Saturday, May 19, 2012

One Reason that Abuse Accusations are as Few as They are ...

... is this approach to addressing them. The article calls him a "former ... priest" and "ex-priest," but that's not really possible. He's presumably not serving in his capacity as priest, however. Apparently, he will be in jail for the next 15 years. The full story of his abuse and the Roman hierarchy's actions in response to him have been well documented (link).

One interesting aspect of the story:
Fiala, who was born and raised in Omaha, was drawn to the Catholic Church in the seventh grade, when he met a priest who wrote a letter of recommendation for him to enter the seminary.

The priest, Daniel Herek, later became an infamous convicted child sex offender in Nebraska.
Meanwhile, John "Black Sheep Dog" Corapi has disappeared.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor on the Eternal State of Atheists

I previously reported some thoughts by Cardinal George Pell. Pell had suggested that there will be those who were atheists in this life who will be in heaven.

Cardinal O'Connor has something similar to say:
Q: And hell?

A: We're not bound to believe that anybody’s there, let's face it. ...

Q: It is sometimes said that there will be a separate heaven for Bavarians because they would not be in a state of eternal happiness if they had to share heaven with the Prussians. Will Catholics and Protestants be together in heaven?

A: I hope they won't be separate. I think that the divisions manifest here on earth will be reconciled in some mysterious way in heaven. I'm not thinking just of Catholics and Protestants, but people of other faiths and people of no faith. We are all children of God.

Q: So we shouldn't be surprised if we were to meet in heaven someone who was a Muslim or an atheist on earth?

A: I hope I will be surprised in heaven... I think I will be.
(source - thanks to Steve Hays)

Neither Cardinal Pell nor Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor denies that hell is real, but both seem to think that it might be empty.


The "Here I am" Girl or the "Where were you" Girl?

As reported by the Vatican Information Service, Benedict XVI stated (on 18 May 2012):
Mary of Nazareth is the woman of a full and total "Here I am" to the divine will. In her "Yes", repeated even when faced with the sorrow of the loss of her child, we find complete and profound beatitude".
A) The Bible calls Jesus, "Jesus of Nazareth." It never calls his mother, "Mary of Nazareth." We don't know where she was raised.
B) There is no "yes" recorded from Mary in Scripture.
C) There is no "yes," recorded from Mary when faced with the sorrow of the crucifixion.
D) Her state was one of mourning, not bliss, as it was prophesied: "Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also," (Luke 2:35).
E) Although Mary does not say, "Here I am," in Scripture, the following people do:

1) Abraham (Genesis 22:1 & 11)
2) Jacob (Genesis 31:11 & 46:2)
3) Moses (Exodus 3:4)
4) Samuel (1 Samuel 3:4-6 & 8)
5) Isaiah (Isaiah 6:8)
6) Ananias (Acts 9:10)

Why not draw from those six men if one wishes to learn "Here I am," to the divine will?
F) Moreover, on the contrary, one of the few recorded statements of Mary is not, "Here I am," but almost "Where were you!"

Luke 2:43-52
And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.

And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, "Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing."

And he said unto them, "How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?"

And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
Full and total, "Here am I"? Really? Why not pick an exemplary man like the prophet Isaiah? or one of the patriarchs who Scripture praises for their faith and devotion, rather than a woman whose blessedness is totally derived from being chosen to bear Christ?

The answer, of course, lies in Benedict XVI's devotion to Mary, as one might be devoted to a goddess. He is blind to her faults, and creates virtues in her for which there is no support in Scripture.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Gospel of the Shed Blood of Jesus Christ vs. the False Gospel of Miracles

Impressive testimony from "Pastor Scott" against the false gospel promoted by Dayna Muldoon:

- TurretinFan

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Trent, Augustine, Scripture, and Justification

Trent makes a number of explicit claims about justification.
Of this Justification the causes are these:
the final cause indeed is the glory of God and of Jesus Christ, and life everlasting;
while the efficient cause is a merciful God who washes and sanctifies gratuitously, signing, and anointing with the holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance;
but the meritorious cause is His most beloved only-begotten, our Lord Jesus Christ, who, when we were enemies, for the exceeding charity wherewith he loved us, merited Justification for us by His most holy Passion on the wood of the cross, and made satisfaction for us unto God the Father;
the instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism, which is the sacrament of faith, without which (faith) no man was ever justified;
lastly, the alone formal cause is the justice of God, not that whereby He Himself is just, but that whereby He maketh us just, that, to wit, with which we being endowed by Him, are renewed in the spirit of our mind, and we are not only reputed, but are truly called, and are, just, receiving justice within us, each one according to his own measure, which the Holy Ghost distributes to every one as He wills, and according to each one’s proper disposition and co-operation.
Trent immediately explains:
For, although no one can be just, but he to whom the merits of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated, yet is this done in the said justification of the impious, when by the merit of that same most holy Passion, the charity of God is poured forth, by the Holy Spirit, in the hearts of those that are justified, and is inherent therein: whence, man, through Jesus Christ, in whom he is ingrafted, receives, in the said justification, together with the remission of sins, all these (gifts) infused at once, faith, hope, and charity.
Whether or not other aspects of Trent can be reconciled to Augustine, these conceptions are not consistent with Augustine. Augustine took the position that the thief on the cross had the faith that justifies without having baptism. To use Trent’s categories, the instrumental means for the thief was (in Augustine’s view) faith, not baptism.

Augustine connects the dots with Cornelius as well. Clearly he had the Spirit before baptism, which demonstrated his right standing with God (compare the argument about circumcision in Acts 15).
Augustine points out that the fact that the benefit can be invisibly applied (applied without the sacrament, the visible sign) should not lead us to scorn the sacrament. After all, even Cornelius was subsequently baptized.

Acts 10:30-48
And Cornelius said, "Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, and said, 'Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.' Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God."
Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) that word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins."
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.
Then answered Peter, "Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?"
And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

Augustine goes on to say: “But what is the precise value of the sanctification of the sacrament (which that thief did not receive, not from any want of will on his part, but because it was unavoidably omitted) and what is the effect on a man of its material application, it is not easy to say.”
That’s perhaps the most troubling piece of all for those hoping to make Augustine in the image of Trent. Trent treats baptism itself as the instrumental means of justification, but it seems pretty clear that’s not what Augustine thinks.

And in case you think I’m speculating about his view on Cornelius, look at the parallel Augustine himself draws just shortly after:
And if any one seek for divine authority in this matter, though what is held by the whole Church, and that not as instituted by Councils, but as a matter of invariable custom, is rightly held to have been handed down by authority, still we can form a true conjecture of the value of the sacrament of baptism in the case of infants, from the parallel of circumcision, which was received by God’s earlier people, and before receiving which Abraham was justified, as Cornelius also was enriched with the gift of the Holy Spirit before he was baptized.
Notice what Augustine concedes: he concedes that baptism and circumcision are parallel, that Abraham was justified before circumcision, and that Cornelius was analogously “enriched with the gift of the Holy Spirit” before baptism.

If Rome would concede the same, we would find faith alone as the instrumental means of justification, rather than baptism. Moreover, we would find reputed righteousness, rather than actual righteousness, the formal cause. Whether that latter point is something that Augustine himself held, perhaps we can consider another time.

- TurretinFan

Peter Enns and the Historical Adam

Peter Enns' latest post suggests that he has identified the biggest theological objection to rejection of the historical Adam, the first man, specially created by God. Enns thinks that the biggest problem is the wrath of God. Adam's sin in the garden is important to explain why God's wrath is against the human race.

Obviously, I don't agree with much of what Enns says. As far as I am concerned, it seems pretty clear that he has rejected the Word of God, and consequently is outside the fold. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see which theological topics Enns thinks are most directly affected by a rejection of the literal sense of Genesis 1-2.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Religious Liberty - Vatican For or Against?

The Catholic News Service reported comments of Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior general of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), one of the most prominent "traditionalist" groups. Fellay seemed to take the position that Vatican II has been widely misunderstood. On the topic of "Religious Liberty," Fellay said that "In our talks with Rome, they clearly said, that to mean that there would be a right to error - or a right to choose each one his religion is false." (link)

On the other hand, compare the Vatican's statements as recently as 2 March 2011:
... there is a fear that respecting the freedom to choose and practice another religion, different from one’s own, is based on a premise that all truth is relative and that one’s religion is no longer absolutely valid. That is a misunderstanding. The right to adopt, and to change, a religion is based on respect for human dignity: the State must allow each person to freely search for the truth.

Or consider these words of Benedict XVI, reported 14 February 2012:
I ask the whole Church, through patient dialogue with Muslims, to seek juridical and practical recognition of religious freedom, so that every citizen in Africa may enjoy not only the right to choose his religion freely and to engage in worship, but also the right to freedom of conscience. Religious freedom is the road to peace

To see why this sort of thing concerns traditionalists, compare to the following from Leo XIII (20 June 1888):
19. To make this more evident, the growth of liberty ascribed to our age must be considered apart in its various details. And, first, let us examine that liberty in individuals which is so opposed to the virtue of religion, namely, the liberty of worship, as it is called. This is based on the principle that every man is free to profess as he may choose any religion or none.

20. But, assuredly, of all the duties which man has to fulfill, that, without doubt, is the chiefest and holiest which commands him to worship God with devotion and piety. This follows of necessity from the truth that we are ever in the power of God, are ever guided by His will and providence, and, having come forth from Him, must return to Him. Add to which, no true virtue can exist without religion, for moral virtue is concerned with those things which lead to God as man's supreme and ultimate good; and therefore religion, which (as St. Thomas says) "performs those actions which are directly and immediately ordained for the divine honor",(7) rules and tempers all virtues. And if it be asked which of the many conflicting religions it is necessary to adopt, reason and the natural law unhesitatingly tell us to practice that one which God enjoins, and which men can easily recognize by certain exterior notes, whereby Divine Providence has willed that it should be distinguished, because, in a matter of such moment, the most terrible loss would be the consequence of error. Wherefore, when a liberty such as We have described is offered to man, the power is given him to pervert or abandon with impunity the most sacred of duties, and to exchange the unchangeable good for evil; which, as We have said, is no liberty, but its degradation, and the abject submission of the soul to sin.

21. This kind of liberty, if considered in relation to the State, clearly implies that there is no reason why the State should offer any homage to God, or should desire any public recognition of Him; that no one form of worship is to be preferred to another, but that all stand on an equal footing, no account being taken of the religion of the people, even if they profess the Catholic faith. But, to justify this, it must needs be taken as true that the State has no duties toward God, or that such duties, if they exist, can be abandoned with impunity, both of which assertions are manifestly false. For it cannot be doubted but that, by the will of God, men are united in civil society; whether its component parts be considered; or its form, which implies authority; or the object of its existence; or the abundance of the vast services which it renders to man. God it is who has made man for society, and has placed him in the company of others like himself, so that what was wanting to his nature, and beyond his attainment if left to his own resources, he might obtain by association with others. Wherefore, civil society must acknowledge God as its Founder and Parent, and must obey and reverence His power and authority. Justice therefore forbids, and reason itself forbids, the State to be godless; or to adopt a line of action which would end in godlessness-namely, to treat the various religions (as they call them) alike, and to bestow upon them promiscuously equal rights and privileges. Since, then, the profession of one religion is necessary in the State, that religion must be professed which alone is true, and which can be recognized without difficulty, especially in Catholic States, because the marks of truth are, as it were, engravers upon it. This religion, therefore, the rulers of the State must preserve and protect, if they would provide - as they should do - with prudence and usefulness for the good of the community. For public authority exists for the welfare of those whom it governs; and, although its proximate end is to lead men to the prosperity found in this life, yet, in so doing, it ought not to diminish, but rather to increase, man's capability of attaining to the supreme good in which his everlasting happiness consists: which never can be attained if religion be disregarded.

22. All this, however, We have explained more fully elsewhere. We now only wish to add the remark that liberty of so false a nature is greatly hurtful to the true liberty of both rulers and their subjects. Religion, of its essence, is wonderfully helpful to the State. For, since it derives the prime origin of all power directly from God Himself, with grave authority it charges rulers to be mindful of their duty, to govern without injustice or severity, to rule their people kindly and with almost paternal charity; it admonishes subjects to be obedient to lawful authority, as to the ministers of God; and it binds them to their rulers, not merely by obedience, but by reverence and affection, forbidding all seditious and venturesome enterprises calculated to disturb public order and tranquillity, and cause greater restrictions to be put upon the liberty of the people. We need not mention how greatly religion conduces to pure morals, and pure morals to liberty. Reason shows, and history confirms the fact, that the higher the morality of States; the greater are the liberty and wealth and power which they enjoy.

Rome's singing a different tune today, because Rome is finding itself without the political power to which it had become accustomed. But what is curious is that the SSPX folks, or at least their superior general, seems to have received the impression that Rome agrees with SSPX that there is no right of religious liberty - no right of men to freely choose their own religion.

- TurretinFan

Congratulations to Triablogue

The Triablogue has racked up 10,000 posts. Congratulations!

Monday, May 14, 2012

How Much More Could Mary be Venerated?

Vatican Information Service (VIS reports, 13 May 2012, Benedict XVI as follows:
"As Mother of the Church, Our Lady always wants to comfort her children at the time of their greatest difficulty and suffering", said the Pope today ... .
Mary is not our mother. Scripture describes the heavenly Jerusalem as our mother:
Galatians 4:26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

We Christians have one Lord, Jesus Christ. His bride is the Church, not his mother according to the flesh. He is our Lord, and we collectively are his Lady. We do not have a pair of sovereigns, one Lord and one Lady, we are the Lord's Lady. He is our groom, we are his bride. Mary, as a believer, is part of the Church, but the head of the Church is her husband, Christ.

Scripture never refers to Mary by the title, "Lady," and certainly not, "Our Lady."

As for the pope reading Mary's mind, where does he get this idea that she wants the comfort of "her children"? She hasn't led any of the popes to declare Purgatory empty - she hasn't protected the martyrs from martyrdom. What is the basis for his presumption to declare what is on Mary's mind?

Benedict XVI continued:
"Through Mary, we invoke moral consolation from God, so that this community and the whole of Italy may resist the temptation to become discouraged and, strengthened by their great humanist tradition, may set out again on the road to spiritual and moral renewal which is the only thing that can bring authentic improvement in social and civil life".
Notice that Benedict XVI is not shy to acknowledge that this is not a prayer through Jesus, but through Mary. Thus, Benedict XVI makes Mary a mediatrix. He's not seeking to invoke consolation from Mary ipsa but through Mary as mediatrix. This is not an example of pray to Mary or prayer for Mary but the equally problematic case of prayer through Mary.

VIS further reports:
After praying the Regina Coeli, Benedict XVI made a private visit to the cathedral of San Donato where he paused before the Chapel of Our Lady of Good Comfort to adore the Blessed Sacrament and venerate the image of the Virgin.
Regina Coeli is Latin for "Queen of Heaven," which is a title found in Scripture but always associated with a false goddess. It's the name of prayer in which the person prays to Mary and asks her to pray for them, followed by a prayer to God through Christ that makes a request that the joys of eternal life be received through Mary.

Notice as well that VIS is not ashamed to report that Benedict XVI both worships the elements and Mary as well, though the two kinds of worship are distinguished by words ("adore" vs. "venerate"). The Roman worship of the sacrament is as absurd as a Jew worshiping the paschal sacrament - and the worship of Mary far exceeds that foolishness, since it is acknowledged that Mary is not God.