Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Why Be Catholic
Of all the things you could be, why be Catholic? GK Chesterton said “the difficulty of explaining why I am Catholic is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true.”
I’m not going to be giving reasons that God exists like the fine tuning argument, Aquinas’ 5 ways, CS Lewis’ trilema, ndes, or the other arguments. You can ask about that later if you want to.
This is mainly going to be a comparison between Catholic Christianity and Non Catholic Christianity. If I call non Catholic Christians protestants it is by habit. Technically they are not all protestant but they all derive their doctrine from the protestant reformation. Right now you may be thinking what’s the big deal we’re all Christians. As long as we believe and have warm and fuzzy feelings about God then we’re alright. This is called relativism. Other wise known as the “I’m ok, your ok, we’re all ok syndrome. A really smart guy said that relativism is the greatest problem of our time. His name is something like pope Benedict XVI maybe it rings a bell. You have heard it before. What’s true for you is true for you and what is true for me is true to me. But why does this only ever apply to a person’s faith? Suppose a math teacher told their students 2+2=4 for me but it could equal 3 for you. I don’t want to impose my beliefs about math on you. How long do you think that teacher would have a job? Math is temporal. In the presence of God in heaven no one is going to care that 2+2=4. No one is going to care in hell either. If you want a week investment invest in penny stocks. If you want a 20 year investment plant trees. If you want an eternal investment invest in the truths of our faith. Jesus said in Mt 24:35 that heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away. What we know about Jesus and about salvation affects our relationship with God. Suppose your friend set you up on a blind date. They described the person to you but when you met them in person they were not how you pictured them. There are groups that say Jesus was man and not God, God and not man, that there isn’t a trinity, that the Holy Spirit is not a person but an energy force. Just within Calvinism itself concerning the operation of grace there are 5 point Calvinists, 4 point, 3 point, 2 point, Hyper Calvinism, Neo Calvinism, Superlapsarian, Infralapsarian, Etc. Each of these groups like your friend setting you up on a blind date have their own perspective on who your date is. There are over 30000 non Catholic Christian denominations according the Oxford World Christian encyclopedia. Each of these claim to be led by the Holy Spirit but we know that the Holy Spirit is not the author of confusion.
In Jn 18:37 “Jesus told Pontius Pilot before he was condemned to death that the reason he came was to bear witness to the truth.” We don’t believe in the tooth fairy or the easter bunny anymore because we know it is not true. Jesus founded one church. He said in Mt 16:18 you are Peter and on this Rock I will build my church, singular. 1st Timothy 3:15 says that the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth. This was my dilemma about 6 years ago. Which of the 30000 was the Church that Jesus founded? My self growing up Mennonite I didn’t care about the other 29999 churches started by pastor Bob or whoever. I wanted to be in Jesus’ church. I like over a hundred thousand others who convert each year found what I found. No it wasn’t because the Catholic Church had such a good young adult group or because the mass was exciting or because purgatory and indulgences sounded like a good deal. We converted because its teachings are true.
Tonight out of those ten thousand reasons I want to highlight 9 basic reasons to show that it is the Catholic Church founded by Jesus so that you won’t be mislead by what these other groups are teaching. Don’t get me wrong there is a lot of good in these non Catholic Christian groups but they don’t have the fullness of the faith. These 9 reasons come from 9 aspects of truth each of which can stand on their own. What do I mean by aspects of truth? We have for example mathematical truth. 2+2 is always 4. We have historical truth. Everyone recognizes George Washington to be the first president. We have chemical truth. Two hydrogen atoms plus an oxygen atom will make water consistently. The truths about the Catholic faith:
Reason # 1 is tradition.
Tradition is the means in which God’s revealed truth has been transmitted from Jesus to the apostles and on to their successors (the bishops) throughout the centuries. If we go back to the blind date analogy. The non Catholic Christians are reading your blind date’s diary interpreting what it means and telling you what they think it means. Their sole source is the diary alone, or the bible alone. Tradition is like your date is telling your friend what they want you to know about themselves and writing it down so you don’t forget. The source isn’t the bible alone it is Jesus telling us about himself and passing it on. So basically tradition is both written and oral. Paul says 2 Thess 2:15 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. 1 Thess 1:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. Every Church has tradition whether they say they do or not. So the question is: how can you tell the difference between the traditions of the apostles and the other traditions? The answer is really simple. Jesus founded one Church and those traditions that were taught by the apostles were also taught by the Christians in the first centuries of Christianity. All it takes is reading the writings of the early Church to prove it.
This is where reason number 2 (history) comes in. A look at history can easily show at what point in time any given doctrine first appeared. I came from the Mennonite tradition and its forefathers were the first ones to say that baptism was completely symbolic, that nothing supernatural happens to a person baptized. They were also among the first ones to say that bread and wine do not become the body and blood of Christ. These come into Christian history 1500 years after Jesus instituted them. This aspect of history was huge for me in my conversion. I never even thought of seeing what the Church Fathers said. In fact I didn’t know they existed. There are 38 volumes of the writings of the early Church Fathers. So picture a set of encyclopedias. Then add 12 books to that and that is how much we have of the writings of the early church. I have gotten through the first half of that and I want to give some examples. St Ignatius of Antioch was a disciple of John the apostle and he writes not 10 years after the death of John in 107 AD and in his writings he calls the Church Catholic as if it is common knowledge. In his Epistle to the Smyraeans he says.
“Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church...” We didn’t even have bishops in the church that I grew up in even though episcopos (bishop) is in the bible but this quote hit me like a sledge hammer. It didn’t say there is the mennonite church it didn’t say the lutheran church, the methodist church, presbyterian church. Those all came after the 16th century. You can look it up in secular encyclopedias. Encyclopedia Britanica is the only encyclopedia allowed to be cited in a court of law and it recognizes the Catholic church has its origin in the first century. Our doctrines like the eucharist where very explicitly taught in the early church. The teaching on the eucharist is a hard teaching. You know that after the consecration at mass there is not longer bread on the altar it is the body, blood, soul and divinty of Jesus just under the appearance of bread. Jn 6:66 shows that the only time the disciples of Jesus left over a doctrinal teaching was the doctrine of the real presence. Of all the protestant denominations there are only 2 that teach something like the docrtine of the real presence. We again see in the writing of Ignatius he mentions the gnostics and he says that “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” This is what we teach today. We see the papacy in Irenaeus in Against Heresies book 3 ch 3 around 180ad . He lists 13 popes after St Peter and says this is how we are to know the spirit of truth from the spirit of error. We see Tertullian describing confession at the end of the second century comparing sin to a disease of the private parts and the priest as a doctor. The people who are shy and don’t go to the doctor die with their disease.
It’s all there but what is so convincing about the historical argument is the history of how we got the bible. We take the bible for granted. If we want a bible you can go any book store and get a bible but you couldn’t do that in the second century. Often times Catholics get an earful of bible verses saying that they contradict the bible. I’m sure you have already thought of one. I’ll get to some of those later but what the protestant does not realize is they are biting the hand that feeds them. They wouldn’t have a bible if the Catholic Church would not have met in the late 4th and early 5th centuries in councils. There was the council of Rome in 382, In Hippo in 393, in Carthage in 397 and again in 419. Prior to this time there were people who were saying some books like Clement’s letter to the Corinthians or the Shephard of Hermas, or the didache were inspired scripture which are not in our bibles. On the flip side there were people who were saying James, Jude, 2nd Peter, 2nd and 3rd John, Hebrews and the book of Revelation were not inspired scripture which we have in our bibles now. Eusbius mentions this in his Church history book 3 in the fourth century. Don’t you think if anything in the bible contradicted Catholic teaching those Catholic councils would have edited it out? They didn’t because nothing in the bible contradicts Catholic Teaching. Remember that. Now basically there are two groups. There is the Catholic church who has scripture, tradition and the authoritative teaching magisterium and then there is every other Christian group that goes by the bible alone. The problem with the bible alone is if you believe in the bible alone then you wouldn’t believe in the bible alone because the bible alone isn’t taught in the bible. That is a very basic answer when someone asks you were is that in the bible. All you need to say is where is the verse in the bible that says everything has to be in the bible. Question: How do you go by the bible alone if you don’t know what books make up the bible? Think about it. There has to be an authority outside the bible to first tell us what makes up the bible. We know that Jesus gave his authority to the Church to do such things. What happens if you don’t have this authority then you have a tautology. You know tautology. A squirrel is a squirrel because it’s a squirrel. A hamster is a hamster, a dog a dog, Cleveland Brown’s stink. You know tautology. The Koran makes the same claim. The Koran isn’t inspired because the Koran says that it is. That doesn’t prove anything. We have to have the teaching authority if we are to have the bible.
Number 3 Apostolic Succession
Apostolic succession is the passing of the authority that Jesus gave to the apostles who passed this on through the “laying on of hands” at ordination to their successors the bishops who passed this to bishops to the present day. Why is this important? Lets step back a second and see what kind of authority Jesus gave. Jesus gave the apostles authority in Mt 16:18, Mt 18:18 (what ever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loose in heaven), Jn 20:21-23 (who ever sins you forgive they are forgiven and who ever sins you retain they are retained), Luke 10:16 and 1 John 4:6 He gave them the authority to speak for him (who ever hears you hears me and whoever rejects you rejects me). The authority to do these things needed to be passed on to the next generation. In order for someone to go and preach the gospel they had to receive authority and be sent (Rom 10:15). If someone did not get the authority through laying on of hands and started teaching things on their own and ordaining people the link is then broken and they have no authority of Jesus to be preaching. This is what is really cool about apostolic succession. Pope Benedict’s office of the bishop of Rome can be traced back to St Peter. You can do a quick google search on the list of popes and see a list of all 266 popes with the year that they were pope. No other church can come close.
Number 4 unchanging truth
Truth cannot change. We are not going to have to worry that 2+2 will equal 5 in the future.
Jesus promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against his church (Mt 16:18) so if truth changed then the gates of hell would have prevailed. So any church that has changed concerning truth is not the church Jesus started. A few examples truth being changed are the seven Deuterocanonical books in the old testament that protestants call apocrypha. These seven books Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch 1 Maccabees, and 2 Maccabees along with parts of Esther and Daniel in our canon were considered inspired before the time of Jesus, at the time of Jesus and afterward. These books were in the Greek Septuagint which was the old testament that Jesus and the apostles used. When the apostles quoted the Old Testament 300 out 350 times were from the Septuagint. These books cannot be inspired for 2000 years and then in the 19th century they are not inspired. This was when they finally took them out. If you have a protestant bible printed before the 1820s they would have these books. Non Catholic Christians universally reject these books as uninspired writings. Some times they argue that these books are not in jewish bibles but it depends which jews we are talking about. Ethiopian jews have these books in their bibles. Other jews attempted to close the Jewish canon at a gathering in Jamnia around 90ad and they rejected these Deuterocanonical books. Should we be looking to Jews as being an authority of telling us what books are inspired when they rejected Jesus. I don’t think so. I look to the Church who Jesus gave his authority to speak for him like in Lk 10:16 He who hears you hears me and he who rejects you rejects me. So this would be an example of truth being changed
Another example is contraception. Before the Anglican Lambeth conference in 1930 all Christian denominations taught that contraception is a grave moral evil. Now the Catholic Church is the only one that still teaches that. The original protestant reformers like Luther and Calvin in the 16th century wrote condemning the practice referring to Genesis 38 and the sin of Onan. They even said it was more atrocious than incest and adultery. Bring this up in the q and a and we can talk about this more because it is really a beautiful teaching not an oppressive one.
So those are some examples of truths being changed which are pretty universal in all non catholic denominations. But don’t get doctrines confused with disciplines. Disciplines can change. It was a discipline to not eat meat on Friday for a long time. We are still obligated to do some type of penance on Friday but we can now choose what type that is. I personally fast on Friday.
Number 5 time
The church is nearly 2000 years and is still teaching the same things that it was at the beginning. No institution in history has been able to come close to that long not just teaching the same thing but even being in existence that long. Only an institution that was started by God and maintained by God can be able to do this. If you look at Protestantism it started in the 16th century with 2 schisms and has split into over 30000 schisms. Some say that the Catholic Church can’t be founded by Jesus because it has such a bad history of scandal such as bad popes who had mistresses or the sex abuse scandal we have seen in the last couple decades. Every denomination has sinners. Out of Jesus’ 12 hand picked disciples 1 denied him, 1 betrayed him, and 9 left him during his passion. In Jn 4:22 we read that Salvation is from the jews yet they were sacrificing children to Molec in Lev 18. In Jn 11:49-53 we read that Caiaphas was receiving prophesy from God as the high priest about Jesus dying instead of the nation and Caiaphas was one that was plotting against Jesus. We can’t leave Peter because of Judas. Despite all the scandal and bad popes the doctrine of the Church as never changed.
In the 14th century work Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio we read in day 1 tale 2 a story about a rich Jewish merchant named Abraham who lived in Paris. Abraham’s priest friend kept trying to persuade him to convert to Christianity and finally Abraham said I will journey to Rome, to see the pope and the cardinals. If they seem as you say and their religion is better than mine then I will convert but if not I will stay a jew. The priest was like oh no when he sees the wicked lives of the priests he will surely not convert. So Abraham went and when he came back he surprised him because he wanted to be baptized despite seeing the scandals going on. He mentioned (me paraphrasing) no institution this corrupt could have lasted 14 weeks let alone 14 centuries it’s a miracle. So Abraham was baptized in Notre Dame Cathedral.
Like Abraham concluded in a time of severe corruption, God had to be protecting the Church otherwise it would have destroyed itself.
In Acts 5:33-39 we read about that the Pharisees were furious and wanting to put Peter and the apostles to death but the Rabbi Gamaliel stood up and mentioned 2 other people who were false claim it messiahs. After the death of these 2 their followers scattered and their religion died. So Gamaliel’s advice was to let the apostles go and if their faith was of human origin it will fail but if it is from God you will not be able to stop these men and you will only be fighting against God.
Indeed, there have been many who have tried to exterminate the Catholic Church. There were many Roman Emperors in the first couple centuries who tried very hard. More than half of the first 24 popes were martyrs. The Catholic Church has out lived every major empire because God has been protecting it and it isn’t going anywhere.
Reason # 6 Scripture
I already mentioned without the Catholic Councils to speak authoritative on the canon of scripture we wouldn’t be sure if we had all the inspired books. The Catholic Church loves scripture. 26% of the Mass is scripture. The next highest denomination only has 6%. You don’t even have to be able to read. If you attend mass for 3 years you will have most of the bible read to you.
In this section on scripture I want show that scripture harmonizes the most with Catholic teaching. One of the ways that it harmonizes is with what is called Typology. Typology is seeing things in the old testament as figures or shadows of their fulfillment in the new testament. Jesus says in Mt 5:17 that he did not come to abolish the law and the prophets but to fulfill them. Typology really helped me understand how the old and new testaments fit together. I want to look at 3 sacraments to show how typology works.
The main thing that kept me out of Catholic Church was confession. I thought there is nothing in the bible to support it. When I heard Jn 20:21-23 I was shocked. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." Then I see in Acts 19:18 people were coming and confessing their sins. Not only where they confessing there sins to priests in the new testament but they were doing it in the old testament too. Lev 5:5-6 says if someone sins they are to confess and the priest would offer a sacrifice and make atonement for them. This is typology. The confession they were doing in the old testament was only a shadow of the confession we have now. The confession in the old testament they had to sacrifice of an animal in addition and it only temporarily covered their sins. This prefigures our confession because we have the perfect sacrifice of Jesus that washes our sins away. You see the old testament type was imperfect and pointed towards the new testament fulfillment. Now you may be thinking what’s the point I just confess the same things every time. So you want new sins to confess? Confession doesn’t just forgive sin, it gives you grace to avoid committing future sins. When you were in diapers did you parents say what’s the point of changing diapers? I mean they are just going to poop it up again? What a horrible thing to do so why would we do that our own soul? Confession is a gift and it isn’t the kind of gift you can exchange for store credit.
Baptism can be seen typologically also. To me growing up baptism was just a public profession of faith that one makes when they have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. Infants couldn‘t be baptized because they can‘t know of their need for a savior. Yet I wondered what really was the point of baptism if it didn’t do anything. Paul makes the typological connection between old testament circumcision and baptism saying in Col 2:12 that “baptism is the circumcision of Christ.” To help understand New testament baptism we can go back and look at Old Testament Circumcision. Circumcision was the sign of the people in the old testament who were in covenant relationship God. 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. This is another aspect of typology. The fulfillment or archetype is always greater than the shadow or type. So I realized if baptism is greater than circumcision why is it that Jewish babies could be in covenant with God and Christians babies had to wait until they were teenagers or later to be baptized. We find in the new testament that baptism doesn’t just signify the covenant, it does what it signifies.
Titus 3:5 says “you were saved by the washing and renewal of the spirit.” 1 Pt 3:21 “Baptism now saves you” and it goes on to explain how it is so 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 how Rom 6:3-5 puts it. Being in covenant with God is important. 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. Now there are things like invisible ignorance and baptism of desire that give people who have not been baptism a chance to get to heaven.
Typology really helped me understand the Eucharist. If we go back to Exodus 12 we read about how the Isrealites were still in captivity in Egypt. Pharaoh would not let the people go and God did many signs to convince him to let them go but he resisted. The last thing God would do was to strike down every first born male. To protect Israel from this God had them sacrifice a lamb with out defect. They would take the blood of the lamb and put it on the door posts and when the Lord saw the blood he would Passover the house. They also had to eat the lamb and unleavened bread. Eating the lamb was not optional they couldn’t eat lamb shaped cookies if they didn’t like lamb. These things parallel so closely with its new testament fulfillment in the Mass. They had to have a lamb without blemish and we have the lamb of God, the only perfect sacrifice. The priest says at mass behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. This comes from John the Baptist in Jn 1:29. They had to eat the lamb to live and we have to eat the lamb to live. Jesus says over and over in Jn 6:48-58 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. At Mass we offer the one sacrifice of Jesus on the cross which is re presented to us, not repeated. In Malachi 1:11 we read a prophecy about a pure future sacrifice that is offered continuously around the world. 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; 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 somewhere in the world. We also the have the typology of Jesus and Melchizedek. Melchizedek only appears for 3 verses in the old testament. He was a king of Salem, a priest of the most high God, and he offered a sacrifice of bread and wine. We read in Heb 6:20 that Jesus is a priest forever after the order of melchizadech. Jesus is the king of the heavenly Jerusalem, he is our high priest, and he offered bread and wine at the last supper saying this is my body. It’s amazing how Jesus pulls together all the loose ends of the Old Testament.
Now I also want to take this opportunity to go through some of the topics that the Catholic Church gets accused of for not following the scriptures and provide a couple verses that would be hard to explain if one didn’t take the Catholic understanding. You know when they say you worship Mary. After you hit them over the head you can explain these things. No don’t hit them over the head. If you are worshiping Mary quit it. That is a mortal sin. Fr hears confessions from 3:30- 4:30 on Saturdays. They see us praying to Mary and just automatically think it is worship. Actually Revelation 5:8 and 8:4 both show what is happening in heaven. What we see is that the prayers of the people on earth are rising like bowls of incense which are going to angels and elders and they are presenting the prayers to God. They say yeah but what about the Hail Mary. The Hail Mary prayer comes right from scripture Lk 1:28 And the angel, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, Lk 1:42 And Elizabeth cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. Did Elizabeth think Mary hard of hearing or did she really mean it. What other denomination calls Mary the Blessed Virgin Mary? None that I know of.
Calling Priests Father
We constantly hear about this one because Mt 23:9 says And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. They say see it says it right here. Don’t you read the bible? What part of call no man father don’t you get. All you have to do is say um did you read what the verse just before it says. They don’t realized that Mt 23:8 says call no one teacher but they don’t have a problem calling someone teacher or a professor with a phd, doctor which can mean teacher of the highest degree. Obviously Jesus isn’t speaking literally other wise 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.
What about that Priestly Celibacy thing.
They quote 1 Tim 4:2-3 which mentions forbidding to marry is a doctrine of demons. There is just one problem with that. Catholic Church doesn’t forbid marriage. Priests willfully give it up to better serve the church. Jesus was celibate and he taught that it was good to imitate him. In Mt 19:10-12: he talks about men making 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. talks about how the unmarried care 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. Where are the non catholic Christians following these verses about being celibate. Very very rare to non existent.
There are many other topics that could be discussed but I’m going to move on to.
Reason # 7 the Miraculous
Heb 2:3-5 says “how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”
God does miracles through his Church. Throughout history many miracles have been preformed through Jesus’ Church such as Saints who were so close to Jesus who died did not corrupt. After the fall of Adam and Eve death was the result and from dust we were created to dust we return. It is these saints who to this day after centuries of being dead still look as if they are sleeping. It was by a special grace that these people who were so close to God and far from sin who now remain incorruptible. There are over 250 saints who are incorrupt and here are some of them
St. Cecilia 2nd century
Saint Silvan, 5th century
Saint Clare of Assisi, Saint Zita. 13th century
Saint Rita of Cascia. 14th century
Saint Vincent De Paul. 16th century
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. 17th century
This is an amazing phenomena and it only happens in the Catholic Church. What about stigmata? Stigmata are wounds that appear on hands, feet, side, or brow that are marks of the passion of Christ with corresponding sufferings. To better love Jesus they share in his sufferings in also bearing these wounds. These are called visible stigmata. Others only have the sufferings, without any outward marks, and these phenomena are called invisible stigmata. Physicians do not succeed in curing these wounds with remedies. On the other hand, unlike natural wounds of a certain duration, those of stigmatics do not give forth a rotten odor. To this there is known but one exception: St. Rita of Cassia had received on her brow a supernatural wound produced by a thorn detached from the crown of the crucifix. Though this emitted an unbearable odor, there was never any pus or morbid alteration of the tissues. Sometimes these wounds give forth perfumes, for example Juana of the Cross.
To prove that these wounds were not self inflicted sometimes the patient was watched night and day, sometimes the limbs have been enveloped in sealed bandages. Mr. Pierre Janet placed on one foot of a stigmatic a copper shoe with a window in it through which the development of the wound might be watched, while it was impossible for anyone to touch it.
There are 62 saints of both sexes known to have stigmata. Hear are some of the best known.
St. Francis of Assisi (13th century) is the first know to have the stigmata. He was praying on the mountainside when he beheld the marvelous vision of the seraph. Afterwards appearing on his body where the visible marks of the five wounds of the Crucified. The saint's right side is described as bearing on open wound which looked as if made by a lance, while through his hands and feet were black nails of flesh, the points of which were bent backward
St. Catherine of Siena (14th century)
St. Colette (15th century)
St. Rita of Cassia (15th century)
St. Pio of Pietrelcina better known as Padre Pio who lived from 1887-1968. He is the most recent stigmatic and his stigmata was even on video. He bore the stigmata for 50 years and healed just prior to his death. What an awesome saint Padre Pio was. People would go to confession to him and he would tell them the sins that they were holding back. He was known to bilocate (be in two places at once). When the Americans were bombing Italy in WWII Padre Pio appeared in the clouds waving his hands which prevented the bombers from dropping bombs on a non military target. He could see the angels and would converse with his guardian angel daily. He fought with Satan himself on numerous occasions. This kind of stuff happens no where but in the Catholic Church.
are miracles pertaining to Jesus’ real presence under the appearance of bread and wine after concecration. At Mass we believe that at the words of Consecration the bread and wine cease to exist and there is only Jesus’ body, blood, soul and divinity though the outside appearances still look like bread and wine.
The first recorded Eucharistic miracle (other than the miracle that happens at every mass) occurred in the 8th Century in Lanciano, Italy. The name Lanciano means lance and it was tradition that the centurion Longinus who pierced the side of Jesus with the lance came from this town which is off the coast of the Adriatic Sea. In this town there was a monk who had begun to have real doubts about Jesus' real presence in the Eucharist. When celebrating Mass, as he spoke the words of the consecration the host changed into a circle of "flesh" surrounding the remaining Eucharist and the wine transformed into visible "blood". The "flesh" remained intact but the "blood" subsequently divided into five separate globules correlating to Jesus‘ 5 wounds. The monk was reinvigorated in his faith as he witnessed this transformation. The "flesh" and "blood" have been maintained in special containers housed in the monastery and its successors ever since. In a modern evaluation of this "flesh" and "blood" conducted by several Italian university professors in 1970 under rigorous conditions, they found that the container that held the "flesh" was not hermetically sealed so that the Eucharistic host at the center of the "flesh" was no longer present and the "blood" globules had hardened. Samples were taken of both the "flesh" and the "blood" and were sent to a number of laboratories for microscopic, biochemical and other scientific evaluation. The "flesh" was found to be striated muscular tissue of the myocardium (the wall of the heart), of human origin and contained absolutely no trace of any substances that could have been used to preserve it. It was real Flesh! The "blood" sample was found to be human blood, type AB which is the same blood type found on the Shroud of Turin (the burial cloth of Christ). This blood type is not common the area of Lanciano only .5 - 1% and only 14 - 15% in Palestine and the middle east. The flesh was found to be of the same type as well. It was truly Blood! The proteins found in the blood sample were consistent with proteins found in fresh human blood despite the fact that the container housing the flesh and blood from the Eucharist was not hermetically sealed. These proteins are usually gone within 20-30 minutes after death yet they are still present 1250 years later. The Higher Council of the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed these findings in a 15 month examination period with 500 examinations. Thus, for more than 1200 years the physical reality of Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist has been preserved for all to observe and renew their faith. There are more than two dozen documented reports of similar Eucharistic miracles occurring throughout Europe between the 10th and 15th centuries and dozens more since then with many of them having enclosed the flesh and blood samples in special containers where they can still be seen today.
In 1263 Peter of Prague, a German priest, was celebrating Mass at the Church of Saint Christina in Bolsena. He had been entertaining serious doubts about the reality of Christ's presence in the consecrated Host. As he completed the words of Consecration blood started to seep from the Consecrated Host and run down over his hands onto the altar and the altar communion linen (corporal). Seeing this, he interrupted the Mass and traveled quickly to Orvieto, where Pope Urban IV was then residing. On hearing his story, the Pope forgave him for having doubts and sent representatives to Bolsena to investigate. Parishioners and others confirmed the priest's story and the host and stained linens were there for all to see. Their investigation, when completed, confirmed all that the priest had related. One year later, in August 1264 Pope Urban instituted the feast of Corpus Christi (Body of Christ).
Methuen, Massachusetts was the site of another inexplicable Eucharistic phenomenon in 1995. In preparing to distribute Communion, a Eucharistic minister at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church opened the tabernacle to discover a Consecrated Host "bleeding" inside. The host was transferred to a container, apparently still bleeding, and retained there for further examination. Aside from a number of witnesses who observed the bleeding Host, the Host itself was sent to Dr. B. Lipinski, a biochemist, for non-invasive examination. He ascertained that the reddish substance was human blood. With this determination, a small sample of the crusted blood was sent to the California Laboratory of Forensic Sciences. After several preliminary tests confirmed the presence of blood, on August 30, 1995, a crossover electrophoresis was conducted on the sample which unequivocally identified the reddish substance as human blood.
There have been saints who have lived on the Eucharist alone for many years.
Bl. Angela of Foligno (d. 1309) remained 12 years without taking any nourishment.
Bl. Catherine of Racconigi (d. 1547), also a stigmatist, lived on the Holy Eucharist alone for 10 years.
Bl. Elizabeth the Good (d. 1420) was known not to have eaten for nearly three years with exception of Holy Communion.
St Alexandrina Maria da Costa
She was born in April 1904. in 1918 men broke into her house. Alexandrina wanting to preserve her chastity jumped from an upstairs window. The men fled but her spine had been irreparably injured. Six years later she had to remain in bed for the rest of her life. The slightest movement caused her intense pain. In one of her ecstasies Jesus said to her, “Keep me company in the Blessed Sacrament. I remain in the tabernacle night and day, waiting to give my love and grace to all who would visit me. But so few come. I am so abandoned, so lonely, so offended. Many do not believe in my existence; they do not believe that I live in the tabernacle. They curse me. Others believe, but do not love me and do not visit me; they live as if I were not there… I am truly present there as in Heaven, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.” During Holy Week Jesus said to her, “You will not take food again on earth. Your food will be my Flesh; your drink will be my Divine Blood …”So on Good Friday 1942 she began an absolute fast which lasted for more than thirteen years until her death. Under medical observation her report reads as follows: “Her abstinence from solids and liquids was absolute during all that time. We testify also that she retained her weight, and her temperature, breathing, blood pressure, pulse and blood were normal while her mental faculties were constant and lucid and she had not, during these forty days, any natural necessities…The laws of physiology and biochemistry cannot account for the survival of this sick woman. She died on 13th October 1955, having received nourishment only from Holy Communion for more than thirteen years.
The saints had amazing experiences didn’t they? These miracles are testimonies that only happen in the Catholic Church.
Reason # 8 The Target of Satan’s Followers
Who is the primary target of the followers of Satan and why would this be a reason to be Catholic? 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 and it performs dark rites with the Black Mass being its primary. The Black Mass’ main objective is the profanation of a consecrated host that has been stolen from a Catholic Mass. Isn’t it interesting that Satanist believe in the doctrine of the Real Presence.
Betty Brennan is one witness of what went on in black masses. She was raised a Catholic, became a Satanist but later returned to the Church. What drove her away was the loss of a child who was slowly dying 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 driving a hundred miles to a healing mass. Betty would wait outside while the healing mass was going and would supernaturally turn the lights off and 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.
You remember in the Gospel about the demoniac who was isolated and lived among the tombs and no one could bind him because he kept breaking the chains in Mk 5:2-8. He knew exactly who Jesus was though he never met Jesus.
Most Satanists and real Witches can discern a Consecrated Host among thousands of unconsecrated hosts. When another former Satanist was asked how they could tell the difference he replied “Because of the hate,” “Because of the burning hate I would feel toward that host, apart from all the others.” 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. Satanists, 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.
Another former Satanist Deborah Lipsky has a similar story to Betty. She went to Catholic school where she got bullied for being autistic. She blamed the Catholic Church for her pain and her goal was to destroy the Catholic Church. She had made a pact with the devil and the demons she was associated with knew the Catholic Church was their nemesis. She says:
"I used to take pleasure bringing born-again Christians to their knees if they tried either 'exorcising' my demons or speaking to me of Jesus' love. Protestants of all denominations were also 'sport' as they quickly buckled under my power when they tried to convert me. However even back then I feared the Catholic priest as I knew, as did my demons, that I was no match for the power that came through him from God."
The greatest enemy in the world knows what was revealed by God. They know who Jesus put in charge and they point there whole fury at the Catholic Church and yet they fear it. They fear the priest, they fear what looks like a piece of bread. These witnesses testify to the truth in the Catholic church from those who aren’t in the Church. We can’t even comprehend the spiritual battle we are in right now but Jesus promised the gates of Hell would not prevail.
Reason # 9 is Logic
Logic builds on everything I have mentioned. Let’s go back and look at it logically. The protestants that study their faith say there isn’t salvation in the Catholic Church. From what I have shown from tradition, history and from apostolic succession then if the Catholic Church is wrong that would mean that the very generation taught by the apostles messed the faith up so badly that there would be no salvation from that time until the 16th century. In light of this then that makes Jesus a liar because he promised the gates of hell would not prevail against his Church in Mt 16:18. Doesn’t it make sense that if the early church was called catholic, taught all of the current catholic doctrines, has a continuous link of authority from the apostles, has not changed truth, defined what the bible was, has manifested miracles that can only come from the power of God, and is the primary target of Satan’s followers end up being the only possibility as to being the Church that Jesus founded? I think so. That is why I’m Catholic.