Ecumenism

I’ve been on a kick lately concerning ecumenism. My thinking is if the human race is divided between those who believe and those who do not, those who believe should be united. Christians hating and disagreeing with each other hurts the whole church. 

Just to clarify, I’m not suggesting non-Christians are a sort of enemy, but rather, if someone is on the fence we don’t want to scare them away. We also do not want to make fools of ourselves.

Today I was working at the hospital. My patient was watching a Baptist Church service. She asked where I go to church. I said I’m Catholic. I said something like “We’re more alike than people might realize. People who attack other churches usually don’t know their own faith or don’t know the faith they’re attacking.”

The patient gave what could be the worst possible answer, “They need to read the Bible on their own.” She meant, the way to know your faith is to study the Bible. This in itself is a good answer. Why is this such a bad answer? The answer is what causes the division in the first place.

The Bible is full of apparent contradictions. Google it, you’ll see. Just the contradictions between Christ and St Paul alone require a monumental effort to explain away. Each contradiction is like a fork in the road for the private reader, “Do I believe this or that contradiction?” Enough twists and turns in private and you can end up not agreeing with anyone.

On the time of the coming of the Lord:


Paul says:

Rom.13

[12] the night is far gone, the day isat hand.

Jesus says:

Luke.21

 [8Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, 
saying, . . . `The time is
 at hand!’ Do not go after them.

On the sum of the commandments:

Paul says:

Rom.13

[9] The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Jesus says:

Matt.22

[37] And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 

[38] This is the great and first commandment. 

[39] And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 

[40] On these two commandmentsdepend all the law and the prophets.

On whom God has mercy:

Paul says:

Rom.9

[15] For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 
[16] So it depends not upon man’s will or exertion, but upon God’smercy
[18] So then he has mercy upon whomever he wills, and he hardens the heart of whomever he wills.

Jesus says:

Matt.5

[7Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

On forgiveness of trespasses:

Paul says:

Eph.1

[7] In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace
Rom.4

[25] who was put to death for ourtrespasses and raised for our justification. 


Jesus says:

Matt.6

[14For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you
[15but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

On being justified:


Paul says:

Rom.3

[24] they are justified by his graceas a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, 
[28] For we hold that a man isjustified by faith apart from works of law.

Rom.5

[9] Since, therefore, we are nowjustified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 


Jesus says:

Matt.12

[37for by your words you will bejustified, and by your words you will be condemned.


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Priest Scandal

Priest Scandal

Friday, October 6, 2017
10:40 AM

The priest scandal has a per capita aspect. If you look at the general public a percentage of them will be guilty of sex crimes. For every 100 people a number will be guilty of crimes of a sexual nature. It’s not okay, but it’s part of the human condition. If celibacy or some other aspect of the Catholic Church made pedophilia happen then the percentage of sex crimes should be higher among priests than the general public. The fact is the numbers are lower, 0.53%. The rate among the general public is between 2-4%. Children would therefore be safer with a priest than with a random person.
What about other religious leaders? Why leave the discussion with priests alone? My guess would be the numbers for pastors of other denominations would match the numbers for the general public because you’re considering a broader section of the population. Anyone can be a religious leader so the numbers would be the same as the numbers for the general public, i.e. “anyone”. Not just “anyone” can be a priest. The selection process is very strict.

Pedophilia is not the only sex crime. In this group of crimes we find rape, statutory rape and others. In the priest scandal two sexually related crimes were brought up. Pedophilia was one, the other was ephebophilia which is sex with a minor, as opposed to a child.

Here is a link to a good article about the scandal.

https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/qa-understanding-the-priest-scandal

The above link goes to an article which cites the sources for the statistics in my article.

One other way to assess this situation is to look at insurance companies. Churches can buy insurance to protect themselves from pedophilia related lawsuits. The Catholic Church is the only denomination that reports its pedophilia related lawsuits, so there appears to be no other church with pedophilia problems. The truth is other churches have the same problems. One way of seeing this is by looking at the insurance policies churches buy. Other denominations buy these policies to the same extent as the Catholic Church. Here’s a good explanation:

http://blogs.denverpost.com/hark/2010/05/25/scandal-creates-contempt-for-catholic-clergy/39/

Christ versus St Paul

Some have a faith that begins and ends with Christ, others have a faith that begins with St. Paul and ends with Christ. In this second group lies the potential for an error that starts with St. Paul as a sort of main text and uses Jesus Christ as footnotes for that text, in opposed to starting with Christ and using St. Paul for footnotes. In other words one person is primary, and another is secondary in importance. What does this mean and why am I implying harm? St. Paul never saw Christ in Christ’s ministry, that is preaching and traveling the countryside. He never heard Christ, except in a vision. When interpreting St Paul we should not contradict Christ.

Christ was perfectly formed from his birth and his doctrines were correct from the beginning. The doctrines of Christ were not developed by Christ over time. When Christ teaches What you do matters, and you will be judged he means what he’s saying. Don’t start with this, go to St Paul and decide your works don’t matter (Ephesians 2:8-9). You must misinterpret St Paul in order to conclude your works don’t matter.

In the New Testament one can find many instances where Christ and St Paul make statements which are contradictory. A simple Google search will give you a list of these verses. If someone has found a set of contradictions and no one to guide the reader, the reader is left with the option of choosing the contradiction he likes the best. This can lead the reader down quite the twisted path. This is a great reason for St Peter’s warning against private interpretation. It can be found in his epistle.

Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, 2 Peter 1:20.

15And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you, 16 speaking of these things 36 as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures. 2 Peter 3:15-16.

In Catholicism we teach that if we want forgiveness at the end of our lives or any other time, we can be forgiven. This would coincide with the “People are saved by grace”/ sola gratia doctrine Protestants teach. We must remember though that what we do does matter. Devils believe in Jesus Christ. They are not saved. They do not wish to spend eternity with Christ and God in heaven. They do not wish to be saved so they are not saved. We show what we love in our life. If we go to church, if we read the Bible and if we pray we show that we love the things of God. If we do not spend time with God we show that we do not love God. God gives us what we want. If we show that we want the things of God we receive the things of God. If we show that we do not love the things of God we do not spend eternity with God. Allow me to show other examples of using Saint Paul as the text, and Jesus Christ as footnotes. Some Christians, based on reading Saint Paul preach baptism doesn’t do anything, which goes along with the “what you do doesn’t matter” philosophy. Using Saint Paul as the source text and Jesus Christ as foot notes creates a dichotomy. Christ said if you want eternal life you must be baptized. Reading Saint Paul and reaching a conclusion that baptism does nothing is a contradiction. Obeying the contradiction and using Saint Paul as your primary rule and taking Jesus Christ word as a secondary option leads to divisions in the church.

I’m not necessarily attacking Sola Gratia. This is my understanding of what we as Catholics do that is very similar to Sola Gratia. We as Catholics commit plenty of sins. We rely on God’s forgiveness (Reconciliation, hint, hint) to get to heaven. We don’t get to heaven under our own power. Sola Gratia has a similar belief at its heart, the belief that man does not get to heaven under his own power. (John 15:5) Catholics and Protestants are not that different. Divisions between the baptised hurt the entire Church, not just Catholics, but all Christians. I would rather see Protestants and Catholics joining together to pastor the world in its need and “fighting evil” than fighting each other.

The Canon of Scripture

The Canon of Scripture is brought into discussion when Protestants and Catholics discuss what doctrines are considered scriptural. I will use Purgatory as a starting point to show the 73 book Bible is correct. This evidence can be used for any argument whose proof requires the Septuagint. The Septuagint is the Bible as used by Christ and his apostles. It was compiled in Alexandria before Christ’s birth (2nd to 3rd century B.C.).

The issue of Purgatory often incites arguments regarding the Canon of Scripture. 2 Maccabees 12 refers to purgatory and prayers for the dead. Not having this in the Bible makes it a lot easier to argue for the non-Biblical nature of Purgatory. A Protestant friend of mine argued that 1 and 2 Maccabees weren’t added to the Bible until the Reformation. Actually the Canon of Scripture had been decided by the end of the fourth century. Lists of what books were Scripture from this time included 1 and 2 Maccabees. These lists were drawn up on these occasions: the Synod of Rome (382 A.D.), the Council of Hippo (393 A.D.), the Council of Carthage (397 A.D.), a letter from Pope Innocent I to Exsuperius, Bishop of Toulouse (405 A.D.), and the Second Council of Carthage (419 A.D.).

Synod of Rome (382 A.D.)

Wikipedia has a nice article on this meeting. Look for “Council of Rome” to find the article. A question of the leadership in Constantinople was the primary matter at the council. Also addressed at this council was the Canon of Scripture.

The Damasine List was compiled during this council as a declaration of Scripture Canon. It listed what should be included and should not be included as Scripture. In the 19th Century protestants began to claim it was a forgery. When it takes 14 centuries to claim a document is a forgery it lends doubt to the claim (sorry for the aside). As far as the claim is concerned, the forgery would have been made in the sixth century. The problem with the claim is that references are made to this list in the fifth century.

Here is a link to the list: http://www.tertullian.org/decretum_eng.

In the Damasine List Maccabees is listed under the history books of the Old Testament. It shows “Maccabees” in one column and “Two Books” in an adjacent column.

The Council of Hippo (393 A.D.)

The Council of Hippo decreed two major points, clerical celibacy as ordained in apostolic tradition and Biblical Canon.

Wikipedia comes to the rescue again. Ironically you must look for “Synod of Hippo” to find the article. The article gives the list of scriptural books including both Maccabees.

The Council of Carthage (397 A.D.)

The purpose of this Council was to reestablish the Canon of Scripture. The following text comes from the document generated by the council.

16 It was also determined that besides the Canonical Scriptures nothing be read in the Church under the title of divine Scriptures. The Canonical Scriptures are these: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua the son of Nun, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, two books of Paraleipomena, Job, the Psalter, five books of Solomon, the books of the twelve prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezechiel, Daniel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, two books of Esdras, two Books of the Maccabees.

Thanks again to Wikipedia for the reference.

One of the items on the list may look a little strange, “Paraleipomena (two books).” This is an antiquated name for 1 and 2 Chronicles.

Letter from Pope Innocent I to Exsuperius, Bishop of Toulouse (405 A.D.)

The Second Council of Carthage (419 A.D.)

Reconciliation: Sacrament of Initiation and Renewal

And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it with fire, and ground it to powder, and scattered it over the water, and made the people of Israel drink it. (Ex 32:20)

“If a man lies carnally with a woman who is a slave, betrothed to another man and not yet ransomed or given her freedom, an inquiry shall be held. They shall not be put to death, because she was not free; but he shall bring a guilt offering for himself to the Lord, to the door of the tent of meeting, a ram for a guilt offering. And the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering before the Lord for his sin which he has committed; and the sin which he has committed shall be forgiven him. (Lv 19:20-22)

“Say to the people of Israel, When a man or woman commits any of the sins that men commit by breaking faith with the Lord, and that person is guilty, he shall confess his sin which he has committed; and he shall make full restitution for his wrong, adding a fifth to it, and giving it to him to whom he did the wrong. (Nm 5:6-7)

19 Forgive, I beseech thee, the sins of this people, according to the greatness of thy mercy, as thou hast been merciful to them from their going out of Egypt unto this place. 20 And the Lord said: I have forgiven according to thy word. 21 As I live: and the whole earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. 22 But yet all the men that have seen my majesty, and the signs that I have done in Egypt, and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now ten times, and have not obeyed my voice, 23 Shall not see the land for which I swore to their fathers, neither shall any one of them that hath detracted me behold it. (Nm 14:19-23)

Thus did Moses; as the Lord commanded him, so he did. And the people of Israel said to Moses, “Behold, we perish, we are undone, we are all undone. Every one who comes near, who comes near to the tabernacle of the Lord, shall die. Are we all to perish?” (Nm 17:11-13)

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”Mt 16:19

Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.Mt 18:18

I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.” ’ Lk 15:18-19

If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” Jn 20:23

Many also of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. (Acts 19:18)

For though absent in body I am present in spirit, and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (1 Cor 5:3-5 )

For such a one this punishment by the majority is enough; so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. Any one whom you forgive, I also forgive. What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, to keep Satan from gaining the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his designs. (2 Cor 2:6-11)
1 Cor 5:3-5 with 2 Cor 2:6-11

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Cor 5:18-20)

Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. James 5:16

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.( 1 Jn 1:8-9)

Eucharist: Abide in Me

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them saying, “Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.(Mt 26:26-28)

And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. (Mk 14:22-24)

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. (Lk 22:19-20)

47 Truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.

THE BODY OF CHRIST, BREAD OF LIFE

48 I am the bread of life. 49 Though your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, they died. 50 But here you have the bread which comes from heaven so that you may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which has come from heaven; whoever eats of this bread will live forever. The bread I shall give is my flesh and I will give it for the life of the world.” 52 The Jews were arguing among themselves, “How can this man give us flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood live with eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 My flesh is really food and my blood is drink. 56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood, live in me and I in them. 57 Just as the Father, who is life, sent me and I have life from the Father, so whoever eats me will have life from me. 58 This is the bread which came from heaven; unlike that of your ancestors, who ate and later died. Those who eat this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus spoke in this way in Capernaum when he taught them in the synagogue. WILL YOU ALSO GO AWAY? 60 After hearing this, many of Jesus’ followers said, “This language is very hard! Who can accept it?” 61 Jesus was aware that his disciples were murmuring about this and so he said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then how will you react when you see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh cannot help. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. 64 But among you there are some who do not believe.” From the beginning, Jesus knew who would betray him. 65 So he added, “As I have told you, no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.” 66 After this many disciples withdrew and no longer followed him. (Jn 6:47-66)

1 Cor 10:16

1 Cor 11:23-30

Confirmation: Sacrament of Initiation, Portal to adulthood

17   Who has ever known your will unless you first gave him Wisdom and sent down your holy spirit to him? (Wis 9:17)

Hurault, Bernard; Hurault, Louis. Christian Community Bible (Kindle Location 45928). Committee of Support click on the Bible -CSCB. Kindle Edition.

14   Now, when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the Samaritans had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15   They went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16   for he had not as yet come down upon any of them since they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17   So Peter and John laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:14-19)

Hurault, Bernard; Hurault, Louis. Christian Community Bible (Kindle Locations 61107-61108). Committee of Support click on the Bible -CSCB. Kindle Edition.

3   So, after fasting and praying, they laid their hands on them and sent them off. (Acts 13:3)

Hurault, Bernard; Hurault, Louis. Christian Community Bible (Kindle Locations 61406-61407). Committee of Support click on the Bible -CSCB. Kindle Edition.

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior of the country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2   whom he asked, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They answered, “We have not even heard that anyone may receive the Holy Spirit.” 3   Paul then asked, “What kind of baptism have you received?” And they answered, “The baptism of John.” 4   Paul then explained, “John’s baptism was for conversion, but he himself said they should believe in the one who was to come, and that one is Jesus.” 5   Upon hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6   Then Paul laid his hands on them and the Holy Spirit came down upon them; and they began to speak in tongues and to prophesy. (Acts 19:1-6)

Hurault, Bernard; Hurault, Louis. Christian Community Bible (Kindle Locations 61811-61820). Committee of Support click on the Bible -CSCB. Kindle Edition.

21   God himself has anointed us and strengthens us with you to serve Christ; 22   he has marked us with his own seal in a first outpouring of the Spirit in our hearts. (2 Cor 1:21-22)

Hurault, Bernard; Hurault, Louis. Christian Community Bible (Kindle Locations 64002-64004). Committee of Support click on the Bible -CSCB. Kindle Edition.

13   You, on hearing the word of truth, the Gospel that saves you, have believed in him. And, as promised, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit, (Eph 1:13)

Hurault, Bernard; Hurault, Louis. Christian Community Bible (Kindle Locations 64718-64720). Committee of Support click on the Bible -CSCB. Kindle Edition.

Therefore let us leave the elementary teaching about Christ and move forward to a more advanced knowledge without laying again the foundation, that is: turning away from dead works, faith in God, 2   the teaching about baptisms and laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead and the final judgment. (Heb 6:1-2)

Hurault, Bernard; Hurault, Louis. Christian Community Bible (Kindle Locations 66164-66167). Committee of Support click on the Bible -CSCB. Kindle Edition.