“They, therefore, walk in the path of dangerous error who believe that they can accept Christ as the Head of the Church, while not adhering loyally to His Vicar on earth. They have taken away the visible head, broken the visible bonds of unity and left the Mystical Body of the Redeemer so obscured and so maimed, that those who are seeking the haven of eternal salvation can neither see it nor find it”

— Venerable Pope Pius XII

Mystici Corporis Christi, 41


When I was rediscovering my faith, one of the questions I saw popping up frequently on Catholic Answers and other Catholic apologetics forums and sites was: “Why should I confess to a priest instead of going directly to ask God for forgiveness?”

At that time, the answer seemed consensual among those answering: setting aside the issue of sacramental grace, the apologists claimed that if you simply asked God for forgiveness, you would never know if God was really forgiving you, or if it was rather you who were forgiving yourself. Without the voice and guidance from another human being (and especially, an anointed human being with God-given authority to forgive sins,) it gets really easy to mix up our own thoughts with those of God’s. The act of praying to attain forgiveness may very well become an act of patting oneself in the back.

A variant of this argument would come in Petrine/apostolic form: “Why do we need the Pope, the bishops, and the hierarchy in general to know Jesus?” People with a secular mindset had difficulty squaring Jesus with the Church’s teachings. Their idea of Jesus, preformatted by our modernized, secular, and westernized culture, was completely at odds with the Jesus being preached at Church. The secularized Jesus seemed more love-like – so it was claimed – than Catholic Jesus. Their Jesus, it was more comfortable, because He was less demanding. The secularized person could just reject the Jesus preached at Church, and claim that he didn’t need the Church to know Jesus.

Again, the apologists’ counterargument would go like this: the Pope and the bishops are the ones who have been ordained by Jesus Himself to continue His mission here on Earth. As the “Vicar of Christ,”  the Pope exercises a vicarious function, replacing Jesus as the visible head of the Church, His Body. The danger of not following the Pope would be that you would never know whether that Jesus you worshipped was actually real… or a human construct based on your own concepts, values and prejudices.

The apologists would point to a simple fact: revolutionaries think that Jesus was a zealot, quixotically fighting against the establishment. Socialists lecture about a Communist Jesus. Feminists claim that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, LGBTQ activists, meanwhile, argue that the love affair was between Jesus and John. And atheists, on their end, ignore the current academic consensus by postulating that Jesus wasn’t a real person and was all a product of first-century religious superstition. Apologists would joke about how all these interpretations of Jesus were actually incompatible: Jesus didn’t exist, but He was married to Mary Magdalene while being gay.

From here we could reach a conclusion, which I believe is accurate: all those groups interpreting Jesus outside of the Church’s guidance, were actually calling an alter ego of themselves “Jesus.” In other words, they set up a false Jesus in their own image and likeness and then worship that distorted image of Him. They were indirectly worshipping themselves.

This also happens at an individual level, removed from clearly defined ideologies. A person would worship a Jesus who taught us “not to judge” and to “love your neighbor”… but would reject (or simply ignore, sometimes unwillingly) the Jesus who said “what God has joined together let no man put asunder” or “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart”.

In other words, he would follow the teaching he was already willing to follow and shun whatever he didn’t want to follow. This was a Jesus who demanded no change, no conversion. In other words, an alter ego, an abstract and idealized version of oneself.

A relativistic Jesus, adapted to one’s own truth.

But none of us cannot avoid interpreting the world through a subjective lens, how could we be able to recognize the real Jesus in the midst of the cacophony of warped images we projected unto Him? The answer that was given to me at the time was: Only by following the Church, namely the Vicar of Christ, could one gain access to the true interpretation of Jesus.

Why? Isn’t the Pope’s interpretation as subject to the same kind of subjectivism as the interpretation from anyone els’se? No. Peter had the Jesus-given power to bind and loose in Earth as in Heaven. It was to Peter that Jesus gave the keys of His Kingdom. Peter had the authority, conferred by Jesus Himself, to tend to His sheep.

This meant that Peter had a special assistance from Jesus, allowing God’s flock to not be stranded in a chaos of different interpretations. A divine assistance that he passed tohis successors through an unbroken chain, across the centuries, right up until Pope Francis. Peter’s interpretation was not just any interpretation: it was the interpretation of the Vicar of Christ. Therefore, even if it could be influenced by the humanity of the one bearing that title, it could not induce us into error. Heeding the Pope’s teachings about Jesus would help us to take a glimpse at the real Jesus, that no other person on earth, no matter how intelligent, scholarly or powerful, would be able to give.


These arguments remain unchanged, and have not been refuted. However, they are seldom wielded nowadays by a substantial number of the apologists who were making these points before Pope Francis’ election. These days, many of those apologists actually try to do the opposite: to find arguments to undermine the Pope’s authority, and to devise loopholes justifying dissent.

The reason behind this shift? The apologists now disagree with the Pope’s interpretation of Jesus. “I follow Jesus, not the Pope” has become a common cry for many in Catholic social media, unaware of how much this slogan mirrors Protestants and secularized Christians. According to these Catholics, the Pope’s teachings should not contradict Jesus’ teachings.

Of course, the Pope has said, several times, that his controversial reforms (Amoris Laetitia, the death penalty Catechism revision) do not contradict established doctrine. He cites the gospel to justify them. To no avail. If the apologist interprets the Pope to be in contradiction with Jesus’ teachings, and the Pope interprets himself not to be in contradiction, the apologist’s interpretation should prevail… according to the apologists.

In doing this, the apologists go out of their way to pervert their vocation, by using their intellects to do the opposite of what they are intended to do: to turn souls away from the Vicar of Christ. They become what I call, counter-apologists.

When, if we return to the arguments I mentioned above in favor of papal primacy, we see that they are not contingent on the Pope being able to satisfy the demands of formerly faithful apologists. In fact, the existence of apologists is completely immaterial to the truthfulness of those arguments. What matters is this: did Jesus give to Peter the keys or not? And did Peter pass it along to his successors or not? And is Francis a successor of Peter or not? Since (aside sedevacantists and conspiracy theorists who question Benedict XVI’s resignation,) no Catholic apologist would answer any of these questions in the negative, we must assume that the arguments in favor of the Pope still stand, even for those apologists.

This must also mean that the dangers of ignoring these arguments remain true. If eschewing the teachings of the Vicar of Christ opens us to a relativistic Jesus, fashioned according to one’s own truth, the same can happen if the counter-apologists are the ones eschewing the teachings of the Vicar of Christ.

Can this be demonstrated by experience? I argue: yes. It is not uncommon to see how the Jesus preached by the counter-apologist mimics the counter-apologist almost perfectly. We never see the Jesus preached by the counter-apologist disagreeing with the counter-apologist’s views.

Just like the revolutionaries view Jesus as a zealot fighting against the establishment, the papal critics view Jesus as someone fighting against the establishment. The difference is that, this time, the establishment is not a corrupt government, but a corrupt Church hierarchy.

Just as the Socialists view Jesus as someone who supports their politics to a tee, so do the counter-apologists. In fact, both tend to have a highly politicized view of the Christian faith.

The papal critic worship a Jesus who teaches “what God has joined together, let no man put asunder” or “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart”, but will reject (or simply ignore, sometimes unwillingly) the Jesus who said “do not judge.”


One slogan that pervades a modernized understanding of Jesus is “WWJD?”, i.e. “What would Jesus do?” Catholics molded by the online apologetics movement from the last couple of decades tend to view this slogan with suspicion. They argue (not without a point) that this slogan is oftentimes invoked to promote a liberal and emasculated view of Jesus’ actions, in opposition to Church’s orthodoxy. WWJD becomes, therefore, a symbol of this relativistic Jesus those Catholics rightfully fight against.

The problem is: these Catholics will then co-opt the slogan and twist it on its head. There is a meme that frequently makes the rounds in Catholic media circles: “When asked WWJD, remind them that flipping over tables and chasing people with a whip is within the realm of possibilities.”

This is ironic, since many people who share this meme (though, of course, not all) tend to be papal critics on their own. This is not surprising, for many of the overtones underlying this meme also underlie the criticism of Pope Francis. The table-flipping and people-whipping is a metaphor of their yearning for a more purified Church, where sin is called a sin, and doctrine is clearly and forcefully presented, without caveats or watering down, irrespectively of pastoral sensitivities.

In other words, they have construct a Jesus in their own image, adapted to their own truth. They do this by excising from the real Jesus His merciful demeanor to sinners, even before they repent of their sins. In other words, it’s a warped image of Jesus, not the real Jesus.

When Pope Francis presents the real Jesus to them, they say they will follow Jesus instead of the Pope. But the Jesus they follow is a relativistic Jesus, no different from the liberal Jesus. Their Francis-opposing Jesus is as authoritative as the Marxist Jesus, or the feminist Jesus, or the gay Jesus.

Theirs is not the Jesus of the Vicar of Christ and is, in fact (just like any of the other jesuses) a Jesus opposed to the Vicar of Christ.

Just for this reason, we can know it is not the real Jesus. The real Jesus said:

“That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.”

— Mt 16:18 (DRV)

Only Jesus had the authority to teach in the name of the Father, not the liberal trying to hammer the Christian message into his ideology. So, having the liberal teach against Peter is paradoxical. For the same reason, only Jesus had the authority to take a whip and chase the sinners away from the Temple, not the papal critic who wish to purge the Eucharistic line from the sinners that Peter said we should embrace.

You cannot follow Jesus without following His Vicar. As Venerable Pope Pius XII teaches, in harmony with every single one of his predecessors and successors, the Church is not governed by two heads, but only one, for they are in harmony with each other and indivisible:

“But we must not think that [Jesus] rules only in a hidden or extraordinary manner. On the contrary, our Redeemer also governs His Mystical Body in a visible and normal way through His Vicar on earth. You know, Venerable Brethren, that after He had ruled the “little flock” Himself during His mortal pilgrimage, Christ our Lord, when about to leave this world and return to the Father, entrusted to the Chief of the Apostles the visible government of the entire community He had founded. Since He was all wise He could not leave the body of the Church He had founded as a human society without a visible head. Nor against this may one argue that the primacy of jurisdiction established in the Church gives such a Mystical Body two heads. For Peter in view of his primacy is only Christ’s Vicar; so that there is only one chief Head of this Body, namely Christ, who never ceases Himself to guide the Church invisibly, though at the same time He rules it visibly, through him who is His representative on earth. After His glorious Ascension into Heaven this Church rested not on Him alone, but on Peter, too, its visible foundation stone. That Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head is the solemn teaching of Our predecessor of immortal memory Boniface VIII in the Apostolic Letter Unam Sanctam; and his successors have never ceased to repeat the same.”

— Mystici Corporis Christi, 40

The solution for the papal critic to be cured of the curse of the relativistic Jesus is exactly the same as for everyone else. Stick with Peter. Only Jesus had authority to say who He is: and He granted that authority to Peter.

[Featured image: “The Delivery of the Keys”, Perugino, 1481-82]

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74 Responses

  1. Avatar Logos says:

    Excellent article as always, Pedro. My major befuddlement occurs however, when Pope Francis is defending “traditional” values and this is completely ignored by those Catholics who claim that he is a heretic.

  2. Avatar jong says:

    Thanks Pedro,
    Straight to the point article and great insights.
    I remember the pious and brilliant mind of the Servant of God Fr.John Hardon article, saying that the Protestant & bible believing Christian are creating their own Jesus according to their own interpretation and aspirations. In turn, creating & worshiping a fake jesus, that’s a clear idolatry.

    All this confusions and continuous subtle & cunning attack of the Rad Trads thru the created “Council of Media” as Pope BXVI exposed during his papacy, boils down to the words as described & warned by St. Pope JP2. The Vatican II will face the Final Confrontation with a counterfeit church that Blessed Fulton Sheen described having resembled a “catholic tone” only, meaning this separated group embraced catholic faith but does not submit to the Vicar of Christ. Connect, the predictions of Blessed Fulton Sheen saying that satan will established a “counterfeit church”, also the predictions of Cardinal Ratzinger on a “small church remnant”and had even seen the wolves inside Vatican, plus St.Pope Paul VI seeing the “counterfeit church” inside Vatican operating in his time sowing the “smoke of satan”, and St.Pope JP2 described that the counterfeit church will be preaching the anti gospel.

    What is the meaning that the counterfeit church will preach the “anti-gospel”? Pope BXVI said “The heart of the gospel is Divine Mercy”, so what is the “anti-gospel”? Those people who oppose the Holy Spirit inspiration to Pope Francis calling his teaching “false mercy”. So, now we just have to look on who are the Cardinals, Bishops, Dissenters who keep on preaching the “false mercy” as opposed to Pope Francis saying “The Name of God is Mercy” and “The Divine Mercy is Infinite but the Time of Mercy is Not.” These people main argument is mercy without justice is a false mercy, thereby completely contradicted what Jesus had revealed to St.Faustina that Jesus will be offering first His Divine Mercy to all lost & wounded souls and after that, His judgment will follows. That’s why we have an opposing Dubia embracing contradiction to what Jesus had revealed to St.Faustina. “Dubia belong to Satan and Faith belong to Christ.”(Ted Flynn)

    Discerning further on the now published conversation between Ab.Lefevbre and St.Pope Paul VI, we can see the main objective of Ab.Lefevbre is to set-up a “catholic church” but with the status of a “denomination” having an authority of their own separated from the Pope, meaning a church resembling catholic faith (chosen Tradition & Doctrines only) but not having to submit to the Pope’s authority. Try to picture out having a “catholic denomination” celebrating Latin Mass in Catholic Churches but the Supreme Pontiff had no jurisdiction, that’s how Ab.Lefevbre envisioned his church, a description of counterfeit is very fitting. Try to examined the history of SSPX why they cannot embraced Full Communion, and although verbally they say they recognized the Pope but they “resist” his teaching and esp. some of the Vatican II Doctrines up to now, because it’s not their vision. They were established to exist separately from the authority of the Vicar of Christ. WPI article on published conversation between St.Pope Paul VI & Ab. Lefevbre will shed light on this.

    I will not be surprise, that if one day, the SSPX and all the Rad Trads will unite soon as Dr.Marshall had been saying on his channel, and since the Council of Media no matter how much effort they will launch will all fail to oust Pope Francis. They will appoint their own Pope in the end, and since this appointment does not follow the established Canonical norms, this appointed pope will rise as the “Anti-pope”.

    How possible, that this is the ultimate dream of Satan in the end, Satan wants to be worship by men like God by offering sacrifices and what better way to offer is a Black Latin Mass. Look at the Canon of the Mass, a Latin Mass pronouncing the Eucharistic Prayers offering the sacrifice in unity in the name of the appointed”Anti-pope”. The Latin Mass is actually an offer to Satan as the appointed Anti-pope was indwelt by his malice or spirit. This is the ultimate scenario, the “counterfeit catholic church” will appoint their own pope which will become the Anti-pope”, the Council of Media are continuously cooking fake news, lies, deceptions, etc and together with the forces of this world which Satan had controlled, the Final Confrontation will be more visible as Pope Francis had recently said the Real Schism is now visible.

    In all of this, the Remnant Church had been visible too, Pope Francis will be left with few pious loyal Cardinals, Bishops and Priest plus Marian Faithfuls all over the world that will become the forces of Light.
    Light vs. darkness, Obedience vs, Disobedience and Humility vs. Pride is the battleground.
    “The LIGHT shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. “(John1:5)

    In the End My Immaculate Heart will Triumph but it will only triumph on the side of all the humble & faithlful members loyal to Pope Francis who are all living a life of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mama Mary.

    Thank you Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for leading the Church to victory.
    Exodus14:14

  3. Avatar Ralph says:

    I think this hits on one of Pope Francis’s main ideas, which is that reality is more important than ideas. This is not meant to downplay doctrine but to remind Christians that Christianity is not an ideology or a philosophy or some other set of ideas but an encounter with a person, Jesus Christ. Christianity is an incarnational religion that centers on an actual, historical person. It would therefore makes sense that Christ would entrust His Church to a real, flesh-and-blood person in the form of the pope.

    This is what separates Christianity and Catholicism in particular from all other religions and philosophies. There are so many different religions and philosophies in the world and many have wonderful aspects to them, but it is hard to decide which one is true solely based on our limited store of reason. So much of the intellectual and spiritual confusion that exists today is based on the attempt to find the perfect ideology through self-study and self-reflection. For many people their worldview becomes a mishmash of self-serving concepts. Other people become discouraged and slip into nihilism.

    Catholics have the assurance that they will not be led into error by the successor of St. Peter no matter what trials and tribulations the Church goes through, including corruption and wrongdoing within the Church itself. Many people deride this belief as “pray, pay and obey” but isn’t part of accepting a shepherd a willingness to follow? You cannot talk about Jesus as the Good Shepherd while deriding His Vicar. I am afraid that many people don’t want Christ as their shepherd, they want to be their own shepherd and will mislead others within the flock, especially now that they have a bigger soapbox via TV, the Internet and social media in particular.

    • Avatar carn says:

      “Catholics have the assurance that they will not be led into error by the successor of St. Peter”

      Would you mind showing that this assurance was given?

      As far as i can see, the assurance was only given, that if Peter binds or looses something that than it is bound or loosened.

      Meaning in itself that as long as Peter does something which is neither binding nor loosening, then there is no gurantee about that in any way.

      An example might be an on the fly interview as Pope Francis often does during flight; it does not seem that every single word of this interviews is binding/loosening; accordingly, nothing is guranteed about these words; accordingly, some Catholic – especially when only getting some soundbite from the interview – could be led into error by the words of the Pope.

      • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

        Pastor Aeternus, First Vatican Council:

        “Indeed, their apostolic teaching was embraced by all the venerable fathers and reverenced and followed by all the holy orthodox doctors, for they knew very well that this see of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the divine promise of our Lord and Saviour to the prince of his disciples: I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren [60] .

        This gift of truth and never-failing faith was therefore divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this see so that they might discharge their exalted office for the salvation of all, and so that the whole flock of Christ might be kept away by them from the poisonous food of error and be nourished with the sustenance of heavenly doctrine”

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        The gift of truth isn’t conferred only to the pope, but to all in the Church who have the Spirit of Truth (LG12).

      • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

        Agreed. It is not given only to the Pope. It is given to all in the Church who have the Spirit of Truth. And all of those are in communion with the Pope’s teachings

        It is interesting that you quote Lumen Gentium 12 so much, but discard the *same document* when he contradicts your interpretations, namely Lumen Gentium 25

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        I see Scriptural precedent for Lumen Gentium 12; but I don’t see any for LG25 that restricts decisions only to the hierarchy. The letter to the Gentiles at the Council of Jerusalem was addressed from the whole Church, and not just the hierarchy (Acts 15:23, 28).

      • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

        So Lumen Gentium is only authoritative insofar as it validates your personal interpretation of Scripture (aka your personal opinion)

        Then why quote Lumen Gentium at all? It’s obvious you don’t see it as a text any different from an article in a newspaper… it’s only true if you agree with it

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        Have all of the individual popes have the Spirit of Truth? Only Christ knows those who are really His.

      • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

        Yes, all the individual Popes have/had the Spirit of Truth. And it is sure that Christ knows which ones are truly His, but not *only* Him, but all of us. For He manifested it to us, since He elected all of the Popes as His Vicars so that we would have a visible Head. Those who disobey Christ are those who claim that are not His those He Himself made His, by virtue of His promises to the Church

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        Even with full historic apostolic succession, I’m not sure that a later individual pope or bishop automatically had the Spirit of Truth (Holy Spirit). A person should have the Spirit of Truth before any of the subsequent sacraments after Baptism/Confirmation. I don’t believe that the sacrament of Holy Orders confers the Spirit of Truth. It is for a specific function in the Church such as bishop, presbyter or elder, and deacon. There were some pretty nasty popes in the Middle Ages.

      • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

        Nasty people can tell the truth. Peter sinned many times (even denied Christ) and yet received the Holy Spirit in the Pentecost

        And the Spirit of Truth can be granted by God at any time. You cannot impose limits on Him apart from taking Him at His word on the promises He made

      • Avatar ONG says:

        // – especially when only getting some soundbite from the interview – could be led into error by the words of the Pope.//

        That would NOT be the Pope’s fault, would it?
        Those that DISTORT what he might have said and SPREAD it further ARE the ones that lead into error.

        Solution: Go first to the original Q-A, study in depth (read and reread) what was really said, the context, the background and nationality of the journalist, reporter, group, etc. and WARN and CORRECT whenever you can that SLANDER.

        Typical response: *That’s NOT what the Pope said!!!*
        Thereafter you explain what he really said and meant.
        From the responses one gets, one could evaluate whether or not it is worth continuing.

        Otherwise one would use considerable time in discussing a STRAWMAN (that doesn’t exist), and hence waste precious time; time that could be used instead for better purposes – among which, getting deeply aware of the NATURE of the Pope’s replies and to make sense of them in light of the teachings of the Church.

      • Avatar carn says:

        @ONG
        “That would NOT be the Pope’s fault, would it?”

        Maybe or maybe not. One could be guilty in case of bad wording which is easy for others to misunderstand AND then doing nothing although one is aware about being misunderstood.

        But the relevant point is, that people can read/hear what a Pope says, digest that in their mind and then walk a wrong path although they think they are just heeding the Pope’s words.

        To any external observer this would – independently of the Pope’s actual guilt in this – APPEAR as if they had been led into error by the words of the Pope.

        Accordingly, the claim that Catholics cannot be led into error by words of the Pope, is a bit strange, if at least outside appearance sometimes gives the impression that some Catholics are led into error by the words of a Pope.

        @Pedro Gabriel

        That passage does not say or imply that Catholics cannot be led into error by words of the Pope; at most it implies that the words of the Pope do not contain any error; but even words free of error can sometimes lead other people into error.

      • Avatar ONG says:

        @carn

        The *teachings*are protected for errors…

        Those who distort what the Pope says are the ones that are guilty, because they do it on purpose! (Willingly!)

        Those who comment on social networks saying “This Pope is ruining the Catholic Church”, those who say “This guy should read the Bible”, etc., do you think they have any clue, or even a well-formed conscience?

        Do you condone spreading false witness and deceive gullible souls?

      • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

        “That passage does not say or imply that Catholics cannot be led into error by words of the Pope; at most it implies that the words of the Pope do not contain any error; but even words free of error can sometimes lead other people into error.”

        Well, in that case, one can argue that Jesus can lead people into error too, since there are many people who have misconstrued Jesus’ words to promote sin

      • Avatar carn says:

        “Those who comment on social networks saying “This Pope is ruining the Catholic Church”, those who say “This guy should read the Bible”, etc., do you think they have any clue,”

        Some yes, some no.

        “or even a well-formed conscience?”

        Some yes, some no, with some correlation with above.

        “Do you condone spreading false witness”

        No.

        “deceive gullible souls?”

        No.

      • Avatar carn says:

        @Pedro Gabriel

        words contain no errors != words are not ambiguous

        Ambiguous words can lead people into error.

        Pope is not protected from speaking ambiguous words.

        “Well, in that case, one can argue that Jesus can lead people into error too, since there are many people who have misconstrued Jesus’ words to promote sin”

        That is not my argument.

      • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

        I know it’s not your argument. But it’s mine

        Bear in mind that Jesus sometimes spoke ambiguous words.

        I also disagree with your premises that Pope Francis speaks ambiguously and that only ambiguous words may induce people into error

        Also bear in mind that you have just made my point. If the First Vatican Council infallibly proclaims the See of Peter to be always remains unblemished by error, and if that means (as you admit) that this means the Pope’s words are to be free from error, and if only ambiguous words contain error, then we are logically bound to conclude that Pope Francis is not ambiguous

      • Avatar carn says:

        @Pedro Gabriel

        may induce people into error != contain error

        Accordingly, speaking ambiguous words is not in itself speaking error, even if the ambiguity leads people astray.

        I cannot see that the position that a Pope cannot speak in a dumb, ambiguous, unclear, confusing, etc. way and thereby intentionally or unintentionally lead people into error can be based on Papal infallibility. Cause the latter only protects against errors within what is said and there are many ways to say something dumb, ambiguous, confusing, etc. without having an error within the words.

        Take Pope Honorius; later Popes condemned him for abetting heresy by not speaking clearly against heresy.

        So it already happened that a Pope lead people into error by not saying things.

        “I also disagree with your premises that Pope Francis speaks ambiguously”

        I know, but whether Pope Francis speaks ambiguously or not is irrelevant for whether infallibility protects a Pope from speaking ambiguously and/or from speaking ambiguously in such way that it leads people into error.

      • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

        So, if some of the ambiguous Jesus statements lead some into error (like, when people use the “do not judge” bit to support abortion)…

        … I am justified in saying that Jesus may lead people into error?

        Also, please clarify the meaning of the symbol “ != “
        I think I may not be understanding what you’re saying based on that

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        If all of us who have the Spirit of truth cannot err in matters of belief, how can the pope have a greater ability to do so than the rest of us (LG12)?

      • Avatar ONG says:

        @carn

        //“Do you condone spreading false witness”

        No.

        “deceive gullible souls?”

        No.//

        Here’s a TEST! Elements of Fake News propaganda. They posted it Sunday morning in an old group I don’t comment in anymore! It might be interesting for you since it’s about your beloved Card. Marx very quoted on the media.

        Who posted the article wrote over his photo indignantly:

        *The smoke of Satan has entered the church when a Cardinal openly suggests we bless the acts of intrinsic evil.*

        The article was titled: “Cardinal Marx suggests Church should bless gay couples”

        Several comments (by Americans) bashed the Cardinal, judged him harshly, called him a wolf, that he had to repent… etc. etc.

        But is it really the factual truth? HERE’S the article:

        https://­catholicherald.co.uk/­news/2018/02/04/­cardinal-marx-suggest­s-church-should-bles­s-gay-couples/

      • Avatar carn says:

        @Pedro Gabriel

        “=” equal

        “!=” not equal

        “So, if some of the ambiguous Jesus statements lead some into error (like, when people use the “do not judge” bit to support abortion)…

        … I am justified in saying that Jesus may lead people into error?”

        No. Cause Jesus capability to avoid doing/saying dumb things was/is probably a bit superior to what a Pope gets due to Papal Infallibility, cause he is God.

        “But is it really the factual truth?”

        Doesn’t seem so.

        But rather similar news and/or fake news is still up on various news sites, e.g. vatican news:

        https://www.vaticannews.va/de/kirche/news/2018-02/kardinal-marx-deutschland-homo-ehe-segnung-interview-br.html

        “Marx: Segnung homosexueller Paare in Einzelfällen möglich”

        Marx: Blessing of gay couples in individual cases possible

        I think it is a case in which both the question of some reporter and the answer of Card. Marx were such, that one has problems to clearly identify what Card. Marx meant. Out of that some more or less secular reporters generated some news, etc.

        Hardly a case of intentional false witness, as similar cases happen all the time in secular news.

        Besides the vice head of German bishop conference Bishop Bode did make such public suggestions; so it was (and is) a situation in which unintentional fake news can fly easily, when Card. Marx or other german bishops say something about gay couples.

        “Who posted the article wrote over his photo indignantly: …”

        It’s often a mistake to believe headlines.

      • Avatar ONG says:

        @carn

        You didn’t mention that in 2017 “the first gay weddings were conducted in Germany, following a vote by the parliament in June.”

        So it’s a new situation Bishop Franz-josef Bode was putting on the table: “How to encounter those who form such relationships AND are also involved in the Church, and how to accompany them pastorally and liturgically.”

        Card. Marx proposed the case-by-case basis evaluation AND each pastor (who has the individual under care) should make the decision.

        It’s a completely different situation that such articles’ title incites in the readers, who translate it as: “There, the “liberal” Cardinal wants the Church to marry gays!”

        But to keep on the underlined theme: it’s subconscious hate, phobia, racism and discrimination of minority groups, each with its own pretext to fortify that sentiment and spread it further. That’s completely incompatible with growing in the faith, and become a true disciple, and makes one utterly unfit for evangelization since it produces the contrary effect: to repel from the gospel by exclusion!

        In other words: The fundies DON’T want the gays in the Church, and therefore have to LABEL them as LEPERS and to ATTACK whoever promotes any inclusion!

        The precedents to this are: the shooting in Orlando and the media reactions afterwards even putting Cardinal against Cardinal within the Church itself, Cardinal Marx speech in Dublin and Pope Francis answering a journalist’s question on the gay issue on his return from Armenia in 2016.

        The article in question was actually from February 4, 2018, so who posted it on Sunday, July 14, 2019 HAD TO resurrect it somewhere to fit his propaganda agenda: strengthening discrimination against the homosexuals, focusing on sinful acts only, paralleling the word “couple” with “marriage” and ignoring the ongoing pastoral work on how to reach, accompany and include these souls in the love of the Church, without prejudging and assuming it’s about “marriage” and “sexual activity” as a hindrance for reception.

        That catholicherald.co.uk has often posted about this theme.

        The following is a fresh new appeal by Fr. James Martin, SJ, that better emphasizes what’s really at bottom, where he urges to cease with hate, racism and discrimination that is even promoted from the pulpit:

        “ON HOW CHURCHES CAN COMBAT HATE CRIMES”
        (Just 7 minutes) https://youtu.be/2V1xO8Yswkk

  4. Avatar Pete Vickery says:

    Good article again Pedro. As someone who grew up Catholic in America, became indifferent and then years later attended my wife’s non-denominational church before returning to the Church, this is to a certain extent understandable. Many of the Catholic apologists in America grew up Protestant and were used to being their own popes so to speak. This is inevitable when one has a sola scriptura mentality. When they become Catholic, if push comes to shove, they can regress to the sola scriptura “I am the final arbiter of truth” mentality. Not all of them, but many have done this. I know one in particular who became sedevacantist under Pope JPII. Last I checked, he was staying at home on Sundays and saying his rosary since he found problems with all the Masses in his area. He came from a strict Calvinist background that believed most Christians to be lost. He now considers all not formally Catholic as lost. I pray to God he has changed his views in the last several years but I have not heard of any change. One need not consider himself sedevacantist though, as you point out Pedro, to reach a point of opposing Christ by opposing His Vicar. Therein lies the danger. It’s like the main opponents of Christ who insisted only on the Law and their traditions. They were also the most religious, fasting the most frequently, worshiping in the Temple, etc… . The Law they worshiped had not changed, not one iota, according to Jesus. Yet they were His chief opponents. “Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees … ‘Whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones’.” They held fast to their traditions (applying them comfortably to themselves) and wanted to exclude virtually any newcomers. Those they did convert Jesus called “Twice the sons of Satan”. What they lacked were humility and love. Jesus humbled Himself so he could accompany, literally, prostitutes and tax collectors and all other types of sinners. He knew they weren’t perfect, but He knew their hearts as well. They were capable of humility, mercy and love, something the Scribes and Pharisees who opposed Jesus were not capable of. In other words, Jesus applied the same Law differently. This is why Jesus told his religious opponents they were guilty of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Today’s opponents of Pope Francis have simply added Tradition to the Law. They don’t want the Pope to apply it the way they think it should be applied. Yet just like Jesus, Pope Francis applies the same thing differently. He also has the guidance of the same Holy Spirit to properly interpret it’s inevitable development. No other human being on earth, not even if he is a bishop or cardinal, does. No one has the unique charism of the successor of Saint Peter except for the pope. Pope Francis is simply copying Jesus in his attitude toward “sinners”. Hopefully Pope Francis’ opponents will come to realize who they are imitating and repent.

    • Avatar Pete Vickery says:

      I messed up on one sentence. “They don’t want Pope Francis to apply Tradition the way he thinks it should be applied, but rather the way they think it should be applied.”

  5. Avatar Peter Aiello says:

    In the New Testament, grace flows into us by our humility toward God (1Peter 5:5-7 and James 4:6). This humility is our dependence on God as we cast all of our care on Him. The grace that we receive as a result of this, contains our inner peace and strength, and forgiveness of sin.
    There is no human go-between in order for us to receive this grace. Within the Godhead, there is Jesus, the God-man, in whom “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily”; and we are complete in him (Colossians 2:9-10). The graces from the Father flow into us through Jesus when His Spirit is within us. This is the only mediator role that is required in the plan of salvation; and this is why faith in Christ is the only prerequisite.
    The role of the people in the Church is to be ambassadors for Christ because He is the only one who can reconcile us to the Father (2Corinthians 5:17-20). The Church, in Christ’s place, has the word of reconciliation which is used for beseeching others to be reconciled to God. We are Christ’s substitutes on the earth to encourage others to be reconciled to God through faith directly in Christ. This is the function of the Church. The pope is the head of this organization, and needs to guide it towards this end.

    • Avatar ONG says:

      //We are Christ’s substitutes on the earth…//

      *Substitutes* is the wrong term; it would rather be *co-operators*.

      John 15:4-6

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        How about representatives of Christ or ambassadors? Our job is to encourage people to be reconciled to God while Jesus is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. Christ’s Spirit within us helps us do the job.

    • Avatar jong says:

      Peter Aiello

      Wrong interpretation based on Catholic Church Apostolic Tradition and Church Fathers teachings. All graces that comes to all the redeemed passed thru the Hands of Mary the Mother of the Church. We cannot approach God’s throne alone, it is a false humility to ignore the very word of Jesus At the Foot of the Cross, it is a “command” not a suggestion. “Son, Behold your Mother”…Proof?
      Read and meditate what happen in the Upper Room where the Apostles & Disciples received the graces or the gifts of the Holy Spirit by the Maternal Mediation of the Theotokos.
      Even in the Old Teastament, all the elect knows that in order to received God graces & mercy one must acknowledge first that they are the “son of thy handmaid”…King David and King Saul knew and speak prophetically that one cannot approach God’s Throne without acknowledging first the Blessed Virgin Mary as their Spiritual Mother. Ponder this verses from Book of Wisdom & Psalm.

      “O LORD, surely I am Your servant, I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid, You have loosed my bonds.”(Psalm116:16)

      “O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid.”(Psalm86:16)

      “For I am thy servant, and the son of thy handmaid, a weak man, and of short time, and falling short of the understanding of judgment and laws.”
      (Wisdom9:5)

      King David and King Saul both acknowledge that they are the “son of thy handmaid”. And Archangel Gabriel was surprised, why? Because the chosen woman “commanded” him by this word; Mary said, Behold, “I am the handmaid of the Lord. ..” (Luke 1:38)

      Sorry, don’t expect graces if one does not recognized the Maternal role of Mary as the Mother of all the redeemed.
      As Pope Francis said, “Do not be an orphaned”. Plus all the saints and martyrs are a bold witness to their Christian faith, acknowledging that all of them was the “son of thy handmaid”.

      This is the main error of all New Protestant Reformers & Christian denominations who forgotten that all of their founders & leaders embraced the dignity of the Theotokos starting from Luther,Zwingli, Wesley, Calvin, etc…

      Interpreting the bible without acknowledging the Maternal Role of Mary as “possessed by the “Spirit of Truth” will lead to a lot of errors. Proof?
      From 33,000 denominations it’s now 45,000 denominations, the confusions never stops because they all failed to recognized who is the “Spirit of Truth”. The Spirit of Truth reveals Herself in the year 1858 thru St.Bernadette when she asked the mysterious Woman, “Who are you”? The Divine Spirit the Spirit of Truth that “possessed” Her answered, “I AM the Immaculate Conception”.

      Why do I’m saying this because you always quote scriptures and I’m sure you are not a Catholic. Sorry, but you cannot claimed your personal interpretation is greater than the Wisdom of the Pope particularly Pope Francis who had consecrated His papacy to Mary the Mother of the Church, whom the Church Fathers teaches as the destroyer of all heresies. Meaning Pope Francis is guided by the “Spirit of Truth” that “possessed” the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the words of St.Kolbe it is called “quasi-incarnate”. Read Catechism and you can find the difference between the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Truth in reference to John16:12-14, the “Spirit of Truth” has no authority on it’s own, it embraces a subordinated role only.

      So, the next time you claimed interpretation of scriptures, ponder first if your wisdom is greater than the Supreme Pontiff who is guided & protected by Our Lady, the Sovereign Queen and the Mother of the Church.

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        I believe that God knows the inner workings of the Godhead better than we do. We are all supposed to have the Spirit of Truth (LG12). How does the Spirit of Truth inhabit Mary in a different way than the rest of us (John 14:17)? What is the difference between ‘inhabit’ and ‘possess’?
        Mary received the Spirit of Truth along with the other disciples because it was part of the Holy Spirit poured out at Pentecost. She was alive at the time along with the rest of them, and they were all with one accord in one place. There is nothing said specifically about Mary at Pentecost in terms of intercession.
        Did the Holy Spirit pass through Mary in order to inhabit the other disciples at Pentecost? Did the Holy Spirit pass through Mary to inhabit those after Pentecost while Mary was still alive on this earth?
        You didn’t give the Catechism reference that spells out the difference between the Spirit of Truth and the Holy Spirit.

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        By the way, I am Catholic even though I always quote scriptures. Aren’t Catholics supposed to do that? All Catholic teaching is supposed to be regulated by Sacred Scripture.

      • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

        Yes, Catholics are supposed to quote Scripture. However, Catholics are not supposed to quote Scripture to oppose it to Tradition and Magisterium, for that is a purpose of Scripture

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        Or is the purpose of Scripture to regulate Tradition and the Magisterium? The whole Church has the Spirit of Truth and Scripture at its disposal for doing this.

      • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

        No. Where does the Catholic Church teach that?

        Tradition and Scripture are *equal* in the sense that both derive from the same deposit of Truth. The Magisterium is the authoritative interpreter of both

        Scripture does indeed regulate the Magisterium, but you’re assuming that that means the Magisterium can contradict Scripture, when in fact means it *cannot ever* contradict Scripture

        In short, it’s not Scripture that the Magisterium is contradicting. The Magisterium is only contradicting your personal, subjective and erroneous *opinion* on Scripture

    • Avatar jong says:

      Peter Aiello
      John14:16-17 can be understood if we ponder the teachings of the 3 Great Marian Saints(Kolbe, Liguori and Montfort) and why Mary revealed Herself saying “I AM the Immaculate Conception” instead of simply echoing the Dogma that “She was immaculately conceived”. See the difference? St.Kolbe ponders why Mary instead of saying only that She was immaculately conceived goes further as if a Divine Spirit was the one speaking thru Her being. This is the meaning of possessed or quasi-incarnate, all the thoughts, words and actions of Mary is wholly the act of the Holy Spirit in Her that’s why all Christians are committing blasphemy or the unforgivable sin in Matthew12:32 if they attack the dignity of Mary because it is a direct attack on the Holy Spirit who acts in Her perfectly,completely and mystically as revealed in Fatima apparition.

      Back to your other question, Did the Holy Spirit pass through Mary in order to inhabit the other disciples at Pentecost? Yes.
      St.Montfort said, the birth of Jesus Christ the Head of the Church comes thru the pure womb of Mary, “The highest heavens cannot contain God whom She carried in Her womb” (Book of Kings).. Where do you think the birth of the Church the Mystical Body of Christ will be born, where?
      The birth of Church was born thru the Sorrowful & Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Seven Sorrows(Genesis3:16) embraced painfully by Mary allows Her Immaculate Heart worthy to become the Mother of the Church and a perfect dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. (Proverbs9:1)
      “Wisdom hath built herself a house, she hath hewn her out seven pillars…Come, eat my bread, and drink the wine which I have mingled for you.”
      This passage speaks of Holy Eucharist prepared by Wisdom who perfectly resides in the Heart of Mary.

      This will lead us to your important question will the Holy Spirit resides in all the heart of men equally?or in your own words, How does the Spirit of Truth inhabit Mary in a different way than the rest of us (John 14:17)? What is the difference between ‘inhabit’ and ‘possess’?

      Mary had perfectly surrendered Her freewill and intellect to the Most Holy Trinity by Her Fiat? can we say the same to us?
      Mary had perfectly embraced the Way of the Cross, following Jesus Christ from “womb to tomb” fulfilling the Co-Redemptrix role, can we say the same with all of us? If the answer is no, how can we expect the Holy Spirit to reside in us the same way it resides in the Heart of Mary?

      Remember this passage…”For wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins.”(Wisdom1:4)

      Now to your main question, who is the “another Advocate” and the “Spirit of Truth” in John14:16-17?
      Read CCC721 “.. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men..”

      Jesus the Logos was sent by the Abba Father to take on the flesh of Mary, born thru Her pure womb, to dwell among us. This is called the Incarnated Word. “The Word made flesh”.
      The Holy Spirit was sent by the First Mediation Act of Jesus Christ to the Abba Father, to take on the flesh of Mary by “possessing” Her Sorrowful & Immaculate Heart. Why the heart of Mary? the soul resides in the heart..and the soul is animated by the Spirit. So, the Holy Spirit perfectly animated the soul of Mary due to Her Fiat, total surrender to God’s Will. If you can grasp the meaning of “quasi-incarnate” then you will understand the mystical relationship of Mary & the Holy Spirit as St.Kolbe teaches. The Holy Spirit was enflesh in Mary to dwell among us again not incarnated but “quasi-incarnated”.

      Jesus is the First Advocate, who is the “another Advocate”? St.Liguori a Doctor of the Church teaches us this important reflection;

      In 1John2:1 the First Advocate is Jesus Chirst., the another Advocate & Spirit of Truth is the Holy Spirit that was not Incarnated but can dwell in human soul to manifest Her/His presence.

      St.Alphonsus Liguori
      “In His eagerness to show you,mercy, God has given His Son as your Advocate. And then to make your confidence even stronger, He has given you “another Advocate’, who obtains through her prayers whatever she asks.Go to Mary, and you will see salvation.

      So, St.Liguori a Doctor of the Church teaches that Mary was the “another Advocate”, will it follows that the role of the “Spirit of Truth” were also fulfilled by Mary?

      What is the role of the Spirit of Truth? It will testify on the Truth of who Jesus is, not just from “womb to tomb” but from “alpha to omega”. Who among the Apostles can testify to the wholeness of Truth about Jesus? None, because they all need to be reminded by the Spirit of Truth. Jesus gave a hint, He said the one who will testify about Him is greater than John the Baptist. Are the 12 Apostles greater than John the Baptist? No. How about the Theotokos, is She greater than John the Baptist? Yes, why? Because Her mere presence “sanctifies” John the Baptist in the womb of St.Elizabeth. The Holy Spirit is “God the Sanctifier” the role of the “Spirit of Truth” is different, it is only a subordinated role and it has no authority on it’s own.

      The one who can fulfill the role of “Spirit of Truth” must possessed Wisdom perfectly & completely because Wisdom knows all and hears all and can penetrates the deepest secrets of God..

      Did Mary possessed the Spirit of Wisdom, the Sevenfold of the Gift of the Holy Spirit perfectly? Yes better than King Solomon received.

      The mystery of Proverbs8:22 was revealed by Mary Herself thru the Divine Spirit that “possessed” Her being saying “I AM the Immaculate Conception. A Divine Spirit was speaking thru Mary and She revealed that She “possessed” Her whole being mystically.

      In closing, in eternity the Holy Spirit “qanah” the “Spirit of Created Wisdom in Proverbs8:22”, this is the Eternal “qanah/created” Immaculate Conception, the first conception that was “qanah” because the the Love of the Abba Father and His only Begotten Son to the chosen Woman. Mary’s immaculate soul was destined and prepared to “possessed” the Spirit of Created Wisdom” as Her anointing only after She suffered Her Seven Sorrows(Proverbs9:1) and in the Upper Room, Mary’s Heart is the channel in which the Holy Spirit had chosen to give birth to the Church and chosen the immaculate soul of Mary as Her dwelling place as stated clearly in CCC721.

      Now, this reflection is not milk and it will be hard to digest if we do not accept and embrace that the Blessed Virgin Mary is our loving & merciful Mother. Do not forget Jesus words At the Foot of the Cross, it is a “command” to all the redeemed and not a mere “suggestion”. .”Son. Behold your Mother”..

      Now, if you receive the grace to finally accept Jesus words and embraced Mary as your Mother then you now had wisely chosen to be on the side of the Woman in Genesis3:15…It’s time to defend the Pope & the Church whom the Woman, Mary the Mother of the Church is protecting by Her Blue Mantle. Godbless you Peter Aiello, Mama Mary had been generous to you, to share this reflections, please read the writings of the 3 Great Marian Saints( St.Kolbe, St.Liguori and St.Montfort) and for sure you will love the chosen Woman who is destined to fulfill the role of “another Advocate” and the “Spirit of Truth” by the grace of the Holy Spirit. S&IHMMP4us. Amen

  6. Avatar ONG says:

    “Without the Church, Jesus Christ ends up as an idea, a moral teaching, a feeling. Without the Church, our relationship with Christ would be at the mercy of our imagination, our interpretations, our moods.” [Pope Francis, 2o15]
    http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/homilies/2015/documents/papa-francesco_20150101_omelia-giornata-mondiale-pace.html

    • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

      Our relationship with Christ opens us up to His guidance, which is something other than our imagination, our interpretations, and our moods. The Spirit of Truth provides a spiritual discernment that the natural man does not have (1Corinthians 2:9-16).

      • Avatar jong says:

        Peter Aiello
        The only problem is, the Spirit of Truth is only attracted to a soul who embraced the virtue of humility & obedience.(St.Montfort)
        As St.Faustina had revealed “The devil can wear the cloak of piousness but the devil does not know how to wear the cloak of obedience”. Why?
        their heads are so puffed up with pride & disobedience it just won’t fit.
        Pope Francis said if we want to be docile to the voice of the Holy Spirit, then we need to seek conversion & silence.
        What is conversion? it is turning away from the sin of pride & disobedience because only a converted heart can see the Face of God, the Mercy of God. Do we embraced our pride & disobedience over the Vicar of Christ? Then, don’t expect the Spirit of Truth is the one guiding our interpretation, as the Holy Spirit does not resides in prideful & disobedient heart.
        Ignore Peter, we ignore Christ whom Jesus had entrusted the care of His flock(John21:15-17). Attack Peter we directly attack Jesus Himself. (Acts9:4)
        The voice of Peter is the Voice of Christ. (Luke10:16)
        Will you still ignore the Vicar of Christ, Peter Aiello?…your name is Peter too, so don’t forget the meaning behind that name.

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        God is the one who determines whether someone is humble enough to qualify for His habitation (1Peter 5:5-7);
        “And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us” (1John 3:24). Apparently, the person can also know whether he has qualified.
        Our rules for qualifying may not be the same as God’s rules.

      • Avatar ONG says:

        //Our relationship with Christ opens us up to His guidance, which is something other than our imagination, our interpretations, and our moods. The Spirit of Truth provides a spiritual discernment that the natural man does not have (1Corinthians 2:9-16).//

        Our relationship?
        Our imagination?
        Our interpretations?
        Our moods?

        So far you have only shown:

        Your relationship
        Your imagination
        Your interpretations
        Your moods

        It goes in circles.

        You can quote 1 Corinthians and other cherrypicked verses as much you wish (anyone could). YET you can’t arrogate to yourself any spiritual discernment derived from them WHILE at the same time disobey and confute the AUTHORITY of the Church who gave them to you.

        It’s not the Bible alone that gives authority to the Catholic Church, but the authority of the Catholic Church that confirms, assures and guarantees that the Sacred Texts in the Bible contain the inspired God’s word.

        “The Magisterium is NOT Superior to the Word of God, but is its servant.”(Cf. CCC 86)

        Obviously, certainly and without any doubt, you, yourself, or anyone else, cannot pretend to be superior to the Magisterium. You cannot appoint yourself to be a preacher that overrides the Church.

        It follows that: “The task of interpreting the Word of God AUTHENTICALLY has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him.” (Cf. CCC 100)

        No one can DISSENT from accepting the previous and still consider oneself *Catholic*, in the proper sense of the word. (Cf. with other earlier comments on the UNITY of Faith, where it was remarked that the ONE Body of Christ cannot be divided, into several bodies, each contradicting each other.)

        The same applies when resorting to a “Spirit of Truth” argument, when the same truths are put into question and contradict themselves. (Cf. with earlier comments on inner Spiritual Logic, .)

        On what THE Faith is, is explained in CCC 166 and further.

        CCC 181 tells also why the Faith is not only personal but at the same time ecclesial.

        Other earlier comments also clarified ONE Faith, ONE Body, ONE Spirit, ONE Baptism, ONE Lord, etc., ALL within ONE living Organism.

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        I appreciate the fact that the Church compiled the Bible. I make use of it; and have greatly benefited by making use of it in my personal life. This is why I think the Church made a wise decision in its choice of the Biblical books; and why I like to use the Bible a lot. What is the problem with that? Isn’t that what it is for?
        The Magisterium uses it according to its perceived mandate; and I use it according to mine. I don’t see a conflict. God will determine whether I am Catholic enough in the proper sense of the word. His opinion is what counts.
        There is the earthly organizational structure of the Church; and there is also the Mystical Body of Christ; with Christ as the Head of the Body. The Holy Spirit determines our place in the Body of Christ; and this is where our supernatural discernment comes from. We are supposed to interact with both the earthly and the heavenly.
        The New Testament gives us a good idea of how the two relate to each other. Saint Paul, in 2Corinthians 1:24 says: “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand”; and 1Peter 5:3 says to the elders: “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock”. These verses seem to have a different tone than what we have today’s Catholicism.

      • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

        You don’t see a conflict between acknowledging the Magisterium’s authority to compile the Bible and then using the Bible to attack the Magisterium? If thee Magisterium is not authoritative, then the Bible is also not authoritative since it was the Magisterium that complied the Bible

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        When Paul, in effect, says that the Magisterium does not have dominion over our faith, this sounds different from what the Church says about its authority today.

      • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

        Yes, it even sounds very different from anything Paul has ever said in the Bible. But when you make up a personal interpretation of Scripture, you don’t need to prove your point… you can say the biblical characters say what you want them to say “in effect”

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        I don’t see why my comments are construed as an attack on the Magisterium. The hierarchy is part of the structure of the Church. What I question is whether there is an inflated view of its authority among many Catholics.

  7. Avatar ONG says:

    -From CTV’s Archive-

    Pope Francis: WE CANNOT PRIVATIZE SALVATION
    Homily Jan. 29, 2015 (English dubbed)

    https://youtu.be/wM8ChQyC0cI

    • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

      Whatever the pope means by not being able to privatize our salvation, we cannot be saved without our individual faith and trust directly in Christ.

      • Avatar Christopher Lake says:

        Peter,

        Pope Francis has been, and continues to be, utterly emphatic about the need for all Catholics, and other professing Christians, to have personal faith and trust directly in Christ. If you had been actually listening to him talk about the importance of having a personal relationship of faith and trust in Christ, as he often does, you would already know that this is a repeated emphasis of Francis’s Papacy.

        With the above being said, from your continual comments at WPI, your idea of “trusting directly in Christ” apparently involves quoting Scripture and other Church documents highly selectively, and often out of context, in order to oppose *your (mis)understandings of Catholic teachings*– teachings of the very Church which canonized the New Testament in the first place.

        Church teaching is regulated by Scripture, but thankfully, Church teaching is not regulated by *your repeated anti-Catholic misinterpretations* of Scripture and of other Church documents as well. Church teaching can *never* be regulated by the Scriptural misinterpretations of lay Catholics who refuse to listen to the teaching authority of the Church which Christ founded and which canonized the New Testament.

      • Avatar jong says:

        Peter Aiello
        Dont forget what the article had reminded all readers of the danger of creating our own jesus according to our own personal interpretations and aspirations. Servant of God Fr.John Hardon simply described a confused soul like you as creating a “fake jesus” and by worshipping this “fake jesus” whom you believe that the “fake holy ghost” guided you into believing as Truth, is what we clearly called “idolatry”. Are we guilty of “idolatry” when one ascribed to their own interpretation of what Jesus had said outside of the Church Jesus Christ had founded? Why I said, “fake holy ghost” too? Because the True Holy Ghost will not lead a good soul to contradict the Teachings of the Church. (1Timothy3:15). Who possessed and guard the deposit of Truth, individual soul who interpret the Truth or the Church?

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        The Church has both wheat and tares within it. Scripture and the Spirit of Truth help us to discern and avoid the tares.

      • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

        Yes, that’s why Jesus instituted a Vicar to help us discern

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        Christ is the one who influences the person towards the supernatural discernment. This is why it is supernatural. We can only guess at who is the better discerner. I am not going to underestimate my own capacity; and I will use what I have in the best way I know how. The other person should do the same. God is the one who ultimately evaluates the individuals. That is His job, and I let Him figure it out. I’m not convinced that ecclesiastical rank, of itself, gives someone an advantage in this regard.

      • Avatar ONG says:

        //Whatever the pope means by not being able to privatize our salvation, we cannot be saved without our individual faith and trust directly in Christ.//

        See previous comment on “our imagination”, taking up what faith is, being not only “personal” (individual) but also “ecclesial” (the whole Church).

      • Avatar jong says:

        Peter Aiello
        St.Augustine a Church Father and Doctor of the Church had discerned your heart and he has a word especially for you. What is that?
        “If you only believe what you like in the gospel and reject what you dont like. Then it is not the gospel you believe but YOURSELF.”
        Did St.Augustine hit the bullseye?

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        Why do you assume that I am selective about what is in the gospel? I try to understand and practice what is in Scripture as best that I can. Augustine is correct for those that it applies to.

  8. Avatar ONG says:

    Peter Aiello,

    commenters here are trying to help you discerning! Your stubbornness is evident through all your comments. Why is that?

    The crucial point is that you spread around a false notion of Christianity you’ve convinced yourself of, disguised as a form of Catholicism, which, in addition, you brag to be member of, whereas you haven’t followed with the LIVING Church for decades. God knows, what philosophical ideas, theological aberrations and Gnostic literature you have followed.

    There are serious errors in your Christology, and by your very own words, it shows that you are pursuing a misguided faith.

    You repeat the same things over and over, but you don’t seem to process and digest the answers. You always focus on DISUNITY, while the Church focuses on UNITY. And as told earlier, Jesus himself HAS already prayed for that UNITY in John 17, which has been the hallmark of all Ecumenical approach.

    Dave Armstrong wrote on FB – May 27, 2017:

    The Old Saw About “Catholic Disunity” Somehow Making Us as “Denominational” as Protestants
    ++++++++++++++++++++­++++++++++++++
    Peter Aiello [on my blog]: Are Catholics one big happy family? I don’t see where Catholics are in any position to criticize Protestants for lack of unity. There are many factions in the Church today. Do all Catholics like Pope Francis? Some even accuse him of apostasy. There have been divisions all the way back to New Testament times in the Catholic Church.

    Me: Old, tired argument and a non sequitur. There are all kinds of individual Catholics. Take your pick. The question at hand, however, is whether the Catholic system allows and encourages institutional splits (i.e., denominations). We do not; Protestants do, by the nature of their rule of faith (sola Scriptura and private judgment).
    That is what I am criticizing. Denominations are clearly unbiblical. The notion of one Church is not unbiblical.//

    See? You have had many exchanges with him during the years. Especially about Holy Mary, praying to her, prayers of Saints like Louis de Montfort, Alphonsus de Liguori, etc.

    Some of your comments and replies are found here:

    1) http://­www.ncregister.com/­blog/darmstrong/­50-reasons-why-martin­-luther-was-excommun­icated

    2) https://­www.patheos.com/­blogs/davearmstrong/­2016/12/­st-louis-de-montfort-­blasphemous-mariolat­er.html

    3) https://­www.patheos.com/­blogs/davearmstrong/­2016/02/­st-alphonsus-de-liguo­ri-mary-worshiper-id­olater.html

    One of the latest post on Mariology/Mediatrix could also be of help:

    https://­www.patheos.com/­blogs/davearmstrong/­2019/05/­exchange-on-catholic-­mariology-and-mary-m­ediatrix.html

    But to get back on topic, Pope Francis is shepherding the Church back to its proper origins: The preaching of the Gospel in its entirety! Listen to him and forget the detractors – unless you want to be like them!

    Keep in mind the exhortation of the apostle Paul to Timothy:

    1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power:

    2 proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.

    3 For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity [itching ears], will accumulate teachers

    4 and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.

    Was this of any help?

    • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

      The only religious and philosophical ideas that I try to understand are those in the Bible which the Catholic Church compiled for regulating its doctrine. That is the only Christianity that I believe to be valid, and that’s worked for me. I use that as a basis for evaluating the many ideas that have developed in Christianity for the past 2000 years. They are not all equally valid and compatible with Scripture; and many have been false.
      I don’t believe that I have to be dismayed with the mass confusion and division that is in Christianity today. It is what it is. It is there even though there is supposed to be the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We all have the responsibility to form our personal consciences in the best way that we know how; and this is what I have chosen as a Catholic. Those who want to be liberal, Social Justice Warriors, traditionalist, pre-Vatican II, post-Vatican II, anti-Pope Francis, et cetera, have chosen their own way of being Catholic. What is has been your choice?

      • Avatar Christopher Lake says:

        Peter,

        Given that you claim to only believe what Scripture teaches, why don’t you seem to believe the teaching of 2 Thessalonians 2:15– namely, that Christianity is not *only* about believing and obeying what has been formally written down in Scripture, but that it is *also* about holding fast to the apostolic traditions that have been passed down through word of mouth? Why don’t you give more weight to 2 Thessalonians 2:15, if you truly want to be a Biblical Christian?

        You hold fast to *your personal interpretations* of Scripture, while disregarding both the Scriptural interpretations of the Church which canonized Scripture *and* the apostolic Tradition(s) of that Church which have been handed down to us, as 2 Thessalonians 2:15 describes. Your form of Christianity may be many things, but it is *not* the Biblical Christianity that you claim, because it only holds to those parts of Scripture which comport with the way that *you believe* the faith should be practiced, according to *your interpretation* of the Bible.

        This is really ultimately making Christianity in the image of your personal interpretation of the Bible. The problem is that Christ, *in Scripture*, gives the keys of the kingdom and the power to authoritatively bind and loose to St. Peter and his successors, *not* to you. This will continue to be true, no matter how many times you selectively quote “Lumen Gentium” and certain verses of Scripture, out of context and misinterpreted, to argue against your misunderstandings of “today’s Catholic Church.”

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        Which are the writings that contain the apostolic traditions that were not written down during the New Testament period? There were more NT writings after First Thessalonians that have been included in the NT. If they were not written down during the New Testament period, how do we know that they are apostolic, and not something else? There are writings which have the names of apostles associated with them, but were not included in the New Testament canon. There have been lots of Scriptural interpretations in the Church for the past 2000 years. Are they all correct? Do you know which ones are the correct ones? If I have the Holy Spirit, why can’t mine be correct?
        I am one of many. I don’t force my understanding on anyone else. You seem to say that I do or want to. I can only use my understanding of Scripture in my personal life; and I like the results. I can only recommend it to others.

      • Avatar ONG says:

        St. Augustine also said:

        “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”

        You say:
        //Those who want to be liberal, Social Justice Warriors, traditionalist, pre-Vatican II, post-Vatican II, anti-Pope Francis, et cetera, have chosen their own way of being Catholic.//

        I think after all this tirade you still don’t understand how the Catholic Church functions since one can choose to go against it and *still* consider oneself Catholic in communion with the successor of Peter.

        Somewhere in your conscience there must be hidden that truth. Look for it.

        I also think you don’t understand what “authority” means. Like the classic Protestantism and nowadays non-denominationals you illude yourself to get authority from the Bible to the point of even refusing to listen to those that have *the Authority* to explain what the Bible says.

        You just are and want to be on your own (admit it at least) with a book you hardly understand, with an imaginary Jesus and a spirit you always mention that contradicts and goes against Jesus himself, but are too proud to be reconciled with the Church and learn.

        The scapegoating of “mass confusion” is just an excuse for not listening.

        Obviously ALL of those who choose to go against Pope Francis have placed themselves outside the Church, and are of no example to follow.

        When you get the grace to comprehend this and your own thoughts contradictions, then maybe your talk of “the Spirit of Truth” could be more credible.

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        It’s hard for me to relate to the current understanding of authority in the Church when Saint Paul, in 2Corinthians 1:24 says: “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.” I detect a different tone in Saint Paul than the present understanding of authority in the Church. I think he said this because he recognized that our personal faith and trust in Christ are what connect us to Christ and what saves us. There is no one else or anything else. The function of the Church is to inform us of this, and not hinder our understanding of this.
        I’m quite familiar with Catholic teaching because I was able to attend Catholic schools K thru 16 before Vatican II when there was the Latin mass. I was agnostic by the time I was 20. At about 30, I took a fresh look at Christianity from a Biblical perspective, without feeling obligated to look at it from the current Catholic point of view, and I found a Christianity that I could relate to and apply to my personal life. I see no reason to change that. The New Testament is the original Catholic teaching regardless of what developed after that. It has remained the basis for all future Catholic teaching; and I see no reason why I can’t make full use of it for my personal Catholic teaching, in the same was as another person may choose the Catechism instead. A personal conscience needs to be formed within the framework of psychological freedom from coercion.
        You have no knowledge of my Biblical understanding, or whether my Jesus and Holy Spirit are imaginary or not. You sound a bit judgmental.
        I do believe that Pope Francis is as legitimate a pope as any of the others; but I don’t believe that I have to agree with everything that he or any other pope says and does.

      • Avatar ONG says:

        Peter Aiello
        you said:
        //It’s hard for me to relate to the current understanding of authority in the Church when Saint Paul, in 2Corinthians 1:24 says: “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.” I detect a different tone in Saint Paul than the present understanding of authority in the Church. I think he said this because he recognized that our personal faith and trust in Christ are what connect us to Christ and what saves us.//

        Authority is important when one goes astray from sound doctrine. Especially when it interferes with what one believes and builds one’s faith on, which in return forms one’s conscience.

        Obedience to ones superiors is a must, as it should be to the Pope by the bishops themselves.

        Oh, St. Paul there was trying to be charitable indeed… The Community was young, he established it around AD 51 and considered himself as a father to them!

        You must always read the entire letter, and preferably an introductory commentary of it all to put the various parts in the right context.

        And don’t forget to read and meditate on the 4 Gospels and not only Paul! You must listen to what Jesus himself says.

        By the way I detect another tone in chapter 4:18-21 of the first letter, when St. Paul ends the chapter with:

        21 “Which do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a gentle spirit?”

        The history of the Corinthians is troublesome and full of disorders when you read about the things known that were happening there.

        Historical context is important too, as much as Paul’s literary and pastoral style. One cannot reads an isolated verse here and there!

        Have you heard of Clement? He is mentioned in Philippians 4:3.

        He became Pope Clement I (known as Saint Clement of Rome) from AD 88 to 97, and wrote the long “First Epistle to the Corinthians”. Look for it online and you’ll find it.

        I paste just a couple of chapters to give you an idea:

        //Chap. XLVII. Your recent discord is worse than the former which took place in the times of Paul.

        Take up the epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul. What did he write to you at the time when the Gospel first began to be preached? Truly, under the inspiration of the Spirit, he wrote to you concerning himself, and Cephas, and Apollos, because even then parties had been formed among you. But that inclination for one above another entailed less guilt upon you, inasmuch as your partialities were then shown towards apostles, already of high reputation, and towards a man whom they had approved. But now reflect who those are that have perverted you, and lessened the renown of your far-famed brotherly love. It is disgraceful, beloved, yea, highly disgraceful, and unworthy of your Christian profession, that such a thing should be heard of as that the most stedfast and ancient Church of the Corinthians should, on account of one or two persons, engage in sedition against its presbyters. And this rumour has reached not only us, but those also who are unconnected with us; so that, through your infatuation, the name of the Lord is blasphemed, while danger is also brought upon yourselves.//
        […]
        //Chap. LVII. Let the authors of sedition submit themselves.
        Ye therefore, who laid the foundation of this sedition, submit yourselves to the presbyters, and receive correction so as to repent, bending the knees of your hearts. Learn to be subject, laying aside the proud and arrogant self-confidence of your tongue. For it is better for you that ye should occupy a humble but honourable place in the flock of Christ, than that, being highly exalted, ye should be cast out from the hope of His people. For thus speaketh all-virtuous Wisdom:” Behold, I will bring forth to you the words of My Spirit, and I will teach you My speech. Since I called, and ye did not hear; I held forth My words, and ye regarded not, but set at naught My counsels, and yielded not at My reproofs; therefore I too will laugh at your destruction; yea, I will rejoice when ruin cometh upon you, and when sudden confusion overtakes you, when overturning presents itself like a tempest, or when tribulation and oppression fall upon you. For it shall come to pass, that when ye call upon Me, I will not hear you; the wicked shall seek Me, and they shall not find Me. For they hated wisdom, and did not choose the fear of the Lord; nor would they listen to My counsels, but despised My reproofs. Wherefore they shall eat the fruits of their own way, and they shall be filled with their own ungodliness.”

        Yes, there have always been attempts of rebellion and divisions, and lots of heresies… but they have always been addressed in a way or another.

        The anti-Vatican II voices of today are just a disgrace for the Church and for the Body of Christ!

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        In Mark 9:38-40, an individual was casting out devils in the name of Jesus Christ, and the apostles forbade him because he was not part of the group. Jesus had no problem with him casting out the devils on his own.
        Church authority can’t override our personal faith and trust in Christ and the authority that He has over us. Both have to be kept in proper balance. I believe that Paul was aware of this from what he said. The Church is not a substitute for Christ. It points us to Christ, and Him alone. We are ambassadors for Christ on this earth, and we encourage people to be reconciled to God.

  9. Avatar ONG says:

    Peter Aiello

    Pope Francis: General Audience
    Juny 25, 2014

    Pope warns against do-it-yourself Christianity

    https://youtu.be/­SWk0TQVN5VM

      • Avatar jong says:

        Peter Aiello
        your statement:

        “Why do you assume that I am selective about what is in the gospel? I try to understand and practice what is in Scripture as best that I can. Augustine is correct for those that it applies to.”
        (Typical “DO IT YOURSELF” attitude)

        You said you are a Catholic but failed to submit and assent to the Faith of the Church particularly in showing obedience to Pope’s magisterial teachings.

        Understanding the bible alone according to your own lense is a Protestant attitude and never a Catholic practice. If that is the behavior you practice in reading the bible, that is your main error. The Church is guided by the Holy Spirit and cannot err, while you are claiming too that an indivdual is guided too by the Holy Spirit is only for him to become a better member of the Church but in the areas of Faith & Morals one must be subject to the Church united to the Pope.

        The “do it yourself” mentality is never practiced nor teach by Jesus and the Apostles, so what gospel are you reading?

        St.Augustine is right on point, you are a Catholic Protestant who only select the gospel verses suited to your liking but will never submit to the Supreme Pontiff and Church Authority. In short, you will forever be a Dissenter by default and your attitude is more suited in Protestant & Christian denominations settings where personal interpretations is encourage.

        If you want to remain as a good Catholic, ponder the bull of Pope Boniface VIII in Unam Sanctam, “Obedience to the Pope is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for salvation.”..unless Jesus gave you a duplicate Keys, I don’t know how you will enter Heaven. Read Matthew16:19, do you understand this verse?

      • Avatar ONG says:

        Then go to your nearest Catholic Church, talk to the parish priest and see what kind of help you can contribute with.

        There might also have RCIA courses where you could attend to refresh your Bible and CCC knowledge.

  10. Avatar Christopher Lake says:

    Peter,

    If you listened to the Church more consistently and took more of her Magisterial teachings seriously, then you wouldn’t have to ask about what 2 Thessalonians 2:15 means for us as Christians. The extra-Biblical (although *not anti-Biblical*) traditions, to which 2 Thessalonians 2:15 alludes, and to which we are exhorted to hold fast in that verse, are the apostolic traditions that have been handed down to us by word of mouth, *rather than* being formally written down in Scripture. The verse is quite clear that some things in apostolic Christianity have been written down by letter (via Scripture), and some things have been passed down *by word of mouth*. Of the latter things, how do we know which are legitimate for Christians? By listening to the teaching authority of the Church that Christ founded, with St. Peter and his successors as the Vicars of Christ, to whom Christ Himself has given the keys of the kingdom and the authority to bind and loose, as Scripture teaches. This same Church gave you the Biblical canon, which you use to quote against your caricatured understanding of “today’s Catholicism.”

    In a comment above, you wrote:

    “It’s hard for me to relate to the current understanding of authority in the Church when Saint Paul, in 2Corinthians 1:24 says: “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.” I detect a different tone in Saint Paul than the present understanding of authority in the Church. I think he said this because he recognized that our personal faith and trust in Christ are what connect us to Christ and what saves us. There is no one else or anything else. The function of the Church is to inform us of this, and not hinder our understanding of this.”

    Peter, the Bible simply does *not teach* that it is *only* our personal faith and trust in Christ which saves us. That is a radically Protestant misinterpretation of the Bible’s teaching. Have you never read the Biblical verses which speak of baptism *also* saving us? Have you not read what Jesus says to Nicodemus– that one is born again by both water and the Spirit? Faith and trust in Christ are cucial for salvation, but tbe Bible does *not teach* that that there is no one else or anything else which plays an indispensable role in our being saved. Scripture even tells us that we also play a role in “saving” our brothers and sisters, when we help to lead them away from the darkness of their sin and into the light. Of course, we can’t save them, or anyone, in the particular and irreplaceable way that Christ saves, but again, the Bible simply does not teach that it is only our faith and trust in Christ which save us. Scripture speaks of Christ saving us, baptism saving us, us “saving” each other, the eating and drinking of the flesh and blood of Christ bringing us life, which we *cannot have without them*, and more.

    If any of these concepts, and any of these words, sound heretical to you, then keep reading Scripture, and you will find them all there. You will also find them all in the Magisterial teaching of the Catholic Church, which compiled and canonized the New Testament–and the Church did *not* do so, so that you, and many others, could then quote (out of context) and misinterpret Scripture against the Church’s teaching authority and her Magisterial teachings and practices!

    • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

      Haven’t the words which have been passed down by word of mouth also been written down later? Later words and writings have to be regulated by Scripture in order for us to consider them as apostolic. The Church can’t just make up stuff as it goes along, even though the beliefs of some Catholics appear to be so.
      Ephesians 2:8 says: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”. Galatians 3:26-27 says: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” These verses are not hard to find. This is how we receive the Spirit which is the evidence of our inheritance. What is more difficult to find are verses that point to a different way of being saved. Jesus is the only way to the Father. There is no one else. The Spirit brings life (John 6:63). We participate in the Eucharist after we are saved.

      • Avatar Christopher Lake says:

        Peter,

        Scripture does clearly tell us many things. Some of those things, you seem to emphatically agree with, and some, you seem to want to downplay or ignore, in favor of those things in Scripture which happen to fit with your own conception of the Christian faith (especially when they are quoted out of context, as you often do).

        Scripture does tell us that Jesus is the only way to the Father, and that there is no other name under Heaven by which we must be saved. You love those verses, as I do too. Scripture also tells us, in 1 Peter 3:21, that baptism saves us. Do you love that verse? Do you submit your understanding of the faith to that verse too?

        Scripture also tells us, in James, that faith alone is dead and cannot save. When you quote Ephesians about being saved by grace through faith in Christ, do you also agree with James that even faith in Christ, if that faith is without works, cannot save us?

        Do you agree with John 20:19-23? In those verses, we see a clear description of “today’s Catholic Church” authority, as taught by Jesus Himself, to which He calls us to submit. Do you submit your understanding of the faith to what Jesus says in these verses?

        Jesus says of St. Peter that he has the keys of the kingdom, and that whatever he binds on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever He looses on earth will be loosed in Heaven. He also gives Peter and the other apostles the authority, in His name, to forgive and retain the sins of others. How do Christ’s clear words to St. Peter in John 20:19-23 fit with *your personal conception* of the faith, Peter, wherein, apparently, no Pope or Bishop has *any binding authority* over your conscience or your interpretation of Scripture?

        How can St. Peter and his apostolic successors exercise their Christ-given authority to bind and loose, as laid out by Christ in Scripture, when, in your conception of the faith, one quotation of Lumen Gentium, and a few quotations of a few verses of Scripture (always quoted out of context from *the rest* of those texts!) are apparently sufficient to trump other things that are very clearly taught in Scripture and in other Church documents?

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