“Invalid Baptism” Redux

Religious legalism and works-righteousness false gospels always, always, always lead to contradictions and unanswerable rabbit-hole conundrums. Two of the most glaring examples I’ve come across in my seven-plus years of blogging were the bizarre cases of Catholic priests, Matthew Hood and Andres Arango.

As a preliminary, we recognize that the RCC teaches un-Biblical baptismal regeneration:

“Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: ‘Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.'” – CCC 1213

Let’s now get to our two examples:

  • In the Summer of 2020, RC priest, Matthew Hood, of Detroit discovered via an old family video that a Catholic deacon had baptised him as an infant using an incorrect incantation. Instead of using the prescribed formulaic incantation, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” the deacon said, “We baptize you…” Hood’s baptism was thereby ruled to be invalid by RC church authorities, meaning his priestly ordination in 2017 was invalid, which meant that all of the sacraments Hood had administered over the course of three years as an illegitimate priest – baptism, eucharist,* confession, matrimony, last rites – were also invalid. Hood had to be rebaptized, reconfirmed, and reordained. The Archdiocese of Detroit set about to contact as many affected Catholics as possible to re-receive the requisite sacraments from a valid priest. See my 2020 posts on Hood here and here.
  • Then, in February 2022, it was discovered that priest, Andres Arango of the Diocese of Phoenix had been using the incorrect “We baptize you…” incantation for 20 years. The Phoenix diocese also attempted to contact those who were affected. See my 2022 post on Arango here.

Needless to say, the secular press had a field day with the two cases. They mistakenly believed inane Catholic scrupulosity represented Christianity.

The above should raise serious questions about the legitimacy of baptismal regeneration in the minds of those who espouse it. Does salvation hinge upon a precise formulaic incantation? What about all of the affected people who died or couldn’t be reached? How many other priests and deacons have used incorrect baptismal incantations? How can Roman Catholicism teach baptismal regeneration requiring a precise incantation when it incongruently allows that all non-Catholics and even atheists may also merit Heaven if they follow their conscience?

I was recently perusing the Reformanda Initiative website and I noticed two podcasts that examine the “invalid baptism” quandary mentioned above. Reformanda Initiative is both a Gospel outreach to Roman Catholics and an educational resource for evangelicals. There’s some excellent discussion on this radically bizarre example of Roman Catholic legalism and I invite you to listen:

Recall Notice! Your Baptism is not Valid: Part I – March 1, 2022 – 38 minutes
Featuring Clay Kannard and Reid Karr of Reformanda Initiative with guest, Jordan Standridge, missionary to Rome.
https://reformandainitiative.buzzsprout.com/663850/10165146-s3e10-recall-notice-your-baptism-is-not-valid-part-i

Recall Notice! Your Baptism is not Valid: Part 2 – March 14, 2022 – 32 minutes
Featuring Leonardo De Chirico, Clay Kannard, and Reid Karr of Reformanda Initiative
https://reformandainitiative.buzzsprout.com/663850/10246210-s3e11-recall-notice-your-baptism-is-not-valid-part-2

*Some Catholics claim that they have a sublime, ecstatic experience after consuming the consecrated Jesus wafer. As I asked in one of my referenced posts, how is it that over the course of three years not one Catholic noticed that invalid priest Hood’s wafers were not transubstantiated?

Postscript: Listening to these podcasts gave me an excellent idea for a weekly series. Tune in for the announcement next Monday.

Throwback Thursday: Roman Catholicism’s confirmation hoax

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on September 8, 2016 and has been revised.

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Growing up, my five older sisters and I were all indoctrinated into the Roman Catholic religion. We all attended Catholic parochial school and high school. I was baptized as an infant and participated in my first confession and first communion in the first grade and was confirmed as a Roman Catholic in fifth grade. Of all the Catholic sacraments, confirmation is probably the least prominent. The Roman church defines confirmation as follows:

“Confirmation is a true sacrament instituted by Christ and different from baptism. It is administered by laying-on of hands and anointing with chrism (holy oil – Tom) accompanied by prayer. The chrism is blessed by the bishop and the bishop administers the sacrament. All baptized persons can and should be confirmed. The effect of the sacrament of confirmation is to give strength in faith and for the confession of faith and to impress an indelible character.”
http://www.catholic.org/prayers/sacrament.php?id=3

It’s alleged that the Holy Spirit “seals” the confirmation supplicant. With confirmation, the young Catholic is supposedly declaring, “I was baptized as an infant without my consent, but I continue forward as a Catholic by choice.” However, confirmation wasn’t really a choice for any of us. It was something my parochial school classmates and I were required to do as part of our religious indoctrination. We were only ten or eleven-years-old and none of us had ever heard the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone up to that point or throughout all of our years in Catholicism.

The nuns and priests told us it was required that we go to confession prior to being confirmed. Going to confession was definitely not one of my favorite things to do and I hadn’t gone in quite a long time. Catholics are taught they must confess their “mortal” sins to a priest and they must go to confession at least once a year or incur another mortal sin. Yet, Catholic research shows only 24 percent of Catholics go to confession at least yearly. The notion of recalling a year’s worth of sins is absolutely preposterous to a believer.

I figured I’d better obey the nuns, so I went to confession on the Saturday prior to Confirmation. I entered the dark, tri-part confessional and waited for the priest, John Lynch, to finish up with the penitent on the other side. Boy, I was nervous and my hands were sweating profusely. Priest Lynch finally slid open the small panel to my booth and I began my rote confession.

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It’s been a month since my last confession.” I lied. It had actually been a couple of years since my last confession, but I was embarrassed and afraid to admit that. I then proceeded with my obligatory list of sins. It went something like, “I lied to my mother five times. I yelled at my sisters ten times. I disobeyed my father three times. I cheated on a test in school.” I had no idea how many times I had actually committed these sins so I tried to come up with a believable number.

I continued, “I was mean to a younger kid in the neighborhood….”

RC priest, John Lynch (d. 2011)

“Stop!” Lynch, cut me off mid-sentence. My eyes turned as BIG as Kennedy half-dollars. Sounding more than a little exasperated, he angrily blurted out, “You’re wasting my time and yours!” What? I was one shocked and confused ten-year-old boy. Tears welled up in my eyes. I was only doing what I had been ordered to do and this is what happens? Lynch gave me some perfunctory “Hail Marys” and “Our Fathers” to pray as penance for my annoying venial sins and quickly dismissed me. I couldn’t get out of that booth fast enough and I firmly resolved at that moment to never enter a confessional booth ever again as long as I lived.

We all went through the confirmation ceremony the following week. Auxiliary bishop Casey prayed over each of us and applied some blessed holy oil to our foreheads. None of us children knew Jesus Christ as our Savior. It was all empty ritual. Afterwards, my family and my first cousin, Rick, my chosen confirmation sponsor, went out to dinner to celebrate the “big event.” I received several gifts from my family, but neither myself or anyone else knew Jesus Christ.

Seventeen years later, through God’s Word and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, I repented of my rebellion against God and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior by faith alone. Praise God! Religious ceremonies and rituals do not save. All of my five sisters, who went through confirmation just as I did, are now self-proclaimed agnostics or atheists. They never knew Christ. As a child of God through Jesus Christ, I can now come boldly to the throne of grace to confess my sins. A sinful man cannot be a mediator between God and myself. Jesus Christ is the only Mediator. Thank you Lord that I can come directly to You any hour of the day or night. I know You’ll never turn me away.

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” – 1 Timothy 2:5

Likewise, it’s the Holy Spirit Who seals all genuine believers. It’s not a ritualistic sacrament imparted by a sinful man.

“And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” – 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

Thank you, Lord, for leading me out of religious legalism and saving me!

“Invalid” baptisms? Another Catholic rabbit hole

This past week, news sources reported that a Roman Catholic priest, Andres Arango (photo above) of the diocese of Phoenix, had “invalidly” baptized people for decades. Huh? First a little background.

The Roman Catholic church teaches “baptismal regeneration” i.e., the belief that baptism washes away original sin and incorporates the baptised individual into the church and allows them to receive additional sacraments to help them merit their salvation. For 1500 years, the RCC taught baptism is essential for salvation. However, modernism crept into RC theology during the 20th century and at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) the church dichotomously granted that all unbaptized religionists – Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. – could also merit Heaven. How does that work? It was claimed the unbaptized would be covered under the tenet of baptismus flaminis (Latin: “baptism of desire”), i.e., the righteous unbaptised would desire baptism if they only knew how important it was.

Got all that? I know, I know. It’s impossibly incongruent, but let’s continue on to the crux of this post.

In order for baptism to be efficacious, the precise baptismal incantation – “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” – must be used by the priest. If the incantation is altered in any way, the baptism is invalid. The candidate still retains original sin, cannot receive the additional six sacraments, and is doomed to hell (unless they plead the baptismus flaminis clause at the gates of Heaven – I’m being facetious).

The Catholic and secular press recently reported (link below) that it was discovered that priest Arango has been using the incorrect baptismal incantation since he was ordained in 1995. Instead of saying, I baptize you…,” Arango used the incorrect formula, We baptize you…” It’s unknown exactly how many Catholics were affected, but the number is not insignificant. Arango held many positions in Brazil and in the United States and church authorities are attempting to contact as many of the individuals baptized by Arango as possible. They will all have to be re-baptized, and repeat the sacraments of confirmation and marriage (if applicable). They also won’t be able to receive the Jesus wafer or confess their sins to a priest until they are re-baptized.

Arango has resigned his position as a Phoenix parish priest and is currently assisting church authorities in the search for those affected.

Does the above strike you as absolute inanity? Religious legalism leads to all kinds ridiculous rabbit holes such as the case above. Baptism is an important ordinance as a public witness of our faith, but it is not salvific.

Roman Catholics need to hear the genuine Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. They’re hearing a false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit in their churches. Shame on Rome-friendly evangelical pastors and para-church leaders who claim the Roman Catholic church teaches the genuine Gospel.

How one priest’s mistake led to over 20 years of invalid baptisms
https://aleteia.org/2022/02/10/how-one-priests-mistake-led-to-over-20-years-of-invalid-baptisms/

A couple of years ago, I reported on a similar dizzying rabbit hole, that of priest who had been “invalidly baptized” himself as an infant, making all of the sacraments he administered “invalid.” See here and here.

Throwback Thursday: Showing proper respect to the Jesus wafer

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on July 13, 2016 and has been revised.

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Evangelicals go to church to worship the Lord with fellow believers through prayer, song, and instruction in the Word. The Lord is present with us spiritually as we worship Him together.

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” – Matthew 18:20

Roman Catholics go to their churches on Sunday for a quite a different reason. Catholics are taught by their church that priests change bread wafers and wine into the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. The priest then offers up the Jesus wafers to God the Father as a sacrifice for sins. Catholics then line up to receive and consume the Jesus wafer. They are taught that after they take the wafer into their mouth and swallow it, that Jesus is physically inside of them for 15 minutes until the stomach acids completely break down the bread wafer. During those fifteen minutes, the Jesus wafer allegedly imparts graces to the individual so that they are better able to avoid committing mortal sins. Catholics are taught they must perfectly obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) in order to merit Heaven. Minor venial sins will sidetrack them to Purgatory for an indefinite period. After all the supplicants have received their Jesus wafer, the priest places the “leftover” Jesuses in a locked box called the tabernacle, situated on or near church altars.

Today, I was listening to the 6/9/16 podcast of  the “Calling All Catholics” talk radio show on the Station of the Cross, 101.7 FM, out of Buffalo, NY, with host, Steve Quebral, and Catholic priest, Rick Poblocki, taking questions from the listeners. Steve started off the show by complaining that Catholics often don’t show proper respect to the Jesus wafer while they’re in church and he asked Rick to review the rules of proper Jesus wafer etiquette.

Priest Rick broke it down into three basic steps:

  1. Catholic must enter the church quietly, respectfully, and reverently. Rick remarked that the Jesus wafer is “resting” in the tabernacle and Catholics must acknowledge “his” presence with the proper respect.
  2. Before entering their pew, a Catholic must look at the tabernacle and genuflect, bending the right knee (according to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal) to the ground, in homage to the Jesus wafer.
  3. While they are sitting, kneeling, and standing in the pew during the mass, the Catholic should focus their attention on the Jesus wafers in the tabernacle and the Jesus wafers newly consecrated by the priest.

Those are the basics. For more detailed instructions on proper Jesus wafer and mass etiquette see the pdf below:

Click to access Catholic%20Mass%20Etiquette,%20I,II,III.pdf

Catholic friend, Jesus is not a bread wafer and He’s not locked away in a little box. The Bible says He’s currently seated at the right hand of God the Father making intercession for all who accept Him as Savior by faith alone. Man-made religious rituals and long religious laundry lists don’t save. God made His Good News of salvation so simple that even a ten-year-old child can understand it. There is no distinction between “mortal” sin and “venial” sin. Sin is sin and we’re all sinners – sinners deserve eternal punishment – Jesus Christ, God the Son, paid the penalty for our sins on the cross – Jesus rose from the grave, defeating sin and death and offers the gift of eternal life and fellowship with God to all those who repent of their sinful rebellion against God and receive Him as Savior by faith alone. We don’t need priests, altars, and daily sacrifices anymore. Jesus did it all! Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior today and ask Him to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that preaches God’s Word without compromise.

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” – Matthew 24:23-27

Throwback Wednesday: See Jesus via web cam, 24/7?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Huh? But it’s only Wednesday? Yup, I realize I’m a day early, but I had to do a little rearranging to accommodate tomorrow’s timely post. Today, we’re going to revisit an article that was originally published back on April 17, 2016 and has been revised.

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Did you know Roman Catholics believe they can see Jesus Christ 24/7 via web cam? First, a little background.

I’ve mentioned many times that evangelicals and Catholics view the Lord’s Supper VERY differently. Evangelicals partake of the symbolic elements of the Lord’s Supper with great humility and thanksgiving as we remember that our Lord gave His body and blood as a sacrifice for our sins so that we could have eternal life in Him.

Catholicism, on the other hand, teaches its priests change bread wafers and wine into the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ at every mass. The priest then offers up Jesus the “host” (victim) to God the Father as a sacrifice for the “venial” (small, pardonable) sins* of those present, along with those of the pope, the local bishop, and anyone else mentioned (including souls suffering in purgatory). Many of the attendees then line up to receive a Jesus wafer (Jesus wine from a shared cup is optional). Communion recipients are taught that Jesus is physically present inside of them for 15 minutes as their body digests the wafer. The RC church teaches the venial sins of the participants can be forgiven at any point during the mass, but especially during the penitential rite portion and at Holy Communion. Catholics believe the consecrated Jesus wafer imparts graces to the recipients to help them obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) in order to possibly merit Heaven at the moment of their death.

The sacrament of the “eucharist” (thanksgiving) is the central tenet of the Catholic belief system. Rather than receiving Jesus as Savior by faith spiritually, Catholicism sadly misinterprets John 6 and the Last Supper discourses in the gospels and insists that Jesus must be physically eaten in order to attain salvation. Catholics give lip service to “grace” and “faith,” but believe they must ultimately merit their salvation by obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and man-made church rules with help from the alleged Jesus wafer.

After every mass, any leftover Jesus wafers are stored in a locked box called the “tabernacle,” to be distributed later to the sick and housebound. On occasion, priests will set a large Jesus wafer in an ornate viewing container called a “monstrance.” Catholics are invited to come to church separately from the mass to worship and adore the Jesus wafer as “he” rests in the transparent container. In some churches, volunteers sign up for time slots so that the Jesus wafer will be worshiped around the clock in “perpetual adoration.”

I’m currently reading “Another Jesus: The Eucaristic Christ and the New Evangelization” by Roger Oakland and I wanted to pass along a bit of information that’s presented. There are a few Catholic religious orders that do nothing else but worship the Jesus wafer. The members of the order eat, sleep, and worship the wafer. In his book, Oakland mentions a web site (see link below)  maintained by the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters, which includes a live web cam of a Jesus wafer in a monstrance. That’s right! Catholics can view and worship the wafer Jesus any time they want within the privacy and comfort of their own homes.

http://www.savior.org/

Several such “Jesus cams” are available on the internet so that Catholics can worship and adore the virtual Jesus wafer 24/7.

Catholic friend, accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. Jesus is not locked away in a gold box or in a monstrance as a bread wafer. He’s sitting at the right hand of the Father and He’s waiting for you to forsake your dependence on your church membership and your religious laundry list and to accept Him as your Savior by faith alone.

“At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.” – Matthew 24:23-28

“Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” – Hebrews 10:11-14

*Catholicism teaches that “mortal” (major) sins can only be forgiven by a priest in the confessional booth or while administering last rites.

Postscript: On occasions when Catholic churches have caught on fire, pious Catholics have been known to enter the burning building to “rescue” the Jesus wafers stored in the altar tabernacle. See my relevant post here.

Throwback Thursday: Godparents or ceremonial sham?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on March 2, 2016 and has been revised.

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Today, I was listening to the 11/17/15 podcast of the “Calling All Catholics” radio show via the Station of the Cross, 101.7 FM, in Buffalo, NY with Catholic priest, Rick Poblocki, answering questions about Roman Catholicism. A listener sent in an email to the show saying a friend had asked her to be a godparent of her soon-to-be-baptized infant child.* Catholic godparents are required to be practicing Catholics who act as witnesses at the baptism and promise to help the growing child fulfill her or his future obligations and responsibilities as a member of the church. The listener complained that the mother of the child is not a “faithfully practicing Catholic” and doubts whether she “sincerely intends to raise the child in the faith.” She asked “father” Rick whether she should be a party to such a pretense.

“Father” Rick advised her to agree to be a godparent because she could be the strong Catholic influence that the child would otherwise never have. He then went on to bemoan the fact that “there’s a lot of people getting their kids baptized or confirmed, (but) they can’t find anybody (to be sponsors) that’s practicing the faith anymore.” Catholic sources report that only 24% of Catholics attend mandatory weekly mass and only 24% of Catholics participate in mandatory yearly confession. Generally speaking, Catholics go to church for weddings, funerals, Christmas, and Easter, but beyond that it’s a crapshoot. But who can blame them? Their pope says even atheists will go to Heaven if they are “good” so why bother with all the obligatory liturgical rigmarole?

I was baptized into the Catholic church as an infant, but my godparents never once encouraged me in my religious training. That’s probably the case for 99% of so-called godparents. It’s all just empty ceremonialism and ritual. As a young parochial school student, my baptized classmates and I went through all the formalities – first confession, first communion, and confirmation – but it was all empty, impersonal ceremony, like checking off a religious to-do list. No one had accepted Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone because the genuine Gospel was never presented to us. Rather, we were all jumping over the prescribed, ritualistic religious hurdles as we attempted to earn our way to Heaven. The institutionalized church we were members of presented its religious system as “the way” rather than Jesus Christ as the Way.

The Lord worked on my heart for many years and, through God’s Word, the Holy Spirit led me out of religious ritualism to Jesus Christ. I accepted Him as my Savior by faith alone and was genuinely born-again at the age of 27. It’s not ritual. It’s not ceremony. It’s not liturgy. It’s not sacraments. It’s understanding that we are all sinners deserving eternal punishment and that there is no hope, no plea other than Jesus Christ and then accepting Him as Savior and then following Him as Lord. Unlike the pope, the Bible says no one is “good,” no not one.

“He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” – Mark 7:6-8

*Roman Catholicism teaches baptismal regeneration and that infants are “born-again” when they are baptized.

Throwback Thursday: “The Priest, the Woman, and the Confessional”

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on February 29, 2016 and has been revised.

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The Priest, the Woman, and the Confessional
By Charles Chiniquy
Chick Publications, 1979, 144 pages

5 Stars

I don’t normally waste my time with material from Chick Publications because I don’t believe every calamity is attributable to a Jesuit global conspiracy, but I received this book as a gift. This Chick reprint of “The Priest, the Woman, and the Confessional” by ex-priest, Charles Chiniquy, preserves a valuable, nineteenth-century Protestant critique of Roman Catholicism’s sacrament of auricular confession. Chiniquy’s book was first published in 1875, followed by many subsequent re-prints.

With overwrought prose typical of his times, Chiniquy warns his readers of the dangers inherent in “auricular” (spoken into the ear of the confessor) confession. Catholics are obligated to confess their “mortal” sins to a priest at least once a year under penalty of incurring yet another “mortal” sin. Since most penitents are extremely reluctant to divulge any embarrassing sexual sins, whether they be thoughts or actions, priests are instructed to thoroughly question the person about such matters to ensure a candid “good” confession. Chiniquy gives many examples of the dangers of celibate confessors (priests) interrogating their female supplicants about such personal matters. The Catholic church acknowledges the pitfalls inherent in its process by defining the use of the confessional for immoral purposes by priests as “solicitation.”

Catholicism teaches that salvation comes by receiving its sacraments, all tightly controlled by the clergy, and by obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules. The sacrament of reconciliation, auricular confession, is just another opportunity for the Catholic clergy to exercise control over its members. Chiniquy demonstrates that confession of sins to a priest has no basis in New Testament Scripture and he urges the reader to turn from man-made Catholic legalism and traditions and accept Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone. Once a person accepts Christ as Savior, they should confess all sin directly to God, not to a human mediator (Mark 2:7).

“The Priest, the Woman, and the Confessional” has been lumped together with similar evangelical Protestant books of the period as anti-Catholic “hate literature” of a bygone era. One could argue the title is a bit salacious and meant to appeal to prurient interests. Likewise, the illustrated cover provided by Chick Publications is mildly sensationalistic. Ex-priest Chiniquy definitely exaggerates his point by claiming the confessional was directly responsible for bringing many Catholic countries down to ruin. These minor objections aside, even the most sectarian Catholic apologist can’t deny the Roman confessional has led to abuse of scandalous proportions.

While Chiniquy was concerned with relationships between confessor priests and their adult, female penitents, news reports over the last thirty years have revealed shocking clerical sexual abuse of children, mainly boys, validating the ex-priest’s warnings regarding the confessional, but going far beyond the improprieties alluded to in this book. In many cases, the abusive relationships between priests and children began in the confessional box. The sacraments of the “eucharist” and confession had been reserved for adults prior to 1910, but that year pope “saint” Pius X issued his Quam Singulari decree, which mandated that Catholic children begin receiving communion and going to confession at age seven. In 2012, bishopaccountability.org reported the number of American priests credibly accused of molesting children since 1950 to be more than 6,100. Over 16,000 victims have been documented although many others surely never came forward. The Catholic church’s cover up of its pedophile priests scandal involved the highest offices of the hierarchy.

In contrast to Chiniquy’s time, Catholics now stay away from the confessional box in droves despite the threat of “mortal” sin. Who can blame them? Catholic sources state that only 26% of the membership participate in confession at least once a year. Evidently the other 74% would rather take their chances with eternity than share a “dark box” with a priest. Additionally, asking penitents to recall all of the times they disobeyed the Ten Commandments in the past year is beyond ludicrous. I couldn’t possibly recall all of my sins against God in either thought, word, deed, and omission for even a single day. Christ reveals in Matthew 5 the utter hopelessness of attempting to obey the law as a means to salvation. The entire business is a religious sham designed to keeps its members totally dependent on the Catholic clergy.

“Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified” – Galatians 2:16

Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone and ask the Lord to direct you to an evangelical church in your area that’s preaches God’s Word without compromise.

Afterthought: An “invalid” priest and the dizzying consequences

A couple of weeks ago, I published a post about a Roman Catholic priest, Matthew Hood (photo above), who recently discovered that his infant baptism was “invalid,” which, as a consequence, rendered his ordination invalid. That led to all kinds of ramifications and diocesan “remediations,” which I examined in the first post (see here).

Afterwards, another thought came to mind regarding priest Hood and the specific sacrament of the eucharist that I will focus on further below. But first, let’s lay some groundwork.

The Catholic church teaches that during the mass, the priest mystically changes bread wafers and wine into the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ, which are then offered up to God the Father as a sacrifice for the sins of those assembled, and also for the pope, the local bishop, and anyone else who is specially mentioned. The congregants then line up to receive a consecrated Jesus wafer from the priest. They are taught that consuming the Jesus wafer provides graces to help them resist sin and do good in order to merit their salvation at the time of their death. Some Catholics testify that consuming the Jesus wafer is, for them, a very powerful, mystical experience. Some even report feeling an emotional closeness to Jesus that borders on the rapturous.

Let’s now return to the case of priest Matthew Hood. Hood was ordained as a priest on June 3, 2017, but discovered this past summer that he was invalidly baptized as an infant, which meant his ordination was also invalid. So, over the course of three years, Hood celebrated mass at two different parishes as an invalid priest. If Hood celebrated mass at least once per day over that span, that’s at least 1000 times he went through the motions of transubstantiation – the supposed changing of the bread wafers and wine into the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ – without having done so because he had not actually been ordained and invested with priestly powers (I write these things strictly for hypothetical purposes).

So for three long years, not one congregant noticed that the bread wafers dispensed by Hood were not transubstantiated. Don’t miss it, my friends. This is very revealing! Not one parishioner spoke up and said, “Hey, there’s something wrong here! I’m not experiencing any wonderful feelings or behavior-changing results from these communion wafers like I normally do.” NOT ONE PERSON raised a concern about the faux Jesus wafers distributed by Hood during the three years he was an invalid priest.

All of the above is not surprising to me. As a Roman Catholic, I consumed the transubstantiated Jesus wafer at least weekly, beginning with my first communion at age seven up until my early-teen years (fourteen?), after which I began attending mass irregularly. I estimate that I received communion over 500 times in my 27 years as a Catholic, which included a four-year stint as an altar boy. Not once in those 500+ times did I ever undergo some type of mystical, empowering experience. I was exactly the same after consuming the Jesus wafer as I was before. I also observed there were no radical or even subtle changes in my parents, my sisters, or my Catholic grammar school and high school classmates after they had received the Jesus wafer.

The bottom line: those Catholics who claim a mystical and/or behavior-altering experience after consuming the allegedly transubstantiated Jesus wafer are self-delusional as this invalid priest saga proves. Religious sacraments, rituals, and ceremonies don’t save. The Good News is that salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone this day and then ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that preaches the Gospel without compromise.

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.” – Matthew 24:23

An “invalid” priest and the dizzying consequences

Although the Roman Catholic church claims it is a Christian institution (it actually declares that it is the “one, true church”), its salvation system of sacramental grace and merit is antithetical to the genuine Good News Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

Roman Catholicism appeals to the religious lost with its precise liturgical rituals and formal pomposity, but beneath the ornate facade is an impossible legalism that dooms the soul.

While searching for news items for a recent weekend roundup, I came across the article far below, which required a post all by itself. It’s an excellent example of a Roman Catholic legalistic religious rabbit hole that just gets deeper and deeper and deeper. Fasten your seat belt and let’s delve into this bizarre and sad circumstance.

Roman Catholic priest, Matthew Hood (photo above), was enjoying a family video of his 1990 infant baptism, but became very distraught when he observed the presiding deacon, Mark Springer, using an incorrect version of the baptismal formula. Instead of saying, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” as the church mandates, the deacon had incorrectly said, “We baptize you…” Hood immediately contacted his superior, the archbishop of Detroit, who in turn contacted the Vatican in Rome. The Vatican quickly ruled that Hood’s infant baptism was invalid because of the incorrect wording, which meant that his ordination as a priest in 2017 was likewise invalid. The bishop immediately had Hood rebaptized using the correct formula, and then reconfirmed, and reordained, but the problem doesn’t end there. Only validly ordained priests are supposedly empowered to administer the sacraments. As an invalidly ordained priest, Hood had illegitimately administered the sacraments of 1) the eucharist, 2) confession, 3) last rites, 4) marriage, and 5) confirmation (note: the RCC allows that anyone may administer the sacrament of baptism, even an atheist, as long as they follow the precise rubrics).

The archdiocese is now instructing all of the members of the two parishes where Hood was assigned to inquire if any remedial follow-up is needed as well as all those who were baptized by Springer from 1986 to 1999 when he was active.

Everyone who was married or confirmed by Hood will need to have those sacraments re-performed by a validly ordained priest. But what about the thousands of times Hood invalidly administered the sacraments of the eucharist, absolution, and last rites? What happens to those souls who relied on Hood for those sacraments during the three years he was an invalid priest? According to Catholic theology, the sacraments are essential to salvation, yet Hood’s parishioners were receiving bogus sacraments for three years. What about the members who had received illegitimate eucharist, absolution, and last rites during that time span and died? The archbishop of Detroit, Allen H. Vigneron, attempted to quell any panic by stating, “We can be assured that all those who approached Father Hood, in good faith, to receive the sacraments did not walk away empty-handed.” Hmm. That message presumes upon a laxness on the part of Catholicism’s god that is contradicted by all of the current, highly-prioritized, diocesan-dictated remediation.

My friends, this sad saga is an excellent illustration of how Catholicism’s salvation system of sacramental grace and merit is a legalistic rabbit hole that just gets deeper and deeper. One irregular contingency leads to another and another and another. At the same time that it deals in all of the legalistic scrupulosity detailed above, the Roman Catholic church dichotomously teaches that people of all religions (e.g., Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.) and even atheists can merit Heaven if they are sincere and “follow the light they are given.” Turn from false (c)hristianity, repent of your sin, and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone.

Detroit priest’s invalid baptism had ripple effect, archdiocese says
https://www.catholicnews.com/detroit-priests-invalid-baptism-had-ripple-effect-archdiocese-says/

Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #27: “We Confess Our Sins Directly to God”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. With this next chapter, the Catholic apologist continues his section on Sacraments and the specific topic of confessing sins to a priest as he counters evangelical Protestants’ objection that “We Confess Our Sins Directly to God.”

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Last week, Broussard pretty much covered this topic of the confession of sins to a priest with his “God Alone Can Forgive Sins” chapter (see here). In this chapter, he takes a slightly different tack on the same topic, perhaps as part of a strategy to amass fifty chapters?

The Roman Catholic church teaches that its members must confess all “mortal” sins to a priest in order for them to be forgiven:

“Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of Penance: ‘All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent self-examination are conscious must be recounted by them in confession…'” – CCC 1456.

“Indeed bishops and priests, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, have the power to forgive all sins “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” – CCC 1461

In contrast, Gospel Christians confess their sins to God alone and cite 1 John 1:9 as one of their proof texts:

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Broussard responds to this evangelical argument with three rebuttals:

(1) The Catholic apologist posits that 1 John 1:9 doesn’t specify direct confession to God and can be interpreted so as to accommodate the Catholic view.

(2) Broussard refers to his Greek lexicon once again and suggests that the word, “confess” (homologeō), used in 1 John 1:9, “has a public connotation, which would suggest that the confession of sins that John speaks of is not merely a direct confession to God.” The Catholic apologist states that public confession presided over by a priest was once the church norm, but “over the course of time, the Church adopted the ordinary practice of private confession of sins to a priest” (p.150).

(3) Broussard’s last argument is that (A) since confession of sin was public in the Old Testament, then (B) it must follow that public confession would also be the proper mode in the New Covenant. He cites Leviticus 5:5-6 as a proof text for his first assertion and then cites James 5:16 as a supporting text for his second assertion: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another…”

Okay, let’s answer Broussard’s rebuttals.

(1) Only by artifice can a Catholic twist 1 John 1:9 to mean confession to a priest. It’s clear that the recipient of our confession referred to in the verse is God:

If we confess our sins (Question: To whom do we confess our sins?), he (Answer: God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

We must note here that 1 John 1:9 is not a salvation verse. Catholics and Gospel Christians have opposing views on justification and salvation. Catholics believe they must continuously confess their mortal (major) sins to a priest and receive absolution in order to maintain their justified standing/justification before Holy God. Gospel Christians believe justification is a one-time event when we repent of our sin and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone and receive His imputed perfect righteousness. We then confess our sins daily to our Father for “relational forgiveness,” NOT for salvation. 1 John 1:9 is about relational forgiveness, NOT about salvation. See the article far below regarding 1 John 1:9 and relational forgiveness.

(2) Broussard suggests that homologeō (“confess”) used in John 1:9 can mean a public confession or a declaration as well as a private confession and from that he interpolates the Catholic view that the apostle John was referring to public confession before a presiding priest. We have no argument with the fact that homologeō can mean either a private or public confession or declaration, but the undeniable fact is that nowhere in the New Testament do we read of believers confessing their sins to a priest. Broussard admits that private (auricular) confession to a priest was not standard practice in early-Catholicism. It wasn’t until the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 AD that the practice was standardized. Why the change from group to auricular confession? Catholicism boasts that it is Semper eadem, “always the same,” but has capriciously changed many of its doctrines and practices over the centuries.

(3) Broussard proposes that the Israelites confessed their sins to the Levitical priests in the Old Covenant just as Catholics confess sins to their priests. This is amazingly poor and self-serving hermeneutics. Leviticus 5:5-6 refers to God’s instructions to the Israelites to confess their sins directly to Him before bringing their animal sacrifice to a priest. There is not one Old Testament scholar, rabbinical or evangelical, who would agree that the Israelites confessed their sins to a priest. As for James 5:16, the verse simply exhorts believers to ask forgiveness from a fellow-believer whom they have offended, the same underlying message in Colossians 3:13.

The Roman Catholic church teaches heresy by interposing priests as mediators between God and men when God’s Word proclaims, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” – 1 Timothy 2:5.

Confession of sins to a human priest is blasphemous and has led to the abuse of many credulous, trusting penitents by celibate, predatory priests.

“Who can forgive sins but God alone?” – Mark 2:7

See the articles below for more information:

Why do we need to confess our sins if they have already been forgiven (1 John 1:9)?
https://www.gotquestions.org/confession-forgiveness.html

What does the Bible say about confession of sin to a priest?
https://www.gotquestions.org/confession-sin-priest.html

Keep in mind that 75% of Roman Catholics do not comply with the requirement of yearly confession (at a minimum) even though they are threatened with eternal damnation for not doing so. Also keep in mind that while Mr. Broussard zealously defends such doctrines as the confession of sins to a priest, his pope and the prelates of the RCC teach that Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, and even atheists may also merit heaven if they follow their religion or conscience.

Next up: “We’re All Priests”