Sunday, December 01, 2013

Dear Pope Francis...


Dear Holy Father,

Greetings in Christ! Blessings and prayers for the continued health and well-being of Your Holiness during this Advent season.

I am writing to you as a Catholic who loves our holy traditions for the purpose of sharing some thoughts I have on a few very important questions. As a lover of tradition, I rejoice that you have recently reaffirmed the doctrinal value of the Council of Trent and the so-called "hermeneutic of continuity" espoused by our former Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, of happy memory. I also want to commend you for your forceful preaching on the reality of the devil and your frequent comments on the necessity of unity with and submission to the Chair of Peter for all Catholics. These gestures fill my heart with gladness and give me hope for the future of your pontificate.

Since, however, you have stated that traditional Catholics have an important role to play in "being lucid and watchful regarding the contents of the Catholic doctrine" and have expressed how valuable it is to be criticized in charity (source), I want to offer some humble concerns that I have regarding the content of your apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium.

I first want to thank you for writing on the important subject of evangelization. Catholicism is not understandable without evangelization; the first command our Lord gave to the Church after His Resurrection was "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt, 28:19-20). This commission has always had a particular urgency about it in our Faith, as it is bound up with the salvation of each and every person on this planet. In the parallel to this passage in the Gospel of Mark, our Lord reminds us that the penalty for unbelief is severe: "And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that does not believe shall be damned." (Mark 16:15-16).

Evangelization thus takes on a salvific importance - it has a supernatural end, and this has always been understood by Catholics throughout the ages. The purpose of evangelization is primarily to save souls.

However, in Evangelii Gaudium, the impetus for Christian evangelization of other cultures for the purpose of eternal salvation is explained in terms of a "dialogue", and the supernatural end (eternal life in heaven with God) seems replaced by a natural one. You write, "
Interreligious dialogue is a necessary condition for peace in the world, and so it is a duty for Christian" (EG, 250). The obligation for Christians to evangelize is "peace in the world", not the salvation of souls. This seems to substitute a worldly, naturalistic cause for evangelization for the more traditional supernatural one. Indeed, the two greatest issues Catholic evangelization has to respond to are said to be inclusion of the poor and world peace. (cf. 186, 217) It seems Your Holiness is suggesting that it is purely worldly concerns that the Gospel is here to address, not the salvation of men's souls or the false religions that keep them from that salvation.

Your Holiness, I share your desire that the Gospel should be spread as far and as wide as possible, that Jesus Christ be proclaimed boldly and without fear. However, some of the content of Evangelii Gaudium seems to be counter-productive to that end. Take the issue of our Separated Brethren. The Second Vatican Council took special pains to reach out to our Protestant friends, hoping thereby to end the spirit of mutual suspicion that had been dominant since Trent; in many cases, amiable relations with Protestantism were pursued even at the expense of relations with the Orthodox. In fact, to an impartial observer, the post-Conciliar Church looks closer to Protestantism than Greek Orthodoxy, despite the fact that the historical and sacramental bonds between the Catholics and the Orthodox are much greater.

Your Holiness knows all this; I mention it only to point out that ecumenism with Protestants in particular seemed to be particularly dear to the Council Fathers, whose vision you are so admirably fulfilling in your pontificate. You yourself restated this commitment in the exhortation, encouraging Catholics to recall that we all are pilgrims on this earth, "putting aside all suspicion or mistrust, and turn our gaze to what we are all seeking: the radiant peace of God’s face" (243).


Yet a few paragraphs later we find this statement: "
Non-Christians, by God’s gracious initiative, when they are faithful to their own consciences, can live “justified by the grace of God”, and thus be “associated to the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ” (254).

It is not my place to lecture the Successor of Peter on sacred theology, especially when I myself am no expert. But leaving aside questions of theology, of what it means for a non-believer to follow his conscience, of the formation of conscience, of how we are justified, etc., I feel compelled to point out, Holy Father, that from a strictly ecumenical viewpoint, no statement could be more offensive to our Protestant brethren than this. Though Protestants obviously disagree with us on many fundamental points, they ought to be commended in that many of them solidly affirm that one becomes a son or daughter of God solely through the mediation of Jesus Christ; in other words, despite our disagreements, most Protestant sects, at least in my country, still understand the fundamental connection between evangelization and salvation in the traditional supernatural sense.

Were I to take this passage to my Protestant friends, it would be not an aid to evangelization but an insurmountable obstacle. Not that we should be afraid to preach truths that Protestants may take umbrage with; otherwise, how could we discuss the Petrine authority, the Assumption of Mary, or other like doctrine? But this is different; in the teaching you have elucidated in Evangelii Gaudium 254, the traditional connection between evangelization, salvation, and the necessity of entering the Catholic Church is sundered. You would be asking me not to defend the traditional Catholic Faith, but a novelty - a novelty which the Protestant would be understandably justified in rejecting.

If we are speaking of following our consciences, Holy Father, I must tell you frankly then that I cannot in good conscience take this teaching to a Protestant and expect it to be convincing. I would be laughed out of the dialogue, and rightfully so.

How different is this teaching from the words of St. Irenaeus, who wrote:

"Where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; and where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church and all grace. But the Spirit is truth. Therefore whoever does not partake of this Spirit is not fed at the breast of Mother Church, and cannot drink from the crystal clear spring which flows from the body of Christ." (Adversus Haereses, III.24:1)

Or St. Cyprian, the great martyr-bishop of Carthage, who wrote:

"Can he who is not inside the Church draw water from the fountains of the Church?" (Epistle 73, 10-11).

Of course, Holy Father, Catholic theology has always posited the possibility that men could be saved outside of formal membership in the Church; this was understood in the patristic era and taught at Trent. But I fear that what was once understood to be a possible exception is becoming understood as a normative teaching, and that this teaching is having deleterious effects on our efforts of evangelizing. Why would non-Christians convert to our faith if they can attain eternal life just by "following their conscience", which almost any human being can do with a little effort? Why would Protestants or any other Christian sect seek to reconcile with Rome when we seem to be saying that Christianity and the Church are not even really necessary for salvation? And, as apologists, how we are supposed to reconcile these newer teachings with statements like those of St. Irenaeus and Cyprian above, or with the famous dictum Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus or with many other authoritative statements on the normative necessity of the Church for salvation?

Dearest Holy Father, successor of St. Peter, Bishop of Bishops, Servus Servorum Dei, keeper of the keys of the kingdom of heaven (for so you are all these things), I pray thee, understand my distress and realize how damaging these statements are to the efforts of faithful Catholics to witness to the faith and bring souls to God through Christ. This is still the final end of evangelization, we must presume? We still do wish for members of other religious and Christian sects to convert and return to Holy Mother Church, don't we?

Oh Holy Father, please be strong.

23 comments:

Marko Ivančičević said...

the whole 254th paragraph is heretical...it's so obvious.

I am not Spartacus said...

Dear Brother Boniface. Very forthright, frank, and accurate. Kudos. This is how a Catholic man acts - not by throwing-in with sedevacantism.

Daniel Andrews said...

As regards the Church's mission of evangelization and its salvific importance, it seems to me you are neglecting to read the following correctly: Par 39, Par 44, Par 110, Par 113, Par 120-121, Par 133, Par 164-165, Par 181, Par 198, Par 285

BONIFACE said...

Daniel,

Oh, really? I beg to differ. At no time in any of the passages you cited is eternal life mentioned.

39. "The Gospel calls us to respond to a God of love who saves us."

It does not suggest that this "saving' consists in eternal life in heaven.

44. God's "saving love" is mentioned, but it is not stated that this means eternal salvation. Indeed, in light of the prior statement of "personal growth", this could be taken to refer solely to this life.

110. This paragraph only states that preaching Christ must be a priority. No mention is made of eternal life in heaven.

113. "Salvation" is said to be for everyone and is to be joyfully proclaimed. No statement that this salvation consists in living eternally with God in heaven. Again, no mention of a supernatural eternal life.

120-121. God's "saving love" is mentioned in 120. Number 121 talks a lot about evangelization and God's saving love, but all the references are to this life. The Gospel ought to be preached because it "gives meaning to our lives", because "it is not the same to live without him", because "he has helped you live and given you hope" and that "this is what you also need to communicate to others." Evangelization is a continued "stimulus to continue growing." All of this is earthly focused and there is not one mention of eternal life.

133. Mention to 'saving mission' with no definition of in what that salvation consists. No mention of eternal life.

164. Jesus Christ has come to 'save you', but this is portrayed in worldly terms: "Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you, and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you." No mention of eternal life in heaven. 165 has another vague mention of "saving love."

181. Mention of God's plan of salvation and the need to preach the Gospel - no mention of eternal life. Eschatology is mentioned at the end, but only insofar as Christian hope "always generates history." No mention of living forever in heaven.

198. A vague "saving power" is referenced at work in the poor, but this "saving power" is at work "in their lives", i.e., here and now, with no reference of the life to come.

285. Reference to Christ's "saving mission"; no reference to eternal life in heaven or that people need to be evangelized for the purpose of leading them to heaven.

In none of the passages you cited was heaven or eternal life ever mentioned. You seem to be assuming that because the adjective "saving" is used means it is a clear reference to eternal life in heaven. The context of many of these passages, with their constant reference to realities of this life, makes that view untenable.

Daniel Andrews said...

Besides the use of the term 'supernatural end' (which I would submit as univocal with the salvific action referenced in His Holiness's Apostolic Exhortation) where have you used the words 'eternal life' or 'heaven' in your letter to the Supreme Pontiff? I only ask, because given your attempt to respond to my suggestion, it seems rather relevant.

BONIFACE said...

Well, it is not the purpose of my letter to explicate Catholic truth - as I said, I'm not going to lecture him on theology - rather, its purpose is to share with him some concerns I have, and it is a concern that the connection with eternal life and the Gospel is not clear enough and the purely worldly issues are given extreme prominence.

Daniel Andrews said...

Then you may want to revise your letter to make explicit mention of 'eternal life'.

BONIFACE said...

Done. Any further critiques?

Anonymous said...

Not to mention p. 222...
Nick.

Kevin Nowell said...

You write that, "It seems Your Holiness is suggesting that it is purely worldly concerns that the Gospel is here to address, not the salvation of men's souls or the false religions that keep them from that salvation"; but, the entire point of this exhortation is to describe the "joy of salvation" that comes with participating in the Church, which is described as the "sacrament of the salvation offered by God."

The passage you cite is not about salvation and evangilization; but, about dialogue and peace. He clearly indicates that these are two separate things and that one should evangelize to spread the joy of salvation. Evangelization is for salvation. Dialogue is for peace. In fact, he goes on to state that evangelization and interreligous dialogue are not the same thing; but, they do "mutually support and nourish one another." (251)



The Pope then goes on to state reasons for evangelization. In 264 he states that "[t]he primary reason for evangelizing is the love of Jesus which we have received, the experience of salvation which urges us to greater love of him. What kind of love would not feel the need to speak of the beloved, to point him out, to make hime known?" He goes on to state that "it is not the same thing to have known Jesus as not to have known him, not the same thing to walk with him as to walk blindly, not the same thing to hear his word as not to know it, and not the same thing to contemplte hime, to worship him, to find our peace in him, as not to." "We know well that with Jesus life becomes richer and that with him is easier to find meaning in everything." "The ultimate reason and meaning behind all we do [is] the glory of the Father which Jesus sought at every moment of his life... If we are missionaries, it is primarily because Jesus told us that 'by this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit' (Jn 15:8). "[W]e evangelize for the greater glory of the Father who loves us."

You say that "it is purely worldly concerns that the Gospel is here to address" is, in my opinion, a gross misreading of the messsage of the exhortation simply because he does not mention heaven and hell. The whole purpose of the exhortation is to spur people to evangelize in order to introduce people to the joy of Christ's love. He does not mention heaven and hell because that is not his purpose here. People do not generally think long-term; and, in this day and age want immediate results. The Pope is here saying that there are immediate results from a conversion to Christ and it is a salvific joy that prefigures the infinite joy of the beatific vision. We need not evangelize solely on the promise of future benefit when we know there is a joy that can be experienced now as we come to Christ, which increases as our relationship to Him and his Church increases.

Yours in Christ,
Kevin Nowell

ATDP said...

Kevin,

When Our Lord so often pointed to the long-term, as have many of His saints, are we free to edit them for pragmatic reasons?

Eufrosnia D said...

@Kevin Nowell

The basis of "sharing the gospel out of joy one feels about the beloved" is just that, a feeling. It is not a rational choice.

Though I might find a deep feeling to share information about my beloved spouse, I simply do not do so out of that sake alone. I would only do so if it benefits the other to know. The problem with the document is that it does not say how it benefits the other to know it in the supernatural sense.

In fact, the document includes the idea that the others who do not know Christ might indeed know him and come to share in his paschal mystery from what they already know. So that is less motivation to even break the news to them.

Overall, without the statement that we evangelize to save souls from damnation, the document just doesn't have any punch. On the surface it speaks of an urgency but the only urgency one can think of from the document is world peace, feeling of joy, solving the problem of the poor.

Kevin Nowell said...

ATDP said,
"When Our Lord so often pointed to the long-term, as have many of His saints, are we free to edit them for pragmatic reasons?"

Discussing one does not negate the other. They are not mutually exclusive but mutually supportive. The joy we receive in this life when we recevie Christ prefigures the infinite joy we hope for when we are joined with him in Heaven in the next.

Eufrosnia said,
"The basis of "sharing the gospel out of joy one feels about the beloved" is just that, a feeling. It is not a rational choice. "

As Francis quotes Benedict, "Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction."

Eufronasia also said,
"Though I might find a deep feeling to share information about my beloved spouse, I simply do not do so out of that sake alone. I would only do so if it benefits the other to know. The problem with the document is that it does not say how it benefits the other to know it in the supernatural sense."

The document does show it benefits one to receive Christ. From the very beginning, "The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew."

The Chruch's teaching on Heaven and Hell is common knowledge and there was nothing new for him to add on the subject. This exhortation is on the Joy of the Gospel. Its not a list of all the reasons why one should believe it.

Yours in Christ,
Kevin Nowell

BONIFACE said...

Kevin,

"The Church's teaching on Heaven and Hell is common knowledge"

Then why is it so widely denied? Maybe it is common knowledge, but like the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist which is 'common knowledge' but still denied by 80% of Catholics, so there is rampant unbelief in the Church's teaching.

There are scores of missionaries who think they are out there, not to save souls, but to have mutual faith enriching experiences. For example, http://unamsanctamcatholicam.blogspot.com/2008/06/interreligious-dialogue-case-study-of.html

There are Cardinals of the Church, Princes of the Church, men who elect the Pope, who think Protestants do not need to return to the Church and that we should just talk about our feelings with them: http://unamsanctamcatholicam.blogspot.com/2007/12/at-crossroads-of-ecumenism.html

There are whole committees sanctioned by the Vatican who say that Jews and Orthodox should not be evangelized. http://www.unamsanctamcatholicam.com/history/220-balamand-conference-1993.html

If our teaching on the salvific importance of evangelization is 'common knowledge", nobody is acting on it, and failing to address it will certainly not help the situation.

Kevin Nowell said...

Boniface,

I agree with your consternation over this problem; yet, I don't believe that this necessarily had to be addressed in Evangelii Gaudium; but, there is one passage in that document that mentions this problem, if only in passing:

"A facile syncretism would ultimately be a totalitarian gesture on the part of those who would ignore greater values of which they are not the masters. True openess involves remaining steadfast in one's deepest convictions, clear and joyful in one's own identity, whitle at the same time being "open to understanding those of the other pary" and "knowing that dialogue can enrich each side." What is not helpful is a diplomatic openness which says "yes" to everything in order to avoid problems, for this would be a way of deceiving others and denying them the good which we have been given to share generously with others."

Also, it seems the Pope may have heard your request for more talk on our final destination. His General Audience on Wed Dec 11th was all about the Last Judgement. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on this Audience.

Yours in Christ,
Kevin Nowell

Zachaeus said...

From the Associated Press: "Francis has called Benedict's 2007 decree allowing wider use of the Latin Mass "prudent," but has warned that it risks being exploited on ideological grounds by factions in the church; Francis has made clear his disdain for traditionalist Catholics, saying they are "self-absorbed retrogrades who aren't helping the church's mission to evangelize."

Ouch... no Church of nice there!

Edmundo Santiago said...

Peace be with you all.

From my reading of Mr. Bergoglio's dissertation, I went looking for what others thought of paragraph 254 and here I find myself reading this link and thus responding.

Is it not clear that, in humility, the bishop of Rome is realizing something which has been happening for quite some time?

Isn't this man realizing and now proclaiming that the Holy Father ( God ) does not see groups of people nor religious organizations, but the individual's heart ( 1 Samuel 16:7 )?

Isn't this man forwarding the fact that The Father in heaven does not judge by mere appearances or by the keeping of religious ceremonies or by believing silly myths called doctrines, but rewards people according to their faith, their subsequent actions by faith, their earnest seeking of Him and their obedience to His Word ( Hebrews 11:6 / Romans 10:17 / 1 Samuel 15:22-23 )?

Isn't this man realizing that the Holy One, from whom all things derive and have their sustenance, has already solidified in no uncertain terms, the binding of the Word of God onto the hearts, minds and consciences of men AND commands men to follow His Word and Way and not that of an apparition or supposed angel from heaven who may preach a different gospel than the one received by the followers of Christ ( John 12:48 / Romans 2:15 / Galatians 1:8-9 )!!

And let us correctly and obediently address 'who' the Holy Father is and who rather is a mere mortal, shall we?? For your own sake, please read and obey the Lord's teaching and cease obeying and believing the teachings of men: Matthew 23:9. Address a man as a man and address the Holy Father God in heaven the Holy Father ( Luke 11:2 ). This is close to blaspheming His Holy Name!

I would suggest and implore anyone who considers themselves a believer in the risen Christ Yeshua to actually READ the Word of God ( John 1:1 ) and BELIEVE IT, building your faith on the actual Rock and foundation of faith, for the Lord Almighty is the Rock of your salvation ( Psalm 62:6 / Psalm 18:2 ).

It is Christ who has all authority in heaven and on earth, not those who think they derive some form of authority and some lineage because of their organized administrations of doctrines, yet who clearly fail to adhere to the basics of the Way ( Matthew 28:18 ).

Cease building on sand made from the opinions and faulty doctrines of men ( Mark 7:6-8 ).

I admire and recognize the efforts made by Mr. Bergoglio, for he seems to be made somewhat from a different cut of the norm who lead that organized religion... and perhaps I can overlook the extra doctrinal discrepancies he still shares and I can acknowledge the working of the Holy Spirit in that man. May the Father in heaven bless Mr. Bergoglio in his efforts to flame the Spirit into the hearts of the followers... and may he promote and preach more adherence to the gospel over the mountains of doctrine accumulated over the centuries... which seem to suffocate the Word more than enhance it.

Peace be with all of you who pursue His grace.

Edmundo Santiago said...

Peace be with you all.

From my reading of Mr. Bergoglio's dissertation, I went looking for what others thought of paragraph 254 and here I find myself reading this link and thus responding.

Is it not clear that, in humility, the bishop of Rome is realizing something which has been happening for quite some time?

Isn't this man realizing and now proclaiming that the Holy Father ( God ) does not see groups of people nor religious organizations, but the individual's heart ( 1 Samuel 16:7 )?

Isn't this man forwarding the fact that The Father in heaven does not judge by mere appearances or by the keeping of religious ceremonies or by believing silly myths called doctrines, but rewards people according to their faith, their subsequent actions by faith, their earnest seeking of Him and their obedience to His Word ( Hebrews 11:6 / Romans 10:17 / 1 Samuel 15:22-23 )?

Isn't this man realizing that the Holy One, from whom all things derive and have their sustenance, has already solidified in no uncertain terms, the binding of the Word of God onto the hearts, minds and consciences of men AND commands men to follow His Word and Way and not that of an apparition or supposed angel from heaven who may preach a different gospel than the one received by the followers of Christ ( John 12:48 / Romans 2:15 / Galatians 1:8-9 )!!

And let us correctly and obediently address 'who' the Holy Father is and who rather is a mere mortal, shall we?? For your own sake, please read and obey the Lord's teaching and cease obeying and believing the teachings of men: Matthew 23:9. Address a man as a man and address the Holy Father God in heaven the Holy Father ( Luke 11:2 ). This is close to blaspheming His Holy Name!

I would suggest and implore anyone who considers themselves a believer in the risen Christ Yeshua to actually READ the Word of God ( John 1:1 ) and BELIEVE IT, building your faith on the actual Rock and foundation of faith, for the Lord Almighty is the Rock of your salvation ( Psalm 62:6 / Psalm 18:2 ).

It is Christ who has all authority in heaven and on earth, not those who think they derive some form of authority and some lineage because of their organized administrations of doctrines, yet who clearly fail to adhere to the basics of the Way ( Matthew 28:18 ).

Cease building on sand made from the opinions and faulty doctrines of men ( Mark 7:6-8 ).

I admire and recognize the efforts made by Mr. Bergoglio, for he seems to be made somewhat from a different cut of the norm who lead that organized religion... and perhaps I can overlook the extra doctrinal discrepancies he still shares and I can acknowledge the working of the Holy Spirit in that man. May the Father in heaven bless Mr. Bergoglio in his efforts to flame the Spirit into the hearts of the followers... and may he promote and preach more adherence to the gospel over the mountains of doctrine accumulated over the centuries... which seem to suffocate the Word more than enhance it.

Peace be with all of you who pursue His grace.

BONIFACE said...

Edmundo-

Those "silly myths called doctrines" are very important to Catholics. They safeguard the integrity of the Faith against the sort of vague Protestantizing notions that you are promoting.

Edmundo Santiago said...

Mr. Boniface,

Wouldn't it be wise to heed the commands, teachings and warnings of God Himself rather than those of men?

Let me be clear instead of vague, and let me share His Word instead of typing too many of my own.

Let me also correct your use of the term 'Holy Father:'

"And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven."

- Matthew 23:9

You desire to have integrity or "keep the integrity of the faith?" Then make room for His Word, Boniface, which is Truth and the basis of the Faith:

"Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth."

- John 17:17

"All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal."

- Psalm 119:160

"To the Jews who had believed him, Yeshua said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Yeshua replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.”

- John 8:31-38

I understand it is very difficult to look past the centuries of tradition instead of the direct obedience to scripture ( which takes faith ).

If you desire to keep the integrity of the faith, look to where the faith in Christ is derived:

"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ."

- Romans 10:17

I grew up what is termed 'catholic.' Baptized as an infant, participating in church service twice a week, being an altar boy, taking all of teachings with seriousness and absolute obedience, having set my heart on being a priest since the idea first seeded in my heart at a young age.... yet I did not know nor recognize the scriptures, they were foreign to me. I was not taught them, and I find this to be a great disservice and a sad state of affairs for that organization. I found myself being a hypocrite lacking the proper tools to help others find Christ:

"So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Yeshua, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” 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 7:5-8

"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Yeshua. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

- 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Why is not Scripture the basis of the teachings of the catholic organization? Why do so many who consider themselves catholic are oblivious to the basic teachings found therein?

Please, Bonafice, answer these questions of mine instead of dismissing my words as "vague" and labeling me something you suppose I am.

BONIFACE said...

I am not going to respond to a whole slew of objections. The 'call no man father' canard is silly; Christ also says 'call no man teacher'; have you ever called a person teacher? Please see: http://www.catholic.com/tracts/call-no-man-father

Do some research. The Bible says the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth. (1 Timothy 3:15)

Edmundo Santiago said...

Then we shall take it one at a time.

You just addressed the command of the Christ as a "canard" ( an unfounded rumor or story ).

We are talking about spiritual matters, correct? We are looking at spiritual teachings.

When we called our dads 'father' as children, were we seeing our dads as a spiritual foundation and addressing them as we would one day address God? The same goes with a school teacher juxtaposed to the Teacher of spiritual Truth, which is Christ ( as taught in the rest of the passage ).

Why do you direct me to read the opinions of men? Do you think I am somehow convinced because someone uses their logic to justify their supplanting of the Scriptures with the opinions of men?

Here is the point: You addressed a man as "Holy Father" on this blog, did you not? Is the man, Mr. Bergoglio, your Holy Father?

I have my response to your 1st Timothy scripture, but let's see how you answer this first objection.

BONIFACE said...

Yes, we refer to the Pope as "Holy Father," because he is a father in the Lord the same way St. Paul referred to himself as a Father in Christ:

"I became your father in Christ Jesus" (1 Cor. 4:15)

He is called "holy" because he is the chief pastor of the Church of Christ, which is unfailingly holy by virtue of its union with her Head.

And your interpretation of Scripture is an opinion of men as well, let's not forget that. I am not engaging in a tit-for-tat "rebuttal" of your claims. I have neither the time nor the desire to at this moment.