Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 5/25/19

Promise Keepers got its start in 1990 as a ministry to, among other things, assist men in becoming better husbands and fathers. Unfortunately, Promise Keepers’ “gospel” message was so watered down that both evangelical and works-righteousness Catholic men could gather at stadiums and sing macho versions of “Kumbaya” together. Promise Keepers was a tool of ecumenism. Catholic men don’t need to stand around singing with a bunch of accommodators and compromisers who tell them they’re just fine spiritually. They need to hear the undiluted Gospel! See more on the problems with Promise Keepers here.

Speaking of ecumenism, pope Francis is encouraging Catholics to join in the “Thy Kingdom Come” international prayer campaign, May 30-June 9. I myself will be praying that week, as I do every week, that Roman Catholics here in the U.S. and throughout the world will hear the genuine Gospel of grace, repent of their sin, accept Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone, and leave the apostate RCC.

Our state senator and aspiring POTUS, Kirsten Gillibrand, has her opinions as to what makes one view “Christian” over another, but I can assure you, her opinions have absolutely no basis in Scripture. Sixty-million infants have been murdered in the U.S. alone since the inception of the abortion genocide here in 1973. There appears to be some battles looming ahead in the SCOTUS over the abortion issue. However, souls were never born-again or hearts changed via legislation or by a court ruling.

This “news” should not be a revelation to anyone. Back in the day when Catholic prelates were political power brokers in this country, local police agencies conspired with Catholic dioceses to keep cases of abusive priests out of the headlines. I imagine newspapers and other media sources were also willing partners in the “gentleman’s agreement.”

This police raid on the Dallas Catholic diocesan offices is just one more sickening detail in the year-long pedophile priests and cover-up scandal tsunami. Many Catholics no longer have any faith in their priests or their church. They need to hear there is a better Way; Jesus Christ and the Gospel of grace.

The PBS “educational” cartoon, “Arthur,” which is aimed at the 4-8 years-old age group, recently featured an episode in which a teacher character marries his same-sex “partner.” Young children are being indoctrinated into the LGBTQ agenda at school and via television.

To accusations from conservative Catholics that he is subverting foundational doctrines and creating confusion, pope Francis just keeps his head down and continues to cunningly mold the Roman church into a more “progressive” version. In the meantime, conservative Catholics continue to search for the courage of their convictions.

Sozo prayer? Argh. So much bad stuff comes from Bethel Redding church and the New Apostolic Reformation movement.

I appreciate a little humor from the Babylon Bee after another roundup of serious news. I’m not a fan of believers being pushed to identify their spiritual gifts, as I wrote about here.

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Gospel Outreach Ministries to Roman Catholics

Did the title of this post, “Gospel Outreach Ministries to Roman Catholics,” catch your attention? Some of you may be thinking, “Why do we need to reach out to Roman Catholics with the Gospel? Aren’t they Christians, too?” In our current era of plurality, tolerance, and inclusiveness, it’s seen by many as uncharitable to speak the truth about Roman Catholicism. After all, many say that “Catholics love Jesus, too.” But the truth is that the Roman Catholic church teaches many doctrines that are quite different from Biblical Christianity. Most importantly, Catholics are taught that salvation comes through sacramental grace and merit rather than by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Catholics need to hear the genuine Gospel rather than the false gospel they are taught in their churches.

Below, I’ve provided links to the websites of some of the most effective ministries that specifically reach out to Catholics with the Gospel. All of these ministries provide abundant resources for Catholics who are curious about the Biblical Gospel or for Bible Christians who desire to witness more effectively in their encounters with Catholics.

Berean Beacon – Director, ex-Catholic priest, Richard Bennett
Website link here.

Reformanda Initiative – Director, Leonardo De Chirico
Website link here.

Proclaiming the Gospel – Director, ex-Catholic, Mike Gendron
Website link here.

Just for Catholics – Director, ex-Catholic, Joe Mizzi
Website link here.

Christian Resources – Director, William Webster
Website link here

A Christian Witness to Roman Catholicism – Director, ex-Catholic, Rob Zins
Website link here.

In addition to the six ministries listed above, there are many other organizations that offer excellent resources regarding Roman Catholicism. Refer to my Links page here. I hope these resources are a blessing to you!

Throwback Thursday: Next time you drive past a Catholic church on Sunday morning…

For today’s “Throwback Thursday” installment, we’re going to revisit a slightly re-edited post that was first published back on August 28th, 2015.

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Many evangelicals pass a Catholic church on Sunday morning and probably think to themselves, “Sure, Catholics worship God a little differently than we do, but we’re all worshiping the same God, that’s the important thing.” But let’s examine that thought. At an evangelical worship service there’s typically some announcements and singing of hymns and songs of praise for about a half an hour followed by an hour of preaching from God’s Word by the minister. The Gospel is presented and the unsaved are invited to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.

The Catholic “mass” is quite different. At the mass, there are also announcements, singing, a couple of very short readings from the Bible and a short seven or eight-minute “homily” (sermon). But the main focus of the mass is the lengthy ritual whereby the priest allegedly changes bread wafers and wine into the actual body and blood of Jesus. Jesus spoke about being the “bread of life,” but Catholics interpret those passages in a literalist sense that defies sound exegesis and a spiritual understanding of God’s Word. The priest then offers up Jesus the “host” (i.e., “victim”) to God the Father as a sacrifice for the sins of all the participants and any others who are mentioned. The mass attendees then line up to take the Jesus wafer and Jesus wine from the priest and consume them, believing grace is imparted that will wash away “venial” sins and supposedly help them avoid committing “mortal” sins in the future in order to hopefully merit their salvation at the moment of their death.

Catholicism is really an extension of the Old Testament Levitical sacrificial system with the priest serving as a mediator between God and the people. The priest is essential to the Catholic sacramental and works-righteousness system. Without his ordained “powers” and role as mediator, the people are doomed and the Catholic hierarchy has always desired to keep it that way.

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

However, Jesus completely did away with the Old Testament sacrificial system when He was crucified and breathed His last breath with the words, “It is finished,” and the veil to the Holy of Holies of Jerusalem’s temple was torn in two, giving all people direct access to God through Jesus Christ the Savior. God’s Word says Jesus is currently seated at the right hand of the Father, NOT on Catholic altars as a broken victim, being sacrificed again and again, thousands of times daily all over the world.

“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” – Hebrews 10:11-12.

Here’s a passage from a Catholic source that should put the Catholic priesthood and the mass in stark perspective for all evangelicals:

“When the priest pronounces the tremendous words of consecration, he reaches up into the heavens, brings Christ down from His throne, and places Him upon our altar to be offered up again as the victim for the sins of man…The priest brings Christ down from heaven, and renders Him present on our altar as the eternal victim for the sins of man – not once but a thousand times! The priest speaks and lo, Christ, the eternal and omnipotent God, bows his head in humble obedience to the priest’s commands.” – from “The Faith of Millions” by Father John O’Brien, Nihil obstat; Rev. Lawrence Gollner, Censor Librorum Imprimatur: Leo A. Pursley, Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend; March 16, 1974.

What anti-Biblical BLASPHEMY!

So when you drive by that Catholic church next Sunday morning, remember they’re NOT worshiping God the Son inside, rather they believe they’re sacrificing Him on their altars as part of a process to merit their salvation. Rather than trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone for their salvation, they’re relying on priests, sacraments, “good” works, and “obeying” the Ten Commandments (impossible!)

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.

Hunting the “Christ-killers” in Catholic Poland

We’ve seen several instances of murderous anti-Semitism here in America in the last eight months. Anti-Semitism has a very long legacy and, sadly, was perpetuated by institutional (c)hristianity for sixteen-hundred years. Also, sad to say, we see contemporary examples of people claiming to be born-again believers spewing anti-Jewish hatred. For this post, I’m going to focus on just one example of historical anti-Semitism.

Recently, brother Wally has been posting a series of devotions based on the Book of Esther. Good stuff. See here for just one example. Anyway, the series got me to thinking back about something I stumbled upon many years ago. Not to beat a dead horse, but when I become frustrated with “churchianity” back in the 90s and walked away from the Lord for a long “season,” I had to fill my spiritual vacuum with something, so I poured myself into studying Polish history and culture (I’m 50% Polish) and eventually concentrated on the controversial history of Polish-Jewish relations, which might be better referred to as Polish-Jewish “non-relations.”

We’re going to get to the Esther connection, but first, some background. Back in the Middle Ages, Jews were having a very rough time in Western Europe. They were routinely persecuted (pogroms, forced baptisms, ghetto quarantines, etc.) and even driven out of Catholic kingdoms whenever the intolerance peaked. Whereas other kingdoms had a developing merchant/burgher class, Polish society largely consisted of the nobility and the peasantry. Consequently, Polish monarchs began welcoming Jews to Poland beginning in the 13th century because of the expertise of some in the financial/merchant spheres. Bolesław the Pious issued the Statute of Kalisz in 1264 which granted unprecedented liberties to Jews, resulting in Jews from all over Europe flocking to Poland. Subsequent monarchs continued the relatively magnanimous treatment of Jews (it should be noted that at the beginning of World War II, half of Europe’s six-million Jews resided in Poland, making up ten percent of that nation’s population).

However, the influx of Jews into Poland was not without problems. The Polish nobility often appointed Jews as their financial middlemen (i.e., landlords, innkeepers, moneylenders, commercial agents, etc.) and the Polish peasantry increasingly resented these “foreigners” lording it over them. Stoking the resentment were the priests and prelates of the Polish Catholic church, who regularly railed against the Jewish “outsiders” as the “Christ killers.” Myths of Jews abducting Catholic children and using their blood in the manufacture of Matzah bread (aka “blood libel,” see here) were widespread and accepted as factual.

Okay, with that tense historical background in mind, we’ll cut to our Book of Esther connection. The Jewish communities in Poland regularly celebrated “Purim” (Hebrew, meaning: “lots” as in “casting lots”), a festival occurring in early-March, which commemorated the saving of the Jewish people from Haman as recorded in the Book of Esther. As part of the celebration, some Jews would reenact the story of Esther with an effigy of Haman being hung at the conclusion. The Polish Catholic clergy and peasantry did not take kindly to this reenactment. They interpreted the hanging of the Haman figure as a provocation against Gentiles and the Catholic church. In retaliation, as part of the annual Easter ritual, Poles across the kingdom would fashion a figurine with stereotypical Jewish physical features and clothing and hang it in the town square and subsequently burn it. The figure was meant to represent Judas, the betrayer of Christ, but on a broader scale, it also symbolized the hated Jewish “Christ killers.” The excitement rarely failed to whip Polish crowds into a frenzy of hatred and they would scour Jewish neighborhoods looking for victims. Polish Jews barricaded their doors and windows during the Easter celebration.

In the future, we’ll take a look at several other examples of Polish anti-Semitism, but without the lengthy historical introduction featured in this post. Below are some recent news headlines that underscore the continuing popularity of anti-Semitism in Poland, even though almost all of Poland’s Jews were killed in the Holocaust:

Polish Town Celebrates Easter with Anti-Semitic Effigy
https://www.newsweek.com/anti-semitic-judas-effigy-satans-blamed-idiotic-pseudo-religious-chutzpah-1403445

Polish Bishop Delivers Thinly-veiled anti-Semitic Sermon
https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/polish-bishop-insinuates-jews-attempted-to-divide-and-slander-the-catholic-church-1.7195027

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 5/18/19

Over the last twenty years, the Roman Catholic hierarchy has largely ignored its pedophile priests and cover-up “problem” despite the reoccurring negative headlines and lawsuits. There were two primary issues at the root of that laissez-faire attitude: 1) Catholicism’s rule of clerical celibacy ensured its institutions continued to attract, indoctrinate, and promote sexual deviants and 2) the foxes were running the henhouse. After last year’s scandal tsunami, polls showed that 37% of U.S. Catholics are considering leaving the church. The U.S. Catholic bishops are now stirring from their slumber and rolling out the big guns with the publication of this book, “Letter to a Suffering Church,” from the church’s media darling, bishop Robert Barron (photo above), which is being given away for only the price of handling and shipping. The purpose of this 122-page book is to try to convince members to stay despite the toxic scandal. I will review this book as soon as it’s published, but I can already guarantee the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, will not be found on any of its pages.

At the Vatican sexual abuse summit this past February, pope Francis promised “concrete action,” yet the bishop of nearby Buffalo, N.Y., Richard Malone, retains his position. Malone was exposed as a serial abuse-enabler in a “60 Minutes” episode last October.

I see Louis Farrakhan was invited to propagate his anti-Semitic hatred at a Catholic church in Chicago. Priest pastor, Michael Pfleger, referred to Farrakhan as a “friend” and a “brother.” Pfleger’s pro-Francis bishop has egg on his face and has been profusely apologizing for his subordinate. Catholic apologists boast of their church’s monolithic unity, but beliefs and attitudes within the church run the gamut from one extreme to the other, but with no genuine Gospel.

Speaking of sensitivity to the Jewish community, Jewish leaders have asked pope Francis to stop referring to his conservative and traditionalist enemies within the church as legalistic “Pharisees.” They feel the pejorative reinforces anti-Jewish attitudes.

There’s been hundreds if not thousands of alleged Marian apparitions all over the world, but the Catholic church officially recognizes only twelve. Pope Francis is giving the green light to church-sanctioned pilgrimages to the alleged apparition site at Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina even though official recognition has not been granted to the apparitions there. Why? Because one-million credulous pilgrims visit there every year without approval, meaning there’s plenty of unrealized money that could be going into the church’s coffers. Medjugorje won’t be officially approved anytime soon because 1) the alleged appearances, which supposedly began in 1981, still continue on a daily basis and 2) some of the sayings attributed to Mary by the six “visionaries” include information that is at odds with official church teaching to some degree. In addition, some of the sayings have also contradicted the local bishop and he’s not happy about it. See one of the Medjugorje “visionaries,” Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo, allegedly interact with the apparition in a recent Catholic-produced short video here. She is either a religious hysteric or under demonic control. Everyone in the crowd is worshiping Mary. No Good News in sight!

According to French investigative journalist, Frédéric Martel, the Vatican and the entire Catholic church hierarchy is a bee hive of homosexuality. See my review here of Martel’s book, “In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy.”

Poland is the last bastion of pre-conciliar, militant Catholicism in Europe. But the revelations about pedophile priests and the cover-up by the hierarchy are making an impact even there.

The LGBTQ militants and their fellow travelers are steadily breaking down barriers within Catholicism.

Oy vey! Yet another Babylon Bee satire about me! 🙂

 

 

Throwback Thursday: Behind Catholicism’s “Purple Curtain” in Latin America

For today’s “Throwback Thursday” installment, we’re going to take a look back at this slightly revised post that was first published on August 29, 2015.

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Behind the Purple Curtain
By Walter Manuel Montaño
Cowman Publications, 1950, 327 pages

5 Stars

Americans in the 1950s Cold War-era were accustomed to hearing about the poor souls trapped behind the Soviet Union’s “Iron Curtain” and Communist China’s “Bamboo Curtain.” In “Behind the Purple Curtain,” ex-Dominican monk and evangelical missionary, Walter Montaño, examines the intolerance of Roman Catholicism in regions where it enjoyed a religious majority and received the strong support of the local and national governments.

In 1950s Europe, the Catholic church was closely allied with the fascist regimes in Spain and Portugal and there were still disturbingly vivid memories of Catholicism’s strong ties to Mussolini’s National Fascist Party in Italy, Pavelic’s Ustase in Croatia, the post-Pilsudski Sanacja and Dmowski’s Endecja in Poland, and to Petain’s Vichy France. But Montaño’s focus is mainly on Latin America where the Catholic church held sway for 400 years.

The rule of the Spanish conquistadors and their successors eventually gave way to unstable, quasi-democracies and military-backed dictatorships throughout Latin America, but the Catholic church maintained its death grip on the enormous peasant population through its falangist political organizations and alliances with civil governments. Montaño gives many examples of the church’s often-lethal intolerance of Protestants within Latin America and cautions North American Protestants to maintain their vigilance otherwise they would face similar circumstances. Montaño’s warnings may come across as quaintly paranoid and sensationalistic to the contemporary reader accustomed to today’s prevailing spirit of tolerance and ecumenism, but the reality for believers in many parts of world in the 20th-century was that Catholic hegemony often meant harassment, persecution, and even death.

Sixty-nine years after “Behind the Purple Curtain” was written we find that the Catholic church no longer enjoys anywhere near the political prestige and influence it once did. American evangelicals no longer need worry about the pope manipulating Washington politics from his Vatican throne. These days, pope Francis can’t even get his American membership to attend obligatory mass on Sundays. The real danger to contemporary Christian witness began several decades ago when some evangelicals began embracing Catholics as co-belligerents in social causes, which transitioned into compromising the Gospel of Jesus Christ and embracing works-righteousness Catholics as fellow Christians (see Billy Graham, Chuck Colson, Rick Warren, etc.). But Catholicism still teaches the same fundamental doctrines as those taught at the time of the Reformation. Most importantly, Catholics teach salvation by sacramental grace and merit while evangelicals proclaim salvation by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone. For most Catholics, the “gospel” is receiving the church-administered sacraments, trying to live a “good” life, and hoping their “good” outweighs their “bad” at the end. They’re relying on their works-religion and their own righteousness, not Jesus Christ, for their salvation. So why are some evangelicals so eager to embrace Roman Catholics as “brothers in Christ”? Montaño saw the coming evangelical compromise and betrayal of the Gospel even as far back as 1950 when the leading figure of American Protestantism at the time, Dr. John R. Mott, was already embracing Rome and discouraging mission work to Latin America.

In addition to his many other Gospel ministries, Walter Montaño was executive director of Christ’s Mission, a mission to Roman Catholics based in New York City, from 1951 to 1960.

Very recent reprints of this book are available from Amazon.com. See here. Also see my Books tab here for a long list of books which critically examine Roman Catholicism.

To read my review of the biography of Walter Montaño, see here.

A Few Catholic Conundrums – Part 2: The Case of the Misplaced Stigmata

Yesterday, we began this short, two-part series with a look at how some Catholics get wrapped around the axle over such things as the proper handling of “soiled” altar cloths. See here. Today, we’ll examine another Catholic conundrum, which I’ll call “The Case of the Misplaced Stigmata.”

We’ll begin with a brief examination of the Catholic stigmata. Down through the centuries, a number of Catholics claimed to have received the “stigmata” (from the Latin “stigma”: a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person; in (c)hristian tradition, marks corresponding to those left on Jesus’ body by the crucifixion). During the Middle Ages, penitential self-harm practices (self-mortification) were encouraged in monastaries and convents as part of extreme asceticism and mysticism. In this environment, some mystics claimed to have “received” the five marks of Jesus’ crucifixion; wounds on the hands and feet and a wound on the side. The first to claim the “gift” of stigmata was St. Francis of Assisi in 1224. Many others followed including, most famously, Catherine of Siena and Padre Pio (photo right). A Catholic source (see here) cites at least 321 stigmatics over the centuries. It should be noted that all of these stigmatics had wounds on the palms of their hands.

Okay, now let’s get to our conundrum. In a recent episode of the Catholic “Called to Communion” talk radio show, an interesting question came up via an email:

Called to Communion – EWTN Radio
Moderator: Thom Price, Host: David Anders
Podcast 4/24/19 – 2:24 mark

Thom Price: Katy from Illinois wants to know, “Why are stigmata wounds on the hands of the saints if Christ was actually nailed to the cross through his wrists, as the Shroud of Turin shows?”

Hmm. An interesting and very valid question. Historians and scientists hypothesize that the victims of Roman crucifixion were most probably nailed to wooden crosses through their wrists, otherwise the nails would have easily ripped through the soft tissue of the hands. The victims usually hung on a cross for several days before finally dying of asphyxiation. John 20:25 states the risen Jesus had wounds on His “hands,” but the Greek text uses the word, “cheir,” which can refer to either hands or wrists. Fanciful Medieval religious art portrayed Jesus exclusively with wounds through the palms of His hands and that was the model used by the stigmatics.

Host, David Anders, knows the listener has identified a conundrum and answers the question gingerly. He posits that, yes, nails through the palms would have been very unlikely, but since “that’s the way it has appeared in the moral imagination of the Latin church, it stands to reason, in my thinking, that if God were to grant the stigmata to an individual, that he would do it in the way that would be most recognizable to that person and perhaps to his contemporaries.”

Anders’ response is sheer sophistry and equivocation. The reality is the stigmatics guessed wrong and created wounds in the palms of their hands according to the widely-held misconception about the crucifixion. How did the mystic/ascetic religious celebrities create their wounds? A number of ways. It’s been documented that one of the most recent stigmatists, Padre Pio (photo right) aka Francesco Forgion (d. 1968), used carbolic acid.

Padre Pio ‘faked his stigmata with acid’
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/padre-pio-faked-his-stigmata-with-acid-397811.html

A Few Catholic Conundrums – Part 1: The Case of the Abused Altar Linens

I listen to Catholic talk radio daily to collect fodder for this blog. Most of the chatter either isn’t very noteworthy or involves topics I’ve already addressed, but two consecutive shows from last month brought up topics that fit right into my “Catholic legalistic rabbit hole” category.

Called to Communion – EWTN Radio
Moderator: Thom Price, Host: David Anders
Podcast 4/23/19 – 24:58 mark

This first episode I’ll call “The Case of the Abused Altar Linens.” Let’s begin by noting that Catholicism teaches that at its masses, priests transform bread wafers and wine into the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ to be offered as a sacrifice for the sins of the congregants. Mass-goers then consume the Jesus wafer (and Jesus wine by some), believing it imparts graces that help them to avoid temptation and sin. Because the Roman church teaches the bread wafers are actually changed into Jesus, they are worshiped by the congregants. Mass-goers bow to the wafer, bend their knee to the wafer, and pray to the wafer god. The Jesus wafer and Jesus wine must be handled with worshipful reverence. As a part of the mass’s liturgical ritual, the priest handles a large Jesus wafer and Jesus wine and there’s always a chance that small Jesus crumbs or Jesus droplets will land on the linens covering the altar. Therefore, when the altar linens are periodically washed, they must be handled with the utmost reverence. Let’s pick it up when an indignant Catholic listener calls in to the show complaining that reverential protocols aren’t being followed with regard to the altar linens at her parish:

Thom Price: Let’s go to Kitty, now, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, listening on St. Michael Catholic Radio. Hello, Kitty. What’s on your mind today?

Kitty: Oh, yes. I would like to know your thoughts about this. I’m very concerned about the presence of our lord in the precious blood that’s on the purificators and altar linens. At the church where I’m going the altar linens are just left in a basket on the counter and, shouldn’t they be in some sort of a container that has a lid with a light next to it to indicate that our lord is present? They don’t leave consecrated hosts just lying in an open basket!

The show’s host, Catholic apologist David Anders, then responds to Kitty’s inquiry, saying that he is aware that “there are liturgical laws that govern these things,” but it’s “not (his) particular area of expertise.” Anders defers to moderator, Thom Price, but Price pleads ignorance as well and suggests to Kitty that she should make inquiries to a particular priest radio host.

The Catholic teaching that its priests change bread wafers and wine into the actual body and blood of Jesus leads to all kinds of legalistic rabbit holes involving such things as falling Jesus crumbs and spilt Jesus droplets and Jesus wine stains. Catholicism breaks my heart. Hundreds of millions of Catholic souls, like Kitty, get indignantly and scrupulously wrapped around the axle over the proper handling of altar cloths, but never hear the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

Kitty mentioned “purificators” and altar linens that could possibly have Jesus particles and Jesus stains imbedded in them, but several other cloth items are also used by the priest during the eucharistic liturgical ritual including the “corporal,” “lavabo towels,” and the “pall” (see photo right)

To see the correct Catholic rubrics for the handling and cleaning of these “sacred” cloths, refer to the article below. Wow! The Catholic mass has more protocols than a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier! Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but you get the idea.

Friends, we’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to all the rubrics involved in the Catholic mass. Whoops, I see we’ve already hit the 625-word mark so we’ll have to visit the second Catholic rabbit hole tomorrow. Remember, it’s the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone that’s important, NOT copious and complicated religious rituals and ceremonies that are alleged to help people merit their salvation.


The Proper Care and Cleansing of Altar Linens & Sacred Vessels in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend – Adapted from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Divine Worship
http://www.diocesefwsb.org/Data/Resources/5c3aa66e5663b57ce646ed961423685c-Policy-on-Care-of-Altar-Linens-and-Sacred-Vessels.pdf

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 5/11/19

The Roman Catholic dioceses of New York City and Peoria, Illinois have been fighting “beak and talon” over future-saint, Fulton J. Sheen’s cadaver for forty years. Looks like the battle has been resolved. New York’s highest appeals court recently ruled that the body of Sheen must be shipped to Peoria, the diocese of his childhood. The Vatican has been waiting for an end to the legal battle before proclaiming the Catholic apologetics media pioneer, Sheen, a saint in order to avoid any negative publicity over the church’s internal tug-of-war over the corpse.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and pope Francis’ liberalized version of Catholicism won’t happen overnight. Conservatives are still struggling with Francis’ previous “reforms” and another “novelty” could push them over the edge. But make no mistake, female deacons and married priests are definitely on Bergoglio’s radar.

Sad to say, but the ongoing investigations of predatory Catholic priests by multiple states have become page-five news.

I hold very few beliefs in common with conservative Catholics, but I do share their dislike of ecumenism. The reality is that every pope since John XXIII has recognized that it’s easier to get passengers to board their bus with a smiling accommodation here and a compromise there. Dupable ecumenical evangelicals are flattered by the accommodating gestures.

Like many Catholic prelates in 1930s and 1940s Europe, cardinal Aloysius Stepinac supported a murderous fascist regime. In Stepinac’s case, he aligned with the bloody Ustaša, the pro-Nazi, Croatian fascist movement. Francis knows full well that the canonization of pro-fascist Stepinac would be a tinderbox. See my additional thoughts on Stepinac and historical Catholic clerical fascism here.

It’s reported that some Lutherans and Pentecostals will be joining Catholic priests in Rome for this ecumenical course on exorcisms. I contend that ecumenism with Rome is actually the greatest demonic danger.

Last weekend, I posted about the open letter from some conservative Catholic theologians and clerics accusing pope Francis of outright heresy. This past week, both liberal and more-cautious conservative Catholics have been digesting this interesting development. I expect the letter will increasingly embolden those in the conservative camp.

Despite the best efforts of hipster, mega-church pastors, the Bible is sooooooo counter-cultural.