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Monday, 25 April 2016

Answering some objections raised by Protestants against Catholicism

In presenting the catholic view to the world, many Protestants, in particular the brand called “Pentecostalism” raise further issues about Catholicism. After I presented the reasons why Catholics go to confession to a priest, I also submitted elsewhere that the Bible is truly a Catholic book having been written and compiled by Catholics. A friend of mine in the “Pentecostal” religion raised the following issues from the bible to show that Catholic Church is NOT the owner of the bible and that Catholicism is false. These according to him, proves that the Catholics did not own the bible because if they do, they would not be going against the bible. He itemized the problems he found and I have also presented a rebuttal as he presented his own. Here are some of the actual questions he posed, with biblical quotes and my own biblical responses to them(I call these pocket responses because there are volumes I cold say to defend the Church). Please read these to help you understand the thinking of non-Catholics concerning the one true Church. Please print out to make your own contributions to these important discussions. In summery, he says “if the Bible is a catholic book,
1. Why does it condemn clerical dress? (Matt. 23:5-6).
2. Why does it teach against the adoration of Mary? (Luke 11:27-28).
3. Why does it show that all Christians are priests? (1 Pet. 2:5,9).
4. Why does it condemn the observance of special days? (Gal. 4:9-11).
5. Why does it teach that all Christians are saints? (1 Cor. 1:2).
6. Why does it condemn the making and adoration of images? (Ex. 20:4-5).
7. Why does it teach that baptism is immersion instead of pouring? (Col. 2:12).
8. Why does it forbid us to address religious leaders as "father"? (Matt. 23:9).
9. Why does it teach that Christ is the only foundation and not the apostle Peter? (1 Cor. 3:11).
10. Why does it teach that there is one mediator instead of many? (1 Tim. 2:5).
11. Why does it teach that a bishop must be a married man? (1 Tim. 3:2, 4-5).
12. Why is it opposed to the primacy of Peter? (Luke 22:24-27).
13. Why does it oppose the idea of purgatory? (Luke 16:26).
14. Why is it completely silent about infant baptism, instrumental music in worship, indulgences, confession to priests, the rosary, the mass, and many other things in the Catholic Church?

 (1)You said the bible condemned clerical dresses in Matt. 23:5-6. This assertion is typical of non- Catholics who fail to read just what the book says. The passage says “But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues”
How does this show that it is a ban on clerical dress? Jesus was clearly rebuking those who abuse their clerical dresses as a means of obtaining unnecessary favors. I refer you to Matt 5:17 where Jesus clearly stated that he is not here to abolish the prophet but to fulfill them. This is why the Christian Church is referred to as Judeo-Christian, which means it has adopted some of the things in the former convents (Old Testament) in her present worship. In the Jewish covenant priests wear dresses to signify their function in the temple. Go to Leviticus 21: 10 to read this up. Today’s Catholic priests wear dresses to show their function as priests who offers the eternal sacrifice of the Alter. So quit suggesting that the Bible has banned clerical dresses.

(2)You suggested that Luke 11:27-28 is a teaching against the adoration of Mary the Mother of God. The passage says “As Jesus was saying these things; a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you. Jesus replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” How does this mean that he is against the adoration of his Mother? Christ was trying to put the emphasis on obeying God’s Words just as his Mother has done! This is another non-Catholic way of grabbing at straws.
In Luke 1:48 it was prophesied that all generations shall call Mary Blessed. Catholic adores Mary because of her special place in the History of our salvation. After the first parents sinned, God immediately thought of Mary. God said “I shall put enermity between you and the woman, between her seed and your seed” (Genesis 3:15). Who is that woman in the whole of scriptures that is against the devil? And was without any sin? And was always Virgin even after bearing Jesus? The answer is Mary. God prepared her from the beginning for the task ahead. And so she is special. Apart from this, the Angel Gabriel told Mary in the Visitation that God will give Jesus, when he is born, the throne of his ancestor David. (Luke 1:32). This means that the kingdom where David ruled was Israel and Christ now rules in the New Israel in heaven. In the Davidic kingdom, it is the Mother of the King that is the Queen just as Beersheba was the Queen because she was the mother of Solomon and Solomon obeys her and consults her. So in the Kingdom of God, Mary reigns as Queen. How can one not adore the Queen with all urgency? Christ also obeyed his Mother as was evident in the marriage at Cana (John 2:11). If this be the case, Catholics are right in adoring her and pray for her intercession since if she talks to her son he will ‘obey’ her as He ‘obeyed’ her while on earth!

(3) 1 Pet. 2:5,9. You suggested that this passage say that all Christians are priests. This is true. The Church of Christ is priestly in Character which means all members are indeed priests. By the virtue of our baptism, which makes us members of the Church of Christ, we are priests. Here I mean the authentic baptism which is being born again and being baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost (Matt 28:19). All these baptisms by non-Catholics, the one they call immersion, are not baptism at all. Many of them depart from this baptismal formula and are not members of the Church of Christ that is priestly in Character. Therefore are truly not Christians.
However, there is another type of priesthood, the apostolic priesthood or ministerial priesthood. The type Christ imposed on the apostles at the last supper (Matt 26:26). Christ by asking them to change bread into his body and wine into his blood, he made them special. He was just telling the apostles to do this and not all of us who are priests by baptism. The apostles perpetrated this call through the apostolic succession which has come down to us in our priests. So this is this the difference between the average Catholic and the ministerial priests within the Church.

(4) Gal. 4:9-11. You suggest that this passage is a condemnation of special feast days. I laugh at your childish analysis. St. Paul was referring to Greek worship of gods despite the presence of Christianity in Galatia. The passage is not a ban on special days. Even you, you observe your birthday, wedding anniversaries (are you married?), Christmas, Easter, you observe Sunday as a day of going to Church (even though you go to the wrong ‘Church’). Christ Himself observed the Passover feast which was special for all Jews. God himself observed a special day in his creation work by resting on a particular day! So please we Christians can observe those days and feasts that remind us about our humanity and Christianity!
(5) 1 Cor. 1:2. Oh yes this passage call all Christians saints! This is true. Once we are baptized and are sanctified in Christ, we are saints! Saints are those who are without sin! Those who are pure! What baptism does is to blot out first our original sin (Adamic Sin) and our actual sins! But when we tarnish this baptismal purity, by rejecting Christ and therefore sinning, we seize to be saints! So, in actual fact, Christians are called to be saints! The Church triumphant, that is those who have died and are in heaven are saints because they would not be in heaven if they have sins (Rev 21: 27) says “Nothing impure can enter heaven”. However, some of these people in heaven led very public lives and so bear open testimony to Christ. This is why the Church presents them to us to emulate and then call them saints! This also gives credence to what we call ‘’Communion of saint”. We relate with saints in heaven and them with us and vise versa.
(6) Ex. 20:4-5). You said that is passage condemned adoration of images. Here is what the passage says “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me”. You must place emphasis on verse 4. Catholics do not worship images. But they respect images when these images represent things in heaven or on earth. Why? It is because God himself asked Moses to make image to give himself (God) glory. See Numbers 21:9. To worship something, a mental disposition is necessary and a sacrifice is also necessary. Praying before a statue does not mean worship since the statue is just merely a psychological cue for the person praying. As I said earlier, we are Judeo-Christian and Images in Church arises from images in the Old Convent. Jewish temples are always adorned with images and there is no place Christ condemned images. We humans are made in the image of God this is why even you, makes images to serve as mental cues for you. Those pictures you have of you and friends, what are they? Are they not images? It just plain comedy to suggest that Catholics worship images!

(7) Col. 2:12. Oh Yes. There are various ways for baptism. If you just immerse someone in water, that is not baptism at all! Even when you immerse, you must still scoop water and pore on the person’s head saying “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. Early Church did just this. But The Church, through St. Peter has the power to bind and loose. In her wisdom, she allows people to baptize without immersion because of what we can call logistics problems. Just imagine needing to baptize someone quickly before someone dies? In a desert? Would you wait to look for a pool of water? No! You would urgently baptize this person! Apart from this, those in the desert will have to travel for days to reach a pool of water. So, the Church says, in her teaching authority, given to her by Christ, a cup full of water is just okay! In baptism the water(the matter) and the words( the form)  is important and not the pool!

(8) Matt. 23:9. This passage was referring to sycophants we want to be called father because of their position in the temple and society. This passage does not forbid us calling religious leaders ‘’Father”. It just was a particular reference of the fact that God is our only father. But there are spiritual fathers. We call them father because of the central role they play in our salvation Journey. Remember that St. Paul was called Father. But this is not equating him with God the Father but a father in the faith. Our priests are called “Father” because they are our fathers in the faith! Even 1Tmothy 5: 1 asked us to call our elders by the sweet name of “Father”. So our priests are elders in the faith and so we call them “father”! Apart from this, we all call Abraham our father in the faith! (see James 2:21)

(9) 1 Cor. 3:11. This passage is correct in saying that Christ is the foundation or head of the Church. The Catholic Church does not say otherwise. Peter is just the Vicar of Christ (Vicar here means someone who assists, represents). There is no teaching of the Church that say that Peter is the foundation of the Church. Christ just rested the running of the Church on Peter in Matt 16 Christ used the article “my” to refer to the Church he was investing on Peter. This means that it is that Christ’s Church that Peter is vicar. Peter also was the first Pope. We can sincerely trace all the popes to Peter. It is like the typical Parish priest in a typical Catholic Church. The priest is not the owner of the particular Church. He is just a vicar he is just assisting a Bishop who is a member of the apostolic succession and on whose authority he does all things in that particular parish. So Peter assists Christ on a physical level in running the Church. But Christ Directs and rules the Church through the Holy Spirit! To suggest that Catholics teach that Peter is the foundation or head of the church is a cheap lie that can only be fed to the numerous half-Catholics who can go to your half ‘church”.

(10) 1 Tim. 2:5. This passage says that there is one God and one mediator Christ! The Church does not teach otherwise. But the Mother of God, Mary, and the Saints are in Christ so “they are Christ”. They wear the clock of Christ which is purity and share in the nature of Christ in heaven. If they do not, what then does it mean to go to heaven? Apart from this, those who are ‘saints’ here in this world play the same role since we pray for one another. Even apostates ask people to pray for them so they too are mediators! It would be wrong for us to go and ask another small god to mediate for us when we have Christ!

(11) 1 Tim. 3:2, 4-5. These passages taught that a Bishops should be married. Oh Yes! But the Church has the power to bind and to loose! The early Church had need for married Bishops that was why it was written thus. But there were many Bishops who were not married too even in the early Church, long after that passage was written. However, given the nature of the Bishop’s priestly function, Bishops are not married in today’s Church. They are basically eunuchs for the kingdom of God, just like all Catholic priests(Matt 19:12). The Church can ask her priests not to marry through the import of the apostolic authority and for the fact that the Church, not the bible is the Bulwark of truth. (Read 1 Tim 3:15)

(12) Luke 22:24-27. This passage does not oppose the primacy of Peter in the Church. Christ himself made Peter his Vicar and he was the head of the Apostles! This does not mean that he is better than all the others. But Christ being God has seen all the dimensions of Peter and decided to choose him.

(13) Luke 16:26. This passage does not oppose purgatory. Purgatory exists in biblical teachings but you have failed to see it. The Church established by Jesus Christ, that is the Catholic Church, teaches that purgatory exits as a place where those who died with venial sins (small sins) go for purification before they are admitted into heaven. Because the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit who teaches her all truths, the Church cannot be wrong in matters of doctrine. Not to believe what the Church teaches is to reject the teachings of Christ! Purgatory exists because according to the bible, Rev. 21: 27, “nothing impure can enter heaven”. This means that not even a minor sinner can go directly to heaven. Also, the bible stated that (1 John 5:17)“not all sins lead to death”. Death here is not physical death but death to the soul in hell. It means that there are great sins and there are small sins. Great or mortal sins are those sins that lead to hell and small sins are those that do not lead to hell. So, if someone dies, with small sins, and cannot enter hell, where then would the person go? The answer is the person goes to purgatory to be washed clean before entering heaven since NOTHING UNCLEAN CAN ENTER HEAVEN. Christ Himself also suggested that it is possible for sins to be forgiven in the next life. He said that the sin against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven either in this life or in the next life (Mt 12:32). So, where in the next life can sins be forgiven? Not hell, since those there are condemned already. Not heaven since those there are holy and without any sin. Then, it becomes purgatory!

14a. the Bible is not completely silent on infant baptism. It is just that you failed to decipher it from there. Baptism is a way we become Christians. This means accepting Christ. Christ told Nicodemus “unless you are baptized in spirit and water, you will not have life in you”! This means that those who are not baptized cannot enter heaven. Children are not excluded from this and if they die without baptism, they would never enter heaven. Someone may be tempted to say “why now, they are without sin!” No! Children are with Adamic sin which causes a barrier to God. So we baptize Children to make it possible for them to enter heaven. Christ himself said that we should not prevent Children from coming to him. This why we baptize Children. In the Bible, there are cases where an entire household was baptized, like the Ethiopian Eunuch’s. As you and I know, a household is made up of both adults and children and all were baptized! So the bible did suggest things about infant baptism, but apostates and heretics fail to see it!

14b On instrumental music, just go and read Psalms, in particular, 150 and you see that we can make music to God with harps and symbals. Remember that I have told you that the Church is Judeo-Christian. We borrow something from the old convent since Christ did not teach that the covenant is wrong except that it is now replaced with a new. The Old prefigures the New!

14c. On the Mass. It is a pity that you do not know what the Mass is about. The Mass is Calvary reenacted. The Bible did not call it Mass. It is the Church mediating in the works of Christ calls it Mass. The Mass is Calvary reenacted in a bloodless manner. It is necessary for salvation since it is a sacrifice directed to God for man. See (1 Cor 11:26)

Note that after Christ finished his ministry, he went up into heaven. The apostles started to preach to the known world. Some of them started to write and document the testimonies of their experiences with Christ. When the Church reached Rome, especially after the destruction of Jerusalem by Romans, it was a necessity that an official document be promulgated to show the real story of Christ. Many converted pagans were indeed seeking to see such a text. By then, there were already books circulating written by Christians. So the Church sat down to select from among many which book is the true testimony! There was no other Church that did this other than the Catholic Church! Some of the apostles were still alive at this period! There are those Greek scholars converted by the apostles who wrote a lot about their experiences of the apostle’s work, their work has survived in many volumes. We call them the early Church fathers! Go and look for these works to see if you are losing your soul now or not! Do not be deceived. Come back to the true Church, the Catholic Church!

By Malachy Mary Igwilo
Given on the 25th of April in the year of Our Lord, 2016 on the feast day of St. Mark.

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