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What Catholics Believe: The Veneration of Mary

Updated on October 31, 2014
William Avitt profile image

I am a contributing author at TheBlaze. I am an avid fan of movies and comic books. I am also a Roman Catholic apologist.

The Madonna with the baby Jesus asleep at her breast
The Madonna with the baby Jesus asleep at her breast

Who Was Mary?

Mary, oftentimes referred to as the Virgin Mary or the Blessed Virgin or Mary, Mother of God, was the biological mother of Jesus Christ, who was God born of the flesh. Jesus was born through a virgin so that the prophecies of the Old Testament would be fulfilled (Isaiah 7:14). Catholics believe that Mary was born without the burden of Original Sin, so that she could be a worthy vessel for the Lord. God, being perfect and unblemished, could not possibly be sullied by being carried and birthed by a sinful being. God, as Jesus Christ, could not nurse at the breast of an imperfect woman. As such, God blessed Mary without the burden of sin. He smiled and gave His favor to her in this way. We know that Mary was born without sin because of how she is referred in the Scriptures. She is referred to by an angel in Luke 1:28-30 as "full of grace." The exact Greek word used was kekaritomene, which is translated as full of grace, but refers to a quality within a person, not a blessing upon that person. The angel, therefore, is not blessing Mary, but rather acknowledging that she had already been blessed, through her own immaculate conception, by God and that she was without sin.

Protestants like to point out that in several Scriptures, it is pointed out that no one is without sin. And this is correct, of course. Nothing in the Bible can really be argued with, can it? Well, not if you firmly believe that the Bible is the living word of God, and I happen to hold such a firm belief. So I will never contradict those Scriptures, however, the Bible itself would seem to contradict them. How can the Bible contradict itself? Well, it doesn't. When John and Paul wrote about all having sinned, they were referring to individual sin. They were not referring to the burden of Original Sin. And they were referring to us, regular folks, as well as themselves. They were not, however, referring to Jesus Christ. Correct? So if Jesus' existence contradicts those verses, obviously we must look beyond just the words on the page. We must see the meaning behind those words. Obviously Jesus isn't included in the statement that all have sinned and that there is no one without sin, and so we can safely believe that Mary as well was born without sin so that she could be a worthy vessel for the perfect being that was Jesus Christ. There is nothing in the Scriptures that contradicts this teaching, unless, of course, you want to say that Jesus himself was just as sinful as the rest of us, and I don't think anyone wants to make that statement.

Another thing Protestants like to point to to try to refute the doctrine of Mary being born without sin is her own words in Luke 1:47 when she says her "Spirit rejoices in God, my Savior." Why would Mary require a Savior if she was without sin? Well, because God did save her from sin, he just did it before she was born. So God was indeed her Savior, just as He is the savior of us all. The difference is that God saved her before birth and He saves all of us at death. And make no mistake, our salvation does come only at the moment of our death, as it is written in Phillipians 3:8-12:

"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead."

Paul knew that salvation was something to be attained. Something to strive for your entire life, and that it was a goal to be reached at death. But the angel who visited Mary recognized that she was already full of the grace of God. She had nothing more to attain, because she had already been saved at the moment of her conception.

Veneration vs Worship

Catholics do NOT worship Mary. We worship God and God alone. Protestants often try to accuse Catholics of Mary worship or saint worship, and try to use this to defame the church and to paint us as pagans or heretics. The problem is that this claim can't be backed up once you have a clear understanding of the difference between veneration and worship. They are not the same thing. Dictionary.com defines the word venerate to mean "To hold in deep respect; revere" and "To honor in recognition of qualities of holiness, excellence, wisdom, etc." It does not mean to worship. You can venerate all sorts of different people. You can venerate your parents or teachers or your pastor or you could even venerate celebrities, and many do. However the word worship should only be used in reference to God and no one else. Many are worthy of veneration, only God is worthy of worship.

Mary was chosen as the mother of God made flesh. Even if you don't acknowledge her as being without sin, that alone makes her worthy of veneration. She held the baby Jesus inside of her womb. Jesus nursed at her breast. This is a woman who is certainly worthy of great respect, and that is all veneration is. Also, Mary was venerated in Scripture by the angel of the Lord. In the passage from Luke when the angel appeared to Mary to proclaim to her the truth that she would give birth to a son and name him Jesus, the angel said to her "Hail, Full of Grace." We covered this a little already, but let's examine it a little further. In Luke 1:29, the very next verse, it says that Mary was perplexed by this greeting. Why would she have been perplexed? Well, because of two reasons. The first is because of the word "Hail." This was a greeting that, in the vernacular of the time, was used to greet someone of royalty. You would say "Hail Caesar," just as in the modern times the theme song of the President of the United States is "Hail to the Chief." Mary certainly wasn't royalty, so she would have been confused by this. She also would not have understood the Full of Grace bit, because there would have been no one to explain to her that she was, in fact, born without sin through the grace of God. If the angel of the Lord venerates Mary, should we do any less?

Mary As the Ark of the New Covenant

The Ark of the Covenant as depicted in "Raiders of the Lost Ark"
The Ark of the Covenant as depicted in "Raiders of the Lost Ark"

Every important event in the Old Testament has a counterpart in the New Testament. The Old Testament is rife with prophecies, mostly Messianic, which have parallels in the New Testament. Signs of the old covenant between God and man are revisited in order to seal the New Covenant. For instance, in the Old Testament we had the Sabbath, but in the New Testament, we have the Lord's Day. This is why we as Christians almost universally worship on Sunday instead of Saturday. The old covenant was fulfilled and even the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews declares the old covenant obsolete and that it will soon fade away (Hebrews 8:13). Now, because Jesus had come to fulfill the old covenant, He had to re-institute anything that He wanted to carry over to the new covenant. Because of this, we see many examples of things of the old covenant being fulfilled in events of the New Testament. One of these is the Ark of the New Covenant, the seal of God's promise just as the Ark of the Covenant was to the Jews of the Old Testament.

There are many parallels in the New Testament between Mary and the Ark of the Covenant. For instance, both traveled to the hill country of Judea (2 Samuel 6:1-11; Luke 1:39), David, dressed in priestly vestments, danced and jumped in front of the Ark (2 Samuel 6:14) and John the Baptist, who was of priestly lineage, jumped in his mother's womb in the presence of Mary (Luke 1:41), David questions why the Ark would come to him (2 Samuel 6:9) just as Elizabeth questioned why the mother of her Lord would come to visit her (Luke 1:43), the Ark and Mary both remained in Judea for three months (2 Samuel 6:11; Luke 1:56) and the Ark and Mary both return home from Judea and eventually end up in Jerusalem where the glory of God is presented in the temple (2 Sam. 6:12 & 1 Kgs. 8:9-1; Luke 1:56; 2:21-22).

We can also see parallels between Mary and the Ark of the Covenant by the items that Holy Scripture tells us was contained inside the Ark itself. For example, the Ark of the Covenant held the stone tablets on which were inscribed the Ten Commandments. In essence, the Ark of the Covenant held the Word of God, just like Mary, while pregnant with Jesus, held the living Word of God inside her womb (John 1:1). The Ark of the Covenant also contained some of the Manna, the bread that fell from the sky while the Jews wandered the desert, just like Mary carried Jesus, who was the Bread of Life come down from Heaven (John 6:41), within her womb.

Throughout the Old Testament we have examples of the Jewish people showing reverence to the Ark of the Covenant. In fact, it was prohibited to even touch the Ark of the Covenant because it was so sacred. In 2 Samuel 6:1-7 there is a man named Uzzah, who we learned had touched the Ark to try and keep it from falling on the ground and yet he was still burned up by the anger of God for having committed "such and irreverent act." This story is again told in 1Chronicles 13:9-12. So we see that God himself commanded by penalty of death that His people show a great reverence to the Ark of the Covenant, is it so hard to believe that we should be so commanded to show like respect to the Ark of His New Covenant, which is the woman Mary?

Prayer to Mary and Intercession

Another doctrine Protestants use to try and invalidate the Catholic church, and to try and paint us as pagans and idolators, is the practice of praying to the Saints, Mary in particular. Protestants often cite 1 Timothy 2:5, "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" as a refutation of the idea of praying to God through anyone other than Jesus Christ. After all, Christ is the one and only mediator between God and man, right? The difference here is that we don't pray to Mary or the Saints to ask them for anything. We simply ask them to petition God on our behalf. Have you ever asked a pastor or friend or family member to pray for you? You ever post on Facebook that you're having a rough time and need prayers? If you have, then I ask, what is the difference? How is asking a Saint to pray for you any different than asking a friend to pray for you? Well, it is a little different. James 5:16 tells us that the prayers of the righteous can accomplish much. So I ask you, who is more righteous than those who are already in full communion with the Lord in Heaven? And if you are sitting there thinking to yourself, "Well, I've never asked anyone else to pray on my behalf because Jesus is the only mediator between man and God," well, good for you. You're not a hypocrite. However, you are still wrong. We already saw in James 5 where James taught that Christians should confess their sins to each other and to pray for each other, 1 Timothy 2:1-4 also tells us that praying for others, even complete strangers, is good and pleasing to God. So, while there is one mediator between God and man, and that mediator is Jesus Christ, we are also commanded to pray for each other and to confess our sins to each other.

Of course now, the fundamentalists out there are crying foul at my arguments. Asking a friend or a pastor to pray on your behalf is different than asking for the intercession of a Saint, because we are commanded not to speak to the dead, right? But are we really? The Scripture in question is Deuteronomy 18: 10-12, which speaks of not being a psychic or sorcerer or medium or necromancer. It should be noted, however, that necromancy refers to the conjuring of the dead, like through a séance, not simply talking to the dead. Do you ever talk to a loved one who has gone to their reward? Delivering flowers to Grandma's grave and telling her about little Johnny and how big he's getting and how well he's doing in school and what not? Of course you have. Lots of people speak to their loved ones in this manner, and I don't think anyone would acquaint this with necromancy, right? So then how is praying to Grandma, and make no mistake, you are praying when you do this, any different than praying to Mary or to the Saints? Surely you don't worship Grandma, do you? And neither do Catholics worship Mary and the Saints. It should also be noted, and I know this is going to raise a few eyebrows and I will write more on this in another article, that Deuteronomy is in the Old Testament. It has been rendered obsolete by the new covenant set up by Jesus Christ when He fulfilled the law on the cross. But since praying to Saints isn't the same as conjuring them, that point is a little moot.

Perpetual Virginity

Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ without knowing the touch of a man. I think that much is incontestable, correct? Well, what most Protestants don't see as incontestable, in fact I think some of them don't even know is a thing, is the idea that Mary also died without knowing the touch of a man. Now, this is a somewhat controversial doctrine, and I can completely understand why. When I first heard this notion, in my early 20s because I wasn't raised Catholic I am a converted Protestant, the notion was wildly unbelievable to me. I mean, the Bible talks about Jesus' brothers, right? James and John were His brothers, weren't they? He had brothers, so how could Mary have died a virgin? I thought like most people thought. Mary and Joseph were engaged when Mary became pregnant with Jesus as a virgin, but after Jesus' birth they were married and would presumably have lived normally as man and wife, and of course they would have had other children, and these were the brothers the Bible spoke of. The problem is, this theory just isn't Biblical. And I'm going to explain why.

In the book of Luke, when the angel of the Lord appeared to announce to Mary the birth of Jesus (the exact passage is quoted above), the angel greeted her and told her of the good news that should would give birth to a son. Mary was confused by this. She asked, "How can this be? I know not man." Now, think about that for a moment. She said "I know not man." This is vaguely important when you really think about it. This is a woman who was married. She wasn't engaged, as we think of it today, she was married to Joseph. In Jewish tradition, you would get married, but you would wait a period of time before your co-habitation began. This was what it meant to be betrothed. She wasn't promised to be married to Joseph, they were married. Their period of co-habitation just hadn't begun yet. So if she had planned to live a normal married life with Joseph, her reaction to this news would have been fundamentally different. She didn't say "I haven't known man yet," she said she didn't know man. Had she planned to eventually come to know Joseph, in the Biblical sense, she would have thought that the angel was prophesying to her what was going to happen after she went to live with Joseph. No, Mary's reaction is pretty clear that she had no intention of living a traditional married life. And this was fairly common for women of faith back then. Just as nun's today choose celibacy, there were Jewish women then who chose to stay chaste. They chose to serve God and not a husband. So Mary's reaction to the angel would seem to suggest that she had taken a vow of celibacy.

There is another very important bit of Scripture to back up the claim that Mary was a celibate woman, even after she began living with Joseph. You see, it was prophesied that this would be the case. Much of the prophesies of the Old Testament foretold of the coming Messiah, correct? So then what would one take from Ezekiel 44:2 when Ezekiel writes of a vision given to him "Then He brought me back by the way of the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces the east; and it was shut. 2The LORD said to me, "This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it, for the LORD God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut. 3"As for the prince, he shall sit in it as prince to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by way of the porch of the gate and shall go out by the same way"? It is pretty obvious that God was speaking of the gate by which He would come into the world. And that gate was Mary. He entered through that gate, and no other man shall ever enter into it. It's pretty convincing.

So then what of these brothers? Well, Catholics hold a few different beliefs, and the Church has no official position on the matter of His so-called brothers. Some believe that the original Greek word can be used to mean any close relative and that these brothers were actually cousins, not brothers. There is another belief, and it is the belief I personally happen to prescribe to, and that is the belief that these brothers were actually step-brothers. You see, if we are to believe that Mary was celibate, then we must also recognize that Jewish tradition had provided for these women to marry a man, usually a widower, who would be able to provide for her. It is entirely possible that Joseph was a widower and that Jesus' brothers, who many Protestants think of as younger brothers, were actually His older brothers who had been Joseph's children from his previous marriage.

There is one more thing that makes it pretty important that Mary was celibate. Why did God choose a virgin to begin with as the mother of Jesus? He wanted the birth of Christ to be an obvious miracle, right? And if he had chosen a woman who not only hadn't known a man, but had pledged to never know man, it would hold a lot more weight. Otherwise people might just think that Mary and Joseph had coupled before they were permitted by law.

The Assumption of Mary

The final disputed Marian Doctrine we will look at is that the Mary did not die, but was instead assumed into Heaven while she was still alive. This is somewhat controversial, but why? In 2 Kings 2:9-11 we see that Elijah was taken to Heaven on a fiery chariot and in a whirlwind. If it had already been demonstrated that such a feat was possible and that God was willing to grant such favor to someone, why is it so hard for anyone to believe that God would grant this blessing to Mary, the mother of his only begotten son? It is entirely possible that Enoch was also assumed into Heaven in Genesis 5:24, though this is less obvious than it is in the case of Elijah. So we have concrete incident of God bringing someone to Heaven who had not died, and possibly a second. Why wouldn't He do this for the mother of His own son? Unfortunately the Assumption of Mary is not recorded in Scripture. I wish it was, but there are a lot of things I wish were recorded in Scripture and aren't, like the idea of the Trinity, which most Protestants adhere to. But there is plenty of Scriptural evidence for the idea of someone being assumed into Heaven, I personally don't find it at all hard to believe that God would have taken Mary and not forced her to see death.

As you can see, there is plenty of Scriptural evidence to support the veneration of Mary, that is, the holding her in very high esteem. No one is saying that she is divine or on the same level of God. That is not the teaching, nor has it ever been the teaching, of the Catholic church. If you notice my use of pronouns throughout this paper, any time I am referring to God or Jesus the pronouns are capitalized (He, Him), but every time I am referring to Mary or to any other human being, the pronouns are not capitalized. Mary is on the same level as any other supremely righteous person. Mother Theresa of Calcutta was an incredibly righteous person, and she is absolutely deserving of the respect do anyone who has kept the commandments of God and who has shown love and compassion to her fellow man until the end of her life. Mother Theresa should be venerated, but she is not God. Neither is Mary, and it has never been the teaching of the Catholic church that she was.

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    Shaki 2 years ago

    Meh, that's how you know you're getting old. My npeehw's into Incubus, so I played him some of the King Crimson riffs they'd ripped off and he was like, Wow, that stuff sounds so modern. KING CRIMSON! I didn't even bother trying to play him some of the Rahsaan Roland Kirk THEY'D ripped off, or the Stockhausen and Hindemith that influenced RRK. As they say, everything old is new again.

  • William Avitt profile image
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    William Avitt 2 years ago from Dayton, Ohio

    Sigh...

    "I don't know why I'm bothering with this final comment because I figure there is a 99.9% chance you'll delete it (which is what most liberals due when they are totally revealed for what they are)"

    I am the farthest thing from a liberal that anyone could ever find. This is the problem with people like you. Anyone who disagrees with you is a liberal. That's just plain stupid. Again, I have given you concise explanations and evidence behind those explanations to explain the Catholic position. You have not addressed any of these. You have done nothing to further this conversation. I don't want to convert you. But I am trying to explain why Catholics believe what we believe, and how it has Scriptural basis, and you just refuse to have any understanding. You are stubborn in your wrongness, and that's a dangerous thing. And I have plenty of political hubs, maybe you just haven't seen them. I even have posted a concise explanation on what the Republicans need to do moving forward after their win in this election.

    "You say "I hold no animosity toward Protestants, I used to be one. So I will never belittle or degrade your faith or your interpretation of the Scriptures." yet you also say you agree with the decrees of Trent which condemn protestants to hell."

    Again, I explained this to you as well. You don't listen. The Fourth Lateran Council, which was BEFORE the Council of Trent, had already allowed for the possibility of salvation outside the Church, but not outside Christ. Trent, in response to the Reformation, worded things wrong because of what was going on at the time. The only thing Vatican II did was reiterate what had already been suggested at the Fourth Lateran Council. You're trying to condemn me for treating you like a brother in Christ by refusing to understand the Church's official policies on this matter.

    As to your link, this is where that argument falls apart. You know that Christ didn't speak Greek, right? He spoke Aramaic. The word He used was Cephas, not Petros or Petra. He used Cephas for both because Aramaic doesn't have masculine and feminine nouns, as Greek does. The same as how English doesn't have masculine or feminine nouns. The reason they used the masculine form for Peter is because he's a man. It's that simple. Protestants like to try to use this argument as a gotcha, but it falls apart when you look at the passage in the context of the times. Another place where Protestants are misguided is by thinking context means one verse before and one verse after, or the whole chapter, or even the entire book. That's just not how you interpret Scripture. That's how you get all of the contradictions that Atheists like to claim the Bible has. You have to take it in context of the entire passage, the entire book, the entire Bible AND in context of the times in which it was written. There is a lot that goes into truly understanding Scripture, which is why Christ gave us an infallible hierarchy within the Church to better understand the Scriptures. Without that, you get what we have now. Everyone saying Scriptures mean something different. There is only one Truth. Every interpretation can't be true. That's why we have a Church to go to, as it was commanded us by the Apostles, to take our disagreements to. Protestants have rejected this authority.

    "the doctrines of Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide are contradictory to Scripture". Hmmm, how does that reconcile with your statement "I will never belittle or degrade your faith or your interpretation of the Scriptures."

    Did I degrade you? Did I belittle you? Those doctrines ARE contradictory to Scripture, and to just good, logical sense. Also, Protestants who claim to cling to rigidly to them, don't really believe them. Is the Trinity in the Bible?

    "I repeat, you make statements because they sound good (similar to anyone else we know? hint, initials B.O) then proceed to do just the opposite. So who is it that doesn't have an open heart. What I see is a disingenuous heart at the core."

    Oh, look, it's the Republican (not conservative) version of the "You're a racist" argument. You can't address my arguments, so you want to sit there and attack my politics on an article that isn't even about politics. Ok. Losing credibility by the minute.

    "I hold no animosity toward Protestants, I used to be one. So I will never belittle or degrade your faith or your interpretation of the Scriptures." So I asked you how you reconcile that statement with your doctrine declaring all protestants accursed and that is mainly what we have been discussing and your disingenuous liberal tactics. So now you pretend that you have no idea what I am talking about?"

    Because you reject my explanation, doesn't mean I didn't give one. You just dismissed it, because you refuse to look at the logical argument for fear that you might be proved wrong.

    "From a sola fide perspective, justification is, indeed, by faith alone, as Paul taught. However James added a nuance of what "faith" means, or what it means to have faith, with the stipulation that a proper faith goes hand-in-hand with "works". Thus you are saved by faith alone in Christ, but a necessary consequence of this faith is the performance of good works."

    That is absolutely correct, and that is what the Catholic Church teaches. But that is not faith alone. That's faith plus works. So you've just proven that Protestants don't really believe in faith alone.

    "Jesus taught justification by faith alone."

    No, He didn't. Jesus taught faith as well as doing the work of the Father. "If you love me, keep my commandments." He didn't say try to keep my commandments, He didn't say "If you love me, have faith in me" He said keep them. Keep them always. This, by no logical reasoning, could be seen as teaching faith alone.

    "Oh yes, if he said it from the chair of Peter that doesn't exist."

    Again, I explained to you already that the Chair of Peter is metaphorical, it means he is speaking with the authority of the keys Christ gave Peter. I really don't want to keep repeating myself when you blatantly ignored me the first time. So this is the last time I will address something I already addressed above. Read.

    "What could be a worse form of apostasy one may ask? We can be as nice, and as pleasant, and as gentle, and as loving, and as charitable, and tolerant as we can possibly be, but it’s not going to change the fact that somebody is preaching a different gospel from what Jesus himself taught! That is a worse form of apostasy!"

    Then stop doing it. I've already showed you how what you say Jesus said, He never said or at least didn't mean it in the way you're claiming He did. Christ never preached faith alone. Never, not once.

    " The tactic of last resort you play the race card ("It is obvious you just hate Catholics"),"

    Well, since you are proving this to be true, I don't see how I'm wrong for calling you out on it. Your entire POV has been to try to tear down and disprove my religion and to make my Church look heretical. Then, when I prove to you it isn't, instead of having an intellectual conversation, all you've done is try to tell me I'm wrong, but you don't offer any proof. And, you've been extremely rude. "Want more?" You seem awfully sure of yourself for someone who is completely wrong. And arrogant in your wrongness. So yeah, I stand by that statement. You do hate Catholics. You have done nothing but prove that again and again.

  • tsadjatko profile image

    TSAD 2 years ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

    I don't know why I'm bothering with this final comment because I figure there is a 99.9% chance you'll delete it (which is what most liberals due when they are totally revealed for what they are), but I can't help but call a spade a spade.

    In conclusion I am very disappointed in you William. Your profile claims that you are a conservative. We really haven't discussed politics, however if you are a conservative you have demonstrated here you are a conservative who has mastered the liberal playbook of tactics used to "win" an argument.

    1) You selectively leave out half of what I say in quoting my comment, misrepresenting what I said, so you can make it sound like you have a point by totally misstating the "living document theory" to which I was referring. This was simply an effort to muddle the water and try to fabricate the thought that I am wrong about "living document theory" because I likened the Pope's actions restating the meaning of anathema.

    2) You put words in my mouth, e.g.you ascribe the scriptures in a link which I simply asked you to comment on as my justification of the authors opinions when all I did was ask you what you think of his scriptural assertions. I was searching for truth and wanted your side of his arguments but you paint it as if I'm arguing his points.(you say it is my link when it is not my link as the author is credited on it). I also wanted to see if you would "belittle or degrade his interpretation of the Scriptures" which you said you would never do! Hmm, you failed that test didn't you.

    "I gave concise explanations as to why the Scripture I cited means what the Church claims it means. The article you linked to doesn't. It used Scriptures that vaguely supported its point, only if you look at it through a certain light."

    I agree that the link I asked you to critique, which you evidently didn't even look at when I first asked you, doesn't cite scriptures that mean what the Church claims it means - that is the whole point of it. I was exploring expecting you to give me credible explanations of how that author's justification of his views was wrong which I could take in and then make my own decision but you just generalize on the whole link without scripturally showing me where he is wrong. This is a liberal motive operandi. 3) Paint with a broadbrush.

    4) You make statements because they sound so good then proceed to do just the opposite (similar to anyone else we know? hint, initials B.O)

    For example:

    You say "I hold no animosity toward Protestants, I used to be one. So I will never belittle or degrade your faith or your interpretation of the Scriptures." yet you also say you agree with the decrees of Trent which condemn protestants to hell. Hmm, sounds like animosity to me, howis that not belittling of the protestant faith or interpretation of scripture?

    Another example, you say elsewhere:

    "Many of the Scriptures quoted in this article (an articleby a protestant by the way) have very little to do with what the author is trying to convey. He is blatantly cherry picking Scriptures to prove his point, but never takes the time to explain how he is applying them." Hmmmm, does that sound like "So I will never belittle or degrade your faith OR YOUR INTERPRETATION OF THE SCRIPTURES."???

    or how about:

    "the doctrines of Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide are contradictory to Scripture". Hmmm, how does that reconcile with your statement "I will never belittle or degrade your faith or your interpretation of the Scriptures."

    Need I cite more? I repeat, you make statements because they sound good (similar to anyone else we know? hint, initials B.O) then proceed to do just the opposite. So who is it that doesn't have an open heart. What I see is a disingenuous heart at the core.

    Then last but not least you:

    5) You flat out lie:

    I never said I was San Francisco, I've never been there.

    This is the truth about Peter http://www.trustingodamerica.com/Petra.htm but you haven't done your homework because all you do is spout the Catholic dogma as fact without ever presenting the truth that it isn't.

    "I have no idea what you disagree with, except for maybe the entire thesis of my paper. But even then, you're not saying anything of substance to refute it." If you have no idea what I disagree with then you are not listening. You say this to try and paint me as incoherent - just a plain lie. You opened your whole can of worms starting your very first comment with this disingenuous statement

    "I hold no animosity toward Protestants, I used to be one. So I will never belittle or degrade your faith or your interpretation of the Scriptures." So I asked you how you reconcile that statement with your doctrine declaring all protestants accursed and that is mainly what we have been discussing and your disingenuous liberal tactics. So now you pretend that you have no idea what I am talking about?

    "You must understand, this is the Pope's personal opinion and we as Catholics are perfectly free to disagree with it. The Pope is a man, just like any other and is prone to being wrong." Then how do you justify the dogma of Papal infallibility? He's prone to being wrong, but when he is right he is infallible? Oh yes, if he said it from the chair of Peter that doesn't exist.

    Want more?

    Your words "James says specifically "You are not saved by faith ALONE", so to believe in Sola Fide is to believe something that is CONTRADICTORY to the Bible."

    From a sola fide perspective, justification is, indeed, by faith alone, as Paul taught. However James added a nuance of what "faith" means, or what it means to have faith, with the stipulation that a proper faith goes hand-in-hand with "works". Thus you are saved by faith alone in Christ, but a necessary consequence of this faith is the performance of good works. Besides what justification do you have to ignore Paul and only believe your interpretation of what James said as contradictory to the Bible?- I'll tell you, you have to tow the company (Catholicism) line, or else YOU are anathema.

    But wait, "Jesus taught justification by faith alone. To abandon this truth is to abandon biblical soteriology altogether. Churches and denominations that hold firmly to sola fide remain evangelical. Those who have strayed from the Reformation consensus on this point inevitably capitulate to liberalism, revert to sacerdotalism, embrace some form of perfectionism, or veer off into worse forms of apostasy." see http://www.gty.org/resources/articles/A192/jesus-p...

    What could be a worse form of apostasy one may ask? We can be as nice, and as pleasant, and as gentle, and as loving, and as charitable, and tolerant as we can possibly be, but it’s not going to change the fact that somebody is preaching a different gospel from what Jesus himself taught! That is a worse form of apostasy!

    I'm interested how you address the above without belittling or degrading John MacArthur's (a protestant) interpretation of scriptures which YOU SAY you would NEVER do.

    6) The tactic of last resort you play the race card ("It is obvious you just hate Catholics"), only in this case it's the bigot card because it is not about race but a group of people, Catholics, most of whom don't even have a clue what we are talking about nor could they care or they wouldn't submit themselves to belief in a doctrine that condemns all their protestant relatives and friends to eternal damnation (as I have unquestionably demonstrated).

    Just who is the hater? It is very obvious to me (and anyone else who doesn't succumb to your tactics) that the hater is not me unless your definition of hate is to search for and reveal the truth. But then from what I know of liberals, that could be the case.

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    William Avitt 2 years ago from Dayton, Ohio

    So the Chair of Saint Peter a wooden throne, which, according to tradition, was used by Saint Peter is necessary for the Pope to proclaim a doctrine and therefore be considered "infallible".

    No, the "Chair of Peter" is metaphorical. We don't believe in some magic throne. It means he is speaking from the authority granted to St. Peter by Jesus in Matthew 16 when He said "You are Petros and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hell shall not overcome it. I give to you THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. Whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven, whatever you loose on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven." If you don't have the mental capacity to understand metaphor, then I don't see the need to address anything else you've written, because it is all equally stupid. As I said, you aren't willing, or maybe not capable after your chair remarks, to have an open discussion on the matter. I stand by what I've said. You have offered no evidence of any merit to challenge what I've said, or the SCRIPTURES I've cited.

    You say you're from San Francisco, you're not this guy are you?

    http://youtu.be/58_k5x2vz4A

    Incidentally, I've done my homework. I think I've proven that here. You are confused about what Catholics really believe and you reject my attempts to explain to you what we believe. So you are content to continue in your ignorance. Incidentally, you brought up the Council of Trent and tried to use that as saying anyone who isn't Catholic is damned. I've already told you about where that was clarified in Vatican II, and you reject that. You might be interested to know that at the 4th Lateran Council, BEFORE TRENT, the Church had already said that salvation MIGHT EXIST OUTSIDE THE CHURCH, but not outside Christ. Which is exactly what was upheld at Vatican II

  • tsadjatko profile image

    TSAD 2 years ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

    The real shame is you chose to put words in my mouth, use tactics that no honest person (let alone a conservative, a living constitution?) would consider.

    I'm not saying anything of substance to refute you? Just because you say that does not mean it is true. I have provided plenty of evidence to refute your positions but I don't have to prove anything...you feel that you do. No matter what I present you demonstrate that you will not think for yourself but rely only on your Church's dogmas and twisted interpretations of scripture pertaining to what we are discussing.

    "It is obvious you just hate Catholics" Really it is obvious? Or is that just another way you have as labeling me as someone no one should listen to.

    I need not prove anything to anyone as anyone can search the internet and find ample evidence from reliable sources of where you are plain wrong and decide for themselves, however I will indulge you some more to further demonstrate that all you do is tow the company line. Let's go back to the redefining of anathema. Why did the pope have to "explain" what was meant in the unhappy cannon?

    In the excommunication of Luther the word excommunicate or it's derivative was used 9 times and anathema only once in addition to excommunication.

    http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo10/l10decet.htm

    Be my guest, here is a list of all the excommunications of the Catholic Church

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

    read their documents of excommunication from the time of the decrees of Trent- as with Luther when the church meant excommunicated they always said excommunicated (multiple times). Occasionally, when the Catholic Church meant damned or accursed they said anathema. It's because back in those times the Biblical meaning of anathema was accursed not excommunicated. They had no apprehension in using the word excommunicate for being separated from the "Church"and anathema for accursed or damned. Two different words two different meanings (as I believe you have admitted) but your Church does not. The Pope in Vatican 2 was simply rewriting history. The Catholic doctrine says all protestants are damned or accursed, period. Sounds like the Catholic Doctrine was written by protestant haters. And you declare I hate Catholics?

    What about the dogma of the infallibility of the pope?

    The dogma of infallibility was formally proclaimed at the First Vatican Council in 1870. There are several requirements for a dogmatic, papal infallible pronouncement: (1) The pronouncement must be made by the lawful successor to Peter. (2) The subject matter must be in the area of faith and morals. (3) The pope must be speaking ex cathedra, that is from the very seat and office of Peter. In this way he must be specifically intending to proclaim a doctrine, binding the entire Church to its assent. If one or more of these elements is missing, there is no infallible pronouncement. Most "examples" of papal "errors" emerge when critics ignore the necessity of these three points. see http://www.catholicfaithandreason.org/papal-infall...

    So the Chair of Saint Peter a wooden throne, which, according to tradition, was used by Saint Peter is necessary for the Pope to proclaim a doctrine and therefore be considered "infallible". That chair, however, was actually a gift from Charles the Bald to Pope John VIII in 875. So Peter was a youthful 900 something years old when the Pope received the chair he was using, or was he dead long before "his chair" ever existed? Curiously the infallibility dogma has 3 requirements to be considered an infallible pronouncement, one of which is a chair that is not, none of which are: it must be found and clearly understood in Biblical scripture.

    You say I hate Catholics? - another liberal tactic. I never even implied such a thing, we are discussing doctrines not people. I merely ask questions and point out facts, discuss the answers you give. You misquote me, call me a hater, and anything you can do to disparage me personally when all I am trying to do is get at the truth. All my paternal family are Catholics, we love each other more than most families I've known so why would you say I hate Catholics? You have raised a straw man because I think you know you are not winning any debate here. You're actually doing what liberals always do when they have a weak hand, playing the race card only the race you want to mark me as being bigoted against is Catholics. Nothing I have said would lead an honest person to that conclusion, I'm just trying to get at the truth. Next you'll say I think Catholicism is a cult. I do not, but I can't help but notice how similar to cults it is when you look at a comparison. Here is one point of view I totally agree with and I wonder if you ever looked at it this way having been a protestant, as you say.

    http://carm.org/comparison-grid

    Really William I don't hate you, or my father and his brothers and sisters and so on and I've discussed the things we have with them and no one ever suggested I hate Catholics, just you. You'relikethe student who can't get a good grade because he hasn't done his homework sohe says the teacher hates me, I give up. Why don't you try doing your homework.

  • William Avitt profile image
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    William Avitt 2 years ago from Dayton, Ohio

    Well, you're free to believe what you want, obviously. The simple truth is, Catholics don't cherry pick anything. I gave concise explanations as to why the Scripture I cited means what the Church claims it means. The article you linked to doesn't. It used Scriptures that vaguely supported its point, only if you look at it through a certain light. I also explained what I meant when I used the term living document in reference to the Constitution. Not that the meanings of words change, only that there is a path for changing what the document says. And there is. I told you at the beginning that I am more than willing to have an open dialog about this, but you seem unwilling to do that. You just want to scream about how I'm wrong but you don't want to back up your side, or even really explain it. I have no idea what you disagree with, except for maybe the entire thesis of my paper. But even then, you're not saying anything of substance to refute it. It is obvious you just hate Catholics and nothing I say can change your mind. You clearly don't have an open heart, which is a shame.

  • tsadjatko profile image

    TSAD 2 years ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

    You clearly tried to make it look as if I was wrong by redefining the words "living document" from what I said was a liberal concept to something totally different (which btw is nowhere near what the living document theory says), then after that you mention liberal thought as sort of a cya way for having changed the entire meaning of what I said and what you left out of my words.

    This is not the behavior of a conservative but typically the way liberals defend their wrong ideas. Conservatives do not describe the Constitution as a living document, not by any stretch of the imagination.The earliest mentions of the Constitution as "living", particularly in the context of a new way of interpreting it, comes out of Woodrow Wilson's book Constitutional Government in the United States where he wrote:

    Living political constitutions must be Darwinian in structure and in practice.

    Wilson definitely not a conservative. Given the roots of this "living document" theory no conservative would even allude to any description of it as a "living document" but you do, only to make my (out of context) words appear wrong.

    It is very difficult to reason with someone who uses these sort of tactics to make his points and if anyone is cherry picking it is the Catholic church which cherry picks scripture out of the context of all 66 books of the Bible to support a doctrine and lies about the meaning of words in the context of the times and people in which they were used. Evidently you have learned this technique as you cherry pick portions of my words to disparage their meaning.

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    William Avitt 2 years ago from Dayton, Ohio

    From your link:

    "The Bible tells us that all Christians who receive Jesus as their Lord and savior and are lead by the spirit of God are now the SONS of God despite what Pope Francis or anyone else can say."

    I already agreed with this statement. The Pope chose his words wrongly. You must understand, this is the Pope's personal opinion and we as Catholics are perfectly free to disagree with it. The Pope is a man, just like any other and is prone to being wrong.

    "Catholicism exalts the traditions of Men above the Word of God."

    Not true. Sacred Tradition is in harmony with Sacred Scripture. However, not everything the Pope says is to be regarded as Sacred Tradition. As I said, the Pope can be wrong, and we are free to disagree with him.

    "This is essentially what we see happening all over the world today, Many of the Catholic doctrines are man-made Dogmas that are being propagated and taught as if it were the word of God."

    Again, not true. We have 2 sets of doctrines, those passed down from God and those passed down from man. If the doctrine is not Biblical or made by declaration of Ex Cathedra, we are not bound to believe it. It is, in that instance, a recommendation, not a command. Like how Paul RECOMMENDED that followers of Christ not be married, but never commanded against it.

    In fact, the doctrines of Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide are contradictory to Scripture, as I have already pointed out. These are doctrines that are guilty of what the author of this article tries to convict the Catholic church of. Many of the Scriptures quoted in this article have very little to do with what the author is trying to convey. He is blatantly cherry picking Scriptures t0 prove his point, but never takes the time to explain how he is applying them. This is a very disingenuous article.

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    William Avitt 2 years ago from Dayton, Ohio

    Well, if you felt I took your comment out of context, that was unintentional. I did not ignore the bit about liberals, I addressed it. But you're understanding of Catholicism is flawed. I am trying to explain it to you, but you don't seem to be getting it. But you need to understand that the Church is not always infallible. The teachings of the Church are only infallible and unchanging when they are announced as having been received directly from the Holy Spirit, by declaration of Ex Cathedra. I will give you another example: Joan of Arc was declared a heretic by the Church and burned at the stake. Today, we acknowledge her as a Saint. The Church was wrong when it condemned St. Joan and executed her, and the Church later rectified this grave mistake and acknowledged her as being with God in Heaven. Throughout history the Church has always corrected mistakes of the past. The practice of selling indulgences, which directly led to the Reformation, was wrong. The Church acknowledged it was wrong and rectified it and put in place safeguards to make sure it can never happen again. There have been bad declarations, there have been bad Popes and the Church admits to it. But there is hope in the knowledge that these bad Popes have never spoken Ex Cathedra, and the Holy Spirit would never allow a bad Pope to speak Ex Cathedra, because Jesus promised in Matthew 16 that the gates of Hell would never prevail against His church. The church has survived bad teachings and we always will. But we regularly acknowledge and rectify our own mistakes.

    However, as I said, the declarations of the Council of Trent weren't wrong, just worded wrongly and that wording was corrected. During the Reformation, pride was rampant on both sides. The Church's declarations at Trent were clouded by pride. Vatican II simply reworded them without the burden of pride. Does that make any sense?

  • tsadjatko profile image

    TSAD 2 years ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

    William, why do you take my comments out of context? I clearly stated "a living document (meaning it's meaning changes with the times) as liberals would like to call the constitution of the US."

    Why did you leave out "as liberals would like to call the constitution?" When liberals make this claim they are trying to say that different times and technologies require different rights. The Constitution is not a "living document." It is a set of standards that guarantee certain protections from the government. The “living Constitution” theory amounts to saying that Supreme Court justices should be allowed to rewrite the foundation of our government as they see fit, sometimes adding ideas that weren’t included, sometimes ignoring ideas that were.

    The "living document" you described is not what liberals (or anyone for that matter) have in mind when they say it is a living document. But it seems to me what the Catholic church does is similar to how liberals want to treat the constitution. 4o0 years after the decrees of Trent they have changed the original meaning of the 9th cannon which originally meant what it says but now in modern times they, as you put it, "simply clarified for the current people." like today's people can't understand what it says? No, they have changed the meaning so as to sound less offensive to today's people, while also saying it stands as it is - you can't have it both ways.

    And the Catholic church today has changed the meaning of anathema.The Catholic Answers website states "When the Catholic Church uses the term, such as at the Council of Trent and in its official documents, it is in the sense of excommunication or being cut off from the life-giving unity of the Church. The biblical meaning of the Greek word anathema. It literally means to be suspended, placed on high, or set aside. "

    I have researched this and the Biblical meaning of anathema is as I stated in a previous comment. Of course if you read further the Cathoilic Answers basically says if you they cut you off from the life-giving unity of the Church you will go to hell, unless you repent.

    None of this is as it was when the decree was made.

    "What would you say is wrong with this reaction to what the Pope recently said? http://www.deonvsearth.com/pope-francis-christians...

    You say "This link doesn't work." That's because I cut and pasted it from my original comment and as you can see hubpages leaves off part of the link in the comment text so the copy doen't work, but the original in my first comment works fine which leads me to believe you never went there in answering me back then which I guess could be why you didn't address the scriptures in it.

    I'd like to go on to address what I perceive are other errors in your last reply but I don't have time right now. However this is getting tedious and since it is your hub page if you wish I digress I shall oblige. I suspect you will not acquiesce to my beliefs nor I yours on these topics so up to you.

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    William Avitt 2 years ago from Dayton, Ohio

    "So you are saying on the one hand the unhappy cannon 9 was accurate and true at the time it was stated and still is... but it's meaning has changed? That is double talk, and what I always seem to get from Catholics."

    Not at all. Vatican II changed nothing, as I have already said. They merely clarified. For example, if you tell your children if they do x then y will be the consequence, and then they do x by accident or otherwise through no fault of their own, you aren't still going to punish them, are you? They didn't outright defy you, they had no control over violating your rule, or maybe they didn't truly understand it. They tried to be good, and were bad through no fault of their own. What the Church is saying, essentially, is that they don't know and they hope that God, who is all loving and all merciful, would not hold it against you for something you sincerely believe to be correct. Do you understand, or does it still sound like double talk?

    "The last I read the Catholic explanation for the sole fide cannon was that they've redefined anathema as not final damnation"

    Not true. They did not redefine the definition of anathema, they merely stated that they do not believe God will hold you in anathema for doing what you sincerely believe to be the right thing.

    " I've mentioned this to who even knew what was stated about sole fide in the decrees of Trent which appear to me to be a living document (meaning it's meaning changes with the times) as liberals would like to call the constitution of the US"

    Well, the Constitution IS a living document, and the Founding Fathers did make within it a system to change it with the times. In fact, they changed it 10 times themselves, with what we know of as the Bill of Rights. The problem with liberals is that they don't want to go through the correct process to change the Constitution, because they know this process is hard, so they try to circumvent the Constitution through judicial judgement or Executive Orders, and that is not how you do it. That's tyranny. The Church is like this, we have something similar to Executive Orders. In order for a doctrine to be an unchanging DOGMA, it has to be declared as such. The Pope needs to state beforehand that he is speaking Ex Cathedra, or from the Chair of Peter, meaning the Holy Spirit is speaking through him. Otherwise, it is merely like an Executive Order, which can be changed or countermanded by a future Executive Order. Because it is a doctrine of man, not a doctrine of God.

    "Can you give me a link to this explanation as written in Vatican 2 in addition to your synopsis so I can decide for myself what it says because I do not get that impression from what was originally written in the cannon and it's meaning in the context of the times in which it was written"

    NOSTRA AETATE

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vat...

    JOINT DECLARATION

    ON THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_counc...

    " "What would you say is wrong with this reaction to what the Pope recently said? http://www.deonvsearth.com/pope-francis-christians...

    This link doesn't work. Says page not found. However, Mary is NOT a divine creature. She has no deity. She is not the same as God. She is lesser than God, but greater than us because she was blessed to be the mother of God in the flesh, Jesus.

    "I wonder why you disagree with the pope adding orphaning believers to the gospel but agree with his view that Protestants are condemned to hell (in 1563 but not exactly today"

    Again, you are misunderstanding what I said. First of all, I even said that I think the Pope used the wrong word. Even without acknowledging Mary as your spiritual mother, you still have God as your spiritual father, so you aren't really an orphan, you have a single parent faith. But I did say that was still an incomplete faith. Not invalid, just incomplete.

    "basically because they believe what is actually in the Bible."

    No they don't. Protestants do not believe what is actually in the Bible. They deny the teachings of James in favor of the teachings of Paul. The Catholic Church make the teachings work in harmony. James says specifically "You are not saved by faith ALONE", so to believe in Sola Fide is to believe something that is CONTRADICTORY to the Bible. Faith and works go hand in hand. You can not be saved by works apart from faith, and faith without works is dead. We are commanded to do THROUGH faith, not to have faith and nothing else.

    "William, you and I are probably on the same page with many, maybe most of our beliefs and it appears we will just have to resign ourselves to agree to disagree about those on which we are at odds for if there was a solution we would not be of separate religions"

    This is why the Church encourages fellowship with other denominations. When people listen to Catholic teachings with an open heart, and when Catholics listen to Protestants with an open heart, we usually tend to discover that most of our differences are just a result of misunderstanding. We have more in common than most people understand, because they don't want to understand.

  • tsadjatko profile image

    TSAD 2 years ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

    So you are saying on the one hand the unhappy cannon 9 was accurate and true at the time it was stated and still is... but it's meaning has changed? That is double talk, and what I always seem to get from Catholics. The last I read the Catholic explanation for the sole fide cannon was that they've redefined anathema as not final damnation. It's always what protestants believe is never 100% true because the Catholic belief has to add or take away from it.

    You are the first Catholic of many (half my ancestral family is Catholic including a Mother Superior) I've mentioned this to who even knew what was stated about sole fide in the decrees of Trent which appear to me to be a living document (meaning it's meaning changes with the times) as liberals would like to call the constitution of the US. Usually if I mention council of Trent I get a dazed look and nobody knows what sole fide is)

    You say "And basically what Vatican II said was that these statements are only valid against those who know that Catholicism is the true church, instituted by Jesus and the Apostles, and you THEN turn away, you are anathema. However, if of no fault to your own, you don't know or don't understand, then there may still be a path to salvation through the eternal grace of the Lord Jesus Christ."

    Can you give me a link to this explanation as written in Vatican 2 in addition to your synopsis so I can decide for myself what it says because I do not get that impression from what was originally written in the cannon and it's meaning in the context of the times in which it was written. I would like to know just how they derived this new meaning. It sounds to me that, from what you just said, the Catholic Church condemns everyone to hell who doesn't believe it is the true church. Nowhere in the Bible do I find such a statement about any church, the Bible says all are sinners, all are condemned to hell and can only be saved by repenting of their sin and accepting the atonement provided by Jesus, not condemned because they don't accept the Catholic Church.

    "if of no fault to your own" Protestants know what they believe when it comes to sole fide, it is an important basis to the whole protestant movement, it is their own fault. But I have witnessed personally that many Catholics do not even know what it is (e.g. this cannon) they are told to believe by Catholic doctrine.

    I don't know where you get the idea "most Protestants claim, that if you say the Gospel to someone they are bound by it." or how this has anything to do with sole fide. And for you to say "I hold no animosity toward Protestants, I used to be one. So I will never belittle or degrade your faith or your interpretation of the Scriptures" but in the next breath support Catholic doctrine that clearly belittles or degrades protestant faith and interpretation of the Scriptures is just wishful thinking at best or disingenuous at worst .

    But you have answered my question as to how you reconcile this and I thank you. Although you avoided answering my question "What would you say is wrong with this reaction to what the Pope recently said? http://www.deonvsearth.com/pope-francis-christians... By not addressing all the scriptures sited there and focusing on Mary's "non-diety") I wonder why you disagree with the pope adding orphaning believers to the gospel but agree with his view that Protestants are condemned to hell (in 1563 but not exactly today), basically because they believe what is actually in the Bible.

    William, you and I are probably on the same page with many, maybe most of our beliefs and it appears we will just have to resign ourselves to agree to disagree about those on which we are at odds for if there was a solution we would not be of separate religions.

  • William Avitt profile image
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    William Avitt 2 years ago from Dayton, Ohio

    Ok, first of all this "If any say that the sinner is justified through faith alone, in the sense that nothing else is necessary that cooperates to obtain the grace of justification, and that it is not necessary for the sinner to prepare himself, by means of his own will, let him be anathema" is 100% accurate. And Scripture even states as much (I am currently working on a hub that addresses the three Solas that Luther set forth in his teachings). However, at Vatican II, while it is true that it was stated that what has been is still in effect, they changed nothing, but they DID explain a few things. The Council of Trent was held as a response to the Reformation, and to Martin Luther in specific, so it was speaking directly to the people of that time. Vatican II, while not dismissing anything said at Trent, simply clarified for the current people. And basically what Vatican II said was that these statements are only valid against those who know that Catholicism is the true church, instituted by Jesus and the Apostles, and you THEN turn away, you are anathema. However, if of no fault to your own, you don't know or don't understand, then there may still be a path to salvation through the eternal grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Jesus Himself set precedence for this when He said "If I had not spoken to them, they would be without sin, but since I have spoken to them their sin remains." What this means is not, how most Protestants claim, that if you say the Gospel to someone they are bound by it. That's nonsense. They have to receive the Gospel through the Holy Spirit and be convicted by it, and choose to reject it. So there is a path to salvation for the Protestant and for the Atheist and for the Jew and for the Muslim and for anyone, based on what God knows to be in their heart. God is all loving. God wishes for all to share in the free gift of eternal life. Because of this, God will look into everyone's heart. He will judge the Muslim by his beliefs and how sincerely he held to those beliefs. Because he is at no fault of his own that he followed a false prophet. The Atheist is at no fault of his own that he heard, but couldn't believe because he wasn't convicted to believe by the Holy Spirit. This is where the Calvinist idea of predestination falls apart. While it is true that as Christians we did not choose God, He chose us. But that doesn't mean that if you were not chosen to be a believer that Christ did not die for your sins. It comes down to what is in your heart.

    I can't see inside your heart. God can. I will not judge you, God will, as He will judge me. Because of that, I will take you at your word that you love God and accept Jesus Christ and I will gladly consider you a Christian Brother. You're wrong, and we can discuss that if you choose to, but that doesn't make your sincerely held beliefs less valid than mine. And the Church at Vatican II has said that it is good to hold this view, because it is the view of the Church and it is the view of God.

  • tsadjatko profile image

    TSAD 2 years ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

    Well then you say " Also, I hold no animosity toward Protestants, I used to be one. So I will never belittle or degrade your faith or your interpretation of the Scriptures." yet you believe the decrees of Trent.

    I'm interested in knowing how you reconcile your statement about protestants with the decrees of Trent, Session VI.vii This doctrine is immediately applied in See the decrees of Trent, Session VI.vii. This doctrine is immediately applied in the unhappy canon 9:

    "If any say that the sinner is justified through faith alone, in the sense that nothing else is necessary that cooperates to obtain the grace of justification, and that it is not necessary for the sinner to prepare himself, by means of his own will, let him be anathema."

    'The sinner is justified through faith alone' is known as "Sole Fide" and was one of the main reasons Luther broke from the Roman Catholic church

    The final and infallible authority on what anathema means is the Bible. By turning to its pages we can see what God says when he pronounces anathema. We find the use of the word in several verses. Here are four that are relevant.

    WHAT ANATHEMA MEANS

    1 Cor. 12:3, "Therefore I make known to you, that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus is accursed" (anathema); and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit."

    1 Cor. 16:22, "If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be accursed. Maranatha."

    Rom. 9:3, "For I could wish that I myself were accursed (anathema), separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh."

    Gal. 1:8-9, "But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed (anathema). 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed (anathema)."

    The first two verses listed above render the word "anathema" as accursed. It would seem in the first verse that it is referring to generic condemnation and cursing. The second is not as clear contextually as to the meaning but it definitely is a very negative statement. But the last two verses are most informative. In Rom. 9:3 Paul says that to be accursed, anathema, is to be separated from Christ. If anyone is separated from Christ then that person is damned. Paul says in Gal. 1:8-9 that if anyone preaches a false gospel he is to be accursed, anathema. Undoubtedly a false gospel cannot save and instead brings damnation. This seems to be another way of demonstrating that to be accursed (anathema) is to be damned.

    Explain to me how you can abide as a Catholic and yet "hold no animosity toward Protestants...and never belittle or degrade your faith or your interpretation of the Scriptures" when a basic tenant off the Catholic church condemns all protestants to hell. BTW the Bible actually asserts the opposite of this Catholic tenant, so it isn't the Word of God that condemns believers in sole fide as anathema but only the Catholic church, even today.

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    William Avitt 2 years ago from Dayton, Ohio

    Yes, of course

  • tsadjatko profile image

    TSAD 2 years ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

    You are a Catholic. Then I would assume as a Catholic you approve of and accept the The Council of Trent which was one of the Roman Catholic Church's most important ecumenical councils which by the way 400 years later when Pope John XXIII initiated preparations for the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), he affirmed the decrees it had issued: "What was, still is." Is that correct?

  • William Avitt profile image
    Author

    William Avitt 2 years ago from Dayton, Ohio

    Well, thanks for the welcome. I will be addressing a lot of these concerns in future hubs, however my page will not be just apologetics. I will also be writing stuff on politics, which I am sure you will enjoy, and on nerd culture like comic books and science fiction. Also, I hold no animosity toward Protestants, I used to be one. So I will never belittle or degrade your faith or your interpretation of the Scriptures. But I am always ready and willing to have a civil, thought-filled discussion on the matter.

    I would like to address the comment you made about the Catholic church deifying Mary. They never did that. Calling her the "Birth-giver of God" is in reference to her role as the mother of Jesus Christ. If you believe that Jesus was God, then it would follow that Mary was the mother of God. It doesn't meant that she was the mother of the eternal God, just the version of Him that had flesh and walked the Earth, Jesus Christ. His Holiness Pope Francis was speaking spiritually and of a spiritual orphanness (I'm pretty sure that is a totally made up word). Mary is not our birth mother, obviously, but she is our spiritual mother. She was the spouse of the Holy Spirit (not literally, but metaphorically), and she is the mother to Jesus Christ, who called all those who hear and believe His brothers and sisters. So spiritually, Mary is our mother. Now, I don't entirely agree with the Pope's reasoning here, because even if you deny Mary, but you accept God the Father, that doesn't make you an orphan, you have a single-parent spirituality. And that is a perfectly acceptable spirituality. It just isn't a complete spirituality.

    I addressed this in the hub, and maybe I didn't do a good enough job, but Mary is not God. She's not on the same level as God, she's not in the same ballpark as God, she's not even the same sport as God. We don't worship her, we don't adore her (which is a word reserved only for you love for God, so if you've ever told your wife or girlfriend you adore her, quit it lol), we don't give Mary anything that detracts from what is due God. What we do do, however, is give Mary the respect and recognition that is due to her as being the mother of the living God. And, it was foretold in Scripture that we would do this.

    "because he has shown his concern for his humble servant girl.

    From now on, all people will say that I am blessed,"

    Luke 1:48

  • tsadjatko profile image

    TSAD 2 years ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

    William, welcome, it is nice to welcome a conservative to Hub Pages which is based in San Francisco, not exactly a haven of conservatives.

    When I Google search I can find many Catholic doctrines that contradict the Bible, e.g. http://www.bible.ca/cath-overview-false-teaching.h...

    As far as Mary is concerned this theology dates all the way back to 431AD, the Council of Ephesus. The effects of the Catholic Church's decision to deify Mary by calling her Theotokos - "Birth-Giver of God" are still being felt. Recently, on September 2, 2014 — Pope Francis openly stated from his Twitter account that any Christian who does not feel that the Virgin Mary is his or her mother is an “orphan”. What would you say is wrong with this reaction to what the Pope recently said. http://www.deonvsearth.com/pope-francis-christians...