Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How we got the bible, The history often taken for granted.

The bible is the written word of God. It was written by fallible men under the inspiration of the holy spirit. It was written by the Church that Jesus founded on the rock of Peter (Matthew 16:18). The following are the approximate years that the new testament was written.

Matthew pre 70
Mark 55
Luke 59-63
John 85
Acts 63
Romans 57
1 Corinthians 55
2 Corinthians 55
Galatians 50
Ephesians 60
Philippians 61
Colossians 60
1 Thessalonians 48-49
2 Thessalonians 51-52
1 Timothy 64
2 Timothy 66
Titus 64
Philemon 60
Hebrews pre 70
James 48
1 Peter 64
2 Peter 66
1 John 90
2 John 90
3 John 90
Jude 65
Revelation 95

When I was a protestant it never crossed my mind on how the bible came into being. Back then I was in a religion of a book where the bible was the text book of Christian faith. Some protestants when asked how did the bible come into being there is not one answer that is the same. I have heard that the church in the different provinces came up with there own cannon of scripture and when they got together they found out that each province came up with the exact same cannon. Someone could say that the last apostle alive which was John could have made a collection of the writings for the Christians before he died. Someone could say there was just a consensus in the late first early second century that everyone agreed on what books were inspired. All of these are nice but none of them are historically accurate. If anyone read the writings of the early Christians they would read that they didn’t agree on what was inspired and what wasn’t.

The first church historian, Eusebius, circa 303-325ad, applied the term “Antilegomena” which is Greek that means disputed to the following books who some considered inspired and some did not: Epistle of James, the Epistle of Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, the Acts of Paul, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Didache, the Apocalypse of John, and the Gospel according to the Hebrews: He writes:
"Among the disputed writings, which are nevertheless recognized by many, are extant the so-called epistle of James and that of Jude, also the second epistle of Peter, and those that are called the second and third of John, whether they belong to the evangelist or to another person of the same name. Among the rejected writings must be reckoned also the Acts of Paul, and the so-called Shepherd, and the Apocalypse of Peter, and in addition to these the extant epistle of Barnabas, and the so-called Teachings of the Apostles; and besides, as I said, the Apocalypse of John, if it seem proper, which some, as I said, reject, but which others class with the accepted books. And among these some have placed also the Gospel according to the Hebrews, with which those of the Hebrews that have accepted Christ are especially delighted. And all these may be reckoned among the disputed books.”

So here we are in the early fourth century and there is not a definitive cannon of scripture. How could the early Christians have made it going by the bible alone when they didn’t even know what books belong in the bible? The answer is they didn’t. They were taught the faith by the Church and if you read the fathers of the Church in the early second century you will read that they were taught by a church with the authority of Jesus to speak in his name (Lk 10:16) and by common knowledge called it the Catholic Church. The reason the early church needed a cannon of scripture was so that they would not read anything but sacred scripture during mass. It was because of these disputes that Catholic Church Councils were called to decide what would be read in holy mass as inspired scripture. It took 4 Councils: The Council of Rome 382 ad, The Council of Hippo 392 ad, The Council of Carthage 397 ad, The Council of Carthage 419 ad. It was Catholic Church Councils because the Catholic Church was the only church around from the beginning and was the only church around until the 16th century when Protestantism was formed.

The "Damasine list", issued by Pope Damasus I at the Council of Rome 382 ad, is as follows:
[[[[[[It is likewise decreed: Now, indeed, we must treat of the divine Scriptures: what the universal Catholic Church accepts and what she must shun. The list of the Old Testament begins: Genesis, one book; Exodus, one book: Leviticus, one book;Numbers, one book; Deuteronomy, one book; Jesus Nave, one book; of Judges, one book; Ruth, one book; of Kings, four books [First and Second Books of Kings, Third and Fourth Books of Kings]; Paralipomenon, two books; One Hundred and Fifty Psalms, one book; of Solomon, three books: Proverbs, one book; Ecclesiastes, one book; Canticle of Canticles, one book; likewise, Wisdom, one book; Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), one book;
Likewise, the list of the Prophets: Isaiah, one book; Jeremias, one book; along with Cinoth, that is, his Lamentations; Ezechiel, one book; Daniel, one book; Osee, one book; Amos, one book; Micheas, one book; Joel, one book; Abdias, one book; Jonas, one book; Nahum, one book; Habacuc, one book; Sophonias, one book; Aggeus, one book; Zacharias, one book; Malachias, one book.
Likewise, the list of histories: Job, one book; Tobias, one book; Esdras, two books; Esther, one book; Judith, one book; of Maccabees, two books.
Likewise, the list of the Scriptures of the New and Eternal Testament, which the holy and Catholic Church receives: of the Gospels, one book according to Matthew, one book according to Mark, one book according to Luke, one book according to John. The Epistles of the Apostle Paul, fourteen in number: one to the Romans, one to the Corinthians [2 Corinthians is not mentioned], one to the Ephesians, two to the Thessalonians [First Epistle to the Thessalonians and Second Epistle to the Thessalonians], one to the Galatians, one to the Philippians, one to the Colossians, two to Timothy [First Epistle to Timothy and Second Epistle to Timothy], one to Titus, one to Philemon, one to the Hebrews.
Likewise, one book of the Apocalypse of John. And the Acts of the Apostles, one book.
Likewise, the canonical Epistles, seven in number: of the Apostle Peter, two Epistles [First Epistle of Peter and Second Epistle of Peter]; of the Apostle James, one Epistle; of the Apostle John, one Epistle; of the other John, a Presbyter, two Epistles [Second Epistle of John and Third Epistle of John]; of the Apostle Jude the Zealot, one Epistle. Thus concludes the canon of the New Testament.
Likewise it is decreed: After the announcement of all of these prophetic and evangelic or as well as apostolic writings which we have listed above as Scriptures, on which, by the grace of God, the Catholic Church is founded, we have considered that it ought to be announced that although all the Catholic Churches spread abroad through the world comprise but one bridal chamber of Christ, nevertheless, the holy Roman Church has been placed at the forefront not by the conciliar decisions of other Churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you shall have bound on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall have loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven.(Mt 16:18-19)"]]]]]]
Some of the old testament books are named as something different than what you are use to such as our 1 and 2 Kings are 3 and 4 Kings in their list and their 1 and 2 kings are our 1 and 2 Samuel. If you notice there are 7 books in the old testament that aren’t in the protestant bible. Those books include: Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch.

[[[[The Council of Carthage 419 ad had those seven books also.
Canon 24.
That nothing be read in church besides the Canonical Scripture
Item, that besides the Canonical Scriptures nothing be read in church under the name of divine Scripture.
But the Canonical Scriptures are as follows:
• Genesis.
• Exodus.
• Leviticus.
• Numbers.
• Deuteronomy.
• Joshua the Son of Nun.
• The Judges.
• Ruth.
• The Kings, iv. books.
• The Chronicles, ij. books.
• Job.
• The Psalter.
• The Five books of Solomon.
• The Twelve Books of the Prophets.
• Isaiah.
• Jeremiah.
• Ezechiel.
• Daniel.
• Tobit.
• Judith.
• Esther.
• Ezra, ij. books.
• Macchabees, ij. books.
o The New Testament.
 The Gospels, iv. books.
 The Acts of the Apostles, j. book.
 The Epistles of Paul, xiv.
 The Epistles of Peter, the Apostle, ij.
 The Epistles of John the Apostle, iij.
 The Epistles of James the Apostle, j.
 The Epistle of Jude the Apostle, j.
 The Revelation of John, j. book.
Let this be sent to our brother and fellow bishop, Boniface, and to the other bishops of those parts, that they may confirm this canon, for these are the things which we have received from our fathers to be read in church. (Boniface was the pope at the time.)]]]]]

These seven books were in the Greek Septuagint which was the closest thing to an old testament bible for the Jews. It was translated around 250bc and was used by Jesus and the apostles. This is what St Cyril of Jerusalem says about the Septuagint written in 347ad.

St Cyril of Jerusalem Catechetical Lecture 4 paragraph 34
"And when they had fulfilled the task in seventy-two days, he brought together all their translations, which they had made in different chambers without sending them one to another, and found that they agreed not only in the sense but even in words. For the process was no word-craft, nor contrivance of human devices: but the translation of the Divine Scriptures, spoken by the Holy Ghost, was of the Holy Ghost accomplished. "
 
One argument for these books not being included in the bible is that these books aren't in the Jewish canon. The Jews didn't have a fixed canon of scripture until around 100ad when some of the Rabis tried to reestablish the Sanhedrin and met in Jamnia. This gathering wasn’t a big council like the Church has. The Church gathers bishops from around the world to decide on important matters. The Sanhedrin was similar to our modern day Majesterium but the Sanhedrin’s authority passed away and was given to the Church by Jesus.So this decision by the Jews was made by those who rejected the gospel of Jesus.Another argument as to why these 7 books are not in the protestant bible is that the new testament writers don’t quote from them and that every old testament book is quoted from in the new testament. That is a desperate claim for sola scriptura that has no backing. For one there are many old testament books that are not quoted in the new testament like Joshua and Judges. New testament writers do in fact quote from some of these books. For example
Sirach 5:11-13 Be quick to hear, and be deliberate in answering. If you have understanding, answer your neighbor; but if not, put your hand on your mouth. Glory and dishonor come from speaking, and a man's tongue is his downfall
Jas 1:19 Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger,
If this quoting in the new testament was the criteria for being inspired then the following examples would be inspired also. These non inspired writings were quoted from in the new testament.
The Life of Adam and Eve is quoted in 2 Corinthians 11:14
A line from the Book of Enoch is quoted in the Epistle of Jude (Jude 14–15) almost verbatim. The work is believed by most scholars[who?] to be pseudepigraphal, but the author of Jude cites them as if they are Enoch's own words. The book of Enoch is in the Ethiopian Bible. Other references to the Book of Enoch are 1 Peter 3:19-20, Jude 6 and 2 Peter 2:4.[23]
The Book of Jubilees is quoted in Romans 2:29, 9:24, 4:13
The first Epistle to Corinth referenced at 1 Corinthians 5:9
The Earlier Epistle to the Ephesians referenced at Ephesians 3:3-4
The Earlier Epistle of John referenced at 3John 1:9
Missing Epistle of Jude referenced in Jude 1:3
One thing that can prove scripture is indeed inspired by God is accurate fulfillment of prophecy. This is a minor criterion because Esther for example doesn’t have any prophecy or some books have prophecy yet to be fulfilled. So one could ask is there any prophecy in these 7 books in the catholic cannon of the old testament that are not in the protestant cannon. The answer is yes.

Wisdom 2:12-20 is a prophecy about Jesus.
Wisdom 2:12-20 12: "Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; he reproaches us for sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training. 13: He professes to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a child of the Lord. 14: He became to us a reproof of our thoughts; 15: the very sight of him is a burden to us, because his manner of life is unlike that of others, and his ways are strange. 16: We are considered by him as something base, and he avoids our ways as unclean; he calls the last end of the righteous happy, and boasts that God is his father. 17: Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life; 18: for if the righteous man is God's son, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries. 19: Let us test him with insult and torture, that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance. 20: Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, according to what he says, he will be protected."

Verse by verse of Wisdom 2
12 - Matthew 23:23,27-28,John 7:19-20
13 - John 8:55, John 3:18, John 5:25
14 - Matthew 9:4, Luke 6:7-11
15 - Matthew 15:1-6, Mark 3:1-6, Luke 5:21-26
16 - Lk 11:39-41, Luke 10:22
17-20 - Matthew 27:41-43

So there is with out a doubt this prophecy is about Jesus. These seven books excluded from the protestant cannon were once in the protestant bible. In the first edition of the King James version these books were included. The first time these books were excluded from a bible was in 1880s when the English Revised Version came out. So these books were considered inspired before the time of Christ and in all of Christian history but all of the sudden these books are considered by protestants to no longer be inspired 150 years ago. Now that doesn’t make sense to me.
The very first complete bible in Christian history was the Latin Vulgate. At the Council of Rome in 382 ad Pope Damasus I asked Jerome to translate the Hebrew, Greek, and to revise previous Latin translations into one Latin translation. Jerome was the best scholar at the time. Jerome completed this task in the year 405 ad. This first complete bible had those books.

So in conclusion it was the Catholic Church that wrote the New Testament, passed the faith on orally and in written form, with the authority of Jesus it declared what books would be in the bible, and kept the faith constant and unchanging for 2000 years.


Monday, June 8, 2009

The rapture?


I am sure that all of you have heard of, read or watched the “Left Behind Series”. The left behind series starts with what they call the rapture where all of the Christian faithful disappear and are taken to heaven. This being the start of a 7 year tribulation period which at the end of the seven years is the second coming of Christ. I hate to disappoint everyone looking forward to any type of rapture separate from the second coming but this idea of a rapture was invented by a British religious figure named John Nelson Darby (1800-1882). Darby’s pre-tribulational view of the rapture was then picked up by a man named C.I. Scofield, who taught the view in the footnotes of his Scofield Reference Bible, which was widely distributed in England and America. Many Protestants who read the Scofield Reference Bible uncritically accepted what its footnotes said and adopted the pre-tribulational view, even though no Christian had heard of it in the previous 1800 years of Church history.
            A couple verses that people who hold this view use to support their position are.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
I Corinthians 15:51-53  Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
            Take a close look at these verses, particularly at the parts that talk about a trumpet being sounded, the coming of the lord and being caught up together. Now read the following 3 verses looking for the three things just mentioned.
Matthew 24:29-31“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Mark 13:24-27 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light;  the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.  And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
            Did you notice that when the trumpet is sounded, the people are gathered to Jesus at his coming and it is after the tribulation and at the second coming of Christ? Being caught up together with Jesus in the clouds is what they are calling the rapture but it is at the same time of the second coming not at some secret time before then. Remember Jesus said that he would return one last time not twice. It is also interesting to notice that 1 Cor 15:52 it says the rapture is suppose to take place at the “last trumpet” however we read in Revelation chapter 8-11 about 7 trumpets being blown during the great tribulation which is suppose to be after the rapture. How can the last trumpet be the first trumpet? Also if you look back to 1 Cor 15:51-53 and look at the next two verses (54, 55) notice what it says. 1 Cor 15:54-55 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." "O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?"
It talks about death ending. When does death end? At the second coming. These verses contradict the dispensational theology because just after the pre tribulational rapture death just begins. It isn’t swallowed up in victory it is unleashed and will claim very many people.
In describing Jesus’ return, Paul combines imagery drawn from two sources. From biblical apocalyptic (e.g., Dan 7:13), he gets the coming on the clouds of heaven with the angelic trumpets. From his Greco-Roman experience, he gets the imagery of an arrival of a king on a state visit (in Greek, parousia); where a joyful multitude goes out to meet him on the road and accompany him back to the city. We even see this going out to meet the king on his return home in 1 Sam 30:21 where David’s soldiers go and meet David on his return.
One problem a pre trib view is that people apply distinctions inconsistently. For instance, they claim that parousia in 1 Thessalonians 4:15 refers to the rapture, but that the same word in 1 Thessalonians 3:13 describes the Second Coming.
Even Martha understood that the faithful would rise on the last day at the resurrection. Jesus doesn’t correct her and say you will rise in the rapture then seven years later you will be given your resurrection body.
John 11:23-24 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day."
Two more verses dispensationalist use to support a pre-trib rapture are Mt 24:37-39, Lk 17:26-30. 
Mt 24:37-39 As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man.
Lk 17:26-30 As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of man. They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was in the days of Lot--they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom fire and sulphur rained from heaven and destroyed them all-- so will it be on the day when the Son of man is revealed.
            If you look closely at these verses you will see that the second coming of Jesus will be like in the days of Noah and Lot. Read carefully in Matthew 24 to see who was taken and who was left. The dispensationalist says that like the rapture Noah was taken out and saved from destruction. Read the context it says that the people were eating and drinking and marrying and they did not know until the flood  came and swept them away. See who was taken here. It was the bad guys who were taken and Noah was left behind. The same is with Lot. Lot was left behind and the workers of iniquity were taken. That fits exactly with what Jesus said in Mt 13:37-43. 
Mt 13:37-43 He answered, "He who sows the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world, and the good seed means the sons of the kingdom; the weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
            Notice that the evildoers are taken first like weeds and the righteous are left. Another verse dispensationalist use is Lk 17:34-36. This is the famous verse that says one will be taken and the other left. If you ask the dispensationalist where they were taken, they will say to heaven of course but if you look at the very next verse (verse 37), the apostles ask Jesus where they are taken and Jesus’ answer doesn’t paint a rosy picture of heaven.
Lk 17:34-37 I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken and the other left." Then they asked him, "Where, Lord?" He said to them, "Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather."
            We see further evidence that Christians are on earth until the second coming in Dan 7:25 and Dan 8:24. In these verses Daniel talks about Christians being persecuted by the antichrist. According to a pre trib rapture view the Christians are taken out before the antichrist shows up. Jesus in Mt 24:9-24 mentions the antichrist persecuting the elect. In Rev 7:9-14 we see martyrs who came out of the tribulation period. In all of these verses the Christians should already be in heaven and there is no mention that these people are a remnant who came to faith after a rapture.
            So we see that both scripture and Church history show that the idea of a rapture separate from the second coming is not something we should be looking for.









Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The dangers of Yoga and its incompatibility with Christianity



Yoga helps me stay in shape and helps me relax. What’s wrong with that they say. Yoga goes much deeper than that. Yoga cannot be separated from Hindu mysticism no more than Jesus can be separated from the Father and the Holy Spirit.

What yoga is from authorities of yoga.

One of the leading contemporary authorities on kundalini yoga is Gopi Krishna. In his article "The True Aim of Yoga," he says: "The aim of yoga is to achieve the state of unity or oneness with God, Brahman, [and] spiritual beings.
One of the most authoritative texts on yoga theory within the Hindu perspective is Pantajali's text on raja Yoga titled Yoga Sutras (e.g.,  596 ). In this text he puts forth the traditional eight "limbs," or parts, of yoga. These are defined within the context of a basic Hindu worldview (reincarnation, karma, and moksha, or liberation) and intended to support and reinforce Hindu beliefs. Each "limb" has a spiritual goal and together they form a unit. These eight limbs are:
Yama (self-control, restraints, devotion to the gods [e.g. Krishna] or the final impersonal God [e.g., Brahman]
Niyama (religious duties, prohibitions, observances)
Asana (proper postures for yoga practices; these represent the first stage in the isolation of consciousness and are vital components for "transcending the human condition" 601:54)
Pranayama (the control and directing of the breath and the alleged divine energy within the human body [prana] to promote health and spiritual [occult] consciousness and evolution)
Prayahara (sensory control or deprivation, i.e., withdrawal of the senses from attachment to external objects)
Dharana (deeper concentration, or mind control)
Dhyana (deep contemplation from occult meditation)
Samadhi (occult enlightenment or "God [Brahman] realization" i.e., "union" of the "individual" with God).
Because the eight steps are interdependent, the steps of "postures" and "breathing" cannot logically be separated from the others. Thus, the interdependence of all eight steps reveals why the physical exercises of yoga are designed to prepare the body for the spiritual (occult) changes that will allegedly help one realize godhood status.
Yoga authorities Feuerstein and Miller comment that the postures (asana) of yoga and its breathing techniques (pranayama) are much more than just physical exercises: Again, we see that the control of the vital energy (prana) by way of breathing, like also asana, is not merely a physical exercise, but is accompanied by certain psychomental phenomena. In other words, all techniques falling under the heading of asana and pranayama as, for example, the mudras and bandhas [physical positions or symbolic bodily gestures utilizing pranayama and concentration for physical or spiritual purposes] of Hatha yoga, are psychosomatic exercises. This point, unfortunately, is little understood by Western practitioners
Actually, yoga practice is intended to validate occult yoga theory. And as noted, yoga theory teaches that everything is, in its true inner nature, divine - not only divine but ultimately equal to everything else - everything from God and the devil to the athlete and the AIDS virus.
Yoga theory also teaches that in their outer nature, everything is maya, or illusion. For example, only in his inner spirit is man divine; his "outer nature," of body and personality, are ultimately a delusion that separates him from awareness of his real inner divinity. Thus, another purpose of yoga must be to slowly dismantle the outer personality - man's illusory part - so the supposed impersonal divinity can progressively "emerge" from within his hidden divine consciousness
This is why people who practice yoga only for physical or mental health reasons are ultimately the victims of a confidence game. They are promised better health; little do they suspect the end goal of yoga is to destroy them as individuals. As yoga authorities Feuerstein and Miller comment, yoga results in "a progressive dismantling of human personality ending in a complete abolition. With every step (anga) of Yoga, what we call 'man' is demolished a little more"
The concept of prana ("breath") is a key to the process. Pranayama refers to the knowledge and control of prana, or mystical energy, not merely to the control of one's physical breath  (979:592) . Prana is believed to be universal divine energy residing behind the material world (akasa). Prana is said to have five forms, and all energy is thoughy to be a manifestation of it.
According to Vivekananda, all occult manifestations are accomplished through yogic control of prana: We see in every country sects that attempted to control of prana. In this country there are mind healers, spiritualists, Christian Scientists, hypnotists, and so on. If we examine these different sects, we shall find at the back of each is the control of prana, whether they know it or not. If you boil all the theories down, the residuum will be that. It is one and the same force they are manipulating. Thus we see that pranayama includes all that is true even of spiritualism. Similarly, you will find that wherever any sect or body of people is trying to discover anything occult, mysterious, or hidden, they are really practicing some sort of yoga to control their prana. You will find that wherever there is any extraordinary display of power, it is the manipulation of prana. In other words, prana, God, and occult energy are all one and the same. The one who practices yogic breathing (pranayama) is by definition attempting to manipulate occult ("divine") energy.

Trying to separate the religious from the physical.

As we have seen the teachers of Hindu themselves have acknowledged that there is no way yoga can be separated from its religious base."[However], Hatha-yoga is 'one of the six recognized systems of orthodox Hinduism' and is at its roots religious and mystical. It is also one of the most difficult and potentially dangerous [spiritually] forms of Yoga. "The term hatha is derived from the verb hath, which means 'to oppress.'... What the practice of hatha-yoga is designed to do is suppress the flow of psychic energies through these channels ["symbolic, or psychic, passages on either side of the spinal column"], thereby forcing the 'serpent power' or the kundalini force to rise through the central psychic channel in the spine (the sushumna) and up through the chakras, the supposed psychic centers of human personality and power. Westerners mistakenly believe that one can practice hatha-yoga apart from the philosophical and religious beliefs that under grid it. This is an absolutely false belief "You cannot separate the exercises from the philosophy. 'The movements themselves become a form of meditation.' The continued practice of the exercises will, whether you ... intend it or not, eventually influence you toward an Eastern/mystical perspective. That is what it is meant to do! There is, by definition, no such thing as 'neutral' Yoga"
Even when yoga is practiced innocently, it can eventually produce dramatic occult transformation. "Personality changes can be brought about in Hatha Yoga by changing the body so that it influences the mind."
It is important to note that historically, in the east, advanced yoga practice was only permitted within narrowly defined parameters. Students practiced under the strict guidance of a yogi in controlled, slowly advancing stages in stress-free settings. Higher levels involving breath work and energy work were always reserved for those initiates successfully completing years of the purification which decreased the likelihood of problems.
            Now, even in all but the most rigorous ashrams in the west, advanced yogic practices are imparted at weekend or week-long getaways and some yoga teachers receive certifications after only months of study. To suggest that one can derive solely physical benefits from Yoga without being affected -- in some way -- by its inherently spiritual foundation is to miss the mark. Yoga is not primarily about limbering up the body; it is about using physical means to achieve a spiritual end. So the question of separating the physical from the spiritual in yoga is really a contradiction in terms. In fact, if one consults the massive amount of yoga material available, it becomes clear that yoga was never intended to have any physical benefits. Yoga is consistently presented as being primarily about actualizing one's spiritual potential, attaining "freedom," transcending the ego, and the like.

Consider a Biblical example:

1 Cor 10:18-20 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.

The meat sacrificed to the pagan idols was completely fine physically to eat yet Paul warns people not to eat it because of the underlying spiritual dimension.
Perhaps by analogy a Catholic may ask if it's possible to receive the Eucharist and not be participating in something religious. Or think of it another way. If an atheist takes and consumes a consecrated Host, could we validly maintain that has he not received the Body of Christ because he doesn't believe that that's what it is? Could we assert that he has merely "gone through the physical motions" of receiving but has not engaged in a spiritual activity? Technically speaking, the Eucharist has a spiritual reality independent of the receiver's beliefs, and I propose that the same is true for Yoga. Just as the Real Presence is contained within a consecrated Host whether or not someone believes it, so also does Yoga have a spiritual component that is real, whether or not it is the specific pursuit of the practitioner.
Donna Kocian, who is one who tries to combine Christianity and Hinduism says she wants to help people pause and find themselves in today’s frenetic world, “to pray within themselves, to pause, to reflect, to give thanks and to heal by yoga.” (Why do we need yoga to do that when we have Eucharistic Adoration, an opportunity to sit for as long as we want in the sacramental presence of the greatest healer who ever walked the earth?)
Kocian “Christianizes” her yoga class by incorporating Gospel readings and Christian music with yoga postures that are designed to give worship to any one of about 3 million Hindu gods. If this was possible, why couldn’t we just “Christianize” occult practices such as tarot cards and palm reading? How hard would it be to create a Christian deck of tarot cards and associate biblical prophecies with each one? And couldn’t we justify palm reading by saying that God created our bodies so when we read our palms, we’re just reading what God put there?
             
Bad side effects of yoga.

Consider the experience of Christina Grof, who, prior to her experience with yoga, was an average housewife with normal plans for her life. She took up yoga entirely without suspicion as a practice that would help her physically during her pregnancy. After all, there are widespread claims that "during pregnancy, yoga exercises are extremely beneficial and will keep you supple and relaxed." What Christian Grof got was far more. She found herself transformed from a "conservative suburban housewife" into a New Age leader by means of hatha yoga. All she had to do was "join a hatha yoga class for exercise" and the logical progression ensued.
            One example of the physical dangers of yoga was at common workplace where power yoga was offered at lunchtime for a quick pick-me-up. The yoga instructor recently had the class perform an exercise designed to stimulate the pituitary gland - and one of students did not sleep the entire following night. The dangers of any kind of yoga can be schizophrenia, mental disorders, include abuse of power, unconscious motivations of teachers and students, as well as the ignorance of the physiological and psychological effects of yoga.
Feuerstein and Bodian note that experiences made possible through yoga include “. . . lucid dreaming, out-of-body states, clairvoyance, and other psychic abilities, as well as ecstasies, mystical states and, at the apex of them all, enlightenment.” They go on to assert that “yoga is at home with all these mental states and mind-transcending realizations” Given these candid admissions by yoga masters that the development of psychic abilities is a virtually unavoidable result of practicing yoga — in fact, it is the very goal — the believing Christian is left with a serious moral and spiritual dilemma:  should he pursue an activity whose ultimate goal is to cultivate “powers” that God expressly condemns?  There’s no avoiding the fact that yoga can and does foster these abilities, and there’s no avoiding the fact that God tells us they are spiritually harmful to His children
Dave Hunt in his book “Yoga and the Body of Christ” makes a connection between the effects of LSD and other Psychedelic drugs introduced in the 1960s with yoga. The Central Intelligence Agency’s investigation into these drugs for possible military use experimented with more than eighty college campuses under various CIA code names, which popularized LSD to thousands of graduate students.
Under the influence of psychedelics, millions discovered another dimension of reality that surely was not physical. But as long as the “trip” lasted, the adventure was as real as the physical universe—or, seemingly, even more real. It only remained to be discovered that yoga would produce the same “trip” without drugs—and yoga took off as the new cure all. Hunt tells of his conversation with a mother. “I remember the mother of a 20-year-old telling me with some sense of relief and little concern,” “Our son used to be heavily into drugs; but thank God he isn’t using drugs anymore because he started practicing yoga. I don’t know what yoga is, but it can’t be bad if it got him off of drugs!”
“My reply must have shocked her”: “I’m glad to hear that your son no longer gets ‘high’ on drugs. I’m sorry to inform you, however, that he can get a lot ‘higher’ on yoga than on drugs. Drugs were the kindergarten of occultism—yoga is the graduate school!”
Hunt notes it is both logical and biblical that God would build protection within man to prevent a take-over of the human mind by any other mind. One could, however, voluntarily allow this to be done by willingly submitting to hypnosis. Moreover, deliberately entering an altered state, whether through drugs, hypnosis, or yoga, is giving permission to evil entities to take over, whether one realizes it or not.
Anthropologist Michael Harner wrote, “A shaman...enters an altered state of consciousness...to acquire...special, personal power, which is usually supplied by his guardian and helping spirits.” John Lilly, who invented the isolation tank (in which one floats in a sea of heavy salt water, completely isolated from sights or sounds of the world) that inspired the movie, Altered States , declared: “Some people call it ‘lucid dreaming.’ It’s a lot easier if you have a psychedelic [drug] in you, but a lot of people...can just meditate and go into these alternate realities....” There are many recorded accounts by those who have experienced similar adventures and “possession” while practicing yoga.
The staff at the Berean Call (an evangelical ministry) says “I have interviewed people who became demon possessed through yoga. The great yogis all warn of the grave dangers involved, even though at the same time they promote the alleged benefits. Yes, you could benefit physically from stretching your muscles, etc. However, the spiritual price you pay is not worth it. If you are interested in physical fitness, then practice exercises designed for that, not those designed specifically for achieving union with Brahman!”

Other health problems can be found here: http://womenofgrace.com/newage/?p=676#more-676

Christian Clergy on Yoga


R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Yoga is Hindu and the practice imperils the souls of Christians who engage in it.

Fr. James Manjackal, a Catholic priest who was raised in a traditional Catholic family in India, states: “Yoga is not an elaborate system of physical exercises, it is a spiritual discipline purporting to lead the soul to Samadhi, the state in which the natural and divine become one. It is interesting to note that postures and breathing exercises often considered to be the whole of yoga in the west are steps three and four towards union with Brahman.”

The late Fr. John Hardon SJ also affirmed that yoga is not compatible with Catholicism. “Inner Hinduism or yoga professes pantheism which denies that there is only one Infinite Being who created the world out of nothing. This pantheistic Hinduism says that followers will have brief tastes of heaven between successive rebirths on Earth.”

Dr. John Ankerberg states in his article Innocent Yoga? “Regardless of the school or spiritual tradition, yoga practice tends to alter a person’s consciousness in an occult direction. Even when yoga is practiced innocently, it can eventually produce occult transformation.”
There are those who claim there is nothing wrong with practicing Yoga for exercise purposes only, but even the teachers of Hindu have stated that the philosophy and the practice of yoga are inseparable. From Johanna Michaelsen’s book “Like Lambs to the Slaughter” (pp 93-95) she states, “You cannot separate the exercises from the philosophy… The movements themselves become a form of meditation.”

Exorcists on yoga.
The [UK] Daily Mail reported on May 24, 2008: posted this article:
Father Jeremy Davies, exorcist for Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the leader of Catholics in England and Wales, says that activities such as yoga, massage therapy, reiki or even reading horoscopes could put people at risk from evil spirits.
In a new book, he also argues that people with promiscuous lifestyles could find themselves afflicted by demons.
And he says that the occult is closely linked to the scourges of ‘drugs, demonic music and pornography’ which are ‘destroying millions of young people in our time’.
The 73-year-old Catholic priest, who was appointed exorcist of the Archdiocese of Westminster in 1986, was a medical doctor before being ordained in 1974.
He has carried out thousands of exorcisms in London and in 1993 he set up the International Association of Exorcists with Fr Gabriel Amorth, the Pope’s top exorcist.
He adds that ‘perversions’ such as homosexuality, pornography and promiscuity are contributing to a growing sense of moral unease.
He writes: ‘Even heterosexual promiscuity is a perversion; and intercourse, which belongs in the sanctuary of married love, can become a pathway not only for disease but also for evil spirits...young people especially are vulnerable and we must do what we can to protect them.
‘The thin end of the wedge (soft drugs, yoga for relaxation, horoscopes just for fun and so on) is more dangerous than the thick end because it is more deceptive – an evil spirit tries to make his entry as unobtrusively as possible.
‘Beware of any claim to mediate beneficial energies (eg reiki), any courses that promise the peace that Christ promises (eg enneagrams), any alternative therapy with its roots in eastern religion (eg acupuncture).’
Fr Davies argues that occult practices such as magic, fortune-telling and holding seances to contact the spirits of the dead are ‘direct invitations to the Devil which he readily accepts’.
But the Oxford-educated priest, who is based in Luton, Bedfordshire, says there are different degrees of demonic influence, and the most extreme forms occur rarely.
THE appointment of a new exorcist by Sydney's Catholic Church precedes a warning by a senior clergyman that generation Y risks a dangerous fascination with the occult fuelled by the Twilight and Harry Potter series.
Julian Porteous, the auxiliary bishop of Sydney, warns that pursuing such ''alternative'' relaxation techniques as yoga, reiki massages and tai chi may encourage experimentation with ''deep and dark
spiritual ideas and traditions''

In an article published Nov 27 2011 from the Hindustan Times, New Delhi quotes Fr Gabriel Armoth who is the top Vatican exorcist. The article states: The controversial priest, who has carried out more than 70,000 exorcisms in 25 years, declared: "Both seem innocuous but they deal with magic and that leads to evil.”Father Amorth said: "Yoga is the Devil's work. You think you are doing it to stretch your mind and body. "But it leads to oriental religions based on the false belief of reincarnation."

The Magesterium of the Catholic Church on Yoga
            In a 1989 Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation (hereafter Aspects), the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith focused on various Eastern spiritual practices and the legitimacy of their inclusion into the spiritual lives of Christians. In a footnote contained in Number 2, Aspects specifically states that "The expression 'eastern methods' is used to refer to methods which are inspired by Hinduism and Buddhism, such as Zen, Transcendental Meditation or Yoga." They said that yoga can "degenerate into a cult of the body" that debases Christian prayer. Further, the Church leaders cautioned, "The love of God, the sole object of Christian contemplation, is a reality which cannot be 'mastered' by any method or technique."
 So the Magisterium clearly has yoga in mind when addressing the issue of Christians using Eastern spiritual practices. It also affirms that bodily considerations (such as yoga's postures, for instance) can indeed impact us spiritually: "Human experience shows that the 'position and demeanor of the body' also have their influence on the recollection and dispositions of the spirit.

A Call to Vigilance Pastoral Instruction on the New Age by Archbishop (now Cardinal) Norberto Rivera Carrera wrote Jan 7, 1996 saying:
32. These practices were unquestionably born as spiritual disciplines or religious acts within traditional religions (as in the case of Zen, tai chi, and the many forms of yoga), or in sects or new religious movements (as in the case of transcendental meditation and dynamic meditation). At times an attempt is made to "christianize" these forms, as occurred, for example, with "centering prayer" and "focusing," but the result is always a hybrid form with slight gospel basis.
33. However much proponents insist that these techniques are valuable merely as methods, and imply no teaching contrary to Christianity, the techniques in themselves always involve serious drawbacks for a Christian:
a)       In their own context, the postures and exercises are designed for their specific religious purpose. They are, in themselves, steps for guiding the user towards an impersonal absolute. Even when they are carried out within a Christian atmosphere, the intrinsic meaning of these gestures remains intact.

In 2003 the Catholic Church's Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue released a document entitled Jesus Christ: The Bearer of the Water of Life (hereafter Bearer). While the focus of this document is the New Age movement, we again find the subject of yoga included: "Some of the traditions which flow into New Age are: ancient Egyptian occult practices, Cabbalism, early Christian Gnosticism, Sufism, the lore of the Druids, Celtic Christianity, mediaeval alchemy, Renaissance hermeticism, Zen Buddhism, yoga and so on" (#2.1).
Yoga, zen, transcendental meditation and tantric exercises lead to an experience of self-fulfillment or enlightenment. Peak-experiences (reliving one's birth, traveling
to the gates of death, biofeedback, dance and even drugs – anything which can
provoke an altered state of consciousness) are believed to lead to unity and
enlightenment. (#2.3.3)

Islam on Yoga.

In 2008 the leading Islamic council in Malaysia issued an edict prohibiting the country's Muslims from indulging in the practice of yoga. Abdul Husim  the Chairman said, "Yoga destroys a Muslim's faith." “There are other ways to get exercise. You can go cycling, swimming." If it can destroy a Muslim faith it can destroy a Christian one also.

 

Alternatives to yoga


PraiseMoves was developed by Laurette Willis, a Protestant and former Hatha yoga instructor who returned to the Lord after being convicted of her involvement in yoga. Here’s a link: http://praisemoves.com/christianalternative.htm
Other alternatives.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Even Satanist know which church was established by Jesus

There are different types of Satanist but the real deal is the high echelon Satanist. Satanists in order to mock God the most they take God’s revealed truth and do the opposite when it comes to their worship services. Satanists don’t do the opposite of a Hindu, Buddhist, or even a protestant worship service because those are not how Jesus set up worship. Jesus gave us the Mass and Satanists know the value of the sacraments. Every satanic ritual in higher echelon is a take off of the sacramental right in the Catholic Church. Satanism was structured specifically as the opposite of the Catholic Church. It possessed its own sacraments, all of which were evil opposites of the Catholic sacraments, and it performs dark rites with the Black Mass being its primary, which was a backwards parody of the Catholic Mass.

The host that the dark priest blesses is black and has three points; he consecrates no wine, but instead he drinks the water of a well into which the body of an unbaptized infant has been flung.

The Black Mass’ main objective is the profanation of a consecrated host that has been stolen from a Catholic Mass. Jesus’ body, blood, soul, and divinity under the appearance of bread is profaned by means of some ritual related to sexual practices. There are unbelievable horrors that go on in a black mass and I won’t mention them to protect the innocent minds.
Most Satanists and real Witches can discern a Consecrated Host among thousands of unconsecrated hosts. The people who can do this have made a direct pack with devils enabling them to inhabit one and use their powers which are much superior to the abilities of ordinary humans.

Evil spirits in the bible recognized Jesus as being the son of God. This next verse is a man isolated from the world and as soon as he sees Jesus he knows exactly who he is.
Mk 5:2-8 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!" For Jesus had said to him, "Come out of this man, you evil spirit!"
Mk 1:23-25 and immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are the Holy One of God." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!"
Both good and bad angels are capable of knowing, or sensing, the presence of Jesus in a consecrated Host. Each and every consecrated Host is both the Material and Spiritual presence of Jesus.

Betty Brennan is one witness of what went on in black masses. She was raised a Catholic, became a Satanist, returned to the true Church. What drove her away was the loss of a child who was slowly dieing for the first 2 years of its life due to a terminal brain illness. With this loss she wanted revenge on God. She was a member of a musical orchestra and it was there that she met a few members who were satanic priests. She would vent her feelings to them and for the first time she wasn’t told that she shouldn’t have this anger towards God. This is how she got involved in Satanism. When she recalls her story she tells that she use to act Catholic by going to Mass for her husband and children. She would stay for the first half of Mass (Liturgy of the Word) but she ran out of Mass before the Liturgy of the Eucharist because of her fear of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. This went on for a while until she quit going. Later on she had an elderly friend who needed to be driven a hundred miles to a healing Mass. Betty would wait outside while the healing Mass was going on. She would supernaturally turn the lights off but the priest over came that with candles. She would also do other things to cause trouble. Betty took her friend to these healing Masses several times. Her friend told Betty that she has been to services at this church before but only when Betty was there was when weird things happened. She was invited to go in on one of these trips but as soon as she entered the sanctuary she froze in fear of Jesus’ presence in the tabernacle. She physically couldn’t move. When she regained motor functions she ran out and down the stairs to the exit. She was moving so fast that she knocked over an elderly priest who was going up the stairs. Betty was in a sweat and in a state of nervous panic. When the priest got up he asked Betty “Who are you in the name of Jesus come out”. It was at that time when she began a healing process which led to her conversion back to the church.

The following is a reflection of the true story of a conversation with an Ex Satanist and what this Priest learned from it.
Satanism and the Eucharist
During my parish work last summer in France, one of my responsibilities was participating in a weekly prayer group for young adults who had fallen away from the Church. The last meeting of the summer, one of the guys made a surprising revelation to us all: before his conversion, he had been a full-fledged Satanist.

One of the most chilling moments in movie "The Passion of Christ" was during the Lord’s scourging, when Satan appears as a cradling baby who slowly turns to reveal a hideous face. Here Satan is mocking Jesus and Mary by presenting himself as a twisted sort of “anti” Madonna and Child, as if to proclaim that he and his offspring have won, and not the woman and her offspring as foretold in Genesis 3:15. This is how the Evil One loves to work—Satan loves to mock God by imitating the holy and twisting it in a sick way. This past summer I was struck with this truth in a totally new way.

Nicolas had been a part of the prayer group all year long, but this was the first time that he had talked about his life before his conversion. He told us about how he became involved in Satanism while in his late teens. It enslaved him, bringing despair and utter loneliness to his life, to the point where he was tormented with thoughts of suicide. He felt trapped and helpless in its grasp. It was only through the constant prayers of his mother that he was finally freed from this slavery a couple of years ago, and he began to give his life back to Christ.

I had never met anyone like Nicolas, openly admitting a past involvement in Satanism. After the initial shock, I bombarded him with three questions, one after another. First, how did they ‘worship’ Satan? I had always heard that it was not anything like worshipping an image of Satan or singing hymns, but by having a so-called “Black Mass.” In other words, their entire service is a mockery of the Catholic Mass. Was this true, I asked him? Not a Protestant preaching service, not a Buddhist temple ritual, but an explicit mockery of our Mass? “Yes,” Nicolas told us, “that is true.”

I had also heard, I continued, that Satanists steal consecrated communion bread from their local Catholic churches which they desecrate at these black services. For example, I have heard of Catholic parishes where this is such a problem that the pastor is forced to post special attendants during Holy Communion who watch to make sure that no one receives the Eucharist and walks away without consuming the host. The Satanists take these consecrated hosts to their services—these wafers of “bread” that Catholics believe have been miraculously transformed by the Holy Spirit into the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ—and desecrate them with spit, bodily waste, and other such unimaginable blasphemies. Before your conversion, I asked Nicolas, did you and your fellow Satanists steal consecrated hosts for this purpose? “Yes,” Nicolas answered, “we did.”

The poor guy probably felt like he was being interrogated by the CIA by this point, but knowing that I might never have this opportunity again, I asked Nicolas one final question. I told him that I had also heard that those who were very deep in Satanism could actually tell whether a communion host had been consecrated or not. For example, they will not steal communion bread from Protestant communion meals, nor will they steal unblessed communion bread for desecration at these “Black Masses.” It would not work because some of the Satanists would immediately recognize that it was just ordinary bread. They would be able to tell that Jesus Christ was not sacramentally present there.

I asked Nicolas whether this also was true. He again replied that it is, and he told us that he could do this himself before his conversion from Satanism. A chill went down my spine. If someone were to put ten identical communion hosts in front of him, nine unconsecrated and one consecrated, he would have been able to point directly and immediately to the host that had been consecrated. I asked him in amazement, “But how were you able to know?!?” He looked at me and the words he spoke are forever burned in my memory: “Because of the hate,” he said. “Because of the burning hate I would feel toward that host, apart from all the others.”

His words hit me like a baseball bat. Some of the saints also had this mystical knowledge of the Lord’s Eucharistic presence, but this knowledge flowed from their deep union with Christ. Nicolas, on the other hand, knew Christ’s presence because his worship of Satan had worked the opposite mystical connection to the Eucharist—he knew Jesus was there not because of his love for Jesus, but because of his deep hate. It makes my skin crawl just to think about such hatred.

This is how Satan operates. He loves to mock whatever is holy and sacred, to imitate the truth and twist it in a perverse way. The Mass is the most sacred prayer on earth, the most awesome way for us Christians to offer worship to our Lord, so Satan has his followers worship him through a mockery of that prayer. Instead of lifting the Eucharist high with adoration and loving reverence, the Eucharist is thrown to the ground with loathing and derision. Rather than knowing Christ’s true presence in the sacrament through their love, they perversely recognize Christ’s presence through their hatred.

Let’s not pretend otherwise—it is scary to hear a story like Nicolas’. It is terrifying to realize that such evil exists in this world. But more than frighten us, his testimony should give us hope, comfort, and strength. Satan does exist and he is powerful, but Jesus Christ is infinitely more powerful. Even the most wicked sinner can be brought back to the love of the Lord, through Christ’s grace and through the prayers of believers (like Nicolas’ mother!) If Satan so despises the Mass, then we should be moved to even greater devotion, preparation, and participation in Mass. If Satan so despises the Lord’s true presence in the Eucharist, then our hearts should burn with even greater love and thirst for worthily receiving Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Quit Shopping on Sunday

It use to be that stores were closed on Sunday but now there are few stores that are not open. This gives Christians the temptation to misuse the Lord’s day.
The main scripture verse on keeping a day of rest is in (Deuteronomy 5:12-14)
"Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do."

The Jews in the old testament were very strict on keeping the Sabbath day command as shown in (Num 15:32-35) While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation. They put him in custody, because it had not been made clear what should be done to him. And the LORD said to Moses,” The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp."

They did not buy or sell on this day of rest as shown in (Nehemiah 10:31).
“As for the peoples of the land who bring wares or any grain on the sabbath day to sell, we will
not buy from them on the sabbath or a holy day; and we will forego the crops the seventh year and the exaction of every debt”

Now Jesus clarifies that it is lawful to do good on this day of rest as shown in (Mt 12:11-13) He said to them, "If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." Then he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.
Now they will say “what’s the big deal if I go shopping on Sunday. I am doing something I enjoy and I am not working.” No you are not working but you are making someone else work and not keep the Lord’s Day. They may reply "well that person is going to be working at the store whether I go shopping or not." That is right but when you go you are participating in their working. The reason why they are working is enough people were misusing the Lord’s Day. If enough people kept the command it wouldn’t pay for them to be working on Sunday and the store would close.
Now there are exceptions to shopping on Sunday. If there is a serious need to get medicine or food then that is ok. Another example could be people who happen to be traveling. They may need to eat at a restaurant on Sunday. Firefighters may need to work on Sunday as well as people in the emergency room. One other aspect of keeping the Lord’s Day is communal worship.
Heb 10:24-25 "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

This next scripture verse pertains to celebrating the Passover in the Old Testament and how if someone fails to celebrate it he is cut off.

Num 9:13 But if a man who is ceremonially clean and not on a journey fails to celebrate the Passover, that person must be cut off from his people because he did not present the Lord’s offering at the appointed time. That man will bear the consequences of his sin.

The Mass is the New Testament fulfillment of the Passover. Jesus is our Passover lamb. In the Old Testament the Jews who celebrated the Passover had to eat the lamb and the unleavened bread to celebrate the Passover (Ex 12:3-4). God told them that this would be and ordinance lasting forever (Ex 12:17). When God says forever he means it. Jesus fulfilling this he becomes the Passover lamb. At Mass we have unleavened bread that becomes the Lamb of God. The one in the same sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary re presented. It is not a new sacrifice but the same one. When the sun rises every morning it is not a new sun but a re presentation of the same sun. The greek word used in the last supper for this memorial sacrifice is anamnesis. Jesus’ sacrifice which transcends time and space is what makes this possible. So now you go back to the verse in Numbers about being cut off for not celebrating the Passover and apply it to its fulfillment. The antitype is always greater than the type. For example the antitype baptism is greater than the type circumcision. The antitype Mary ark of the new covenant is greater than the type the box ark of the old covenant.
When the Catholic Church says it is a mortal sin (serious sin which is acted upon with full knowledge and full consent of the will) to miss Mass, it speaks with the authority of Jesus. Jesus gave his authority first to Peter in Mt 16:18 in which he gives him the keys of the kingdom and authority to bind things on earth that will be bound in heaven. Jesus then gives it to the apostles in Mt 18:18 and this authority was passed on to every Catholic Bishop after the apostles through the laying on of hands. Jesus explains in Lk 10:16 that if you reject the Church leaders you reject him. John also reiterates this in 1 Jn 4:6 and says “We are of God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and he who is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” There are a few excuses that can allow for missing of mass. Being sick, bad weather, in a situation that it is impossible to get to Mass. Vacation is not an excuse. God doesn’t take vacations. You can go to masstimes.org to find Churches when you travel. Going to a protestant church does not fulfill Sunday obligation because it is not the worship Jesus instructed at the last supper and it is not a re presentation of Jesus’ sacrifice.
Sunday is a day for worship primarily. Secondly to rest from work. It is a day for prayer, spiritual reading and meditation. It is a day for the family to spend time with each other. If you go shopping on Sunday the person working at the cash register is pulled away from these things.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Basic Apologetics that every Catholic should know

Arch Bishop Fulton Sheen said there are not 100 people in the US that hate the Catholic Church but there are millions that hate what they mistakenly think the Catholic Church teaches. I am a convert to the Catholic Church so I had to work through all the questions and arguments against the church before I considered entering the church. I am going to go through a number of the Common Objections to the Catholic Church quickly but remember much more can be said on each topic discussed.

Confession

The major thing that made the Catholic church not even a possibility for me as a protestant was Confession. I would say to myself “why confess your sins to a priest, confess to God alone. He is the only one who can forgive sin. There is nothing even close to a confession in the bible.” I was wrong. Like many Protestants who read the bible, they read right over it and miss it. They read the bible with whatever faith tradition’s glasses they have on. I had Mennonite glasses which allowed me to fly right over John 20:21-23. This verse was what put the Catholic Church on the table for further investigation back when I started listening to Catholic radio. This is what John writes John 20:21-23 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
Now looking at the verse we have Jesus telling his disciples that whoever sins they forgive they are forgiven. Which the protestant might say that’s not confession that is what Jesus told us to do in the “Our Father” Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others. The catch is, he also says whoever sins you retain they are retained. That would be contradictory to Matthew 6:15 which says ”But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” So Jesus wasn’t talking about personal sin to one another. 2 Cor 5:18 says “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; Paul was a priest and just like in the old testament, people went to priests to when they sinned. Lev 5:5-6 says “When a man is guilty in any of these, he shall confess the sin he has committed, and he shall bring his guilt offering to the LORD for the sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin.
Tertullian wrote in 203 ad On Repentance and in chapter 10 he talks about people not wanting to go to confession.
"[Regarding confession, some] flee from this work as being an exposure of themselves, or they put it off from day to day. I presume they are more mindful of modesty than of salvation, like those who contract a disease in the more shameful parts of the body and shun making themselves known to the physicians; and thus they perish along with their own bashfulness"

Papacy

The second big thing I had to deal with was the Papacy. I use to wonder why Catholics paid so much attention to an old guy thousands of miles away. He is only a man. If someone would have said he is the successor of Peter, I would have investigated the church years before the time I actually did. What is the relationship between Peter and the pope I would have asked and then I would have found out something crucial. The pope can trace his office back to Peter. If we look in Acts 1:24-26 we see Judas’ office gets Matthais as his successor. How much more would the head of the apostles have a successor? Peter was given a special office apart from the other apostles in Matt 16:18-19 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. "And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." He was given the keys to kingdom which is also explained in the Old Testament. Is 22:22 The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; So he shall open, and no one shall shut; And he shall shut, and no one shall open. Isaiah 9:6-7 and Lk 1:32 says that Jesus will sit on the throne of David and his reign will be forever. So just like in David’s kingdom, Jesus has someone in charge of the keys. Is 22:21 says that he will be a father to the nation. The term pope comes from the word papa or father. Protestants will interpret Matthew 16:18 as Jesus referring to himself as the rock that he will build his church but a close look at Greek and Aramaic would show that the rock is Peter. The New Testament was written in Greek. Matthew 16:18 would read you are Petros and on this Petra I will build my church. Petra is the feminine form of the word rock. So in translating Peter they used the masculine form Petros. But they will argue back that Pretros means small stone and Petra means large rock. In certain forms of Greek that is so but not in the Koine Greek that this was written in. Jesus and the apostles spoke Aramaic so the parts of the bible where Jesus is speaking is a translation from Aramaic to Greek. So what Jesus said was you are cephas and on this cephas I will build my church. In other words you are rock and on this rock I will build my church. If Jesus wanted to call Peter a small stone he would have used the Aramaic word kevna which would translate to the Greek word Lithos. We should also remember that Jesus changed his name from Simon to Peter a name that no one else had before that time and whenever a name change occurs in the bible something important going on. Abram to Abraham, Jacob to Isreal.
. You sometimes hear about the chair of Peter. That was a fulfillment of the chair of Moses in the Old Testament. Mt 23:2"The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat. There was always someone in charge of interpreting scripture and leading the people. After Moses died Joshua was his successor. Peter had his successors too, Linus, Cletus, Clement and so on. Pope Benedict XVI is the 265 successor of Peter.
Irenaeus of Lyons in 180 AD gives us an early listing of this succession in his work Against Heresies (Book III, Chapter 3) Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority -- that is, the faithful everywhere -- inasmuch as the Apostolic Tradition has been preserved continuously by those who are everywhere.
He goes on to list 12 successors to Peter up to that day in paragraph 3.
Origen lived from 185-254 AD and wrote in De Principiis (Book IV)
"You cannot deny that you are aware that in the city of Rome the episcopal chair was given first to Peter; the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head-that is why he is also called Cephas ['Rock']-of all the apostles; the one chair in which unity is maintained by all"
Jerome, [347-420 AD] The Dialogue Against the Luciferians chapter 23
"[Pope] Stephen . . . was the blessed Peter's twenty-second successor in the See of Rome"

Papal infallibility

Papal infallibility often gets criticism because it gets confused with the word impeccability. Impeccability is not being able to sin where as papal infallibility is a charism that is given to the pope in which he is prevented by the Holy Spirit to teach error in faith and morals to the faithful from the chair of Peter. The pope can sin like the rest of us and he goes to confession regularly. Papal infallibility is does not mean that you can ask the pope for the wining lottery numbers and he will be right. It is only when he is teaching faith and morals from the seat of authority, the chair of Peter and he is binding all the faith to it.
One argument used against papal infallibility is found in Gal 2:11-16. This is where St Paul rebukes St Peter for not eating with gentiles in order to not offend certain Jews. Jews would not eat with gentiles but now as Christians there isn’t a reason not to eat with non Christians. This is not an example proving papal infallibility doesn’t exist because this is not doctrine but discipline and Peter is not living up to his own teaching.
Sometimes people will argue that Peter couldn’t have been the first pope because he was married quoting Mt 8:14 And when Jesus entered Peter's house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. This is another example of discipline not doctrine. If Jesus would have made it a requirement then it would be doctrine but he didn’t.
In scripture we can find traces of papal infallibility with close inspection. The first place is
Mt 16:18-19 which I already mentioned.
Earlier in Matthew’s gospel in chapter 7 Jesus talks about building upon two foundations, one on a rock the other on sand. The one who builds on a rock is wise because it will withstand the storm but the one who builds on sand is foolish because the house built upon it will be destroyed. Now Jesus said he is going to build his church on the rock. Would Jesus build his church on a foundation of sand that in the future would be destroyed from teaching false doctrine? Of course not. He said the gates of hell would not prevail against his church. If his church started teaching false doctrine then it would cease to be his church and thus the gates of hell would prevail. Papal infallibility is merely Jesus’ way of ensuring that the church will not teach error.
Another passage we see this is Lk 22:31-32 "Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." Jesus tells Simon that Satan wants to temp all of the apostles to lose their faith but Jesus says only to Peter that he prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail. Jesus tells him to strengthen the other apostles which shows that Peter will be a center hub of unity as we see St Jerome in his letter 15 to Pope Damasus he says it is his duty to consult the chair of Peter.

Pope is the Antichrist
There are a some Protestants that believe the pope is the antichrist that is talked about in 1 John and implied in Revelation. The antichrist is someone who imitates Christ and denies the father and the son. This idea came up around the time of the reformation in the 16th century because the early Protestant leaders were in the process of breaking away from what everyone recognized as the authentic Church of Christ, governed by the authentic Vicar of Christ. Since breaking with such a body is inconceivable to any one determined to follow Christ’s will, it was necessary for Protestant leaders to deny that the Catholic Church and pope and label it as the harlot of Babylon and the antichrist.
Showing that the pope is not the antichrist is easy. They have been saying that the pope was the antichrist for centuries and yet none of them fit the description of the antichrist. The pope doesn’t deny Jesus or the father thus is not an antichrist.
1 Jn 2:22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.
1 Jn 4:3 every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of Antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already."
2 Jn 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh; such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.
The word antichrist only appears 4 times in the new testament and all appear in Johns epistles not in Revelation.

Priesthood

As a protestant we didn’t have a priesthood because a priest offers sacrifices to God. For us, we just went straight to Jesus. After all Jesus was a once and for all, one time atonement for man. 1 Tim 2:5 which says there is only one mediator between God and man, being Jesus. But that verse is speaking of a specific kind of mediator. Any one who prays for someone else is a mediator between God and man. Protestants believe in a universal priesthood of all people which is also a catholic belief also. The difference is that Catholics also have a ministerial priesthood. 1 Pt 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God. This is the verse for a universal priesthood and we can see the exercise of this universal priesthood in this verse. Rom 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
However there is also a ministerial priesthood. Jesus gave his authority to the church. We see this in Jn 20:21-23, Mt 16:18 but also in this verse. Jas 5:14-15 Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. This verse is distinct because it specifies to call for the elders of the church. The greek word for elder is presbyteroi which gets translated to the german as priester which is where we get the English word priest. This passage doesn’t say to have just anyone come and pray for the sick person and anoint with oil. It is only the elders that can have the authority to forgive sins and heal the person which shows that there is ministerial priesthood in the new testament.

Calling Priests Father

Protestants like to jump on Catholic’s for calling priests father. They quote Mt 23:9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. They’ll say see you Catholics don’t read your bible. Jesus says right there, call no one on earth father. If Jesus was talking in an absolute sense here, then the verse just prior to it should be taken in an absolute sense also. Mt 23:8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. He says here that you aren’t to be called rabbi (which means teacher) but they don’t have a problem calling someone teacher.
If Jesus is speaking absolutely about calling no one on earth father then Paul frequently breaks this command while under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Rom 4:16 says that Abraham. is the father of us all. In Acts 22:1 he says brothers and fathers listen now to my defense. 1 Cor 4:14-15 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Acts 7:2 Stephen says brethren and fathers listen.
Priests are called father just like dads are called father. Dads are responsible for the nourishment of their children. Priests are responsible for the spiritual nourishment of the faithful especially in the Eucharist. Dads are responsible for the teaching of life to their children. Priests are responsible teaching everything you need to know how to have eternal life. When you fall and scrape you’re your knee your dad puts a band aid on it to make it better. When you fall into sin the priest is there for you in the sacrament of reconciliation and makes you better while acting in the persona Christi (the person of Christ).

Priestly Celibacy

Protestants don’t like priestly celibacy because they say it goes against Gods command to be fruitful and multiply in Gen 1:28. Basically what I have found is that if something has a catholic label on it they automatically label it as bad and read right over the scripture that supports it when they read their bible. Jesus was celibate and he taught that it was good to imitate him. Matt 19:10-12 His disciples said to Him, "If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry." But He said to them, "All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: "For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it." Paul taught that being celibate was a good thing. 1 Cor 7:32 But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord-how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world-how he may please his wife. There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world-how she may please her husband. And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.
Protestants may quote 1 Tim 4:1-3 that says Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. The first thing is the Catholic Church holds marriage as honorable and a sacrament of divine institution. Priests in the Latin rite willfully give up marriage to a woman so that can devote everything to the lord.
The main thing is the context of this verse. Who was Paul talking about? It wasn’t the Catholic Church because he was one of the first leaders of the Catholic Church. St John Chrysostom writes in the late 4th and early 5th centuries that Paul is foretelling the heresies of the Encratites, the Marcionites, and the Manicheans. The Albigensians were another group that came later in the 12th and 13th century. These Heresies taught that there was a god of good and a god of evil. The god of good was the god of the spiritual and the god of evil was the god of the physical. They taught that everything physical was bad. They condemned marriage as evil because of the physical marital act.

Sex Abuse
Some try to tag sex abuse to celibacy. This is however not factual.
According to a survey by the New York Times, 1.8 percent of all priests ordained from 1950 to 2001 have been accused of child sexual abuse. Dr. Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University, found that “80 to 90% of all priests who in fact abuse minors have sexually engaged with adolescent boys, not prepubescent children and almost all the priests who abuse children are homosexuals.
According to a 2000 report to the Baptist General Convention in Texas, “The incidence of sexual abuse by clergy noted that in studies done in the 1980s, 12 percent of protestant ministers had “engaged in sexual intercourse with members” and nearly 40 percent had “acknowledged sexually inappropriate behavior.”
Finally, in the authoritative work by Penn State professor Philip Jenkins, Pedophiles and Priests, it was determined that between .2 and 1.7 percent of priests are pedophiles. The figure among the Protestant clergy ranges between 2 and 3 percent.[
In secular schools one study concluded that more than 60 percent of employees were accused of sexual abuse in the New York City schools. So we can see that celibacy is not the cause of sex abuse for it is much higher among protestant clergy and in secular systems. The reasons these others don’t get media attention like the Catholic Church does is that lawyers don’t make as much money suing an autonomous church when they can sue an entire Catholic Diocese. Also the media hates the Catholic Church because it is THE voice on morality. The church stands against everything the media loves like abortion, promiscuity, fornication, contraception
We need to realize that priests can sin just like us. They broke their vow that they willingly took. No one forced them. If we look at the divorce rate which is at 50% that means at least 50% of married people broke their vow that they willing took at their wedding to be faithful until death. So Priests are doing far better than everyone else about being faithful.

Mary
Praying to Mary

Praying to Mary and the saints cause problems with non catholics because they view it as worship. The word pray merely means to ask for something. When we pray to Mary we are asking her to pray for us. Mary and the saints don’t have the power to answer prayer in and of themselves. A common verse protestants use to refute this is 1 Tim 2:5 that says there is only one mediator between God and man referring to going straight to Jesus with your petitions. This verse however is referring to a specific type of mediator concerning salvation. If I asked you to pray for me because I was about to go into open heart surgery would you? I don’t know any Christian that would say no why are you wasting time with me why don’t you go straight to Jesus. St Paul speaks constantly that Christians should pray for one another. We are all members of the body of Christ whether we are on earth or in heaven and death cannot separate Christ’s body. Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
So why is it good to asks saints in heaven to pray for us? Because the prayers of a righteous man has great power James 5:16. Who is more righteous that the saints that are united with Christ in heaven. In Rev 5:8 there are saints in heaven presenting prayers to God from the faithful who are on earth. Jer 15:1-2 shows that people in the after life (in this case Samuel and Moses) are aware of what we are doing, are concerned for us and petition God on our behalf. Jer 15:1-2 says “Then the LORD said to me, "Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my heart would not turn toward this people. Send them out of my sight, and let them go! And when they ask you, 'Where shall we go?' you shall say to them, 'Thus says the LORD: "Those who are for pestilence, to pestilence, and those who are for the sword, to the sword; those who are for famine, to famine, and those who are for captivity, to captivity."'Origen wrote in 233ad and he says But not the high priest [Christ] alone prays for those who pray sincerely, but also the angels . . . as also the souls of the saints who have already fallen asleep.

Rosary and vain repetition

There are 53 Hail Mary’s in one set of mysteries of the Rosary. That’s enough repetition for protestants to quote Mt 6:7 which says “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” The thing here is the word vain. In Rev 4:8 we have an example of repetition that is not vain. Rev 4:8 says “The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!" Jesus tells us to be persistent in prayer and gives a parable in Lk 11:5-8 showing this: Then He said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves; 6for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; 7and from inside he answers and says, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.' 8"I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
The Hail Mary’s are merely the background music that allows our minds to focus and meditate on the mysteries of the life of Jesus. The practice of prayer beads started out in among the desert fathers in 3rd century who used the beads to keep track of the 150 psalms that they were praying everyday. They also used the beads to the Jesus prayer or the Our Father. It is also tradition that form of the Rosary that we have now was given to St Dominic in 1214 by an apparition of Mary.

Hail Mary Prayer

Protestants have a problem with the Hail Mary Prayer also but it is a very scriptural prayer. Lk 1:28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women Lk 1:42 And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. Lk 1:48 Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

Immaculate Conception

Catholics believe that by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, and in view of the foreseen merits of Jesus Christ, the savior of the human race, Mary was preserved free from all stain of original sin. "The Immaculate Conception was defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854. Being defined so late in history Protestants will argue that the Catholic Church added traditions of men that aren’t biblical. The problem with the logic of this argument would also mean that the trinity and the hypostatic union were also man made tradition. The trinity was defined 300 years after the death of Jesus at the Council of Nicea in 325ad and the Doctrine of Jesus being 100% man and 100% God was at the Council of Chalcedon in 451ad. Just because it was defined later doesn’t mean that it wasn’t believed before.
Protestants will quote Rom 3:23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Since all have sinned Mary wasn’t conceived without since. There are a lot of exceptions to this verse. Jesus wasn’t a sinner but the verse says all have sinned. Babies aren’t old enough to be held accountable for personal sin. Mentally retarded don’t have the capacity to understand good from evil. 1 Jn 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
This is another verse quoted however this is talking about personal sin not original sin because the next verse says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”. You don’t confess original sin you confess personal sin.
They will quote LK 1:46 And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. Even Mary says she needs a savior so she had to have sinned is the argument. To understand this better this analogy is often given. If we were walking side by side and up ahead is a huge hole. If we keep walking straight I will walk beside the hole but you not seeing the hole, will surely fall in. I have two ways of saving you. One way is after you fall in the hole by pulling you out. The other way is by stopping you before you fall in the hole. In both cases a savior was needed. Mary needed a savior but by a special act of God she was saved before she fell into sin.
It was more fitting for Mary to be pure from sin to carry Jesus in her womb other wise she could have died. In the old testament when the Priest went into the temple once a year in the Holy of Holies he had to go through a purification process. They would tie a rope on the high priests leg because occasionally a priest wasn’t pure enough and he would die in the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies was the most holy place on the planet. It was where the Ark of the Covenant was kept and where the holy spirit in the form of a cloud was. So for Jesus to be in the womb for 9 months it would have to be pure.
The Angel Gabriel called Mary Full of Grace in Lk 1:28. If a glass is full of water is there any room for anything else? If she is full of grace is there room for sin?
I’ll give you one more verse for the Immaculate Conception. Gen 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." Jesus always called Mary woman so we can make this connection. Whenever the bible talks about the seed of someone, it is always the seed of the man not the woman, (seed being offspring). In Revelation 12 we see who that woman is. Rev 12:5 she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, Revelation 19:15 explains that Jesus is that child. So the mother of Jesus is Mary. The word enmity means hostility or at odds with one another. So if Mary had sinned at some point in her life she would have been in league with Satan hence no enmity. If you read Revelation 12 there is a dragon (Satan) chasing after Mary but he never catches her. This is an illustration that she never was captured or enslaved to sin.

Mary the Ark of the New Covenant

It was understood by the fathers of the church that Mary was the ark of the new covenant. The ark of the old covenant was a box made of the purest materials (especially Gold) Mary was pure, conceived without sin, and virgin. The ark of the old covenant carried the Ten Commandments which was the word of God in stone. Mary carried Jesus who is the word of God in the flesh. The Ark carried manna which was bread that came from heaven to feed the Israelites. Mary carried Jesus who is the living bread that came down from heaven. Jn 6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world
The Ark carried the staff of Aaron which was the symbol of the priesthood. Mary carried Jesus the high priest. The Ark of the Old Covenant stayed in the hill country for 3 months prior to coming to Jerusalem. The Ark of the New Covenant visited her cousin Elizabeth for 3 months.
When David meets the ark coming to Jerusalem he says in 2 Sam 6:9 "How can the ark of the LORD come to me?". When Elizabeth meets Mary coming to her Elizabeth exclaimed under the inspiration of the holy spirit in Lk 1:43 And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? In Revelation 11:19 John sees the temple in heaven opened and he sees the ark. We need to remember that there weren’t any chapter breaks in the original text so in the next verse (Rev 12:1-5) instead of describing the ark which no one has seen for 600 years he describes a woman clothed with the sun with the moon under her feet in and as I mentioned we find out later that this is Mary but this can also be symbolic of Israel and Church.

Assumption of Mary

This woman we see on the first level being Mary has a body in heaven which is our belief that Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven. In other places like in Rev 6:9 and Rev 20:4 when people are seen in heaven it mentions their souls not their bodies because unlike Mary we don’t get our bodies until Jesus returns at the second coming
Being assumed into heaven is not unbiblical either because Elijah and Enoch were assumed in the Old Testament. Heb 11:5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, "and was not found, because God had taken him"; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 2 Kings 2:11 Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. The remains of every one of the apostles are in Catholic Churches and pilgrims come to visit the relics. With as much esteem as the early church gave to Mary if Mary had remains on earth there is no doubt we would know where they were and pilgrims would be visiting them. However no such place exists showing Mary has her body in heaven.

Ever Virgin

Some Protestants will make the claim that Mary had other children after Jesus. They will quote Mt 13:55 Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joses and Simon and Judas? The main thing about these passages is that there is no Hebrew word for cousin. Brother’s was often used in place of cousin or close relative. One biblical example in found in Genesis. Gen 14:16 Abraham calls Lot his brother but as we see in Genesis 11:27 Lot is really his nephew. At the foot of the cross we also see that James and Joses are the sons of a Mary but this is Mary wife of Cleopas not Mary mother of Jesus. And we can determine this by putting side by side Mt 27:56 with Jn 19:25. Jn 19:25 says those at the foot of the cross were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag'dalene. Mt 27:56 gives the same order but in reverse and leaving out Mary mother of Jesus saying Mary Mag'dalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of the sons of Zeb'edee. Another passage used is Gal 1:19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother. We know that there were only two apostles named James. One was the son of Zebedee and the other was the son of Alpheus so these can’t be Jesus’ blood brothers.
Another verse they will quote is Mt 1:25 but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus. The word until suggests that Joseph knew Mary after Jesus was born. Matthew as the writer who was writing to Jews was putting emphasis that Mary was a virgin during the pregnancy with Jesus because the Jews knew the prophecy in Isaiah about a virgin birth. Until can also be used so that it doesn’t imply an action afterward. 2 Sam 6:23 And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child until the day of her death. Until here doesn’t imply that she had a child after her death.
If Jesus had brothers he wouldn’t have given the care of his mother to John at the cross in Jn 19:27. In Jewish culture the oldest son would have taken care of the mother in case of the death of the husband. Joseph being dead Jesus would have given Mary to the next oldest brother. Sometimes they will say his brothers didn’t come to faith so he gave her to John instead. Jesus would have done a disservice to his mother and shunned his brothers by giving Mary to be cared by John whether those brothers were of faith or not it wouldn’t have mattered.

Queen of Heaven

Mary being described as queen is different from when we normally think of a queen. We think of the queen as being the wife to the king but to ancient Jews it was the mother of the king. Jesus is the king of heaven and earth thus Mary is the queen. Jesus as king takes the throne of David. Lk 1:32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David. So to see what Christ’s kingdom looks like we look at David’s Kingdom. 1 Kings 2:19 Bathsheba therefore went to King Solomon, to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her and bowed down to her, and sat down on his throne and had a throne set for the king's mother; so she sat at his right hand. Then she said, "I desire one small petition of you; do not refuse me." And the king said to her, "Ask it, my mother, for I will not refuse you." So we see Solomon (David’s son and successor to the throne) had a throne for his mother and bows to her. The king bows to no one but God and his mother. This verse is also one of the bases for praying to Mary and asking her intersession. The verses just before the one I read Adonijah asks Bathsheba to ask the king for Ab'ishag the Shu'nammite to be his wife an we see Solomon’s response. I cannot refuse you. That doesn’t mean that we can get whatever we want if we ask Mary to pray for us but is shows that the mother of God is a powerful intercessor.
Protestants don’t like the idea of queen of heaven because they think we make Mary a deity. They will quote Jeremiah 7:18 which the apostate Jews were making offerings to a queen of heaven as well as worshipping other gods. They will argue that God condemned them for worshiping the queen of heaven so condemns us for having a queen of heaven also. Just because the bible talks about a false queen of heaven doesn’t mean that there isn’t a true queen of heaven. They also worshipped false gods. Does that mean that there isn’t a true god? We don’t worship Mary either. We honor Mary the way Jesus honored her. We already talked about how Mary is the woman in Revelation 12 well this is what verse 17 says: Rev 12:17 Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus. The offspring of Mary are those who keep the commandments of God. Therefore Mary is our mother also.

Purgatory

Purgatory is another thing Protestants claim isn’t in the bible. Lk 23:43 is sometime used to prove this. This is the thief on the cross whom Jesus says this day you will be in paradise. They say see he said this day not after a hundred years of purgatory. A couple of things: 1 Purgatory is outside of time so we don’t know how to measure time there and 2 it is the belief of St John Chrysostom and St Cyril of Jerusalem that Christ was pleased with his confession of faith that Jesus discharged his sins including guilt and punishment. The history of purgatory is very old. It goes back to at least 100BC. We first see the concept of purgatory in 2 Mac 12:45 But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin. Now Protestants don’t have this book in there cannon but for them it is at least a historical witness. In this verse we have people praying for the dead. If the people are in heaven then they don’t need our prayers. If they are in hell then our prayers can’t help them. So the only alternative is some other place where prayers can help. Jews pray to this day pray a prayer known as the Mourner’s Kaddish for eleven months after the death for the loved one’s purification.
Purgatory can easily be understood by two biblical concepts. The first being that sin has eternal and temporal consequences. When we commit a mortal sin our eternal consequence is eternity in hell. If that sin is confessed and repented of, then it is forgiven but you still have the temporal consequences as we see in the case of David. 2 Sam 12:13-14 David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child that is born to you shall die." Think of it like this: If when I was younger I break my window, my dad will forgive me but he will take away a month of allowances to help pay to have it replaced.
The other biblical concept is that nothing unclean will enter heaven (Rev 21:27). . We read that in Heb 12:14 Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. To have your soul completely free from sin, the attachment to venial sin and the temporal punishment due to that sin at the time your death is hard to do but not impossible. Steve Ray (a catholic convert and apologist) says that purgatory is like the front porch of heaven. Before you can enter you must take off your muddy boots and dirty clothes.
Paul describes purgatory most clearly in 1Cor 3:12-15 Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw-- each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. Paul explains that our works are manifest in two ways. Our good works are presented as gold, silver, and precious stones which get purified in the fire. Our sin is presented as wood, hay, and stubble which get burned off. He says that he will suffer loss but still be saved. Paul can’t be talking about heaven here because there isn’t any suffering in heaven. This can’t be hell because people in hell don’t get saved.
One more verse for purgatory. Heb 12:23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect. Here we have spirits made perfect so that would mean that there is some process in which the soul goes from imperfect to perfect.
St Augustine wrote in his work The City of God Book 21chapter 13 written in 419 Ad says
"Temporal punishments are suffered by some in this life only, by some after death, by some both here and hereafter, but all of them before that last and strictest judgment. But not all who suffer temporal punishments after death will come to eternal punishments, which are to follow after that judgment"
Tertullian wrote in 216 AD in his work On Monogamy chapter 10 he says
"A woman, after the death of her husband . . . prays for his soul and asks that he may, while waiting, find rest; and that he may share in the first resurrection. And each year, on the anniversary of his death, she offers the sacrifice"

Indulgences
First an indulgence is an act of charity or penance done that reduces the temporal punishment due to sin. I just talked about temporal vs. eternal. In the analogy I gave about the window an indulgence could be like this. Say my dad said my allowance will be taken for a month to help pay for the window but in the first two weeks I do extra things to help around the house my dad may say ok you have paid enough. We need to be clear when it comes to indulgences that we do not buy forgiveness. Forgiveness has already been obtained. We can not lessen our temporal punishment by own merits but Christ’s merits working through us. The authority in which indulgences are given stem from passages I already mentioned: Mt 16:18, Mt18:18, Jn 20:23 all having to do with binding things on earth that will be bound in heaven. It is a common misconception that the Catholic Church sells indulgences. There were abuses in which some people did sell them but the Church never taught that and the Council of Trent specifically condemned that.

Infant Baptism

To most protestants baptism is a public profession of faith that one makes when they have accepted Jesus as lord and savior so to them baptizing infants who have not sinned and can‘t know of their need for a savior, can‘t be baptized. To understand New testament baptism we need to understand Old Testament Circumcision. Circumcision was the way the people in the old testament entered into the covenant relationship God promised to Abraham. Circumcision was done on the 8th day after birth. It turns out that Jewish babies couldn’t have knowledge of sin either or know the need to be in covenant with God. In the new covenant Jesus wanted a way for all people to enter into covenant with God not just a specific race. 1 Cor 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Paul makes the connection between circumcision and baptism saying in Col 2:12 that “baptism is the circumcision of Christ.” Jesus feels that baptism is so important that in order to be born again, one must be born of water and spirit to enter the kingdom of heaven in Jn 3:3-5. Gal 3:27 and 1 Cor 12:13 which I just mentioned show that through baptism we enter the body of Christ. Baptism indeed washes away all sin prior to baptism: Acts 2:38-29 “repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins and receive the gift of the holy spirit. This promise is for you and your children”. Titus 3:5 says “you were saved by the washing and renewal of the spirit.” 1 Pt 3:21 “Baptism now saves you”. What it says at the end of 1 Pt 3:21 is key to understanding how baptism can wash away sin and it says “through the resurrection of Christ”. Through baptism we are buried with Christ so that we to may rise with Christ. That is precisely how Rom 6:3-5 puts it. Some say that the thief on the cross couldn’t be baptized yet Jesus says is going to heaven. In instances when it is impossible to be baptized then the Baptism of desire is sufficient. God isn’t going to require the impossible.
Irenaeus of Lyons in the Fragment 34 from the Lost Writings of Irenaeus in 190ad said
"'And [Naaman] dipped himself . . . seven times in the Jordan' [2 Kgs. 5:14]. It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but [this served] as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions, being spiritually regenerated as newborn babes, even as the Lord has declared: 'Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven' [John 3:5]"

Tradition

Sacred tradition is something not understood by protestants. When they hear tradition they connect it to the traditions of men that the Pharisees had made and Jesus rebuked. What they don’t realize is that they interpret the bible through a faith tradition. The Lutheran faith tradition says we are saved by faith alone. The Baptist faith tradition says baptism is symbolic only. The Calvinist faith tradition says that we don’t have free will and that everyone that is going to heaven has already determined at the beginning of the world. The problem with these traditions is they are not old enough. They are only 500 years old. They cannot be traced back to the teaching of the apostles. How can we give some proof that our beliefs can be traced back to the apostles? The early church fathers is the witness that we need to do so.
The bible wasn’t meant to be a text book to train people everything about how to manage the church. Some things were written down and some were taught orally. 2 Thess 2:15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter. 1 Cor 11:2 I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you. This next verse really interested me because Paul tells the Corinthians that he wrote to them prior to 1 Corinthians. 1 Cor 5:9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men; Why wasn’t this letter included in the bible? If Paul wrote things and they aren’t in the bible how much other teaching might they be missing if they don’t believe in the oral teaching of the church. The bible even says that everything isn’t explicitly found in the bible. Jn 21:25 But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. The doctrine of the trinity is one. If you were to read the bible with no prior knowledge it would be very difficult to come up with that doctrine. Now if the Church told you there are 3 persons but one God you could read the scriptures and build the evidence for that. The Jehovah Witnesses have the bible but they don’t believe in the trinity. That is an essential doctrine and we rely on tradition and magisterial teaching for it. There are over 30000 protestant denominations who believe in the bible alone or sola scriptura. That is 30000 differences in opinion on who is right when interpreting scripture. They will say the Holy Spirit will lead me into all truth quoting Jn 16:13. The problem with that verse is Jesus was talking to the apostles which were the teaching authority of the church. The Holy Spirit doesn’t lead people into confusion. The Holy Spirit doesn’t tell one denomination that baptism is essential for heaven and tells another that it is meaningless. The scripture verse always used to support sola scriptura is 2 Tim 3:15-17 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. The problem is when Timothy was in his youth none of the New Testament wasn’t written yet so Paul is talking about the old testament. If you would ask them “what is the foundation of truth”, they would most likely answer without hesitation, the bible. The problem is the bible says 1 Tim 3:15 the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth
Going by the bible alone one should find a passage in the bible teaching the bible alone but there isn’t any. The bible doesn’t say what books belong in the bible. So they are unknowingly not going by the bible alone. They are relying on an authority outside of the bible. If you would ask them “how do you know that the book of Mark is inspired”? Mark wasn’t an apostle. How do you know that the Mark that was inspired wrote the book of Mark and not some other Mark. Sacred tradition and the authority of the Catholic Church is the only answer that can be given.

The Dueterocannonical Books/ Apocrypha

The Catholic church sometimes gets accused of added books to the bible. “I absolutely agree”. The Catholic Church added the 27 books of the New Testament because Matthew, Mark, Luke, John etc were Catholic Bishops. This is not what they are talking about however. They say that the Catholic Church added the books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch 1 Maccabees, and 2 Maccabees along with parts of Esther and Daniel at the council of Trent in the 16th century. This is not correct. The cannon of the bible was pronounced authoritatively as an apostolic tradition at the Council of Rome in 382ad, the Council of Hippo in 392ad, the Council of Carthage in 397ad, the Council of Carthage in 419ad. All of these councils had the books that are currently in our bible. There wasn’t a debate about the cannon until Martin Luther started questioning the canonicity of these books as well as some new testament books. This is why Trent had to say the cannon is not up for debate these are the books of the bible period. One argument used is the Jews don’t have these books in their bible. The Jews at a gathering of prominent rabbis in Jamnia in late 1st century chose to exclude those books partially because Christians were quoting passages like Wisdom 2:12-22 which is an explicit prophecy about Jesus. Also because there weren’t existing Hebrew copies of those books. In 400 BC Alexander the Great conquered the known world making Greek the primary language. After a century, Greek was more known than Hebrew. So that more scribes and Pharisees could read the scriptures and read it to the people, it was translated into Greek. The Greek Septuagint (which had the dueterocannonical books) was the closest thing to an Old Testament canon at the time of Jesus. 2/3rds of the Old Testament quotes cited in the New Testament are found word for word in the Greek Septuagint. Even the first edition of the King James Bible had them in. It wasn’t until the early 1800s that they weren’t in the bible.
Another argument they may give is those books aren’t quoted in the New Testament and thus not inspired. In which case you can respond: “going by that logic then Esther and number of other books aren’t inspired either.” There are few quotes though but that is not how we determine canonicity.

The Mass and the Eucharist

The Mass is the unbloody sacrifice of Christ on the cross on calvary. It is the very same sacrifice re presented to us at mass. That may sound a little funny but God is outside of time. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was an act so powerful that it transcends time and space. It applied to the people who died before Jesus and it is applied to us 2000 years later.
When I first heard the word Eucharist I didn’t have any idea what it was. I looked it up in the dictionary and my first response was “yeah right”. “It’s only symbolizes Jesus’ body it isn’t his body.” When I started to investigate in the new testament to find where the lord’s supper or communion was symbolic I couldn’t find. I assumed at the last supper when he said this is my body and this is my blood that he was talking symbolically. I mean the bible is full of symbolism and basically if it seems weird, it is probably symbolic but Jesus says this is my body, not this represents my body or symbolizes my body.
Jesus powerfully teaches about the Eucharist in the gospel of John chapter 6. Jn 6:48-58 I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh." The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever."
Protestants will say its only symbolic because Jesus said he was the door to heaven and a vine. The difference with those verses and these in John 6 is everyone Jesus was speaking to knew he was speaking symbolically when he said he was a door and vine. They didn’t react “oh how can he say that he is door when he is a living breathing human being”.
In verse 66 in John Chapter 6 (7 verses after Jesus finishes explaining the Eucharist) Jesus’ disciples (not the apostles) quit following him because they were taking him literally and could not accept the teaching. Whenever his followers misunderstood what Jesus meant Jesus corrected them like in Mt 16:5-12. Jesus lets his followers go because there was no need to correct what they were thinking because they had got it right and rejected it.
For me to understand the Eucharist I had to see how it was linked to the Old Testament Passover sacrifice. In Exodus we read about how while still in captivity in Egypt, an angel of death would enter the land and kill every first born male. To protect Israel from this they had to sacrifice a lamb with out defect and eat the lamb. Eating the lamb was not optional they couldn’t eat lamb shaped cookies if they didn’t like lamb. If they did they would have found first born males dead the next morning. These things parallel so closely with its new testament fulfillment in Mass. At Mass we offer the one sacrifice of Jesus on the cross which is re presented not repeated. In Malachi we read a prophecy about a pure future sacrifice that is offered continuously around the world. Mal 1:11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts. The only pure sacrifice is that of Jesus. This is the sacrifice of the mass. Mass is continually being said around the world just like Malachi prophecies. It is estimated 350000 masses are said a day around the world. That means every second 4 masses start and only at mass is the only ever pure sacrifice, Jesus’ once for all sacrifice is re presented to us. Like the lamb in the old testament, Jesus is called the Lamb of God by John the Baptism. He was with out sin so there was no defect. Like the in the old covenant they ate the sacrificial lamb so we eat the sacrificial lamb in the new covenant when we receive communion. This next verse also shows that bread and wine are not symbolic for eating it unworthily causes damnation upon oneself. 1Cor 11:27-29 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks damnation upon himself.
Ignatius of Antioch in 107ad wrote an Epistle to the Smyraeans in chapter 6 saying
"Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes" (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 [A.D. 110]).

Faith and Works

Some say that Catholics work their way to heaven. This is not true. That was a heresy called Pelagianism which the Catholic Church condemned at the council of Ephesus in 431ad. We believe in salvation by grace alone just like the protestants do. However don’t believe all you need is intellectual accent but that we are to cooperate with God with the help of his grace. Any thing that we do is because as Gal 2:20 says I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me
James really makes it clear that we need faith along side of works. Jas 2:14-26 What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But some one will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe--and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, and the scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness"; and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.  And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.
Some will argue that James is talking about justification before men. However James gives analogy of body and spirit to faith and works to show both are necessary for life. Also the examples he gives of Abraham shows that no one was around for people to see his faith.
Pretty much all protestants believe in faith alone and that we don’t have to do anything other than accept Jesus as personal Lord and savior to get to heaven. Catholics agree with protestant that salvation can be granted initially to those who believe in Jesus. For example: The thief on the cross next to Jesus was saved by his faith. With the thief being on the cross, he couldn’t get baptized, or receive the Eucharist. Once one believes he hasn’t secured his salvation for the rest of his life. We can see this all throughout the bible. We need to be merciful to others: Matt 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. We need to forgive people who sin against us as it says in Matt 6:15. We need to do the will of God: Mt 7:21 "Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
We need to be baptized: Jn 3:5 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. We need to feed the hungry and clothe the naked as it says in Mt 25:32-46. In this passage the only difference between those who went to heaven and those that went to hell was what they did or did not do. It is interesting to note that some of the people that didn’t feed the hungry and clothe the naked called Jesus lord. “Lord when did we see you hungry?” This suggests that at least some of them had accepted Jesus as there personal lord and savior but didn’t have works.
In Mt 19:16-21 Jesus was traveling and he was asked by a rich ruler specifically what he needed to do to get to heaven. Jesus didn’t say just believe in me. He said keep the commandments. Keeping the commandments would be something we need to do wouldn’t you agree?
Now all of these verses show that we need to do something to get to heaven but we need God’s grace to do all of those things. Now protestants will give you a lot of verses that look like works aren’t important like Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God-- not because of works, lest any man should boast.
This verse is contrasting working solely to get to heaven without believing. It is an either or statement not a both and. We would also agree that initial justification is solely a gift through faith but to maintain a right relationship with God we need to cooperate with his grace and be obedient to faith which means doing the things I just mentioned. Another passage used is Gal 2:16 yet who know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified.
At the time Paul is writing his letters there were a group of Jewish Christians who are called Judeizers. These Jewish Christians believed that the Gentile Christians should follow all of the laws of Moses. This is what Paul is addressing in Galatians. The works of the law were all of the statutes that they were required to keep in the old Covenant. Paul is telling them there is no salvation in the old covenant because it has passed away and is fulfilled in the new covenant in Christ Jesus.

Statues and Different 10 commandments

When some protestants see statues of saints in churches they label it as idol worship. They will point to their listing of the 10 commandments that say thou shalt not make any graven images. This commandment isn’t against making the graven image, it is worshiping the image. We can be certain of this because just 5 chapters after the ten commandments are given, God commands Israel to make graven images.
Ex 25:18-20 God tells them to make two golden Cherubim and put them on the top of the ark of the covenant (which was the holiest place on the planet at the time. In Num 21:8-9 the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live." So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
Statues are merely holy reminders. They remind us of the saint that has won the race and is now in heaven. They remind us of there example of holiness. It is like how you have a picture of your family on your wall. You don’t worship the picture it reminds you of a place and time and the good memories that go along with it.
Protestants often blame the Catholic Church for changing the Ten Commandments so that they can worship idols. The way that protestants arrange the commandments are like this. 1 You shall have no other gods before me 2 You shall not make any graven images 3 You shall not take the lords name in vain 4 Keep the Sabbath day holy 5 honor your father and mother 6 you shall not murder 7 you shall not commit adultery 8 you shall not steal 9 you shall not lie 10 you shall not covet.
The Catholic Church didn’t re arrange commandments rather it has a better understanding of the order which follows closer to the Dt 5 list versus the Ex 20 list. Also if you count all the thou shalt’s you get 12 commandments. The second commandment in the protestant order is not against making graven images it is against the worship of them. That is the same thing as the first commandment. So in the Catholic list those two are together and to get ten commandments we split the protestant’s tenth commandment in two. Our 9th commandment is you shall not covet your neighbors wife and 10th is you shall not covet your neighbors goods. St Augustine ordered it this way with the understanding that your neighbor’s wife is not the property of the neighbor. In this order the 7th commandment and the 9th are linked as well as the 8th and 10th. The 7th is you shall not commit adultery and the 9th is you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. These two commandments deal with desires of the flesh. Coveting your neighbor’s wife is stepping stool to adultery. The 8th commandment is you shall not steal and the 10th is you shall not covet your neighbor’s goods. These two commandments deal with the desires of material things. Coveting your neighbor’s goods is the stepping stool to stealing the goods.

Church

Some people like to say that the Catholic Church was founded by emperor Constantine in the early 300s ad. This is not even close to being true. As I already showed from previous quotes from Church fathers our catholic beliefs were being taught prior to Constantine. There are two events which people point to show that Constantine founded the Catholic Church. The first was the edict of Milan in 313ad. Despite popular opinion this edict did not make Catholicism the state religion. What it did was make Christianity legal. Prior to this it was illegal and many Catholic Christians were being killed for it. The other event was the Council of Nicea in 325 ad. This was called by Constantine however he didn’t have any influence on the decrees of the council. I suggest you google nicea creed to see what the bishops declared at that council. Among which declared was that Jesus was God going against a large heresy going on at the time known as arianism. Constantine himself wasn’t even a Catholic Christian. As I mentioned in the baptism section. It is baptism that makes one a member of the body of Christ which is the Church. Constantine wasn’t baptized until he was on his death bed and it was preformed by an Arian bishop which is questionable that this baptism was even valid.

Another thing brought up against the Catholic Church is that it burned bibles, chained them and prevented it from being translated into the vernacular to keep people ignorant of scripture and thus in their grip. This is simply is misunderstood. It did burn bibles but that was because it had grievous errors in it such as thou shalt commit adultery, Mk 7:27 said let the children be killed first instead of filled first. They did chain bibles but that was so people wouldn’t steal it just like they use to do to the telephone books and bank teller pens. Bibles were very expensive because they were hand written so they did it so every could had access to it. The Church did not try to keep people ignorant of scripture by not printing the bible in the vernacular. In fact prior to the reformation there were Danish, Polish, , Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, French, Bohemian, English, and there were even 18 German translations prior to Martin Luther. David Curry did a study on how much scripture is read in church services and found that it is read 7% of the time in Evangelical churches, 2% in Fundamentalist, and the highest of all of them was 26% in the Catholic Church. The mass is drenched in scripture. There is more than just the Old Testament, New Testament, Gospel, and Responsorial psalm. Many of the prayers come from scripture as well. So even if people could not read the Catholic Church has made it a priority that the faithful hear the scriptures.

Inquisition

The Inquisition is another thing that people sometimes mention. The inquisition’s purpose was to protect the people by preventing the spread of heresy which was considered worse than murder because heresy kills the soul which is worse than the body. Paul said in 2 Tim 2:17 that heresy will spread like gangrene so the thinking of the time was to remove the gangrene so it would not kill the rest of the body.
The Bible itself records instances where God commanded that formal, legal inquiries—that is, inquisitions—be carried out to expose secret believers in false religions. In Deuteronomy 17:2–5 God said: "If there is found among you, within any of your towns which the Lord your God gives you, a man or woman who does what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, in transgressing his covenant, and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden, and it is told you and you hear of it; then you shall inquire diligently and if it is true and certain that such an abominable thing has been done in Israel, then you shall bring forth to your gates that man or woman who has done this evil thing, and you shall stone that man or woman to death with stones."
It is clear that there were some Israelites who posed as believers in and keepers of the covenant, while inwardly they did not believe and secretly practiced false religions, and even tried to spread them (cf. Deut. 13:6–11). To protect the kingdom from such hidden heresy, these secret practitioners of false religions had to be rooted out and expelled from the community. This directive from the Lord applied even to whole cities that turned away from the true religion (Deut. 13:12–18). Like Israel, medieval Europe was a society of Christian kingdoms that were formally consecrated to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is therefore quite understandable that these Catholics would read their Bibles and conclude that for the good of their Christian society they, like the Israelites before them, "must purge the evil from the midst of you" (Deut. 13:5, 17:7, 12) Which Paul repeats this principle in 1 Corinthians 5:13.
These same texts were interpreted similarly by the first Protestants, who also tried to root out and punish those they regarded as heretics. Luther and Calvin both endorsed the right of the state to protect society by purging false religion and many Catholics were killed under King Henry VIII who was the head of the Anglican Church.
Queen Isabella of spain approved the inquisition in 1480 which was 1 month after Muslims invaded the Itallian town of Toronto killing 12000 and selling 10000 into slavery and 20 years after the fall of Constantinople. It was in the shadow of this that the inquisition was used to determine people who were pretending to have converted to Catholicism in order to infiltrate the government. So today it would be like a communist masking as an American in order to infiltrate and destroy the established democracy. To this day this is treason and is punishable by death in the US.
The Inquisition Only had jurisdiction on professed Catholics. There were muslims and jews in spain at the time and they were not bothered by the inquisition. When there was a suspect there was a 30 day grace period were if someone came forward they were given a penance and it was over. If some one was accused there had to be at least to witnesses before any evidence was considered. Any false testimony was harshly punished. Many people preferred to have their cases tried by ecclesiastical courts because the secular courts had even fewer safeguards. In fact, historians have found records of people blaspheming in secular courts of the period so they could have their case transferred to an ecclesiastical court, where they would get a better hearing. We must also remember that the kingdoms mentioned before that it was under the laws of the kingdom which it was illegal to be a heretic with the punishment being a penalty of death carried out by the kingdoms authorities. It was just the Catholic Church that determined if they were heretics or not.
Most of the time the numbers presented that the Catholic Church killed are grossly inflated from 9 to 150 million. This is just ridiculous. That would be enough to kill all of Europe. Even liberal numbers are under 6000 over the 600 years that it was going on. There were times of abuses because people sin in no matter what church you are in. The main thing to consider is that the inquisition was meant for the protection of the common good.

Anti Science

Sometimes the Church gets accused of being anti science. This can’t be farther from the truth. An example commonly brought up was a situation with Galileo. Galileo ascribed to a scientific system founded by a Catholic named Copernicus. Copernicus didn’t want to publish his work due to ridicule by contemporaries but only did published his work at the requests of Cardinal Shoneburn and Bishop Giese. Copernicus dedicated his work to pope Paul III. Galileo came to Rome in 1611 and set up shop in a garden of Cardinal Bendeni. The church was not opposed to him researching. The only time they did sound the alarm was when Galileo was insisting that the Copernican doctrine be taken as absolute truth without answers to all of the objections. So the church wasn’t hindering science but wanted to not be hasty in making conclusions until there is substantial proof. The Church did not persecute Galileo but put him under house arrest in the papal palace for his obstinance. Catholics have been the forerunners in Science. It was the Catholic Church that started the college system. Louis Pasteur a catholic invented pastuerization, Alexander Fleming invented penicillin. Gregory Mendel was an Augustinian priest and he was the father of modern genetics. Many Jesuit priests were great scientists. The Vatican even has its own observatory so there is really no historical basis for saying the Catholic church is anti science.

Church legalism

Sometimes people say that the Church is legalistic because of the laws it has. If you take basketball for example. When that game was first invented it probably had less than a dozen rules. Then the more that it got played situations occurred where more rules had to added to ensure fairness. Like what do you do if buzzer rings ending the game 1 second before the ball goes threw the hoop. Would that shot be good or not? The Church has been around for 2000 years and many situations have come up that rules had to be added. Like is a mormon baptism a valid one or would they have to be properly baptized if they were to convert. The rules are to protect the faithful in the common era. God gave us rules to follow also. We call them the ten commandments and those aren’t optional. Other rules given are to help the faithful grow closer to God like it requires fasting on Good Friday as a way to recall the death that Jesus endured for us. These are good things and I would rather rely on the wisdom of a 2000 year old Church than myself trying to reinvent the wheel. Some say they don’t like how the Catholic Church tells you what you have to believe. Did Jesus tell the apostles the truth and then say but if you don’t agree you can start your own denomination and teach what you believe? No. Truth is truth and it is the Churches job to defend truth as 1 Tim 3:15 says. Jesus speaking to the first leaders of the Church said in Lk 10:16 "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me."


Harlot of Babylon

Some people think the Catholic Church is the harlot of Babylon that is spoken of in Rev 17. These people point to two main verses to "prove" that the woman (the harlot) is the Roman Catholic Church. Those verses are: 1) Rev 17:9 This calls for a mind with wisdom; the seven heads are seven hills on which the woman is seated, and 2) Rev 17:18 And the woman that you saw is the great city which has dominion over the kings of the earth.
"See," they say, "the seven hills means Rome, which is a city that sits on seven hills. The Catholic Church is headquartered in Rome. And, Rome was the great city that had dominion over the kings of the earth. Therefore, the harlot of Babylon is a world-wide religion that is based in Rome." The problem with these two assumptions is that Vatican City in on one hill that is not a part of the seven hills which is on the other side of the Tiber river and the Catholic Church doesn’t have dominion over the kings of the earth.
There two things to look at in these verses in Rev 17. There is the harlot and the beast that she is sitting on. Rev 17:3 and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. And, Rev 17:9 This calls for a mind with wisdom; the seven heads are seven hills on which the woman is seated. What we have here is the seven hills pertain to the beast on which the woman is seated, not the woman herself. The beast is symbolic of Rome and the Roman Empire.
The harlot is clearly identified as a city, not a Church. This city is Jerusalem.
The harlot of Babylon is referred to as the "great city," in Rev 17:18 and in a few verses in chapter 18. Knowing that, if you look at Rev 11:9 and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the GREAT CITY which is allegorically called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. The "great city" is where their Lord was crucified. Their Lord was crucified in Jerusalem.
The nation of Israel was often referred to in the Old Testament as a harlot because Israel quite often would forsake worship of the one true God, and would worship of false gods instead. Quite often the relationship between God and Israel is described in marital terms. Therefore, when Israel would forsake her true Spouse, she was described as a harlot...a whore. Hos 9:1, "Rejoice not, O Israel! Exult not like the peoples; for you have played the harlot, forsaking your God. You have loved a harlot's hire upon all threshing floors."
Rev 17:16 "And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the harlot; they will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh, and burn her up with fire. If the beast is Rome (or the Roman Empire), and the harlot is Jerusalem, then we can see a clear connection When Jerusalem was sacked and burned in 70 A.D by Roman General Titus thus leaving the city naked and burned up with fire, just like the Bible says. Rev 17:6 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus." Jesus further affirms Jerusalem is the harlot by what he says to the scribes and Pharisees in Mt 23:33-38. "You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah...O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you...Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate."
Notice Jesus sends the saints to Jerusalem and they will be killed and crucified and scourged and persecuted. So Jerusalem will be drunk with the blood of the martyrs and saints of Jesus, just like the harlot of Babylon. Now if you compare verse Mt 23:38, about Jerusalem being forsaken and desolate with Rev 18:21-24...these verses describe a city that is pretty much forsaken and desolate. And if look closely at verse Rev 18:24 "And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth." Well, if the blood of all who have been slain on earth are found in the harlot of Babylon; and the blood of all the O.T. prophets and wise men and scribes, and the blood of those sent by Jesus who are yet to be crucified, killed, scourged, and persecuted are upon Jerusalem (Matthew 23), then it looks, again, like Jerusalem is the harlot of Babylon.