Tuesday, April 20, 2010

An Argument for Fallibility, not Against Infallibility

Yes, while in Malta the pope himself fell asleep during Mass (link to report - caution, some of the advertisements do not comply with Reformation principles of modesty). This doesn't, in itself, prove that the pope is fallible. It's certainly not a disproof of infallibility. It is just more evidence that he's a normal human being.

Likewise, the comparison between the Steelers handled a crisis and the way the Vatican handles a crisis does not, in itself, prove either that the Vatican is fallible or that the Steelers are a better institution (I'm not a big fan of either institution)(link). However, it is evidence of fallibility and, indeed, corruption within the Vatican.

However, both of these stories (like my own previous note regarding typos in the on-line English version of Rome's canon law) help to demonstrate to the ordinary reader that Rome's leadership is not something supernatural. They are men - and like other men they are fallible, sinful, and so forth. Their fallibility isn't proved by their humanity, but it is evidenced that way.

The fact that the apostles and prophets had the Word of God was attested by true miracles, signs, and wonders. Christ's own resurrection served, as one of its purposes, to testify to Christ's divinity and the truth of his message:

Acts 13:35-37
Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: but he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

And again:

Matthew 12:38-42
Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

But the Roman magisterium is merely human. It lacks any supernatural manifestations of God's favor. Benedict XVI cannot raise from the dead those who fall asleep during preaching as Paul raised Eutychus from the dead, indeed Benedict XVI himself falls asleep (we do not know whether it was during the brief homily or some other portion of the mass).

That fallibility is seen in practice in the heresy of mariolatry illustrated in two ways during Benedict XVI's Maltese Visit:
Pope Benedict XVI said he was "pleased" to be able to pray before her image and presented her with a Golden Rose "as a sign of our shared filial affection for the Mother of God."

He asked that she be prayed to as "Queen of the Family," a title introduced by Pope John Paul II to the Litany of Loreto.
(source)(official source for those who don't trust the media)

Notice the three ways in which idolatry, in the form of mariolatry, is evidenced:

1) The offering of a golden rose.

2) The prayers to her and encouragement of others to pray to her.

3) The exalted title "Queen of the Family" given to her and intended to be used in prayer to her.

There is no Scriptural warrant for such a title for Mary, and the headship of a family problem resides in the Father. Furthermore, the context of such usage is the following:
Contemplating this mystery, we confidently entrust all our families to the gentle protection of Mary, Queen of the Family and Saint Joseph her spouse.
(source)

And here:
58. The preparation of the engaged should be accompanied by sincere and deep devotion to Mary, Mother of the Church, the Queen of the Family. The engaged themselves should be taught to recognize that Mary's presence is as active in the family, the Domestic Church, as it is in the wider Church. Likewise they should be taught to imitate Mary in her virtues. Thus the Holy Family, the home of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, makes the engaged discover "how sweet and irreplaceable education in the family is" (Paul VI, Discourse at Nazareth, January 5, 1964).
(source)

And perhaps most blasphemously of all:
Virgin of Nazareth,
Queen of the family,
make our Christian families
schools of evangelical life,
enriched by the gift of many vocations
to the priesthood and
to the consecrated life.
Keep intact the unity of our families,
today so threatened from all sides.
making them hearths of serenity and
of harmony, where patient dialogue
dispels difficulties and differences.
Above all, watch over those
who are divided and in crisis,
Mother of forgiveness
and reconciliation.
(source)

If one cannot see that to engage in such devotion to Mary is to derogate from the glory and honour of God, simply be looking at what is being said, I am not sure that any amount of further argument will prove it to you. Indeed, I think that for some people the only problem would arise if Mary were referred to as "God." Anything short of that they seem to find acceptable, no matter how much worship is given her and power is ascribed to her.

- TurretinFan

59 comments:

louis said...

"The Roman magisterium is merely human. It lacks any supernatural manifestations of God's favor."

True, but they do have "false signs and lying wonders", such as the alleged miracles of their "saints", usually performed after they're dead.

A classic case is that of "St. Philomena". She supposedly lived in the 4th century, but was unheard of until her tomb was discovered almost 1500 years later in 1802. Then she was suddenly credited with miraculous healings and visions, spawning great devotion to her. According to her "official" website, "The popes of the nineteenth century showered this young saint with numerous plenary indulgences, and gifts such as papal rings and pectoral crosses." http://www.philomena.us/#

Unfortunately, there was some controversey when later research indicated that Philomena probably never existed. The Catholic Encyclopedia says that her veneration was based on "an entirely fanciful and indefensible explanation of" the archeological evidence, resulting in a "purely fictitious and romantic account of the supposed martyrdom of St. Philomena, who is not mentioned in any of the ancient sources."

Other elements of the unified and doctrinally coherent Roman Catholic church still venerate her, and insist that such veneration is approved. Otherwise, all those miracles would be false, wouldn't they?

Turretinfan said...

Well said, Louis.

Alexander said...

Relevance?
…Rome's leadership is not something supernatural. They are men - and like other men they are fallible, sinful, and so forth. Their fallibility isn't proved by their humanity, but it is evidenced that way.
We both know, or at least I know, that an 83 year old not staying awake during the liturgy, committing sin, or doing anything that any normal human being might do has no bearing whatsoever on the doctrine of infallibility. Proving that the man is not supernatural and that his humanity is fallible does nothing in the way of arguing against the precise infallibility of his office as taught by the Church.

But the Roman magisterium is merely human. It lacks any supernatural manifestations of God's favor.

An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign

I see nothing idolatrous in the prayer to Our Lady of the Oak Tree

Obedient Virgin, Mother of Christ,
who, with your docile "yes" to
the Angel's announcement,
became the Mother of the Almighty,
help all your children to follow
the plans that the heavenly Father
has for each one, in order
to cooperate in the universal plan
of redemption which Christ fulfilled
by dying on the Cross.


AMEN!

Turretinfan said...

"We both know, or at least I know, that an 83 year old not staying awake during the liturgy, committing sin, or doing anything that any normal human being might do has no bearing whatsoever on the doctrine of infallibility. Proving that the man is not supernatural and that his humanity is fallible does nothing in the way of arguing against the precise infallibility of his office as taught by the Church. "

See the title of the article.

"I see nothing idolatrous in the prayer to Our Lady of the Oak Tree"

I wonder what could possibly be so shockingly idolatrous that you would recognize it to be such? Would it have to explicitly call Mary "God"?

-TurretinFan

louis said...

Alexander,

Evidently your church disagrees with you, since they feel the need to invent and ascribe miracles to their saints.

louis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
louis said...

Alexander: "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign."

Catholic Encyclopedia: "Is the pope infallible in issuing a decree of canonization? Most theologians answer in the affirmative.... canonization may be taken up as soon as two miracles are reported.... if the miracles be confirmed another meeting (super tuto) is held. The pope then issues a Bull of Canonization."

Alexander said...

Evidently your church disagrees with you, since they feel the need to invent and ascribe miracles to their saints.

Judging by your predisposed attitude against objectivity, why should I feel compelled to respond to you? Would it matter at all what I say in response?

Turretinfan said...

Rejecting obviously fake miracles = lack of objectivity?

Alexander said...

By the way, the use of miracles in determining and demonstrating the sanctity of someone who has passed away is not equivalent to the need of on-going miracles in determining and demonstrating the sanctity and supernatural constitution of the Church. No one here to my knowledge has set up the same requirement for Scripture. Shouldn't it be the case that for us to determine Scripture's veracity that there be on-going miracles every time the Word is proclaimed? How are we to know that the miracles attested to in Scripture are true?

Alexander said...

Not establishing that the miracles were fake, but assuming that they were is.

Alexander said...

Rejecting obviously fake miracles = lack of objectivity?

Do you subscribe to the idea that Louis has done a thorough investigation of all the relevant material in each case promoting the cause for each Saint? I find hasty generalizations to be a perfect indication of the lack of objectivity.

Turretinfan said...

Actually, Louis' comment evidences the fact that he's studied the matter. He cites specific dates, etc.

It appears that your entire attack on Louis (accusing him of lacking objectivity) is based on his rejection of the lying wonders.

And no ... one of the points of writing things down is so that the Word the prophet delivered remains after he and his miracles are gone.

-TurretinFan

louis said...

"Judging by your predisposed attitude against objectivity, why should I feel compelled to respond to you? Would it matter at all what I say in response?"

i. Are you going to defend St. Philomena's miracles? I'm all ears.

ii. Wholly aside from whether they are true or false, your church does seek for signs. So your reference to an "evil generation" applies to them. You cited that verse; not me.

"the use of miracles in determining and demonstrating the sanctity of someone... is not equivalent to the need of on-going miracles in determining and demonstrating the sanctity and supernatural constitution of the Church"

Now you're just being coy. Why does your church think that its saints must perform miracles, if not to demonstrate the "supernatural constitution" of the church itself? Are these not heros of the Roman Catholic faith and mother church? Why not judge someone's piety simply by the life they've led?

You certainly are seeking signs to validate the church itself. And that's not even touching on shrines, relics, Marian apparitions and other supposedly miraculous nonsense.

Don't pretend for a second that your church doesn't think these things testify to its authority.

Turretinfan said...

Building up the credibility of "the church" is not the only - perhaps not even the primary - purpose for the miracles. The primary purpose of the miracles appears to be to help the church judge whether it is safe/worthwhile to pray to the person.

The person can only do posthumous miracles from heaven (not hell) - or so the apparent rationale goes.

-TurretinFan

louis said...

Yea I might have been a little confused there. But they're still full of it. :)

Blogahon said...

Now you conflate infallibility with impeccability.

The marian doctrines are only heresies insofar as you get to decide what is and is not heretical.

Need I mention that the Church does not teach that the pope is not human? Or are you content to argue against a very blatant straw man?

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

Blogahon said...

After another reading...

Here is your thread summarized:

1) The pope is human!
2) He is fallible, sinful and all that stuff.
(Inference that Catholics believe that he is not sinful, a lie)
3) The pope does not raise the dead.
(He does not claim to)
4) Oh, and Catholics worship Mary.

Maybe every thread should end with 'Oh, and Catholics worship Mary.'

How many Catholics have you converted to your church with this kind of approach 'Turretin Fan?'

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello louis and all. I am afraid that you harbor a serious misapprehension in regards to miracles. I do not know what particular flavor of Protestantism you adhere to, but I am well aware that even among Calvinists there is a disagreement with respect as to whether miracles still occur or not. Thus, singling out the "Roman magisterium" however your warped logic figures to define it for your derision and scorn is rather juvenile at best and bigoted at worst.

Second, your understanding of what constitutes a miracle is abysmal. Catholics DO NOT BELIEVE that any human being, dead or alive, performs miracles. Rather, we believe that God manifests HIS POWER, HIS GLORY, HIS AUTHORITY, HIS PROVIDENCE over HIS CREATION in ways that suit His purposes. In the case of saints, God chooses to perform miracles to persuade and to confirm that a person is a saint. Thus your comments are not only ill-researched and poorly constructed but downright blasphemous as well. If you are going to attack the Catholic faith, you should at least read a book or two about it before doing so. I would start with the Catechism of the Catholic Church or better yet, maybe you should read Saint Francis de Sales, "the Catholic Controversy" which does a fine job of summarizing what the Church teaches about miracles. It worked well enought to convert tens of thousands of Calvinists, maybe it will work for you.

If you wish to discuss the matter further, you may do so on my website. I will even be happy to entertain your queries about Saint Philomena since she seems to be of particular interest to you.

God bless!

Alexander said...

Louis, would you mind providing a reaction to the commentary provided by Dr. Miravalle concerning the miracles and St. Philomena? I assume that you have read this during your investigation into the matter, seeing how you did provide a quote from the actual website.

http://www.philomena.us/include_present_ecclesial_status.asp

Thanks

Alexander said...

Actually, Louis' comment evidences the fact that he's studied the matter. He cites specific dates, etc.

As Turretinfan already noted, you did cite specific dates, so you must have studied the matter.

Turretinfan,

Given your comments:

However, it is evidence of fallibility and, indeed, corruption within the Vatican.

Rome's leadership is not something supernatural. They are men - and like other men they are fallible, sinful, and so forth.

But the Roman magisterium is merely human. It lacks any supernatural manifestations of God's favor.

An Argument for Fallibility, not Against Infallibility

If this is not ultimately about infallibbility, then what's the point? Given the fact that you wrote, :...Rome's leadership is not something supernatural," I find your claim that this is not an argument against infallibility to be somewhat disingenuous. Perhaps it is not a direct argument against infallibility, but it certainly is an indirect argument. Otherwise why the insertion of the comment about Rome's leadership being not something supernatural--whatwever that "something" is? Or do you admit to using a straw man? Clearly that "something" which is supernatural in Rome's leadership, as claimed by Catholics, does not pertain to the examples of fallibility which you have provided.

Again, what is the relevance of your post? Who makes the opposing claim?

Alexander said...

Blogahon,

I went to your blog Answers to Questions

and had seen this:


No posts match your query.

Profoundly philosophical! :)

Turretinfan said...

"Now you conflate infallibility with impeccability."

No, I don't. You're developing a bad habit of coming here and making false assertions. I don't mind so much that you are wrong as that you don't even bother with a fig leaf of support for your wrong statements.

"The marian doctrines are only heresies insofar as you get to decide what is and is not heretical."

Your adoption of relativism as a way of trying to respond to criticism of your church is both stupid and self-defeating. The truth is objective, not relative, as your own church acknowledges. You're trying to defend your church by a technique that undermines her own claims.

"Need I mention that the Church does not teach that the pope is not human?"

No. You do not need to.

"Or are you content to argue against a very blatant straw man?"

See above.

"Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us."

Future comments that involve this sort of idolatry will be deleted.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"1) The pope is human!"

ok

"2) He is fallible, sinful and all that stuff."

ok

"(Inference that Catholics believe that he is not sinful, a lie)"

Your inference is a lie? That's hardly surprising. You seem intent on converting this post into something it is not.

"3) The pope does not raise the dead."

Ok

"(He does not claim to)"

Indeed. He doesn't even claim to.

"4) Oh, and Catholics worship Mary."

His fallibility is further demonstrated by his heresy. I'm surprised you were unable, with at least two readings, to figure this out. Perhaps you should like into that.

"Maybe every thread should end with 'Oh, and Catholics worship Mary.'"

A very small fraction of my posts even mention that subject. Will any apology for your excessive use of rhetoric be forthcoming?

"How many Catholics have you converted to your church with this kind of approach 'Turretin Fan?'"

My approach is about bringing people to the gospel - not "my church." You're confusing your sectarian approach with my truly catholic and apostolic approach.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"Hello louis and all. I am afraid that you harbor a serious misapprehension in regards to miracles."

Don't be afraid, we are not.

"I do not know what particular flavor of Protestantism you adhere to, but I am well aware that even among Calvinists there is a disagreement with respect as to whether miracles still occur or not."

Let's posit that such disagreement exists.

"Thus, singling out the "Roman magisterium" however your warped logic figures to define it for your derision and scorn is rather juvenile at best and bigoted at worst."

Mr. Hoffer: there's no need to insult me and my readers like this. If you want to do this sort of thing at your own blog, enjoy. But this blog is not your platform to insult people by calling them juvenile and/or bigoted for criticizing your church.

"Second, your understanding of what constitutes a miracle is abysmal."

No, it is not.

"Catholics DO NOT BELIEVE that any human being, dead or alive, performs miracles."

a) That's worse for Roman Catholics, because Scripture teaches that people have performed miracles.

b) Jesus is and was a true human being, and Jesus performed miracles.

"Rather, we believe that God manifests HIS POWER, HIS GLORY, HIS AUTHORITY, HIS PROVIDENCE over HIS CREATION in ways that suit His purposes."

This is a false dichotomy. To affirm that wonder workers work wonders is not to deny that God manifests His power, glory and authority in his providence of his creation.

"In the case of saints, God chooses to perform miracles to persuade and to confirm that a person is a saint."

The usual case of miracles designed to "confirm" saints, is a case where some healing (normally healing, though it could be something else) is ascribed to the intercession of the saint. The typical authorized prayers are in a form like "God please grant my healing according to the intercession of so-and-so." If God gives a miracle, it is viewed as a sign that the intercession worked, showing that the dead person is a saint.

"Thus your comments are not only ill-researched and poorly constructed but downright blasphemous as well."

It is possible that Louis had a misconception regarding the way in which dead "saints" are allegedly connected with "their" posthumous miracles. He doesn't really specify enough detail - I'll let him answer for himself, if he chooses to interact with you.

Perhaps the charge of "blasphemy" would make sense if the miracles were real ... but they are not. So the charge fails as well.

"If you are going to attack the Catholic faith, you should at least read a book or two about it before doing so."

There's no need to view criticism of your church as an "attack" unless you are trying to use rhetoric in place of substance.

"I would start with the Catechism of the Catholic Church or better yet, maybe you should read Saint Francis de Sales, "the Catholic Controversy" which does a fine job of summarizing what the Church teaches about miracles."

Now you have his recommendation. A good antidote would be B. B. Warfield's "Counterfeit Miracles."

"It worked well enought to convert tens of thousands of Calvinists, maybe it will work for you."

That, plus swords. Thankfully Roman apologetics has lost its edge. Praise be to the Lord!

"If you wish to discuss the matter further, you may do so on my website."

You will even find a link to his blog in the "comments elsewhere" section.

"I will even be happy to entertain your queries about Saint Philomena since she seems to be of particular interest to you."

Should we await a post about how it is misogynistic for us to fail to venerate that mythical lady?

-TurretinFan

Viisaus said...

Here is online scholarly material about some of the most popular saints venerated by RCs and EOs:

http://www.ucc.ie/milmart/

Disturbingly many of them seem to have been simply made up by unscrupulous hagio-fabulists.

Take "St. Maurice" for example:

"To summarise, there is little doubt but that the story of the martyrdom of Maurice and the Theban Legion which Eucherius' letter has preserved is a complete fiction."

http://www.ucc.ie/milmart/maurorig.html


"St. Catherine" was another apparently non-existent famous saint, and her persona was actually largely plagiarized from pagan Hypatia!

http://parentingbeyondbelief.com/blog/?p=178

"Though I didn’t buy the various miraculous details of her life and martyrdom, I’d assumed that she, like St. Thomas Aquinas and hundreds of other verifiables, had at least been an actual person. Apparently not. Catherine was one of 200 saints removed from the calendar of saints by the Catholic Church back in 1969 due to (are we ready?) “insufficient evidence of historicity”— a Catholese phrase meaning “pretend.” Catherine was one of 46 saints on the list whose existence was further declared “SERIOUSLY doubtful.” Others included St. Christopher and St. Valentine."


(The above extract comes from an infidel site - these sort of spurious myths give Christ-bashers great fodder to chew on.)

So much medieval RC piety was inspired by this literally fabulous person:


"St. Catherine was one of the most influential saints in the religious culture of the late middle ages, and arguably considered the most important of the virgin-martyrs. Her power as an intercessor was renowned, and firmly established in most versions of her legend, in which she specifically entreats God at the moment of her death to answer the prayers of those who invoke her name. The development of her medieval cult was spurred by the reported rediscovery of her body around the year 800 at Mount Sinai, with hair still growing and a constant stream of healing oil emitting from her body.[4]"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_of_Alexandria#Medieval_cult

Viisaus said...

At first this sort of stuff may seem amusing, but then it becomes a bitterly cynical experience - thinking how these fictions were fed on so many unsuspecting good people as pious truths.

A famous medieval person like Joan of Arc - now herself canonized - could think that she had as her crucial "spiritual guides" (voices inside her head) female saints Catherine of Alexandria and Margaret of Antioch:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08409c.htm

Aforementioned Catherine has already been seen to be rather spurious, and apparently things aren't any better with Margaret:

"Her historical existence has been questioned; she was declared apocryphal by Pope Gelasius I in 494, but devotion to her revived in the West with the Crusades. She was reputed to have promised very powerful indulgences to those who wrote or read her life, or invoked her intercessions; these no doubt helped the spread of her cultus.[1]"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Margaret_the_Virgin

Anonymous said...

Today's Washington Post describes the mess that the Solemn Pontifical Mass at the Basilica has become. Apparently one of the leaders, who is one of the few who an do the thing correctly (it's a Latin Mass), also praised a cover up of rape by a priest. So the victims are upset.

And what is a mass to honor the Pope?? Why would one? The hole is dug deeper and deeper...
Godith

Blogahon said...

Me: "Now you conflate infallibility with impeccability."

You: No, I don't. You're developing a bad habit of coming here and making false assertions.

Lets see...here is what you say in your thread:

They are men - and like other men they are fallible, sinful, and so forth. Their fallibility isn't proved by their humanity, but it is evidenced that way.

Since the doctrine of infallibility has nothing to do with whether or not the pope is 'human' than evidence of the Pope's 'humanity' is not evidence against the doctrine of infallibility.

You are getting lamer and lamer.

Blogahon said...

was rushed:

Meant, "Your ARGUMENTS" are getting lamer and lamer.

louis said...

Mr. Hoffer,

I never said anything about "what constitutes [an actual] miracle" or "whether miracles still occur", so your invective against me on those counts is entirely misplaced. Before you advise someone to "read a book or two", perhaps you should learn to read a few paragraphs in a comment box.

Alexander,

I'll think about it, but can't imagine doing it in a combox. E-mail me at ljdibiase@yahoo.com and we can follow up there if necessary.

Turretinfan said...

"Since the doctrine of infallibility has nothing to do with whether or not the pope is 'human' than evidence of the Pope's 'humanity' is not evidence against the doctrine of infallibility. "

Is it that you have trouble reading the title of the blog post? Or do you just really badly wish it wasn't there? Or what?

-TurretinFan

Blogahon said...

'Turretin Fan',

Regardless of the title here is what you said: Their fallibility isn't proved by their humanity, but it is evidenced that way.

So, you are attacking a doctrine of the Church which relies on the Pope being HUMAN by stating that the Pope being ‘human’ is evidence against the doctrine.

LAME.

Further, I am not adopting 'relativism.' The truth is objective and there are not multiple truths.

Alexander said...

Please point me to where Louis or Turretinfan have shown (substantiated their argument) the miracles to be false.

Louis, go right ahead and interact with just some of the argumentation presented by Dr. Miravalle.

Archeological Controversy
Archeologist Oracio Marucchi introduced controversy into the status of devotion to Saint Philomena with a 1906 publication, “Osservazioni archeologiche sulla Iscrizione di S. Filomena”44 in which Marucchi put forth the following theory:

Concerning the unusual word order on the three tiles, “LUMENA PAXTE CUMFI” the three tiles were purposely re-arranged on the loculus to indicate that this was a case of a re-using of the original tiles for the remains of a different person.
The tiles were originally used to close in the remains of one called “Filumena,” from the middle to the end of the second century, and later used again for the loculus of another young maiden during the fourth century, which was a time of peace for Christianity.
The person designated by the inscription was likely, but not certainly, a martyr.45
The theory of Marucchi was immediately responded to by a professor of the Gregoriana, Guiseppe Bonavenia, S.J., (along with Catacomb scientist J. B. De Rossi, a renowned expert in early Christian archeology) 46 in his Controversia sul celeberrimo epitaffio di Santa Filomena, V. e M.47 Fr. Bonavenia and others offered the following refutation of Marucchi’s theory:

It was frequently the custom in the catacombs to start the epitaph on the second tile, and hence the inscription is properly read (as it was by Msgr. Ponzetti, Custodian of the Sacred Relics), “PAX TECUM FILUMENA” (“Peace to you, Philomena”
The tomb digger, not able to write the entire name on the first tile and to conserve the proportions of his writing, proceeded to write the “FI” on the last tile and the “LUMENA” on the first.
At least 12 catacombs located in the Priscilla catacombs begin with “PAX TECUM”, “PAX TIBI” or IN PACE.”
The tiles are at least of the third century, and not from the first or second centuries (which would include the persecution of Diocletian) and thus not from a time of peace.
There is only one known case posed by Marucchi as similar to Filumena’s, where two tiles were placed in the wrong order due to the re-using of marble (not brick) tiles from different original graves, but the circumstances were substantially different. In the case of “Noeti,” the two tablets are from two different original slabs of marble; the handwriting is not the same on the two slabs but clearly written by two different persons; and the red inscribing is of different hue on each slab. In Filumena’s case, the three tiles all possess the same handwriting, the same color, and the same brick material, all of which give no indications of being re-used and thereby not a valid comparison with the re-use evident in the Noeti loculus.
In response to the claim of tile re-use from another grave, it would have been just as easy for the mason to use the other side of the tile, as there was nothing written on it, or to erase the “FI” or to simply turn it upside or to leave it in an incoherent form rather than re-use two other tiles. But, in fact, the meaning of the inscription remained essentially clear even with the tile order changed, as it was instantly and correctly understood by the custodians of the Holy Relics to signify “PAX TECUM FILUMENA.”48
The conclusions of Prof. Marucchi regarding the dating and re-use of the tiles were made without Marucchi making a single on-site scientific or archeological examination of either tiles or catacomb site. Examination of the archeological site and the tiles would have revealed the claim of tile dating and re-use in the case of Filumena to be erroneous and without any empirical foundation.49

Turretinfan said...

"Regardless of the title here is what you said: Their fallibility isn't proved by their humanity, but it is evidenced that way."

Disregarding the title is necessary for you to construct your straw man, so you disregard it. Your refusal to regard it, even after it is brought to your attention is evidence that you are not treat the post fairly.

And, moreover, providing evidence of fallibility is totally consistent with the title. In other words, you haven't identified some contradiction in the post.

"So, you are attacking a doctrine of the Church which relies on the Pope being HUMAN by stating that the Pope being ‘human’ is evidence against the doctrine."

No. Give up your straw man and read my post as it is written, reading it in light of the title.

"LAME."

Argument by adjective ... where have I seen that before?

"Further, I am not adopting 'relativism.' The truth is objective and there are not multiple truths."

Well then you should admit that your previous claim is wrong: "The marian doctrines are only heresies insofar as you get to decide what is and is not heretical."

The Marian doctrines are heresies insofar as they depart from the truth. Their heretical status is what it is, whether or not I even exist.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"Please point me to where Louis or Turretinfan have shown (substantiated their argument) the miracles to be false."

The Catholic Encyclopedia itself basically writes her off. Obviously, that is not a detailed response to the specific claims that are pasted above, but it should be an adequate response.

However, see my next comment.

Turretinfan said...

"I am very saddened by all that is being written about her. How can such things be possible?…How can they not see that the great argument in favor of devotion to Saint Philomena is the Curé of Ars? Through her, in her name, by means of her intercession, he obtained countless graces, continual wonders. His devotion to her was well known by everyone; he recommended her constantly…

We read the name, Filumena, on her tomb. Whether it be her own name or whether she has another, what does it matter? It remains, it is certain, that the soul which animated those sacred remains was a pure and holy soul that the Church has declared to be the soul of a virgin and martyr. That soul was so beloved by God, so pleasing to the Holy Spirit, that she has obtained the most wonderful graces for those who have had recourse to her intercession."

That unverified quotation does seem to sum up the position of the author of the article. The argument was never really about the archaelogical facts - it was about the church's approval. The church has approved, so who cares whether her name was really Philomena?

- TurretinFan

Blogahon said...

The Reformed doctrines are heresies insofar as they depart from the truth. Their heretical status is what it is, whether or not I even exist.

Paul Hoffer said...

TF, in reponse to your comments:

I wrote: "Hello louis and all. I am afraid that you harbor a serious misapprehension in regards to miracles."

You wrote: "Don't be afraid, we are not."

I respond: Based on what I read here, I think that “louis”, whoever that person may be does have a serious misapprehension.

I wrote: "I do not know what particular flavor of Protestantism you adhere to, but I am well aware that even among Calvinists there is a disagreement with respect as to whether miracles still occur or not."

You wrote: "Let's posit that such disagreement exists."

I respond: It is not an assumption of fact, it is a fact that Calvinists do disagree on this point. So I am positing nothing.

You wrote: "Mr. Hoffer: there's no need to insult me and my readers like this. If you want to do this sort of thing at your own blog, enjoy. But this blog is not your platform to insult people by calling them juvenile and/or bigoted for criticizing your church."

I respond: I recognize that it is your perogative to allow who you wish to be insulting to Catholics and others who disagree with you-it's your blog. Be that as it may, I am not calling someone juvenile or bigoted because they criticized the Catholic Church. I have no issue with that whatsoever. I try to respond to criticism by pointing out the errors in making such. What I do take issue with is the manner in which that person chose to present their argument which I perceive to be juvenile and bigoted. Thus, I insulted noone. It has been my experience that Calvinists who have no problem using charged and insulting language when they talk about their opponents whine the loudest when they are called on the carpet for doing so. I consider your statement additional proof of that.

I wrote: "Catholics DO NOT BELIEVE that any human being, dead or alive, performs miracles."

You wrote: "a) That's worse for Roman Catholics, because Scripture teaches that people have performed miracles."

I respond: The Scriptures do not show that people performed miracles. The Scriptures show that God performed miracles either through His own immediate action or mediately through people. Hence it is God working the miracle not the individual.

You wrote: "b) Jesus is and was a true human being, and Jesus performed miracles."

I respond: Jesus is also true God. Catholics do not separate the two.

I wrote: "Rather, we believe that God manifests HIS POWER, HIS GLORY, HIS AUTHORITY, HIS PROVIDENCE over HIS CREATION in ways that suit His purposes."

You wrote: "This is a false dichotomy. To affirm that wonder workers work wonders is not to deny that God manifests His power, glory and authority in his providence of his creation."

I respond: I am not creating a false dichotomy. I am pointing out the false premise that “louis” relies upon by suggesting that either The "Roman magisterium" whatever that is supposed to be or their saints falsely lie and claim that they perform alleged miracles.

However, your statement is an accurate depiction of Catholic teaching that also happens to validate the Catholic argument in regards to the secondary mediation of Mary and the saints. Thank you.

I wrote: "In the case of saints, God chooses to perform miracles to persuade and to confirm that a person is a saint."

You wrote: "The usual case of miracles designed to "confirm" saints, is a case where some healing (normally healing, though it could be something else) is ascribed to the intercession of the saint. The typical authorized prayers are in a form like "God please grant my healing according to the intercession of so-and-so." If God gives a miracle, it is viewed as a sign that the intercession worked, showing that the dead person is a saint."

I respond: "This is great that you understand this–does “louis”?"

(To be continued)

Paul Hoffer said...

Cont.

You wrote: "It is possible that Louis had a misconception regarding the way in which dead "saints" are allegedly connected with "their" posthumous miracles. He doesn't really specify enough detail - I'll let him answer for himself, if he chooses to interact with you."

I respond: "I have no problem with “louis” answering for himself–it is too bad that you had to coach him on how to answer though."

You wrote: "Perhaps the charge of "blasphemy" would make sense if the miracles were real ... but they are not. So the charge fails as well."

I respond: “But they are not.” That is a mighty big “but”. Aside from the purposefully be vague in making that comment, I have seen nothing by way of evidentiary material being presented to disprove the verity of that miracles occur in the present day nor that any particular miracles associated with Saint Philomena were not genuine.

I wrote: "If you are going to attack the Catholic faith, you should at least read a book or two about it before doing so."

You wrote: "There's no need to view criticism of your church as an "attack" unless you are trying to use rhetoric in place of substance."

I respond: "I consider a criticism an attack when the person making it uses rhetoric in place of substance which is what “louis” did. Nice attempt to reverse the argument though.

You wrote: "Now you have his recommendation. A good antidote would be B. B. Warfield's "Counterfeit Miracles."

I respond: And before I take the time to read the Rev. Warfield, please explain to me why you think that someone who is a Full Cessationist Calvinist is any more authoritative than a Classical Cessationist Calvinist or a Continuationist Calvinist?

I wrote: "It worked well enought to convert tens of thousands of Calvinists, maybe it will work for you."

You wrote: "That, plus swords. Thankfully Roman apologetics has lost its edge. Praise be to the Lord!"

I respond: Ignoring the insulting remark ... Kindly show me anywhere that Saint Francis de Sales used the sword to convert anyone.

You wrote: "Should we await a post about how it is misogynistic for us to fail to venerate that mythical lady?"

I respond: No need to do that. You will never find anything that I have ever said or written that suggests that a Christian, Catholic or otherwise, is obligated to venerate any particular saint.

In regards to the “mythical” Saint Philomena, there is no question at least since 2005 when it was determined that her remains are of a real 12-13 year old girl, that through the use of forensic and present day archaeological science it was established that she had been martyred around 202 A.D., that the blood in the ampullae found with her remains is real blood (a practice of that day and age that shows that she had been a Christian martyr), that her shelf tomb shows that she was a Christian, and that the name of the person in the tomb was indeed Philomena.

Unfortunately, the source of “louis’ ” knowledge is an article written for the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia that contained the conclusions of a professor Marucchi, a prominent Italian archaeologist at the time. His conclusions which were finally and conclusively proven to be in error in 2005 by a commission that studied the matter. Here is the link: http://www.catholic.org/prwire/headline.php?ID=1416

So Philomena is not a mythical person. If you are claiming that miracles attributed to her intercession or mediation are mythological I will be happy to see your proof that each and every miracle that occurred in connection with her are lying wonders or otherwise not real.

God bless!

louis said...

Here is some of Philomena's miraculous tale (taken from wikipedia, but confirmed by her offical website):

"On 21 December 1833, the Holy Office declared that there was nothing contrary to the Catholic faith in the revelations that Sister Maria Luisa di Gesù (1799-1875), a Dominican tertiary from Naples, claimed to have received from the Saint herself.[10]

According to Sister Maria Luisa di Gesù, Saint Philomena told her she was the daughter of a king in Greece who, with his wife, had converted to Christianity. At the age of about 13 she took a vow of consecrated virginity. When the Emperor Diocletian threatened to make war on her father, he went with his family to Rome to ask for peace. The Emperor fell in love with the young Philomena and, when she refused to be his wife, he subjected her to a series of torments: scourging, from whose effects two angels cured her; drowning with an anchor attached to her, but two angels cut the rope and raised her to the river bank; being shot with arrows, but on the first occasion her wounds were healed, on the second the arrows turned aside, and on the third, they returned and killed six of the archers, and several of the others became Christians. Finally the Emperor had her decapitated, which occurred on a Friday at three in the afternoon, as with the death of Jesus."

Did your commission prove that all this took place?

Turretinfan said...

SP wrote: "The Reformed doctrines are heresies insofar as they depart from the truth. Their heretical status is what it is, whether or not I even exist."

Indeed. The sword of truth has two edges. Yet you ought to honestly admit that your original statement was wrong and founded on relativism, rather than just trying to apply the truth that you have been shown against your enemy.

-TurretinFan

Blogahon said...

Yet you ought to honestly admit that your original statement was wrong and founded on relativism

No. My statement was not founded on relativism. It was founded on the fact that the objective truth of the faith is found within the Church which has the God given authority to bind and loose.

Relativism enters the picture when everybody goes about deciding for themselves what is and is not true.

For you, Catholic doctrine is 'heresy.' For many others Calvinist doctrine is 'heresy.' Without an objective measure to define what heresy actually is than we are just left subjectively groping about scriptures trying to figure what is heretical. You’ll answer that scripture is our objective measure but scripture does not interpret itself.

louis said...

By the way, I'd respond to the accusations of having false premises and misapprehensions, but I'm not even sure on what points I'm alleged to have those things.

If it concerns miracles being "ascribed" to saints, this is just shorthand for miracles performed through saints. I don't think the Roman church or anybody else who claims to be a Christian thinks that people perform miracles in their own power.

Turretinfan said...

"Based on what I read here, I think that “louis”, whoever that person may be does have a serious misapprehension."

I hope any misapprehension he may have had (whether serious or minor) has been removed.

"It is not an assumption of fact, it is a fact that Calvinists do disagree on this point. So I am positing nothing."

Whether or not such a disagreement exists is so wholly irrelevant to the point that it makes sense for us to just agree to it for the sake of the argument, rather than get mired down in it.

"I recognize that it is your perogative ... I consider your statement additional proof of that."

Thanks for your thoughts. I'm not persuaded that your behavior was appropriate. Try to tone it down.

"The Scriptures do not show that people performed miracles."

Sure they do.

Mark 9:39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.

Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

"The Scriptures show that God performed miracles either through His own immediate action or mediately through people."

I've already noted your use of false dichotomy above.

"Hence it is God working the miracle not the individual."

Argue with Jesus' own description of the event, if you like. Otherwise, it is simply a false dichotomy, as I already pointed out.

"Jesus is also true God. Catholics do not separate the two."

Not separating the two requires "Catholics" such as yourself to admit that Jesus was a human being who performed miracles. Only by separating the two could you deny it ... so take your pick.

"I am not creating a false dichotomy."

Well - then you are directly contradicting Scripture's own description of things.

"I am pointing out the false premise that “louis” relies upon by suggesting that either The "Roman magisterium" whatever that is supposed to be or their saints falsely lie and claim that they perform alleged miracles."

You don't know what the Roman magisterium is? Oh, please.

"However, your statement is an accurate depiction of Catholic teaching that also happens to validate the Catholic argument in regards to the secondary mediation of Mary and the saints. Thank you."

I thought you might think that it is. Rather than open that tangent further, I'll leave that debate for another day.

"This is great that you understand this–does “louis”?"

He does now, at least.

"I have no problem with “louis” answering for himself–it is too bad that you had to coach him on how to answer though."

We Christians like helping one another out, whether we need it or not.

But you could have been the one pointing this out, if you had pointed it out instead of using terms like "juvenile" and "bigoted."

"... I have seen nothing by way of evidentiary material being presented to disprove the verity of that miracles occur in the present day nor that any particular miracles associated with Saint Philomena were not genuine."

As with so many of Rome's assertions, proving the negative against Rome's position is difficult. Will you at least grant that?

"I consider a criticism an attack when the person making it uses rhetoric in place of substance which is what “louis” did. Nice attempt to reverse the argument though."

Louis provided an example to substantiate his argument. Your failure to accept his example is noted, but he didn't rely solely on rhetoric. Will you grant that?

[cont'd in part 2]

Turretinfan said...

[cont'd from part 1]


"And before I take the time to read the Rev. Warfield, please explain to me why you think that someone who is a Full Cessationist Calvinist is any more authoritative than a Classical Cessationist Calvinist or a Continuationist Calvinist?"

I'll pass on providing that explanation. My claim wasn't that he was more authoritative than someone else, but rather that he was a suitable antidote to the poison of de Sales.

"Ignoring the insulting remark ... Kindly show me anywhere that Saint Francis de Sales used the sword to convert anyone."

The St. Bartholomew's massacre occurred when de Sales was six. The period from about the time he was born for most of his life was a time of armed conflict between the Roman Catholics and the Hugenots. Failing to place his work in that historic context is comical when done ignorantly, but despicable when done knowingly. Take your pick. The claim is not that he personally picked up a sword (even if he did, that wouldn't explain the numbers that are ascribed to him), but instead that the mass "conversions" ascribed to his work ignore the more significant role that persecution played.

"No need to do that. You will never find anything that I have ever said or written that suggests that a Christian, Catholic or otherwise, is obligated to venerate any particular saint."

Oh? Even Mary? Or are you omitting her from the list of saints for the purposes of this comment?

As to: http://www.catholic.org/prwire/headline.php?ID=1416

A few comments in response:

1) Consider the source.

2) "The present-day scientific investigations using modern and technically advanced equipment has demonstrated clearly that the tomb stones were only sealed once. More importantly, with these modern techniques, they are dated 202 A.D, which mean that St. Philomena is an earlier Martyr of the Church than first thought."

a) Modern techniques for dating stone construction don't provide that kind of precision.

b) The conclusion that the date should be the beginning of the third century simply contradicts the previous views that the tomb was either 2nd or 4th century.

"The second part of the results of the new scientific investigation was regarding the glass vase which was found in the tomb with the Relics of Saint Philomena. It has been scientifically proven now to have blood in it and to our surprise a small fragment of bone was also found in it. This new discovery indicates that St. Philomena did have a violent death."

This is interesting, since the original report was that the phial was broken and the blood had to be scraped up and collected.

link to evidence

How did the bone get in there? Perhaps another miracle?

-TurretinFan

louis said...

I see... it must have been this sentence: "why does your church think that its saints must perform miracles, if not to demonstrate the 'supernatural constitution' of the church itself?"

Alexander had asserted that there was a difference between miracles to confirm saints and miracles to confirm the authority of the church. I was trying to express the connection between the two.

If a miracle seeks to prove that God is working through a particular saint, then it would also thereby prove that God is working through the church to whom that saint belongs.

I didn't articulate it very well (still haven't), and hadn't even thought it through too carefully, so I admitted a little confusion on the point and moved on.

Hope that clears it up, as I think there is a good point in there somewhere. :)

Turretinfan said...

"No. My statement was not founded on relativism. It was founded on the fact that the objective truth of the faith is found within the Church which has the God given authority to bind and loose."

I don't doubt that you believe that the truth is found within the Roman church. Your belief is incorrect, as we show you from Scripture. The truth is found in Scripture, and we use that to judge teachers (even the bishop of Rome) as Scripture itself commends.

"Relativism enters the picture when everybody goes about deciding for themselves what is and is not true."

No, that's not it at all. Everyone goes around deciding for themselves what is and is not true. You yourself also do that, even if your way of doing that in religious matters is to ask whether or not something is a teaching of your church. The process of evaluating truth is just an inherent part of being human.

Relativism is asserting that the actual truth of something depends on human judgment. Your opening line above (about binding and loosing - apparently under the misapprehension that this verse has something to do with defining doctrine) comes close to expressing relativism. The objective truth is true whether or not Rome says it is true. Rome's definition does not (even by Rome's own standards) make it true - it just (allegedly) recognizes the truth.

"For you, Catholic doctrine is 'heresy.' For many others Calvinist doctrine is 'heresy.'"

That "for you" is the relativism I was talking about. The truth of whether something is heresy is an objective fact.

"Without an objective measure to define what heresy actually is ..."

Scripture is an objective measure - an objective standard of what the Apostolic faith is.

"... than we are just left subjectively groping about scriptures trying to figure what is heretical."

That's simply a masked claim that Scriptures are an inadequate standard by which we can judge what is heresy. We reject this claim of yours.

"You’ll answer that scripture is our objective measure but scripture does not interpret itself."

It's not really in the nature of a standard to apply itself. People apply standards. The ruler you have in your desk - that is a standard. You have to apply that standard to measure things, like the Bereans measured Paul's teaching by Scripture.

-TurretinFan

Blogahon said...

but instead that the mass "conversions" ascribed to his work ignore the more significant role that persecution played.

Unlike Geneva...

Turretinfan said...

"Unlike Geneva... "

Yes, unlike Geneva.

Blogahon said...

'Turretin Fan'.

Do you deny that Catholics were persecuted in Calvin's Geneva?

What about anabaptists?

Turretinfan said...

"Do you deny that Catholics were persecuted in Calvin's Geneva? What about anabaptists?"

Your questions are off topic.

-TurretinFan

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello louis: Thank you for your question.

You asked: "Did your commission prove that all this took place?"

Answer: No. Noone is required to accept as true a private revelation that is revealed to someone by a saint or even the Blessed Virgin Mary not even revelations such as those at Fatima or Lourdes. Saint Philomena was recognized as a saint based solely on her martyrdom (which is enough in and of itself to be recognized as venerable) and the numerous documented indisputable miracles that were attributed to intercessory prayer.

All that the Holy Office did was to issue a statement that there was nothing found to be contrary to the faith in the statements of the good Sister.

God bless!

Turretinfan said...

SP:

If you are confused about the difference between topic and tangent, re-read the post itself (especially the title).

-TurretinFan

louis said...

"No. Noone is required to accept as true a private revelation that is revealed to someone by a saint"

But does your church believe this story is true? Or are they saying that even if this vision is a delusional lie (a false sign or wonder), then it is still "not contrary to the Catholic faith", and may still be used to express devotion to this saint?

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi louis, The Church does not offer an opinion as to whether it is true or not because we, as individual Catholics, are not required to accept as true a private revelation made to a private individual as true as such do not belong to the deposit of faith. What the Church has said is that a person may accept the revelation as true if they wish without danger to their soul. [CCC 67] We recognize that such revelations are devotional in nature, not doctrinal.

You reference "a delusional lie" and "false sign" and "false wonder". How do you understand those terms to mean? We Catholics understand those terms to mean claims that are made in order to cause one to believe that what is being revealed surpasses or corrects the Revealed Word of God, of which Christ is the fulfillment. For example, if a "saint" appeared to a person in a dream and says that Barak Obama is actually the messiah, and as proof a volcano will erupt in Iceland that would be a false revelation. If a a vision of Our Lord appeared to someone and says I want you to pray, "Jesus we trust in you, have mercy on us and on the entire world," we would be more inclined to regard it as a true vision.

God bless!

louis said...

I think a false sign or wonder is any miraculous event or vision that purports to be from heaven but in fact is not. It is by definition a "false" sign. In this case, a more accurate term might be false prophecy. The content of the vision may help to discern its truth or falsity (1 John 4:1-3), but that is merely an evidentiary question; its content does not define it as true.

After all, "even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14). And he comes with "all wicked deception", so of those who would be deceived "God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false" (2 Thess. 2:9-11). There are "many" who think they received a word from the Lord but did not. (Matt. 7:22-23). Certainly, it does not have to say, "worship another Christ", to be false. We should expect it to be more suble than that. What is false, is what is false in fact, regardless of whether it appears to point to Christ.

A false sign can only produce false devotion. God is to be worshipped in "truth." (John 4:23). Lies about God can never be the basis of proper worship, and always lead to false conceptions about God.

It is here that I find your church's actions problematic. By saying there is no harm in believing this vision, I can only see that they are saying one of two things: Either they believe the vision is true, but are unwilling to stake their authority on it; or they believe the vision may be false, and are teaching their members that its falsity doesn't matter, that they may base their devotional life on it anyway. If I read you correctly, you are suggesting it is the latter. This doesn't concern you?

Turretinfan said...

My response here: at this link.

john martin said...

3) The exalted title "Queen of the Family" given to her and intended to be used in prayer to her.

There is no Scriptural warrant for such a title for Mary, and the headship of a family problem resides in the Father. Furthermore, the context of such usage is the following:

Rom 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

According to Romans 8, Christ is our brother.

Mark 15:32 Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe." Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

According to Mark 15:32, Christ is a king in the Royal line of David.

Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

According to Colossians 1:18, Christ is the head of the church.

Mary is the mother of Christ. (Luke 1)
Christ is a king therefore Mary is a queen. (Mark 15)
Christ is the head of the church and our brother. (Col 1, Rom 8)
Mary is the mother of Christ, so she has authority over Christ.
As Mary has authority over Christ, she is the head of Christ as mother over her Son.
As Mary has authority over Christ, Mary also has authority over the church.
As Mary has authority over the church, she is queen of the church.
Therefore the queenship of Mary has been revealed by God using revelation of scripture and logic.

TF -“If one cannot see that to engage in such devotion to Mary is to derogate from the glory and honour of God, simply be looking at what is being said, I am not sure that any amount of further argument will prove it to you. Indeed, I think that for some people the only problem would arise if Mary were referred to as "God." Anything short of that they seem to find acceptable, no matter how much worship is given her and power is ascribed to her.”

Mary is the mother of Christ
Christ is the second person of the Trinity.
A mother is the mother of a person
Therefore Mary is the mother of the second person of the Trinity
But the second person of the Trinity is God.
Therefore Mary is the mother of God.

God made Mary the mother of God and queen of the church as shown above. To ignore this is to ignore the work of God.

JM