the new pope addresses the faithful

the new pope addresses the faithful cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward
“The New Pope Addresses the Faithful” by nakedpastor David Hayward

You all know by now that the Pope has resigned. First time in hundreds of years. The time before that was hundreds of years earlier as well. This is a rare event. He credits it to ailing health and aging.

Many are curious about what new developments will occur. I know I am. I’m interested in the church facing contemporary issues with wisdom and grace on a universal level.

Women. Homosexuality. Birth control. Global justice. Transparent accountability of church leadership. Good places to start.


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  • Liza

    Well, aren’t you the optimistic one. I don’t see that happening….ever. Am I a pessimistic, or realist?

  • can’t you be both?

  • Gary

    What a delightfully provocative cartoon David.

  • i’m glad you added “delightfully” 🙂

  • CassandraToday

    This is like one of those “how many things can you find wrong in this picture?” puzzles. Except it turns out none of them is wrong.

  • i like that

  • T.

    This is exactly why I left the church. The church at large is so far behind contemporary thinking. It has been left behind. The church remains hung up, and is likely to remain hung up, on issues to which are just such OLD/NON ISSUES in contemporary society, such as women, homosexuality, transparency. Even so-called ‘forward thinking’ churches are seriously hung up in my experience. They need to think forward another 20 years or so.

    Surely when one realises the extent of this bare-faced conservatism, you can only be brave, seek the best support you can, and cut one’s losses and just move on without it? Isn’t anything less just self-defeating and inviting more personal distress? Can we justify personally maintaining such grief?

    What better way of dealing with stuck-in-the-mud conservative Christianity than to simply leave and stop associating yourself. Though scary, it’s not like it wields any lasting power outside of immediate social circles nowadays is it? Where there is evidence of chronic and ‘I can’t cope any more with my church’ related distress surely there’s no option than to leave? This is so difficult for people and it saddens me greatly- to me it is just more evidence of the bullying and judgemental consciences that maintain the fear of leaving in congregations. God oh god, just leave. Please!

    Simply picking my day and leaving the church- albeit dealing with the year long fallout- was the best thing I ever did 4 years ago. I would only encourage others to do the same! I’m so glad the pope has done the same- maybe there is a god 😉

    Now that’s what I call freedom!!

    Rant over..


  • Happy Mardi Gras! The new pope could be riding on a Mardi Gras float and throwing condoms as favors to the crowds. You’re ahead of our time, David, but maybe one day…

  • Pat Pope

    Real change comes very slowly.

  • Robyn

    Before the switch to Patheos I received your posts via email and I received the entire post via email. Now I’m getting a few lines requiring me to click through to see your artwork (which is what I’m interested in).
    I don’t know if you are aware of this or can change it, but I subscribe via email so that I don’t have another site to visit every day.

  • David, now that you’re in your new home, may we still post your cartoons on other websites? With credit and links, of course.

  • David, I read the Privacy Policy at Patheos, and I think I have my answer about use of your cartoons, which seems to be “no”.

  • Yes you may Grandmere…

  • hey robyn… i’m checking into that today. thanks!

  • Thanks, David. I stand corrected in my previous comment. The warnings in the privacy policies always sound so scary…

  • sure. although my blog is a part of the patheos network, it is still independent and i own my images.

  • Pope Benedict himself played a significant role in covering up molestation and violence in his past administrative roles in the church. One hopes and prays for transparency from such a powerful institution.

  • Kris

    Just call them French Letters…it’s all about the spin! LOL

  • Why not?

    Anything goes…right? We want what we want. Should God tell us how to live?

    Hell NO!

    It’s going to be a bumpy ride…

  • Gary

    It has already been a bumpy road Steve. Under the oppression of the church, which believes it can declare what God wants, the world has suffered much.

    Should the church tell us how to live? “HELL NO!”

  • dan reynolds

    The cartoon reveals the cartoonist has absolutely NO idea how the Catholic Church works. It works through the Spirit of Truth. The Truth never changes and isn’t based in politics or changing times. Those who think it does think so because they have a very ego-centric way of thinking. There is also an assumption that change in and of itself is automatically good. Sure, some change is good when it draws us closer to God, but change just for the sake of change is nothing but change.
    The Church is made of human beings who are both sinful at times as well as good. No doubt the Church, as well as all human being have a fallen nature To blame the Church for one’s leaving the Church is not about the faults of a 2000 year old Church founded by Christ, but it’s about the individual’s faults, one of which is to not take personal responsibility. Every school district in the country has teachers who have engaged in any and every human sin and frailty that one would find in the Catholic Church. Did you quit school because your teacher made poor sinful decisions. Remember the Church is both human and Divine. If you remembered this fact (assuming you knew it in the first place), you would not rush to judgement about a Church that has been around A LOT longer than either you and I and will continue to do so.
    The Church doesn’t TELL you how to live. You have Free Will – a gift by God – so that you might make choices, guided through prayer and faith, that will help you to make the best decisions to bring you into a closer relationship with God. The arguments of being “forward thinking” in light of 55 million murders of innocent babies, World Wars, oppression, and on and on, might give one pause for a better definition of “forward thinking”. If you study the story of salvation, you will see over and over that man has made the same mistakes AGAIN AND AGAIN…trying to make himself or herself into their own god. When one’s wisdom amounts to cursing and finding only faults in a 2000 year old Church who Christ Himself said, ” the gates of hell would not prevail against”…one might take a long look at one’s level of humility. To suggest that any one person embodies more wisdom and knowledge about the workings of the Church than Christ and 2000 years of Saints and Doctors of the Church , as some of you have based on your comments above, shows me many more prayers are needing to be said than are presently being said.
    I would welcome any of you to sit down with a priest and hear what he has to say about some of the mistaken notions you have. Or, you may just find it easier to heckle in the dark, believing it is some sort of yet undiscovered forward progress of change.

  • Hey Dan. Actually I suspect “Dan” is a pseudonym for “Pope”, but I’ll pretend you’re Dan. You say “The cartoon reveals the cartoonist has absolutely NO idea how the Catholic Church works. It works through the Spirit of Truth.” Believe me, I know many Catholics, like other denominations, believe that they work through the Spirit of Truth. I have full knowledge of how people believe the church works.

  • dan reynolds

    Well, since we’re on the topic of truth, actually my name IS Dan. I’m sorry you assumed I wasn’t being truthful. If you doubt it, you can check my own cartoon work in the next issue – March – of Reader’s Digest. As for your statement of the Catholic Church being a “denomination”, her is some more truth…it is not.
    The Roman Catholic Church is not a Christian denomination. It is the first Christian religion.
    All other Christian denominations came after Catholicism. This is not an opinion. It is a historical fact. One more last bit of truth…the Catholic Church, in all human frailty, was given the Spirit of Truth, at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles., over 2000 years ago…during the founding days of the One, Holy, catholic, and Apostolic Church.

  • Dan, just because you say it, doesn’t make it true.

  • CassandraToday

    So you’re saying that David — along with me and numerous other folks here — are wrong, and your reason is, because you’re right? Actually, I’m not being completely fair. Speaking for Roman Catholicism, you’re also saying that Roman Catholicism is right because Roman Catholicism is right, and therefore you’re right.

    Really? That’s all you’ve got?

    Have you actually studied the history of the pre-Roman church? I mean like in grad school, not Sunday school.

  • dan reynolds

    I’M not saying it as in it came from ME. It’s a historical F-A-C-T. I’m sorry if this is disturbing or shakes your world view, but you you can look it up yourself. I’m not making this up.
    Not sure if you’re Protestant or some other denomination, but many serious Protestants, who did religious historical research before Martin Luther (for example learning about the Church Fathers) have actually “come home” and became Catholic when they learned the truth about their own Christian religion.

  • Pat

    Amen,, Grandmere. Sometimes “truths” are just traditions that have not been challenged.

  • dan reynolds

    1 plus 1 = 2 is a truth. It doesn’t change. If you want to believe it’s 262, you have free will, and you can believe it.
    Your belief has no bearing on the truth, however. The fact that I pointed out to you that that the Catholic Church began from the very beginning and all the other Christian denomination branch off from that is not my opinion – it’s a fact. I can’t change it for you even if I wanted to. I implore you to go past what others have told you and check it out for yourself. Don’t shoot the messenger.

  • CassandraToday

    dan reynolds: “you can look it up yourself”

    Would you please provide your source, Dan?

  • dan reynolds

    In your post you asked me to look it up for you. Sure, I could do that. I could give you exactly the information you’re requesting, but let me ask you a question first – would it matter to you? Pilate asked Jesus the question , “What is TRUTH?’ You know what Jesus answered? He said nothing. Silence. He knew no answer would be given to someone whose heart was closed off from the Truth. So, my question to you is “Can you handle the Truth?”, to steal an old line from the movies. Would it make more sense for me to hand you the answer for which you have no investment (gaged on your other posts i.e your sarcasm of asking me if I only studied history in ‘Sunday school’) or would it be more fruitful for you, if you are TRULY wanting to know the true answer, for you to explore it for yourself? Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.
    Now, some may say I’m being evasive. Let them think that. David questioned above whether I was using my real name. He suspected wrongly that I was. People will believe often what suits their preconceived notions and what allows them to do the least amount of personal investment. The devil when tempting Jesus asked him to turn stone to bread, throw Himself from the Temple Wall and have God save him from getting hurt, and to throw himself down and worship him for all the rewards of the world….did Jesus do it. No. I purposely do not want to just GIVE you the answer – though I could easily do so. I want you, if you TRULY want to know, to go out an pursue it for yourself. Then, when you verify what I have said we will have a lot to talk about. Remember, I’m not stating an opinion. It’s not even a belief. It is rooted in history.
    So, I challenge you Cassandra. Let’s see what you can find. Of course, unlike David, who has yet to admit he was wrong about questioning my identity, you’d have to be willing to be humble enough to share what you have learned about the Catholic faith being the first Christian faith and all the others being denominations. Or, again, with free will…you can continue to be insulting instead of informative. Again, please don’t say I’m unwilling or unable to give you historical facts to back up what I’m saying because after having given you my reasons above for why I’m purposely not doing so. That would just confirming what I don’t want to believe – that you really don’t care what the truth is because you’re not even willing to look it up to verify my claim.

  • Dan, I’m not Cassandra, but your post is a fine example of equivocation (won’t give your proof) and circular reasoning or begging the question form of argument, which are logical fallacies. The burden of proof is on you to provide documentation for the certainty in your statements.

    I attended Roman Catholic schools for 16 years through university, so I learned a bit about the history of the RCC. Since then, lo these many years, I’ve read a good bit of church history on my own, so I am not completely without knowledge on the subject. Give us the documentation that will convince us that you are right.

  • dan reynolds

    Your response implies you either didn’t understand the essence of my post (which was people who actually REALLY want to know will find it, you’ll look and put the effort in yourself (did you not read my post????)
    There is no circular logic involved here. Do you not understand the fish analogy? Did you not understand my reference to the non-answer Jesus gave to Pilate and WHY He did so? No, I was very clear. Did you not understand the example of the 3 temptations of Christ example I also gave to further illustrate my point???? If you honestly want to know this simple truth for yourself, and stop believing in all the hyperbole of the secular world, you may easily find said answer. If you just want to accuse me of not knowing myself, well, as I said, go right ahead if that makes you feel better, but you’d just be fooling yourself and not answering the question of the authenticity of the Church Christ founded. I’ll give you one hint, though, go out and ask someone who was NOT Catholic and who converted after studying the history of the Church. Then, come back and share it.
    Oh, and the fact that you claim to have attended Catholic schools for 16 years. What does prove? Standing around in a garage doesn’t make you a car. The Catholic faith is something, like a car, that you need to get into, drive around, and let it help you get where you are going. You also, on your own, have to make a lifetime commitment to it, like working for a living to make money for gas to keep the car going. While the car is perfectly able to get you where you’re going, it needs a driver. Speaking of which, being a disciple of Christ, you learn quickly that you are not the one in the driver’s seat. Too many people in this world make the mistake of thinking they are in the driver seat. I made that mistake, as most do, and when you realize the seating designations, your life becomes much more beautiful. In faith, you come to realize that we all need a GPS (God Positioning System). This temporal highway is short. Life’s rest stop is our journey’s end, and also our eternal destination.

  • Dan: for someone who draws cartoons you didn’t get my joke! Of course I know you’re not the pope! That was supposed to make you giggle instead of get all defensive about the Roman Catholic Church… which is why I joked that you must be the pope. You’re Dan. No problem. Your claim to historical accuracy is a little confounding considering that you only endorse the majority. there have always been and always will be many different expressions of the followers of jesus… there have been from the beginning of time. you’ve been duped into believing that just because the RCC is the majority that has ancient roots that it is the only true way.

  • CassandraToday

    No, Dan, that’s not how it works. You’re using the language of faith to talk about matters of fact. When you claim (or anyone claims) a fact is true, you can either present supporting evidence or not. But if you don’t offer supporting evidence, and I don’t already know the fact to be true, then there’s no reason for me to believe it. And you shouldn’t be surprised if I don’t believe it. That’s how reason works.

    Now, if you want to talk about faith and belief, instead of fact and reason, you’re welcome to make claims without evidence to support them. And I’m welcome to learn from your faith and beliefs, whether I think they’re true or not.

    But you’re claiming fact here, so it’s incumbent on you to back it up if you want other people to accept it as true.

  • Pat

    Dan, I understand the point you’re making, I just don’t happen to agree with it. What Christ founded was THE CHURCH, not the Catholic Church or the Protestant Church. Men set up denominations and decided that their’s was the true church. Although I currently attend a Baptist church and enjoy it, I do not believe we’ve cornered the market on the truth and would not seek to demean another expression of the faith as not being true or real. At the end of the day, God will have the final say and I do not believe that one of the things He’s going to say is that, “Yes, Dan/Pat/whoever, only you had the truth and all other churches were wrong.” I think He’s more concerned with how each of us lives our lives and whether or not we were faithful to Him.

  • dan reynolds

    Why don’t you PROVE my statement wrong?

  • dan reynolds

    The fact that you think your cartoon in any way shape or form could be funny tells me is extremely sad. It’s an abomination. God is Truth, and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

    I think the only thing you said I can agree with is ” I think He’s more concerned with how each of us lives our lives and whether or not we were faithful to Him.” Oh, I do agree that men set up denomination…exactly my point MEN set up denominations. The Catholic Church is NOT a denomination.

  • No it’s not funny. It’s very serious. The Catholic church is an intentionally male dominated stream of christianity that condemns birth control and same sex marriages. That’s serious.

  • dan reynolds

    I’ve read your bio. You’re all over the place. Whatever the flavor of the day. Go back to your studies and learn about the early Church, the Church Doctors, etc. Read what the saints have to say about God instead of what you want to believe. Many people who have bounced around as you have, have “come home” when they’ve explored where they really come from spiritually. Try it. What do you have to lose?

    Read this – it might be enlightening….’s-the-true-church

  • oh dan… thanks for that reference on the Catholic Church is the true church for!!! You serious???? haha. great one. That would make a good cartoon. And yes I’ve been around. I’ve got a story. And my deepest roots is Anglicanism… baptized as a baby. is that what you mean by returning home?

  • dan reynolds

    You’ve tried everything else, why not read the article. What do you have to lose? You’ve got a lot to gain.

    I’m done here. May God bless you.

  • Dan: don’t give up. A good Catholic wouldn’t! I’ve studied for YEARS dude. I don’t need to read another article by the RCC praising and defending the historical primacy of the RCC. Do you have any idea how many of those I’ve read already?

  • Pat

    “…this came to me also in something I read, about a man who moved from Catholicism to Orthodoxy, because the Eastern liturgy is ostensibly “purer” — is that too many people seek the church, and join the church, for the wrong motives. We must make it plain that citizenship in the New Creation embraces the end of all human exclusions.
    When our churches function like clubs, even have the appearance of functioning like clubs, we have lost sight of the One who is no respecter of persons.”–taken from Christianity is Not a Club by Rev. Kenneth Tanner at

  • dan reynolds

    My friend, you’ve tried to morph Christianity into New Age philosophies and have bought into the present world’s mind set of disordering God’s natural law regarding sex, marriage, etc..
    If you really want to go forward, go back…. to the roots of Christianity. In 1054, the Great Schism, the East and West split, and though divided (due to sins on both sides) our brothers from the East are presently apart. We have MUCH more in common and I pray and feel certain we will find union again.

    It’s been fun but I really can’t spend any more time on this blog. I’ve got lots to do.

  • CassandraToday

    Dan Reynolds: “In 1054, the Great Schism, the East and West split, and though divided (due to sins on both sides) our brothers from the East are presently apart.”

    The precipitating factor in the 1054 schism was a power play by the Roman church. After agreeing 600 years earlier not to tamper with the carefully negotiated Nicene Creed, the Roman church unilaterally altered it in a theologically significant way (Google filioque for details). Although the narrative in the western world is that the Eastern Orthodox church split off from Roman Catholic church, in fact it was the Catholic church that split off from the orthodoxy agreed upon at Nicaea and Chalcedon.

    Which pretty much confirms my suspicion that Mr Reynolds has not studied church history. Sadly, he’s chosen to leave this forum, depriving himself of an opportunity to learn at least this little nugget of factual history.

  • dan reynolds

    I know about the filioque clause. That’s ONE aspect of the Great Schism. Sorry to disavow you of your “suspicion” as you say, (because I know holding onto that “suspicion” would make your world view easier to clutch on to….

    You want to pick and choose and ferret out those items in Church history to shore up what you want to believe instead of all the details surrounding the history of the Church. I am glad, however, that you have begun to engage in the era before Luther (which is more the half of the history of Christianity. So, read on about the history of the Church many on this forum have chosen to separate themselves from for love of today’s latest spiritual fads which have more to do with selfish desires and personal convenience than a search for God’s will in their lives. Again, let me add, that ALL division of the Christian faith is sad, including that between the East and the West. I pray for this unity. I also am aware and John Paul II and the present Pope Benedict the XVI have acknowledged passed sins of the Church (remember the Church is human and Divine as was Christ – though He was without sin – not w/o temptation). I do pray that all of Christ’s flock will be brought back to the fold, but all will have to go through the door of Truth, not through doors that they have cut out for themselves born of the desires of their own willfulness.

    So, read on for the early history of the Church. Just so you know, one of my dear friends is an Eastern Orthodox priest whom I have know for 30 years and whom I have the deepest admiration and love for.

    300’s A.D
    At the end of the imperial persecutions of Christianity (c. 313), the universal Church is administered by three major ecclesiastical sees: Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch (in that order of primacy). However, by the mid 300’s, there are already significant differences developing between East and West:

    * The Roman Empire splits in two: a Western Roman Empire and an Eastern Roman Empire

    * The Roman Rite is used in the West; the Antiochian and Alexandrian Rites are used in the East.

    * Unleavened bread is used in the Western Eucharist; leaven bread is used in the East.

    * The West begins a process toward an all-celibate clergy, based upon the growing East-West trend of electing only celibate monks as bishops.

    * The East begins to view the Roman Emperor as the supreme Church authority; even over the primacy (in however one defines it) of the Bishop of Rome. This is somehow related to the influence of the Arians at the imperial court; and most likely developed as a modified form of the old, pagan Emperor worship.

    At the height of the Arian struggle, the Council of Sardica acknowledges the supreme ecclesiastical authority of Rome, and gives the Roman bishop the right to judge cases involving episcopal sees. The presiding bishop at this council is St. Athanasius himself, who had previously been restored to his see of Alexandria by the authority of Pope Julius I –an authority that is even recognized by the Arians, then in power at Constantinople. Thus, Sardica merely codified Rome’s Traditional primacy as a matter of imperial law.
    The pious, young Western Emperor Gratian relinquishes the pagan imperial title of Pontifex Maximus (head of the Roman state religion) –a title retained by Emperor Constantine I and his four immediate “Christian” successors. Emperor Gratian bestows the Pontifex Maximus title on Pope Damasus of Rome, making it clear that Christianity is now the official “state cult” of the Empire.
    With the Arians defeated, the Council of Constantinople proclaims the Bishop of Constantinople (the imperial bishop) second in status to the Bishop of Rome –a decision which Rome refuses to endorse, calling it unTraditional. Rather, citing Canon 6 of Nicaea, Rome upholds the authority of Alexandria as the Traditional second see, and that of Antioch as the third see. It claims that this order of primacy was established by St. Peter himself. Thus, Constantinople is denied the status of a Christian patriarchate.

    With the Council’s decree rejected, Eastern Emperor Theodosius I tries to imitate the policy of Western Emperor Gratian by making St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Bishop of Constantinople, the Pontifex Maximus of the Eastern Empire. St. Gregory, however, refuses to accept the title, and soon after resigns the bishopric.

    c. 400
    The Western Church uses the Athanasian Creed as well as the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds. The East uses only the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds.

    Around this time, the imperial court of Constantinople moves to make Jerusalem an honorary patriarchate, a status denied to Jerusalem (aka Aelia) by the Council of Nicaea in 325. Although not one of the three original patriarchates established by St. Peter (i.e., Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch), the universal Church gives its approval to the imperial decree so as to venerate the Holy City where Christ died and rose again.

    The Council of Ephesus deposes Bishop Nestorius of Constantinople for his heretical teaching that Mary was only the mother of Christ’s human nature, but not of His Divine Personhood. Nestorius’ followers break off from the Church and form communities in the Persian Empire known as the Chaldean church –a Nestorian communion, which later spreads into India, forming the Malabar church as well.
    The Monophysites, who claim that Christ only had one nature –that of God (as opposed to two natures: God and man) are powerful in the Eastern Church. Gaining the Emperor’s support, the Monophysites triumph over the so-called “Robber Council of Ephesus,” and Monophysism is declared to be orthodox doctrine. Numerous orthodox Eastern bishops are deposed, including Bishop Flavian of Constantinople, and appeal to the Pope of Rome to be restored to their sees.

    Pope Leo the Great urges the new Emperor, Marcianus, to call the Council of Chalcedon to condemn the decisions of the Robber Council. The Pope’s teaching, called the Tome of Leo, is read at the Council, which proclaimed: “This is the Faith of our fathers! Peter has spoken in the person of Leo.” However, Patriarch Dioscorus of Alexandria refuses to accept the Council’s decision and withdraws, taking the entire Egyptian and Ethiopian delegation with him. Because of this, numerous Monophysite communities in the Middle East break off to form independent bodies. Among them are the Coptic (Egyptian) church, the Abyssinian (Ethiopian) church, the Jacobite (Syrian) church, the Armenian church, and the Syro-Malankar (Indian) church.

    With the see of Alexandria plunged into heresy, the Byzantines at the Council of Chalcedon make another attempt to declare the Bishop of Constantinople second in status after the Pope of Rome. However, this innovation, known as Canon 28, is unilaterally rejected by Pope Leo, and struck from the canons of the Council (in both East and West) by Papal decree. Bishop Anatolius of Constantinople writes to Pope Leo to apologize for the attempted innovation. Thus, Constantinople is again denied the status of a patriarchate, and Rome displays its final authority, even over the decrees of Ecumenical Councils.

    Pope Leo releases an Edit declaring the Bishop of Rome’s authority over the universal Church.
    The Western Empire falls to Germanic tribes while the Eastern Empire remains intact. The Eastern Emperor is recognized as sole Roman Emperor; and easterners begin to view the West as a bunch of ignorant, uneducated barbarians, whereas they themselves are truly “Roman.”
    FIRST SCHISM: Acacius, Bishop of Constantinople, persuades Eastern Emperor Zeno to issue the Henoticon (“Act of Union”) to appease the Monophysites –a doctrinal compromise and a contradiction of Chalcedon, which all the Eastern bishops sign. Pope Felix III (II) excommunicates both Acacius as well as the Patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch –in essence, excommunicating the entire East!
    Greek begins to replace Latin as the official tongue of the Eastern Empire.
    Eastern Emperor Justin I, an orthodox Christian, tries to heal the schism, sending a party of Eastern bishops to Rome to confer with Pope Hormisdas. All of these Eastern bishops (including the patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and the Bishop of Constantinople) sign the “Libellus Hormisdae,” which clearly defines the primacy of the Roman See based on the Pope’s succession from St. Peter.
    FIRST SCHISM HEALED when Pope John I travels to Constantinople and obtains a profession of orthodox faith from Emperor Justin I –a significant achievement considering the strength of the Monophysites in the East. Pope John is praised by the Byzantines as the “successor of Peter,” and is called upon to re-crown Justin as emperor –a precedent that will later lay the foundation for the crowning of Charlemagne (i.e., the Pope as “king maker.”)
    About this time, the imperial court of Constantinople begins a policy of placing Byzantine Greek bishops on the episcopal thrones of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem to guard against the heresy of Monophysism. The native Christians of Egypt, Syria, and Palestine (most of whom are Monophysites) resent this “imperial intrusion,” and call these foreign bishops “Melchites” (a Syrian term, meaning “of the king ”). The Monophysites then appoint their own bishops in Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem; and the East is plagued by all manner of disputes and schisms.
    The Council of Toledo in Spain adds the “Filioque clause” to the Nicene Creed, but later withdraws it (at the Pope’s request) to appease the East. The West, as well as the Cappadocian fathers of Asia Minor (i.e., St. Basil, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Gregory Nazianzus), have accepted the clause’s theology since the mid-300’s.
    The Western Church continues the process toward an all-celibate clergy.
    The Greek Church gives an even greater role to the Emperor, calling him the “Christ on Earth” (evidently to compete w/ Islam’s Caliph, “The Defender of the Faith”). The Eastern Church/government begins to pattern itself after the Davidic Kingdom of Israel, with the Emperor possessing an essential Church office.

    About this time, the Byzantine Emperor tries to secure the title of “Ecumenical Patriarch” for the Bishop of Constantinople. This would give the Bishop of Constantinople the power and authority to call ecumenical councils; however the Emperor’s request is solemnly denied by Pope Gregory the Great, who calls the title haughty, proud, and unTraditional. Gregory still defends the three-patriarchal system of Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch as it was established by St. Peter.

    Also about this time, the Monophysite Christians in Egypt, Palestine, and Syria begin to form alliances with the rising power of Islam against their Byzantine (“Melchite”) rivals. The Arab Muslims promise the Monophysite Christians freedom of worship; and, with Monophysite help, the Muslims are able to capture Egypt, Palestine, and part of Syria from the Byzantine Empire.

    c. 640
    While living in Rome, St. Maximos the Confessor (a native of Constantinople) defends the orthodoxy of the Filioque clause and writes to his Byzantine peers, explaining what the Romans really mean by it.
    SECOND SCHISM: In a desperate attempt to re-unify his Christian Empire and bring the dissident Christians of Egypt, Palestine, and Syria back into the fold, Emperor Constans II tries to impose the doctrine of Monothelitism (“Christ had only One Will”) on the Empire as a compromise with Monophysism. The heresy is rejected by the West, but temporarily embraced by the Maronite church in Syria and Lebanon.
    After condemning the heresy of Monothelitism at a synod held in Rome, Pope Martin I is arrested by Byzantine troops and taken to Constantinople, where he is publicly abused by the mob and then exiled to Crimea, dying as a martyr for orthodoxy.

    SECOND SCHISM HEALED when the Council of Constantinople III condemns Monothelitism, reuniting the Church.

    (This council also condemned Pope Honorius for heresy –42 years after the Pope’s death –based on one letter he wrote to the Monothelites, where he seems to have tolerated their views. The Pope’s position in the letter is unclear, however; and Honorius’ condemnation was most likely a Byzantine attempt to marginalize the authority of the Papacy. Rome never declared Honorius a formal heretic, but charged him with negligence for “assisting in the base assertions of the heretics.”)

    The Council of Constantinople III also calls Pope Agatho “the head of the Church.”

    –The legal code of the Quinisext (or Trullian) Council of Constantinople (which, among other secular innovations, dispensed with the Apostolic discipline of sexual continence for married priests) is rejected by the West, but eventually accepted by Pope John VII, who needed Byzantine support against the Lombard invaders of Italy.

    Around this time, Rome recognizes Constantinople as a patriarchate. With the two great Eastern sees of Alexandria and Antioch reduced to minor Christian communities by the Muslims, Constantinople remains the only Christian capital in the East.

    THIRD SCHISM: Pope Gregory III excommunicates the Iconoclasts, infuriating Emperor Leo III, who –evidently influenced by Islamic sensibilities –promoted the heresy.
    THIRD SCHISM HEALED by the Council of Nicaea II, which condemns the Iconoclasts and restores the use of images in Church worship.
    Pope Leo III crowns Charlemagne Emperor of the West (i.e., Holy Roman Emperor). This act marks the end of Papal dependence on the Eastern Emperor, but the Pope still refuses Charlemagne’s pressure to include the “Filioque clause” in the Nicene Creed, so as not to alienate the East. The East takes offense at the Pope’s crowning of a “barbarian” as Emperor.
    Boris I, the Bulgarian Khan, withdraws his acceptance of the primacy of Rome when Pope Adrian II refuses to make Bulgaria a patriarchate. Bulgaria shifts its allegiance to Constantinople — a Byzantine political coup, since Constantinople needed to “control” the Bulgarians to protect their northern frontier.
    The Byzantine court sends Sts. Cyril and Methodius into the Balkans to convert the pagan Slavs. Though originally part of the Eastern Empire, this region falls into the Pope of Rome’s Western patriarchate; and Roman Rite missionaries from Germany conflict with the Byzantines, who are adapting the Liturgy into Slavonic, and thus achieving more conversions. To get to the bottom of this conflict, the Pope calls Cyril and Methodius to Rome; and Rome gives its blessing to their ministry. Cyril and Methodius also recognize the universal primacy of the Pope of Rome. Thus, the Slavic Balkan kingdoms embrace the Byzantine Rite as opposed to the Roman Rite –another coup for the court of Constantinople which, as with Bulgaria, needed to establish religious /cultural ties with the Slavs so as to safeguard the Empire’s northern frontier.
    FOURTH SCHISM: Photius, the brilliant but illegally-elected Patriarch of Constantinople, conflicts with Pope Nicholas I and Pope Adrian II over his election to the see of Constantinople. He challenges the authority of the Papacy, and bashes the “Filioque clause.”
    FOURTH SCHISM HEALED when Emperor Basil I calls the 6th Council of Constantinople to depose Photius.
    After being reinstated to the See of Constantinople with Rome’s blessing in 878, Photius conflicts with Pope Stephen V over Papal prerogatives, and is deposed by Emperor Leo VI.
    Photius dies in communion with Rome.
    Pope John X tries to bring the Bulgarians back into communion with Rome.
    Prince Vladimir I of Russia embraces the Byzantine form of Christianity, making it the official religion of the Russian people. He also marries a Byzantine princess.

    The West unilaterally adopts the “Filioque clause” into the Nicene Creed.
    Pope John XIX refuses the Eastern Emperor’s request to recognize the Patriarch of Constantinople as “Ecumenical Patriarch.”

    Michael Cerularius, Patriarch of Constantinople, launches an anti-Latin campaign. He closes all the Latin churches in Constantinople and attacks the “Filioque clause” and Papal authority, claiming that the Pope has no authority to adapt the Creed. His army enters latin Churches in Constantinople and throws Eucharists into the street.
    THE FIFTH (GREAT) SCHISM: Differences come to a head as Cardinal Humbertus, Papal legate of Leo IX excommunicates Patriarch Michael Cerularius and all his communicates (something he does without Papal approval, since Pope Leo had died shortly before). The Patriarch, in turn, excommunicates Humbertus and his fellow Papal delegates.

  • Pat

    I know you’ve left the blog, Dan, but where did this come from?:

    “have bought into the present world’s mind set of disordering God’s natural law regarding sex, marriage, etc..”

    I said nothing about God’s natural law.

  • Joseph Parish

    Dan, as a former Catholic, I admit you did a great job in defending the institutional church. However, the institutional church and the church that Jesus built are not one in the same. Never were, never will be. Jesus said the kingdom of God is inside you.

  • Pat

    Thank you, Joseph. My point exactly.

  • dan reynolds

    THe “institutional” church (this word is often used in when speaking of Catholicism to make it sound as if it has no soul) – yet the Church is not buildings (which the word “institution” is used to imply in typical stereotypical fashion). This word seems to be most often used by people who identify themselves as “former Catholic”. Most “former Catholics” I have ever met in my life try diligently to rationalize their decision for not belonging in the Church among their fellow brothers and sister this notion, or many other like it with ideas like this or by saying “I’m spiritual, but not religious”. That’s all new age thinking, but then again New Age ideas or just old ideas put in new containers with new labels. The Church, along with the Holy Spirit, has fought heresies for over 2000 years. Herein lies the Church. The Church does include fallen away branches or denominations, but it is not in full communion because along the way, the wisdom of some men has tried to outshine the wisdom of the Church. Dark ideas about God, cannot penetrate the light of truth of who God is. We ALL suffer from moving away from the paths that God has set out for us in the Church.
    The Kingdom of God does live within you. BUT it lives within me, and Joe, and Sue, and Harry, etc. That is if they are open to it. If it lives in all of us, then we, in whom it dwells are the Church – the BODY of CHRIST here on earth. We are the hands of Christ and His feet on earth. We need to work together. The heart of truth lives within the Church Jesus founded and passed on apostolic-ly. To take one simple quote form the Bible (when Jesus gave many ideas concerning the “Kingdom of God” is another attempt to rely of a limited focus to try to make one’s case. Again, the Church embodies the whole history, the Doctors of the Church, the Magesterium, apostolic succession, etc. CHristians who like to choose their religious or spiritual affiliations like a walk through the cafeteria do so because they want it their way.
    Our Lord addressed his teachings on the kingdom of God to these Israelites, to those with false earthly ideas of the kingdom.

    Jesus came before his people as the Messiah predicted by the prophets. He preached and announced the kingdom as it was known by the true meaning of the prophets.

    Thus in the first place this kingdom is the realization of God’s sovereignty over man. For this purpose, the fulfillment of the will of God is above all things necessary: “Not every one that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that does the will of My Father who is in heaven” (Mt 7:21).

    Second, this kingdom isn’t simply God’s reign over individual people. It was to be established in a true and real kingdom, a gathering together of a religious community which would have as its head the only begotten Son of God, and which shall be governed according to the constitution which he has given and in accordance with his laws. This is the kingdom of the Messiah as foretold by the prophets.

    The seed & initial gathering of this kingdom is the Church, founded by Christ to preach the gospel of Christ and bring Christ’s own means of salvation to the world through the sacraments.

    Third, the kingdom of God is a true and actual kingdom of heaven—its foundation is in heaven, from which its King and Founder has descended from the bosom of the Father, and it will have its final consummation again in heaven where Jesus Christ will reign for ever with the saints in glory.

    Finally, this triumphant final time of the kingdom will be preceded by the preparatory stage of the time of conflict in the kingdom of God on earth. This community of the new covenant is founded on earth for man, will embrace all nations, and will last to the end of time. The time of conflict shall be followed by the eternal enjoyment of the reward in the kingdom of glory.

    The kingdom of God is one, although it has both these earthly and heavenly parts. Both parts of the kingdom coexist, each is related to the other, and each affects the other.

    While our Lord always refer

  • Joseph Parish

    Well then, you seem to agree that the Kingdom dwells in each of us. That being the case, no denomination or any organized religion can claim exclusive rights to “The Spirit of Truth”. And history teaches us the exact opposite of what you claim, if Jesus words, “you will know them by their fruits” has any credibility. Protestantism isn’t any better. Both have ‘false earthly ideas” of the kingdom as you put it, and their histories have been stained with blood , oppression of the orphan and widow, and corruption.

  • dan reynolds

    As I said before, the Church is both human and Divine (hey, sounds like Jesus, huh? – except Jesus was without sin.) In our Church there is sin because we have a fallen nature. We live our lives, with the help of God’s grace, to become ever open to allow God into out hearts. You or any one else who uses a single line from the Bible (and taking it out of context to boot) is attempting merely to justify themselves and what they’re not doing – in this case being a part of the Church. No man is an island. Using the “sins” of the Church to justify your not being a part of it is like being ill and saying you can’t be admitted into the hospital because there’s sick people there. You’ve decided, not by what God has instructed but by your own desires, to not be a part of the community of believers – not be admitted into the “hospital”, as it were because of your belief that you can heal yourself. God designed the family so as to feed and nourish each other, physically, spiritually, etc. and He designed the Church with the same intention. Don’t confuse yourself with the notion that being set apart makes you somehow better, and at the same time thinking, “Those who a part of the Church are hypocrites (though there are some of those – remember there are sick people in the hospital!). Jesus identified the sinful illness and hypocrisy in the Jewish Church, BUT HE STILL BELONGED TO IT!!!! Are you wiser than Jesus? Are you and I not to follow His example?
    I beg you not to use the convenient and misguided notion of being self-enlightened or repeat the “sins” you’ve heard tell of others to justify your not being part of the Church. Having said all that, it is also true that someone who has never heard of Christ and the Church, having lived a good and loving life, can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. But you have heard and are aware and are blessed with being able to be part of the Body of CHrist. Those of us who have are held to a different level of accountability. We are our brothers keepers. I humbly remind you of this – especially those who refer to themselves as “former Catholics”. That, in itself is a total misnomer. You cannot, in reality, be a “former Catholic”. Yes, you can say you are and act the part, but you can no more be a “former Catholic” than you can have a sex change operation and REALLY be another sex. You ARE the sex you were born as no matter what parts you remove or add. There are no “former Catholics”. There are only fallen away Catholics, and some fallen away Catholics can even still going to Church! Think about that! Still, it is better for those who are ill to be close to the “hospital” just in case they awaken to the need of the spiritual medicinal remedy for their souls.

  • Joseph Parish

    I am not an Island, I am part of the church, I fellowship with other believers, I belong to the “circle”, and I am my brothers keeper. I am all those things without attending a Catholic or Protestant Church. I would suggest you look at church history a little more critically, a little more behind the scenes as it were. In Christ’s own teaching, actions speak volumes. That being said, I am glad you recognize (at least) that those who live a loving and good life are part of the Kingdom.

  • dan reynolds

    In other words, you do exactly what I said – you make your own recipe or “circle” of self-imposed religious ideology. That makes things convenient. You can choose abortion or gay marriage or euthanasia or whatever YOU deem fits the feelings du jour. You can rely on yourself because, hey, you’re 30, 40, 50, 60 – 80 years old, you’ve been around – and you know what you like. You know what will fit for you and still allow that flexibility to get what you need when you need it and assure yourself that there’s a quote in the Bible that will somehow justify YOUR infinite wisdom. Well, it’s not about me and it’s not about YOU. It’s about Jesus Christ. God’s greatest gift was Himself, and when you make it about YOU, if you’re quiet, you can hear the sounds of the nails being pounded into his hands and feet.

    Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:53-54). We’re honoring Jesus’ command and trusting in that promise every time we go to Mass.

    What’s more, the Eucharist — along with all the other Sacraments — is only available to those in the Church. As members of the Church, Christ’s visible body here on earth, our lives are intimately tied up with the lives of others in that Church. Our personal relationship with God is vital, but we also have a responsibility to live as faithful members of Christ’s body. Just being a “good person” isn’t enough.

  • Dan, Jesus said to love God with our whole hearts, souls, minds, and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves. I suspect that God may not be so picky about doctrines, denominations, and membership in the Roman Catholic Church as you say. God is love, first and above all, and those who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. “Do you love, in word and in deed?” is the question we should ask ourselves. Of course, we all fall short at one time or another, but we continue on the path of love, with the help of God’s grace working in us.

    Your God is far too small for me.

  • Joseph Parish

    You are right Dan, it is not about me, it is not about you, and especially not about Pharisaical and criminal institutions, it is about HIM. Paul said the ONLY thing that counts is FAITH expressing itself through acts of Love. Mimi, you are correct. I guarantee both you and I when we come into His presence, we will have better things to talk about. Now we see in a glass darkly! peace.

  • dan reynolds

    @ Grandmother
    You said, ” I suspect that God may not be so picky about doctrines, denominations, and membership in the Roman Catholic Church as you say”

    In your statement you said exactly what I’m getting at… you say, but you do not see.. You said “I suspect…” WHo are YOU or I to guess at what was established by Christ HIMSELF?

    @ Joseph…
    One of the MOST important reasons for having the Church, the Magesterium, the Pope, Church Doctors, etc. is for the unaltered and correctly interpretation of the Word of God (not to mention the understanding that the notion of Sola Scriptura is wrong – you also need to have Tradition). This last comment of yours is the same droning that Protestants have repeated to themselves as justification for their departure from the Church since the Reformation. No doubt there were unseeing and sinful practices that cropped p in the 13oo’s, for instance, and there were things that Luther did that helped the Church see and correct elements that were unsavory and not in light of God’s plan for the Church, but he went too far. He tried to throw the baby out with the bathwater. He totally misread and misinterpreted the scriptures and come up with this Sola Fide concept. The bible only uses the phrase “FAITH ALONE” once. In James 2:24 “Man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” It doesn’t say that humankind is saved by works alone, but St. James says, “Faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” (James 2:17) Ironically, St. Paul says, “For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the the law.” (Romans 2:28) He doesn’t use the phrase “faith alone”. Only James does and he is not using it in the way that those who like to claim Sola Fide (faith alone). As James say, “Faith without works is like the body with a soul.” Catholicism teaches that it is by grace alone that we are saved and that faith AND works are necessary.

    Luther erroneously associated infallibility, freedom without error (only in matters of faith, not that the Pope could pick a winning horse), with impeccability, freedom without sin. Immoral priests, bishops cardinals, popes – no one is excused. Yet their personal sinfulness don’t affect the truthfulness of their teaching or the validity of their sacraments (which were given to us by Christ). Think of it this way…if Jack the Ripper told you 1 plus 1 = 2, it’s still a true statement no matter how evil or sinful he may be. Peter denied Christ 3 times….CHRIST himself! The apostles ran away and hid. Yet, we hold them all in saintly esteem (not counting Judas, of course).

    I hope that helps.

  • Joseph Parish

    Dan, I agree wholeheartedly that Sola Scriptura is an erroneous concept. IMHO, that is where Protestantism went wrong. Tradition is very important in our understanding of truth. Not only that, but traditions bind us together as a people. There are many traditions in many cultures throughout the world. That brings up another problem I have with organized, evangelical religion in that religious zealots throughout the ages have committed cultural (and actual) genocide particularly against Indigenous peoples, many times in accordance with Church policy. Both the Catholic Church and various Protestant denominations committed this sin in the Americas, for example, against Native people, beginning most egregiously with Columbus.

    You also stated, “One of the MOST important reasons for having the Church, the Magesterium, the Pope, Church Doctors, etc. is for the unaltered and correctly interpretation of the Word of God”. IMHO, the Catholic church has interpreted Scripture erroneously, most importantly in two areas, firstly through their definition of “church” or The Body of Christ , and secondly, through their doctrines concerning the dispensation of grace through the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist.

  • Joseph Parish

    BTW, enjoying the discussion. I do appreciate the fact that you know history and understand church doctrine.

  • dan reynolds

    In your first paragraph, you and I concur.
    When you say…”the Catholic church has interpreted Scripture erroneously, most importantly in two areas, firstly through their definition of “church” or The Body of Christ , and secondly, through their doctrines concerning the dispensation of grace through the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist….”

    our first mistake is that we could actually have a “IMHO” when it comes to this. How can we, you and I compare ourselves to not the greatest minds and spiritual fathers in all of history – not to mention who are among the greatest minds in history period…great minds like St. Augustine and St. Aquinas as just two examples??? Their hearts, minds and spirits and in what they’ve brought to us through the Spirit (oh, we can throw Paul in there, too). This one of those areas that creeps into the thinking of “secular modern” man.
    As for the “Body of Christ”, The Church came into being when Christ died on the Cross, but it was formally inaugurated on Pentecost, when He sent the Holy Spirit as He had promised. St. Paul speaks of all Christians as members of Christ, so that with Him, they form one Mystical Body (Cf. 1 Cor 12:12-31; Col 1:18; 2:18-20; Eph. 1:22-23; 3:19; 4:13). St. Paul did not use the word Mystical. It was developed more recently to bring out the fact that this union is unique, there is no parallel to it. It is not the same as the union of a physical body, nor that of a business corporation.

    The Church, the Mystical Body, exists on this earth, and is called the Church militant, because its members struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil. The Church suffering means the souls in Purgatory. The Church triumphant is the Church in heaven. The unity and cooperation of the members of the Church on earth, in Purgatory, in Heaven is also called the Communion of Saints. When St. Paul uses the word “Saints” in opening an Epistle, he does not mean they are morally perfect. He has in mind Hebrew qadosh, which means set aside for God, or coming under the covenant. Being such means of course they are called to moral perfection. But of course, not all have reached it in this world.

    The word “Saint” in the modern sense means someone who has been canonized by the Church in recent times, or was accepted as such by the Church in earlier times. If a person is shown to have practiced heroic virtue–beyond what people in general do – in all virtues, the title “Venerable” is given; with two miracles by that one’s intercession, the title is “Blessed”; two more miracles can lead to canonization and the title of Saint.
    As regards, the “Holy Eucharist”, the way Catholics think about the Eucharist has a lot to do with the way we understand the body. In Christian tradition the human person is not simply someone who has a body, but is someone who is a body. That challenges us to think beyond a narrow understanding of the body as a collection of muscles, bones and organs where a soul resides.

    Think of the body in a deeply traditional sense, as the whole person in relation to God. Christian teaching on the Resurrection focuses, for example, not on an immortal soul, but on a transfigured world of glorified bodies. That’s why the famous theologian Karl Rahner called the feast of the Ascension “a festival of the future of the world.” For we believe that Christ’s body—and our bodies—will last forever, transformed by God.

    This view of the body affects how we understand the Eucharist—indeed even how we understand Christ. The body of Christ offered in consecrated bread and wine is not something, but someone….The ultimate intent of celebrating Eucharist is not to produce the sacred species for purposes of reservation and adoration, but to create the united body of Christ which is the Church. The body of Christ is not only on the table, but at the table and around the table.

    God’s design is community, a community of love. He Himself lives in the Trinity, in which God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit are THE perfect example of Communion and Love.. God desires us to all eat at His Table together.

    Please don’t jump over the important examples I gave you in the last post. It’s what is not responded to on this board that speaks the loudest. When I first started commenting on this board people kept on saying over and over again for me to give the history of the One, Holy, catholic, Church for the basis of why the Catholic Church was that established by Christ. I did so (though I wanted YOU all to search the history yourself). Since I did that, all those who were questioning me about it are silent. That have no retort. There is no retort. These are all historical facts. It’s also historical fact that there have been human sin within the ranks within the Catholic Church, but WHERE, in what other collection of mankind is there not? Remember that Truth given by Jesus himself and handed down in Tradition, the Scriptures, etc. does not change due to fallen human nature. Remember the Jack the Ripper example. So, I would ask everyone to ask themselves why are the really trying to dismiss the Church that Christ Himself founded? It’s not Dan’s Church. It YOURS as well. Come Home, my brothers and sisters.

  • WHo are YOU or I to guess at what was established by Christ HIMSELF?

    Dan, in talking about God’s love and our love for God, I’m not only in the company of Jesus, but of St Paul…

    “If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

    …and of St Augustine of Hippo, who said, “Love God, and do what you will.”

    The Roman Catholic Church simply cannot contain or withhold the love of God.

  • dan reynolds

    So you think the quote of St. Augustine (who btw, was part of the Catholic Church and a priest) “Love God, and do what you will” supports your position? Oh, my my.
    What Augustine are trying to tell us is that when you love someone you tend to start acting like them and you tend to start to like the same things they like. Thus, the more you love God, the deeper that relationship becomes (and were talking real relationship not mere feelings) the more in tune your will is to His. And then to the degree that you love God and your will is in tune with God’s Will, what you want, what issues from the deepest desires of your heart, is what God wants. This is real freedom: the ability to do the right thing not because God said so or even just because it’s right but because it answers the deepest desire of your heart. As we grow in love with God and, necessarily, in love with our neighbor, our vocation ought to become our life and our joy. A man truly in love with a woman who is also his best friend does not need someone to tell him to marry her: to not marry her he would almost have to deny who he is.
    St. Augustine doesn’t mean “do what you want.” He is saying, in loving God, you will only be able to do God’s will so you will do what HE wants, not yourself. Jesus PURPOSELY formed His Church. As God, His will was to have us live in His Church.

  • Exactly, Dan, except that God’s church, the Body of Christ, is not synonymous with the Roman Catholic Church.

  • Joseph Parish

    Dan, there have been many great minds throughout history, within and without the Roman Catholic church. Should we cherry pick and only consider those teachings within our own narrow view? For example, I appreciate the writings of protestant theologians like CS Lewis , but being a scientist, I am absolutely mesmerized by the writings of the French Jesuit theologian/scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, whom some regard as a heretic, by the way. There are many faiths and many traditions in which the Spirit of Truth speaks. No box can contain all that God is.

  • Joseph Parish

    On this, we agree!

  • dan reynolds

    The Church is the congregation of all the faithful on earth, united under one visible head.
    But this description is incomplete; it does not embrace the whole concept of the Church, but merely its visible-body. It tells us nothing of the bonds that unite us to her and the duties that these bonds imply. In addition to the definition expressed above, the Church can be considered under three fundamental aspects: as the mystical body of our Lord Jesus Christ, as His spouse, and as our spiritual mother.

    As the mystical body of Christ, the Church is composed not only of the congregation of the faithful on earth, but also of the souls of the blessed in heaven and of all those who are united to Him by faith and grace. Moreover, it extends throughout all time, from the beginning to the end of the world, and will endure for all eternity. Accord­ing to this concept, the Church is a great spiritual family whose head is Christ. It forms a truly organic body made up of various members animated by the same spirit and life and provided with the same means of development and of attaining perfection in accordance with the end which God has marked out for them.

    From this arises the division of the Church into militant (us here on Earth), triumphant (those who made it to Heaven), and suffering (those in Purgatory), and the further division of the Church militant into teaching and taught. From this also proceed the various categories of members which constitute it, with the diversity of functions, ministries, and graces enumerated by St. Paul. Hence also the communion of saints, for inasmuch as all the members form but one body and all are animated by the same spirit and life (that of Christ), so all share in and possess as their own what all the other members possess individually and collectively. This is the perfect union of which our Lord spoke at the Last Supper and which is verified by the indwelling of the three divine Persons in the souls of the just:

    “That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in Me, and I in Thee: that they also may be one in Us.”

  • dan reynolds

    Until all Christians worship the same Triune God under the leader our Lord intended us to follow, the pope of Rome, our use of terms such as Church will intersect but not mean the same thing. Protestants will express gratitude when non-Christians (and sometimes Catholics) have “entered the church,” and Catholics will express gratitude when non-Christians (and sometimes Protestants) have “entered the Church.” Our Lord Jesus did not say to Peter, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my churches.” He said, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church ” (Matt. 16:18)—this much all Christians can agree about this passage. Our Savior also called his Church a sheepfold, asserting that “there shall be one flock, one shepherd” (John 10:16). The Catholic Church is now and forever the visible body of Christ, the visible sign of God’s kingdom on earth. St. John Chrystostom wonderfully reminded the Christians of his era that the Church shall always be seen: “It is an easier thing for the sun to be quenched than for the Church to be made invisible.”

    Here’s a few quotes from Fathers of the Church…
    “Peter, who is called ‘the rock on which the Church should be built,’ who also obtained ‘the keys of the kingdom of heaven. . .’”
    —Tertullian, On the Prescription against the Heretics, 22 (c. A.D. 200)

    “And Peter, on whom the Church of Christ is built, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail. . .”
    —Origen, Commentary on John, 5:3 (A.D. 232)

    “By this Spirit Peter spake that blessed word, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ By this Spirit the rock of the Church was established.”
    —Hippolytus, Discourse on the Holy Theophany, 9 (ante A.D. 235)

    “‘Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.’ . . . It is on him that he builds the Church and to him that he entrusts the sheep to feed. And although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single Chair, thus establishing by his own authority the source and hallmark of the (Church’s) oneness. . . . If a man does not fast to this oneness of Peter, does he still imagine that he still holds the faith? If he deserts the Chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, has he still confidence that he is in the Church?”
    —Cyprian, De Unitate Ecclesiae (Primacy text), 4 (A.D. 251)

  • dan reynolds

    C.S. Lewis. Love him. As time went on, he moved more and more towards Catholicism. He did not convert, but he was everything a good Catholic should be!
    I’m not “cherry picking”. I’m just giving references.

  • dan reynolds

    Now, back to my original reason for chipping in on this blog….that cartoon above is not a joke and it is very offensive

  • dan reynolds

    The statement below sums it all up. There are so many misconceptions about the Catholic Church, it would make you head spin. There are so many, in fact, that even a large percentage of people who call themselves Catholics believe these misconceptions to be true. When you really understand the Church’s actual teachings and WHY she teaches what she does, it’s a beautiful thing.

    “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
    ― Fulton J. Sheen

  • Joseph Parish

    I agree that the cartoon is offensive, but I also thought it was a clever way to bring out a lot of issues, and thought provoking enough to get people at least engaged in some sort of productive discourse – and here we are. But to be fair, I find sheltering pedophile priests offensive, and inexcusable and criminal for an institution who claims to represent Christ on earth, then we can go back in history to the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, colonization, and more recently to the boarding schools and orphanages. These aren’t just examples of human failures (sins) from time to time, but a pattern of official church policy. The Spanish inquisition lasted from 1481 to 1834. 350 years of church history can’t be dismissed as some isolated sins, and from what I understand, abusive priests were sheltered for some 60 years, maybe longer. Sorry, “ye shall know them by their fruits”, is an appropriate admonition by our Lord in the case of the RCC, and other religious institutions as well. Faith to be genuine faith should be effectual, whether it is personal or institutional. It was not effectual for me as a Catholic, even receiving the Eucharist 6 days a week, going to confession every six months, and never missing a Mass on Sunday. The only thing that worked for me was developing a relationship with Jesus, and that involved coming to faith outside of any church experience. Like the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding!

  • Pat

    Dan, I’m asking this because I really want to understand your point. From your viewpoint of the Catholic Church as the visible body of Christ (and I realize you don’t believe it’s just your viewpoint but as an actual point of truth), how then do you view Protestants? Are they lost or misguided or something else?

  • dan reynolds

    So, you’re saying about the cartoon that the ends justify the means. After this response, I can see this conversation went no where.
    Like a robot, you spew to the enemy’s glee half-truths and misconceptions. You site sins of the Catholic Clergy, like sex abuse because you are drawn like a moth to the flame to the secular news’ agenda-driven drivel. You might like to know (or maybe not) that the Christian denominations outside the Catholic Church have basically the same abuse rate You can read this from Newsweek (which I’ve chosen as the source to your own edification because Newsweek is not exactly Catholicism-friendly. Check it out here:
    Going on about the history of the sins of man within the Church as justification for your spiritual emotional baggage and distain for the Church, again, shows me you heard NOTHING that I wrote about regarding the human and Divine aspects of the Church. Let’s look at you, Joe. You’re a human and you are made in the image of God, right. Let’s say we examine your lifetime and we hold up all the dark, sinful things you did to the light and we just keep on hashing them and rehashing them again and again. Let’s avoid mentioning the lifetime of good, which I’ll bet far outweighs the sin, and, again, let’s keep on hammering the 5% or whatever. Think about what you’re doing to the Catholic Church in light of your personal sins. Don’t use an argument like “I don’t claim to represent Christ on earth.” YES, YOU DO, JOE! THAT’S THE POINT…if you say you are a Christian, then, YOU DO!” I take with a grain of salt a lot of the anti-Catholic sentiment because generations and generations of bad mouthing Catholics has gone on, and many people are raised this way. They’re programed to think we worship Mary and statues, or whatever other nonsense, but they do this because it’s easier to be bigoted than it is to get the facts.
    Protestants attack the Catholic Church by saying there is no need of a Pope. Well, they should look in their own back yard first, because each Protestant acts as his or her own pope. There are millions of “popes” in Protestantism, and all of them are running around claiming that their personal opinion regarding the interpretation of Scripture is the truth. Are there really millions of truths? I thought Holy Scripture said there was only one truth.
    Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism, lamented as he said these things after he had seen the damage that individual interpretation of Holy Scripture had done to his movement,
    “This one will not hear of Baptism, and that one denies the sacrament, another puts a world between this and the last day: some teach that Christ is not God, some say this, some say that: there are as many sects and creeds as there are heads. No yokel is so rude but when he has dreams and fancies, he thinks himself inspired by the Holy Ghost and must be a prophet.”
    De Wette III, 61. quoted in O’Hare, THE FACTS ABOUT LUTHER, 208.

  • Joseph Parish

    Actually, I don’t think any organized religion has the moral high ground, just different symptoms of the same disease. In some ways, Catholicism has more going for it. Doesn’t mean their aren’t good, spiritual people in them, on the contrary, there are many that put me to shame, and you may be one of them. I read about them, they inspire me. Some are Catholics some are protestants, some are “pagans” in your view. My confirmation name was Francis, in honor of St. Francis. His life, legend or no, inspires me. My mother gave me a statue of St. Michael the Archangel with a little prayer scroll. I treasure it. The point is, God sees beyond all this BS; he uses what He has. He can even use an offensive cartoon. Yeah, I think he can handle that! BTW, I call myself a follower of Jesus, a student, and don’t claim to have a monopoly on the truth.

  • Joseph Parish

    Oh and by the way, it wasn’t the sex abuse, like you said, that happens everywhere, it was the systematic cover up by the hierarchy that was reprehensible. The danger is in anybody or in any institution giving themselves the insane responsibility of claiming they represent God on earth. God always has and always will represent Himself.

  • dan reynolds

    No doubt – God can draw straight with crooked lines, however, His ability to draw well does not give us license to color outside His lines. As regards to drawing, the cartoon above may be couched in “well, a good discussion came out of it”, but you don’t know that, number one, I might have just as easily commented when I stumbled on this site anyways, and 2. as I said before, the end does not justify the means. Think of all the spoiled fruit that could result form others seeing that cartoon. You nor I know how many people saw that cartoon, did not comment on this board, and then went off harboring ill feelings about the author or became deepened and feeling justified, erroneously, about their hatred for the Catholic Church.
    Thoughts about Protestantism…well, I will agree there are probably a lot of Protestants who live more virtuous lives than many Catholics. Of this I have no doubt. Of course, the opposite holds true as well. So, commenting on Protestantism as a whole is much different than commenting on individual Protestants. The denomination of Protestantism going back to Luther (who never actually wanted to break with the Church himself – he who was a Catholic) is flawed in its institution by man (thinking he knew better) as opposed to Catholicism which was a direct shoot of Christ Himself. Protestantism, as a break from the Church Christ established has
    a number of mis-interpretations of Holy Scripture Error:
    There are several things which must be taken into consideration when interpreting Holy Scripture, and many of them are ignored by Protestants.
    1. The Senses of Scripture. Should the passage be taken literally, allegorically, as a parable, etc?
    Most Protestants will take the whole Bible literally, except for John chapter 6, of which they say it is symbolic.
    2. The meaning of the words used at the time of writing are not necessarily the same meaning of the words today.
    3. History plays a big role in proper Scriptural interpretation. The nature and customs of those of which Scripture speaks must be taken into account.
    4. The true meanings of what the authors had in mind are sometimes lost in translation from one language to another. Words in one language sometimes have no exact counterpart in another language and a word is chosen by compromise as “closest” in meaning, that is according to the one who is doing the translating. Frequently, the ancient Greek and Hebrew texts must be consulted in order to ascertain the true meanings of the words of Scripture.
    5. Many Protestant sects will attempt to conform Holy Scripture to their false teaching, rather than to conform their teaching to the truth of Scripture.

    Some of the false charges made by Protestants against the Catholic Church, due to their mis-interpretation of Holy Scripture. Cases in point:
    *Mary had “other children”.
    *Holding to the Sabbath.
    *Peter had no Primacy.
    *The Papacy is not scriptural.
    *The Catholic Church could not be the Church which Jesus Christ founded, as it does not match what Scripture says regarding the primitive Church.
    *The Holy Eucharist is merely a symbol and could not be the Body of Christ. Didn’t Jesus Christ say in many verses that it is His Body? Did He say anywhere that it was only a symbolic gesture?
    *The seven churches mentioned in Revelation 2 and 3 are said to be various Protestant churches. That is one of the most ridiculous claims of all, with Protestants grasping at straws, and using wishful thinking. To make it simple, by using today’s English, those seven Churches were parishes in different cities of the same one Church which Jesus Christ founded. In easy to understand terms, they were all founded by the same Apostles who were all infused with the same truth by the same Holy Spirit at the same time at Pentecost. They all taught only one truth, so all of those Churches were in the same one fold, and were not in seven different opposing Protestant folds.
    The seven Churches are merely an extension of Acts 1:8 where Jesus said this to the Apostles:
    “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem (local) and in all Judea and Sama’ria (expanding to surrounding areas) and to the end of the earth (expanding over the whole earth).”
    How could this ever be accomplished except by establishing Churches in all areas of the world?

    Again, while I love the individual Protestant as brothers or sisters in Christ, it is the denominational break and it’s resultant continual fracturing and watering down of the Truth that I regret.

  • dan reynolds

    What amazes me on this board (though it probably shouldn’t) is that people here don’t address the points I make in terms of themselves (like how I asked Joe to look at his own sinfulness in light of his or others attacks on the Catholic Church). They read right past these points. This behavior or way or perceiving the world is symptomatic of a PROTEST-ant view of the world. There is no sense of authority other than which they themselves deem appropriate.
    A lot of this single-mindedness is a direct result of our present culture. Here’s a pertinent quote: “America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance — it is not. It is suffering from tolerance. Tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded.”
    ― Fulton J. Sheen

  • Joseph Parish

    Dan, one thing I am truly grateful for that I got out of Catholicism was my awareness of my own sinfulness. It gave me 24 years of debilitating guilt, which gave me incentive to find the ONE truth, Jesus Christ. Truth is a person, not an institution.

  • Joseph Parish

    Dan, you stated:

    Some of the false charges made by Protestants against the Catholic Church, due to their mis-interpretation of Holy Scripture. Cases in point:
    *Mary had “other children”.

    Quite a bold statement, did you really think through even this one “misinterpretation”, or are you just regurgitating the Catholic position? What does the Scripture actually infer about this?

  • dan reynolds

    We agree Truth is a person – Jesus Christ, God incarnate. I never said Truth was an institution. A house is not a home. I home is what people who love each other live in. Still, our “homes” or families need a place that protects us from the elements. Our Church protects us from the elements caused by the enemy by teaching us, as we grow, from the wisdom of our Fathers and Mother. We do not raise ourselves. Those he try to convince themselves that they do do so unwisely. They make the mistake of trying to run from their own feet.
    As regards to your reference of being glad you no longer have 24 years of debilitating guilt….It’s the CHURCH’S fault you had years of guilt?
    Those who deny guilt and sin are like the Pharisees of old who thought our Saviour had a “guilt complex” because He accused them of being whited sepulchers—outside clean, inside full of dead men’s bones. Those who admit that they are guilty are like the public sinners and the publicans of whom Our Lord said, “Amen, I say to you, that the publicans and the harlots shall go into the Kingdom of God before you” (Matt. 21:31). Those who think they are healthy but have a hidden moral cancer are incurable; the sick who want to be healed have a chance. All denial of guilt keeps people out of the area of love and, by inducing self-righteousness, prevents a cure. The two facts of healing in the physical order are these: A physician cannot heal us unless we put ourselves into his hands, and we will not put ourselves into his hands unless we know that we are sick. In like manner, a sinner’s awareness of sin is one requisite for his recovery; the other is his longing for God. When we long for God, we do so not as sinners, but as lovers.

  • dan reynolds

    Neither the Gospel accounts nor the early Christians attest to the notion that Mary bore other children besides Jesus. The faithful knew, through the witness of Scripture and Tradition, that Jesus was Mary’s only child and that she remained a lifelong virgin.

    An important historical document which supports the teaching of Mary’s perpetual virginity is the Protoevangelium of James, which was written probably less than sixty years after the conclusion of Mary’s earthly life (around A.D. 120), when memories of her life were still vivid in the minds of many.

    According to the world-renowned patristics scholar, Johannes Quasten: “The principal aim of the whole writing [Protoevangelium of James] is to prove the perpetual and inviolate virginity of Mary before, in, and after the birth of Christ” (Patrology, 1:120–1).

    To begin with, the Protoevangelium records that when Mary’s birth was prophesied, her mother, St. Anne, vowed that she would devote the child to the service of the Lord, as Samuel had been by his mother (1 Sam. 1:11). Mary would thus serve the Lord at the Temple, as women had for centuries (1 Sam. 2:22), and as Anna the prophetess did at the time of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:36–37). A life of continual, devoted service to the Lord at the Temple meant that Mary would not be able to live the ordinary life of a child-rearing mother. Rather, she was vowed to a life of perpetual virginity.

    However, due to considerations of ceremonial cleanliness, it was eventually necessary for Mary, a consecrated “virgin of the Lord,” to have a guardian or protector who would respect her vow of virginity. Thus, according to the Protoevangelium, Joseph, an elderly widower who already had children, was chosen to be her spouse. (This would also explain why Joseph was apparently dead by the time of Jesus’ adult ministry, since he does not appear during it in the gospels, and since Mary is entrusted to John, rather than to her husband Joseph, at the crucifixion).

    According to the Protoevangelium, Joseph was required to regard Mary’s vow of virginity with the utmost respect. The gravity of his responsibility as the guardian of a virgin was indicated by the fact that, when she was discovered to be with child, he had to answer to the Temple authorities, who thought him guilty of defiling a virgin of the Lord. Mary was also accused of having forsaken the Lord by breaking her vow. Keeping this in mind, it is an incredible insult to the Blessed Virgin to say that she broke her vow by bearing children other than her Lord and God, who was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    The perpetual virginity of Mary has always been reconciled with the biblical references to Christ’s brethren through a proper understanding of the meaning of the term “brethren.” The understanding that the brethren of the Lord were Jesus’ stepbrothers (children of Joseph) rather than half-brothers (children of Mary) was the most common one until the time of Jerome (fourth century). It was Jerome who introduced the possibility that Christ’s brethren were actually his cousins, since in Jewish idiom cousins were also referred to as “brethren.” The Catholic Church allows the faithful to hold either view, since both are compatible with the reality of Mary’s perpetual virginity.

    Today most Protestants are unaware of these early beliefs regarding Mary’s virginity and the proper interpretation of “the brethren of the Lord.” And yet, the Protestant Reformers themselves—Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli—honored the perpetual virginity of Mary and recognized it as the teaching of the Bible, as have other, more modern Protestants.

  • Joseph Parish

    Dan you stated,

    However, due to considerations of ceremonial cleanliness, it was eventually necessary for Mary, a consecrated “virgin of the Lord,” to have a guardian or protector who would respect her vow of virginity.

    Where in the Scripture can we find any reference to Mary unambiguously taking a vow of virginity?

  • Joseph Parish

    I didn’t deny my guilt and sin, I am guilty. And yes, it was the churches fault for not providing me a clear direction to overcome the guilt and sin. I did everything they told me to, but it was vanity. Like Simon in Acts Chapter 8 thinking he could purchase the free gift of God with his money.

  • Joseph Parish

    I checked into your historicity, Protoevangelium of James, also known as the Gospel of James ( I have heard of it and was familiar with some of the text by that name), is not even considered canon, even by the Catholic Church. Don’t know that I would cite that as any credible evidence. And from what other information I could gather, the perpetual virginity of Mary wasn’t widely accepted till the 4th century. As far as Scripture, a case for or against it can be developed based on what could be called “circumstantial evidence” and taking it into historical context. But I really don’t know what difference it makes anyway, and why there would be “eternal consequences” if one didn’t accept that belief. That sounds like religious bullying to me.

  • Joseph Parish

    From Wikipedia: “Scholars have established that the work is pseudepigraphical (not written by the person it is attributed to).[4] That conclusion is based on the style of the language and the fact that the author describes certain activities as contemporary Jewish customs that probably did not exist. For example, the work suggests there were consecrated temple virgins in Judaism, similar to the Vestal Virgins in pagan Rome, this is unlikely to have been a practice in mainstream Judaism, but could possibly have been a practice within the ancient Essene culture.[citation needed]

    The consensus is that it was actually composed some time in the 2nd century AD. The first mention of it is by Origen of Alexandria in the early 3rd century, who says the text, like that of a “Gospel of Peter”, was of dubious, recent appearance and shared with that book the claim that the ‘brethren of the Lord’ were sons of Joseph by a former wife.[5]

    you can check the citations

  • Pat

    Well, I have to disagree with about most Protestants taking scripture literally. I don’t know statistically what the figures are, but while you do have those that take it literally, you have quite a number who do not take it literally, thus the in-house debates on issues such as homosexuality and women in ministry, just to name two issues. As a Protestant, I have taught Bible classes and one of my laments is how poorly learned (and uninterested) some are in biblical interpretation and understanding as you stated the difference between the various genres and how to read them, not to mention historical context and language differences.

    I’ve never heard the claim about the seven churches in Revelation being Protestant churches and I do find that to be a ridiculous claim.

  • dan reynolds

    Before I answer your question (and I will below) let me remind you that in your very question you reveal your prejudiced and erroneous belief in sola scripture. In other words, “It has to be in the Bible to be true”. This prejudice totally denies the validity of Tradition (with a capital “T”). After all, the Bible as we know it didn’t even exist the first 300 years of the Church! Tradition, then, as it still does today, plays an important roll in our understanding of our faith.

    Now, to you question…Mary’s perpetual virginity… among the many scriptural references we could examine, we will briefly consider three:

    1. In Luke 1:34, when Mary was told by the angel Gabriel that she was chosen to be the Mother of the Messiah, she asked the question, literally translated from the Greek, “How shall this be since I know not man?” This question makes no sense unless Mary had a vow of virginity.

    When we consider that Mary and Joseph were already “espoused,” according to verse 27 of this same chapter, we understand Mary and Joseph already have what would be akin to a ratified marriage in the New Covenant. They were married. That would mean Joseph would have had the right to the marriage bed. Normally, after the espousal the husband would go off and prepare a home for his new bride and then come and receive her into his home where the union would be consummated. This is precisely why Joseph intended to “divorce her quietly” (Mt 1:19) when he later discovered she was pregnant.

    This background is significant because a newly married woman would not ask the question “How shall this be?” She would know—unless, of course, that woman had taken a vow of virginity. Mary believed the message, but wanted to know how this was going to be accomplished. This indicates she was not planning on the normal course of events for her future with Joseph.

    2. In John 19:26, Jesus gave his Mother to the care of John even though by law the next eldest sibling would have the responsibility to care for her. It is unthinkable that Jesus would take his Mother away from his family in disobedience to the law.

    Some claim Jesus did this because his brothers and sisters were not there. They had left him. Thus, Jesus committed his Mother to John, who was faithful and present at the foot of the cross. This claim betrays a very low and unbiblical Christology. As John tells us, Jesus “knew all men” (cf. Jn 2:25). If James were his uterine brother, Jesus would have known he would be faithful along with his “brother” Jude. The fact is Jesus had no brothers and sisters, so he had the responsibility, on a human level, to take care of his Mother.

    3. Mary is depicted as the spouse of the Holy Spirit in Scripture. In Luke 1:34, when Mary asks the angel how she will conceive a child, the angel responds: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.”

    This is nuptial language hearkening back to Ruth 3:8, where Ruth said to Boaz “spread your skirt over me” when she revealed to him his duty to marry her according to the law of Deuteronomy 25. When Mary became pregnant, Joseph would have been required to divorce her because she would then belong to another (see Dt 24:1-4; Jer 3:1). But when Joseph found out that “the other” was the Holy Spirit, the idea of his having conjugal relations with Mary was not a consideration.

  • dan reynolds

    What do I say to someone who says someone else is responsible for their behavior or guilt? You said,”And yes, it was the churches fault for not providing me a clear direction to overcome the guilt and sin.”
    Really? Our parents are our primary catechists. Maybe it was their fault? No, wait. Maybe it was your grandparents. “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13-1.

  • dan reynolds

    I would refer you to an earlier post of mine referring to “Tradition”.

  • Joseph Parish

    Don’t put words in my mouth, I was responsible for my behavior, but the guilt was largely from religious conditioning. Catholicism was good at diagnosing the disease, but poor in communicating the cure, if they even new what it was i the first place. When I became an adult, I put away childish things, once the truth was clearly revealed to me.

  • Joseph Parish

    You are skirting my argument against the Protoevangelium as a valid source, you call it “an important historical document” and use it to support your argument. How so, since it is not cannon, the best scholarship shows it to be fanciful, not written by James, and has invalid references to Jewish culture?

  • Joseph Parish

    Again, putting words in my mouth. I don’t believe in Sola Scriptura, I was countering your claim of Scriptural evidence to back up the doctrine of perpetual virginity. You said, “Neither the Gospel accounts nor the early Christians attest to the notion that Mary bore other children besides Jesus. The faithful knew, through the witness of SCRIPTURE and Tradition, that Jesus was Mary’s only child and that she remained a lifelong virgin.” (emphasis mine)

    You did attempt to answer this question in the last post, and I did read most of these arguments in the research I did. I concur that they are reasonable, but non conclusive support for you argument. But again, assuming you are correct, why does it matter? Why do some of the hierarchy claim that there are eternal consequences for rejecting this one particular doctrine? What does it even have to do with salvation? How does whether or not Mary was a virgin after Jesus birth detract from her special role or make her less saintly?

  • Joseph Parish

    and thank you for answering my question

  • Joseph Parish

    and thanks for the reply, I do appreciate the effort you put into it.

  • dan reynolds

    There’s nothing else I can say regarding this issue. If someone wants to blame someone else or something else for their own guilt feelings, what can one do? I’ve been Catholic all my life and I don’t blame the Church for things I’ve done or for letting me know what I should not do – that’s on me.

  • dan reynolds

    The source of the doctrine is the fact that Mary was perpetually a virgin and the whole Church remembered this fact, beginning with the apostles. The Protoevangelium of James reflects the existence of this tradition and incorporates it into a legend about Mary, but it does not originate the tradition. You might as well say that “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter” is the source of our belief that Abraham Lincoln existed and was President. No. “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter” is, like the Protoevangelium, a fictional tale which refers to a tradition which precedes it. One can distinguish between the fiction and the real traditions that fiction exploits to tell a story. That’s why the Church rejects the fictional book, but retains the real tradition about the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, just as we are not forced to conclude that, because “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter” is fictional, therefore Abe never existed and never was President.
    Once we are done discussing the meaning of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, we will take a look at the strong evidence for the historicity of it.
    And, by the way, nothing so clearly demonstrates the provincialism of the anti-Catholic American Protestant polemicist as the insistence on attributing some belief common to all the apostolic Churches east and west–from Catholic to Orthodox to Copt to Chaldean to the Thomas Churches of India–to the “Roman Catholic Church”. It’s like the entire Eastern Church doesn’t even exist for these people. I’m sure the Orthodox Patriarchs in their sundry sees will be grateful to know that they only believe all that rubbish about Mary because the Pope of Rome commands them to do so.
    Again, again, I say…thinking like a Protestant gets you in trouble when you believe that if it isn’t borne out of scripture, it isn’t so. When you’re talking to me, please remember Tradition is in play. Even on a common sense level Tradition makes Total sense.

  • dan reynolds

    What are the evangelical difficulties with this idea of Perpetual Virginity of Mary? This wasn’t even an issue in the early Church. For most of Christian history, Mary’s Perpetual Virginity was a commonplace belief, even well into the Protestant Reformation. But in our hyper-sexualized culture— and, like it or not, this is the culture in which Christians and non-Christians are now submerged like fish in the sea—people find it extremely difficult to contemplate the possibility of a life of virginity as anything but one of unbearable deprivation. So before we ever get to discussing what Scripture says, we’ve got a gigantic cultural hostility to virginity to overcome.

    Of course, serious Christians recognize that sex belongs in the context of marriage. But that, for Evangelicals, is the problem. Joseph and Mary were married, of course. So what on earth would have kept them from marital relations? And given that Scripture says Joseph “knew her not until she had borne a son” (Matt. 1:25); repeatedly refers to Jesus’ “brothers and sisters” in passages like Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55–56; and records Paul speaking of James as “the Lord’s brother” (Gal. 1:19), the natural conclusion for the Evangelical reader is that Mary’s Perpetual Virginity is a case in which the Church isn’t just filling in some scriptural silence with a flight of fancy, but is deliberately and directly contradicting Scripture—probably because of some pathological fascination with celibacy.
    The Difficulty with the Evangelical Reading of Scripture
    Educated Christians know that it’s not enough to show that some Church doctrine seems to be “contradicted” by Scripture. Apparent contradictions don’t cut the mustard: they must be real ones. The difficulty for the Evangelical critique here is that the supposed Scriptural evidence for “Mary’s other children” is another such apparent contradiction. For there is, in fact, no such evidence.

    Every text adduced to “prove” Mary had other natural-born children encounters some fatal difficulty when we look closely. So, for instance, the attempt to find absolute, ironclad proof of sexual relations between Joseph and Mary in Matthew’s remark that Joseph “knew her not until she had borne a son” suffers from the fatal ambiguity of the word “until.” The whole value of the passage as an argument against Mary’s virginity depends on some supposed “rule” that “until” means “the same before, but different afterward.” But if we try to apply this “rule,” we wind up with strange results. Thus, Deuteronomy 1:31 tells Israel, “the Lord your God bore you, as a man bears his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place.” Does the author really mean to say that God would henceforth not be carrying Israel? Likewise, Deuteronomy 9:7 says, “from the day you came out of the land of Egypt, until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord.” Does the sacred author mean to imply that Israel magically stopped being rebellious after that? Or again, John the Baptist “was in the wilderness until the day of his manifestation to Israel” (Luke 1:80). Does Luke therefore mean to imply that once John appeared to Israel he never lived in the desert again? No. Similarly, neither is Matthew saying anything beyond “Mary conceived Jesus in virginity.” He is making no implications whatever about any sexual relations between Mary and Joseph.
    In the same way, the texts concerning Jesus’ brothers and sisters were consistently read by the early Church with the understanding that the apostles had taught that Jesus was the only son of the Blessed Virgin. And once we get past our modern prejudice that “they simply can’t mean that,” we find to our surprise that they easily can.
    Take James. Paul describes him as the “brother of the Lord,” but James himself does not. Why not? And even more oddly, Jude describes himself as “a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James” (Jude 1). If Jude is a sibling of Jesus, why does he talk in this weird way?
    The answer comes from a close reading of the Gospels. Matthew and Mark name the following as “brothers” of Jesus: James, Joseph (or “Joses” depending on the manuscript), Simon, and Judas (i.e., “Jude”). But Matthew 27:56 says that at the cross were Mary Magdalene and “Mary the mother of James and Joseph,” whom he significantly calls “the other Mary” (Matt. 27:61) (i.e., the Mary who was not Mary the Mother of Jesus). John concurs with this, telling us that “standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25, emphasis added). In short, James, Jude and their brothers are the children of “the other Mary,” the wife of Clopas, not Mary, the Mother of Jesus. This is further supported in an almost accidental way by the early Church historian Eusebius, who routinely records the succession of bishops in the major Churches of antiquity. After recording his account of the martyrdom of James, the first bishop of Jerusalem (commonly referred to as “the brother of the Lord”), he tells us that James’ successor was none other than “Symeon, son of Clopas.” Why choose Symeon / Simon for the next bishop? Because James, the “brother of the Lord,” and Symeon /Simon were the sibling children of Clopas and the “other Mary,” and we are in all likelihood looking at a kind of dynastic succession.
    Interestingly, this “other Mary” is described as the Blessed Virgin’s “sister.” Is it really possible that two siblings were both named Mary? Probably not. Rather it’s far more likely they were “sisters” in the same sense Jesus and the other Mary’s son, James, were “brothers.” That is, they were cousins or some other extended relation. And, indeed, we find Jewish culture could play fast and loose with the terms “brother” and “sister.” For instance, Lot, who was the nephew of Abraham (cf. Gen. 11:27–31) is called Abraham’s ’âch (“brother”) in Genesis 14:14–16 (which is exactly how the translators of both the New International Version and the King James Version render it). And these English-speaking translators are simply following the example of the ancient Jewish translators of the Septuagint version of Genesis, who also rendered the Hebrew word as adelphos: the same Greek word that is also used to describe Jesus’ relatives.
    So the biblical evidence for siblings of Jesus slips steadily away until all that is left is the school of criticism that argues that, since Jesus is called the “firstborn” (Luke 2:7), this implied other children for Mary. But in fact the term “firstborn” was used mainly to express the privileged position of the firstborn whether or not other children were born. That is why a Greek tomb at Tel el Yaoudieh bears this inscription for a mother who died in childbirth: “In the pain of delivering my firstborn child, destiny brought me to the end of life.”
    Beyond that, all the critic of Perpetual Virginity has left is just the gut sensation that “It’s weird for a normal married couple to practice celibacy.” And that might be an argument—if Joseph and Mary were a normal married couple and not the parents of the God of Israel. Of which more we will discuss over the next three weeks..

  • dan reynolds

    I do have to move on with the other business of life. I’ve spent a lot of time here. I know that I may not change your heart as regards to your “Coming Home” to the Catholic Church as the One, Holy, catholic (universal), Church, but I would ask you to pray on it. This is not MY Church. It’s all of ours. All Christian Protestant denominations – all 39,000 of them and counting, have in their Spiritual DNA (Divine Nature Activated), the Catholic Church, no matter how vehemently they might like to deny it, from worship styles to bits and pieces of doctrinal information. This is why there is bits and pieces of real Truth in all Christian Churches. The trouble is a little truth can be very dangerous. Again, the Catholic Church has and has had it’s issues to be sure – and anyone who remembers that the Church Christ is founded is made up of human beings who are sinners can readily understand why this is so. Still, the tree is fed from it’s roots. A tree is also known by it’s fruits, and every tree, even the best ones, have some fruit that falls and wither. The tree that stands for over 2000 years is the tree that is fed not only by it’s roots, but on the promise of God Himself in the person of Jesus Christ….
    Matthew 16:18
    And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. The original Greek words’ meaning below…
    Matthew 16:18 Greek Petros
    Matthew 16:18 Greek petra
    Matthew 16:18 Greek the gates of Hades
    16.18 The name “Peter” comes from the Greek word for “rock.” Jesus makes him the foundation on which the church is to be built. The word “church” means “assembly” or “society” of believers. The Hebrew equivalent is used in the Old Testament to indicate the chosen people. In applying it to the church, Jesus shows it to be the Messianic community foretold by the prophets.

  • Joseph Parish

    Fair enough, I acknowledge tradition is at play, and in a big way. Trust me, I don’t think like a Protestant. I practice some traditions that have existed for hundreds of years, and all point to a one God, creator of all things, and living in a right relationship with each other and the earth. Scripture itself bares testimony that there is truth outside the written word, “In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and the WORD was God..tells me that Jesus, as Rabbi, has been teaching truth to the human race from the beginning of time. Protestants, particularly fundamentalists, have a much narrower view than Catholics. We have more common ground than you think!

  • Joseph Parish

    Dan, you stated: “What are the evangelical difficulties with this idea of Perpetual Virginity of Mary?”

    I don’t have a problem with that, if that is what the compelling evidence from whatever source suggests, and you made some good arguments that I have never heard before. The problem I have is thinking that this doctrine is some sort of requisite for a right relationship with God. When I read church authorities make statements like, “The Protestants reject this doctrine to their eternal ruin”, it only validates my chosen path of a much more tolerant and embracing God. If all I wanted out of life was a religion that dictated how I should live, than returning to Catholicism would be an attractive option. But that is not what I want out of life, nor do I believe it is what God wants for me. Thank you again for your thoughtful and charitable responses. Peace.

  • dan reynolds

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    in response to :

    You all know by now that the Pope has resigned. First time in hundreds of years. The time before that was hundreds of years earlier as well. This is a rare event. He credits it to ailing health and aging. Many are curious about what new developments will occur. I know I am. I’m interested […]

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    Wow, I feel sad for you that you, for some reason, go straight to there must be something sinister in the Pope Emeritis’ resignation. He is a good and holy man, and you, in your smallness and ignorance, try to demean him publicly (though you remain hidden behind your computer). The wind of the Holy Spirit blows where it wants, and we do not know from where it comes or to where it is going. Your comments are not even of your own thinking. You are just parroting back what the media or other secular sources are mindlessly spewing for the sake of nothing more than to be provocative and, in the media’s case to sell newspapers in the vain of the National Enquirer. Imagine if someone got online and started uttering all sorts of falsehoods and innuendoes about you? This sort of thing makes the Enemy smile.
    It is also true that were those who spit, jeered, and mocked Christ, so your evil insinuations help remind us that the Pope Emeritus is in the best of company. Why should those who follow Christ expect to be treated fairly by those in this world who do not follow His ways?