruction of His own Church. So it is safe to assume that even on his deathbed, the Devil continued to play Luther like an overinflated bagpipe, bellowing out a foul dirge rising from the depths of hell. It is our hope that he was able to repent before taking his last breath, lest he die in this terrible state. I would not call this horrific ending a beautiful rendition of "amazing grace."
I will close with this horrible, bagpipe rendition of Amazing Grace played at Denny's. It is a fitting closing to this series. Just imagine if we were to hear Satan playing the bombastic and overinflated Luther at the dinner table. It would probably sound something like this horrible rendition.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
“Exsurge Domine” and "Decet Romanum" Revisited
By Matthew James Bellisario 2009
In light of the recent controversy over my Martin Luther articles, I wanted to take a close look at the Papal Bulls that officially condemned and excommunicated the heretic and madman Martin Luther. Several people came unglued over recent posts of mine where my language was viewed as offensive and lacking charity towards Luther. I have to wonder if they also think the same about this Bull as well as the language of Saints who used the same style of language to describe the heinous life and action of Luther. Many people including Catholics seem to think that such colorful and descriptive writing was accepted as being the 'style' of the day, but for one to use the same language today would be considered, “disgusting” or inflammatory. I would have to ask those people how they come to this conclusion. Morality of language does not change from one age to another. If it was OK for the Pope and the Saints to use this type of language then it is not inherently immoral or lacking in charity.
I want to expound on Pope Leo X's Papal Bull. I will go through the entire Bull and comment on each part. The Church obviously considered Luther to be spiritually poisonous to the Church and warned all people of this who might be inclined to follow him. My articles today, although without 'authority' were written for the same reason. To warn people that Luther is not a 'role-model' of any sort to follow in living the life of Christian virtue. For this article I will write both Bulls' text in bold lettering so you can tell my writing from the Pope's. I know this is a long post, but I hope it will familiarize you with how the Church dealt with such demonic characters as Martin Luther. Without further delay, Pope Leo X's Decet Romanum.
Through the power given him from God, the Roman Pontiff has been appointed to administer spiritual and temporal punishments as each case severally deserves. The purpose of this is the repression of the wicked designs of misguided men, who have been so captivated by the debased impulse of their evil purposes as to forget the fear of the Lord, to set aside with contempt canonical decrees and apostolic commandments, and to dare to formulate new and false dogmas and to introduce the evil of schism into the Church of God-or to support, help and adhere to such schismatics, who make it their business to cleave asunder the seamless robe of our Redeemer and the unity of the orthodox faith.
Here Pope Leo establishes his authority as the vicar of Christ on earth. We can see that the Pope believes that people like Luther are considered to be operating as instruments of “evil”. The Pope sees fit to describe him as forgetting the “fear” of the Lord and contriving to introduce false dogmas and division among the Church. As I have said before he is considered one of the most divisive and demonic people the earth has ever witnessed.
Hence it befits the Pontiff, lest the vessel of Peter appear to sail without pilot or oarsman, to take severe measures against such men and their followers, and by multiplying punitive measures and by other suitable remedies to see to it that these same overbearing men, devoted as they are to purposes of evil, along with their adherents, should not deceive the multitude of the simple by their lies and their deceitful devices, nor drag them along to share their own error and ruination, contaminating them with what amounts to a contagious disease.
In this part we can see that the Pope also considered his action to be a “ remedy” to stop others from following Luther. He makes it very clear that such people are not only misguided, but says that they are “devoted” to the purpose of evil. He also says that they are liars, and that they are deceitful. Yet when one speaks of this heinous tool of evil in this manner today, one is hailed as an insensitive and uncharitable person. Yet we can see that this language is needed if people are to really understand the importance of remaining within the orthodox faith of the Church. I believe that in an age of relativism, which we live in today, this type of language is needed just as much as it was over 400 years ago.
It also befits the Pontiff, having condemned the schismatics, to ensure their still greater confounding by publicly showing and openly declaring to all faithful Christians how formidable are the censures and punishments to which such guilt can lead; to the end that by such public declaration they themselves may return, in confusion and remorse, to their true selves, making an unqualified withdrawal from the prohibited conversation, fellowship and (above all) obedience to such accursed excommunicates; by this means they may escape divine vengeance and any degree of participation in their damnation.
The Pope makes it very clear that Luther's heresy must be met publicly in hopes that souls will not be lost. In the next part the Pope goes back and recounts his first Bull Exsurge Domine which first condemned Luther's errors and listed 41 erroneous conclusions to be avoided. I will not list them here but only make reference to the severity which the Pope addresses Luther in Exsurge Domine . Below are some excerpts from the Bull. We can see that the Pope considered Luther's lies to be deadly poison.
Arise, O Lord, and judge your own cause. Remember your reproaches to those who are filled with foolishness all through the day.
Against the Roman Church, you warned, lying teachers are rising, introducing ruinous sects, and drawing upon themselves speedy doom. Their tongues are fire, a restless evil, full of deadly poison. They have bitter zeal, contention in their hearts, and boast and lie against the truth.
For although you have said that there must be heresies to test the faithful, still they must be destroyed at their very birth by your intercession and help, so they do not grow or wax strong like your wolves.
Now I have been attacked for saying that Protestantism is from the devil and that the Protestants are spreading a false gospel, yet the Pope tells us,
“As a result, according to Jerome, "It is no longer the Gospel of Christ, but a man's, or what is worse, the devil's."
So the next time I hear some Catholic reads my work on my blog and flies off the handle at me for being “uncharitable” I would ask them if they would also condemn the Pope for saying such a thing.
Let all this holy Church of God, I say, arise, and with the blessed apostles intercede with almighty God to purge the errors of His sheep, to banish all heresies from the lands of the faithful, and be pleased to maintain the peace and unity of His holy Church.
It seems to me that the Pope was not interested in letting Luther practice his false religion in peace and without being ridiculed for it. I think the same rule is in effect now. If we truly believe that the Catholic Church is the unity of orthodox Christianity then how can we sit back and let others practice their heretical forms of Christianity without some sort of written or spoken opposition? After all, souls are at stake. Yet even Catholics today think that we should not write anything ill of Protestantism. The Pope, however, tells us why he will not let this go unchecked and without condemnation.
For we can scarcely express, from distress and grief of mind, what has reached our ears for some time by the report of reliable men and general rumor; alas, we have even seen with our eyes and read the many diverse errors. Some of these have already been condemned by councils and the constitutions of our predecessors, and expressly contain even the heresy of the Greeks and Bohemians. Other errors are either heretical, false, scandalous, or offensive to pious ears, as seductive of simple minds, originating with false exponents of the faith who in their proud curiosity yearn for the world's glory, and contrary to the Apostle's teaching, wish to be wiser than they should be. Their talkativeness, unsupported by the authority of the Scriptures, as Jerome says, would not win credence unless they appeared to support their perverse doctrine even with divine testimonies however badly interpreted. From their sight fear of God has now passed.
After listing the 41 articles which detailed many of Luther's errors, the Pope followed up with how serious an offense to God it would be to follow Luther and his errors. To my knowledge the Church has never revoked this claim, and we should today reject these heresies with the same vigor as the pope did here.
With the advice and consent of these our venerable brothers, with mature deliberation on each and every one of the above theses, and by the authority of almighty God, the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and our own authority, we condemn, reprobate, and reject completely each of these theses or errors as either heretical, scandalous, false, offensive to pious ears or seductive of simple minds, and against Catholic truth. By listing them, we decree and declare that all the faithful of both sexes must regard them as condemned, reprobated, and rejected . . . We restrain all in the virtue of holy obedience and under the penalty of an automatic major excommunication....
For those today who think that Luther's writings are not dangerous, I would recommend that you read this part of the Bull carefully.
Moreover, because the preceding errors and many others are contained in the books or writings of Martin Luther, we likewise condemn, reprobate, and reject completely the books and all the writings and sermons of the said Martin, whether in Latin or any other language, containing the said errors or any one of them; and we wish them to be regarded as utterly condemned, reprobated, and rejected. We forbid each and every one of the faithful of either sex, in virtue of holy obedience and under the above penalties to be incurred automatically, to read, assert, preach, praise, print, publish, or defend them.
As I have written before, the Church tried to call Luther back with great charity. It was only after many rejections by Luther that the Church came out and officially condemned Luther. We must realize that the purpose of these types of articles is not mock anyone or to anger people. It is to make errors known to others so that they may come back to the Church. Pope Leo even looks at himself and the Church to see what they could have done different to try and pull Luther back.
As far as Martin himself is concerned, O good God, what have we overlooked or not done? What fatherly charity have we omitted that we might call him back from such errors? For after we had cited him, wishing to deal more kindly with him, we urged him through various conferences with our legate and through our personal letters to abandon these errors. We have even offered him safe conduct and the money necessary for the journey urging him to come without fear or any misgivings, which perfect charity should cast out, and to talk not secretly but openly and face to face after the example of our Savior and the Apostle Paul. If he had done this, we are certain he would have changed in heart, and he would have recognized his errors. He would not have found all these errors in the Roman Curia which he attacks so viciously, ascribing to it more than he should because of the empty rumors of wicked men. We would have shown him clearer than the light of day that the Roman pontiffs, our predecessors, whom he injuriously attacks beyond all decency, never erred in their canons or constitutions which he tries to assail. For, according to the prophet, neither is healing oil nor the doctor lacking in Galaad.
It is only after trying to get Luther to come back that the Church condemns him. Look at how the Pope carefully words his condemnation. He points out how Luther added evil to evil by not only rejecting orthodox doctrine but rejecting the authority of the Church and her councils. He uses the word “contumacious” which means, stubbornly perverse or rebellious; willfully and obstinately disobedient. So the Pope here is recognizing that Luther, given the opportunities he had, is not just doing this out of ignorance, but being a willful heretic who is deserving of condemnation and damnation.
But he always refused to listen and, despising the previous citation and each and every one of the above overtures, disdained to come. To the present day he has been contumacious. With a hardened spirit he has continued under censure over a year. What is worse, adding evil to evil, and on learning of the citation, he broke forth in a rash appeal to a future council. This to be sure was contrary to the constitution of Pius II and Julius II our predecessors that all appealing in this way are to be punished with the penalties of heretics. In vain does he implore the help of a council, since he openly admits that he does not believe in a council.
Therefore we can, without any further citation or delay, proceed against him to his condemnation and damnation as one whose faith is notoriously suspect and in fact a true heretic with the full severity of each and all of the above penalties and censures.
Yet even though Pope Leo admits that Luther is deserving of such things, he yet again calls Luther back to the Church and tells him that it is his greatest wish to have him return rather than have him condemned.
Yet, with the advice of our brothers, imitating the mercy of almighty God who does not wish the death of a sinner but rather that he be converted and live, and forgetting all the injuries inflicted on us and the Apostolic See, we have decided to use all the compassion we are capable of. It is our hope, so far as in us lies, that he will experience a change of heart by taking the road of mildness we have proposed, return, and turn away from his errors. We will receive him kindly as the prodigal son returning to the embrace of the Church.
Pope Leo ends Exsurge Domine with the silencing of Luther and his lies, yet he makes it clear that the door is open for him and others like him to repent and return to the Church.
If they really will obey, and certify to us by legal documents that they have obeyed, they will find in us the affection of a father's love, the opening of the font of the effects of paternal charity, and opening of the font of mercy and clemency.
We enjoin, however, on Martin that in the meantime he cease from all preaching or the office of preacher.
Now we pick up where we left off with Decet Romanum. Pope Leo admits that many returned to the Church after having been given the chance to reject the errors of Luther.
II We have been informed that after this previous missive had been exhibited in public and the interval or intervals it prescribed had elapsed [60 days]—and we hereby give solemn notice to all faithful Christians that these intervals have and are elapsed—many of those who had followed the errors of Martin took cognisance of our missive and its warnings and injunctions; the spirit of a saner counsel brought them back to themselves, they confessed their errors and abjured the heresy at our instance, and by returning to the true Catholic faith obtained the blessing of absolution with which the self-same messengers had been empowered; and in several states and localities of the said Germany the books and writings of the said Martin were publicly burned, as we had enjoined.
Luther however remains rolling in his pigsty of heresy, like a pig in its mud hole, becoming even more vulgar and entrenched in his errors. He and those who follow him are declared heretics.
Nevertheless Martin himself—and it gives us grievous sorrow and perplexity to say this—the slave of a depraved mind, has scorned to revoke his errors within the prescribed interval and to send us word of such revocation, or to come to us himself; nay, like a stone of stumbling, he has feared not to write and preach worse things than before against us and this Holy See and the Catholic faith, and to lead others on to do the same.
He has now been declared a heretic; and so also others, whatever their authority and rank, who have cared nought of their own salvation but publicly and in all men's eyes become followers of Martin's pernicious and heretical sect, and given him openly and publicly their help, counsel and favour, encouraging him in their midst in his disobedience and obstinacy, or hindering the publication of our said missive: such men have incurred the punishments set out in that missive, and are to be treated rightfully as heretics and avoided by all faithful Christians, as the Apostle says (Titus iii. 10-11).
III. Our purpose is that such men should rightfully be ranked with Martin and other accursed heretics and excommunicates, and that even as they have ranged themselves with the obstinacy in sinning of the said Martin, they shall likewise share his punishments and his name, by bearing with them everywhere the title "Lutheran" and the punishments it incurs.
Our previous instructions were so clear and so effectively publicised and we shall adhere so strictly to our present decrees and declarations, that they will lack no proof, warning or citation.
Not only does the Church at this point condemn Luther but she extends this condemnation to anyone who supports him in any way. I love the clear wording the Pope once again uses in describing their actions as depraved and damnable. Maybe we can learn something from the wisdom of the Church from this age. Words were not sugar-coated. When we read these documents we are left with little to debate over. There is no ambiguity.
Our decrees which follow are passed against Martin and others who follow him in the obstinacy of his depraved and damnable purpose, as also against those who defend and protect him with a military bodyguard, and do not fear to support him with their own resources or in any other way, and have and do presume to offer and afford help, counsel and favour toward him. All their names, surnames and rank—however lofty and dazzling their dignity may be—we wish to be taken as included in these decrees with the same effect as if they were individually listed and could be so listed in their publication, which must be furthered with an energy to match their contents.
We can see now that the tone is different than the first Bull which hoped that Luther would come to his senses. Now Pope Leo damns Luther and his followers with the full force of decree, even calling, as Saint Paul did, for Catholics to shun those who would follow such damnable teachings. That is why we should not participate even today in Protestant church services. Heaven forbid that anyone would think that we as Catholics endorse their heresies, lest others fall into hellfire and damnation.
On all these we decree the sentences of excommunication, of anathema, of our perpetual condemnation and interdict; of privation of dignities, honours and property on them and their descendants, and of declared unfitness for such possessions; of the confiscation of their goods and of the crime of treason; and these and the other sentences, censures and punishments which are inflicted by canon law on heretics and are set out in our aforesaid missive, we decree to have fallen on all these men to their damnation.
IV We add to our present declaration, by our Apostolic authority, that states, territories, camps, towns and places in which these men have temporarily lived or chanced to visit, along with their possessions—cities which house cathedrals and metropolitans, monasteries and other religious and sacred places, privileged or unprivileged—one and all are placed under our ecclesiastical interdict, while this interdict lasts, no pretext of Apostolic Indulgence (except in cases the law allows, and even there, as it were, with the doors shut and those under excommunication and interdict excluded) shall avail to allow the celebration of mass and the other divine offices. We prescribe and enjoin that the men in question are everywhere to be denounced publicly as excommunicated, accursed, condemned, interdicted, deprived of possessions and incapable of owning them. They are to be strictly shunned by all faithful Christians.
The Church also again recognized the obstinate rebelliousness of Luther and those like him. For those today who say that Luther can't be held accountable for his actions, I think that those who dealt with him at the time would know better than us removed almost 500 years. Pope Leo X obviously did not think that Luther suffered a mental illness of any kind, and Pope Leo knew how those in the Church were treated and addressed by Luther himself. If he were some deranged mentally unfit individual he surely would have been dealt with as such. The Church again states his open and willful rebelliousness.
V We would make known to all the small store that Martin, his followers and the other rebels have set on God and his Church by their obstinate and shameless temerity. We would protect the herd from one infectious animal, lest its infection spread to the healthy ones. Hence we lay the following injunction on each and every patriarch, archbishop, bishop, on the prelates of patriarchal, metropolitan, cathedral and collegiate churches, and on the religious of every Order—even the mendicants—privileged or unprivileged, wherever they may be stationed: that in the strength of their vow of obedience and on pain of the sentence of excommunication, they shall, if so required in the execution of these presents, publicly announce and cause to be announced by others in their churches, that this same Martin and the rest are excommunicate, accursed, condemned, heretics, hardened, interdicted, deprived of possessions and incapable of owning them, and so listed in the enforcement of these presents. Three days will be given: we pronounce canonical warning and allow one day's notice on the first, another on the second, but on the third peremptory and final execution of our order. This shall take place on a Sunday or some other festival, when a large congregation assembles for worship. The banner of the cross shall be raised, the bells rung, the candles lit and after a time extinguished, cast on the ground and trampled under foot, and the stones shall be cast forth three times, and the other ceremonies observed which are usual in such cases. The faithful Christians, one and all, shall be enjoined strictly to shun these men.
The next paragraph is very interesting. Many in the Church today tell us that we should not criticize Protestantism. Yet the Pope calls all of the Church hierarchy at the time to speak out loudly against this heresy. He uses very colorful language to make sure his point is made clear. “They shall not keep silence like dumb dogs that cannot bark, but incessantly cry and lift up their voice, preaching and causing to be preached the word of God and the truth of the Catholic faith against the damnable articles and heretics aforesaid.” We must also concede that these same heretical articles today are to be considered damnable as well.
We would occasion still greater confounding on the said Martin and the other heretics we have mentioned, and on their adherents, followers and partisans: hence, on the strength of their vow of obedience we enjoin each and every patriarch, archbishop and all other prelates, that even as they were appointed on the authority of Jerome to allay schisms, so now in the present crisis, as their office obliges them, they shall make themselves a wall of defence for their Christian people. They shall not keep silence like dumb dogs that cannot bark, but incessantly cry and lift up their voice, preaching and causing to be preached the word of God and the truth of the Catholic faith against the damnable articles and heretics aforesaid.
VI To each and every rector of the parish churches, to the rectors of all the Orders, even the mendicants, privileged or unprivileged, we enjoin in the same terms, on the strength of their vow of obedience, that appointed by the Lord as they are to be like clouds, they shall sprinkle spiritual showers on the people of God, and have no fear in giving the widest publicity to the condemnation of the aforesaid articles, as their office obliges them. It is written that perfect love casteth out fear. Let each and every one of you take up the burden of such a meritorious duty with complete devotion; show yourselves so punctilious in its execution, so zealous and eager in word and deed, that from your labours, by the favour of divine grace, the hoped-for harvest will come in, and that through your devotion you will not only earn that crown of glory which is the due recompense of all who promote religious causes, but also attain from us and the said Holy See the unbounded commendation that your proved diligence will deserve.
Finally the the Bull closes by making it known that the Bull should be displayed in public places so that all may know the severity of the situation. These writings by the Church tell us very clearly that Luther himself was a willing tool of evil who must be rejected by anyone who wants to call himself a Catholic. His teachings are still just as evil and damnable as they were in the 1500s. In fact they may even be worse in our age since so many consider it to be politically incorrect and uncharitable to speak of his wretched heresies with clear condemnation. I, for one, will not stop in trying to warn people of these terrible heresies, so that they may find a home in the Catholic Church. If people think there is no big difference between Catholicism and Protestantism (in this case Lutheranism), then why would they want to convert? Pope Leo knew very well that the faithful needed to be informed of the evil and malicious heresies of Luther, and we today should be no different in addressing him and his heretical actions and words.
VII However, since it would be difficult to deliver the present missive, with its declarations and announcements, to Martin and the other declared excommunicates in person, because of the strength of their faction, our wish is that the public nailing of this missive on the doors of two cathedrals—either both metropolitan, or one cathedral and one metropolitan of the churches in the said Germany—by a messenger of ours in those places, shall have such binding force that Martin and the others we have declared shall be shown to be condemned at every point as decisively as if the missive had been personally made known and presented to them.
VIII It would also be difficult to transmit this missive to every single place where its publication might be necessary. Hence our wish and authoritative decree is that copies of it, sealed by some ecclesiastical prelate or by one of our aforesaid messengers, and countersigned by the hand of some public notary, should everywhere bear the same authority as the production and exhibition of the original itself.
IX No obstacle is afforded to our wishes by the Apostolic constitutions and orders, or by anything in our aforesaid earlier missive which we do not wish to stand in the way, or by any other pronouncements to the contrary.
X No one whatsoever may infringe this our written decision, declaration, precept, injunction, assignation, will, decree; or rashly contravene it. Should anyone dare to attempt such a thing, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.
Written at St. Peter's, Rome, on the 3rd January 1521,
during the eighth year of our pontificate.