Catholic apologist: “Jesus is a scary dude!”

I usually listen to a Catholic talk radio show, “Called to Communion,” for about one hour each work day. It’s not something that I would recommend to my fellow believers, but the show often provides me with good fodder for this blog. I was recently listening to a podcast of the show and a couple of interesting segments came up that I’d like to pass along.

Called to Communion
EWTN Radio – 4/3/19 podcast
Moderator: Thom Price, Host: David Anders

At the 34:19 mark, non-Catholic, Edward from Coal Grove, Ohio, called in with a question regarding the Catholic sacrament of reconciliation/confession:

Edward: “When you go to confession, and you go into the little booth to pray, when you’re confessing, why do we go in to pray in that little booth? Can we sit in our pews to pray to God?”

Host, David Anders, then proceeded to explain to Edward the basics behind the Catholic sacrament of reconciliation. The Roman church teaches that every time a Catholic commits a mortal (major) sin, they must go to church and confess the sin to a priest. The church teaches that its priests receive the power to forgive sins at their ordination. In the confessional booth, the priest allegedly acts “in persona Christi,” in the person of Christ, when absolving sin. The Roman church uses John 20:23 as the basis of this alleged prerogative: “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld,” but the verse is only correctly understood in the context of the New Testament Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, which the apostles were commanded to proclaim. A few verses after John 20:23 we read, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” – John 20:31. Forgiveness of sins comes from hearing the Gospel, repenting of sin, and trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior. Going to the confessional booth once a week or once a month (most Catholics never go) doesn’t save anyone. The sacrament of penance is just another cog in Catholicism’s complicated salvation system of sacramental grace and merit.

After briefly describing Catholicism’s sacrament of reconciliation to Edward, David Anders says something quite revealing:

David Anders: “You know, I had a priest ask me recently, and I’m going to make a personal revelation here, he said, ‘How do you relate to Christ?’ And I said, this is truthful, and I’m just going to let this out. Jesus in the Gospels sometimes is kind of a scary dude. He holds us up to pretty high standards, and I said, ‘You know, in the Gospels, sometimes I read the words of Christ and I’m like, gulp, am I doing that? Am I doing that? But when I meet Christ in the person of his priest, I experience only mercy.‘”


Argh! Did you get that, folks? This Catholic apologist says Jesus is a mean and “scary dude” and people must therefore go through the more merciful priest (and more merciful Mary). Man, oh man! The Jesus I know, my Savior and Shepherd, is infinitely more tender and merciful than any person. Yes, someday He will return as Judge, but right now He offers REAL forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal salvation to all those who repent of their sin and accept Him as their Savior by faith alone! The ONLY mediator between God and men is Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5).


The second segment from the same broadcast is a bit comical in a sad way. At the 38:42 mark, Sam from Charleston, West Virginia, an ex-Baptist and convert to Catholicism in 2018, called in to say he was troubled by the liberal priests and prelates in the church who seemed to be flouting the rules he claims to love so much. He haltingly continued, “…and then I see things, like on the news a lot, it seems the news tends to amplify, the pope, seems that the pope, who I want to believe is the Vicar of Christ, but then he tends to say things like, has a softer view about cohabitation before marriage…”

Well, it was very entertaining to hear Price and Anders grab their microphones and shut down Sam before he could say another word. I even looked up the video segment on You Tube just so I could actually see Price and Anders become unglued (see above photo). Sam couldn’t have gotten in another word with a crow bar. Remember, the stated purpose of this show is to try to convince Protestants to convert to Catholicism, so any direct criticism of the pope over the airwaves is strictly verboten. Pope Francis, with his liberal reforms is making these conservative apologists twist around like pretzels. Ach, so funny. Without directly criticizing Francis, Anders advised Sam to focus on the traditional teachings of the church and not to pay attention to liberal priests and unnamed progressive prelates. The sadly comical segment was worth the price of admission all by itself.

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Government: A False Messiah

Why Government Can’t Save You: An Alternative to Political Activism
By John MacArthur
Word Publishing, 2000, 192 pages

5 Stars

Readers of this blog know one of my pet peeves is “Christian nationalism.” The Puritans came to this continent beginning in 1620 determined to set up a theocracy in which faith and government were inseparably intertwined. It’s hard to fault them because church-state symbiosis had been the model since Christianity was made the state religion of the Roman Empire in 380 AD. The Puritans set the stage for the very popular notion, preached from pulpits for 400 years, that Colonial America, followed by the American nation, were in a unique, covenant relationship with God akin to God’s covenant relationship with Israel recorded in the Old Testament. Bible passages meant strictly for ancient Israel were regularly misapplied to the United States. What resulted were abuses and attitudes that were contrary to the Gospel and Gospel outreach. It was taken for granted by most that America was a “Christian nation” regardless of the spiritual condition of individual souls.

Alarmed by the increasing secularization of the nation in the 1960s and 70s, evangelicals took up the battle cry to stem the tide. Baptist pastor, Jerry Falwell, vowed to “lead the nation back to the moral stance that made America great.” In the push to fight the culture battles and defend morality and “Judeo-Christian principles” via the political process, the church’s focus on the Gospel was relegated to the back burner. Falwell and others eagerly embraced conservative religious unbelievers as allies in the fight against advancing secularism, thus promoting religious ecumenism. The politically-liberal lost were increasingly perceived as “the enemy” rather than as a mission field. The idea of government becoming some kind of cultural savior took hold in the minds of many. Believers were tempted to support America’s “civil religion” in which the bond of national citizenry and shared belief in a nebulous “supreme being” took precedence over the exclusively genuine Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I recently heard about this book via some negative comments from a discernment ministry apologist who still strongly believes in the notion of America as a “Christian nation.” In “Why Government Can’t Save You,” Pastor John MacArthur responds to churches and individual evangelicals caught up in culture/morality battles. MacArthur reminds believers, with examples from the Old and New Testaments, that, yes, we should be model citizens, although our primary citizenship is in Heaven and that our focus should be on the Gospel and evangelization rather than on promoting nationalism and legislating morality.

Chapters include:

  • Introduction
  • Political Involvement: a Christian Perspective
  • Our Responsibility to Authority
  • The Biblical Purpose of Government
  • Our Tax Obligation
  • Jesus’ Lesson on Tax Exemptions
  • Supporting Our Leaders: How and Why
  • Daniel’s Uncompromising Civil Service
  • Paul’s Example Before Worldly Authorities
  • How to Live in a Pagan Culture
  • Appendix: Citizenship in Heaven: a Sermon by Charles Spurgeon (this excellent sermon can be found online here)
  • Study Guide

The book’s message of limited political engagement for believers runs counter to the historical and still very popular notion of America being a “Christian nation,” however, nineteen years after this book was published, with America becoming that much more secularized, there are more believers who are willing to concede that the Falwellian crusade to “reclaim America for Jesus” was wrong-headed and that the focus should now be on the Gospel and Gospel outreach.

Highly recommended. Order from Amazon here.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 4/27/19

Catholic spokespersons are hoping the Notre Dame fire will rekindle an interest in their religion for many of France’s highly-secularized Catholics. However, whether a Catholic is on the church’s legalistic religious treadmill or spending Sunday mornings in bed, the results are the same. Les résultats sont les mêmes.

Interesting article. The Catholic majority massacred the Protestant Huguenot minority beneath the towers of Notre Dame on St. Bartholomew’s Day in 1572. Pope Gregory XIII had a special medal struck to commemorate the slaughter of the Protestant “heretics.” See here for more information.

Many American Catholics are finding it impossible to remain in the Catholic church in light of the current scandal tsunami. Are evangelical churches reaching out to their disaffected Catholic neighbors with the Gospel of grace?

Because of its unique history, Poland is one of the few remaining (if not the only) “Catholic countries” in Europe where the militant, pre-conciliar brand of Catholicism still flourishes.

The vast majority of American Catholics have only a very shallow understanding of their church’s theology, and their knowledge of Scripture is even less. For them, being Catholic boils down to upbringing and allegiance to family tradition. In the cases of those who are drawn to Catholicism’s liturgical ritualism or who remain despite the scandals, it often boils down to a subjective, “it just feels right,” similar to Mormons’ alleged validation of their religion through a “burning in the bosom.”

Conservative Catholics are appalled by pope Francis’ progressive reforms (i.e., the lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorcees, the advancement of shared communion with Protestants, the absolute ban on capital punishment, etc.), but their strong belief in papal authority has precluded outright rebellion and schism to this point. Will conservative Catholic gadfly, Steve Bannon, succeed in unifying and mobilizing opposition to Francis?

In this excellent short article, a pastor states some vital truths that are being swept under the rug in the push for ecumenical false “unity.”

I’ve already ordered mine.

 

The “battle” over the giant crucifix in Lakeville, CT

Lakeville Crucifix: A Religious War in 19th Century Connecticut
By Geoffrey Brown
Between the Lakes Group, 2018, 321 pages

Books about the historical “tensions” between Protestants and Catholics in America are of great interest to me, so when I got wind of “Lakeville Crucifix” while searching for news articles for my weekend roundup, I immediately ordered it.

As a buildup to the conflict between the Protestants and Catholics in Lakeville, Connecticut in 1882-1883, author and local historian, Geoffrey Brown, provides an extensive chronology beginning with the start of the Reformation in 1517. We follow the English Puritan pilgrims to the New England colonies and the rise of Congregationalist churches. The Protestants of 19th century, smalltown Connecticut shared their forebearers’ animus towards Romanism, for reasons both theological and social. In counter-balance, the Vatican’s continuing intolerance of Protestants back in Catholic Europe at that period is also touched upon (lightly). Theological differences between Protestants and Catholics are addressed only in very general terms throughout the book. As Irish Catholic immigrants flooded into the Northeast U.S. in the 1840s, religious, economic, and social tensions increased. Various nativist, “Know Nothing,” political and social groups arose in the 1850s as a reaction to the deluge of Irish Catholic immigrants. However, by the 1880s many of the mainline Protestant denominations were drifting into modernism and the social gospel and had little reason to confront Catholicism’s false gospel, but pockets of remnant believers existed here and there.

In October, 1882, Roman Catholic priest, Henry Lynch, erected a twelve-foot-high crucifix with a life-size statue of Jesus on the grounds of St. Mary’s Church next to a public road in Lakeville, Connecticut. The Protestants of the area were aghast at this idolatrous display. Indignation grew and in July 1883, three of the town’s Protestant dignitaries (including an ex-governor) visited the priest and presented him with a petition signed by seventy-two of the town’s Protestant citizens, including nearly all of the shopkeepers, demanding he remove the crucifix. Lynch did not comply. Instead, Lynch’s Catholic parishioners immediately boycotted all of Lakeville’s merchants and did their shopping at the nearby town of Salisbury instead. In retaliation, twenty of the wives of the wealthiest men of the community met in October to discuss replacing their Irish Catholic female servants with African Americans from New York City or the South, although the effectiveness of that proposed counter-boycott is unclear. However, the Catholics of St. Mary’s were denied the use of transportation and picnic facilities owned by Protestants in their celebration of the establishment of a convent.

As time passed, tensions eased. In late 1887, the giant crucifix was taken down without any fanfare and brought inside of St. Mary’s where it is still on display today. Throughout the conflict, the region’s Protestant politicians remained largely neutral rather than antagonize their Catholic constituents.

The author gently derides Lakeville’s Protestants for their “sectarian intolerance,” but also criticizes Lynch and his bishop for inflaming Protestant passions with such an incendiary display of Roman militancy that was most certainly inspired by the ultramontanism of pope Pius IX that had crested a few decades prior to the crucifix controversy with the provocative Syllabus of Errors and Vatican I’s declaration of papal infallibility.

This was a somewhat interesting story although the book’s very unpolished writing style is a distraction. Brown cites many regional and even national newspaper articles that reported on Connecticut’s bygone-era “religious war.” Much of the material is redundant.

The author’s ecumenical views and criticisms of this sectarian skirmish are evident throughout. While I certainly don’t agree with the author’s “liberally high-minded” ecumenism, I do agree that the confrontation was regrettable. Rather than stirring up conflict, the Protestant believers of Lakeville, Connecticut should have been reaching out to their Catholic neighbors with the Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. At the end of the book, Brown notes that fidelity to Biblical orthodoxy is rare in Northwest Connecticut these days and that Protestant churches in the area have little if any influence and are largely dying on the vine.

Capture18

Capture17
Lakeville, Connecticut, circa 1916

Throwback Thursday: Swooning St. Catherine of Siena!

Today’s “Throwback Thursday” post was originally published on July 27, 2015 and has been slightly revised.

capture30

Catherine of Siena, Italy (1347-1380) is one of Roman Catholicism’s most highly revered and venerated saints. In 1970, she was proclaimed a “Doctor of the Church,” an august honor bestowed upon only thirty-six individuals to date.

WARNING: Some of the details of Catherine’s story below are not for the squeamish. 

The Middle Ages saw a flourishing of monasticism and mysticism. The thinking was that acts of penitential self-denial and self-mortification equated to climbing a ladder to spiritual perfection. Severe fasting and self-imposed sleep deprivation, forms of self-mortification used in monasteries, often brought on swoons of religious ecstasy and visions among the monastic nuns. One such mystic was Catherine of Siena. Jesus declares in the Bible that anyone who claims to have seen Him or been visited by Him prior to His second coming is a liar (Matthew 24:23-27), but Catherine, a Dominican nun, claimed that Christ visited her often, eventually joining with her in a “mystical marriage” and presenting her with a wedding ring consisting of his infant “prepuce” (circumcised foreskin), which only she could see. Revolting? Assuredly. And how could Catherine have had Jesus’s foreskin when the Charroux Abbey in France claimed possession of the actual “Holy” Prepuce? [a rhetorical question]

Catherine also claimed she received the stigmata wounds of Christ (as portrayed in the fanciful painting above) and that she was also able to levitate. In a disgusting example of extreme self-mortification, Catherine would drink the drainage from the ulcerous tumors and sores of patients in her care. Was the woman insane or demon possessed? Catherine was also an anorexic who often forced herself to vomit the little food she ate. Towards the end of her short life (dead at thirty-three), Catherine’s daily food intake consisted of one communion wafer. Academicians have termed this eating disorder that was common among monastic nuns during the Middle Ages as “anorexia mirabilis” or “holy/miraculous anorexia” (see here).

In today’s society, a person like Catherine would be correctly diagnosed as mentally ill, but her church rewarded her extreme “piety” and devotion to the popes of her day by proclaiming her a “saint” in 1461. The fact that Catholicism encouraged monastics and others to engage in self-mortification practices leading to sickness and death is a sign of its demonic nature.

Thank the Lord for the Gospel of salvation by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ ALONE!

“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things (like the pope, Mary, “saints,” and bogus prepuces) rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” – Romans 1:25

Interesting fact: Prior to being defined as infallible dogma in 1854, the doctrine of the immaculate conception of Mary had been roundly debated within Catholicism for centuries. In the early-Middle Ages, the immaculate conception was championed by the Franciscan order and strongly opposed by the Dominicans. In 1377, Catherine of Siena, a Dominican, claimed Mary visited her and told her the doctrine of the immaculate conception was fallacious (Pope Benedict XIV, “On Heroic Virtue” III.53.#16), another example of Catholicism being at odds with itself.

Baptize Dead Babies? Yes or No? Another Catholic Rabbit Hole

Catholicism’s teaching on baptism is an irreconcilable dichotomy. On the one hand, the Catholic church insists that people MUST be baptized for them to even be considered for salvation. On the other hand, it has made concessions to religious liberalism and now grants that non-baptized members of other religions and even atheists may also merit salvation if they “follow the light they are given” and are “good.” It’s quite strange that the Catholic church takes a very liberal attitude towards non-members regarding baptism, but still gets tightly wound around the legalistic axle when it comes to its membership.

For centuries, the Catholic church taught that infants who had died before they were baptized were consigned to a halfway house between Heaven and Hell called Limbo. In the last twenty years, the RCC has moved away from its Limbo teaching and now states that it “hopes” unbaptized babies will be allowed into Heaven. But baptizing babies from Catholic families is still a VERY important priority in the Catholic religion in stark contrast to the church’s liberal attitude with regards to non-Catholics and baptism.

Recently, I was listening to a podcast of the “Calling all Catholics” radio talk show and heard an example of how Catholicism still gets wrapped tightly around the axle over baptism technicalities.

Called to Communion – EWTN Radio – 4/1/19
Host – David Anders (photo above), Moderator – Thom Price

Beginning at the 16:07 mark, Anna from Omaha, Nebraska called in to say her aunt had stopped practicing her Catholic “faith” because the woman’s baby was born stillborn and her parish priest refused to baptize the baby because it was dead. Anna wanted to know from host and apologist, David Anders, if miscarried or stillborn babies can still be baptized. Let’s see how Anders responded:

David Anders: The church does baptize stillborn babies, and in the same way that the church would give last rites, anointings, and so forth, and absolution, to a person who had died biologically at the end of their life. Now, there’s a point beyond which you won’t do that. I mean you’re not going to baptize a corpse that’s three weeks old. You’re not going to anoint a corpse that’s in the grave three weeks. But when the priest is headed to the hospital to perform either an emergency baptism or last rites, and the nurse runs out and says, “Don’t worry about it, father, the person just passed.” The priest says, “Uh, sorry, excuse me, I’m coming in anyway,” because we don’t know the moment of metaphysical death. We know the moment of biological death. We can put that in a text book. But we don’t know when metaphysical death occurs. I’m not a priest. I don’t have a copy of the ritual in front of me and I don’t actually know what the (Canon) law says about how long can you legitimately wait, but we have a preference for performing the sacrament, and yes, you can baptize either a baby or an adult person who has expired because we don’t know for sure. You can’t wait a week, but, yeah, if you’re five minutes late, sure, yes you can, and the church has always done that.


Anders states above that a baby can be baptized after he/she has died. He specifies five minutes as an allowable lapse between death and baptism, but then cites three weeks and then a week as obviously unallowably long lapses. Well, what then is the absolute legal limit for baptism after biological death? Is it ten minutes? Fifteen minutes? Thirty minutes? I searched the Catholic Code of Canon Law on Baptism (Cann. 849-878) and there are no allowances made for baptizing babies that have already died. The closest related Canon is Canon 871: “If aborted fetuses are alive, they are to be baptized insofar as possible.”

In an article in the Journal of the Catholic Health Association, chaplains at Catholic hospitals are advised NOT to baptize dead infants, with no lingering time allowances specified. In fact, the article argues very strongly against baptizing deceased babies. See here.

Once again we have an example of Catholicism creating a legalistic rabbit hole where there is no authoritative answer for this, that, and the other exception.

In contrast to convoluted Catholic teaching, we read in the Bible that Jesus Christ invites all young children to abide with Him:

“But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 19:14

Baptism saves no one! It is Jesus Christ who saves. Repent of your sin and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. Praise the Lord God for the Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

Notre Dame Fire: the Aftermath

It’s been over one week since the massive fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, and I thought I would follow-up with a few observations and questions:

  • The media coverage of the fire and the aftermath were intense. Note Dame is one of the most famous symbols and tourist destinations in France, Europe, and even the Western world with 14 million visitors annually. Why? What does Notre Dame mean to people that it evokes so much interest and coverage? France is largely a secular nation at this point with Catholic sources reporting that only 7 percent of French Catholics attend mass on Sunday. So why did France’s citizenry get so incredibly worked up over Notre Dame?
  • Sympathy poured into Paris from around the world because of the fire. There were even messages of solidarity from individual “evangelicals” and organizations (see here and here). Why? The salvation system preached at Notre Dame, the same preached at every Catholic church in the world, is a false gospel of sacramental grace and merit.
  • French President, Emmanuel Macron, vowed to rebuild Notre Dame in five years. Donations totaling $1 billion were pledged towards the rebuilding project in only a few days. Why? There are serious unfulfilled material needs throughout the entire world, but the Notre Dame fire triggered a huge and immediate outpouring of concern and “generosity” of a proportion rarely seen.
  • We learned that as Notre Dame’s roof burned, church employees and first responders were busy “saving” the “Blessed Sacrament”* reposing in the church’s tabernacle box as well as several purported relics such as Jesus’ alleged crown of thorns, faux shards of the “true cross,” and a three-inch nail claimed to have been used in the crucifixion. Contemplate the misguided souls risking their lives underneath the flaming roof to “save” consecrated bread wafers, which Catholics believe to actually be Jesus.
  • The cause of the Notre Dame fire is still being investigated, but it happened at a time when several Catholic churches in France have been plagued by arson and vandalism.

Once again, I don’t applaud the destruction of property or the endangering of human life, but I certainly don’t have any sad feelings about the conflagration at Notre Dame. Over a span of 800 years, millions of souls attending Notre Dame have been fed a false gospel of sacramental grace and merit.

The huge outpouring over Notre Dame is actually an interesting statement about the current state of the Catholic church and institutional religion in general. The majority of baptized Catholics no longer pay attention to the rigors and rituals of their works religion, but their membership in the institutional church and its monuments still have some significance for them, if nothing more than serving as sentimental familial and “tribal” identifications/connections.

*The New York Times was derided for misinterpreting reports of the “body of Christ” being saved at Notre Dame as a statue of Jesus rather than the consecrated Jesus wafers. See here. Of course, the Catholic church’s claim that the consecrated bread wafers are actually Jesus is the MUCH MORE serious error.

Index – Answering the alleged “95 Catholic Verses”

In his book, “The Catholic Verses” (2004), Catholic apologist, Dave Armstrong, presented 95 Bible verses or passages (in an attempt to match Martin Luther’s 95 theses, although 104 passages were actually presented) that he alleged supported Catholicism’s salvation system of sacramental grace and merit and supposedly “confound” Protestants. Last August 13th, we began our series of 34 installments that addressed Armstrong’s claims and we finished last week. Below is a helpful index to each of the installments listed in chronological order. Thank you for your support throughout this series!

The Church the Pillar of All Truth?
Passage #1

The Binding Authority of Church Councils?
Passages #s 2 & 3

The Authority of Sacred Tradition? – Part 1
Passages #s 4, 5, 6, & 7

Sinners in the Church?
Passages #s 8, 9, & 10

Catholic “Unity” and Denominationalism?
Passages #s 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, & 17

The Catholic Magisterium’s Authoritative Interpretation of Scripture?
Passages #s 18, 19, & 20

The Authority of Sacred Tradition? – Part 2
Passages #s 21, 22, 23, & 24

The Authority of Sacred Tradition? – Part 3
Passages #s 25 & 26

Papal Authority and Succession?
Passages #s 27 & 28

Salvation by Works? – Part 1
Passage #29

Salvation by Works? – Part 2
Passages #s 30, 31, 32, 33, & 34

Salvation by Works? – Part 3
Passages #s 35, 36, & 37

Can Genuine Christians Lose Salvation? – Part 1
Passages #s 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, & 43

Can Genuine Christians Lose Salvation? – Part 2
Passages #s 44, 45, 46, & 47

Salvation by Works? – Part 4
Passages #s 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, & 54

Salvation by Works? – Part 5
Passage #55

Infant Baptism?
Passages #s 56, 57, & 58

Baptismal Regeneration?
Passages #s 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, & 64

Transubstantiation? – Part 1
Passages #s 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, & 70

Transubstantiation? – Part 2
Passages #s 71 & 72

Penitential Suffering? – Part 1
Passages #s 73 & 74

Penitential Suffering? – Part 2
Passages #s 75 & 76

Veneration/Worship of Saints? – Part 1
Passages #s 77, 78, & 79

Veneration/Worship of Saints? – Part 2
Passage #80

Veneration/Worship of Saints? – Part 3
Passages #s 81, 82, 83, 84, & 85

Veneration/Worship of Saints? – Part 4
Passage #86

Relics and Sacramentals?
Passages #s 87, 88, 89, & 90

Purgatory and Prayers for the Dead? – Part 1
Passage #91

Purgatory and Prayers for the Dead? – Part 2
Passage #92

Purgatory and Prayers for the Dead? – Part 3
Passages #s 93 & 94

Mary’s Immaculate Conception and Sinless Life?
Passages #s 95, 96, 97, 98, & 99

Mandatory Celibacy of Clergy?
Passages #s 100, 101, & 102

Divorce and Remarriage?
Passage #103

Is it a sin to use contraceptives?
Passage #104

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 4/20/19

Catholics are forbidden to eat meat on Lenten Fridays under threat of mortal sin and eternal damnation, however there are exceptions to the rule. Many of you have read my post about the papal dispensation allowing Venezuelans to eat the meat of Capybara on Lenten Fridays (see here). Now we have the article above which says that Catholics in the diocese of Detroit, Michigan are allowed to eat Muskrat (photo above) on Lenten Fridays due to a papal dispensation dating back to the 1700s. Mmm, Muskrat. One of my favorites! This whole business of forbidding meat, with exemptions here and there, is ludicrous and anti-Scriptural. Catch a video of some Detroiters dining on scrumptious Muskrat here.

The conflagration at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France on Monday evening was undoubtedly the biggest “religious” news story of this past week. The media coverage was massive. I have many observations and questions following this fire, which I will present in a separate post sometime next week.

The Catholic church has been up to its eyeballs in some seriously negative press for the past year, but that has not interfered with its long-term mission to regather the “separated brethren” under its wings. The Protestants mentioned in this particular article are all mainline apostates, but many so-called “evangelical” Protestant pastors and para-church leaders are also cozying up to Rome.

Every year in the week leading up to Easter, Filipino Catholics scourge themselves in a penitential frenzy with a few even allowing themselves to be nailed to wooden crosses. Such practices strike most Western Catholics as overzealous and even hysterical third-world religious piety, but the Catholic church once encouraged this kind of self-mortification in Medieval Europe. See here for an article on the popular Flagellant Movement of the 14th century. But don’t believe for a second that flagellation completely disappeared in the West. Catholic spokespersons confirm that Pope John Paul II whipped himself daily and this practice still persists within monasteries and among traditionalists.

The fact that Buffalo Catholic bishop, Richard Malone, still retains his position six months after being exposed on “60 Minutes” as a serial abuse-enabler is a testament to just how seriously the Catholic church takes this abuse scandal. All talk, no action.

The Catholic media loves to point to historical anti-Catholicism in the United States without ever mentioning the realities that made Protestants extremely suspicious and wary of Catholic immigrants. Countries in Europe and Latin America where Catholicism dominated did not treat Protestants kindly right up into the 20th century, and even longer in some pockets of old-school, pre-conciliar, militant Catholicism.

This guy is definitely a Baptist!

Catholic apologist says the Gospel of grace is “an anathema”

These days, many Catholics and Protestants are eager to gloss over theological differences, forget about Reformation “squabbles,” and embrace in ecumenical “unity.” But the “gospel” that Catholics believe in; salvation by sacramental grace and merit, is diametrically opposed to the Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone preached by Bible Christians. No attempt to honestly reconcile these two opposing gospels is possible.

I listen to Catholic talk radio, specifically the “Called to Communion” show with apologist, David Anders (photo above), every day to keep abreast of what’s going on within Catholicism and for fodder for this blog. While I disagree with just about everything Anders says, I do appreciate how he strongly differentiates between Catholicism’s gospel and the Gospel of grace. Here’s a very revealing short segment that I recently listened to via podcast:

Called to Communion, EWTN Radio, March 26th, 2019
Moderator: Jack Williams, Host: David Anders
Segment: 4:27 – 7:08

Jack Williams: Ben is watching on Facebook and he says, “I once heard an evangelical Christian say Catholicism denies the Gospel. Is there a difference between what Catholicism defines as the Gospel and what non-Catholicism defines it as?”

David Anders: Absolutely! Absolutely! In fact, this was a cardinal point for Martin Luther and the Reformation of the 16th century. Luther believed that the Gospel, very specifically, the Gospel, the message of salvation, is that God counts you as if you were righteous. God considers you to be righteous though you remain objectively sinful and at enmity with Him in your will. And that He does this when you believe yourself to be considered righteous by God on account of Christ, that you are thus considered righteous by God. Now that’s a very convoluted doctrine. I’m going to restate it. This is Luther’s position; he believes that this is the Gospel: When you believe that Christ satisfied the demands of the Law and suffered the penalties of sin on your behalf, and that that has been imputed to you, counted as if it were your own, that that faith, the faith that considers yourself righteous because of Christ, and that faith ALONE, for that faith ALONE, through that faith ALONE, no transformation over your moral life required, that you in that moment are justified before God and accepted by Him on account of Christ and not because of anything that you have done or contributed to the life of faith or grace or works or virtue or anything else. That’s what Luther taught the Gospel was. The Catholic church says that that is an anathema (definition: a person or teaching cursed by ecclesiastical authority – Tom), that that position is completely wrong. It is upside down and backwards and radically misstates what Jesus has done for us. The Catholic position is that Christ has in fact died for our sins that we might have forgiveness AND so that our interior lives, our moral lives, could be renovated and recreated, as it were, after the image of Christ’s holy life. And on the basis of that moral renovation, God does in fact accept us as righteous because He has actually made us righteous. So it is the difference between up and down, black and white, yes and no. They’re diametrically opposite in their understanding about what Jesus has done for us.

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There you have it, my friends, straight from a Catholic apologist with no ambiguity. The Catholic church teaches its members that they must become subjectively and intrinsically righteous and moral in order to be able to merit Heaven. Our ecumenical evangelical friends would have us believe that Catholics “love Jesus too,” and also believe the Gospel, but what the Catholic church teaches its members is a false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit as Catholic apologist, David Anders, unabashedly admits to above.

Catholics are a mission field my friends!