Saturday, August 14, 2010
Question 96. What does God require in the second commandment?
Answer: That we in no wise represent God by images, (a) nor worship him in any other way than he has commanded in his word. (b)
(a) Deut.4:15 Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Deut.4:16 Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, Deut.4:17 The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, Deut.4:18 The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: Deut.4:19 And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven. Isa.40:18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? Isa.40:19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains. Isa.40:20 He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved. Isa.40:21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? Isa.40:22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: Isa.40:23 That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. Isa.40:24 Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble. Isa.40:25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Rom.1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Rom.1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Acts 17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. (b) 1 Sam.15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. Deut.12:30 Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Deut.12:31 Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. Deut.12:32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. Matt.15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Question 97. Are images then not at all to be made?
Answer: God neither can, nor may be represented by any means: (a) but as to creatures; though they may be represented, yet God forbids to make, or have any resemblance of them, either in order to worship them or to serve God by them. (b)
(a) Isa.40:25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. (b) Exod.23:24 Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. Exod.23:25 And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee. Exod.34:13 But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: Exod.34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: Exod.34:17 Thou shalt make thee no molten gods. Num.33:52 Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: Deut.7:5 But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. Deut.12:3 And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place. Deut.16:21 Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee. 2 Kin.18:3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did. 2 Kin.18:4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.
Question 98. But may not images be tolerated in the churches, as books to the laity?
Answer: No: for we must not pretend to be wiser than God, who will have his people taught, not by dump images, (a) but by the lively preaching of his word. (b)
(a) Jer.10:8 But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities. Hab.2:18 What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? Hab.2:19 Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it. (b) Rom.10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? Rom.10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! Rom.10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 2 Pet.1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 2 Tim.3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2 Tim.3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
If God on occasion does allow this to happen even to the holy ones themselves, as we have said, in those situations that would cause no damage to the faith, it does not happen unproductively to those by whom everything is undertaken for the good. Even the ecclesiastical teachers themselves, diligently attentive and believing some things in their works needed correction, grant to posterity the license to emend or not to follow them; if somehow these teachers were not able to retract or correct in their works. Whence even the teacher Augustine, cited above, in Book One of his Retractions (prologus 2): "It is written," he says, "you do not avoid sin by loquacity." And also "The apostle James says (James 1:19), ‘Let every man be swift to hear but slow to speak’.’" And " (James 3:2) ‘For in many things we all offend. If anyone does not offend in word, he is a perfect man.’ I do not claim this perfection for myself even now, when I am an old man – how much less when as a young man I began to write." And in the prologue to Book Three of the On the Trinity (proem 2): "Do not defer to my writings as if they were canonical scriptures, but whatever you would find in the canonical scriptures that you did not believe, believe steadfastly. But in my writings I do not want you to accept with assurance something that you had not been taking as certain unless you now understand it as certain." And in the letters to Vincentus Victor, Book Two (De Anime et eius Origine iv, 1): "I cannot, nor should I, deny that just as I might be blamed for many things in my conduct by fair judgement without rashness, so I might be blamed for many things in my writings." And again in his letter to Vincent (Epist. 95, x, 35), "Do not desire, brother, to collect calumnies against such clear divine witnesses -– either from our writings, or from Hilary, or from Cyprian and Agrippinus, because this type of writing should be distinguished from the authority of the canon. For they are not to be read as if it were not permissible to disagree with the testimony presented in them, if in some place they should claim to know otherwise than the truth demands." And again to Fortunatianus (Epist. 148, iv, 15): "Nor ought we to regard the arguments of anyone, no matter how Catholic and well-regarded, in the way we regard the canonical scriptures, that is (with all due respect to these men) as if we were not permitted to refute or reject something that we find in their writings where their opinions differ from the established truth. I wish my readers to hold the same attitude toward my writings as I hold toward the writings of others." And again in the Response to Faustus (Contra Faustum, Book 1, Chapter xi): "We are far from saying that Paul sometimes erred and changed his opinion as he advanced. For one could say that the books we have written, not with the authority of commanding but in the exercise of utility, are not comparable to the [canonical] books." And again (Contra Faustum, XI, v): "For we are the ones of whom the Apostle said: ‘and in any point you are minded otherwise, this also God will reveal to you’ -- this type of writing of letters should be read not with a compulsion to believe but with the freedom to evaluate. However, so that the room for this freedom is not excluded, and that very healthy task of treating difficult questions and translating their language and style is not denied to later authors, the excellence of the canonical authority of the Old and New Testaments has been distinguished from that of the works of later authors. If there should be something in the Old or New Testament that seems as if it were absurd, you may not say that the author of this work did not possess the truth, but that the manuscript is corrupt, or the translator has made a mistake, or that you do not understand. But in works of later witness, contained in innumerable volumes, if perhaps some things are thought to deviate from the truth because they are not understood as they have been expressed, in these works the reader or listener has the freedom of judgement to approve what seems good or disapprove of what offends, and therefore when it comes to things of this type, unless they are supported either by sure reasoning or canonical authority, so that what is either argued or narrated there may be shown either to be entirely so or to be potentially so, if it does not seem good to someone or they do not wish to believe it, they are not reproached."
(292-304) And thus he calls the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments documents about which it is heretical to say that something in them contradicts the truth. Indeed, concerning these Scriptures he writes thus in his fourth letter to Jerome (Epist. 40, iii, 3): "In the explanation of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians I find something that pains me deeply. For if even white lies were permitted to the Holy Scriptures, what authority would they retain? How, I pray, could this view be set forth concerning the same Scriptures by whose weight the contentious depravity of falsehood is crushed?" And again, to the same man also about Holy Scripture (Epist. 28, iii, 3): "It seems to me a most dangerous thing to allow that anything in the sacred books may be a lie, that is, that those men who preserved and wrote the Scriptures for us should have lied about anything in their books. For if a single white lie is admitted anywhere in so lofty an authority, then no particle of these books will remain which will not be explained as the idea or practice of the author’s mind, using this most dangerous example whenever anyone finds something difficult to practice or hard to believe."
St. Jerome, also, when he preferred some ecclesiastical doctors to the rest, thus counseled us that they should be read in order to judge among them rather than merely accepting them. Whence this advice of his in his letter to Laeta concerning the education of her daughter (Epist. 107, 12): "The works of Cyprian she ought always to hold in hand; the works of Athanasius and the book of Hilary to tread with an unhindered foot; let her enjoy the treatises and talents of those in whose books the piety of faith does not waver. The others she ought to read so as to judge rather than to accept." So also in speaking on Psalm 86, as if clearly offering his authority on all these writers, Jerome says (Tractatus de Ps. 86): "‘the Lord will tell, in the writings of the leaders and the princes, those who were in her [i.e. Zion]’. He did not say ‘those who are in her’ but ‘those who have been in her’. ‘Of the peoples’ is not enough, but he also says ‘of the princes’ –- and of what princes? Of ‘those who have been’. Thus you may see how the sacred Scripture is filled with holy mysteries. We read the Apostle saying (2 Corinthians 13:3), ‘Do you seek a proof of the Christ who speaks in me?’ What Paul said, Christ said (‘For he who receives you, receives me’ – Matthew 10:40) in the Scripture of the princes and ‘in the Scripture of the peoples’, which is the Scripture for all people. You may see what he says: ‘those who have been’, not ‘ those who are’, so that with the exception of the apostles whatever else is said afterwards is separate, and does not possess authority afterward. Therefore, however holy someone may be who lived after the apostles, and however well-spoken, he does not possess authority." And the same author writing to Vigilantius (Epist. 129, 11): "Whoever reads works of many treatises ought to be like a trusted moneychanger so that he rejects any coin that is false and lacks the image of Caesar and is not marked by the public mint; but the coin showing the face of Christ in the clear light he stores up in the pouch of his heart. For what ought to be pondered is not the predecided opinion of the teachers, but the logic of the teaching, as it is written (1 Thess. 5:21), ‘Test all thing; hold fast that which is good.’" However, this is said in reference to the commentators, not in reference to the canonical Scriptures, in which one should have undoubting faith. Jerome also wrote to Paulinus concerning the holy teachers in the Good Man Concerning the Good Treasure of the Heart (Epist. 58, 1, 10): "I am silent concerning the rest, both the dead and those still living, over whom others after us may judge either way."
- Peter Abelard (1079-1142), Sic et Non, Prologue, lines 249-329 (copied with permission from the linked source)
"You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated," he [Benedict XVI] told victims in his letter, released March 20 at the Vatican. (second source above)
Now, it appears that it is back to politics as usual. Not quite, though - "The Vatican grinds to a halt and virtually closes down for the entire month of August as the Pope departs the heat of Rome for his summer residence and his advisors enjoy the ferragosto holiday." (first source above)
And what exactly did he apologize for? He didn't admit that the Church did anything wrong, did he? It looked like he pretty much blamed the Irish, acting though it was their problem.
He did say one thing that may be coming back to him now:
"Only decisive action carried out with complete honesty and transparency will restore the respect and good will of the Irish people toward the church," he said. (second source above)
Friday, August 13, 2010
I hope to upload this to YouTube, but this is faster in the short term.
There are a number of points where I think it might be helpful to add some additional discussion, and I'll try to do that in the coming weeks, rather than wedging it all into this post.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
1) Evolutionism claims that common descent can be demonstrated via clading, where clading is broadly defined as grouping individuals in a family tree based on genetic similarity.
2) Clading is great for things like paternity testing.
3) Clading, however, is not great for predicting morphology. The Orangutan is morpholigically the most similar living animal to man, but is not genetically the most similar to man.
4) Virtually all that palentology can provide with respect to most specimens is bone morphology.
The conclusion: palentology does not support (whether or not it rebuts) the contemporary argument of evolutionism. Obviously, a good bit of the weight of the argument hangs on (3). I'm sure the typical response would be to argue that morphology is used because that's all we have. The conclusion, however, still stands. The fact that it is the best you have doesn't really mean it's enough.
God did also foresee, that, in the latter days, men should come, who would maintain worshipping of images, not only with painted colours, but also with painted words, saying, We kneel not to the image, but before the image. We worship not the image, but the thing which is represented by the image. We worship not the creatures, but the Creator in the creatures. And such like excuses the greatest idolaters did always pretend. But to the intent that they should not so deceive you, God oftentimes in holy Scripture calls upon you, saying, Thou shalt not make to thee any graven image or likeness of any creature. Thou shalt not kneel, nor bow thyself down to it. For what can be more contrary to the dignity of man, than that he, whom God hath made lord over all creatures, should kneel or do reverence to the image of a creature!- Cranmer's Catechism, The Ten Commandments
God hath so fashioned man, that he hath given him a body standing straight up, and a countenance to look upward into heaven. And why then should he bow himself downward to the earth, or to creatures made of earth, which are rather to be trodden under his feet, than to be worshipped of him? There is nothing more against reason, than that he who hath life, sense, and reason, should worship a thing which can neither see, feel, move, hear, nor understand. Wherefore God saith plainly, Thou shalt not worship images; that is to say, Thou shalt not gild them and set them in costly tabernacles, and deck them with coats or skirts: thou shalt not cense them, make vows or pilgrimages to them, set candles before them, and offer unto them. Thou shalt not kiss their feet, and bow down unto them.
For God saith; I am a jealous God, and will not give my honour to any creature, but will grievously punish them that break this my commandment. Yea, I will punish their children and posterity unto the third and fourth generation.
1 Timothy 2:5-6
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
We have faith in God and in no other, thus we sing:;
Psalm 62:6 He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.
And we remind ourselves this:
Psalm 62:5 My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.
What spirit then, is behind this pen?
Great indeed is Our trust in Mary. The resplendent glory of her merits, far exceeding all the choirs of angels, elevates her to the very steps of the throne of God. Her foot has crushed the head of Satan. Set up between Christ and His Church, Mary, ever lovable and full of grace, always has delivered the Christian people from their greatest calamities and from the snares and assaults of all their enemies, ever rescuing them from ruin.Ubi Primum, February 2, 1849, Pius IX (link to source), section 4
The foundation of all Our confidence, as you know well, Venerable Brethren, is found in the Blessed Virgin Mary. For, God has committed to Mary the treasury of all good things, in order that everyone may know that through her are obtained every hope, every grace, and all salvation. For this is His will, that we obtain everything through Mary.Ubi Primum, February 2, 1849, Pius IX (link to source), section 5
What Scripture will someone try to claim tells us to speak this way about Mary? There are many that teach us to speak this way about God, but none that teach us to make Mary a mediatrix or tell us to have faith in Mary.
I anticipate the usual responses from Rome's advocates for whom an absence of apostolicity is no obstacle. They will first assert that this encyclical is not infallible. Indeed the encyclical does not claim to be infallible: it is paving the way for an allegedly infallible proclamation that was to follow.
Ubi Primum, February 2, 1849, Pius IX (link to source), section 5
Accordingly, We have appointed certain priests of recognized piety and theological learning, as well as several cardinals of the Holy Roman Church who are renowned because of their ability, piety, wisdom, prudence, and knowledge of the things of God; and We have directed them to make, carefully and thoroughly, a most diligent examination into this most important matter and then provide Us with a complete report. Through such a procedure, We feel that We are following in the clearly marked footsteps of Our Predecessors and that We are emulating their example.
The second thing that they may wish to claim is some sort of poetic license for this bishop of Rome. But are we really to take Pius IX's words only poetically? The context of his words is the preparation for inserting the false dogma of the Immaculate Conception into the religion of Rome:
No sooner had We been elevated to the sublime Chair of the Prince of the Apostles and undertook the government of the universal Church (not, indeed, because of Our own worthiness but by the hidden designs of Divine Providence) than We had the great consolation, Venerable Brethren, in recalling that, during the pontificate of Gregory XVI, Our Predecessor of happy memory, there was in the entire Catholic world a most ardent and wondrous revival of the desire that the most holy Mother of God -- the beloved Mother of us all, the immaculate Virgin Mary -- be finally declared by a solemn definition of the Church to have been conceived without the stain of original sin. Both to Our Predecessor and to Us this most devout desire was clearly and unmistakably made manifest by the petitions of illustrious bishops, esteemed canonical chapters, and religious congregations, among whom was the renowned Order of Preachers. These appeals vied with one another in the insistent request that official permission be granted for the word Immaculate to be publicly used and be added to the sacred liturgy, particularly in the Preface of the Mass of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin. With the greatest delight, both Our Predecessor and We acceded to these requests.Ubi Primum, February 2, 1849, Pius IX (link to source), sections 1-2
One thing is wrapped up in another - devotion to Mary is an essential component of Rome's religion, though it was not a part of the apostolic faith. But the faith of Pius IX is the one in which he was raised - which he described this way:
From our earliest years nothing has ever been closer to Our heart than devotion-filial, profound, and wholehearted-to the most blessed Virgin Mary. Always have We endeavored to do everything that would redound to the greater glory of the Blessed Virgin, promote her honor, and encourage devotion to her.Ubi Primum, February 2, 1849, Pius IX (link to source), section 4
Ought not devotion to God to be closer than devotion to any mere creature? Ought not filial, profound, and wholehearted devotion be given to our Father in heaven? How did Jesus teach us to pray - to "Our mother, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name" or "Our Father"? Which is the prayer that has been prayed continuously for nearly 2000 years? Who on the other hand can produce for us some record of the "Hail Mary" before Nicaea? Who can show us one Western father from the first millennium who said something like "[Mary is] set up between Christ and His Church"?
And even if one could find a "Hail Mary" prayer very early, and some early person who mistakenly used the Marian axe to sever the head (Christ) from the body (His church), what of it? It is not what the apostles taught - it is not the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
It is an innovation whether it was developed in the 19th century with Pius IX, in the middle ages with St. Bernard, or even if it was developed earlier.
The bottom line, dear reader, is this: in whom do you trust? through whom does your salvation come? If it comes through Mary - if you are trusting in her like Pius IX did - you are not properly trusting in Christ, and you will face judgment on that dreadful day of the Lord.
Sunday, August 08, 2010
They claim that they are not simply dogmatically asserting common descent, and that their hypothesis is falsifiable, if we find an example of something that eludes their clading - explaining similar features by common ancestry.
We point to things like octopus eyes as an example that shows that their system of clading cannot be right, since humans and octopuses do not have any alleged common ancestors that have eyes. They simply claim that this is an example of parallel evolution. By remarkable coincidence, the eye evolved by chance at least two different times.
But the absurdity can be seen to be even greater than that. Recently, it was announced that a study had determined that sea sponges share human genes - and not just one or two. The study claims that sea sponges share 70% of human genes (link to report of study).
This sort of evidence ends up getting waved away by evolutionary dogmatists. Who cares about sea sponges, chimps have 99.something % of our genes, they'll tell us. But then when you bring up articles on chimp studies that suggest that there are problems with the hypothesis that gene similarity means we are close relations to chimps (first article, second article), they tend to simply wave them off as well.
And then, of course, they'll accuse you of anti-intellectualism because you don't uncritically accept the dogma of evolutionism on faith. Oh, the irony.