Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Perpetual Virginity of Mary

A few weeks back, I got a dyspeptic note from a Protestant Minister in training who took umbrage to my views on the illegitimacy of the various Protestant religions. In his note, he took especial umbrage to the Catholic dogma of the Perpetual Virginity acting as if there was no justification for this teaching.

I was planning to do an entire expose on this fallacious notion, but my good friend Matt1618 beat me to it.

He has a fine Catholic Apologetics Website:

His treatment of the PVM is excellent and I recommend it highly:

This is a condensed version of the same article:

The following is an article by a Hebrew Catholic, Br. Anthony Opisso, M.D., who has since gone before us marked with the sign of faith:

This is a treatise on the PVM written by St. Jerome, the greatest Scripture Scholar of the Patristic period:

The following is a variety of quotations from the Church Fathers on the PVM:

Here is s list of documents including Papal teaching on the PVM:

The following is a link to the website of of my friend and Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong:

Here are some of his articles on the PVM:

The following is a term paper written by an Anglican arguing in favor of the PVM:

Here are some articles by my good friend Mark Bonocore defending the PVM:

Here is an article by Protestant Scholar Paul Owen on the PVM:

And here is an article by my good friend and Catholic Apologist John Pacheco:

So despite the pretensions of my Protestant 'minister-in-training' there is indeed lots of evidence in support of the PVM and absolutely nothing before the 18th Century even questioning it except for 3 people (Jovinian, Helvidius, and Bonosus) who were condemned as heretics. So in this matter -- as in so many others -- Protestantism is seen to be a modernist fraud that supports clearly heretical notions in the service of man-made religion.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bob Sungenis and his Ordinary

The continuing controversy over the content of Robert Sungenis' web site has taken a new turn. Mr. Sungenis has said things about the Jewsih people - both inside and outside of the Church - which have brought him open criticism from many sources.

It has been the hope of many of us who are concerned about Bob that he would accept fraternal correction on these matters and bring his public views into line with the positions held by the Popes and Vatican II over the last several decades. Sadly, Bob has not done so. In the last year, his Ordinary, Bishop Kevin Rhoades, took action in the name of the Catholic Church to prevent Bob from promulgating his views as if they represented Catholic teaching. In particular, Bob published a commentary on the Book of Revelation in which he made several comments about the Jews that were scurrilous in tone.

Bob's response was half-hearted at best. He made a show of submitting to the Bishop,at first, but now he is openly accusing Bishop Rhoades of holding to heretical notions. Bob is refusing to obey the Bishop's order that he cease and desist writing about any matters having to do with the Jewish people.

I want to take a stand here in support of Bishop Rhoades and I call on Bob Sungenis as a professed loyal son of the Catholic Church to submit to his Ordinary in this matter. We Catholic apologists are the victims of the lies and bigotry of Anti-Catholics all the time. We should be very careful ourselves not to promote falsehoods about other people. And in particular, we need to be on the guard against Anti-Semitism. It is a persistent prejudice that has led to untold injustice, suffering, and even genocide. We as Catholics must never again allow such things to occur and we need to oppose this error vigorously.

The following links document the most recent events in the Sungenis controversy:

Breaking the Silence:

1) Bishop Rhoades Sets the Record Straight: Bishop Rhoades refutes Sungenis’ “slanderous and erroneous” charges

2) Saying “Peace!” When There Is No Peace: A discussion of the many “apologies” and promises of Robert Sungenis

3) More Definition Difficulties: Sungenis’ misuse of “disavow” and “libel”

4) CASB2's Missing Imprimatur: The Real Reason the Bishop Said "No"Sungenis’ anti-Jewish animus comes to light in CASB2

5) Response from the USCCB on page 131 of the USCC: Must one see heresy on page 131? How should one approach our bishops?

6) Is Sungenis Schismatic? The Verdict in Sungenis’ Own Words: Documentation of how Sungenis has chosen a path he has formerly criticized

7) The Theology of Prejudice: A discussion of how Sungenis’ animus against Jews taints his theology

8) The Theology of ADL Conspiracy Theories? Specific proof that even now, Sungenis is violating his most recent promises

9) Sungenis and the New Good Friday Prayer: A recent example of Sungenis’ exaggerations and contentiousness with Jews

10) Sungenis Singled Out by Jewish Blogger: An example of how Sungenis is seen by moderate Jewish people

11) Clearing Roy Schoeman of Sungenis’ Slander by Ben Douglass: Sungenis refuses to retract and apologize for quote he knows to be false

12) New and Old Postings by Ben Douglass: Ben Douglass re-posts his Sungenis articles and defends Roy Schoeman

13) When Like Finds Like:Evidence from Sungenis’ own followers that all is not well at CAI-BTF

14) The Clinton Connection: A comparison of the tactics of Bill Clinton and Robert Sungenis

15) The Matter of Character: An examination of a fundamental issue underlying Sungenis’ difficulties

16) Timeline: A helpful timeline detailing what has occurred with Sungenis and when

Please keep both Bob Sungenis and Bishop Rhoades in your prayers.

Art Sippo

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Honoring our Mother, the BVM

Over on his apologetics board, Patrick Madrid has made the followin comment concerning the recent move by several Cardinals to request that the Spirtual Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin be declared a dogma of the Church:

Personally, I hope the pope does not act on this petition. I see it as theologically problematic, due to the high likelihood of it being misunderstood and misconstrued by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. The petition is pastorally unnecessary and hugely inopportune.

Patrick is a good Catholic man and one of the great Catholic apologists of our time. He is also my friend. The position he is espousing here is taken by many other good Catholics as well so I am not questioning his Catholicity or his faithfulness to the Church. But on this matter I must take exception with him.

I don't agree. Every Mariology text book in the last 100 years has included the rationale for seeing the BVM as Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix of all Graces. The Patristic evidence for the Spiritual Motherhood of Mary dates back to the mid 2nd Century and includes statements by St. Justin Martyr and St. Irenaeus. The Popes in the last 160 years -- up to and including Pope John Paul II -- have been strong supporters of the Spiritual Motherhood of the BVM and taught such in their encyclicals. The Eight Chapter of Lumen Gentium specifically gave the BVM the titles Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix. This statement by a General Council means that the Spiritual Motherhood of the BVM is already OFFICIAL CATHOLIC TEACHING. Raising such a teaching to a dogma therefore adds nothing to the Catholic faith that has not already been proclaimed by the Magisterium but it does make it clear that the BVM has a role to play in salvation and that this is a central tenet of the Holy Catholic Faith that is not negotiable.

The opinions and sensibilities of Protestants and other non-Catholics about Catholic teaching should be of no concern to the Catholic Church. These outsiders are a mish-mash of unbeleivers, heretics, apostates, and schismatics albeit most of them are only materially so. Are we not to proclaim the divinity of Christ because the Jehovah's Witnesses might take offense? Are we going to suppress calling Jesus the Son of God because it makes the Muslims unhappy? Do we avoid calling Jesus the Messiah because the Jews will balk?

What other things are we going to suppress to assuage the Protestants? The Substantial Presence of Christ in the Eucharist? Apostolic Succession? The indissolubility of SACRAMENTAL marriage? The anathemas of Trent?

If we Catholics are people of faith, we must profess a robust faith, not one that bends to the objections of infidels. My experience with anti-Catholic bigots is that they have no scruples about dissing us no matter what concessions we make. So we should make no concessions. None of them have any scruples about mocking Catholics, our Church and our beliefs. I am unaware of any Protestant denomination that has refrained from taking a doctrinal position becasue it might offend Catholics. Think of it: women priests, women bishops, LESBIAN bishops, abortion, contraception, divorce with remarriage, Homosexuality, IVF, defective forms of baptism. If they do not restrict their doctrine to assuage us, why are we doing so to assuage them?

Vatican II made a few off-hand comments that anyone with savvy would have recognized as attacks on Communism. Yet it never attacked the Communists by name. Many Traditionalists saw this as a capitulation to the enemy. Now 40 years later we can see it for what it was. Communism was a flash in the pan and it did not deserve anymore than trivial attention. Mere men did not know that in the 1960s. They did not know that within 25 years, Communism would be relegated to the ash-heap of history. But the Holy Spirit knew, and he moved the Council to basically ignore Communism except as a trivial nuisance. Protestantism deserves the same kind of pejorative neglect.

Meanwhile the BVM in her own words "magnifies the glory of God". She prophesied about herself that "all generations shall call me blessed".

Glory and honor is due to the greatest human person who every lived: the Blessed Virgin Miriam, Mother of God and Mother of the Church. Do not let the whining of non-Catholics silence our praises of her and her Son!

Omnes semper - ad Jesum, per Mariam, cum Petro.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

James Swan and why he should repent

I did something that I normally don't do today. I went over to the bulletin board of anti-Catholic James Swan. One of the prots who haunt the Envoy Apologetics board had been asked to take his discussion with me over here to my blog and he had just started posting on Swan's "Beggars All" board instead. While I was there I noticed that my name was in the index and I followed the links.

Low and behold! I am vilified multiple times for the crime of not thinking that the excommunicated apostate Martin Luther was a worthy Christian thinker and for following the line of thinking that had originated back in the 16th Century that he was mentally deranged and which has excellent support in modern Luther scholarship.

Mr. Swan even had the temerity to go out looking for Catholics to personally condemn me. You see among the Anti-Catholic elite it is far more important to insult and defame Catholics than it is to refute them.

Well, the sad and hypocritical Mr. Swan needs to get his facts straight. This is why I dismiss Luther as an enemy of Christ and I condemn the entire Protestant Deformation as a demonic deception:

1) The Church as it came form the hands of Christ passed to the Apostles with St. Peter chosen by Christ to be his vicar. About this Scripture and Tradition are absolutely clear.

2) The Apostles ordained men as their successors and these men ordained their own successors. This pattern has persisted to the present and this succession has been preserved in both the Catholic Church and in the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

3) Ordination was not seen in either the Bible or Tradition as a mere human institution, but it conveyed he power of the Holy Spirit to tech to sanctify and to rule the Church.

4) The possession of the Holy Spirit in the hierarchy by the laying on of hands is what preserves the Catholic Church from error, not the opinions of scholars, the repetition of what people did and thought in the past, or the private interpretations of mere men.

5) No Protestant religion possess valid Apostolic Succession. In fact the Deformers all rejected Apostolic Succession thereby taking themselves out of the Church with no authority or power to teach, to sanctify, or to rule God's people.

6) The central tenet of the Deformation - 'justification by faith alone without good works' (JBFA) - is contrary to the Gospel as taught by Jesus and was explicitly condemned as an error in James 2:24

7) JBFA was used by Luther to sow anarchy within the Church of his day. It continues to wreak havoc in our own time.

8) Luther was excommunicated and his works condemned by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

9) The religions Luther invented or inspired do not have valid ministers, valid sacraments (Baptism a possible exception in some groups), sound doctrine or right morals. As such, Protestantism as a whole is totally corrupt and none of the groups within it or spawned from it meet the criteria for valid Christian Churches from the 1st Millennium.

10) Despite paying lip service to 'sola scriptura', when the Bible conflicts with Protestant doctrine, the Bible is ignored, marginalized or explained away. Examples of this are in James 2:24, Romans 2:5ff, Matthew 16:16ff, 2Peter 3:15ff, John 6:53ff, and NUMEROUS other examples.

11) Meanwhile the Protestant Deformers (including Luther and Calvin) along with the groups they founded have openly and explicitly condemned Catholicism and the Pope as the Anti-Christ. This can be seen throughout Luther and Calvin's writings, in Deformed creedal statements such as the Westminster Confessions, and in the books, lectures, and web sites of Anti-Catholic bigots in our own day.

12) Insulting labels have been created by Protestants to be used when talking with and about Catholics: Romanist, Papist, Romish, Popish, jesuitical, Pope's Nose, Popery, Popedom, etc. Yet these same people have very thin skins when you tell them that the Protestant apostasy of the 16th Century reformed noting and actually DEFORMED Christain doctrine and Christian

13) Among Martin Luther's supporters in the last 3 centuries have been vituperate anti-Semites most notorious of which was Adolph Hitler and the Nazis.

14) Modern studies of Martin Luther's writings disclose a man with a serious mental disturbance. He suffered from depression, paranoia, delusions of grandeur, flight of ideas, and loose association all of which are symptoms of a bipolar manic-depressant disorder

15) Luther's theology was used by him as a catharsis for his periods near suicidal depression.

16) Luther became a poor exegete of the Bible who read his own mental illness into the text as he got deeper into the 'reform'.

17) Luther was guilty of excessive cursing, vulgarities, obscenities, and inappropriate speech which his fawning sycophants constantly try to explain away.

18) Hypocritically, when a Catholic says anything negative about Luther or condemns Protestantism, or uses pejorative terms about the conduct of Protestants, he or she is held to a standard much stricter than what Protestants tolerate for Luther.

19) Protestants are constantly on the attack against the Catholic Church. When Catholics try to defend themselves, they are attacked as uncharitable. There is double standard here.

20) Protestantism is FALSE RELIGION. It openly contradicts the Bible, ignores Tradition, supports immoral practices (divorce with remarriage, contraception, abortion, euthanasia, homosexual behavior, persecution of Catholics, Anti-Semitism, etc.), tries to misrepresent Catholics, and attempts to seduce Catholics out of the Church.

For these reasons among others, I do not tolerate the insulting and ignorant comments made by Protestant Anti-Catholics. When some Protestant tells me that I should adopt the opinion of card carrying Nazi party member Fr. Josef Lortz toward Luther in preference to that of other more critical Catholic scholars and then insults me because I refuse to follow Lortz's Nazi party line it proves to me that this Protestant is not a person of integrity nor is he being honest with the fact of history.

Luther, the Nazis, and Fr. Lortz are being relegated toe the dustbin of history. Modern biblical scholarship is highly critical of Luther and finds no justification for his version of JBFA in the Bible. And the pioneering work of Fr. Denifle in pointing out Luther's serious personal failings as the source of his aberrant and heretical views has been bolstered by modern psychiatry.

The New Perspective on St. Paul objective condemns Luther as being WRONG about JBFA. Church history shows that Luther's JBFA did no exist at anytime in Church history and was an innovation of the Deformation. Fr. Denifle, Fr. Grisar, Preserved Smith, Paul Reiter, Richard Marius, and Herbert David Rix have all shown that Luther was seriously disturbed and that this mental disturbance was the source of his deviations from sound doctrine. The religions that Luther founded do not meet the ecclesiastical standards of the earliest Church.

On all counts, Protestantism is a damnable fraud and the defection of all those millions into apostasy was a serious error. It is a Pandemonium of warring cults united only in their antipathy towards the Catholic Church and those of us who defend her.

Protestants all LEFT the Church cursing those of us who stayed as they did. They have no legacy within the Church founded by Jesus but are robbers and thieves trying to enter the kingdom by any means other than through the sheep-gate. Unless they renounce their errors and submit to the Vicar of Christ, they endanger their souls.

As such their is no compromising the truth. Protestantism and its false doctrines and empty sacraments cannot save anyone. The faith they preach is not that which was delivered once and for all to the Saints but a subjectivist counterfeit designed to assuage the endogenous depression of a seriously disturbed monk. Had there been Prozac in the 16th Century, we would have been spared the whole Deformation disaster.

Please understand that this is where I am coming from. There is no possibility whatever that Luther or any Protestant was correct when They contradicted the teachings of the Catholic Church. The only hope for ecumenism is for the prodigal Protestants to come to their senses and return to their Father's house. The Catholic Church is large and her practices diverse. There is room for everyone and we welcome whatever good things our separated brethren may bring with them. But they must abandon the loose living and false teachings that led them and their ancestors astray and submit themselves to the rule of their Father. Submission and humility are the virtues they need. They must cease trying to justify the errors of the past and seek true reformation and true repentance. They can only do so in Catholicism.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Dumb and Dumber: The Professional Anti-Catholic and his Sycophants

One of the joys of being a Catholic is the depth and breadth of the Catholic faith. Catholicism is a feast for the eyes (e.g., Chatres Cathedral, Michaelangelo, DaVinci, Raffaele, and Titian), ears (e.g., Gregorian Chant, Palestrina, Polyphony, Mozart, and Beethoven) and even the nose (e.g., incense for the hoi polloi and Benedictine Liquor for the aficionado) and the tongue (e.g., Dom Perignon, and anything from French or Italian Cuisine). By comparison, the Protestant English are still trying to hawk kidney pie as if it were edible, and the only prot painter worth his salt is Rembrandt who IMHO is highly over-rated.

But our Protestant confreres do corner the market in one absolutely remarkable commodity: They have the most entertaining anti-Catholic bigots in the world. Now there are lots of anti-Catholic atheists, a mean-spirited group who are generally drunk and disorderly or so full of themselves that even their friends are embarrassed by them. But when it comes to the prot anti-Catholic, you not only have vehemence and verve, but such a gross streak of dishonesty and demagoguery that they are just too comedic for words. The best part is that they take themselves so seriously!

Your average prot Anti-Catholic starts out mouthing biblical platitudes, then moves on to misinterpreting and misrepresenting Catholic teaching and Catholics themselves. They never do so with a 'holier-than-thou' attitude since that would require charity and humility. Nope! They do so riding on their high horse and looking down their noses on anyone who still kowtows to "ROME" that great city of the Anti-Christ. It is from here that they weave utterly fantastic conspiracy theories so convoluted and dastardly that paranoid schizophrenics can only look on in envy (and suspicion).

But the best part is when they come up against anyone with the smallest smattering of knowledge in the area of theology, Church History, or Scripture study. Here I must admit that it doesn't really matter whether said knowledgeable person is a Catholic or not. Real Protestant Scholars -- especially when they question the correctness of the biblical exegesis, Patristic citation, or historical musings of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Cranmer, or any of their successors -- are denounced as 'liberals' or as 'abandoning the legacy of the Reformation.' Imagine these revisionist curs! Throwing aside the opinions of the 'Reformers' for the sake of the truth! What are they thinking!

But in any case, as the professional Anti-Catholic plies his wares in the marketplace of ideas, it becomes glaringly apparent that many of his views are not supported by the facts and in other cases, it is possible for a rational person to disagree with him. (It is usually a him. Anti-Catholic women are more passive aggressive and prefer to write nasty books.) At this point, the prot pundit has no choice but to play the ad hominem card and try to discredit his opponent as mean or unecumenical.

There is no limit to the absurd lengths that the Anti-Catholic will go. I have had these guys tell me that I am 'under the wrath of God' for being a 'Romanist', or that I am a fool for not accepting the opinions of their favorite Catholic historian even though he was a card carrying member of the Nazi party before, during and at the end of World War II.

Then there was the pundit who claimed on the Internet that the term Mother of God for the Blessed Virgin Mary was inconsistent with Patristic theology (he dismissed the Council of Ephesus as an anti-Council and claimed that St. Augustine did not accept it despite several quotations that showed he in fact did).  This fellow further claimed that the dogma of the Perpetual Virginity was a 6th Century invention (despite the Protoevangelium of James from the 150s, the excommunication of Bishop Bonosus in the 3rd Century for his denial of this doctrine, and St. Jerome's treatise in defense of it from the 4th Century) . I openly challenged him to produce any quotations from an orthodox Church Father to support his views. Instead he whined at how mean I was to him and threatened to denounce me to AOL as a spammer.

Then there was the well know 'scholar' who had a been a teacher of our own Dr. Scott Hahn. This man claimed in a popular magazine article (Tabletalks, May 1994) that St. Thomas Aquinas was a Protestant . In fact that was the title of the article. When I read it, I expected to see some comparison between St. Thomas' views and those of Luther, Calvin, and others. In 1969, Fr. Henry McSorley had written a book Luther: Right or Wrong comparing the views of Luther and Aquinas on justification and I expected that he would refer to it. To my surprise, the article was a rambling hodge-podge of criticism aimed at Catholic doctrine, the views of Alister McGrath, and modern theology. McSorley was not referenced at all. In fact there was only one quotation from St. Thomas which was on another topic altogether unrelated to the central thesis of the paper.

I wrote this man 3 letters and spoke with him on the phone twice. I pointed out to him that he had not proven anything in his article and I referred him to several parts of the Summa Theologiae in which St. Thomas clearly sided with Trent (and with McGrath's assessment of Trent) against Luther's views. He asked me what I thought justification was and I answered him by quoting VERBATIM from the Summa:

Justification implies a transmutation from the state of injustice to the aforesaid state of justice.
{Summa Theologica > First Part of the Second Part > Question 113> Article 1}

He sputtered at me in disgust that I did not understand Aquinas at all. When I indicated that I had just QUOTED St. Thomas VERBATIM, he said I had taken it out of context. At that point, I told him quite honestly that I thought that he must have reasons for claiming that Aquinas was a Protestant but that I found nothing in the article to convince me. I asked him to provide me with quotations from St. Thomas to substantiate his allegation. He refused and told me that he was under no obligation to provide me with anything. He whined about how obtuse I was and so childish in "following Rome'" Furthermore told me I had insulted him by not just "taking my word for it." I had impugned his integrity and he would not answer anymore insulting questions. He then told me that he was a real 'catholic' and that I was not. At this point I realized he was being deliberately provocative and evasive. He knew that he had been caught out and he was making excuses for his refusal to defend what he knew was indefensible. The conversation was over.

Dealing with these people is like being caught in the middle of a Monty Python episode. The absurdities continue to mount and then as one sane voice points this out to the raving loonies there is a rude outburst of personal invective.

But the real cherry on top are the fawning sycophants who hang on every word these "experts" burble forth. These lay people feel that they have been thoroughly armed to slay the Catholic Beast by quoting the inanities of their favorite Anti-Catholic pundits. They get a rude awakening when they find that Catholic Apologists are smart, good debaters, and thoroughly informed on the topics under discussion. After making fools of themselves quoting nonsense from the Anti-Catholic stable of lies, they promise to return with a response and then slowly fade into the sunset looking for easier prey: some other Catholic who is less well informed on whom to try their lies and other attacks. When pressed to respond, they come back with the usual excuse that they have not been treated 'nicely.' This is a code word for "I lost the debate and I am running away."

So my advice to the Catholic people is to stay away from these Anti-Catholic ne'er do wells. They have nothing of value to tell you and you have no need of them. Let the Catholic Apologist handle them. if they cause trouble, refer them to us. We will take it from there. That way, they will not be back to bother you.