Sunday, December 28, 2008

Roman's 14 :Holy Days and Answering the Un-identifiable One. II

Recently the un-identifiable one released an all out attack at the Catholic Church for mandating Christmas as an obligatory Holy day. He says over and over in his diatribe against me that the apostles didn't teach it. The apostles didn't need it. The apostles didn't teach any of these things that Rome is teaching, then he comically appeals to Sacred Scripture of the New Testament and twists it to his own liking to refute the Catholic Church's position on the subject. He rattles off like a parrot that the apostles didn't do it, yet what he is doing is also unknown to the apostles; that is appealing to Scripture alone for his doctrines. The apostles were being guided by the Church and the Holy Spirit, which is still the case now. It happens to be the same Catholic Church then as now, and Scripture would at a later time, when it was written down, attest to that very fact. Yet the un-identifiable one uses a means and professes a doctrine that the apostles never did (Scripture Alone), and then he condemns the Catholic Church for doing the same. This is par for the course with this guy who knows not when he falls into a logical fallacy. But lets go back to the real issue at hand. Romans 14.

He continues to misuse Saint Paul in Romans 14. It is obvious that none of the Fathers are interpreting this passage of Scripture like he is doing claiming religions liberty He ignorantly insists that this passage is referring to the Church as well as the Jews. He also makes his ignorance well known in that he doesn't even know why Saint Paul is writing the letter to the Romans, nor to whom he is primarily aiming the letter at, nor who he explicitly targets in the letter at different times. I pointed out how Paul was talking about the Jews in Roman's 14:4-6, and their works of the law at the time. Yet he insists on stretching the text beyond its original intent.

He writes,

TF: The legalism of the Judaizers was the primary error being addressed, doubtlessly. Nevertheless, it is not only Judaizing legalism that is condemned by Paul's words - he does not limit his comments on diet and days to the Jews, but words his liberating doctrines generically.

TF: Plainly aimed at them, perhaps, and yet not limited to them. In fact, as noted above, the Jews aren't specifically mentioned in the chapter. What is truly absurd is to suppose that the Old Testament laws given by Moses with respect to days and meats are not binding but that brand new laws are binding! How bizarre! The former had the authority of God, the latter have only the authority of man. If observance of the former is not mandatory, much less so is the observance of the latter

TF: It wasn't written primarily for the Jews of the time, it was written primarily for the Romans, see the Title of the Book, or verse 7 of the first chapter of Romans, from which the title of the book was perhaps obtained. Furthermore, although it was primarily addressed to the immediate problem of Judaizers trying to impose those holidays, the explanation provided provides a shield against the modern legalism of Rome, which tries to imposes fasts and holidays on its members, in violation of this passage.

So we can see that he admits that Saint Paul is really primarily talking about the Jews of the time, yet he doesn't cease in his intention to make the text say something that is never does. Mainly he insists that we all have religions liberty and that there are no mandatory Holy days. This is what this guy is trying to get from these passages. It is truly amazing to see this guy trying to get something from the text that is simply not there. Saint Paul is talking not primarily, but directly to the Jews of the time. This is what Saint Chrysostom says, and lets just look at another source. Undoubtedly though this guy will dodge it in favor of his own hackneyed interpretation of Saint Paul. Here we see the great biblical Scholar Haydock state the following in reference to this particular passage of Roman's.

"Between day, &c. Still observing the sabbaths and festivals of the law. (Challoner.) --- And another judgeth every day. That is, thinks every day to be taken away, that was to be kept, merely because ordered under the Jewish law. And now since both they who keep days, or do not keep them; and they who eat, or who abstain, do these things which a regard to God, and according to their conscience, let no one judge, or condemn the one party, nor the other; in these things, let every man abound in his own sense. It is without grounds that some would pretend from hence, that Christians cannot be bound to fast, or abstain from flesh on certain days. The apostle speaks only of the distinction of meats, called clean and unclean, and of fasts or feasts peculiar to the law of Moses. It does not follow from hence, that the Catholic Church hath not power to command days of fasting, and abstaining, for self-denial or humiliation. (Witham) --- The apostle here treats only of the subject in hand, viz. the Mosaic distinctions of clean and unclean meats: and in this he allows, for that present time, each one to follow his own private judgment. St. Chrysostom observes that St. Paul did not wish the weak to be left to their own judgment in this, as in a point of no consequence; but that they should wait for a time."

It is complete fabrication for the un-identifiable one to use this passage as he is using it, that is very clear at this point despite the mangled rhetoric he continues to put forth. The fact is Saint Paul is speaking only to the Jews in this particular reference to feasts. This is a fact, say what you will. It never says anything about the Church, the liturgical calendar, nor the authority of the Church. He is speaking to the Jews here and the Jews only. It is not a "shield" against Rome's, or the Church's authority to proclaim Holy days as this guy claims.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Doubt. Movie Review

I have never done a movie review so bear with me. I recently saw the movie Doubt. Being Catholic I had my suspicions going into the movie thinking that they were going to take every cheap shot they could at the Catholic Church, and they did take a couple. That being said, I thought the movie was excellent. The depiction of the Church at that point in history I find to be very accurate. The clash of liberalism and traditionalism is well portrayed at times in the movie. I thought the acting was great and both of the lead characters played by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep were well played by both. What was a pleasure in addition to the lead actors was the supporting role played by Amy Adams who played Sister James. She was a treat to watch and she really glued the film together. I would like to see the picture again to really watch the cleverness of the story as it unfolds. The cinematography was great as well. The film has its comical moments, and its serious moments, sometimes both intertwined together. I particularly enjoyed the school room scenes with the kids getting in trouble. It reminded me of the stories my step-dad used to tell me when he went to Catholic school. I have to give the film a 5 out of 5 popcorn and soda rating. That is it for my review. Enjoy the show! Let me know your thoughts on the movie.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Defending Christmas- Answering the Spiritually Dead! Romans 14:6 What it really means.

I wanted to answer the un-identifiable one and how he uses his foolish twisting of Sacred Scripture to reject honoring Our Lord's Incarnation. He uses Roman's 14:6 to justify himself in doing so. Is it about Christian liberty as this guy says? Let's look at this passage and see what Saint Paul is really saying. In this passage of Scripture Saint Paul is not talking about whether or not we should attend or not attend a day of worship as if Sunday or any other day is as good as another to worship God. He is referring to the many Jews of his day who were keeping old Jewish observances such as seventh day Sabbath laws etc. We can tell this because this passage starts off with the Jewish dietary laws, and the Church Fathers interpreted it the same way. This passage is really referring to works of the law in reference to the Jews just as Saint Paul does throughout his writings, which are also misinterpreted by the heretics to mean all works. To prove it lets look at Saint Chrysostom and how he interprets this passage. It is not even close to what this guy is trying to prove from it. Chrysostom says in his homily on Romans in the 4th century the following in regards to this passage,

Ver. 6. He that regards the day, regards it unto the Lord; and he that regards not the day, to the Lord he does not regard it. And, He that eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he that eats not, to the Lord he eats not, and gives God thanks.
He still keeps to the same subject. And what he means is about this. The thing is not concerned with fundamentals. For the thing requisite is, if this person and the other are acting for God's sake, the thing requisite is (these words are repeated 3 manuscripts), if both terminate in thanksgiving. For indeed both this man and that give thanks to God. If then both do give thanks to God, the difference is no great one. But let me draw your notice to the way in which here also he aims unawares a blow at the Judaizers. For if the thing required be this, the giving of thanks, it is plain enough that he which eats it is that gives thanks, and not he which eats not. For how should he, while he still holds to the Law? As then he told the Galatians, As many of you as are justified by the Law are fallen from grace (Gal. v. 4); so here he hints it only, but does not unfold it so much. For as yet it was not time to do so. But for the present he bears with it (see p. 337): but by what follows he gives it a further opening. For where he says,

Ver. 7, 8. For none of us lives unto himself, and no man dies unto himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord, by this too he makes the same clearer. For how can he that lives unto the Law, be living unto Christ?

To use this passage does not give anyone anyplace individually the right to set his or her own worship schedule as if he were his own Church. It is plainly aimed at the Jews and the works of the law. To use this passage to justify rejecting Church liturgical celebrations is a false interpretation. Let me continue.

The Church in her authority can have a variation in Liturgical Calendars. This means that each Church, not each individual can have variations in liturgical schedule. That does not mean that each church can arbitrarily remove Christmas from their liturgical calendars. Sure the day may be different, such as Easter is different on the old calendar from the new most of the time for example. This passage is not really in reference to this, but could be later interpreted to be referring to the spiritually weak in faith accusing other churches of not following their liturgical calendars, as sometimes happens today between the Eastern Orthodox and the Catholic Church over Easter. There are numerous other passages of Scripture that prove that there are appointed days of worship by the early Church. Read 1 Cor 16, Acts 20:7, Rev 1:10 for example. So once again we see this passage when read in context is not an excuse for each individual to decide whether or not to worship Christ in his incarnation individually. It was written primarily for the Jews of the time.

Next lets look at the age long persecution of Christmas by the Protestants to really get an idea of where this guy is coming from. In England the Catholics were persecuted so harshly that certain Christmas carols were invented to communicate Catholic doctrine at Christmas time because of the hatred of the Catholics celebrating Christmas. One of these carols is the well known 12 days of Christmas. Another example is when the people of Ireland placed lit candles in their windows at Christmas so that passing priests would know that the people wanted to have Mass celebrated in their homes. Once again the likes of the English crown persecuted the Catholics in Ireland.
The English Puritans had a hellbent hatred for Christmas and went to all lengths to destroy it. During the brief Calvinist reign in England, they forbade the celebration of Christmas, even going so far as to force shops to be open! This is how sick these sub-defectives were in their hatred for Our Lord's incarnation.

Now the last argument is that Christmas is a new invention and that it was taken from the pagans and it has nothing to do with real Christian worship. This is quite absurd, since the history of the Church speaks otherwise. We have Christmastide being celebrated in the early Church and scholars think that the celebration of Epiphany (originating in the East), which included the nativity and modern Christmastide themes, was celebrated as early as the second century. The oldest manuscript that we have in the west dates from AD 336. It shows the liturgical celebration on December 25th and is in the Philocalian calendar. The Apostolic Constitutions (c AD 380) mandated the celebration of Christ's birth on December 25th, and his Epiphany on January 6 to give a united day to the celebration of the Incarnation throughout the Church.

Once again every Church throughout the world is living and interpreting the Scriptures different than these modern "Protestant" heretics. Although the day in the early Church was not explicitly celebrated on Dec 25th, the Incarnation was a day of liturgical worship by the Church since its earliest time. Once again Saint Paul is not to be understood as to not arguing over whether we should be celebrating Christmas, but possibly what day we should celebrate Christmas. There is a big difference. To interpret Saint Paul in a manner allowing each individual to decide for himself as whether he is going to go to church on Sunday or any other Holy Day is ridiculous and one must really stretch the text and twist it to get this meaning from it. He is clearly telling the Jews that it must not be a work of the law. Meaning that we should not celebrate that day as a work of the law in and of itself. This is clearly not the case with Christmas, nor was it Saint Paul's intention as we just read in Saint Chrysostom's homily on it. Isn't it funny how heretics will throw Scripture verses at the Church not even knowing what they mean? Just reading the Scriptures and interpreting them as you see fit is not real Christianity. You have to live the Scriptures and unite yourself to Christ in His Church. The Scriptures are to be lived in the Church by the Church. The un-identifiable one will always be on the outside looking in until he decides to repent and follow Christ.

Is this legalistic that the Church provides us with a liturgical calendar to follow so that we may immerse ourselves in the life of Christ and become more Holy through Him and the Sacraments of the Church? I think not! And I think it is the one who is spiritually dead who makes such accusations at the Church. The Church provides these things to us because we need them and because it is our spiritual hospital so to speak. Do the healthy need a hospital? Woe to those who think they are spiritually sin-proof for they are really spiritually dead! Those who oppose the authority of Christ are those who think they don't need help, those who think they they know better than Him. It is not a legalistic obligation we are following, but one of love towards Christ. The Church knows that those who immerse themselves in the Holy Days will reap rewards of grace from God because those that love God want to be with Him on these most Holy days of worship. It is love that the real law is based on, not legalistic transactions as you have in Protestantism. This is what is condemned in Scripture. We don't have to look very far as the "Reformed" church looks at Christ and salvation as getting your ticket punched at the train station. Talk about legalistic nonsense. I will close with this beautiful Arabic Christmas Carol from You Tube! It is truly amazing! Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Why Protestantism is Theologically Dead! Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

I ran across a sad writing by A "reformed" Protestant today and once again I had to shake my head in disbelief. This un-identifiable person chose to use Sacred Scripture to skip out on worshiping our Lord and His incarnation. Without the wonderful incarnation of our Lord all of us would have no Easter, and therefore none of us would have an advocate with the Father to enter into eternal life. This is another example of why Protestantism is Theologically Dead! This person chooses to act as a pagan, and yet uses Sacred Scripture to act as one. Here is what this person says on his blog. The hair stands up on my arms when I read it, because something like this can only be from the Devil.

"As an exercise of my Christian liberty, I will not be celebrating Christ's birthday on December 25, 2008. I will not be attending a "mass" or any substitute thereof. I do not plan to set aside any business concerns that would interfere with such religious exercises.

Instead, by engaging in worldly employments and recreations, I will not treat that day as holy. This is my Christian liberty, as Paul explained:

Romans 14:6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks."

He then goes on to accuse the Catholic Church as being legalistic in telling people that Christmas is a Holy day of obligation! This is comical since this is anything but legalism if one really understands what is happening at Mass and what our Lord has done, and continues to do for us. There are many who twist the Sacred Scriptures to their destruction and he is another one. I have actually witnessed "Protestants" using Sacred Scripture to excuse abortion! Yes folks thats right. This person who will not identify himself then closes by trying to persuade others from not going to honor our Lord on Christmas as well!

Who else but Satan would want to draw people away from the infant of Christ? Who hated the incarnation of Our Lord and Savior enough to insult Him by not going to honor His incarnation? It is unbelievable, and once again proves what you get with Scripture Alone and every Tom Dick and Harry constructing their own man-made religion from it. I think I will go twice this Christmas to Mass and the Divine Liturgy to honor my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on this Holy Day of His birth. As for those who wish to reject Our Lord's birth because of their hatred for the real Gospel, let them be anathema, since they have already committed spiritual suicide. Here is the full post for those who want to read it.

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Update: 12/25/08 12:26Am
I have just returned home from the Tridentine Mass celebrating Christmas with our Lord. The Mass is so beautiful and Christ comes to us personally in the Mass. If we just look to these passages of Scripture, they tell us how important Christ's incarnation is for us. Unfortunately for our "Reformed" heretic he seems to forget these passages that were read during the Christmas liturgy, in favor of abandoning the celebration of His incarnation.

1 And it came to pass, that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled. 2 This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David, 5 To be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child.

6 And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds watching, and keeping the night watches over their flock. 9 And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them; and they feared with a great fear. 10 And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: 11 For, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: 14 Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.

And so here in these Scripture verses we see even the angels coming to pay homage to Our lord and Savior the infant Jesus on His birth. Yet we see that there are those who think themselves higher than angels, and higher than God Himself who try and persuade people to not give homage and praise to Our Lord on Christmas. What miserable wretched tools of hell they are indeed!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Saint Thomas Aquinas. A Remedy For Today's Culture.

I think it is always helpful to pass on good material from other Catholic apologetics sources. This article by James Larson on Thomism is well worth reading. The article goes into why we need Thomistic philosophy in today's secular culture, which lives and breaths bad philosophy. For those who would like an introduction to Thomistic philosophy as well as little bit of history on it, this is a good place to begin. I also like the close attention that is paid to the explanation of the doctrine of transubstantiation. This article is found on Enjoy!

Matatics Cross Examination of James White 1997

Sola Scriptura debate cross examination from 1997.

This is one of my favorite cross examinations of James White. I think it is worth posting because he is totally blindsided by Mr. Matatics in this cross examination period. Watch closely. The only tactic White has is to try and use up his opponent's time by making comments that are not relevant to the questions being posed to him. He also readily admits that Sola Scriptura is not a practice of the early Church. This is good stuff.

Some Mild Entertainment. The Dancing Heretic!

I ran across this guy on You Tube. It is quite entertaining to watch. But one has to wonder if Saint Paul, or Saint Ambrose of Milan would have acted like this? I think not. This is ridiculous. He does have those dance steps down. He looks like he just drank 5 cups of coffee and ate a box of chocolate covered coffee beans! Just something to lighten up the mood a bit. Enjoy!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Liturgical Definitions of the Divine Liturgy

I found a nice website defining the common liturgical terms for the Eastern Divine Liturgy. The Eastern Catholic Churches are not well known in the US. This is unfortunate since it has a rather distinct and unique method of proclaiming the Gospel in her liturgies and in proclaiming her distinct eastern mentality. I wanted to post some of the definitions here. You can visit the website here.

Antiphon --- from the Greek, meaning "against a voice"; a refrain sung by the choir or the people to psalm verses sung by a soloist; by extension, a psalm or group of psalms accompanied by a refrain and concluding with "Glory to the Father...," e. g., the three daily antiphons at the Divine Liturgy (Pss. 91 [92], 92 [93], and 94 [95]), and the antiphon of the first kathisma at Great Vespers, "Blessed is the man." Each of the twenty kathismata of the Psalter is divided into three a. (refrains having fallen from use long ago). The Psalms of Typika and the Beatitudes, which in Russian usage have come to displace the ancient (daily) a. generally, are called "antiphons" but only improperly. In modern musical practice, hymns termed a. are no longer performed as antiphons: such hymns include the gradual antiphons, hymns in honor of the Holy Trinity that are sung at Matins before the reading of the Gospel, and the fifteen a. linking the Gospels at the Office of Matins of Holy Friday. In Orthodox musical parlance "antiphon" does not refer to alternate singing by two choirs.

Cherubic Hymn (Cherubicon) --- the hymn that begins the Eucharistic portion of the Divine Liturgy and accompanies the great entrance, during which bread and wine are taken from the Table of Preparation and placed upon the Holy Table. During the great entrance the priest remembers the hierarchy of the Church, the civil authorities and all those present, after which "Amen" is sung, and the concluding verse of the hymn follows. (In concert performances it is customary to omit the exclamation and the "Amen.") At virtually all Liturgies of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil the Great the C. H. "Let us who mystically represent the Cherubim" is sung; the only exceptions are the Liturgy of Holy Thursday, when "Of Thy Mystical Supper" is sung, and the Liturgy of Holy Saturday, when "Let all mortal Fhesh keep silence" is sung. At the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts the C. H. is replaced by the hymn "Now the Powers of Heaven."

Kontakion (kondakion) (pl. kontakia) --- in its original form, a hymn that consisted of a long homiletic series of stanzas called oikoi, usually numbering 24 (the length of the Greek alphabet). Each stanza ended with the same refrain. The greater number of the most ancient k. are ascribed to St. Roman the Melodist. In modern usage, for each liturgical occasion only the first stanza and a single oikos remain, sung after the sixth ode of the kanon at Matins, and occasionally after the third as well; in this abridged form the k. is also sung at the Divine Liturgy after the appointed troparia.

Prokeimenon (Prokimenon) (pl. Prokeimena) --- a form of responsorial singing consisting of a psalm-verse refrain and, by extension -- the entire psalm and refrain; so called because in ancient Constantinopolitan usage the psalm-verse refrain was given before (pro) the text (keimenon) of the psalm. In the liturgy the p. can stand alone, as at Vespers, or be used in conjunction with readings from Scripture, where its original function was that of a prayerful and didactic respite from the rigors of attentive listening to Scripture. P. are sung on special melodies according to the Tones: after the reader intones the verse, the p. is repeated in sung fashion; then one or several other verses are chanted, and the p. is repeated after each one. Finally, half of the p. verse is read, while the singers conclude the second half, and the Scripture reading begins.

Trisagion ---(1) the hymn "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us," which is sung at Divine Liturgy before the reading of the Apostle and Gospel. On certain feasts the T. is replaced by the verse "As many as have been baptized into Christ..." or "Before Thy Cross we bow down, O Master...." (2) the cycle of prayers that begins with the above words and includes the prayer "O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us..." and other brief sentences before the Lord's Prayer. In this form the T. is read at all the services of the daily cycle: Vespers, Compline, Nocturns, Matins, and Hours, as well as at the beginning of private morning and evening prayers.

Troparion (pl. troparia) --- a term of Constantinopolitan origin indicating a refrain (and thus the equivalent of the Palestinian hypakoe and the Roman antiphon), in the form of a poetic composition, as opposed to a Scriptural text. Originally, t. served as responses to psalm verses sung by the chanter, i. e., as antiphons. This basic function still holds today, but the term is commonly used with reference to the following three types of t.: (1) dismissal troparia (apolytikia, otpustitel'ny), i. e., resurrectional troparia, troparia of the feast, troparia of the day -- hymns that keynote the main theme of the occasion being celebrated on a given day, first sung before the dismissal at Vespers and then repeated throughout the services of the day -- at Matins, Compline, Hours, and at the Divine Liturgy after the little entrance; (2) troparia evlogitaria -- sets of several t., each preceded by the refrain "Blessed art Thou, O Lord," sung at ResurrectionalMatins after the 17th Kathisma and at the Matins of Holy Saturday; and (3) troparia of the kanon -- brief verses that follow the heirmos in each ode of the kanon. The verses read at the Matins of Holy Saturday with the verses of Psalm 118 [119] are also called t.

Friday, December 12, 2008

What is "real" worship? Answering the hidden Turretin Fan

I had to laugh once again at a post by the man who calls himself Turretin Fan. He refuses to use his real name for fear of people knowing his true identity. He attempts in one of his latest posts to tell us all why such liturgical worship practices such as mimes and the like are not valid liturgical worship. he tries to equate it with a violation of the 2nd commandment. He tires to tell us that anything that Scripture does not uphold in worship is a violation of the second commandment. Once again Turretin using his faulty Sola Scriptura ideology is completely confused. Yes, if someone worships false idols, such as themselves, or any other form would constitute a violation of the second commandment. The problem is Turretin has no clue as to what a violation of the second commandment really is. The problem with all forms of Protestant worship is that they do not put Christ as the center. In fact, Christ is absent in any substantial form in their "services."

Turretin Fan is also ignorant of Sacred Scripture, for God Himself tells his people to create images in worship to Him. (Ex 25:18-20) Once again those were not graven images as they were not made to be worshiped in and of themselves, but for the glory of almighty God. This is the same idea behind icons, etc. they are made to give glory to almighty God. Turretin is also ignorant of the early Christians who used images in their liturgies. From the Catacombs in the 3rd century to the desert town of Dura Europos, the oldest Christian church in existence, we see images of Our Lord. The image of Jesus Christ adorned the walls of the Dura Europa church and date to the middle of the 3rd century. The images in the house Church of Dura Europa were clearly used in their liturgy.

If Turretin is correct in his assessment, it also seems to not understand that his church is guilty is violating the second commandment since his form of worship is also not explicitly stated in the Scriptures. We know from history that every Church in existence before the “Reformation” celebrated a very similar composed liturgy. They all celebrated the Eucharist, which is also in Scripture as a part of Christian worship. Of course we know that in the earliest times of the Church the liturgy was not as fully developed as it would be around the second century. It is a fact that the celebration of the Eucharist would be quite universal in composition by the Second Century. (Kucharek 1971) Why Protestants such as Turretin Fan love to go against the universal Church practice for over 1500 years is quite a mystery of ignorance.

Any form of worship that does not have Christ as the center in the Eucharist is from the Devil, plain and simple. The likes of Turretin Fan love to pontificate from their basements and spout off a lot of noxious nonsense, when in reality they know nothing of the early Church nor the Sacred Scriptures. The ancient Liturgies are a testimony of all early Christians and their form of “worship”. The ancient liturgies like St. Basil and the liturgies of Sts. Mark, Cyril, and Gregory Nazianzen all testify to a universal Divine Liturgy being practiced, and all testifying to the real and substantial presence of Christ in the Eucharist by consecration of a bishop or priest. Without this you have no real worship. The Protestant idea of worship is far from the earliest Christians. The idea that a worship service consisted of the likes of James White prancing up to the pulpit and pontificating his interpretation of the Scriptures, in the midst of noxious “worship” music is a modern invention of Protestantism. Have you heard the awful music on his videos that he has posted? This is why Protestantism has been the pioneer of such foolish schemes as mime services and the like. Unfortunately this foolishness has crept its way into the Catholic Church. Not because the Catholic Church is not the true Church, but because many inside the Church have not taken the call to holiness seriously and therefore have given in to this Protestant mentality of individualism.

The bottom line is, no form of Protestant worship is true worship. Even the Anglicans who follow a similar liturgy as the Western Rite Catholic Liturgy do not have a valid consecration. The sight of the likes of White parking himself at the podium spouting off heretical doctrine, passing himself off as some modern day Saint Paul quite frankly makes me sick. He has no authority to interpret the Sacred Scriptures, he has no clue as what true Christian worship is, and neither does his compadre Turretin Fan. I have to ask Turretin Fan, prove to me that the worship of the ancient Christians is like your “Reformed” services now. I can prove from many sources that the point of focus was not the pastor, nor his preaching, nor music, but Jesus Christ Himself in the Eucharist.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Protestant mimes in the Church on Easter Sunday

Lord help us! This is another absurd form of "worship". This is at an Easter Sunday church service. I guess this really isn't church worship either right? Give me a break. By the way, if this nonsense, or anything like it is going on in any Catholic Church, it is equally absurd! I pray no bishop would allow such foolishness.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The True Identity of Peter and the Rock

Those outside of the Church never tire of trying to bring down Christ and His Church. They constantly wander outside the heavenly entity trying to find a weakness in her walls. We know however that their efforts are in vain, for the Catholic Church will never be prevailed against. Recently there have been futile attempts on various "Protestant " blogs to undermine the authority of the Church and the Papacy. Most recently Matthew 16 verse 18 was the subject of scrutiny regarding the papacy on a particular "Reformed" blog. I recently purchased the wonderful commentary from Loreto Publications of Cornelius a'Lapide's. It is a 4 volume set which includes the text and commentary of the 4 Gospels. I highly recommend all Catholics who are serious about Biblical study and true scholarship to purchase this set. I wanted to post an excerpt from this commentary regarding this particular passage of Saint Matthew 16:18. The particular passage of the commentary dealing with the passage refutes the "Reformed" position on this particular passage. We can see what constitutes as real Biblical scholarship, contrary to what we see on some of these blogs. No need to mention names. You can get the set here. It is my hope that once you read just a small excerpt from this astonishing set, that you will get one for yourself to understand the Sacred Scriptures on a much deeper level. I don't work for Loreto, I am just blown away by the detail of this set. Enjoy!

This set boasts the following features:

* Leather Covers & Satin Ribbons
* 2800+ Pages in Four Volumes
* Never Fully Translated Before
* Sewn Binding & Headbands
* First of over 30+ volumes to come
* A percentage of sales goes to further translations of other volumes
* Extensive discussion of Greek & Hebrew word meanings

An excerpt from the Commentary of Cornelius a Lapide Matthew 16:18

Verse 18. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church. “And I,” in Greek, κἀγὼ, i.e., “but I”, or “now I”, “give back to thee as a reward, and I in turn say and promise,” for as S.Jerome saith, “Christ pays back the testimony of the Apostle concerning Himself. Peter had said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God; this true confession received a reward,” namely, Thou art Peter. “I, therefore, who am the true Son of God as thou hast confessed, I the Son of God tell and assure thee, and by saying it, I make and constitute thee, Peter, so that after Me thou mayest become the rock of the Church.” Christ had promised this name to Simon (John 1:42), saying, Thou shalt be called Cephas, which is interpreted Peter; but in this place He fulfils the promise, and gives him the name of Peter in fact. S.Leo (serm. 3 Annivers. Assumptionis Suae) thus expounds: “And I say unto thee, that even as My Father hath made known to thee My excellency, so do I also make known to thee thy excellency, that thou art Peter, i.e., inasmuch as I am the inviolable Rock, etc., so likewise thou art a rock, because thou art strengthened by My strength, and the things which are Mine by My own power are thine by participation with Me.”

Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church. The meaning is, “thou art Peter; that is, the rock of the Church: for upon thee as upon a most solid rock I will build My Church.” The word and gives the reason why he is Peter, as though He had said, “Thou art Peter, because I shall build My Church upon thee as upon a rock.” S. Augustine (tract. 27 in Joannem; lib. 1 Retract. cap. 1) says, “Upon this Rock, that is upon Myself, because the rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10:4). Calvin (lib. 4 Institut. c. 6 sec. 6) and the heretics eagerly follow this interpretation, that they may overthrow the authority and the primacy of Peter and the pope. But that Peter himself is here called the rock, the rest of the fathers almost universally agree. Maldonatus and Bellarmine (libr. 1 de Romano Pontif. cap. 10) quote them at length. The meaning then is this, “thou art Kepha, or Cephas, i.e., a rock or a very hard and very firm stone (for this is the meaning of the Hebrew ףכ keph and of the Chaldee and Syriac אפכ kepha) designated and destined by Me, that after My death, and the gift of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, having been entirely solidified and made strong, thou mayest become the foundation of the Church which I will build upon thee.” For before the coming of the Holy Ghost, Peter was not yet the rock of the Church; indeed, through fear he denied Christ in His passion. So then the word Peter, and Petra, denotes the firmness of S. Peter as the prince of the Church, and of his successors the pontiffs, and their constancy in the Faith and religion of Christ. Thus among others, Angelus Caninius (in nomin. Heb. Novi Testamenti, c. 13.1).

Moreover, that Peter is here called the rock, is proved first, by the pronoun this, when it says upon this rock; for since this is demonstrative, it ought thus to be understood: “this rock of which I have spoken, and to whom I speak.” That is: “thou art Peter, the rock of the Church, and upon thee as upon a rock I will build My Church”. For there had been no mention made of any other rock to which the pronoun “this” could refer, except Peter. It is otherwise in 1 Corinthians 10, for there it is said they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. Here the word rock precedes, which he explains by saying, that it was so, typically, that is to say, represented Christ: if Christ had spoken in French, He would have said, “Tu es Pierre, et sur cette pierre je bastiray mon église.”

You may say, Christ said not “thou art Petra”, but Thou art Petrus; therefore, the pronoun this cannot refer to Peter. I answer, that Christ is said to have spoken in Syriac: “Thou art kepha, and upon this kepha I will build”, etc. For kepha means a rock, and hence Peter in Syriac was called Kepha. But the Greek translators, who are followed by the Latin, gave the masculine form of the noun to him as a name—namely Petrus rather than petra, which is feminine. But in Greek both Πέτρος and πέτρα signify a rock or a stone. Peter, therefore, is the same word as petra, but the translator made a variation for the sake of elegance, and rendered it thou art Peter and upon this petra, not “upon this Petros” (as in a true and proper sense he might have done), both because petra in Greek is more frequently used for a rock or a stone than petros, and because houses strictly speaking are built upon stones, not upon men. Beza allows this when he says “the Lord speaking in Syriac did not make use of a surname, but said Cepha in both places, as in the vernacular the word pierre is used both as a proper and a common noun. In Greek, likewise, the words petros and petra differ only in their termination, not in their meaning.” Thus far he is correct, but mistakenly he adds, “Matthew, or whoever was his translator, seems by this difference of ending to have intended that Peter, who is a part of the building, should be distinguished from the rock itself on which the building stands, that is, from Christ Himself; likewise that Peter himself should be distinguished from the promise of the Faith which is common to the whole Church, as ancient writers also clearly prove, in order that Antichrist” (so the heretic calls the Roman pontiff) “may become most ridiculous when his followers endeavor to establish his tyranny from this passage.” How petulantly and falsely Beza writes may be seen and learnt from the original passages of the fathers which Bellarmine and Maldonatus cite, as I have already said. Besides, the text of scripture itself is to be preferred to the translator: nor had the Greek translator a meaning different from the Syriac text, as I have previously said. I omit many other proofs, which either from what has been said, or from what will be said, will show the falsity of Beza’s conclusion.

Secondly, the same thing is plain from this, that there would be a want of connection, to say, “thou art Peter and upon Myself the Rock I will build My Church”. In this, indeed, there would be a lessening of the speech, and an overthrow of the benefit bestowed. For Peter might say to Christ, “I am Peter, that is, the rock of the Church, how then dost thou build Thy Church not upon me but upon Thyself?”

Thirdly, because all that goes before and that follows refer to Peter alone: “and I,” He saith, “say to thee, O Peter”, that is, “I give and assign to thee as the reward and prerogative of thy great faith and confession, that after Myself, and after My death and resurrection, I will make thee the rock and foundation of the Church, for this is the meaning of I will build my church.”

Fourthly, because the original Oriental versions agree together in this, that petrus is the very same word as petra, and petra as Petrus, whence they give the same name Kepha to Petrus and Petra. Christ, therefore, as Angelus Caninius says (in Nomin. Hebraicis Novi Testamenti, capite 13), spoke thus in Syriac: ירובצ תי ינבא ןידה אפכ לעו אפכ תנא Ant kepha, Veal kepha hadden ebne iat tsibburi; or as the Syriac gospel has it, Ant hu kipha, Veal hada kipha ebne leidti, that is, “thou art Cepha, i.e., rock, “and upon this Cepha”, that is petra (meaning upon thee, who art Peter or a rock), “I will build my Church”. Moreover, the Hebrew gospel, which Sebastian Munster has edited as though it were the authentic version written by S. Matthew himself, has in like manner ילהקמ תא הנבא תאזה אפיכ לעו אפיכ התא atta kepha, Veal kepha hazzot ebne eth macheli. So also the Armenian gospel: Is bim, he saith, e vera ais bim, that is, “thou art a rock [cliff], and upon this rock I will build, etc.” And the Arabic gospel, Ant alsachra val ala hada alsachra abni baiati: “thou art a rock [large stone], and upon that rock I will build my Church. “The Ethiopic gospel has Anta quoqueh va dibazati, quoqh annesa lebeita Christianei, that is, “thou art a rock and upon this rock I will build the Christian house”, that is, the Church. The Coptic also has, “But I say unto thee that thou art this Peter, I will found my Church upon this rock”, which is none else than this Peter, otherwise there would be no connection, for he gives the reason, the “because”, why he will build the Church upon a rock, because indeed Peter will be a solid rock on which the whole Church being founded may rest securely as upon a strong foundation. The Persian is, “I say unto thee that thou art ‘sanac’,” i.e., a rock, “and upon this sanac”, that is, rock, “I will build my Church”. Moreover, the Persian paraphrast explains sanac as a rock, adding, “thou art the rock, that is, foundation and judge.” (See Peter Victor, in Annotat. ad Novum Testamentum,pp. 101, 102, where he gives at length all these versions.)

To S. Augustine it is replied that he was misled by his ignorance of the Hebrew and Syriac languages, and, therefore, thought that Petrus was something different from Petra, and that Peter was, as it were, called appellatively from it “rock-like,” although it is clear from the Syriac that Petrus and Petra are the same. Again, S. Augustine admits as probable the explanation of those who say that Peter is the rock of the Church; and in this respect he is at issue with Calvin, who is of opinion that such an explanation is blasphemy against Christ. Listen to S. Augustine in his sermon on the Chair of Peter. “Lastly, for strengthening the devotion of the churches he is called the rock; as saith the Lord, thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church. For he is called the rock, because he first laid the foundations of the Faith for the nations, and like an immovable rock he holds the joints and the superstructure of the entire Christian edifice. Peter then is called a rock on account of devotion, and the Lord is called a rock on account of strength; as saith the Apostle, they drank of that spiritual Rock which followed them, and that Rock was Christ. Rightly does he deserve an association in name who had obtained an association in work. Peter lays the foundation, Peter plants; the Lord gives the increase, the Lord waters.” The same Augustine (serm. 16 de Sanctis) says, “Worthy was Peter to be a foundation for building up the people of God, to be a pillar for support, a key to the kingdom.”

In fine, even if that explanation of S. Augustine were allowed (that the rock signifies Christ), although it is not the true one, still it may thence be proved that Peter, after Christ, who is the rock and cornerstone of the Church, is still the next foundation, rock, or stone of the Church. For then the sense would be: “I am the Rock upon which I will build the Church. But thou, O Peter, art next unto Me, and the next rock of the Church, upon whom immediately after Myself I will build My Church, and therefore thee only I call Peter, who before wast called Simon.” By the same arguments the Magdeburg Centuriators (lib. 1 Cent. 1 cap. 4) are refuted, as well as the Genevan ministers who in their Bibles expound thus: “Upon this rock, that is, upon this confession or faith, to wit, that I am the Son of God.” For nowhere previously has this confession been called a rock, as Peter immediately before was called Cephas, that is, a rock.

You may say, some of the fathers, by the rock, understand the faith which Peter confessed and set forth. So S. Chrysostom, S. Hilary (lib. 6 de Trinit.), S. Cyril (lib. 4 de Trinit.), and S. Ambrose (lib. 6 in Lucam c. 9). I answer, these fathers do not mean the Faith taken abstractly, but the Faith as it was in Peter, and consequently they take Peter himself to be the rock of the Church, as they themselves afterward fully explain. They hold that Peter, for the merit of his faith received the dignity of a rock in the Church, as S. Hilary and S. Chrysostom say expressly. For on account of that faith he had deserved to be himself the foundation of the Church, and that his faith should never fail, but that he should confirm and strengthen others in the Faith (Luke 22:32). For the Church is made up and formed, not of faith, but of faithful men, who are as it were its parts (for the Church is nothing else than the company of the faithful). Therefore, likewise, in order that the head of the Church may be of the same nature as the body, that head must be a faithful man—that is to say, Peter and the pontiff. The faithful man [in general], then, is the reason of the founding, but the foundation is Peter himself. So S. Chrysostom, Cyril (lib. 4 de Trinit.) and S. Ambrose (lib. 6 in Lucam c. 9), Bellarmine (lib. 1 de Pontif. c. 10), where he refutes both Erasmus and Chytræus, who follow Origen, who allegorizes after his custom, and understands by the rock all the faithful. In this way, indeed, the whole Church would be the rock, for the whole Church consists of none other than the faithful; but where then would be the walls, the floors, and the roof of the Church? Of what then shall these be built? See also Gretser (in defensione Bellarmini, lib. 3 cap. 5).

Lastly, Christ bestowed this gift upon Peter as the future pontiff of the Church; wherefore He gave the same gift to all the other pontiffs, his successors, and that for the good of the Church, so that it might be strengthened by them as by a rock, in the Christian Faith and religion. Therefore, S. Bernard (lib. 2 de Consid.) saith to Pope Eugenius, “who art thou? A great priest: the chief pontiff. Thou art the prince of bishops, thou art the heir of the Apostles, thou art Abel in primacy, Noe in government, Abraham in the patriarchate; in order, thou art Melchisedec, in dignity Aaron, in authority Moses, in judgeship Samuel, in power Peter, in unction a Christ. Thou art he to whom the keys have been delivered and the sheep entrusted.”

And upon this rock. From hence it is plain that just as Cephas is derived from cepha, so is Peter from petra, indeed that he is the same as petra, as I have already shown. Therefore, when Optatus Milevit, (lib 2. contra Parmen.) and others derive Cephas from the Greek κεφαλή, that is, “a head”, they do it by a congruous allusion, not by a real etymology of the noun. By a similar allusion, S. Gregory Nazianzen (orat. 2 de Pascha) derives Phase or Pascha, which is a Hebrew word, as everybody knows from Exodus 12, from the Greek πάσχειν, that is, “to suffer”. For in the Passover happened the passion of Christ, and His immolation as the Paschal Lamb. Moreover, Christ bestowed this name of rock upon Peter, rather than other names (such as pillar, tower, anchor, foundation, etc.), because this name of rock is given in scripture to Christ Himself (Isaias 28:16; Psalm 117:22; Matthew 21:42 and elsewhere). He communicated, therefore, His own Name, together with His dignity and office to Peter. Thus S. Jerome. And S. Gregory (On the Seventh Penitential Psalm) says: “Christ is the Rock, from which Rock Peter received his name, and upon which He said that He would build.” Listen to S. Leo (serm. 3 On the Anniversary of His Accession), where he introduces Christ as speaking thus to Peter: “Since I am the Rock, I the Cornerstone, who make of both one; I the Foundation, besides which no one can lay any other; nevertheless thou art a rock likewise, because thou art strengthened by My strength in order that what things are Mine by Mine own power, may be thine also through participation with Me: and upon this rock I will build My Church; upon this strength He says, I will construct an eternal temple, etc.”

I will build My Church. That is to say, “I, therefore, call thee Peter and the rock, because as a house is built upon a rock that it may rest firm and immovable upon it against every blast of the winds, so will I build upon thee, O Peter, as upon a most solid rock, My Church; that resting upon thee, it may abide firm against all the attacks of heretics and wicked men, and that thou mayest keep and sustain it in the true Faith and worship of God, in like manner as a rocky foundation sustains and holds together the entire house which is built upon it. “Thus,” S. Ambrose (serm. 4) saith: “Peter is called the rock, because like an immovable rock he sustains the joints and the mass of the whole Christian edifice.”

You may say, all the Apostles are the foundation of the Church, as is plain from Ephesians 2:20, and Apocalypse 21:14; so then Peter only is not the rock of the Church. I answer, that Peter is the rock and the foundation of the whole Church and of the entire body of the faithful, and, therefore, of the Apostles themselves. For the office of Peter, who is primate and chief, was to retain, direct, and strengthen the Apostles in faith, religion, and duty, and if at any time they should err, to correct them. Hence S. Jerome (lib. 1 contra Jovin.) says: “Therefore, among twelve one is chosen, that by the appointment of a head, occasion of schism might be taken away.” And S. Cyprian (tract. de Unitate Ecclesiae) says, “the primacy is given to Peter that it might be shown there is one Church of Christ and one Chair.”

Note that Christ, in this passage, promises by two metaphors, as S. Jerome says, that after His death and resurrection He will give to Peter the principality of the Church (cf. John 21:16, when He said to him, Feed my lambs). The first metaphor is that of a foundation or foundation rock. For that thing, which in a building is the rock and foundation, in a body is the head, in a state the ruler, in a kingdom the king, in the Church the pontiff. The second metaphor is that of the keys: for keys are only given to kings and rulers.

Note, too: to build the Church upon this rock, signifies two things. First, that upon this rational stone—namely Peter, as the head of all the Apostles—the care and government of the whole Church devolve next after Christ. Thus S. Chrysostom (hom. 55), S. Ambrose (serm. 57), and S. Gregory (libr. 4 epist. 32). Secondly, that the Church rests upon Peter as a foundation, and is strengthened by him as the Vicar of Christ, so that it cannot err in matters of faith. Hence Peter, on account of his lofty confession of faith, obtained from Christ the grace of being made and appointed this foundation rock. And this is the meaning of SS. Hilary, Chrysostom, Cyril, and Nyssen (at the end of his book Contra Judaeos) when they say that the Church was built by Christ upon the faith and confession of Peter, as I have explained above. Moreover, S. Chrysostom in this place lays stress upon the words I will build, and says that they are similar to those words, God said in the first chapter of Genesis, whereby all things were created and subsist. In like manner he says that the words I will build, have wrought all, even though tyrants oppose, soldiers fight, the people rage, custom struggles. For the Word of God coming like a vehement fire, hath burnt up the thorns, hath cleansed the fields, hath prepared the ground, hath raised the building on high, etc. S. Jerome also (epist. 57), consulting Pope Damasus whether we may say there are three hypostases in the Holy Trinity or only one, thus addresses him: “I am speaking with the successor of the fisherman, and the disciple of the cross. I, following none first, except Christ, am united to your beatitude; that is, in communion with the See of Peter. I know that upon that rock the Church is built. Whosoever eateth the Lamb outside of this house is profane; if any man be not in the ark of Noe, he shall perish in the swelling of the deluge.”

And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Namely, against the Church, because it has been founded upon Peter and his successors, as upon a most solid rock.

The gates of hell, i.e., the infernal city, meaning all hell, with its entire army of demons, and with the whole power of Lucifer its king. For hell and the city of God, i.e., the Church, are here put in opposition. Hence S. Augustine wrote his work de Civitate Dei, in the beginning of which he speaks of the two opposite cities; the one of God, which is the Church; the other of the devil, i.e., of demons and wicked men. He takes the gates of hell to mean heresies, especially, and heresiarchs; for they openly fight against the Faith of Peter and the Church, and they proceed from hell and are stirred up by the devil. So S. Epiphanius (in Ancorato, not far from the beginning). There are here the two figures of speech, synecdoche and metonymy; for by the gates he means the whole city, both because the gate is the entrance into a city, and because the chief defenses and strength of a city are usually at the gates, because if they and the adjoining walls are safe, the city is safe, if they are taken, the city is taken.

Shall not prevail. Hebrew הל ולכוי אל lo juchelu la, i.e., “shall not be able to stand against it” (the Church). So S. Hilary and Maldonatus. More simply, shall not prevail, i.e., shall not conquer or overcome, or pull down the Church. For this is the meaning of the original Greek οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς. We have here the figure of speech, miosis: for little is said but much is meant, not only that the Church shall not be conquered, but that she shall conquer and subdue under her all heretics, tyrants, and every other enemy, as she overcame Arians, Nestorians, Pelagians, Nero, Decius, Diocletian, etc. Therefore, by this word Christ first encourages His Church that she should not be faint-hearted when she sees herself attacked by all the power of Satan and wicked men. In the second place, He as it were sounds a trumpet for her, that she may always watch with her armor on against so many enemies, who attack her with extreme hatred. Thirdly, He promises to her, as well as to her head, Peter, i.e., the pontiff, victory and triumph over them all. The reason is that Christ stands by her and fights for her. Again, Christ and the Holy Ghost assist with special guidance her head, the Roman pontiff, that he should not err in matters of faith, but that he may be firm and adamant, says S. Chrysostom, and that he may rightly administer and rule the Church, and guide it in the path of salvation, as Noe also directed the ark that it should not be overwhelmed in the deluge. Therefore, S. Chrysostom (hom. 4 de Verbis Isaiae) says: “It were more easy for the sun to be extinguished than for the Church to fail.” And again (tom. 5 in orat. de Non Contemnenda Ecclesia), “What can be more powerful than the Church of God? The barbarians destroy fortifications, but not even the devils overcome the Church. When it is attacked openly, it conquers; when it is attacked by treachery, it overcomes.” S. Augustine, commenting on the psalms, says against the Donatists: “Reckon up the bishops even from the very pontificate of Peter. That is the very rock which the proud gates of hell conquer not.” This has been made especially plain in the conversion of all nations, especially of Rome and the Romans.
For Rome being the head, both of the world and of idolatry, where the idols of all nations were worshiped, has been converted from them by S. Peter and his successors, and has bowed down her proud head to the cross of Christ, which thing is of all miracles the greatest.

Hilaire Belloc on The Church. It will always be those on the outside looking in..

I enjoy reading the great Catholic historian Hilaire Belloc. Unlike many writers of today, he was not concerned with being politically correct. In his book "The Great Heresies" he talks about the Church, and the definition of Christianity. I recommend reading this historical work. It has great historical information on the Reformation as well as Islam. These are a couple of quotes from chapter 7 of the book that I find quite sobering, and masterfully articulated. There is not much that I can add to it, for Belloc wonderfully connects his idea to the reader with no ambiguity whatsoever. This is a talent that has been lost in today's modernist culture of mush. You can read it online here. Or buy a copy here. Enjoy.


by Hilaire Belloc

Chapter Seven

The Modern Phase, Excerpts..

There is no such thing as a religion called
"Christianity"_there never has been such a religion.

There is and always has been the Church, and various heresies
proceeding from a rejection of some of the Church's doctrines by men who
still desire to retain the rest of her teaching and morals. But there
never has been and never can be or will be a general Christian religion
professed by men who all accept some central important doctrines, while
agreeing to differ about others. There has always been, from the
beginning, and will always be, the Church, and sundry heresies either
doomed to decay, or, like Mohammedanism, to grow into a separate religion.
Of a common Christianity there has never been and never can be a
definition, for it has never existed.

There is no essential doctrine such that if we can agree upon it
we can differ about the rest: as for instance, to accept immortality but
deny the Trinity. A man will call himself a Christian though he denies the
unity of the Christian Church; he will call himself a Christian though he
denies the presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament; he will
cheerfully call himself a Christian though he denies the Incarnation.

No; the quarrel is between the Church and the anti-Church_the
Church of God and anti-God_the Church of Christ and anti-Christ.

Catholic Bishops Speak Out Against Islam's Conception of Marriage

Catholic bishops attending a synod at the Vatican have said Islam does not respect internationally enshrined women's rights, the ANSA news agency reported, quoting a spokesman. The Catholic church, in its relations with Muslims, "should keep in mind their conception of marriage and the family, which does not accord women the rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights"Here is the full article.

The Synodicon for the Feast of Orthodoxy

The Synodicon that was composed after the great iconoclastic controversy is a wonderful examination of the theology of icons in the Church. The Eastern Church still celebrates this feast every year. The Catholic Encyclopedia online describes it, "The first Sunday of the Great Forty days (Lent) in the Byzantine Calendar (sixth Sunday before Easter), is still kept in memory of the final defeat of Iconoclasm and the restoration of the holy icons to the churches on 19 February (which was the first Sunday of Lent), 842." The text of the anathemas are still as relevant today as they were in the 9th century, for there are still many who reject Christ and his incarnation. There are also many who profess to be Christian but who reject the use of holy icons, and this puts them at odds with true Christianity whether they realize it or not. The seventh Ecumenical Council affirmed that this practice is indeed a universal Christian teaching. It is also plain to see that when Church teaching is disregarded, Christ becomes a side-note in one's practice of Christianity. Christ is ultimately replaced by the self, and ultimately Christology is lost for a poor substitution. I wanted to post the list of Anathemas imposed by the Church of that age from the Synodicon which is still read on this feast day in the Eastern Church. Notice how the wording and declarations are primarily Christocentric. You can find the entire text here. In case you were wondering what anathema means, here is the definition.

The Orthodox information center has a nice article on the term. Here is an excerpt.

In the acts of the Councils and the further course of the New Testament Church of Christ, the word "anathema" came to mean complete separation from the Church. "The Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes", "let him be anathema", "let it be anathema", means a complete tearing away from the church. While in cases of "separation from the communion of the Church" and other epitimia or penances laid on a person, the person remained a member of the Church, even though his participation in her grace filled life was limited, those given over to anathema were thus completely torn away from her until their repentance. Realizing that she is unable to do anything for their salvation, in view of their stubbornness and hardness of heart, the earthly church lifts them up to the judgement of God.

That judgment is merciful unto repentant sinners, but fearsome for the stubborn enemies of God. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God ... for our God is a consuming fire" (Heb 10:31 ; 12:29).

Anathema is not final damnation: until death repentance is possible. "Anathema" is fearsome not because the Church wishes anyone evil or God seeks their damnation. They desire that all be saved. But it is fearsome to stand before the presence of God in the state of hardened evil: nothing is hidden from Him.

Below from the Synodicon

To them who in words accept the Oeconomy of the Incarnation of the Word
of God, but will not tolerate its representation by icons, and thus in word
they make a pretense of accepting, but in fact deny our salvation,
Anathema (3)

To them who because of a mistaken adherence to the term uncircumscribed,
wish not to depict in icons Christ, our True God, Who like us partook of
flesh and blood, and thus show themselves to be Docetists,
Anathema (1)

To them who accept the visions of the prophets, albeit unwillingly, but who
do not - O wonder! - accept the images seen by the prophets even before
the Incarnation of the Word, but vainly say that the intangible and unseeable
essence was seen by the prophets, or even concede that these truly were
revealed to the prophets as images and types and forms, but still cannot endure
to depict in icons the Word. become man and His sufferings for our sake,
Anathema (1)

To them who hear the Lord Who said that "If ye believed in Moses, ye would
have believed in me" and who understand the saying of Moses, "The Lord
our God will raise up for you a prophet like unto me, " but who, on the one
hand, say that they accept the Prophet, yet on the other hand, do not permit the
depiction in icons of the grace of the Prophet and our universal salvation such
as, He was seen, as He mingled with mankind, and worked many healings of
passions and diseases, and such as He was crucified, was buried., and arose, in
short, all that He both suffered and wrought for us; to those, therefore, who
cannot endure to gaze upon these universal and saving deeds in icons, neither
honor nor worship them,
Anathema (3)

To them who persist in the heresy of denying icons, or rather the apostasy of
denying Christ, and are not counseled by the Mosaic law to be led to their
salvation, nor are they convinced to return to piety by the apostolic teachings,
nor are they induced by patristic exhortations and explanations to abandon
their deception, nor are they persuaded by the agreement of the Churches of
God throughout the whole world, but once for all have joined. themselves to the
portion of the Jews and Greeks; for those things wherewith the latter directly
blaspheme the prototype, the former likewise have not blushed to insult in His
icon Him that is depicted therein; therefore, to them who are incorrigibly possessed
by this deception, and have their ears covered towards every Divine word
and spiritual teaching, as already being putrified members, and having cut
themselves off from the common body of the Church,
Anathema (3)

To Anastasios, Constantine and Nicetas, who, being unhallowed guides to
perdition, were the originators of heresies during the reign of the Isaurians,
Anathema (3)

To Theodotus, Anthony and John, mutual instigators of evils who succeeded
each other in their impiety,
Anathema (3)

To Paul, who turned back into a Saul, and to Theodore, surnamed Gastes,
and to Stephan Molytes, and furthermore to Theodore Crithinus and Leon
Laloudius, and. to whomever shares the like impiety with the aforementioned,
whatever his rank might be, in the clergy or in some office or in whatever occupation
he pursues; to all such who continue in their impiety,
Anathema (3)

To Gerontios, who, having his origins in Lampe but vomiting forth in Crete
the venom of his loathsome heresy, called himself the anointed one for the
overturning - fie! - of the saving Oeconomy of Christ, and to his perverted doctrines
and writings and to those who agree with him,
Anathema (3)


To them who attempt by whatever means to introduce a new controversy or
teaching into the ineffable Oeconomy of our Incarnate Saviour and God,
and who seek to penetrate the way wherein God the Word was united to the
human substance and for what reason He deified the flesh He assumed, and
who, by using dialectical terminology of nature and adoption, try to dispute
about the transcendent innovation of His divine and human natures,
Anathema (3)

To them who profess piety yet shamelessly, or rather impiously, introduce
into the Orthodox and Catholic Church the ungodly doctrines of the
Greeks concerning the souls of men, heaven and earth, and the rest of creation,
Anathema (3)

To them who prefer the foolish so-called wisdom of the secular philosophers
and follow its proponents, and who accept the metempsychosis of human
souls or that, like the brute animals, the soul is utterly destroyed and departs
into nothingness, and who thus deny the resurrection, judgment, and the final
recompense for the deeds committed during life,
Anathema (3)

To them who dogmatize that matter and the Ideas are without beginning or
are co-eternal with God, the Creator of all, and that heaven and earth and
the other created things are everlasting, unoriginate and immutable, thus legislating
contrary to Him Who said: 'Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my
words will not pass away'; to them who thus speak vain and earthly things drawing
down the Divine curse upon their own heads,
Anathema (3)

To them who maintain that although the wise men of the Greeks and the
foremost of the heresiarchs were put under anathema by the Seven Holy
and Catholic Councils and by all the fathers that shone forth in Orthodoxy as
ones alien to the Catholic Church because of the adulterations and loathsome
superabundance of error in their teachings, yet they are exceedingly more excellent,
both here and in the future judgment, than those pious and orthodox men
who, by human passion or by ignorance, have committed some offense,
Anathema (3)

To them who do not accept with a pure and simple faith and with all their
soul and heart the extraordinary miracles of our Saviour and God and of
the holy Theotokos who without stain gave birth to Him, and of the other saints,
but who attempt by sophistic demonstration and words to traduce them as being
impossible, or to misinterpret. them according to their own way of thinking, and
to present them according to their own opinion,

Anathema (3)

To them who undertake Greek studies not only for purposes of education
but also follow after their vain opinions, and are so thoroughly convinced
of their truth and validity that they shamelessly introduce them and teach them
to others, sometimes secretly and sometimes openly,
Anathema (3)

To them who of themselves refashion creation by means of mythical fabrications
and accept the Platonic ideas as veritable, saying that matter, being
self-subsistent, is given form by these ideas, and who thereby clearly calumniate
the free will of the Creator Who brought all things into being out of non-being
and Who, as Maker, established the beginning and end of all things by His
authority and sovereignty,

Anathema (3)

To them who say that in the last and general resurrection men will be raised
up and judged in other bodies and not in those wherewith they passed this
present life, inasmuch as these were corrupted and destroyed, and who babble
empty and vain things against Christ our God Himself, and His disciples, our
teachers, who taught that in the very same body in which men lived, in the same
shall they also be judged; furthermore the great Apostle Paul in his discourse
concerning the resurrection distinctly and with examples restates the same truth
more extensively and refutes as mindless those who think differently; therefore,
to them who contravene such dogmas and doctrines,

Anathema (3)

To them who accept and transmit the vain Greek teachings that there is a
pre-existence of souls and teach that all things were not produced and did.
not come into existence out of non-being, that there is an end to the torment or
a restoration again of creation and of human affairs, meaning by such teachings
that the Kingdom of the Heavens is entirely perishable and fleeting, whereas
the Kingdom is eternal and indissoluble as Christ our God Himself taught and
delivered to us, and as we have ascertained from the entire Old and New Scripture,
that the torment is unending and the Kingdom everlasting to them who by
such teachings both destroy themselves and. become agents of eternal condemnation
to others,

Anathema (3)

To those pagan and heterodox doctrines and teachings introduced in contempt
of the Christian and Orthodox faith or in opposition to the Catholic
and blameless faith of the Orthodox, by John Italus and by his disciples who
shared in his ruin,

Anathema (1)


To those doctrines impiously dogmatized by the pseudo-monk Nilos and to
all who share them,

Anathema (3)


To them who do not confess one nature in the holy, coessential, undivided
and coeternal Trinity, of one honor and of one throne, that is, the Father,
and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but who affirm that the Son is some adventitious
angel called Satanael or Amen; and furthermore, who say that the Holy
Spirit, equal in power with the Father and the Son, is different from or inferior
to Them in nature; to such men, therefore, be

Anathema (1)

To them who do not confess that God is the Creator of heaven and earth and
of all creatures, the Maker of Adam and the Fashioner of Eve, but say that
the Adversary is the ruler and creator of all and the fashioner of human nature;
to such men,

Anathema (1)

To them who do not confess that the Word and Son of God was begotten
from the Father without change before the ages, and that in these latter
times out of His abundant loving kindness, He became incarnate as a man from
the immaculate Theotokos Mary, taking upon Himself for our salvation all that
pertains to us save sin, and to them who consequently do not partake of His
holy and immortal Mysteries with fear, inasmuch as they consider them as mere
bread and common wine rather than the very flesh of the Master and His holy
and precious Blood shed for the life of the world; to such men,

Anathema (1)

To them who do not worship the Cross of our Lord and God and Saviour
Jesus Christ as the salvation and glory of the whole world and as that which
annulled and utterly destroyed the machinations and weapons of the enemy,
and thereby redeemed creation from the idols and manifested victory to the
world, but hold the Cross to be a tyrannical weapon; to such men,

Anathema (1)


To them who introduce a heretical, new understanding concerning the ineffable
Oeconomy of the Incarnation of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus
Christ, and say or think that Christ's human nature, like a servant, worships the
unapproachable Divinity and everlastingly retains servitude as an essential and
inseparable mark,

Anathema (3)

To them who do not employ with all reverence the division made in pure
thought for the purpose of showing only the difference between the ineffably
conjoined two natures in Christ - which natures are united in Him without
confusion and without division - but employ this distinction improperly, and say
that this human nature which Christ has assumed is different not only in nature
but also in dignity, and that it worships God and offers a servile ministry, and is
obliged to honor God, in the same manner as the ministering spirits which serve
and worship God as servants; and to them who identify the great High Priest
with the assumed human nature itself, rather than with the Word of God Who
became man, and by such means they dare to hypostatically divide the one
Christ, our Lord and God,

Anathema (3)


To them who say that the sacrifice of His precious Body and Blood offered
for our salvation by our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ at the time
of His world-saving Passion was offered up by Him to God the Father, and that
He thus fulfilled the ministry of High Priest for us in His humanity (inasmuch
as He is at the same time God and Sacrificer and Victim, according to St. Gregory
the Theologian), but who then say that He, the Only Begotten, along with
the Holy Spirit, did not Himself accept the sacrifice as God together with the
Father; hence by such teachings they estrange from the divine equality of honor
and dignity both God the Word and the Spirit, the Comforter, Who is of one
essence and of one glory with Him,

Anathema (3)

To them who do not accept that the sacrifice which is offered daily by those
who have received from Christ the priestly service of the Divine Mysteries,
is in fact offered to the Holy Trinity, and thereby contradict the sacred and
divine fathers, Basil and Chrysostom, and other Godbearing fathers who all
agree in both their words and writings,

Anathema (3)

To them who hear the Saviour saying concerning the priestly service of the
Divine Mysteries delivered by Him: "Do this in remembrance of Me, " but
they do not understand "remembrance" correctly, but dare to say that the daily
sacrifice offered by those who perform the sacred service of the Divine Mysteries,
just as our Saviour, the Master of all, delivered to us, reenacts only symbolically
and figuratively the Sacrifice of His own Body and Blood which our Saviour
had offered on the Cross as a ransom and redemption of our common
human nature; and for this reason, since they introduce the doctrine that this is
a different sacrifice from the one originally consummated by the Saviour and
refers to it merely symbolically and figuratively, they bring to naught the Mystery
of the awesome and divine priestly service whereby we receive the earnest
of the future life; therefore, to them who deny what is staunchly proclaimed by
our divine Father John Chrysostom who says in many commentaries on the sayings
of the Great Paul that the sacrifice is identical, that both are one and the

Anathema (3)

To them who invent and introduce intervals of time into the reconciliation
of human nature with the Divine and blessed nature of the lifegiving and
wholly inviolate Trinity, and legislate that we were first reconciled to the onlybegotten
Word by His assumption of humanity and then afterwards to God the
Father during the salutary Passion of the Saviour Christ; and thus they divide
what is indivisible according to the divine and blessed fathers who taught that
the Only-begotten reconciled us to Himself through the entire Mystery of the
Oeconomy, of the Incarnation and through Himself and in Himself to God the
Father and, it follows necessarily, to the all-holy and life-creating Spirit; therefore
to them who invent these new and strange doctrines we say,

Anathema (3)

To them who do not correctly understand the divine voices of the holy teachers
of the Church of God and who attempt to misinterpret and pervert
those things clearly and manifestly spoken in them by the grace of the Holy

Anathema (3)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Muslim convert to Catholicism comments on the violence of Islam

Today on Zenit a nice article was written on Magdi Cristiano Allam and his conversion to the Church. He recalled the special day he was baptized by Pope Benedict XVI. He also pointed out the irreconcilable differences between Islam and Catholicism. "Allam contended that "unlike Christianity, the religion of God incarnate in man," Islam is made concrete in a sacred text that, "being one with God, is not interpretable."

I also found it interesting how he clearly admits the violence of Islam. He is quoted as saying, "The very acts of Mohammed, documented by history, and which the Muslim faithful themselves do not deny, testify to massacres and exterminations perpetrated by the prophet. Therefore, the Quran is incompatible with fundamental human rights and non-negotiable values. In the past, I tried to make myself the spokesman of an Islam moderate in itself."

"An event, before my conversion, made me think more than other events: the Pope's discourse in Regensburg. On that occasion, citing the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, he affirmed something that the Muslims themselves have never denied: that Islam spreads the faith above all with the sword."

The complete article is found at Zenit.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Protestant Rap, Protestant Worship Music II

I ran across more nonsense on YouTube. When I posted my last blog article on bad Sacred Music I had several Protestants try and tell me that it was never used in Church, but that it was just for entertainment. Well here it is being used by two clowns in a Protestant "church". I guess they think it is edifying to have people watch them act like two fools in a "church" with bad music playing. The one below has a guy rapping in a "church" service. I rest my case. Another product of the individualist, secular mentality of Protestantism.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Most Holy Theotokos

The Most Holy Theotokos
An Introduction to the Mother of God
(And Intercessor)
By Matthew James Bellisario 2008
Originally posted on

Spanning back to the authors of the early Church we can find a special veneration and love for the Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary. More than just a mother, she was to be the vessel, or the Ark (Chrysippus (399-479) said, "The truly royal Ark, the most precious Ark, was the ever-Virgin Theotokos......" In S. Mariam Deip in PO 19,338) which would house Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Her place in salvation history is secure with her being chosen by God, to bring Him into this world bearing a human nature. Thus she would properly be designated the Mother of God by the Church at the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431. The Council would declare the following,

"We confess, then, our Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, perfect God and perfect man, of a rational soul and a body, begotten before all ages from the Father in his Godhead, the same in the last days, for us and for our salvation, born of Mary the Virgin according to his humanity, one and the same consubstantial with the Father in Godhead and consubstantial with us in humanity, for a union of two natures took place. Therefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to this understanding of the unconfused union, we confess the holy Virgin to be the Mother of God because God the Word took flesh and became man and from his very conception united to himself the temple he took from her" (Formula of Union) Ephesus 431

The implications of her bearing this title also brings forth other theological characteristics of her in relation to Christ as well. For instance, she would not simply be a conduit for Jesus to pass through, without the actual characteristics of a real human mother. In other words she was not used just for this purpose, and then abandoned by Jesus as if she were a tool that He needed to fulfill a prophesy, and no more. As Sergius Bulgakov (1988) wisely states, “That Holy humanity was attained in the person of the Virgin. Hence Mary is not merely the instrument, but the direct positive condition of the incarnation, its human aspect.” The importance of the two natures of Christ put Mary in the heart of theological debates of the first centuries of the Church. To dismiss her as non-essential to the Christian faith has never been acceptable. In fact many of the Church's early Saints took extreme offense to this mentality. For instance Saint Gregory has a strong statement for this way of thinking. He wrote, “If anyone does not believe that Holy Mary is the Mother of God, he is severed from the Godhead. If anyone should assert that He passed through the Virgin as through a channel, and was not at once divinely and humanly formed in her (divinely, because without the intervention of a man; humanly, because in accordance with the laws of gestation), he is in like manner godless." Gregory of Nazianzen, To Cledonius, Epistle 101 (A.D. 382)

The role of Mary as the Mother of God is fairly clear to the early Church. What other implications or theological roles does this make her a part of? We can conclude a few logical points here just from what we have seen so far. One is that God chose her to function in His plan of salvation. Any reasonable person would not argue the fact that her role as the God bearer makes her a part of God's plan of salvation, for without that piece of the plan He would not have taken on a human nature, and not have fulfilled His mission as the Savior of mankind. So if she participated in God's plan of salvation, she can properly be called a Co-Redeemer or Co-Mediator. The prefix Co means with, not equal to, so there is nothing to get worked up over here if we understand the terminology correctly. She is with Jesus in His plan of redemption and with Jesus as the Mediator. So far there is nothing here that we can't infer from her basic role as the Mother of God. She willingly participates in Jesus' plan of salvation in her fiat. She responds to the angel, "Let it be done according to thy word."

I think more needs to be said of the person of Jesus, to completely understand our Lady’s participation in His plan of salvation. Our Lord Jesus is one Divine person with two natures. He has a human nature, which he received from the Virgin Mary, and He has a divine nature, which the Holy Spirit conferred into our Ladies womb. However we must realize these two natures are not separate insofar as they make up one person, Jesus, who is God, a divine person. There is a great mystery here of course. But the Church has said that if Mary gave birth to the person Jesus, and she was His mother, then she is rightfully called the Mother of God. This does not mean that she was the creator of Jesus, nor a fourth person of the one God as many Protestant hecklers falsely claim that Catholics teach. Mary is indeed the Mother of God. We must realize that her participation is an invitation to participate from our Lord, when the angel Gabriel came to her. It is not self-imposed by Our Lady; she is a willing participant in accepting our Lord’s invitation. Everything that she does is done in complete humility to her Son’s will, and it is done by the virtue of her only Son, Jesus. We must understand that Jesus alone has merited the redemption of mankind through His suffering, death and resurrection. We as Catholic Christians have always believed this, despite what others outside the true church claim. The terms of Co-Mediator or Co-Redemptor do not imply any of this as many have claimed. Furthermore, I think it is important to quote at full length the Catechism of the Catholic Church number 970 which states, "Mary's function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. But the Blessed Virgin's salutary influence on men ...... flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it, and draws all its power from it."513 "No creature could ever be counted along with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer; but just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by his ministers and the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is radiated in different ways among his creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source." Jesus made salvation possible by His sacrifice and His alone.

What exactly does this mean for the average Catholic in the pews on Sunday? It drives home the fact that Jesus has a full human nature, and a full divine nature, and that He is the Divine Savior incarnate. It also drives home the fact that the original sin that was caused by Eve's disobedience was in effect nullified by Mary's fiat in accepting the divine will of God instead of going against it. This gives the average lay person a pure example of a human being (Mary) following the will of God wholeheartedly without reservation. This thus gives Catholics a role-model of sorts to follow. This is very elementary so far, and as we progress we will see that it doesn't complicate. Her obedient example is illustrated by Saint Ireneaus in the second century,

“Consequently, then, Mary the Virgin is found to be obedient, saying, "Behold, 0 Lord, your handmaid; be it done to me according to your word." Eve . . . who was then still a virgin although she had Adam for a husband — for in paradise they were both naked but were not ashamed; for, having been created only a short time, they had no understanding of the procreation of children . . . having become disobedient [sin], was made the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race; so also Mary, betrothed to a man but nevertheless still a virgin, being obedient [no sin], was made the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. . . . Thus, the knot of Eve's disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through faith” (Against Heresies 3:22:24 [A.D. 189]).

So how do we get from the role of her example, to an active intercessor of all Catholics? Can we find any support for any early Christian writers praying to her, or writing hymns of praise venerating her in her role as Mother of God and an intercessor? It can be argued that her fiat itself was an intercession for mankind of sorts, but that would not equate to the active petitioning of her after her earthly departure. We can see during her life she did act in an intercessory role at the wedding at Cana in the Sacred New Testament Scriptures. We also see that Jesus refers to her as one of those who hear the Word of God and obey. (Luke 11:27-28) Can we make the connection to her as being an intercessor from heaven? In Sacred Scripture we do not find any evidence for it, however if you are not Catholic, you should know that the Church has never held a Scripture Alone mentality. We believe that the Gospel is the Word of God in which some of it is written down in Scripture form as the New Testament. Sacred Scripture has never been looked at as a systematic theological reference book. So the Catholic Church is not too concerned with a lack of Biblical evidence as such, but only that it remains part of the Gospel that Christ gave us through His apostles as passed down and was protected by the Holy Spirit. I will not spend much time on this subject of Scripture in Tradition. So what other evidence do we have besides the living witness of the Catholic Church to the heavenly intercession of Mary the Mother of God? It seems that the living Church that has existed since Christ Himself would be enough evidence, but for the sake of the sceptic, what other evidence can we put forth?

The earliest evidence we have of Mary's intercession is a point of controversy. It comes from Saint Irenaeus' use of the word Advocata referring to Mary in his Adversus Haereses and in Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching. The controversy is over whether or not he was referring to her as the intercessor of Eve or just as her counterpart. (O'Carroll 1983) Moving on to more clear references to her we have Saint Gregory Nazianzen (329-389) who describes a scene of a virgin of his era Justina whose virginity is threatened by a suitor. (O'Carroll 1983) Saint Gregory recalls, "Recalling these and other circumstances and imploring the Virgin Mary to bring assistance, since she, too, was a virgin and had been in danger, she entrusted herself to the remedy of fasting and sleeping on the ground." Gregory of Nazianzen, Oration 24:11(A.D. 379),in MCF,167

Saint Gregory of Nyssa (335-394) also describes an apparition of Our lady to his namesake, Gregory the Wonderworker. "For it is said that he[Gregory the Wonderworker] heard the one who had appeared in womanly form exhorting John the Evangelist to explain to the young man the mystery of the true faith. John, in his turn, declared that he was completely willing to please the Mother of the Lord even in this matter and this was the one thing closest to his heart. And so the discussion coming to a close, and after they had made it quite clear and precise for him, the two disappeared from his sight." Gregory of Nyssa, On Gregory the WonderWorker(AD 380),PG 46:912,in MCF,94

We also see in the Divine Liturgy a growing awareness of Mary's intercession in the Communicantes of the Divine Liturgy. The most impressive piece of evidence we have is a prayer at the end of a homily given at a Divine Liturgy by Basil of Seleucia in the 4th century, it reads as follows, "O Virgin all holy, he who has said of you all that is honorable and glorious has not sinned against the truth, but remains unequal to your merit. Look down upon us from above and be propitious to us. Lead us in peace and having brought us without shame to the throne of judgment, grant us a place at the right hand of your Son, that we may borne off to heaven and sing with angels to the uncreated, consubstantial Trinity" Basil of Seleucia, PG 85:452(ante AD 459),in THEO,187 We also have another witness to the Catholic view of her intercession from heaven by Theotknos of Livias who in the 6th century wrote, "Raised to heaven, she remains for the human race an unconquerable rampart, interceding for us before her Son and God." Theoteknos of Livias, Assumption 291(ante AD 560),in THEO,187

We can see that the idea of Mary's intercessory role is not a modern invention, by any stretch of the imagination. We can also see that none of these writers hold her up to be the 4th person of the Holy Trinity as many people falsely accuse the Catholic Church of doing. In short, we see the Theotokos (The God Bearer, or Mother of God) as a pure example of how we as Christians should ascend to Her son, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We also can see that we how view her also has implications on how we view Jesus Himself. Secondly we observe her as a powerful intercessor who always points to Jesus, and always operates within His will. Her intercession is not much different than our intercession for each other here on earth. We pray for each other and petition God for others salvation all of the time, or at least we should be. She is no different, aside from the fact the she now resides in heaven and not on earth. She is still part of the Body of Christ as we are. When we begin to understand Mary's role in God's family, then we begin to understand our own roles in His family as well.

I want to leave you with two beautiful quotes from the ancient Church regarding Mary. There is alot of theology packed into these two small quotes. I will carry them over to the next essays.

"The Virgin's festival (parthenike panegyris) incites our tongue today to herald her praise ... handmaid and Mother, Virgin and heaven, the only bridge of God to men, the awful loom of the Incarnation, in which by some unspeakable way the garment of that union was woven, whereof the weaver is the Holy Ghost; and the spinner the overshadowing from on high; the wool the ancient fleece of Adam; the woof the undefiled flesh from the virgin, the weaver's shuttle the immense grace of Him who brought it about; the artificer the Word gliding through the hearing" Proclus of Constantinople, Homily 1(ante AD 446),in CE

"O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the Word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all O Covenant, clothed with purity instead of gold! You are the Ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which divinity resides." Athanasius, Homily of the Papyrus of Turin,71:216(ante AD 373),in MCF,106


O'Carroll, Michael. Theotokos. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock, 1982. 186-188.

Bulgakov, Sergius. The Orthodox Chruch. Crestwood,NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary, 1988