A CASE STUDY IN CATHOLIC BASHING, More or Les

Being an Exhaustive Refutation of the Biblical Bloopers, Historical Blunders, Logical Absurdities, Incoherent Nonsense, Outright Fabrications, and Pure Poppycock of the Posts of LES WILCOX

========================================================================

"Good. I'm ready for you Catholics to quit all this accusations without any substantiation. If it was really all that hilarious I would think as an adult you would just ignore it. Must be more serious than hilarious, huh?" LES WILCOX TO P -- FidoNet Open_Bible 8/14/95

"There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church....As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believed all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do." ARCHBISHOP FULTON J. SHEEN -- preface to RADIO REPLIES

"Errors die hard, especially Protestant fictions." DOM JOHN CHAPMAN -- Monk of Downside Abbey

"The committed fundamentalist, who is often a former Catholic, KNOWS the Catholic religion is wrong and thinks he can prove it from the Bible. The first step is to demonstrate to him that much of what he knows simply is not so. Emotional barriers will be overcome later, and they will fall as he realizes he has not been told the whole story." KARL KEATING -- from CATHOLICISM AND FUNDAMENTALISM

========================================================================

In this reply to the posts of Les Wilcox, I will respond to three anti-Catholic posts that have appeared in Open_Bible the past month:

1) THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH or THE ROMAN ROAD TO SALVATION by "Computers for Christ" in San Jose

2) Which will you believe? The Holy Scriptures, God's Unchanging Word or The Human Traditions of Men? by The Conversion Center (for more on this group see chapter 4 of Karl Keating's book)

3) Are some Roman Catholics Saved? by an ex-priest Rev H. Gregory Adams (for his story see FAR FROM ROME, NEAR TO GOD edited by another ex-priest Richard Bennett)

========================================================================

LW> We ask that you find out for yourself - in the manner that Paul COMMANDS us to: "TEST ALL THINGS - HOLD FAST TO THAT WHICH IS TRUE".

========================================================================

This will be the theme of this reply. Les reminds us of this command from the apostle to "test all things" (1 Thess 5:21). Unfortunately, not a single charge in these anti-Catholic posts WAS tested and hardly anything in them is true. The name's Friday and the dates HAVE been changed to protect the innocent. In fact, most of it was just made up out of thin air and/or copied from other anti-Catholic material such as Loraine Boettner's book ROMAN CATHOLICISM (P&R, 1962). There is not a shred of documentation for the errors, misunderstandings, fabrications, and irrelevancies in these posts.

And Les was complaining to me about no substantiation? Give me a break!

CATHOLIC "INVENTIONS"

Let's start with the lists of supposed "inventions."

First, the author of the post "THE ROMAN ROAD..." has no clue what Catholics mean by DOGMA. For example,

LW> The Roman Catholic Church maintains as irreversible and mandatory doctrine (we will use their term "DOGMA" in the remainder of this writing)

LW> There are a number of DOGMATIC doctrines of the Roman Catholic church that were NOT part of the original church. The Roman Catholic Church continues to make the claim that "the Church has always taught (????????)!" You can fill in the blank with EACH and EVERY dogma listed below.

LW> Look up the scriptures under the dates of certain doctrines.

LW> THE DOGMAS AND DATES ARE LISTED BELOW:

The author is confusing the terms "dogma" and "doctrine." For both Catholics and Protestants, "DOCTRINE" simply means "teaching" and is derived from the Greek word -didache- denoting that which is taught (Matt 7:28; 2 Tim 4:2; Titus 1:9) or the act of teaching or instruction (Mark 4:2; Rom 16:17). Doctrine can be true or false (2 Tim 4:1-4; 2 Peter 2:1) though the Scripture stresses "sound doctrine" (1 Tim 4:6; Titus 2:1) taught by the apostles and passed on and guarded by their successors, the Bishops, such as Timothy and Titus (1 Tim 3:2; 4:11-16; 6:20-21; 2 Tim 1:13-14; 2:2) who taught with Christ's own authority (Mt 10:19-20,40; 16:18-19; 18:17-18; 28:18-20; Lk 10:16; Jn 20:21-23).

The Catholic term "DOGMA" refers to a true doctrine that has been solemnly defined by a Council of Bishops (cf. Acts 15) or a Pope. The actual date of the definition does not mean that is when the dogma was INVENTED but that is when it was solemnly DEFINED. To quote Catholic scholar Ludwig Ott from a standard reference source, FUNDAMENTALS OF CATHOLIC DOGMA (Tan Books, 1974) --

"By DOGMA in the strict sense is understood a truth immediately (formally) revealed by God which has been proposed by the Teaching Authority [or Magisterium] of the Church to be believed as such. The Vatican Council explains:

Fide divina et catholica ea omnia credenta sunt, quae in verbo Dei scripto vel tradito continentur et ab Ecclesia sive solmeni iudicio sive ordinario et universali magisterio tanquam divinitus revelata credenda proponuntur [Denz 1792].

"All those things are to be believed by divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the Word of God written or handed down and which are proposed for our belief by the Church either in a solemn definition or in its ordinary and universal authoritative teaching." (Ott, p. 4)

A good example of this which all Catholics and Protestants accept is the Christological dogma of the two natures (divine and human) in the one Person of Christ defined as orthodox for the whole Church at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D. "Peter has spoken through Leo!" the Bishops exclaimed. Pope Leo's TOME settled the matter for this Council.

In fact, the first four ecumenical Councils of the Christian Church almost all Bible-believing conservative Protestants accept and receive as teaching the truth handed down to them from Christ and His apostles.

One could say the Church has ALWAYS taught the Trinity even though there have been those who have denied certain aspects of it (e.g. Subordinationists, Arians, Monarchians, Monophysites, Pneumatomakians).

There is a certain DEVELOPMENT of doctrine as Cardinal Newman explained in his classic work on the subject, concerning the nature of God. And there is one true teaching -- the DOGMA of the Trinity -- but many heretics and many false doctrines on the nature of God and Christ.

Since the author of "THE ROMAN ROAD..." has no idea what a DOGMA is almost everything in the list of "inventions" is completely irrelevant. So I would have the right to throw the whole list out of court from the start. It proves nothing.

However, I will deal with some of it below. And not only are these not dogmas, but most of them are not even DOCTRINES. The author does not know what a doctrine is either.

LW> Before we look at the books of John and Matthew, which the Roman church claims as its authority, I believe that it is important to look at the FACTS of recorded history. Let's look AT THE RECORD OF HISTORY

The problem is these are hardly "FACTS." There is not one shred of documentation for these "FACTS" of recorded history. Most of it is completely false. I will document this shortly.

Sorry, Les, I do not count Loraine Boettner as a credible historian. He simply made some of these dates up out of thin air! If you compare his list of "Some Roman Catholic Heresies and Inventions" in his book ROMAN CATHOLICISM (p. 7-9) you will find almost all of these listed below. The dates in Boettner and "THE ROMAN ROAD..." are identical.

This is simply a case of one anti-Catholic copying another anti-Catholic. Neither produces ANY documentation.

These are hardly "facts" but FABRICATIONS of history!

Let's look at some of these. Remember what the author of "THE ROMAN ROAD..." is claiming -- that these are DOGMAS of the Catholic Church. Here are a few....

LW> 300 - MAKING THE SIGN OF THE CROSS

500 - PRIESTS BEGAN TO DRESS IN "PRIESTLY" GARB

600 - LATIN LANGUAGE AS ONLY LANGUAGE OF PRAYER (I Cor 14:9)

709 - KISSING THE FEET OF POPE ORDERED (Acts 10:25-26 & Rev 19:10, 22:9)

850 - FABRICATION AND USE OF HOLY WATER

965 - BAPTISM OF THE BELLS (Ceremony of actually baptising bells

998 - FASTING ON FRIDAYS & DURING LENT (Matt 15:11, I Cor 10:25, I Tim 4:1-8)

1090 - INSTITUTION OF ROSARY PRAYER BEADS

1265 - Mary's HOUSE MOVED BY ANGEL TO LORENTO, ITALY

1287 - SCAPULAR PROTECTION DECREED (Brown cloth with picture

1593 - AVE MARIA ADOPTED

1710 - STUFFED DONKEY IN VERONA,ITALY AT CHURCH OF THE MADONNA OF THE ORGANS DECREED TO BE THE ANIMAL CHRIST ENTERED JERUSALEM ON

That last one is what I meant by "hilarious," Les. I ask Les Wilcox, how dumb does he think Catholics are? A stuffed donkey in Italy is the donkey Christ rode in Jerusalem on? And this he thinks is a DOGMA? Or a doctrine?

Even if the dates are correct, NONE of these are dogmas, NONE of these are doctrines. The author does not know what either one is and apparently Les Wilcox has no clue either since he uploaded this nonsense. The Sign of the Cross, priestly dress, use of Latin, kissing the Pope as a greeting and sign of respect (1 Peter 5:14; Rom 16:16; etc... not worship so your verses hardly apply!), holy water, bell "baptism" (in the sense of blessing not that the bells actually received the Sacrament!), Friday fasting, the Rosary, the Legend of Loretto (spelling above is wrong), the Scapular, the Hail Mary (or Ave Maria), and Donkeys alive or dead or stuffed have nothing to do with Catholic Dogma, Les. Most of these are disciplines or customs of the Church, neither dogmas nor doctrines.

Now let's look at some of the errors contained in the above.

The date for the use of Latin is way off. Latin was the COMMON (i.e. "vulgar" as in Latin Vulgate) language of the Christian people in the West from at least the 2nd century. All the early Fathers of the West wrote in Latin and it was used in the Liturgy almost immediately and is still the official language of the Church. Paul wrote to Latin-speaking Rome. And it is a beautiful language! But so what? What is the point of this "invention?"

The 1 Tim 4:1-5 passage I have answered a million times here. The "doctrines of demons" was to forbid marriage to EVERYONE and forbid certain foods because they thought these were SINFUL. These were the early Gnostic heretics who denied that Jesus "has come in the flesh" (1 Tim 3:16; 1 John 4:1-3; 2 John 7).

The body is evil so the Incarnation was impossible and the marital union was also evil according to these heretics. In the Catholic Church, marriage is a Sacrament so we hardly forbid it. And we recommend fasting as a discipline (mandatory during Lent) just as the Bible does (following Jesus' example in the desert -- Matt 4).

One anomaly in the dating is the "institution" of the Rosary according to the above was in 1090 (wrongly attributed to Peter the Hermit, see Boettner) while the Hail Mary did not come into being until 1593.

The Rosary prayer originally consisted of the 150 Psalms. And the tradition of the Rosary actually is linked with St. Dominic (1170-1221) who is said to have received it from the Virgin Mary herself to combat the Albigensian heresy. See "The Rosary Dissected" by Terry L. Frazier (THIS ROCK Sept 94), an Evangelical convert to the Catholic faith.

Holy water can hardly be said to be "fabricated" in 850 A.D. since it is clearly found in the Old Testament as in the Jewish rites of purification (Num 5:17; 8:7; ch 19; Exod 30:18-20; Lev 11:28,32,40).

Using holy water and making the Sign of the Cross as Catholics frequently do upon entering a Catholic church reminds us of the waters of Baptism which once flowed over our foreheads -- see Born Again: Baptism in the Early Fathers -- and signifies that we are not worthy to enter into the Presence of Christ without purification. As Catholics say before Communion, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I shall be healed."

Also, there is a contradiction between "THE ROMAN ROAD..." and the list from The Conversion Center --

LW> 850 - FABRICATION AND USE OF HOLY WATER

LW> Fabrication of Holy water............................A.D. 1009

Well, which is it? I guess the author thinks he can get away with this since at the bottom of the second list is added --

LW> (The dates are approximate.)

Yeah, approximately in the first or second millennium! They are both way off by hundreds and hundreds of years. Try this....

"It is required then that the water should first be cleansed and sanctified by the priest, that it may wash away by its Baptism the sins of the man who is baptized." ST. CYPRIAN OF CARTHAGE (Letters 70:1 A.D. 258)

"King and Lord...look upon these waters and fill them with the Holy Spirit...that those who are being baptized may be no longer flesh and blood but spiritual." SERAPION (Euchologion 19 c. A.D. 392)

SOURCE: New Catholic Encyclopedia (Vol 14, p. 825-827) under "Water"

The "Asperges" or ceremony of sprinkling altar, clergy, and people with holy water on Sundays became a custom of the Church in the 800's under Pope Leo IV. Maybe that is what these lists were talking about? But so what? Holy water is biblical (Num 5:17) so what is the big deal?

The Sign of the Cross was already an old custom in the time of Tertullian who lived from c. 155-250 A.D. --

"At every forward step and movement, when coming in and going out, when putting on our clothes, when putting on our shoes, when bathing, when at table, when lighting the lamps, when reclining, when sitting, in all the ordinary occupations of our daily lives, we furrow our forehead with the Sign." (De corona or THE CROWN 3:4 A.D. 211)

SOURCE: The Faith of the Early Fathers by William Jurgens (3 volumes)

LW> 300 - MAKING THE SIGN OF THE CROSS

LW> Making the sign of the Cross........................A.D. 330

Come on, Les! Make up your mind, 300 or 330? One is from "THE ROMAN ROAD..." and one from The Conversion Center. Has Les bothered to "test all things...." It would not appear so.

To answer each of these "inventions" would require a whole book (see Karl Keating's CATHOLICISM AND FUNDAMENTALISM), so let's move on....

LW> 300 - PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD

LW> Prayers for the dead were instituted................A.D. 330

Make up your mind, 300 or 330? Actually it was much earlier. Try Tertullian again --

"We offer sacrifices for the dead on their birthday anniversaries." [-pro nataliciis annua- or on the anniversary of their death which is their birthday into eternal life] THE CROWN 3:3 A.D. 211

"A woman, after the death of her husband, is bound not less firmly but even more so, not to marry another husband....Indeed, she PRAYS FOR HIS SOUL and asks that he may, while waiting, find rest; and that he may share in the first resurrection. And each year, on the anniversary of his death, she offers the sacrifice." Tertullian, MONOGAMY 10:1,4 A.D. 213

"Standing by, I, Abercius, ordered this to be inscribed; truly, I was in my seventy-second year. May everyone who is in accord with this and who understands it PRAY FOR Abercius. Nor indeed, shall any man place another in my tomb." EPITAPH OF ABERCIUS, Bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia Salutaris, 180 A.D.

"May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me; he was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me eagerly and found me -- may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day -- and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus." APOSTLE PAUL, c. 67 A.D. 2 Tim 1:16-18 THE IGNATIUS BIBLE-RSV

My Catholic Bible says Onesiphorus is dead. You don't like that? Okay, how about....

"It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins." JUDAS MACCABEUS, c. 100 B.C. 2 Macc 12:46

Now if you don't think this is Scripture, how do you determine what IS Scripture to begin with? You must at least admit this was a custom of the Jews and an early Christian practice, BEFORE 300 A.D.

LW> 325 - ANATHEMA DECREED TO ANYONE WHO ADDS OR CHANGES THE CREED OF FAITH OF NICE

Anathema was decreed by Paul (Gal 1:8-9). We follow the apostle. Now if you're talking the Filioque clause "from the Father AND the Son" that subject has been discussed here with our Orthodox friends.

LW> 370 - COUNCIL OF LAODICEA REJECTS APOCRYPHA

Partially correct. The date is wrong -- should be 363 A.D. Canon 60 (though the genuineness is open to doubt) enumerates the canonical books following Athanasius closely although Ruth is attached to Judges and Esther follows immediately. It does not include the Apocalypse (Revelation) among the NT canonical books. See F.F. Bruce THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE (Intervarsity Press, 1988), p. 80, 210.

The Councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397,419) as well as the Council of Rome under Pope Damasus (382) accepted the "Apocrypha" or what Catholics call the deuterocanonical books, and these decisions were ratified by the Ecumenical Councils of 2nd Nicaea (787), Florence (1438-43) and finally Trent (1545-63).

Catholics receive their canon, whether OT or NT, on the authority of the original historic Church founded by Christ (Matt 16:18-19). You have no such authority which is why I asked -- how can you determine what IS Scripture? Do you have an answer to that, Les?

LW> 375 - VENERATION OF ANGELS AND DEAD SAINTS

LW> 593 - PRAYERS TO BE DIRECTED TO MARY ORDERED (Matt 11:28, Luke 1:46, Acts 10:25 & 14:14)

Boettner has -- (see his ROMAN CATHOLICISM, p. 7-8)

Veneration of angels and dead saints, and use of images.....375

Prayers directed to Mary, dead saints and angels, about.....600

First, they aren't dead but alive with Christ in heaven (Matt 22:32; Phil 1:23; Rev 5:8; 8:3-4). Angels can pray for us too (see Psalm 103:20-21; 148:1-2). They are "ministering spirits" (Heb 1:7,14; 12:22f; Matt 18:10; Acts 12:11; Rev 5:11).

Second, the dates are way off. 600 A.D. ? Not quite.

"But not the high priest [Christ] alone prays for those who pray sincerely, but also the angels...as also the souls of the saints who have already fallen asleep." ORIGEN On Prayer 11 A.D. 233

"Aschandius, my father, dearly beloved of my heart, with my sweet mother and my brethren, remember your Pectorius in the peace of the Fish [Christ]." PECTORIUS Epitaph A.D. 250

"Let us remember one another in concord and unanimity. Let us on both sides always pray for one another. Let us relieve burdens and afflictions by mutual love, that if one of us, by the swiftness of divine condescension, shall go hence the first, our love may continue in the presence of the Lord, and our prayers for our brethren and sisters not cease in the presence of the Father's mercy." ST. CYPRIAN Letters 56(60):5 A.D. 252

"Mother of God, listen to my petitions; do not disregard us in adversity, but rescue us from danger." Rylands Papyrus 3 A.D. 350

"You say in your book that while we live we are able to pray for each other, but afterwards when we have died, the prayer of no person for another can be heard...But if the apostles and martyrs while still in the body can pray for others, at a time when they ought still be solicitous about themselves, how much more will they do so after their crowns, victories, and triumphs?" ST. JEROME Against Vigilantius 6 A.D. 406

And so on....Cyril of Jerusalem, Hilary of Poitiers, Ephraem of Syria, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzen, Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose, John Chrysostom, Augustine, and Pope Leo the Great all believed we could ask for the prayer of angels, Saints, the Virgin Mary, and all members united in the one Body of Christ.

Prayers cannot be "ORDERED" and your biblical verses are irrelevant.

LW> 394 - THE SACRAMENT OF THE MASS

394 A.D. for the Mass, huh? I exploded that myth in my looooooooong posts to Mick James -- see This is My Body: Eucharist in the Early Fathers. The Liturgy has changed little from the time of St. Justin Martyr (c. 100-165 A.D.). See his 1 Apology ch 65-67.

LW> 431 - THE WORSHIP OF MARY

LW> Mary, QUEEN OF HEAVEN (Jeremiah 7:18, 44:17 & 25)

LW> Mary, MEDIATRIX (I Tim 2:5, Mt 11:28, Ecc 9:6)

LW> Mary, EVER-VIRGIN (Mt 1:25, Mk 6:3, Jn 2:2-4)

LW> 785 - Mary, CO-REDEMPTRIX (Acts 4:12, Ps 146:5, Heb 7:25)

LW> 788 - Mary, WORSHIP (Romans 1:25,Is 42:8, John 7:10)

LW> 1508 - Mary, MOTHER OF GOD (Mt 12:46-50, Mark 8;19-21, Acts 1:14)

LW> 1864 - Mary, SINLESS (Luke 1:46-47, Romans 3:10-19 & 23)

LW> 1854 - IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF VIRGIN MARY (Romans 3:23 & 5:12, Psalms 51:5)

Now this is what I meant by Incoherent Nonsense in my introduction.

How am I supposed to decipher all of this? First, "WORSHIP" of Mary has never been taught by the Church although there have been abuses in Marian piety and misunderstanding among Catholics. And will you please make up your mind. Was it 431 or 788 where the "worship" of Mary was taught? And was it 1864 or 1854 where the sinlessness of Mary from the moment of conception (Immaculate Conception) was taught?

The Conversion Center has the 788 one as --

LW> Adoration of Mary, the Saints, the Cross, images, relics...A.D. 788

Compared with "THE ROMAN ROAD..."

LW> 788 - WORSHIP OF CROSS, RELICS AND IMAGES AUTHORIZED (Exodus 20:4, Deut 27:15, Psalms 115)

And Loraine Boettner has --

Worship of the cross, images and relics, authorized in......788

The fact is neither "worship" nor "adoration" was taught in 431 or 788. Veneration is the proper Catholic term. We don't worship wood, relics, or images. We venerate them or give them due respect or honor pointing to the person represented -- see my History of Iconoclasm. This was defined and explained at the 2nd Council of Nicaea (787) as follows --

"We decree with full precision and care that, like the figure of the honored and life-giving Cross, the revered and holy images, whether painted or made of mosaic or of other suitable material, are to be exposed in the holy churches of God, on sacred instruments and vestments, on walls and panels, in houses and by public ways; these are the images of our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ, and of our Lady without blemish, the holy God-bearer [Theotokos] and of the revered angels and of any of the saintly holy men. The more frequently they are seen in representational art, the more are those who see them drawn to remember and long for those who serve as models and to pay these images the tribute of salutation and respectful veneration.

"Certainly this is not the full adoration in accordance with our faith, which is properly paid only to the DIVINE nature, but it resembles that given to the figure of the honored and life-giving Cross and also to the Holy Books of the Gospels and to other sacred objects....Indeed, the honor paid to an image traverses it, reaching the model; and he who venerates the image, venerates the person represented in that image."

(cited in THIS ROCK May 1994)

LW> 1508 - Mary, MOTHER OF GOD (Mt 12:46-50, Mark 8:19-21, Acts 1:14)

Mary declared the "Mother of God" in 1508? You've got to be kidding. I have testimony going back more than a thousand years earlier than that date in a debate I had with a rabid anti-Catholic Fundy -- see Mary the Mother of God, for Theotokos = "God Bearer" or Mother of God officially proclaimed at the Council of Ephesus in 431. Even Boettner (p. 7) got that much right. Theotokos was meant to safeguard the deity-humanity of Christ against the Nestorians who denied the title to Mary and also taught Christ was two persons.

As far as the perpetual virginity of Mary is concerned, your date is a bit off. I have another fairly exhaustive debate on that -- see The Perpetual Virginity of Our Lady. All the major Protestant Reformers (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Wesley) defended it!

LW> 431 - Mary, QUEEN OF HEAVEN (Jeremiah 7:18, 44:17 & 25)

While "Queen of Heaven" was not officially taught in 431 as you erroneously say, the title is found as early as the fourth century in the prayers of Ephraem of Syria and is very popular also among our Eastern Christian brethren, both Catholic and non-Catholic.

The verses in Jeremiah can hardly be used against us unless you wish to condemn the title "King of kings" for Jesus (1 Tim 6:15; Rev 17:14; 19:16) since it is used of the pagan king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 2:37). Because Jesus is the Davidic King, Jesus elevates His Mother as Queen of Heaven (Rev 12) just as the Queen-Mother was highly exalted and given a prominent place in the OT (1 Kings 2).

Even Martin Luther preached after his break with Rome on the Feast of the Visitation (July 2, 1532) --

"She, the Lady above heaven and earth, must have a heart so humble that she might have no shame in washing the swaddling clothes or preparing a bath for St. John the Baptist, like a servant girl. What humility! It would surely have been more just to have arranged for her a golden coach, pulled by 4,000 horses, and to cry and proclaim as the carriage proceeded: 'Here passes the woman who is raised FAR ABOVE all women, indeed above the WHOLE human race.'"

Five years later, preaching on the same feast day, Luther said --

"She was not filled with pride by this praise...this immense praise: 'No woman is like unto thee! Thou art more than an EMPRESS or a QUEEN....blessed above all nobility, wisdom, or saintliness!'"

(LUTHER'S WORKS 36:208; 45:107 as cited in REFUTING THE ATTACK ON MARY by Fr. Mateo available from Catholic Answers)

Heinrich Bullinger, Cranmer's brother-in-law, Zwingli's successor said:

"What pre-eminence in the eyes of God the Virgin Mary had on account of her piety, her faith, her purity, her saintliness and all her virtues, so that she can hardly be compared with any of the other saints, but should by rights be rather elevated above all of them..."

French Reformed pastor Charles Drelincourt said in the 17th century --

"We do not simply believe that God has favoured the holy and blessed Virgin more than all the Patriarchs and the Prophets, but also that He has exalted her above all Seraphim. The angels can only qualify as servants of the Son of God, the creatures and workmanship of his hands; but the holy Virgin is not only the servant and the creature but also the Mother of this great and living God."

(from MARY, MOTHER OF ALL CHRISTIANS [p. 89] by Calvinist theologian Max Thurian who later converted to the Catholic faith)

The titles of "Mediatrix" or "Co-Redemptrix" for Mary have not been officially defined so those dates are wrong. They do reflect the Marian piety and devotion of many great Popes, Saints, and Doctors of the Church. For a complete defense of Marian doctrines, get the above booklet from Catholic Answers. And read it carefully.

Let's continue with the "inventions" list.....

LW> 593 - DOCTRINE OF PURGATORY (Gregory) (I John 1:7-9; 2:1-2, John 5:24, Rom 8:1)

LW> 1439 - PURGATORY DECLARED VALID DOGMA (Matt 25:46, I John 1:7, Luke 23:43)

Purgatory is another whole debate and I will give more on this subject in a later post. Suffice to say, the anti-Catholics you have quoted have no idea what purgatory is about. The dates are approximately correct but must be properly understood. Gregory the Great is usually referred to as the "inventor" of purgatory in 590 A.D. But Augustine certainly believed in the doctrine as early as 400 and we will get to his quotes and what the Bible says later.

The author of "THE ROMAN ROAD..." is completely wrong stating --

LW> As we have shown in the historical outline at the beginning of this writing, there was a period of almost six hundred years where (1) the Apostles, (2) early church fathers or (3) church historians did not know of or write about PURGATORY!

Wrong! Many of the great Fathers and Doctors of the Church wrote on the efficacy of praying for the dead and/or a state of purification after death beginning with Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian, Lactantius, Eusebius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory of Nyssa, Epiphanius, Jerome, Ambrose, Chrysostom, Augustine, as well as Gregory the Great and later Catholic theologians as Anselm, Bernard, Aquinas and Bonaventure supported the doctrine. The Council of Florence (1438) merely defined as dogma what had been previously believed universally in the Church.

LW> 600 - TITLE OF POPE DECLARED FORE-RUNNER OF THE ANTI-CHRIST (Gregory, Bishop of Rome)

LW> Gregory the Great, while Bishop of Rome, in 600 A.D. wrote "I confidently say that whosoever calls himself 'universal bishop' or desires to be so called, in his arrogance, is the forerunner of antichrist."

Oh no! Not the "universal bishop" controversy, again! I answered that quite thoroughly for Mick James and Pedro Vega in the Battle for the Papacy. "UNIVERSAL" in the sense of "ONLY" (that other Bishops weren't really valid Bishops).

Now let's move on to more fabrications of history....

LW> 1190 - SALE OF INDULGENCES

The Church never officially sanctioned the "selling of indulgences" although there were abuses in the 16th century. Whatever the date means, this is a caricature of the doctrine. For a biblical defense and explanation of indulgences, see "A Primer on Indulgences" by an Evangelical convert to the Catholic faith, James Akin in THIS ROCK (Nov 1994 issue) from Catholic Answers.

LW> 1229 - BIBLE FORBIDDEN TO LAYMEN (John 5:39, II Tim 3:15-17)

The Bible was never "forbidden" to laymen. Boettner has the same date and adds "forbidden to laymen, placed on the Index of Forbidden Books by the Council of Valencia....1229." I have two editions of Boettner's anti-Catholic book and the later edition corrects this to the Council of Toulouse. There was no Council of Valencia in 1229. And as Karl Keating points out, there never was a Council in Valencia, Spain and the Index of Forbidden Books wasn't established until 1543! What was "forbidden" were the erroneous versions of the Bible propogated by the Albigenses to support their heresy of Manicheanism. It was a local, temporary matter restricted to southern France. That is all.

LW> 1580 - POPE DECLARED TO BE "LORD GOD"

LW> 1922 - POPE DECLARED TO BE JESUS CHRIST

These two were quite hilarious and since you gave some quotes below I had to look this up. First, your quotes are as follows

LW> Pope John XXII decreed in 1685, "To believe that our LORD GOD the Pope has not the power to decree as he is decreed is to be deemed heretical." Then Pius V stated, "The Pope and God are the same, so he has all power in heaven and earth." Finally, Pope Nicholas I declared, "the appellation of God had been confirmed by Constantine on the Pope, who, BEING GOD, cannot be judged by man."

LW> Pope Pius X stated, "The Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, but HE IS JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF, hidden under the veil of the flesh. Does the Pope speak? IT IS JESUS CHRIST that Speaks. Does the Pope accord a favor or pronounce an anathema? IT IS JESUS CHRIST who pronounces the anathema or accords the favor."

Now we go to RADIO REPLIES by Fathers Rumble and Carty (volume 2)

2-310. Pope Pius X made the blasphemous claim that he was "Jesus Christ hidden under the veil of the flesh. Does the Pope speak? It is Jesus Christ who speaks."

REPLY: A Protestant paper, the "Church Review," in England, October 3, 1895, charges Cardinal Sarto, Archbishop of Venice, with having uttered those words at Venice. Cardinal Sarto was elected Pope in 1903. But as soon as the charge was made in 1895 that Cardinal Sarto had said those words, inquiries were sent from England to Venice, and Cardinal Sarto produced the manuscipt of his discourse. And this is what he actually did say:

"The Pope REPRESENTS Jesus Christ Himself, and therefore is a loving father. The life of the Pope is a holocaust of love for the human family. His word is love; love, his weapon; love, the answer he gives to all who hate him; love, his flag, that is, the Cross, which signed the greatest triumph on earth and in heaven."

2-311. Pope Nicholas I. said that the Pope, being God, is judged by no man.

REPLY: Never did Pope Nicholas I. say that the Pope is God. What he does say is this:

"Since those in higher authority are not judged by inferiors, it is evident that the Apostolic See, than which no earthly authority is higher, is judged by none."

And that is perfectly sound reasoning. Even in civil law, the king is "above the law," and not subject to his own laws. Hence the legal axiom, "The king can do no wrong." Italy itself has acknowledged the justice of the Pope's claim to be independent of all civil jurisdiction, and subject to no earthly authorities.

2-312. In the "Extravagantes" of Pope John XXII, Roman Canon Law says that it is heresy to deny the power of "Our Lord God the Pope."

REPLY: That remark is attributed, not to Pope John XXII, but to the Canonist Zenzelinus, in his commentary on Title XIV of the "Extravagantes." But an examination of the original manuscript of Zenzelinus, preserved in the Vatican Library, failed to reveal the words attributed to him; and it has been definitely proved that the reference to God is an interpolation in later copies of his commentary.

Pcomments -- let's try to debate what Catholics really believe, Les, rather than trying to show we think the Pope is God, okay?

LW> 1907 - ALL SCIENCE CONDEMNED

LW> 1930 - PUBLIC SCHOOLS CONDEMNED

For these two I had to do some checking in the volumes of the New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967). Here is what I found --

First, do Catholics have something against science? One might think so from the Galileo case. This was discussed in great detail in a new mag The Catholic Dossier (July/Aug 1995) edited by Ralph McInerny. Here is what Pope John Paul II has to say about science --

"The unity we perceive in creation on the basis of our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord of the Universe, and the correlative unity for which we strive in our human communities, seem to be reflected and even reinforced in what contemporary science is revealing to us."

(JPII in "Dynamic Relationship of Theology and Science" in letter to Father George Coyne, S.J. director of the Vatican Observatory cited in "Beam Me Up, Lord?" by Gerard V. Bradley in above mag)

Now was "all science" condemned in 1907 ? Hardly. What was condemned by Pope Pius X was the heresy of Modernism in the decree -Lamentabili sane exitu- (July 3, 1907) which lists 65 condemned propositions containing the errors of Modernism in summary form. In the Encyclical -Pascendi dominici gregis- (Sept 8, 1907) the Pope emphasized the root tendencies and principles of Modernism.

What was condemned included 1) agnosticism, both in natural theology and in the symbolic, nonobjective approach to dogmatic content; and 2) vital immanence, an exclusive immanence of the divine and a consequent natural vital evolution of revelation; and 3) total emancipation of exegesis from dogma and of political-religious movements from ecclesiastical authority.

Modernism as an ideology emerged within the Church around 1900 and sought a revolutionary transmutation of Catholic doctrine through the application of naturalistic evolutionary philosophy and arbitrary historical criticism. It was condemned by the decree -Lamentabili- and the encyclical -Pascendi-, and definitively ended by the Oath against Modernism.

SOURCE: New Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 11 (p. 408ff) on Pius X, volume 9 (p. 991f) on "Modernism," volume 8 (p. 350) on Lamentabili, volume 10 (p. 1048) on Pascendi. How's that for substantiation?

Now what about public schools? Were public schools condemned in 1930? Nope, wrong again. Under Pope Pius XI, the Encyclopedia explains --

"The encyclical on Christian education, -Divini illius magistri- (Dec 31, 1929), lays the foundation for a genuinely Christian theory of education, opposes the modern state's monopoly of schools, and undertakes the demarcation and coordination of the education rights of the family, the Church, and the state." (NCE volume 11, p. 412)

And now for our final inventions.....

LW> 1215 - DOGMA OF TRANSUBSTANTIATION DECLARED (Luke 22:19-20, John 6:35, I Cor 11:26)

LW> Sacrifice of the Mass................................A.D. 1215

LW> 1215 - CONFESSION OF SINS TO PRIEST ORDERED (Ps 51:1-10, Luke 7:48 & 15:21, I John 1:8-9)

LW> Auricular confession of sins to a priest.............A.D. 1215

The exact technical term "transubstantiation" (from Latin meaning "change of substance") was sanctioned here but the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist was believed from the earliest centuries of the Church. See This is My Body: Eucharist in the Early Fathers for details (also find the two massive volumes A HISTORY OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST by the Anglican scholar Darwell Stone).

I had a discussion with David Goforth on Confession. I explained to him what the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) did. It merely reaffirmed the well-established practice while emphasizing the importance of penance. I gave several quotes from the early Fathers like Origen, Cyprian, Athanasius, Basil, Augustine, Ambrose, Jerome, Theodore of Mopsuestia, John Chrysostom and Pope Leo the Great.

ORIGEN (c. 244 A.D.)

In addition to these [kinds of forgiveness of sins], albeit hard and laborious: the remission of sins THROUGH PENANCE...when he [the sinner] does not shrink from DECLARING HIS SIN TO A PRIEST OF THE LORD AND FROM SEEKING MEDICINE....In this way there is fulfilled that too, which the Apostle James says: "If, then, there is anyone sick, let him call the PRESBYTERS [where we get PRIESTS] of the Church, and let them impose hands upon him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and if he be in SINS, THEY SHALL BE FORGIVEN HIM [James 5:14-15; cf. John 20:21-23]." (Hom on Leviticus 2:4)

CYPRIAN (c. 250 A.D.)

Of how much greater faith and salutary fear are they who...CONFESS THEIR SINS TO THE PRIESTS OF GOD in a straightforward manner and in sorrow, making an open declaration of conscience....Indeed, he but sins the more if, thinking that God is like man, he believes that he can escape the punishment of his crime by not openly admitting his crime....I beseech you, brethren, LET EVERYONE WHO HAS SINNED CONFESS HIS SIN while he is still in this world, while his confession is still admissible, WHILE THE SATISFACTION AND REMISSION MADE THROUGH THE PRIEST ARE STILL PLEASING BEFORE THE LORD. (The Lapsed 28)

For a serious scholarly defense of sacramental Confession, please locate the two massive volumes A HISTORY OF PENANCE by Oscar Watkins!

LW> 1545 - CHURCH TRADITION EQUAL TO SCRIPTURE (Mark 7:7-13, Col 2:8

Apostolic Church Tradition IS equal to Scripture (1 Cor 11:2; 2 Thess 2:15). Mark 7, Matthew 15, and Col 2:8 condemn "traditions of men" that contradicted the written Word of God. You would have to show that a certain Catholic dogma contradicted the Bible, that you are properly understanding the Catholic teaching and properly interpreting the Bible, and explain why we should go against the traditional teaching of the Church defended by so many Saints and Fathers that have come before us. It is clear from these posts you have no clue what Catholics believe so you cannot do this.

Tradition has ALWAYS been normative as a Rule of Faith in the Church. -Sola scriptura- was simply never believed. The Council of Trent (1545-63) and Vatican II merely re-affirmed the constant teaching of the historic Christian Church -- that for a doctrine to be true it must be established both from Scripture (at least implicitly) and from Tradition.

From EARLY CHRISTIAN DOCTRINES by eminent Protestant scholar of Church history, J.N.D. Kelly of Oxford (1985) on his chapter TRADITION AND SCRIPTURE (p. 29 - 51)

"Scripture must be interpreted in the light of its fundamental ground-plan, viz. the original revelation itself. For that reason correct exegesis was the PREROGATIVE OF THE CHURCH, where the apostolic tradition or doctrine which was the KEY to Scripture had been kept intact [St. Irenaeus Against Heresies 4:26:5; 4:32:1; 5:20:2]." (38)

"The whole point of [Irenaeus'] teaching was, in fact, that Scripture and the Church's unwritten tradition are identical in content, BOTH being vehicles of the revelation. If tradition as conveyed in the 'canon' [i.e. Creeds and teaching of the Church] is a more trustworthy guide, this is not because it comprises truths other than those revealed in Scripture, but because the TRUE tenor of the apostolic message is there UNAMBIGUOUSLY SET OUT." (39)

"Like Irenaeus, Tertullian is convinced that Scripture is consonant in all its parts, and that its meaning should be clear if it is read as a whole. But where CONTROVERSY with heretics breaks out, the RIGHT interpretation can be found ONLY where the TRUE Christian faith and discipline have been MAINTAINED, i.e. IN THE CHURCH [Tertullian De praescr 19]." (40)

"[Tertullian] was certainly profoundly convinced [De praescr 15; 19; 37] of the futility of arguing with heretics MERELY on the basis of Scripture. The skill and success with which they twisted its plain meaning made it IMPOSSIBLE to reach any decisive conclusion in that field. He was also satisfied, and made the point even more forcibly than Irenaeus, that the INDISPENSABLE KEY to Scripture belonged EXCLUSIVELY TO THE CHURCH, which in the -regula- [rule of faith] had preserved the apostles' testimony in its original shape." (41)

"...the ancient idea that the Church ALONE, in virtue of being the home of the Spirit and having preserved the authentic apostolic testimony in her rule of faith, liturgical action and general witness, possesses the INDISPENSABLE KEY to Scripture, CONTINUED to operate as POWERFULLY [in later centuries] as in the days of Irenaeus and Tertullian." (47)

"It should be unnecessary to accumulate further evidence. Throughout the WHOLE period Scripture AND tradition ranked as complementary AUTHORITIES, media different in form but coincident in content. To inquire which counted as superior or more ultimate is to pose the question in misleading and anachronistic terms. If Scripture was abundantly sufficient in principle, tradition was recognized as the SUREST CLUE TO ITS INTERPRETATION, for in tradition the Church retained, as a legacy from the apostles which was embedded in all the organs of her institutional life, an UNERRING grasp of the real purport and MEANING of the revelation to which Scripture AND tradition alike bore witness." (47-48)

"Thus in the end the Christian MUST, like Timothy [1 Tim 6:20], 'GUARD THE DEPOSIT', i.e. the revelation enshrined in its completeness in Holy Scripture and CORRECTLY INTERPRETED IN THE CHURCH'S UNERRING TRADITION." (51)

(end of quote from EARLY CHRISTIAN DOCTRINES by J.N.D. Kelly)

LW> 1870 - PAPAL INFALLIBILITY DECREED (II Thess 2:2-12, Rev 17:1-9; 13:5-8,18)

The date is correct -- that is when the dogma was defined -- but I gather from your biblical references that you believe the Pope is the "Man of Sin" and/or the Beast of Revelation and the Catholic Church is the "Whore of Babylon."

Oh dear..... You and Mick James would get along just fine.

That's it for the so-called Catholic "inventions." Much error, misunderstanding, and outright fabrication in the posts of Les Wilcox has been exposed. Oh boy, did that take a lot of work! You're welcome, Joe Didde, William Putnam, Sean Brooks, John McIlroy and my other cheerleaders.

Perhaps later I can respond to the following anti-Catholic accusations, further misunderstandings, and outrageous statements made in the posts of Les Wilcox covering the following topics.....

On the Church, St. Peter and the Rock --

LW> History does not give any evidence whatsoever of the presence of Peter in Rome.

On Salvation --

LW> Romanism is a complicated system of salvation by works.

LW> The Roman Catholic church, then CURSES PAUL, THE APOSTLE, for his teachings!

LW> The Roman Catholics are as lost as the poor African or Hindu.

LW> Those who insist that there are saved Roman Catholics either do not know the Bible or do not know Roman Catholicism.

On being "Born Again" --

LW> And no Roman Catholic is a born-again believer in Christ.

On Purgatory --

LW> Nothing and nobody can condemn to Purgatory or to any other place of condemnation those who through Jesus Christ have been made free from all guilt.

On the Mass --

LW> This means, according to Roman teaching, that Jesus suffers the terrible agony of Calvary 200,000 times every day!

On the Sacrament of Penance --

LW> Confession to a priest is an inducement to commit more sin.

On calling our priests "Father" --

LW> Anyone calling himself a spiritual father is anti-christ.

On Jesus and Mary --

LW> He foresaw that she would become the object of great idolatry, would be given the place of Deity by the Roman Catholic system, and would be assigned names properly given to Deity only.

On the Catholic Church and idolatry --

LW> It has further taken deceit as a manner of common operation!

LW> We have read and investigated EACH and EVERY catechism that is being used by the Roman church. EACH one has this same deceit in its pages.

LW> Clearly the Roman Church is acting in direct opposition to the will of God, plainly stated in many verses of scripture.....

We'll see what kind of response this gets from Les Wilcox and whether or not he wants me to continue.....

How about some "SUBSTANTIATION" from the Bible and from Catholic sources for the above, Les?

I feel like Mike Tyson because I think I already knocked him out in the first round. But anyway.....

P (August 1995)


Back to Apologetics Articles

Back to Home Page

About | Apologetics | Philosophy | Spirituality | Books | Audio | Links