Friday, October 9, 2009

Book Review: Catholic Apologetic Study Bible Volume III: The Epistles of Romans and James by Robert Sungenis PhD

Catholic Apologist Dr. Robert Sungenis has published a landmark book which in my opinion should be read by anyone who is serious about Catholic Apologetics. It is the Catholic Apologetic Study Bible Volume III: The Epistles of Romans and James. Bob is a former Protestant Minister who converted to Catholicism in the early 1990s. He brought with him a great love of the Scriptures and in depth knowledge of the Greek language which he has used effectively in writings and debates with non-Catholics. Bob has a somewhat controversial history and he and I have agreed to disagree on several points, but he is a first class biblical exegete and his new book is likely the best commentary on Romans and James that is available for the Catholic Apologist.

St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans and St. James' Epistle were the two biblical books that were most controversial during the Protestant Rebellion of the16th Century. Protestants from that time up to the present have tried their level best to twist and distort the clear words of these Scriptures to their own perdition often making reference to esoteric interpretations of the Koine Greek language to justify their errors. Since Bob has published his commentary, this obfuscation will no longer be possible. He deals in depth with the rules of Greek grammar and vocabulary demonstrating that the Protestants have misrepresented the texts and that the Catholic teaching on the matters of justification, nature/grace, and soteriology are thoroughly biblical.

Bob make his own literal translations of the two epistles with extensive footnotes that refer back to standard scholarly commentaries both Catholic and Protestant as well as to other relevant biblical texts, the works of the Church Fathers, the Ecumenical Councils, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, other approved Catholic theological sources, and the Papal Magisterium of the Popes up to and including John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

The content of this commentary is intended for the study of Catholic apologetics and it is both informative eminently readable. After the line-by-line commentary here are several excurses that deal with apologetic topics such as "Expiation or Propitiation?," "What is Justification by Faith?," "What is Concpiscence?," "Living in the Spirit by the Principles of the Law," "The History of the Protestant Rebellion," "James' Teaching on Justification by Works," and "The Sacrament of Extreme Unction" to name just a few.

All of these excurses are superbly done and they alone are worth the price of the book. I would single my personal favorite: "Expiation or Propitiation?" This section has no parallel in any Catholic book with which I am familiar. Bob defends the idea of Christ's work being a true propitiation showing that this is entirely in line with defined Catholic teaching and approved scholarship. I have been looking for over 30 years for a solid Catholic treatment on this and I am overjoyed that my friend Bob Sungenis has produced what I consider to be the definitive exposition on this topic to date.

The long excursus on "The History of the Protestant Rebellion" is another absolute gem that once again has no parallel in any other Catholic work to do date. It is worth reading slowly and attentively.

Bob is not an advocate of the 'New Perspective on St. Paul' which has arisen over the last 30 years from within Protestant Scholarship. In myself favor the New Perspective, but it does remain controversial and many Protestant controversialists reject it vehemently because they know that it makes the traditional Protestant interpretation of St. Paul virtually impossible to justify. Even though I would have like to have Bob appropriate the New Perspective into his work, his apologetic method is probably even more effective because it utilizes the same perspectives and methods as traditional Protestant scholars and demonstrates their inherent contradictions and failures to rightly divide the Word. In essence, Bob hoists them with their own petard.

Bob does take some minority positions. For example he believes that the Epistle of St. James was written before Romans which is not the opinion held by the majority of biblical scholars. He also does not think that a mass conversion of the Jews will occur as a sign of the coming of the end times. He does believe that many Jews will convert in the end but as individuals joining the Church, not as a distinctly Jewish movement into Christianity. This places him at odds with the majority of Christian biblical scholars.

These unconventional opinions do not detract from the central theme of the work and such things are to be expect whenever a scholar takes pen in hand to take a fresh look at the Biblical text.

I cannot recommend this book more highly. I encourage anyone interested in Catholic Apologetics to get this book and study it carefully. I also want to congratulate Dr. Robert Sungenis on a great work of Catholic Apologetics.

The book is available for purchase on Bob's website:

As an additional note, Bob has recently updated his classic book Not By Faith Alone which is his in depth exposition on the doctrine of justification. In this Second Edition, he answers the objections of Protestant critics and has added a new section on the joint declaration of the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation on justification. It is avaialable as an e-book download on his website:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Corrigenda to "The Sources of Catholic Dogma" 1957 Edition

The most recent translation of the Denzinger Enchiridion Symbolorum into English was done by Fr. Roy J. Deferrari in 1957. It is the most common English translation of Denzinger that has been reprinted. Unfortunately, it also had some 16 serious errors in its text and a Corrigenda has been available which corrects them.

It has recently come to my attention that the Corrigenda is not available on the Internet so that people who purchasde this fine volume may correct their text.

As a public service, I am publishing the Corrigenda on my blog:

(The Sources of Catholic Dogma)

Page 31, number 74, read "is true God" for "is not true God."

Page 49, number 111a, from lines 3 through 6 read: "that the Word, in an ineffable and inconceivable manner, having hypostatically united to Himself flesh animated by a rational soul, became Man and was called the Son of Man," also lines 11 through 14, read;"For it was no ordinary man who was first born of the Holv Virgin and upon whom the Word afterwards descended; butt being united from the womb itself He is said to have undergone fleshly birth, claiming as His own the birth of His own flesh."

Page 61, number 148, second column, line 15, read "nowhere removed" for “removed”

Page 87, number 218, read "but not as if the word of God" for "but as if the Word of God."

Paige 87, number 219, substitute the following for the first three lines: "If anyone speaking on two natures does not confess that our Lord Jesus Christ is acknowledged as in His Divinity as well as in His Manhood, in order that by this he may signify the difference of the natures in which". Also the following for the last six lines but one: "if he accepts such an expression as this with regard to the mystery of Christ, or, acknowledging a number of natures in the same one Lord our Jesus, Christ the Word of God made flesh, but does not accept the difference of these [natures] of which He is also composed, which is not destroyed by the union (for one is from both, and through one both), but in this uses number in such a way"

Page 102, number 257. Insert after "Jesus Christ" and before "consubstantial": “consubstantial with God and His Father according to His divine nature and".

Page 117, number 296. Insert in line 5 after Holy Spirit: "just as God is the Father, God is the Son, God is the Holy Spirit"; also read; "which according to substance" for "according to substance which"

Page 194, line 3, read "voiding" for "voicing"

Page 219, number 691, for lines 12 through 16, read: "And since all that the Father has, the Father himself, in begetting, has given to His only begotten Son, with the exception of Fatherhood, the very fact that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son, Sol], the Son himself has from the Father eternally, by whom He was begotten also eternally"

Paige 225, number 703, add after "one eternity" "and all these things are one"

Page 250, number 797, read "does not do nothing at all" for "does nothing at all”

Page 259, number 818, "we flee to the mercy of God" for "we flee the mercy of God”

Page 316, number 1096, read "intended" for "understand", and add "alone" after "predestined"

Page 457, number 1839 read "by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority defines" for "in accord with his supreme apostolic authority he explains”; also "possesses that infallibility" for "operates with that infallibility”; also "His church be endowed" for "His church be instructed”, and “of themselves” for "from himself”

Page 556, number 2164, read "it is permitted for exegetes to dispute freely" for "it is impossible etc."

Page 633, number 2302, last sentence. Read "in no sense of the word historical", for "in a sense of the word historical"

Friday, April 10, 2009

Blessed are You When Men Hate You: The Attack on Patty Bonds and Stephen Ray

Patty Bonds converted to the Catholic faith in 2000. She was one of many thousands who did so that year in the United States. There was no great fanfare about it. Many of us who had come to know her were pleased to receive her as our sister in Christ. There was one person though who was not pleased and who has been very vociferous in his condemnation of her over the years for her conversion. This was her brother, James White who is a Reformed Baptist minister with a terrible animosity towards the Catholic Church.

Patty had published her spiritual autobiography -- Out of the Darkness -- on the web and it was a thoughtful reflection on her conversion and her joy on discovering the Catholic Church. Very recently, she revised this autobiography to include the claim that she was sexually molested by her and James' father who himself was a Reformed Baptist pastor.

I have been privy to this information for several years but have kept it confidential. She had told this to me so that I might understand the kind of family life in which she and James had grown up. Indeed such a morally dysfunctional family and the hypocrisy of a minister who condemns Catholics for allegedly being immoral while he continued to sexually violate his own daughter could help explain many features of Mr. White's personality. Patty hoped this information would help me to understand and forgive her brother for some of the things he had said about me.

I have avoided mentioning Patty's connection with her brother, James White. She is a private person and I had no desire to embarrass her or her family. Now that she is making her allegations public, I feel the need to support her. She is doing a very brave thing by talking about this.

Incestuous sexual abuse is a problem that no one wants to talk about and its prevalence is greater than most people can imagine. The victims feel helpless and often times they have no one to whom they can turn. And the abusers themselves are in need of serious help as well. It is only when we face up to the reality of this problem that we can deal with it effectively.

Patty Bond's revised autobiography was featured at Stephen Ray's website and on his blog. here are those addresses:

Patty Bonds has her own website and an apostolate directed at Catholic apologetics and spirituality. Patty has appeared on EWTN's program The Journey Home twice, the audios of which can be found HERE and HERE. You can judge for yourself how articulate she is.

Steve Ray has been a friend of mine for over 15 years. He, his wife Janet and their children are converts to Catholicism from the Baptists and he has been a terrific apologist for our faith. Steve has written several books including Upon This Rock, Crossing the Tiber, Papacy Learning Guide, St. John's Gospel: Commentary and Study Guide, We Have a Pope, and his latest book Faith for Beginners: Understanding the Creeds. He is also the producer and star of the Footprints of God Video Series which was filmed on location in Israel, Turkey, and Rome.

Steve used to teach a weekly bible class that I attended at Domino's Farm in Ann Arbor, Michigan when we lived in Toledo, Ohio. On St. Valentine's Day in 1995, his apostolate held a dinner for married couples at which my wife and I re-took our marriage vows. Steve and Janet are wonderful Christian people and they have done tremendous good in and for the Catholic Church.

Steve had previously written about Patty Bonds HERE and HERE.

After Steve featured Patty Bond's revised conversion story on his website, it provoked a reaction from Mr. James White who was understandably upset. There is currently a viral video on You Tube in which Mr. White not only denies his sister's allegations but personally attacks her intelligence and integrity along with that of Steve Ray. In fact White DEMANDS that the Catholic Apologist community "silence" Steve and rebuke him not only for his support of Patty but for other disagreements that Ray and White have had over the years.

Steve has responded to him here:

Patty Bonds has posted a response to her brother's attack HERE.

While I can understand that Mr. White is upset about these revelations, I think that he has crossed a line. It is one thing to deny allegations made about your family. It is another to vilify your sister and to make ridiculous demands concerning the right of free speech. Mr. White has constantly charged Catholics with being ignorant and under the thrall of the Pope which is rabid nonsense. White glories in the fact that as a Protestant no one call tell him what to say. Now he demands that somebody shut up his sister and Steve Ray and violate the very rights to free speech that he demands for himself. To say this is hypocritical is understating the case.

Furthermore, White's own behavior over the years has often struck those of us unfortunate enough to have to deal with him as showing signs of moral disorder and mental aberration. If Patty's allegations are true, it explains a lot about James and it makes it imperative that he get some counseling.

Several times in the past I have recommended to the sad and dysfunctional Mr. White that he needed to seek professional help for his aberrant state of mind. He has dismissed this out of hand. But his current disgraceful shenanigans lead me once again to beg him to get some help. As always I keep James in my prayers in the hope that someday God will show him the error of his ways and convert him to Christ.

In the meantime, I give my full personal support to Patty Bonds and Steve Ray and their respective apostolates. They are both fine Catholic apologists and personal friends of mine. I will keep them in my prayers. Here are their respective web sites:

Catholic Apologist and budding theologian William Albrecht has composed his own You Tube video in response to White's attack on Patty and Steve:

My friend and long time Catholic Apologist Pat Madrid wrote an article about his experiences with Mr. White in 1993 which is still relevant today:

Please keep Patty, Steve, and James in your prayers.

Arthur C. Sippo MD, MPH

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Why 'Embryo Rescue' is not Ethically Acceptable

This past weekend I attended the Annual Bioethics conference at Notre Dame University. This was a superb conference. I had the opportunity to meet Catholic physicians and ethicists who are struggling to live their faith in a world where the Culture of Death plots to coerce medical personnel to act against conscience and directly cooperate in intrinsically evil acts. Also present at this conference were non-Catholic physicians and academics who also are struggling to be faithful to their Christian witness in our modern.

One of these was Lutheran scholar Gilbert Meilaender, Richard & Phyllis Duesenberg Professor of Christian Ethics at Valparaiso University. In a session discussing the recent directive from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Dignitatis Personae, Dr. Meilaender noted that the document made the following statements with regard to the possibility of embryo rescue for those excess embryos created during the process of In Vitro Fertilization:

12. With regard to the treatment of infertility, new medical techniques must respect three fundamental goods: a) the right to life and to physical integrity of every human being from conception to natural death; b) the unity of marriage, which means reciprocal respect for the right within marriage to become a father or mother only together with the other spouse;19 c) the specifically human values of sexuality which require “that the procreation of a human person be brought about as the fruit of the conjugal act specific to the love between spouses”.20 Techniques which assist procreation “are not to be rejected on the grounds that they are artificial. As such, they bear witness to the possibilities of the art of medicine. But they must be given a moral evaluation in reference to the dignity of the human person, who is called to realize his vocation from God to the gift of love and the gift of life”.21 In light of this principle, all techniques of heterologous artificial fertilization,22 as well as those techniques of homologous artificial fertilization 23 which substitute for the conjugal act, are to be excluded. On the other hand, techniques which act as an aid to the conjugal act and its fertility are permitted...

19. With regard to the large number of frozen embryos already in existence the question becomes: what to do with them? Some of those who pose this question do not grasp its ethical nature, motivated as they are by laws in some countries that require cryopreservation centers to empty their storage tanks periodically. Others, however, are aware that a grave injustice has been perpetrated and wonder how best to respond to the duty of resolving it...

The proposal that these embryos could be put at the disposal of infertile couples as a treatment for infertility is not ethically acceptable for the same reasons which make artificial heterologous procreation illicit as well as any form of surrogate motherhood...

19 Cf. CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Instruction Donum Vitae, II, A, 1: AAS 80 (1988), 87.

20 CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Instruction Donum vitae, II, B, 4: AAS 80 (1988), 92.

21 CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Instruction Donum vitae, Introduction, 3: AAS 80 (1988), 75.

22 The term heterologous artificial fertilization or procreation refers to “techniques used to obtain a humanconception artificially by the use of gametes coming from at least one donor other than the spouses who are joined in marriage” (Instruction Donum Vitae, II: AAS 80 [1988], 86).

23 The term homologous artificial fertilization or procreation refers to “the technique used to obtain a humanconception using the gametes of the two spouses joined in
marriage” (Instruction Donum Vitae, II: AAS 80 [1988], 86).

Dr. Meilaender noted that Dignitatis Personae (DP) merely affirms that the rescue of embryos is not ethically acceptable without giving an extended argument to justify this assertion. He mentioned the important distinction that Kirkegård made between a genius and an apostle: the former argues to make a rational case while the latter proclaims the word. In essence, Dr. Meilaender was acknowledging the difference between the merely human wisdom of the scholar and the prompting of the Holy Spirit such as we have in the Catholic Church's Magisterium.

But as a Lutheran, Dr. Meilaender really wanted more than someone who "taught as one that had authority, and not as the scribes" (Matthew 7:29, Mark 1:22). It seems that he was not satisfied with the explanation from paragraph 12 of this same document. It was not enough to convince him that embryo rescue was morally reprehensible.

Dr. Meilaender is not alone. In fact several moralists - Catholic and Non-Catholic - have wrestled with this question over the last decade . In all honesty before DP was published, I also had struggled with this question.

But based on my Catholic faith I was able to understand the issues involved and discern the rationale behind the prohibition of embryo rescue in a way that a non-Catholic really is not equipped to do.

It is one of the sad legacies of the so-called "reformation" that the sacramentality of Christian marriage was abandoned and replaced with a secular contractual theory in which divorce and remarriage were permitted. This was true in every branch of the so-called "reformation" even though divorce and remarriage had been directly forbidden in the Bible by Jesus and St. Paul and likewise forbidden universally in Christian Tradition .

Luther himself was notorious for his opinion that the sexual urge was "just an itch to scratch" and that "There is no need to burn with passion while willing maidens abound." He along with his cronies Melanchthon, OEclampadius, and Bugenhagen wrote papers justifying polygamy at the request of Philip of Hesse. Ulrich Zwingli was known for having affairs with women in his congregation and for frequenting prostitutes. Calvin was a staunch supporter of a bourgeois view of marriage as a human institution devised by God. Even so, he had no interest in marriage until put under pressure by his Protestant peers to marry as a sign of his break with "Romanism." Henry VIII was the most flagrant abuser of marriage among the scions of the so-called "reformation" marrying six women in his lifetime and taking many mistresses.

Despite all of this, the conventional wisdom is that the so-called "reformation" attempted to reform Christan marriage and return it to a central place among the Christian faithful. But this was not the case. Marriage was secularized and human sexuality de-sacralized. Despite Protestant protests to the contrary, the so-called "reformation" took a very mercenary and utilitarian view of sex and marriage. It likewise denigrated any form of consecrated celibacy or continence as unhealthy despite the teachings of Jesus (Matthew 19:12) and St. Paul (1Corinthians 7) to the contrary.

In historic Catholic Christianity, marriage has always been seen as a sacrament. As such, the Church has seen marriage as not merely a human institution but a divine one that like the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick. Marriage is a source of divine grace through Christ. In short, a sacramental marriage contributes to your salvation as means of grace.

To find the source of this teaching we need to go to the early chapters of Genesis . In Genesis 2:18, God sees that Adam is lonely in Eden. Out of love for the man, God created a woman Eve to be his helpmate. In this sense woman was the love of God for Man made flesh.

Marriage in Eden was God's divine gift. It was only after God had made them "male and female" (Gen 1:27) that he found the world to be not just "good" (Gen 1: 4, 10,12,18,21), but "very good" (Gen 1:31). Woman was the crown jewel of creation and marriage was the feast celebrated on the first Sabbath. That is why the Sabbath day was to be kept holy. On that day was celebrated the love of God for Man. That is why Jesus taught us that "The Sabbath was made for Man, not Man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27).

When the Devil tempted Eve to commit the original sin (Gen 3), he used her to get to her husband. From that point onward men and women were estranged. Immediately, our First Parents realized they were naked and were ashamed to be seen by each other. Adam blamed Eve for his sin (Gen 3:12). As part of her punishment, God made bearing children more painful and he said that woman would still desire her husband who would "lord it over" her (Gen 3:16).

Never again would man and woman see each other as helpmates. Never again would they treat each other with mutual respect. Man would physically intimidate women and treat them like chattel. A man's wife would be numbered among his slaves and his property (Exodus 20:17). The good gift of God's love made flesh was reduced to another commodity to be used, abused, and discarded at will. God's one concession to women in the law of Moses was that the men in his covenant would be obliged to give his wife a bill proving that she was divorced and thus free of him and free to marry again if anyone would have her.

Among the rabbis, women were looked upon as second class citizens. Rabbi Hillel taught that a man could divorce his wife for virtually any reason, even for merely burning his dinner.

But God reserved one promise for woman. He would put enmity between the Devil and the woman. Through her, god would bring about the destruction of all the Devil's plan for humanity. She would crush the serpent's head (Gen 3:15).

And so a virginal maiden named Mary (more correctly Miriam) was approached by an Archangel Luke 1:26-38) just as Eve had been approached by a fallen angel (Genesis 3). Through Mary's submission to the word of God, she bore Christ, our Savior, who was the fruit of her womb and whose flesh and blood would nourish us in the Eucharist. The process by which humanity fell was reversed.

During his ministry, Jesus revealed that the compromised form of marriage which God had permitted under Moses' "because of the hardness of your hearts" would no longer apply (Matthew 19:8). Marriage was returned by Jesus to what it was "in the beginning" (Matthew 19:4). Jesus as the New Adam was returning marriage to its Edenic Purity.

This fact is often overlooked by those who prefer either a hammartiocentric or a creation-centered scheme. The restoration of marriage by Jesus actually heals the rift caused by Original Sin between man and woman and by doing so, restores the symbolism of the human gender relationship as the sign of God's love for man made flesh. I have come to believe that this is the far more important in the economy of salvation than most theologians have recognized. Thankfully, the Church has always taught that marriage is a sacrament and fruitful reflection on this will allow us to discern the full significance of marriage.

But even more importantly, the stories from the Old Testament where "Yahweh is the husband of his people" (Hosea 2:16, Isaiah 54:5, Jeremiah 3:20) were now referred to Christ and the ultimate culmination of the work of Christ was seen as the wedding of Christ to his Church (Ephesians 5:31-32; Revelation 19:9, 21:9) . So marriage is the ultimate biblical metaphor for salvation, and not the forensic and transformation models that have predominated in modern theologies.

So to recap, marriage was a Divine institution that symbolized God's gracious loving care for man and was intended as a mutual bond between spouses of deep theological significance. As Jesus restored the nuptial bond from Eden, His Church has recognized it as a sacred rite in which the spouses are the ministers -- if you will, the priests -- who administer the grace-giving sacrament to each other and share it with other family members, especially their children. The pinnacle of marriage is the marital act itself. In light of the sacramental meaning of marriage, this is properly understood as a priestly act.

It is well known that Temples in the ancient world were seen as representing the human body. In fact, Jesus used a pun concerning his own body while ostensibly talking about the Temple in Jerusalem (John 2: 19-22).

St. Paul himself (1Corinthians 6:15-20) in discussing Christian sexual mores makes the point that are our bodies are members of Christ and temples of the Holy Spirit and that it is therefore unseemly -- in fact sacrilegious -- to fornicate with them. We give ourselves exclusively to our spouses and to no other.

The Christian husband is like the High Priest who alone is allowed to enter the Holy of Holies of his wife's body. In the Temple of Jerusalem, anyone other than the High Priest who tried to enter the Holy of Holies was to be put to death. Even the High Priest was only permitted to enter it on Yom Kippur under threat of death.

Seen in this way we can understand why the Blessed Virgin had to remain Perpetually Virgin. As it says in Ezekiel:

Eze 44:1 Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces east; and it was shut.
Eze 44:2 And he said to me, "This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut.
Eze 44:3 Only the prince may sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate, and shall go out by the same way."

The Sanctuary of Mary's Body was consecrated to God and to his Christ. It could not be entered by any other man without sacrilege.

Once we realize this, we have the reason why 'embryo rescue' is not ethically acceptable. No one but the husband is permitted to enter the sanctuary of his wife's body. And no one other than the child who is the product of their marital act has any right to be there.

Those women who have a desire to offer their womb to rescue an embryo --even if that embryo is their own child by their husband -- are flying in the very face of God because they are allowing a non-marital act by a third party to violate the sanctity of the marital act.

In order for an embryo that is outside of a womb to be rescued -- even the womb of its rightful mother -- several morally abominable acts must have taken place:

-Collection of sperm
-Harvesting of ova
-Extra-Corporial Fetilization
-Extra-Corporial Embryo development
-Embryo Freezing
-Embryo Defrosting
-Embryo implantation

Those are seven potentially mortal sins.

In order to "rescue" one of these embryos, a volunteer surrogate mother would need to be willfully complicit in 2 seriously disordered acts that are potentially mortal sins.

Human genitalia, human gametes and the marital act which unites them are all sacred are not open to mundane secular use. While the desire to rescue an embryo appears laudable, it is an act of willful human interference in the sacred order established by God. to cooperate in this would be a sacrilege and is therefore not not morally permissible.

The horror of this whole problem is that it places us in a moral conundrum where there is no clear morally acceptable solution. To rescue the embryo is just as evil as to let them die. At this time the Church has not discerned what can be done, if anything ,to put an end to this moral dilemma.

Once again we see that when man tries to create a good for himself that ignores, defies or tries to supersede the good that God has made, it takes us into moral ruin.

I hope this brief article helps to explain why the Catholic Church takes the stand that she has on this issue.

Arthur C. Sippo MD, MPH

Monday, January 19, 2009

Jason Banns me for telling the truth

It seems that the alleged "Rev." Jason Spellman just cannot handle the facts. He has decided to ban me from his board (which is his prerogative) because I do not recognize the 'legitimacy' of the Protestant apostasies. He and his co-religionists have been self-deluded into thinking that they can do whatever they want and call it "christianity." When I tell the truth about their false man-made religions, they can't take it. They prefer irenic clap-trap that places the will of man over the will of God.

Jason, when apostates lay hand on each other, they convey no ordination. As such you are not and cannot be a minister of God. You are in open rebellion against Jesus Christ and his chosen ministers. Unless you repent, you risk paying a heavy price.

It is also thoroughly hypocritical for Protestants to keep declaring "justification by faith alone" claiming that it is Biblical when the Bible LITERALLY contradicts it in James 2:24. I am familiar with all the dodges and self-deception which has helped your false religions to perpetuate this delusion among its adherents and they don't work. Martin Luther himself is one of the few Protestants who had the integrity to admit that his teaching contradicted that of St. James. On that one point I wish you would emulate him.

Sadly, Jason and his Bully boys are offended by the uncompromising truth about Catholicism. They continue to perpetuate the myth that the Bible supports Protestantism and that it's inspiration can be affirmed apart for the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. As I clearly showed, it self-deception and hypocrisy to affirm the Bible which the Catholic Church gave us and then deny the teaching authority by which she did so. The idiotic notion that God infallibly led the Church but that Protestants were and are free to ignore the Church's authority is just one more hypocritical and illogical notion that supports disobedience and rebellion against the revelation of God in Christ.

I do not make a habit of going to Protestant sites because evangelism is not my calling. I am an apologist and my job is to protect the Catholic people from the lies and attacks of the enemies of God. I made this one foray to open dialogue on the presuppositional method of evangelism and how it can be used to defend the Catholic faith.

Jason and his bully boys ignored that and gave us the typical Protestant schtick that the opinions of mere men are of greater value than the promises of God. They wanted to argue about history and in doing so ignored the biblical material which I quoted to them at length and also ignored the logical conclusion that if God founded a Church and promised that Church His Holy Spirit, it is BLASPHEMY AGAINST THAT HOLY SPIRIT to rebel against the rule of His divinely ordained ministers. The question of Presuppositional Apologetics gave way to Protestant arrogance, hubris, and self-aggrandisement once again. They felt that it is better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven. So be it. I say with St. Paul:

Gal 1:6
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who
called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel--
Gal 1:7
not that there is another gospel, but there are some who
trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
Gal 1:8
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to
you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be anathema.
Gal 1:9
As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is
preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be

Protestantism in all its Pandemonium is just "another gospel". Those who debase themselves with it shall come to a bad end and risk their eternal souls. The Scriptures have warned them. Why do they not heed them?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Defending Catholic Presuppositionalism

At the De Regnius Duobus blogspot, there is a thread called "Cogito, Ergo Sum [Protestant]? "

It is critical of the use of a vanTillian presuppositional argument to defend Catholicism. Sadly I think that the reformed blogger (Rev. Jason J. Stellman) does not really understand the arguments of vanTil or his student Greg Bahnsen very well. As such, I felt compelled to post the following comment on the blog:

I fear that you do not understand VanTil or his disciple Bahnsen very well at all. Nor do you see how their method can be used by us Catholics to defend the one true faith founded by Christ and perpetuated through His Apostles and their successors.
What vanTil's Presuppositional method did was to recognize that when you argue about the truth or falsity of a proposition, you had to assume certain things to be true BEFORE you could proceed.

For example, if one wanted to determine if the law of non-contradiction was true or false, you have to first assume it to be true in the very statement of the question.
When it come to the question of God's existence, you need to first assume the existence of rationality, the rules of evidence, and the basic laws of logic among other things. But these things themselves require explanation. You need a sufficient, robust, and comprehensive cause for these things.

Well God alone meets these criteria. In a purely chance universe where anything can happen and there are no moral or intellectual standards, you can prove nothing. There can never be a methologically compelling argument nor can there be any moral obligation for us to submit to its truth.

So when the atheist argues in favor of atheism, he needs to assume the very presuppositions for which we theists have an explanation and he (or she) does not.
So, as vanTil trenchantly noted, Atheism presupposes Theism.

In applying this to Catholicism, the ultimate source of the Catholic Church was the ministry of Jesus Christ. It is he who established His Church and promised that the Holy Spirit would speak through it (Matt 10:17-20) and that the Spirit would lead us to all truth and not just rehash what Jesus taught (John 14:26). And it was also Jesus who established St. Peter in the office of the "Rock" (Matt 16:18) who would confirm the brethren in the faith in time of crisis (Luke 22:29-32).

It is from this promise that all Christian teaching flowed including the canon of the Bible, its inspiration, its inerrancy, and its authority WITHIN the Church.
This is why the whole Protestant enterprise falls like a house of cards. In order to accept the authority of Scripture, you must assume the authority of the Catholic Church to teach without error what it had received from Jesus.

Now the Christian Bible itself did not exist until it was definitively collected in the late 4th and early 5th Century. It was not something that Jesus or teh Apostles taught us. It was through the Catholic Church that the Scriptures were discerned, canonized and expounded.

And of course, the distinctive teachings of Protestantism such as 'sola fide' and its denial of Apostolic Succession, the sacraments,and the Mass dates from no earlier than the 16th Century. In fact the whole panopoly of contradictory opinions that makes up Protestant Pandemonium are man-made innovations based upon 16th Century philosophical and social ideas. The allegation that Protestantism relies on the Bible is not true, but even more importantly, belief in the Bible as the inspired word of God is the only vestige from the Historic Catholic Church that virtually all Protestants accept as true.

As such Protestantism presupposes Catholicism on this point and for the balance of its ideas, it has no realtionship to the Historic Catholic Church and her teachings. But the Protestant critique of Catholicism is allegedly based on Scripture which once again requires them to formally affirm the very authority they are trying to deny.

So Presuppositionalism does defend the integrity of the Catholic faith without the need for arguments from history. If you do not assume the authority of the Catholic Church, you have no Bible and from that point it is logically inconsistent to deny the infallible teaching authority which you need to justify your arguments.

That is why all Protestant objections to Catholicism fail. Any allegedly biblical argument that denies the Catholic Church's authority to teach infallibly destroys the Bible's special character which we only believe because the Catholic Church taught it.

I hope this helps to clarify the matter.

Arthur Sippo MD, MPH