Lucas Banzoli’s Mythical, Asinine “Catholic Dream Bible”

Lucas Banzoli’s Mythical, Asinine “Catholic Dream Bible” March 23, 2023

An Opportunity to Dismantle 24 Garden Variety Anti-Catholic Whoppers in One Article

Lucas Banzoli is a very active Brazilian anti-Catholic polemicist, who holds to basically a Seventh-day Adventist theology, whereby there is no such thing as a soul that consciously exists outside of a body, and no hell (soul sleep and annihilationism). This leads him to a Christology which is deficient and heterodox in terms of Christ’s human nature after His death. He has a Master’s degree in theology, a degree and postgraduate work in history, a license in letters, and is a history teacher, author of 27 self-published books, as well as blogmaster for six blogs. He has many videos on YouTube.

This is my 66th refutation of Banzoli’s writings. From 25 May until 12 November 2022 he wrote not one single word in reply, claiming that my articles were “without exception poor, superficial and weak” and that “only a severely cognitively impaired person” would take them “seriously.” Nevertheless, he found them so “entertaining” that after almost six months of inaction he resolved to “make a point of rebutting” them “one by one”; this effort being his “new favorite sport.”

He has now replied to me 16 times (the last one dated 2-20-23). I disposed of the main themes of his numberless slanders in several Facebook posts under his name on my Anti-Catholicism page (where all my replies to him are listed). I shall try, by God’s grace, to ignore his innumerable insults henceforth, and heartily thank him for all these blessings and extra rewards in heaven (Matthew 5:11-12).

Google Translate is utilized to render Lucas’ Portugese into English. Occasionally I slightly modify clearly inadequate translations, so that his words will read more smoothly and meaningfully in English. I use the RSV for both my Bible citations and Banzoli’s. His words will be in blue.

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This is a reply to Lucas Banzoli’s article, “A Bíblia dos sonhos dos católicos” [The Catholic Dream Bible] (10-18-13).

Here, Banzoli engages in a very poor attempt at satire or sarcasm. Such humor involves exaggerating for effect and a non-literal presentation (I’ve done them many times, and love satire). Effective, well-done satire, however, has to be grounded in the truth. Enough truth has to be presented for the satire to “take” and “work.” Otherwise, it’s simply slanderous misrepresentation. And of course Banzoli’s pathetic display is wholly of the latter sort. He doesn’t know enough about Catholicism (i.e., its true nature) to be able to satirize it. First things first. He’s ignorant and misinformed (and I dare say, not immune to deliberate lying, either). Having refuted him now 65 times, I can speak to such things from firsthand knowledge. So he ends up warring against straw men of his own making.

This article of his offers a golden opportunity to prove that this is the case: over and over again. He submits “Bible passages” that he thinks are what Catholics believe or how they would rewrite the Bible if they could. But in each case it’s a lie. Nowhere are his distortions and sophistries more evident. I will present each passage as it appears (RSV), then give Banzoli’s “Catholic Dream Bible” so-called speculation about what Catholics would supposedly love for each Bible verse to say. Then I will present actual authoritative Catholic teaching, to illustrate how Banzoli is engaged in his own pipe-dreams and fanciful imagination: what amounts to an ongoing lie.

I’m tired of these Protestants who are persecuting the Catholic Church, the only Church of Christ, saying that their doctrines are nowhere in the Bible. If you Catholics are tired of this gratuitous accusation, of saying that the Roman Church is an apostate church just because its doctrines have nothing in common with the Bible, and that it contradicts, misrepresents and distorts it, the time has come to present the most new “biblical” version that will revolutionize the world of debates, so that no Catholic can be refuted by any evangelical, on any topic or biblical passage. Now, when one of these “heretics” and “sons of Luther” asks “where is it in the Bible?”, you no longer need to invent an “oral tradition” or despise the Bible. Just quote these verses from the BSC (“Bible of Catholic Dreams”/ “Bíblia dos Sonhos dos Católicos”). Below are some verses translated by BSC theologians, bishops and scholars:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

BSC: “For God so loved the world, that he gave us Mary, our Advocate, Help, Intercessor, Protector, Mediatrix, Mother of the Church, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Supplicant Almighty in Heaven, so that whoever believes in her may not perish, but have the rosary”

The passage is entirely about Jesus, and says nothing about Mary. For Banzoli to imply that Catholics would twist and distort such a passage, making it all about Mary, is simply equal parts ludicrous and laughable. In fact, the following is what the Catholic Church actually teaches about Mary, in relation to her Son, in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), from the Second Vatican Council (21 November 1964), chapter VIII:

60. There is but one Mediator as we know from the words of the apostle, “for there is one God and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a redemption for all”. The maternal duty of Mary toward men in no wise obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows His power. For all the salvific influence of the Blessed Virgin on men originates, not from some inner necessity, but from the divine pleasure. It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on His mediation, depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it. In no way does it impede, but rather does it foster the immediate union of the faithful with Christ.

62. This maternity of Mary in the order of grace . . . is to be so understood that it neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficaciousness of Christ the one Mediator.

For no creature could ever be counted as equal with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer. Just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by the ministers and by the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is really communicated in different ways to His creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source.

The Church does not hesitate to profess this subordinate role of Mary.

67. . . . the duties and privileges of the Blessed Virgin . . . always look to Christ, the source of all truth, sanctity and piety.

This essential subordination to Jesus Christ is repeatedly taught and stressed even in the Catholic work that anti-Catholics love the most (because of what they falsely believe it teaches): The Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonus de Liguori. All excerpts below are taken from The Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus de Liguori — a Doctor of the Catholic Church –, edited by Rev. Eugene Grimm, Two Volumes in One, Fourth Reprint Revised, Brooklyn: Redemptorist Fathers, 1931:

And now, to say all in a few words: God, to glorify the Mother of the Redeemer, has so determined and disposed that of her great charity she should intercede on behalf of all those for whom his divine Son paid and offered the superabundant price of his precious blood in which alone is our salvation, life, and resurrection.

On this doctrine, and on all that is in accordance with it, I ground my propositions . . . the plenitude of all grace which is in Christ as the Head, from which it flows, as from its source; and in Mary, as in the neck through which it flows. (p. 26)

The very analogies and language make it impossible for Mary to be “above God.” God “determined” that she would intercede for those “blood-bought” by Jesus’ death on the cross, in Whose precious blood “alone is our salvation.” The grace flows from the “Head,” Jesus, through the neck, Mary. A neck is not a head. The Body of Christ has one divine Head, Jesus. A neck is under a head, and it isn’t the control center, so to speak. Etc., etc. It is clearer than the sun at high noon on a clear day that Mary cannot be equal to God at all in this scenario. She is merely a creature and a vessel, albeit highly exalted and venerated and honored. Every prophet served the same function to a lesser degree. St. Paul played a profound role in salvation and Church history. That doesn’t make him God. Nor is Mary God. Catholics know this, but our critics oftentimes don’t “get” it.

[I]t is one thing to say that God cannot, and another that he will not, grant graces without the intercession of Mary. We willingly admit that God is the source of every good, and the absolute master of all graces; and that Mary is only a pure creature, who receives whatever she obtains as a pure favor from God . . . We most readily admit that Jesus Christ is the only Mediator of justice . . . and that by his merits he obtains us all graces and salvation; but we say that Mary is the mediatress of grace; and that receiving all she obtains through Jesus Christ, and because she prays and asks for it in the name of Jesus Christ . . . (pp. 156-157)

[W]hen these saints and authors tell us in such terms that all graces come to us through Mary, they do not simply mean to say that we “received Jesus Christ, the source of every good, through Mary,” as the before-named writer pretends; but that they assure us that God, who gave us Jesus Christ, wills that all graces that have been, that are, and will be dispensed to men to the end of the world through the merits of Christ, should be dispensed by the hands and through the intercession of Mary . . . [this is] necessary, . . . not with an absolute necessity; for the mediation of Christ alone is absolutely necessary; but with a moral necessity . . . (p. 162)

Jesus now in heaven sits at the right hand of the Father . . . He has supreme dominion over all, and also over Mary . . . (p. 179)

“Be comforted, O unfortunate soul, who hast lost thy God,” says St. Bernard; “thy Lord himself has provided thee with a mediator, and this is his Son Jesus, who can obtain for thee all that thou desirest. He has given thee Jesus for a mediator; and what is there that such a son cannot obtain from the Father?”

If your fear arises from having offended God, know that Jesus has fastened all your sins on the cross with his own lacerated hands, and having satisfied divine justice for them by his death, he has already effaced them from your souls . . . ” . . . What do you fear, O ye of little faith? . . . But if by chance,” adds the saint, “thou fearest to have recourse to Jesus Christ because the majesty of God in him overawes thee — for though he became man, he did not cease to be God — and thou desirest another advocate with this divine mediator, go to Mary, for she will intercede for thee with the Son, who will most certainly hear her; and then he will intercede with the Father, who can deny nothing to such a son.” (pp. 200-201)

[For much more on this, see: St. Alphonsus de Liguori: Mary-Worshiper & Idolater? (8-9-02)]

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

BSC: For there is one God and several mediators between God and men, like Mary, the angels and all the saints, including Jesus.

The Catholic Church agrees that there is one unique, preeminent, super-abundant mediator, Jesus Christ, per 1 Timothy 2:5, and as reiterated in Lumen Gentium, 60 (see above). At the same time, God desires to utilize human beings in accomplishing His purposes, so that we often function as “mini-mediators” in an entirely secondary, essentially lesser fashion (intercessory prayer is the most immediate and obvious manifestation of this). This is true even regarding salvation and distribution of grace, according to many biblical passages: particularly from St. Paul. As for grace, he refers to “the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you” (Eph 3:2), and states that good, edifying words can “impart grace to those who hear” (Eph 4:29), and that he and his helpers were “stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor 4:1). St. Peter adds that all serious Christians are potentially “stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Pet 4:10). If all Christians can do this, clearly, so can Mary, if God so wills it.

St. Paul teaches many times, in many different ways that believers help to save people as well. Paul said that he could “save some of” his fellow Jews (Rom 11:14), and that God, “through” his preaching, would “save those who believe” (1 Cor 1:21), that he was God’s servant “through whom” people “believed” (1 Cor 3:5), that spouses could “save” each other (1 Cor 7:16). He was willing to “become all things to all men, that” he “might by all means save some” (1 Cor 9:22); he’s “afflicted” for the sake of others’ “salvation” (2 Cor 1:6); he says that “I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain salvation” (2 Tim 2:10). James likewise states that “whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul” (Jas 5:20); and Peter observes that some husbands “may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives” (1 Pet 3:1). So the notion that Mary also helps save people (even if it is all people, as a worker with God: see the next section) is also totally in line with the above passages.

God is so interested in working directly with human beings, to save souls and impart His grace, that Scripture refers to a profound joint working relationship several times: “the Lord worked with them” (Mk 16:20), “we are God’s fellow workers” (1 Cor 3:9), “I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God which is with me” (1 Cor 15:10), “always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Cor 15:58), “we are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor 5:20), “Working together with him” (2 Cor 6:1), “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20), “for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil 2:13). Mary is one of those who does this, as the mother of God the Son; God in the flesh (a thing only one human being has ever done).

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.

BSC: Jesus said to them: Rome is the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through her.

Whether one is saved through the Church or not (as a secondary agent of God) is a separate question from the fact that we are ultimately saved by the redeeming blood of Christ and by His sacrifice on the cross. No one denies that. As to the necessity of the Church (whatever it is construed to be), for salvation, that’s not solely a “Catholic” thing at all. John Calvin (no lover of the Catholic Church), taught it many times:

[T]here is no other means of entering into life unless she conceive us in the womb and give us birth, unless she nourish us at her breasts, and, in short, keep us under her charge and government, until, divested of mortal flesh, we become like the angels (Mt. 22:30). For our weakness does not permit us to leave the school until we have spent our whole lives as scholars. Moreover, beyond the pale of the Church no forgiveness of sins, no salvation, can be hoped for, as Isaiah and Joel testify (Isa. 37:32; Joel 2:32). . . . the abandonment of the Church is always fatal. (Institutes of the Christian Religion, IV, 1:4)

The knowledge of his body, inasmuch as he knew it to be more necessary for our salvation, he has made known to us by surer marks. (IV, 1:8)

God has been pleased to preserve the pure preaching of his word by her instrumentality, . . . while he feeds us with spiritual nourishment, and provides whatever is conducive to our salvation. (IV, 1:10)

Accordingly, in the Creed forgiveness of sins is appropriately subjoined to belief as to the Church, because none obtain forgiveness but those who are citizens, and of the household of the Church, as we read in the Prophet (Is. 33:24). The first place, therefore, should be given to the building of the heavenly Jerusalem, in which God afterwards is pleased to wipe away the iniquity of all who betake themselves to it. I say, however, that the Church must first be built; not that there can be any church without forgiveness of sins, but because the Lord has not promised his mercy save in the communion of saints. (IV, 1:20)

Three things are here to be observed. First, Whatever be the holiness which the children of God possess, it is always under the condition, that so long as they dwell in a mortal body, they cannot stand before God without forgiveness of sins. Secondly, This benefit is so peculiar to the Church, that we cannot enjoy it unless we continue in the communion of the Church. Thirdly, It is dispensed to us by the ministers and pastors of the Church, either in the preaching of the Gospel or the administration of the Sacraments, and herein is especially manifested the power of the keys, which the Lord has bestowed on the company of the faithful. Accordingly, let each of us consider it to be his duty to seek forgiveness of sins only where the Lord has placed it. Of the public reconciliation which relates to discipline, we shall speak at the proper place. (IV, 1:22)

The question then becomes, “what is the Church; where is it found”? That’s a huge discussion itself, and (trust me) Protestants are in no good position to provide a feasible alternative to the Catholic Church (being hopelessly split amongst themselves). But the Church as a means of salvation is biblical teaching, which is why Calvin holds to it as strongly as Catholics do.

Mark 10:42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.

BSC: You know that those who are rulers of nations dominate them, and important people exercise power over them. And so it will be with you, who will be led by Peter, the Supreme Pontiff, Prince of the Apostles, Head of the Church, Head of Christians, Universal Bishop and Bishop of Bishops.

I guess it’s because the Christian Church was to have no leader — so Banzoli absurdly pontificates — explains why Peter alone was told by Jesus that he was the rock upon which He would build His Church (Mt 16:18), why He gave Peter alone the “keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 16:19), why Peter is specified by an angel as the leader and representative of the apostles (Mk 16:7), and why the Jews (Acts 4:1-13) and the common people (Acts 2:37-41; 5:15) thought the same, why he was the first Christian to “preach the gospel” in the Church era (Acts 2:14-36), and the one who performed the first miracle of the Church Age, healing a capital punishment (Acts 5:2-11).

It obviously explains why Cornelius was told by an angel to seek out Peter for instruction in Christianity (Acts 10:1-6), and why Peter was the first to receive the Gentiles, after a revelation from God (Acts 10:9-48), why Peter is often spoken of as distinct among apostles (Mk 1:36; Lk 9:28, 32; Acts 2:37; 5:29; 1 Cor 9:5), and is often spokesman for the others (Mk 8:29; Mt 18:21; Lk 9:5; 12:41; Jn 6:67 ff.), why Peter’s name is mentioned more than anyone else in the NT; even more than Paul (191 to 184), why he led the first recorded mass baptism (Acts 2:41), why he was the first traveling missionary, and first exercised what would now be called “visitation of the churches” (Acts 9:32-38, 43), why Paul went to Jerusalem specifically to see Peter for fifteen days in the beginning of his ministry (Gal 1:18) . . . Yes, all of this is clearly explained by the fact that there is no leader of Christianity, according to Pope Lucas Banzoli.

1 Peter 5:1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed.

BSC: Therefore, I appeal to the presbyters among you, and I do so in the capacity of universal pope, of Supreme Pontiff and bishop of all bishops and witness of the sufferings of Christ…

Yes, just as Jesus (infinitely above all men, as God) called His disciples “friends” (Jn 15:15) and said that “He who receives you receives me” (Mt 10:40), and was obedient to mere creatures (“And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them”: Lk 2:51).

Hebrews 8:1 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,

BSC: We have two Supreme Pontiffs: one is the earthly Pontiff, who is Peter, and the other is seated at the right hand of the throne of the divine Majesty in heaven.

As the text is about the high priest, not the pope, Banzoli’s comment is irrelevant. But it doesn’t overcome or contradict the leadership of Peter (and by extension his successors), explained above with much Scripture. The Bible teaches that Peter is a rock in one sense and that Jesus is in another.

Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins shall die.

BSC: The soul that sins will live forever because it is immortal.

I refuted Banzoli’s heretical views on souls sleep and annihilationism in 17 parts. That Ezekiel 18:4, 20 refer to spiritual death (i.e., separation from God, not annihilation) is obvious from immediate context, too, since 18:21 declares:

But if a wicked man turns away from all his sins which he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.

Since all men die physically, this must be talking about the spiritual, or “second” death. So much for this “proof” . . .

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

BSC: Whatever comes to your hand to do, do as you wish, because in the beyond, where you are going, there are also works and projects, there is knowledge and wisdom, prayers and intercessions for the living.

The context of 9:6 (“they have no more for ever any share in all that is done under the sun”) is crucial in order to understand and properly exegete the passage. It places the “vantage-point” of the larger passage (9:5-6, 10) as “under the sun.” The dead (at least the unrighteous dead) “know nothing” about or have any “share” in the things of the earth.

Acts 10:25-26 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. [26] But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.”

BSC: As Peter was about to enter the house, Cornelius went up to him and fell at his feet, worshiping him. And Pedro said: you did very well; after all, I’m dad.

Since the Catholic Church never teaches anywhere that any man, or anyone other than God, should be worshiped and adored, this is simply a non sequitur. I pointed this out with regard to Mary in a recent exchange with Banzoli. Here is how that went:

If in fact Catholics believed that Mary was a “goddess” then surely the term would appear in official [magisterial] Catholic documents somewhere. But of course it does not. If Lucas or any Protestant denies that, let them produce the documented evidence. “Put up or shut up!” Best wishes in that endeavor!

I never spoke of “official magisterial documents” that declare Mary a goddess. I talked about her being treated like a goddess by most Catholics, which is quite different. . . . We don’t need a paragraph in the catechism that expressly says “Mary is a goddess and we worship her”; we need only see how it is dealt with in practice, which in no way differs at all from any heathen worshiping his gods and goddesses. . . .

This is pathetic. The first rule in all apologetics is to document what a theological opponent believes, from their own words or (especially) official documents. But Banzoli is beyond all that. He has magical powers to see into the hearts of “most” Catholics who treat Mary like a “goddess”: so he says in his omniscience and infinite wisdom. By this criterion of “evidence” anyone can “prove” anything.

Banzoli can’t prove that Catholics think popes ought to be worshiped, anymore than he can prove that we think Mary should be. So the whole thing is just a scurrilous lie: one of scores from “Lyin’ Lucas” Banzoli. He obviously thinks we believe in these outlandish, blasphemous notions, or else his caricature for Acts 10:25-26 wouldn’t include a scenario of Peter, the first pope, commending Cornelius for worshiping him. Of course, we accept the actual revelation in the passage just as Protestants do (no man should ever be worshiped).

Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to graven images.

BSC: I am the Lord; this is my name! But I will share my glory with Mary and the saints, and my praise with images.

God does indeed share His glory with His creatures. Banzoli is astonishingly ignorant of Holy Scripture in this regard, since I found no less than 26 passages expressly stating this very thing. God forbade making idols or images that were supposed to represent Him, because the surrounding nations worshiped idols, thinking they were real gods.

On the other hand, there were images of natural things that God Himself said He was particularly present in: the fires of the burning bush on Mt. Sinai, the pillars of smoke and fire when the Jews were wandering in the wilderness, the shekinah cloud in the temple, and the space between the two cherubim on top of the ark of the covenant, where God said He would come and meet with His people (e.g., Lev 16:2). Hence, there are passages where the Jews bowed before the ark, or stood before it, offering sacrifices and worship. Joshua did this (Josh 7:6); so did Solomon (1 Kgs 3:15; 8:5; 2 Chr 5:6), and the Levite priests (1 Chr 16:4).

This was obviously not idolatry, or else God wouldn’t have condoned or sanctioned (indeed commanded) it. No passage in the Bible states that these men shouldn’t have bowed before or offered sacrifice and worship before God, present on top of the ark.  In like fashion, a Catholic might worship Jesus while looking at an image of a crucifix. This is not worshiping the wood; he or she is worshiping god, while meditating on His great act of sacrifice and redemption on our behalf. Something similar occurs even in heaven (“I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain”: Rev 5:6).

Exodus 20:4-5 “You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; [5] you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,”

BSC: You shall make carved images for yourself in the likeness of what is in heaven above, and on the earth beneath, and in the waters under the earth. You shall bow down to them and serve them.

Note that the point of the passage is that the idolaters were literally serving pieces of wood or stone (“graven images”), which they replaced the true God with. Catholics have never taught such an outrage, so this is misguided ire, as so often in anti-Catholic rantings. But God is not saying that no image whatever can be associated with Him (as shown in my previous reply): only those that are seeking to replace Him and claiming to be Him or some false god.

Matthew 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, “Begone, Satan! for it is written, `You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'”

BSC: Worship only God, but worship him with latria and with the saints.

Since we don’t worship saints, this is yet another non sequitur and straw man, and need not be addressed.

2 Thessalonians 3:6-8, 12 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. [7] For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, [8] we did not eat any one’s bread without paying, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you. . . . [12] Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living.

BSC: Brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we command you to distance yourself from every brother who lives as a Protestant and not according to the Roman tradition they received from Peter: that Mary is the Queen of Heaven and was assumed into Paradise body and soul, that there is a place of purification after death called purgatory, that the Roman Supreme Pontiff is infallible in ex cathedra and that saints must be canonized by the Church to become intercessors in Heaven.

Six things are brought up at once. This is an old anti-Catholic tactic: overwhelm Catholic opponents with a bunch of stuff at one time. As any reader can see, if we stick to one topic at a time, I am more than willing to counter all the horse crap that the anti-Catholic sophist produces (and I have written about all the topics above; inquirers only need search them on my blog). And I do so (usually) by producing 10, 20 times or more relevant Bible passages than the anti-Catholic ever comes up with — as we can readily see in my present reply –, and they usually stick to the standard “playbook” / “pet” prooftexts and or mere simplistic slogans like “faith alone” or “Scripture alone”. But I never play the “100 topics at once” game, because it’s childish. It’s not serious, adult conversation.

Matthew 15:6 So, for the sake of your tradition, you have made void the word of God.

BSC: So you confirm the word of God because of your tradition.

The opposite is true: we ground our doctrines in Scripture, and any apostolic traditions we hold to must also be in harmony with that same inspired Scripture. There is such a thing as true Christian traditions, and also false tradition. The Bible makes this clear. Many Protestants read the accounts of Jesus’ conflicts with the Pharisees and get the idea that He was utterly opposed to all tradition whatsoever. This is false. A close reading of passages such as Matthew 15:3-9 and Mark 7: 8-13 will reveal that He only condemned corrupt traditions of men, not tradition per se. He uses qualifying phrases like “your tradition,” “commandments of men,” “tradition of men,” as opposed to “the commandment of God.” St. Paul draws precisely the same contrast in Colossians 2:8: “See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ.”

The New Testament explicitly teaches that traditions can be either good (from God) or bad (from men, when against God’s true traditions). Corrupt pharisaic teachings were a bad tradition (but many of their legitimate teachings were recognized by Jesus; see, e.g., Matthew 23:3). The Greek word for “tradition” in the New Testament is paradosis. It occurs in Colossians 2:8, and in the following three passages, in an entirely positive sense:

1 Corinthians 11:2 . . . maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you. (NRSV, NEB, REB, NKJV, NASB all use “tradition[s]”).

2 Thessalonians 2:15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.

2 Thessalonians 3:6: Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.

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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.

Banzoli’s version with comments: “I also tell you that you are petrus [fragment of stone, masculine, second person], and on this petra [mass of rock, feminine, third person] I will build my Church…”

BSC: I also tell you that you are Peter, and on you I will build my Roman Catholic Church…

Yes, it was built on Peter as its first leader, as many very eminent Protestant scholars agree: in agreeing that Jesus was referring to Peter himself as the rock. That’s one thing; how the future Church is defined and whether there is papal / apostolic succession are separate issues that must be discussed by themselves. And of course I have written about those topics, too, in my 4,200 + articles and 51 books.

Matthew 1:24-25 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, [25] but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus.

BSC: And Joseph, waking up from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took his wife; and he never met her, not even after giving birth to their only child.

The perpetual virginity was believed in by all the early leaders of Protestantism, and by many important figures for centuries after. We agree with what Martin Luther wrote:

When Matthew [1:25] says that Joseph did not know Mary carnally until she had brought forth her son, it does not follow that he knew her subsequently; on the contrary, it means that he never did know her . . . This babble . . . is without justification . . . he has neither noticed nor paid any attention to either Scripture or the common idiom. (Luther’s Works, vol. 45:212-213 / That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew [1523] )

And with John Calvin:

The inference he [Helvidius] drew from it was, that Mary remained a virgin no longer than till her first birth, and that afterwards she had other children by her husband . . . No just and well-grounded inference can be drawn from these words . . . as to what took place after the birth of Christ. He is called “first-born”; but it is for the sole purpose of informing us that he was born of a virgin . . . What took place afterwards the historian does not inform us . . . No man will obstinately keep up the argument, except from an extreme fondness for disputation. (Harmony of Matthew, Mark and Luke, sec. 39 [Geneva, 1562], vol. 2 / From Calvin’s Commentaries, translated by William Pringle, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1949, vol. I, p. 107)

Francois Turretin (1623-1687), widely believed to be the greatest Calvinist theologian after Calvin, wrote, more than a hundred years later:

Nor is it derived better from this—that Joseph is said “not to have known Mary till she had brought forth her firstborn son” (Mt. 1:25). The particles “till” and “even unto” are often referred only to the past, not to the future (i.e., they so connote the preceding time, concerning which there might be a doubt or which it was of the highest importance to know, as not to have a reference to the future—cf. Gen. 28:15; Pss. 122:2; 110:1; Mt. 28:20, etc.). Thus is shown what was done by Joseph before the nativity of Christ (to wit, that he abstained from her); but it does not imply that he lived with her in any other way postpartum. When therefore she is said to have been found with child “before they came together” (prin ē synelthein autous), preceding copulation is denied, but not a subsequent affirmed.
Although copulation had not taken place in that marriage, it did not cease to be true and ratified (although unconsummated) for not intercourse, but consent makes marriage. Therefore it was perfect as to form (to wit, undivided conjunction of life and unviolated faith), but not as to end (to wit, the procreation of children, although it was not deficient as to the raising of the offspring). (Institutes of Elenctic Theology)
Once again, it’s not just a “Catholic thing.” It’s a biblical thing, and an issue upon which all Christians agreed until liberal theology started eating away at common beliefs of all Christians in the early 18th century and especially in the 19th.
Mark 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
BSC: Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and cousin of James, and Joseph, and Judas, and Simon? And are not your cousins here with us? And they were scandalized by him.
*
Yes, we do have rather strong biblical evidence that at least two of these named men were Jesus’ cousins. We have no absolute proof that they were His blood brothers or siblings. Here is a brief summary of the biblical evidence that can be brought to bear on this topic:

1) In comparing Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40, and John 19:25, we find that James and Joseph (mentioned in Matthew 13:55 with Simon and Jude as Jesus’ “brothers”) are the sons of Mary, wife of Clopas. This other Mary (Mt 27:61; 28:1) is called the Blessed Virgin Mary’s adelphe in John 19:25. Assuming that there are not two women named “Mary” in one family, this usage apparently means “cousin” or more distant relative. Matthew 13:55-56 and Mark 6:3 mention Simon, Jude and “sisters” along with James and Joseph, calling all adelphoi. The most plausible interpretation of all this related data is a use of adelphos as “cousins” (or possibly, step-brothers) rather than “siblings.” We know for sure, from the above information, that James and Joseph were not Jesus’ siblings. . . .

2) Jude is called the Lord’s “brother” in Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3. If this is the same Jude who wrote the epistle bearing that name (as many think), he calls himself “a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James” (Jude 1:1). Now, suppose for a moment that he was Jesus’ blood brother. In that case, he refrains from referring to himself as the Lord’s own sibling (while we are told that such a phraseology occurs several times in the New Testament, referring to a sibling relationship) and chooses instead to identify himself as James‘ brother.  This is far too strange and implausible to believe. Moreover, James also refrains from calling himself Jesus’ brother, in his epistle (James 1:1: “servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ”): even though St. Paul calls him “the Lord’s brother” (Gal 1:19).

3) Luke 2:41-51 describes Mary and Joseph taking Jesus to the temple at the age of twelve, for the required observance of Passover. Everyone agrees that He was the first child of Mary, so if there were up to five or more siblings, as some maintain (or even one), why is there no hint of them at all in this account? I recently wrote in-depth about this. If Jesus had brothers or sisters and He was the oldest, then He certainly would have had siblings at 12 years old, when His parents took Him to Jerusalem for the Passover (Luke 2:41-50) — particularly since Mary was estimated to have been around 16 at His birth, which would make her still only around 28 at this time. We’re to believe that it makes sense that she bore her first child at 16 and then had no more from 16-28, and then more than four after that? That’s not very plausible at all.

4) Nowhere does the New Testament state that any of Jesus’ “brothers” (adelphoi) are the children of Jesus’ mother Mary, even when they are referenced together (cf. Mark 3:31 ff.; 6:3 ff.; John 2:12; Acts 1:14). So for example, in Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55. Jesus is called “the son of Mary” and “the carpenter’s son” and only He is referred to in this way. The others (four “brothers” named in each passage) are not. It happens again in the book of Acts:

Acts 1:14  All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers

See how a distinction is made between Mary as the mother of Jesus and “his brothers,” who are not called Mary’s sons? Nor is she called their mother. These verses do not read in a “siblings” way.

5) In the New Testament, none of these “brothers” are ever called Joseph’s children, anywhere, either.

***

1 John 1:7 but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
BSC: But if we walk in the light, as he is, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from some sins, others will be purged in purgatory.
*
1 John 1:7 is, of course, true, and Catholics agree with it like anyone else. It’s not a denial of 1 John 1:7 to also believe in purgatory, which is simply one form of the cleansing that is a result of Jesus’ death on the cross. The principles underlying our belief in purgatory are all over the Bible. I have found 50 such passages. I’ve often used what I call the “nutshell” argument for purgatory: we must be without sin to enter into God’s presence (Eph 5:5; Heb 12:14; Rev 21:27; 22:3, 14-15). Therefore, God must purge or wash away our sin to make us fit to be in heaven with Him. All agree so far. The only disagreement is whether this “divine cleansing” takes place in an instant or is more of a process. It’s merely a quantitative difference; not an essential one. Purgatory is indicated most directly in 1 Corinthians 3:13, 15:

Each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. . . . [15] If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

The Bible also often refers to this same purging process taking place before we die: the very common biblical theme of God’s chastising or purifying His people. By analogy, this shows us the same notions that lie behind the apostolic and Catholic doctrine of purgatory (methods of how God works, so to speak). Scripture refers to a purging fire (in addition to 1 Corinthians 3 above): whatever “shall pass through the fire” will be made “clean” (Num 31:23); “Out of heaven he let you hear his voice, that he might discipline you; and on earth he let you see his great fire, and you heard his words out of the midst of the fire” (Dt 4:36); “we went through fire” (Ps 66:12); “For gold is tested in the fire, and acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation” (Sir 2:5); “our God is a consuming fire” (Heb 12:29); “do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you” (1 Pet 4:12); We also see passages about the “baptism of fire” (Mt 3:11; Mk 10:38-39; Lk 3:16; 12:50).

The Bible makes frequent use also of the metaphor of various metals being refined (in a fire): “when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10); “thou, O God, hast tested us; thou hast tried us as silver is tried” (Ps 66:10); “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tries hearts” (Prov 17:3); “I will turn my hand against you and will smelt away your dross as with lye and remove all your alloy” (Is 1:25); “I have refined you, . . . I have tried you in the furnace of affliction” (Is 48:10); “I will refine them and test them” (Jer 9:7); “I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested” (Zech 13:9);  “he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, and refine them like gold and silver” (Mal 3:2-3); “Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself; [6] like gold in the furnace he tried them, . . . “ (Wis 3:5-6); “. . . your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire” (1 Pet 1:6-7).

God cleansing or washing us is another common biblical theme: “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! . . . Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean” (Ps 51:2, 7); “Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts” (Prov 20:30; cf. 30:12); “the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning” (Is 4:4);  “I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me” (Jer 33:8); “I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses” (Ezek 36:25); “cleanse them from sin and uncleanness” (Zech 13:1);  “our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb 10:22); “he was cleansed from his old sins” (2 Pet 1:9); “the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Divine “chastisement” is taught clearly in many passages:  “as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you” (Dt 8:5); “do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof,” (Prov 3:11); “I will chasten you in just measure” (Jer 30:11); “For thou didst test them as a father does in warning” (Wis 11:10); “God who tests our hearts” (1 Thess 2:4); “For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? . . . he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness” (Heb 12:6-7, 10).

We are subject to God’s indignation or wrath, insofar as we sin: “God will bring every deed into judgment” (Ecc 12:14); “I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, . . . He will bring me forth to the light” (Mic 7:9).

With Banzoli, we get one snide remark with no biblical argumentation whatsoever. With me, readers can mull over some fifty passages having to do with the topic. Who’s more “biblical”?

Romans 3:23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

BSC: Because all except Mary have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
*
The word for “all” here, in Greek (pas) can indeed have different meanings: as it does in English. It matters not if it means literally “every single one” in some places, if it can mean something less than “absolutely every” elsewhere in Scripture. As soon as this is admitted, then the Catholic exception for Mary cannot be said to be linguistically or exegetically impossible. As another example in the same book, Paul writes that “all Israel will be saved,” (11:26), but we know that many will not be saved. And in 15:14, Paul describes members of the Roman church as “filled with all knowledge” (cf. 1 Cor 1:5 in KJV), which clearly cannot be taken literally. Examples could be multiplied indefinitely.

We see Jewish idiom and hyperbole in passages of similar meaning. Jesus says: “No one is good but God alone” (Lk 18:19; cf. Mt 19:17). Yet He also said: “The good person brings good things out of a good treasure.” (Mt 12:35; cf. 5:45; 7:17-20; 22:10). Furthermore, in each instance in Matthew and Luke above of the English “good” the Greek word is the same: agatho.

Is this a contradiction? Of course not. Jesus is merely drawing a contrast between our righteousness and God’s, but He doesn’t deny that we can be “good” in a lesser sense. We observe the same dynamic in the Psalms:

Psalm 14:2-3 The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any that act wisely, that seek after God. [3] They have all gone astray, they are all alike corrupt; there is none that does good, [Hebrew, tob] no not one. (cf. 53:1-3; Paul cites this in Rom 3:10-12)

Yet in the immediately preceding Psalm, David proclaims, “I have trusted in thy steadfast love” (13:5), which certainly is “seeking” after God! And in the very next he refers to “He who walk blamelessly, and does what is right” (15:2). Even two verses later (14:5) he writes that “God is with the generation of the righteous.” So obviously his lament in 14:2-3 is an indignant hyperbole and not intended as a literal utterance.

Such remarks are common to Hebrew poetic idiom. The anonymous psalmist in 112:5-6 refers to the “righteous” (Heb. tob), as does the book of Proverbs repeatedly: using the words “righteous” or “good” (11:23; 12:2; 13:22; 14:14, 19), using the same word, tob, which appears in Psalm 14:2-3. References to righteous men are innumerable (e.g., Job 17:9; 22:19; Ps 5:12; 32:11; 34:15; 37:16, 32; Mt 9:13; 13:17; 25:37, 46; Rom 5:19; Heb 11:4; Jas 5:16; 1 Pet 3:12; 4:18, etc.).

One might also note 1 Corinthians 15:22: “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” As far as physical death is concerned (the context of 1 Cor 15), not “all” people have died (e.g., Enoch: Gen 5:24; cf. Heb 11:5; Elijah: 2 Kings 2:11). Likewise, “all” will not be made spiritually alive by Christ, as some will choose to suffer eternal spiritual death in hell. The key in all this is to understand biblical language properly in context. It’s not always literal.

Revelation 5:2-5 and I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” [3] And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, [4] and I wept much that no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to into into it. [5] Then one of the elders said to me, “Weep not; lo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

BSC: I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to break the seals and open the book?’ But there was someone in heaven who was worthy to open the book and look into it. And I was very happy, because someone worthy of opening the book and looking at it was found: the Queen of Heaven. Then one of the elders said to me: ‘In addition to the Queen of Heaven, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah is also worthy to open the book and its seven seals’.

More absurdity. Of course, Mary has nothing to do with this passage, and the Catholic Church never said that she did. Jesus, being God, and therefore, intrinsically sinless and eternally existent, as well as the Messiah, is the One to open this scroll. Mary is a mere creature and would have fallen into sin like the rest of us, had God not chosen to give her a special grace at her conception (and I give several biblical arguments for the Immaculate Conception on my Blessed Virgin Mary web page). Besides all that, the scroll with seven seals had to do with judgment and divine wrath, as the next chapter shows. Since Jesus plays the key role in executing judgment on the earth in the Last Days, He (either literally or symbolically) opens the scroll that initiates the events. Created human beings don’t judge the earth and its people.

Galatians 1:9 As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.

BSC: As we have already said, now I repeat: If anyone announces to you a gospel that goes beyond what they have already received, and says that it is in accordance with tradition, be blessed!

The problem here (quite ironically) is that Protestants, distressingly often, don’t utilize plainly biblical definitions of doctrines or the gospel. Rather, they apply their own extrabiblical traditions to define the gospel, which then exclude Catholics. But the biblical definition is quite clear. It’s very curious to me that so many Protestants want to define the gospel in the strict sense of “justification by faith alone,” when the Bible itself is very explicit and clear that this is not the case at all.

For example, we know what the gospel is because we have a record of the apostles preaching it immediately after Pentecost. St. Peter’s first sermon in the upper room (Acts 2:22-40) is certainly the gospel, especially since 3000 people became Christians upon hearing it (2:41)! In it he utters not a word about “faith alone.” He instructs the hearers, rather, to “repent, and be baptized . . . so that your sins may be forgiven” (2:38), and he even tells them to “save yourselves” (2:40). So, immediately after Jesus’ resurrection, at the very outset of the “Church Age,” an apostle teaches sacramentalism and baptismal regeneration: anathema to most evangelicals, and participating in the salvation process by saving ourselves (which a great many Protestants would be most uncomfortable with, even though there it is, right in inspired Scripture.

St. Paul defines the gospel in Acts 13:16-41 as the resurrection of Jesus (vss. 32-33), and in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 as His death, burial, and resurrection. When Paul converted, straightaway he also got baptized, in order to have his “sins washed away” (baptismal regeneration again). Biblical factors such as these caused people like Luther and Wesley and their denominations, and other communions like the Anglicans and Church of Christ to retain this doctrine.

Furthermore, when the rich young ruler asked Jesus how he could be saved (Lk 18:18-25), our Lord, accordingly, didn’t say “just believe in Me with faith alone.” No, He commanded him to perform a “work,” to sell all that he had. Jesus also rewards and grants salvation at least partially according to works and acts of charity, rather than on the basis of sola fide (Mt 16:27; 25:30-46 – note conjunction “for” in v.35).

So then, the explicit scriptural proclamations and definitions of the gospel strikingly exclude “faith alone,” while other actions by Jesus and the apostles contradict it by force of example. Conclusion?: The gospel is – as Paul teaches – the death, burial and Resurrection of Jesus. (all of which Catholics fully accept along with all other Christians. This is the “good news,” not some technical soteriological theory. Even common sense would dictate that this “good news” is comprised of Jesus’ redemptive work for us: the great historical drama of His incarnation and atonement, not forensic, “legal,” imputed justification. And the prophets foretold these events, not a fine-tuned theory of application of those events to the believer — irregardless of whoever has the correct theory. How could a mere theological abstract reasonably be called “good news”?

Matthew 6:7 “And in praying do not heap up empty phrases [KJV: “vain repetitions”] as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words.”

BSC: And when you pray, keep repeating the same thing: repeat the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Rosary and all the other litanies as many times as you can, because the more you speak the more you will be heard.

In Matthew 6:7, Jesus is discussing “empty phrases”. The Greek battalogeo here means “to repeat idly,” or “meaningless and mechanically repeated phrases.” So the Lord is condemning prayers uttered without the proper reverence or respect for God.

Psalm 136:1-5 [1] O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures for ever.
[2] O give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures for ever.
[3] O give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
[4] to him who alone does great wonders,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
[5] to him who by understanding made the heavens,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;

The same exact phrase is repeated in 26 straight verses, for the entire Psalm. Obviously, then, God is not opposed to all repetition whatsoever. Repetition is a device used throughout the Psalms and also in Proverbs and the prophets. For example, in Psalm 29 “voice of the Lord” is repeated seven times in as many verses. “Thou hast” is repeated in six straight verses in Psalm 44:9-14.

Instructions concerning the Mosaic Law in the first five books are extremely repetitious. Elaborate, painstaking Instructions for the ark of the covenant (Ex 25:1-22), the tabernacle (Ex 25:23-40; chapters 26-27), and the Temple (1 Kings, chapters 6-7) illustrate the highly ritualistic nature of Hebrew worship (see also Leviticus 23:37-38 and 24:5-8). The four gospels often repeat each other’s sayings. Many other examples could be cited.

Revelation 4:8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all round and within, and day and night they never cease to sing, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”

God is concerned with the inner dispositions and righteousness of the worshiper, and adherence to His commands (e.g., Is 56:6-7; Jer 17:24-26; Mal 1:11), not with outward appearance or how often something is repeated (which is contradicted by Psalm 136 and the passage above). This is a common theme in Scripture. Ritualistic, formal worship of God takes place in heaven (Rev 4:8-11; 5:8-14), complete with repetitious prayer and repeated chants or hymns (4:11, 5:9-10; cf. passages on wholehearted, non-hypocritical worship: Prov 15:8; 21:27; Is 1:13-17; Jer 6:19-20; Amos 5:11-14, 21-24; Mal 1:6-14; Mt 15:7-9; 23:23; Mk 7:6-7; Jas 1:26-27).

***

2 Timothy 3:15-17 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. [16] All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

BSC: Because from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures and Holy Tradition, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, but insufficient for reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness, Sacred Tradition being necessary for the man of God to be able and fully prepared for every good work.

Paul also wrote the following extended treatment of many important aspects of the Christian life without ever mentioning Scripture:

Ephesians 4:11-16 And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, [12] to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, [13] until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; [14] so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. [15] Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, [16] from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love.

I stated along these lines in my book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism (2003):

The “exclusivist” or “dichotomous” form of reasoning employed by Protestant apologists here is fundamentally flawed. . . . Note that in Ephesians 4:11-15 the Christian believer is “equipped,” “built up,” brought into “unity and mature manhood,” “knowledge of Jesus,” “the fulness of Christ,” and even preserved from doctrinal confusion by means of the teaching function of the Church. This is a far stronger statement of the “perfecting” of the saints than 2 Timothy 3:16-17, yet it doesn’t even mention Scripture.

Therefore, the Protestant interpretation of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 proves too much, since if all nonscriptural elements are excluded in 2 Timothy, then, by analogy, Scripture would logically have to be excluded in Ephesians. It is far more reasonable to synthesize the two passages in an inclusive, complementary fashion, by recognizing that the mere absence of one or more elements in one passage does not mean that they are nonexistent. Thus, the Church and Scripture are both equally necessary and important for teaching. This is precisely the Catholic view. Neither passage is intended in an exclusive sense. (pp. 15-16)

I did an exhaustive study of St. Paul’s word usage in his epistles, comparing his mentions of Scripture with those pertaining to Church authority and tradition. The results were quite fascinating, and devastating to any notion that Paul subscribed to sola Scriptura, or had Scripture always in the forefront of his mind at all times, over against apostolic tradition and the authority of the Church.

The words “Scripture” or “Scriptures” appear 51 times in the New Testament. Yet in eight of his thirteen epistles (2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Titus, Philemon) St. Paul (it may be surprising to learn) never uses either of these words. He uses it only 14 times altogether: in Romans (6), 1 Corinthians (2), Galatians (3), 1 Timothy (2), and 2 Timothy (1).

Likewise, “word of God” appears 43 times in the New Testament, and many of these (as in Old Testament prophetic utterances) are intended in the sense of “oral proclamation” rather than “Scripture” (especially apart from the Gospels). St. Paul uses the phrase only ten times, in nine different epistles. And it is by no means certain that any individual instance refers without question specifically to Holy Scripture, rather than to oral proclamation of apostolic tradition. I suspect that it is much more likely the latter sense in most or all cases. . . .

Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Titus, and Philemon neither mention “Scripture” nor cite the OT, and Philippians doesn’t mention the word and makes just one OT citation. . . . even in Romans, Church /tradition notions appear eight times, which is more than “Scripture” / OT citations appear in nine epistles, and tied with 2 Corinthians.

John 2:1-5 On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; [2] Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. [3] When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” [4] And Jesus said to her, “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” [5] His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

BSC: On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there; Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. Having run out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no more wine’. Jesus asked, ‘Mother, has my time come?’ And his mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever I tell you.’

If Banzoli can find any Catholic with an IQ above that of a mushroom, contending that Mary said “Do whatever I tell you” then we can talk. But since he can’t, he simply pretends without reason or cause that any Catholic would believe such a stupid thing, rather than simply accept the biblical text. It’s an appropriate final example of a pathetic, pitiful, ultra-absurd exercise.

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Photo credit: photograph depicting occupational burnout, created by Micro Biz Mag (www.microbizmag.co.uk/burnout-statistics-uk/) [Flickr / CC BY 2.0 license]
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Summary: I refute 24 typical, garden-variety-type anti-Catholic whoppers from Lucas Banzoli’s failed and unfunny satire regarding a supposed “Catholic Dream Bible”.

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