The Usual Double Talk

The Usual Suspects: Answering Anti-Catholic Fundamentalists
By Karl Keating
Ignatius Press, 2000, 195 pages

1 Star

In 1979, a young Roman Catholic lawyer, Karl Keating, became angered when members of a local Bible Christian church left tracts on car windshields during mass at his Catholic parish. In retaliation, he created tracts of his own and distributed them at said Bible church. Thus was born the Catholics apologetics organization, Catholic Answers. Then as now, many Catholics were hearing the Gospel from friends, neighbors, and co-workers, repenting of sin, accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior, forsaking the Roman church with its false gospel, and attending Gospel-preaching churches. Keating and Catholic Answers sought to “stem the tide.” Keating’s first book, “Catholicism and Fundamentalism: The Attack on “Romanism” by “Bible Christians” (Ignatius Press, 1988) was fairly popular among Catholics who had “lost” family members and friends to “Christian fundamentalism.” In his attack on “fundamentalists,” Keating mixed together credible ministries with disreputable extremists (Chick Publications, Tony Alamo). Keating’s brief explanations of various Catholic doctrines rivaled the sophistry of any Jesuit.

“The Usual Suspects” is Keating’s fourth book and picks up where “Catholicism and Fundamentalism” left off. The credible evangelicals/fundamentalists targeted this time include Bart Brewer, Frank Eberhardt, Dave Hunt, and Bill Jackson, all four now deceased, and John Ankerberg, John MacArthur, and James McCarthy. Mixed in are several bad apples including Jack Chick and Bob Jones, III.

Keating’s approach is the same as before: short explanations of Catholic doctrine expressed with obsfucation masquerading as certitude, but lacking Biblical substance. Two examples will suffice:

  • Bible Christians criticize the continual sacrifice at Catholic masses as a fraudulent repetition of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ at Calvary, since the Bible clearly says Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was offered once for all time (Hebrews 10:12). Keating confidently responds that Catholics certainly don’t “repeat” Jesus’ sacrifice, they “re-present” the very same once-offered sacrifice. Ach. Please.
  • Bible Christians criticize Catholics for worshiping Mary. Well, of course Catholics don’t “worship” Mary, objects Keating. They rightly offer her “hyper-dulia veneration,” which is her due. Hyper what? Ninety-five out of one-hundred Catholics could not define “hyper-dulia veneration,” but most do attribute deific powers to Mary, adore her, and pray to her for their salvation. Call it whatever you’d like, but THAT’S worship.

Each short chapter is filled with similar equivocations. Keating accuses his opponents of lacking charity and sophisticated nuance in their arguments, yet turns around and commits those offenses himself, labeling all Bible Christians as “fundamentalists,” “Bible-thumpers,” and “tract-pushers.” Recommended only to those involved in Gospel outreach to Roman Catholics.

Postscript: This book was written in 2000, way before the current papal crisis, with Catholic conservatives now accusing pope Francis of sowing doctrinal confusion and some even accusing him of being a heretic. Conservatives like Keating and his successors at Catholic Answers are no longer boasting that their pope is incapable of leading the Roman church into error. Should Catholics follow pope Francis and his doctrine-bending reforms or the conservative Catholicism of Keating and cardinal Burke? Neither camp teaches salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

35 thoughts on “The Usual Double Talk

  1. I became Catholic because it seemed so ‘holy, ‘ with all the rituals, vestments, altar cloths, and insistence on uniformity. If the priest omitted even one prayer, the whole Mass could be considered ‘ invalid ‘. But, in the years I sat in Catholic Churches, I never once heard that Christianity is based on a relationship with Jesus. Then, our parish was victimized by clergy abuse. I escaped from the Catholic Church. We need to lovingly pray that our brothers and sisters still in the Catholic Church may come to realize the abundant life through knowing, loving, and serving Jesus.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for sharing, Sally. I praise the Lord that He drew you out of Catholicism! I think I mentioned to you that I was raised as a Catholic from my infant baptism and attended Catholic parochial school and high school. But when I began reading the Bible regularly in my twenties for the first time, the differences between God’s Word and Catholic teaching began a conflict in my soul that lasted a few years until I finally left Catholicism and accepted Christ. Yes, all of the elements of the RCC appeal to the senses and very much so and we need to pray for lost Catholic souls and those believers who are still trapped in the RCC. If you’re interested, I wrote a review of an excellent book that examines the appeal of the RCC’s ritualism and sacramentalism:

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks so much for sharing this, Tom. The review was so informative. My instruction in Catholicism was just a few lessons. When Fr. Joseph learned that I was a musician and could assist at Mass, I think he fast-tracked me ! But eventually I realized that a personal relationship with Christ was never taught, and combined with clergy betrayal, I left.

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      2. Sally, I’m so glad the Lord drew you out of the RCC. I reread my book review and perhaps I was a tad too black and white. I can see where some unwary saints could be drawn into the RCC for various reasons, as in your case, but they’re going to experience increasing spiritual dissonance the more they understand Catholic theology.


  2. One example from the sophistry of the Romanist Karl Keating:

    Karl Keating: Whatever else might be said, it. is certain that the early Church took John 6 and the accounts of the Last Supper literally. There is no record in the early centuries of any Christian doubting the Catholic interpretation. There exists no document in which the literal interpretation is opposed and the metaphorical accepted (Karl Keating, Catholicism and Fundamentalism (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1988), p. 238).

    LOL. Let’s look at two examples ( I have many more):
    Gelasius, Bishop of Rome (492-496): Surely the sacrament we take of the Lord’s body and blood is a divine thing, on account of which, and by the same we are made partakers of the divine nature; and yet the substance of the bread and wine does not cease to be. And certainly the image and similitude of Christ’s body and blood are celebrated in the action of the mysteries. (Tractatus de duabus naturis 14 [PL Sup.-III. 773]) See Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, 3 Vols., trans. George Musgrave Giger and ed. James T. Dennison (Phillipsburg: reprinted by Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1992), Vol. 3, p. 479 (XVIII.xxvi.xx).

    Edward J. Kilmartin, S.J.: According to Gelasius, the sacraments of the Eucharist communicate the grace of the principal mystery. His main concern, however, is to stress, as did Theodoret, the fact that after the consecration the elements remain what they were before the consecration. Edward J. Kilmartin, S.J., “The Eucharistic Theology of Pope Gelasius I: A Nontridentine View” in Studia Patristica, Vol. XXIX (Leuven: Peeters, 1997), p. 288.

    Augustine (354-430) :It seemed unto them hard that He said, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, ye have no life in you:” they received it foolishly, they thought of it carnally, and imagined that the Lord would cut off parts from His body, and give unto them; and they said, “This is a hard saying.” It was they who were hard, not the saying; for unless they had been hard, and not meek, they would have said unto themselves, He saith not this without reason, but there must be some latent mystery herein. They would have remained with Him, softened, not hard: and would have learnt that from Him which they who remained, when the others departed, learnt. For when twelve disciples had remained with Him, on their departure, these remaining followers suggested to Him, as if in grief for the death of the former, that they were offended by His words, and turned back. But He instructed them, and saith unto them, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth, but the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I have spoken unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” Understand spiritually what I have said; ye are not to eat this body which ye see; nor to drink that blood which they who will crucify Me shall pour forth. I have commended unto you a certain mystery; spiritually understood, it will quicken. Although it is needful that this be visibly celebrated, yet it must be spiritually understood. NPNF1: Vol. VIII, St. Augustin on the Psalms, Psalm 99 (98), §8.

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      1. I wonder what sort of fantasy the Roman apologist is living in :).

        Here’s more:

        Augustine (354-430) :“They said therefore unto Him, What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” For He had said to them, “Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto eternal life.” “What shall we do?” they ask; by observing what, shall we be able to fulfill this precept? “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He has sent.” This is then to eat the meat, not that which perisheth, but that which endureth unto eternal life. To what purpose dost thou make ready teeth and stomach? Believe, and thou hast eaten already. NPNF1: Vol. VII, Tractates on John, Tractate 25, §12.

        Clement of Alexandria:: Elsewhere the Lord, in the Gospel according to John, brought this out by symbols, when He said: “Eat ye my flesh, and drink my blood;” describing distinctly by metaphor the drinkable properties of faith and the promise, by means of which the Church, like a human being consisting of many members, is refreshed and grows, is welded together and compacted of both,—of faith, which is the body, and of hope, which is the soul; as also the Lord of flesh and blood. For in reality the blood of faith is hope, in which faith is held as by a vital principle. And when hope expires, it is as if blood flowed forth; and the vitality of faith is destroyed. ANF02, Chapter VI.—The Name Children Does Not Imply Instruction in Elementary Principles. pp 472

        Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466) : You are caught in the net you have woven yourself. For even after the consecration the mystic symbols are not deprived of their own nature; they remain in their former substance figure and form; they are visible and tangible as they were before. But they are regarded as what they are become, and believed so to be, and are worshipped as being what they are believed to be. Compare then the image with the archetype, and you will see the likeness, for the type must be like the reality. For that body preserves its former form, figure, and limitation and in a word the substance of the body; but after the resurrection it has become immortal and superior to corruption; it has become worthy of a seat on the right hand; it is adored by every creature as being called the natural body of the Lord. NPNF2: Vol. III, Theodoret, Dialogue II.—The Unconfounded. Orthodoxos and Eranistes.

        Jerome (347-420) ::Moreover, forasmuch as the flesh of the Lord is true meat, and his blood is true drink anagogically, we have only this good in this life, if we eat his flesh and drink his blood not only in the mystery, but also in the reading of the Scriptures. George Finch, A Sketch of the Romish Controversy (London: G. Norman, 1831), p. 170.

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      1. Man my count is only 347 steps thus far…its raining cats and dogs and lighting storm here, couldn’t go on my long walk and reading at the same time…

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      2. I just got back from the cemetery. I was going to walk the dog while my wife rode her back but it turned into a fiasco! Hadn’t taken her bike apart in years and it was one dumb move after another.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh no sorry to hear that! Cemetery? Do you live near one? Weather stopped raining for a bit and walked shorter path than usual and I’m now at 5025 steps. Hope to walk some more after dinner! Walking and reading is paradise…

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      4. Glad you got some walking (and reading) in! We live maybe 3 miles from a big cemetery and our dog can run free there. After really struggling to take the bike apart and put it back together, I could do it all again in 3 minutes now that I’ve re-educated myself.

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    1. Re: I applaud the “confusion” and pray confused

      Unfortunately, Catholic Answers practices deceit to keep those souls around, as our Eastern Orthodox friends found out  here 

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Slimjim, no. I am a Sola Scriptura Protestant.

        I studied basic Eastern Orthodox theology and visit edtheir forum to learn more about their practices, because Romanists love to overstate their commonalities with the EO.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for this review. Its interesting to see they have to invent a category out of thin air : hyper-dulia veneration. They have to invent that to explain away their clear worship of Mary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, there’s not a Catholic on Earth who can satisfactorily explain precisely where “Hyper-dulia” veneration to Mary ends and “latria” worship of God begins. It’s a sham.

      Liked by 1 person

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