Reasoning With A New Catholic

As might be expected, the articles I post here and on my Catholic Stuf website, result in my receiving quite a volume of email from Roman Catholic readers. For the most part, those who write me take issue with what I have to say concerning Roman Catholic doctrine and practice. They often suggest that my research is superficial and that I know very little about the RCC. Surprisingly, many of my correspondents appear to believe that I am attacking Catholics in general and them in particular. Not infrequently, their emails include invitations to return to Mother Church or to join them in ecumenical embrace.

I rarely respond to emails I consider to be the Internet equivalent of a drive by shooting. These are the ones, usually sent using one of those anonymous free email sites that litter cyberspace, that have no substantive content, only ad hominems.

Almost invariably, those who send these hide behind a nom de guerre. I normally just trash their stuff.

I respond to as many other emails as time and inclination permit. In my replies, I seek to match the tone of the original missive – though not always. Since the comments I receive from my Roman Catholic correspondents generally are very similar, I thought to post a short series of emails I recently received from a defender of things Catholic and my responses to them. Perhaps by reading my responses to specific comments that are representative of those I most often receive, some who read here will see that what they would communicate to me has already been said and dealt with. There is no need for them to send another email with the same lame message.

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

Your 'research' is superficial and unscientific.

MY RESPONSE:

That is YOUR opinion. I invite you to prove me wrong, using an authority that both Catholics and Christians accept -- the Sacred Scriptures. If you feel up to making the attempt, please understand that I consider the thoughts of church fathers or members of the Magisterium to be nothing more than opinion. Don't waste my time or yours trying to demonstrate some theological "reality" that was birthed in the imagination of some fanciful religious who lived and died centuries ago. Scriptures interpret Scriptures. Show me.

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

Brother, think with your heart, not with your mind!

MY RESPONSE:

"Brother?" I am brother to no pagan. You can keep your ecumenical nonsense, thank you very much. You invite me to think with my heart? Are you suggesting that I forget truth and instead seek what makes me feel good? Are you suggesting that, should I not discover what I wish to find in God's revelation, I should make something up, as have done so very many men and women honored by Catholicism? No, thank you. God's words are true and, whether they make me feel good or not, they are God's truth.

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. I would respectfully request that you not write with so much sarcasm.

MY RESPONSE:

Please read this very slowly and try to understand the content. I am not brother to anyone who worships the Catholic Christ, that pale and weakly clone who follows behind his mommy, seeking only to do her bidding.

As to my use of sarcasm, I would respectfully suggest that, if you do not like what you read in my articles, don't read them. I know there are many sites on the Web, Catholic and ecumenical, where you might find plenty to read that will stroke your heretical beliefs and cause you to feel all warm inside. As for me, I have no intention of changing simply because a heretic asks me to.

There. That wasn't so difficult, was it?

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

Jesus is still with us in the flesh.

MY RESPONSE:

Read your Bible. You do know what the Bible is, don't you? It is God's written revelation to man; words put to paper by men writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. If you open the Bible and search, you will discover that Jesus most certainly is not "still with us in the flesh." Quite the contrary, He is ascended into Heaven where He sits at the right hand of the Father (Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; etc.). For you to believe otherwise is to believe heresy.

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

Christians who cannot accept Jesus Christ under the Eucharistic species are no different than the Jews who would not accept God in the flesh

MY RESPONSE:

Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, walked among mankind as a man, not as a cookie. Give me a break. Don't you feel even a little bit foolish offering prayers to a cracker?

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

You know some day when you and I face our Lord, hopefully, for your soul, you are correct. But, I must say that if the Catholic Church is not correct, the devil is so strong in the Church that he can convince me that the Holy Spirit moves so strongly in my life.

MY RESPONSE:

Some people can be easily convinced to believe anything. Lotsa folks thought David Khoresh was something special. How about Jim Jones and the people he led to their deaths? Mary Baker Eddy had a lot of followers and still does. And that Prophet woman who heads up that California cult? What about *Reverend* Moon? Or Robert Tilton? Yep, some people exercise so little discernment that they can be induced to follow just about anyone who comes along. Lots and lots follow the heretic who sometimes sits on Peter's Throne.

Spend a little time reading in your Bible, especially in the New Testament. You may have overlooked the fact that a lot of people rejected the very real presence of the Christ in their midst and ascribed the work of the Holy Spirit to demons. Read the epistles and take note of how many warnings Paul, John and the others gave about false prophets and false teachers. I suggest you spend a little time examining the criteria you used in making your decision to trust in the Roman cult for your salvation.

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

I pray that the Lord Jesus will lift this hate from your heart.

MY RESPONSE:

It is obvious that you have not read much on my Catholic Stuf web site else you would not imply my heart is hate-filled. Why is it, I wonder, that whenever a Catholic reads something in my work that disagrees with his personal theology he charges me with hatred? Disagreement is not hatred. It is reality. I follow Jesus Christ of Scripture. You apparently follow someone or something else. I do not hate you. Far from it. Nothing could be farther from my mind. I pity you and those like you who have placed their hope for eternity in a system of manmade promises enforced by manmade threats.

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

You must be full of hate and anger when you so aggressively attack one billion other Christians on your website. Are you unsure of something or is it just plain evil that has arisen from your heart?

MY RESPONSE:

Let me see if I understand you correctly: You disagreed with something you read on my pages, so that means I am filled with hate and anger? Or is that I am filled with hate an anger because I disagree with you?

What a strange and paranoid world you must live in that you consider disagreement to be an attack motivated by hatred and anger. I wonder how many locks you have on your doors and windows

I suspect that you share a few common characteristics with many of the people who rush to whine about what they have read on my web site: 1) you did not read much of what is available there; 2) you did not think at all on what you read but instead reacted from passion; 3) you took no action to verify any of the claims or charges that I made; 4) you have almost no knowledge or understanding of what your own religion teaches or the demands it makes of you. And yet you are so bold as to confront me over what you read on my website, which are the products of research and study of Catholic source documents.

Sir, I charge that it is you who is driven by something akin to hate or anger. Get a hold on your feelings, Sirrah, before you make bold to comment on what you imagine are mine.

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

Our Blessed Mother loves you. If you love Jesus, you know that Jesus would want you to honor his Mother whom he loved so much. You sin against God by trying to demean the honor given to this pure woman. She stood at the cross and watched her Son, my and your God, die because of your and my sins. You owe her your life for what she was put through. As Simeon said, "a sword will pierce your heart". Have you ever had such a thing happen to you? No, you haven't, so stop thinking you know what honor should be given to this pure woman. [Note: The writer included a great number of additional thoughts, but this sample will suffice.]

MY RESPONSE:

I just finished reading your email. What impressed me was your ability to include so many fantasies, heresies and blasphemies in so short a document. You managed to express just about every presupposition one would expect of someone wearing Rome's chains. I have no intention of addressing any of that foolishness in this or any other response. I have already done so, innumerable times. Many of my earlier responses are available at Catholic Stuf web site. Go there and read:

You have shown no proof for any of your statements. You merely repeated what you absorbed from your Catholic masters, or stated your unsupported opinions.

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

To the creator of this webpage: I am Roman Catholic and I find your web page very insulting and ignorant.

MY RESPONSE:

It is, of course, your choice to be insulted by what you read. I have no control over that. I do plead innocent to the charge of ignorance, however. Unless you live in a chancery, I suspect my theological library is considerably larger than your own. The bulk of the books and other materials in my personal library deal with Roman Catholic history, theology, hagiology and law. I have copies of textbooks used in RCC seminaries, catechisms, stacks of papal bulls, encyclicals, motu proprios, etc. Hardly a day goes by I do not spend time reading in these sources. What I do not have much of are those puerile supermarket checkout lane devotional fantasies that seem so dear to the hearts of many who write me. How much time do YOU devote daily to studying the doctrines and practices of YOUR religion? What you read on my site may offend you, but I do not believe the charge of ignorance will hold water.

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

You obviously have no grasp of the Catholic faith and thus should not have such a web page without adequate knowledge of your subject matter.

MY RESPONSE:

See above. Also, I was born and raised in a Roman Catholic family, in a Roman Catholic neighborhood. I was baptized as an infant by a Catholic priest in a Catholic church. I spent time in Catholic elementary school, made my First Communion and was Confirmed at Sts. Peter & Paul Roman Catholic church in Norwood, Ohio. I attended CCD classes, sold drinks in the bingo hall and worked in game booths at the church carnivals. I even served at the altar many times. In my Catholic days, I visited the church many evenings to join in praying the Rosary or the Stations of the Cross. I have dropped my share of coins in the poor box and lit many a candle as I knelt before a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. My paternal grandfather was a Knight of Columbus and his wife active in a Rosary society. My maternal grandparents worked as caretaker and cook in a Catholic seminary in Paintsville, Kentucky. I used to spend summers with them and spent a lot of time in conversation with the seminarians and faculty. As a child and adolescent, I was a fish swimming in Roman Catholic waters. As I write this, I am grieved by knowing that my wife, some of my children and grandchildren and almost all my in-laws are still trusting in the Roman Catholic Church for their hopes for eternity.

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

I urge you to do away with this inaccurate material on the internet.

MY RESPONSE:

Inaccurate? That is an unsupported statement of YOUR personal opinion. You will note that I supply documentation in just about everything I write for the Web. If you disagree with what I have written, go to the sources I have provided and see what they say. If you still disagree, then show me, using sources that I can check. If you are unwilling, or unable, to do that, then I submit that you are not truly interested in convincing me of anything; that your only real purpose in writing was to vent your spleen.

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

Saints are one of our greatest treasures here on earth and their relics are not 'prayed to' as you indicate in your information. Catholics pray for a saint's intercession, not to them or their relics. You don't understand.

MY RESPONSE:

You are absolutely correct, of course. I indeed do not understand how it is possible to petition a saint to intercede in one's behalf without directing that petition TO that saint. When a Catholic kneels before a statue representing Mary, drops a quarter in the poor box, lights a candle, makes the sign of the cross, brings her hands together and bows her head in classic prayer posture and then makes her petitions, ending with "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen." is she not PRAYING TO Mary? If she is not, then why all the business in front of the statue and why the mention of Mary's name? I do suggest that you make an effort to divest yourself of all emotion for just a moment and examine carefully what is involved here. In order to ask a "saint" to intercede, one absolutely must pray TO that saint. To deny that is to deny reality.

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

Dear Brother, I am stunned at this moment after looking at your web site.

MY RESPONSE:

First off, I wish to make it perfectly clear, once again, that I am NOT the brother of anyone who looks to the Roman Catholic Church for salvation. The Scriptures are clear that we are not to enter into any business or contractual dealings with pagans (2 Corinthians 6:14-19).

As to your being stunned, I accept no responsibility for your emotional state. I might point out that I am quite accustomed to receiving passionate, whining emails from Catholic wannabe apologists apparently controlled by their feelings. My recommendation to you is that, if you are unable to deal with the truth I have made available on my web site, then simply don't go there. If you do choose to continue reading my work, then please have the courage to accept responsibility for your choice and the subsequent emotional consequences.

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

I am a proud Roman Catholic,

MY RESPONSE:

I find these words interesting and informative. You characterize yourself as "proud." Perhaps you are not aware of what your Catholic religion thinks about pride. Perhaps you are Catholic and, like so many professing Catholics with whom I have had discourse, have no firm foundation in the basics of the religious system to which you have bartered your soul.

For your edification, I offer two brief citations from the Catholic catechism:

1866. Vices can be classified according to the virtues they oppose, or also be linked to the capital sins which Christian experience has distinguished, following St. John Cassian and St. Gregory the Great. They are called 'capital' because they engender other sins, other vices.[Cf. St. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job, 31, 45: PL 76, 621A.] They are PRIDE, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia.--Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Ed., (C) 1994/1997 United States Catholic Conference, Inc. [My emphasis]

2094. One can sin against God in various ways. . . .
-- hatred of God comes from PRIDE. It is contrary to love of God, whose goodness it denies, and whom it presumes to curse as the one who forbids sins and inflicts punishments.
-- Ibid [My emphasis]

As an historical note, in the old days, before Mama Church decided to make nice-nice with the world, she taught on the Seven Deadly Sins, with the capital sin of PRIDE holding the place of honor at the head of the list.

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

Now I may be wrong, but I have feeling that this site is being run by "bubba" Protestants, or a less dignified name, Baptists.

MY RESPONSE:

Yep, you are wrong…The site is owned and maintained by a single person. Me. I perceive you are using the modifier "bubba" in a pejorative manner, perhaps to express a presupposition that any person involved in its operation is an unlearned bumpkin. I assure you that I alone am responsible for what appears on that or any other of my sites. I do the design. I do the research. I write the great bulk of the articles. Those articles which address Catholic issues are distillations of my research and my life experiences as a Catholic and as a member of an extended family that is overwhelmingly Catholic.

Your use of "Protestant" also appears intended to disparage. As you may or may not know, this word originally was applied to Martin Luther and those of his school. It later came to include followers of Calvin and Zwingli. These days, Protestantism is an umbrella term and, like Catholicism, includes a wide variety of sub-units or "denominations."

In common with Catholicism and its sub-units, Protestantism and its denominations all are products of man's failed efforts to reach God. There is no religious system, no body of religious dogma and tradition and no collection of religious practices capable of bringing about man's salvation. The Scriptures are explicit, man is not saved by any effort of his own, by any of his works. Salvation is by God's grace through faith. That good works result from salvation is not denied.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.-- Ephesians 2:8-10

In the light of the above, I prefer not to be labeled a Protestant. I am bound to no manmade body of religious rules and practices. I prefer to be identified as a Christian, a follower of Christ. For your information, when I participate in public worship, I prefer to gather with brethren in a Bible Church or an Evangelical Free Church .

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

Don't worry, I will ask my priest to pray for your lost soul, and hope that you will come back to God; to the One Holy Roman Catholic Church - the Church founded by Christ..

MY RESPONSE:

…"One" Holy Roman Catholic Church? Have you ever examined the makeup of the entity you mention? It is every bit as denominational as the umbrella group you call Protestants. How many orders are there for nuns and clergy to affiliate with? You might argue these differ only in details and disciplines, and I would be inclined to agree. However, the various Protestant denominations, for the most part, also differ among themselves in details and disciplines. I would argue that, if a Southern Baptist is considered to belong to a different denomination than his Reformed Baptist brethren on the grounds of differences in details and practices, then it appears reasonable to consider that a Catholic priest affiliated with the Order of Preachers is in a different denomination than another Catholic priest who wears the colors of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. Why, they even wear different costumes.

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

…that last statement is something no other Church has...to be founded by Christ Himself.

MY RESPONSE:

That last statement is also something the Roman Catholic Church does not have. Roman Catholic teaching is that Christ founded the Church that came to be known as the Roman Catholic Church, during His earthly ministry.

When did Christ found the Church?

Christ founded the Church when He chose twelve Apostles to preside over the disciples, and made St. Peter the Head of all: -- Thomas J. O'Brien, Advanced Catechism of Catholic Faith and Practice, The Oink Company:Chicago (1929), p. 66; hasNihil Obstat & Imprimatur

This is interesting in that to accept this teaching is to accept that Christ started the true church at the very beginning of His public ministry (Matthew 4:18). During the process of choosing the Twelve, Christ selected one who would betray Him -- Judas Iscariot (Matthew 10:2-4). Do you not find it at least a little bit interesting that the Lord would select someone He knew would betray Him to be a ruler in the church He supposedly founded?

Roman Catholicism teaches that the Pope is Peter's successor and that the Bishops are successors of the other Apostles. The Bishops, these apostolic successors, have their own positions of teaching authority.

77. 'In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the Apostles left Bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority.'[DV 7 # 2; St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 3, 1: PG 7/1, 848; Harvey, 2, 9.] Indeed, 'the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time.'[DV 8 # 1.]--Catechism of the Catholic Church, Op. cit.

Don't you have to at least wonder which dioceses ended up with the successors of Judas Iscariot? If I were still Catholic, and believed all this stuff, I do believe I would be concerned to know whether my Bishop could lay claim to being a descendant of someone other than Judas Iscariot. The RCC theologian-dreamers, having come up with one lie to sustain papal dreams of establishing RCC hegemony over all the Christian world, now must develop other lies to explain the issues the first lie created. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, ad infinitum.

By the way, the true Church came into being on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came to indwell, seal and guide believers and to watch over the new Church after Christ had returned to Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. You can read about that in Acts 2.

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

Your web site manifests your ignorance of the truth… The Roman Catholic Church proceeds [sic] the bible. It was written by Roman Catholics.

MY RESPONSE:

This is truth? If it is, I confess that you are absolutely correct; I am ignorant of the truth. I did not know that Moses was Roman Catholic. I did not know that Solomon was Roman Catholic. I did not know that Isaiah was Roman Catholic. In fact, I did not know that the Roman Catholic Church was formed before Moses led the Hebrew nation out of Egypt in the 15th Century B.C.

It is comforting to know that the Roman Catholic Church itself is similarly ignorant of that fact, for in her Catechism, she teaches that the Church was founded some 1475 or so years after the Exodus:

778. The Church is both the means and the goal of God's plan: prefigured in creation, prepared for in the Old Covenant, founded by the words and actions of Jesus Christ, fulfilled by his redeeming cross and his Resurrection, the Church has been manifested as the mystery of salvation by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. She will be perfected in the glory of heaven as the assembly of all the redeemed of the earth [cf. Rev 14:4.].--Catechism of the Catholic Church, Op. cit.

Let's see, now. If the RCC teaches that the church was prepared for in the Old Covenant (which suggests it did not exist in the Old Testament) and that it was founded by the words and actions of Christ, Who was encarnated some 1445 years after God delivered the Ten Commandments to Moses at Mount Sinai, then how can you declare that the Bible was written by Catholics? There were no Catholics [capital "C"] until some time after Emperor Constantine published the Edict of Milan.

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

I simply ask that you present the Catholic faith apart from your opinions, and let your visitors decide for themselves.

MY RESPONSE:

Sir, the product of all research ultimately involves the opinion of the researcher. Are you here suggesting that those who select what becomes RCC dogma, doctrine and practice are not expressing their opinions in the process? Are you suggesting, for example, that Paul VI's personal opinions and thoughts had no impact on the decision of the prelates gathered in Vatican II when they came up with the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy that generated changes to the Roman Missal and the Novus Ordo Missae? Please. Give me a break.

My obligation is to God and I shall present the truth as I understand it. When's the last time you wrote Mother Angelica to suggest that she leave out her opinions and simply let visitors decide for themselves? Again I ask, are you a hypocrite?

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

The Roman Catholic Church speaks of nothing but what is in the Bible.

MY RESPONSE:

Is that a fact? Perhaps you would be so kind as to inform me of where in the Bible I might read of Mary's Immaculate Conception, or her Assumption. While you are at it, will you let me know where I might read that the Bishop of Rome is to rule over the Church? I could go on, of course, but surely you get the idea.

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

I am a convert to Holy Church and you do not know what you are talking about.

MY RESPONSE:

Well, now, that certainly makes you an authority. I am not interested in your boast of apostasy nor in your unsupported opinion. If you want to impress me, select something you disagree with and then show me why I am wrong. I will expect you to do your homework, and to support your arguments with solid documentation. If you will not or cannot do that, save us both some bandwidth. Don't write again.

CATHOLIC COMMENT:

I just took some time to read some of the articles on your web site.

What I found is pretty typical of anti-Catholic's, surfacy examination, with nothing of real theological substance or weight. Whomever set you on the road to these delusions is at fault for your straying from the truth; but how many souls have your efforts turned from the truth - this is your responsibility - will you be able to bear the weight I wonder (I suspect not).

The e-mail address of lazyboy really says it all - your articles quite clearly show you are too lazy to really research any of the claims you make - the silliness of the accusations are quite laughable in some spots. I wonder, what do you do when you are confronted by a real biblical scholar? Most likely retreat into childish name calling.

MY RESPONSE:

You tell me you found nothing of real theological substance or weight. That's your opinion, and your unsupported opinion at that. Please tell me, Mr. Expert, what are your credentials that I might give some attention to your opinion? Like just about every other whining RCC apologist who writes me, you use ad hominem arguments to challenge my knowledge of RCC theology and practice, my research skills and my person.

ad hominem

1 : directed at or appealing to one's hearer's or reader's personal feelings or prejudices rather than his intellect and reason [an ad hominem argument]
2 : marked by attack on an opponent's character rather than by answer to his contentions [an ad hominem plea that his accuser had been in jail] -- "ad hominem." Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. (5 Aug. 2007).

Like just about every other whining RCC apologist who writes me, you fail to point out a single example of error. If I am to benefit from your counsel, do you not think it incumbent upon you to provide correction? Show me errors and then prove to me that what I wrote indeed is error. In doing that, I shall expect more than your unsupported personal opinion. Neither will appeals to early church fathers, popes or any of the other pet sources of RCC apologists suffice. I do not consider either Tradition or the Teaching Authority of the Roman Catholic Church to be infallible sources, so you will need to show me my errors from the one authority both Christians and Catholics accept: the Holy Bible.

As to what someone may do after reading at my website, I accept no responsibility. What a cop-out for you to lay a charge against me for the actions of someone else. I stand ready always to accept responsibility for what I do, but I will not be responsible for what someone else does. I wonder if you ever used the excuse "The Devil made me do it." This is plain silly.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

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