Sunday, November 24, 2013

Can Catholics or Anyone Trust Protestant/Charismatic Deliverance or Binding Prayers Against Demons?

Can Catholics or Anyone Trust Protestant/Charismatic Deliverance or Binding Prayers Against Demons?



Can we trust Protestant(Pentacostal)/Charismatic deliverance or binding prayers against demons? Until I reread Bishop Sheen and Fr. Hardon's warnings on Charismatic spirituality vs. Catholic spirituality problems (see below) and former Satanist now Catholic Deborah Lipsky's book "A Message of Hope," I thought yes.



Now I think they could be dangerous. Please buy Lipsky's book and tell me what you think?

Brian Showalter said:



"Another former Satanist Deborah Lipsky has a similar story to Betty. She went to Catholic school where she got bullied for being autistic. She blamed the Catholic Church for her pain and her goal was to destroy the Catholic Church. She had made a pact with the devil and the demons she was associated with knew the Catholic Church was their nemesis. She says:

'I used to take pleasure bringing born-again Christians to their knees if they tried either 'exorcising' my demons or speaking to me of Jesus' love. Protestants of all denominations were also 'sport' as they quickly buckled under my power when they tried to convert me. However even back then I feared the Catholic priest as I knew, as did my demons, that I was no match for the power that came through him from God.'"



I agree that "Three popes have acknowledged the [Charismatic]movement: Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI. Pope John Paul stated that the movement was integral to the renewal of the entire Catholic Church. Both Popes Paul and Benedict, while acknowledging the good aspects of the movement, at the same time urge caution to its members to maintain their link to the Catholic Church."



I would add I urge caution to them in their link with Catholic spirituality. Charismatic former Satanist Betty Brennan has spoken on Charismatics seeming at times to think Protestant(Pentacostal)/Charismatic spirituality superior to Catholic spirituality and even the the Mass.



Fred





Bishop Sheen: "There just isn’t any such thing as a Charismatic Church"



-"Archbishop Fulton Sheen had this to say: “It is their spirit therefore that is gradually unfolding itself in the Church. That is how we come to a theological knowledge of the three persons, and when we detach the spirit from the Church we are very apt to go awry. There just isn’t any such thing as a charismatic Church. There isn’t any such thing, for example, as a baptism of the spirit distinct from baptism. That is why Saint Paul in his epistle to the Corinthians Church, which was the Church that caused him so much trouble, he when he used the word Baptism he said: ‘Sure you are Baptized! You are IN Christ!’."





Evaluation of the Charismatic Movement By Father John A. Hardon, S.J.



http://www.unitypublishing.com/Apparitions/HARDONCharismatics.htm



Evaluation of the Charismatic Movement



Pentecostalism; Evaluation a Phenomenon



By Father John A. Hardon, S.J.



Before entering on the formal presentation, I think it will be useful to first clarity some possible sources of misunderstanding. The immediate focus of this study is Pentecostalism.�� It is not directly concerned with the persons who call themselves Pentecostals or, as some prefer, Charismatic.



Moreover, the purpose here is to make an evaluation.� It is not to impart information about Pentecostalism, since such information is fairly presumed, with all the literature by and about the movement and, from many people, either personal experience or direct observation of the movement in action.



Finally, though I seldom do this when speaking, in this case it may be useful to give a run-down of �references� about the speaker�s own qualifications in talking on the subject.



My professional work is teaching Comparative Religion.� A phenomenon like Pentecostalism, I know has for years been one of the characteristic features in other religious cultures, and not only in Protestantism or Roman Catholicism; in fact, not only in Christianity.



Since the first stirring of Pentecostalism in Catholic circles, I have been asked to give some appraisal of it to leaders in the Church who sought counsel on the question, e.g., Bishop Zaleski as chairman of the American Bishops Doctrinal Commission and recently the Jesuit Provincial of the Southern Province, in a three-day private conference in New Orleans.



For several years I have been counselling persons dedicated to Pentecostalism, mainly priests, religious, and seminarians.� And on Palm Sunday of this year I preached at the First Solemn Mass of a priest who is deeply involved in the movement.



My plan for today�s talk is to cover three areas of the subject, at uneven length, namely:



����� 1.� The Historical Background of the Pentecostal Movement, up to the present.



����� 2.� What are the principal elements of Pentecostalism, as viewed by Roman Catholics dedicated to the movement?



����� 3.� An Evaluation in the form of a Critical Analysis of Pentecostalism as a phenomenon which has developed an Ideology.



HISTORICAL BACKGROUND



The essentials of the Pentecostalism we know today began with the Reformation in the sixteenth century as a complement to Biblicism.� The two together have formed an inseparable duality in historic Protestantism.



Where the Bible was canonized in the phrase, Sola Scriptura, as the sole repository of divine revelation; the indwelling Holy Spirit in the heart of every believer was invoked as the only criterion for interpreting the Scriptures or even for recognizing their canonicity.� Thus Sola Scriptura became the basic principle of direction in the life of some Christians, in place of the professedly divine guidance by the Spirit residing in the papacy and the Catholic hierarchy.



Pentecostalism turned sectarian in the nineteenth century whom groups like the Irvingites, Shakers, and Mormons broke away from their parent bodies over what they said was indifference in the established Protestant churches to external manifestations of the presence in converted believers of the Holy Spirit.



What gave these sectarian groups theological rootage was the parallel rise of the Holiness movement among Methodists.� Experience of conversion and an awareness of the Spirit had always been prominent in Wesleyan thought.� With the advent of biblical criticism and the solvent of rationalism, many followers of Wesley fell back almost exclusively on personal experience as a sign of God�s saving presence.



When some of these Holiness groups affiliated with the Irvingiton and their counterparts, modern Pentecostalism was born.



Some would date the beginning with 1900, but more accurately, from 1900 on the Pentecostal movement began its denominational period.� One after another, new congregations were formed or old ones changed to become Pentecostal in principle and policy.� By 1971 some 200 distinct denominations in America qualified as Pentecostals.� While the total is uncertain, ten million in the US is not too high a figure.� Outside North America, the largest contingent is in South America, where Pentecostal missionaries from the States have successfully evangelized in every country below the Rio Grande. Brazil alone has four million, of which 1.8 million are mainly converts who were originally baptized Catholics.



The most recent development in Pentecostalism was the ecumenical collaboration with Catholic groups in the United States, at first cautious, then bolder and now becoming a pattern that give rise to what some call �Catholic Pentecostalism,� but others prefer to say is �The Pentecostal Movement in the Catholic Church.�



����� From this point on, my concern will be uniquely with this latest development, seen through the eyes of its dedicated followers and described by men and women who believe they are, and wish to remain, loyal Catholics but honestly believe that a new dimension should be added to the concept of Catholicism before it was touched by the present outpouring of the Pentecostal grace of the Spirit.



Main Elements of Pentecostalism



Although American Catholic involvement in the Pentecostal movement is hardly five years old (this speech dates back to 1970-1971), a growing body of literature is accumulating.� Most of it is still descriptive or historical, but more than a score of monographs and half a dozen books are frankly theological.� Their authors seriously try to come to grips with what they call the Charismatic Renewal, and their studies are couched in formal, even technical language.



There is no doubt that those who are professed Catholics, and at the same time, committed to Pentecostalism, want to span both shores.� As they view the situation, it should be seen from two perspectives: 1) from the standpoint of Pentecostalism, defining what are its essential features; and 2) from the side of Catholicism, distinguishing what is different about Pentecostalism today, compared with other historical types of the same movement in former times.



Essentials Of Pentecostalism



Writers of a Catholic persuasion isolate certain elements of Pentecostalism and identify them as trans-confessional.� They are simply characteristic of this aspect of Christianity whenever it occurs, whether among Catholics or Protestants or, in fact, whether before the Reformation or since.



1) The primary postulate also gives Pentecostalism its name.� Just as on the first Pentecost in Jerusalem there was an extraordinary decent of the Holy Spirit and a marvellous effusion of spiritual gifts, so at different ages in the Church�s history a similar phenomenon occurs. �



It is generally occasioned by a grave crisis or need in the Church.� God raises certain charismatic persons to visit them with special graces and make them the heralds of His mission to the world.� Such were Benedict and Bruno, Francis and Dominic, Ignatius and Theresa of Avila.



The present age is such a period, certainly of grave crisis in Christianity, during which the Holy �Spirit has decided to enter history in a miraculous way, to raise up once again the leaders of renewal for the Church and, through the Church, for all mankind.



2) No less than on Pentecost Sunday, so now the descent of the Spirit becomes probably� perceptible. This perceptibility shows itself especially in three ways.



�������������� A) In a personally felt experience of the Spirit�s presence in the one who receives Him.� The qualities of this coming are variously described; they cover one or more of the following internal experiences: deep-felt peace of soul, joyousness of heart, shedding of worry and anxiety, strong conviction of belief, devotion to prayer, tranquillity of emotions, sense of spiritual well being, an ardent piety, and, in general, a feeling of intimacy with the divine which, it is said, had never or only for sporadic moments been experienced before.



�������������� B) Along with the internal phenomena, which themselves partake of the preternatural, are external manifestations that can be witnessed by others.� Such are speaking in strange tongues, in gift of prophecy, the power of healing, and, it would seem, all the gamut of charismata enumerated in the Acts of the Apostles and the letters of St. Paul.



�������������� C) Capping the two sets of phenomena, of internal experience and external manifestation, is the inspiration given by the Spirit to communicate these gifts to others.� Normally a Spirit filled person is the channel of this communication; he becomes a messenger of the Spirit to others and his zeal to act in this missionary role is part of the change that the divine visitation effects in him.



3) The basic condition required to receive the charismatic outpouring is openness of faith.� The only fundamental obstacle is diffidence or distrust of the Spirit to produce today what He had done in ages past.



If the foregoing are typical of Pentecostalism in every critical period of Christianity and the common heritage in Protestant as well as Catholic experience, certain features are typical of Pentecostalism today.



����� 1) Present day Charismatic experience is far wider than ever before.� Where in former days only certain few people received the Pentecostal outpouring, it is now conferred on thousands, and the conferral has only started.� It is nothing less than a deluge of preternatural visitation.



����� 2) Consistent with the large numbers is the fact that Pentecostalism, otherwise than ever before, affects the lettered and unlettered, those obviously pursuing holiness and the most ordinary people.� Indeed, one of the truly remarkable facts in that even quite unholy persons may now suddenly receive the Spirit, provided they open their hearts to Him in docile confidence and faith.



����� 3) Also, unlike in previous times, this is a movement.� It is not just a sporadic experience but a veritable dawn of a new era of the Spirit; such as Christianity had never known in age past.� It is destined, so it seems to sweep whole countries and cultures, and promises to effect changes in co-called institutional Christianity not less dramatic than occurred in Jerusalem when Peter preached his first sermon in response to the coming of the Holy Spirit.



����� 4) As might be expected, the Spirit is now to affect not only individuals or scattered groups here and there.� His charismatic effusion will remake Christian society.� His gifts are to recreate and, where needed, create new communities of believers, bound together by the powerful ties of a common religious experience and sustained by such solidarity as only a mutually shared contact with the divine can produce.



����� 5) While there had been Pentecostal experiences in every stage of Christian history, generally they were characterized by public phenomena or at least their external manifestations were highlighted.� Modern Pentecostalism includes these phenomena, indeed, but, the stress is on the internal gifts received by the people.� Their deep inside conviction of mind and joy of heart are paramount.� These, are, of course, no less phenomenal than the physical gifts of tongues or prophecy or healing of disease.. They, too, partake of the miraculous.� But they are the interior gifts from the Spirit in the spirit, and as such, are the main focus of Pentecostalism in today�s world of doubt and desperation.



Critical Analysis



So far I have given what might be called an overview of Pentecostalism, with emphasis on that form which professed Catholics have not only adopted but which their leaders, priests, religious and the laity, are defining and defending in a spate of books and periodicals.



I have witnessed the phenomena they described, read the literature they have written, spent hours in conference and consultation with those deeply committed to the movement, conferred at length with specialists in the psychological sciences who dealt professionally with �Catholic Pentecostals,� and I have carefully watched the consequences of the movement for several years.� My growing conclusion is that Pentecostalism in the Catholic Church is symptomatic of some grave needs among the faithful that should be met soon and by all effective means at our disposal.� But I also think that Pentecostalism as an ideology is not the answer to these needs.� In fact, it may be a serious obstacle, even a threat, to the authentic renewal in the Spirit inaugurated by the Second Vatican Council.



My reasons for this two fold judgment naturally suggest two sets of appraisal: one for considering Pentecostalism symptomatic and the other for believing it does not meet the felt needs of the Church today.



Pentecostalism As Symptomatic



It is not surprising that a phenomenon like Pentecostalism should have risen to the surface in Catholic circles just at this time.� The Church�s history has seen similar, if less widely publicized, phenomena before.



����� 1) The widespread confusion in theology has simmered down to the faithful and created in the minds of many uncertainty about even such fundamentals as God�s existence, the divinity of Christ, and the Real Presence.



Confusion seeks certitude, and certitude is sough in contact with God.� When this contact is fostered and sustained by group prayers and joint witness to the ancient faith it answers to a deep felt human need.� Pentecostalism in its group prayer situations tries to respond to this often desperate need.



����� 2) Among the critical causes of confusion, the Church�s authority is challenged and in some quarters openly denied.� This creates the corresponding need for some base of religious security which Pentecostalism offers to give in the interior peace born of union with the Spirit.



����� 3) Due to many factors, many not defensible, practices of piety and devotion from regular Novenas, to statutes, rosaries and religious articles have been dropped or phased out of use in the lives of thousands of the faithful.� Pentecostalism serves to fill the devotional vacuum in a way that startles those who have, mistakenly, come to identify Christianity with theological cooperation or the bare minimum of external piety.



����� 4) Ours is in growing measure a prayerless culture.� This has made inroads in Catholicism. It is a commentary on our age that millions have substituted work for prayer; and how the balance needs to be redressed--with Pentecostalism offering one means of restoring the spirit of prayer.



����� 5) In the same way, religion for too many had become listless routine, and prayer a lip service or almost vacuous attendance at the liturgy.� Religion as experience, knowing God and not only about Him; feeling His presence in one�s innermost being--was thought either exotic, or psychotic, or presumptuous.� Pentecostalism promises to give what Christians in our dehumanized Western Society so strongly crave--intimacy with the Divine.



All of this, and more, is part of the background which helps explain why such a movement as the Charismatic came into being.� Its existence is both symptomatic and imperative that something be done--existence is both symptomatic and imperative that something be done--and done well--to satisfy the desire of millions of Christians for peace of mind, security of faith, devotion in prayer, and a felt realization of union with God.



Pentecostalism, as a mistaken Ideology



����� The question that still remains, however, is whether the Pentecostal movement is a valid answer to these recognized needs.� Notice I do not say that individuals who have entered the movement cannot find many of their spiritual needs who have entered the movement cannot find many of their spiritual needs satisfied.� Nor am I saying that group prayer is not helpful for many people; nor, least of all, that the Holy Spirit has been inactive during these trying times to confer precisely an abundance of His sevenfold gifts on those who humbly and in faith invoke His sanctifying name.�



What I must affirm is that Pentecostalism is not a mere movement, it is, as the ending �ism� indicates, an ideology.� And as such it is creating more problems objectively than it solves subjectively.� In other words, even when it gives symptomatic relief to some people, it produces a rash of new, and graver, issues touching on the Catholic faith and its authentic expression by the faithful.



����� 1) The fundamental problem it creates is the absolute conviction of devoted Pentecostals that they have actually received a charismatic visitation of the Holy Spirit.



I am not here referring to such external phenomena as the gift of tongues, but of the deeply inward certitude that a person has been the object of a preternatural infusion, with stress on the infusion of preternatural insights, i.e., in the cognitive order.



This is an astounding assertion, and the only thing un-remarkable about it is that so many Pentecostals are now firmly convinced they have been so enlighten.



Their books and monographs, lectures and testimonials simply assume to be incontestable and beyond refutation that they have been specially illumined by a charism which, they say, is available to others who are equally disposed to receive it.



But repeated affirmation is not enough, and even the strongest subjective conviction is not proof, where a person claims to have been the recipient of such extraordinary gifts; notably of spiritual knowledge as God conferred in apostolic times, or gave to His great mystics in different times.



The dilemma this raises can be easily stated:



Either the Pentecostal experience really confers preternatural insight (at least among its leaders) .� Or, the experience is quite natural, while certainly allowing for the normal operations of divine grace.� Everything which the Pentecostal leadership says suggest that they consider the experience, and I quote their terms; �preternatural, special, mystical, charismatic, extraordinary.�



����� 2.� It is irrelevant to discourse about the charismata in the New Testament, or theologize about the gifts of the Holy Spirit.� No believing Christian denies either the charism or the gifts.� The question at stake is not of faith, about of fact.



Are the so-called charismata truly charismatic?� If they are, then we stand in the presence of a cosmic miracle, more stupendous in proportion--by reason of sheer numbers--than anything the Church has seen, I would say, even in apostolic times.



But if the experiences are not authentically charismatic, then, again, we stand in the presence of a growing multitude of persons who believe themselves charismatically led by the Holy Spirit.� They will make drastic decisions, institute revolutionary changes, or act in a host of other ways--firmly convinced they are responding to a special divine impulse whereas in reality they are acting in response to quite ordinary, and certainly less infallible, motions of the human spirit.



����� 3.� At this point we could begin a completely separate analysis, namely, of the accumulating evidence that the impulses which the Pentecostal leaders consider charismatic are suspiciously very human.� Their humanity, to use a mild word, is becoming increasingly clear from the attitudes being assumed towards established principles and practices in Catholicism.�



Logically, it may be inferred, the Holy Spirit would not contradict Himself.� We expect Him to support what Catholic Christianity believes is the fruit of His abiding presence in the Church of which He is the animating principle of ecclesiastical life.



What do we find?� In the published statements, and therefore not the casual remarks of those who are guiding the destiny of the Pentecostal movement among Catholics, are too many disconcerting positions to be lightly dismissed by anyone who wants to make an objective appraisal of what is happening.



I limit myself to only a few crucial issues, each of which I am sure, will soon have a cluster of consequences in the practical order:



����� a) The Papacy.� If there is one doctrine of Catholic Christianity that is challenged today it is the Roman Primacy.� Yet in hundreds of pages of professional writing about the charismatic gifts, we find a studied silence--no doubt to avoid offense to other Pentecostals--about the papacy; and a corresponding silence about a more loyal attachment to the Holy See.� It is painful to record but should be said that the pioneer of American Pentecostalism among Catholics and its publicly take issue with Pope Paul V1 On Humane Vitae



����� b) The Priesthood and Episcopate.� Running as a thread through apologists for Catholic Pentecostalism is an almost instinctive contraposition of, and I quote, �charismatic� and �hierarchical, � or �spiritual� and �institutional�.� While some commentators state the dual aspects in the Church and even stress the importance of harmony between the two, others have begun to opt for a theological position quite at variance with historic Catholicism.� They suggest that in the New Testament there was essentially only one sacrament for conferring the gifts of the Spirit.� Baptism gave a Christian all the essentials of what later on the �institutional church� developed into separate functions, namely the diaconate, priesthood and episcopate.



����� c) Catholic Apostolate.� The heaviest artillery of Pentecostals in the Catholic camp is levelled at the �ineffectual, irrelevant and dispirited� form of Christianity prevalent in the Church.� Accordingly, under the impulse of the Spirit, radical changes are demanded in the Church�s apostolate.� Old forms of trying to reach the people, especially the young, should be abandoned.� This applies particularly to Catholic education.� �In spite of the immense expenditure of money and human effort being put into parochial schools, �Pentecostals are saying, �how often do we not hear complaint that a pitifully small proportion of the students emerge as deeply convinced and committed Christians?� We can therefore well use some new life in the Church.� �Concretely this means to enter other kinds of work for the faithful, and not retain Catholic parochial schools--as more than one teaching order, influenced by Pentecostalism, has already decided to carry into effect.�



����� d) The New Spirituality.� Given the posture of Pentecostalism as a phenomenal downpour of charismatic grace, it is only natural that the human contribution to the divine effusion is minimized.� Actually defendants of the movement are careful to explain that a new kind of spirituality was born with Pentecostalism.



As heretofore taught, persons aspiring to sanctity were told that recollection had to be worked at and cultivated.� It meant painstaking effort to keep oneself in the presence of God and consciously fostering, perhaps through years of practice, prayerful awareness of God.� The charismatic movement is actually a discovery that all of this propaedeutics is unnecessary. In view of its importance, it is worth quoting the new spiritual doctrine in full:



There is a subtle but very significant difference between what the presence of God means in the spiritual doctrine that has long been usual in novitiates, seminaries, and the like, and what it means for those who have shared the Pentecostal experience.



The difference can be put bluntly in the following terms: The former put the accent on the practice, whereas the latter put it on the presence.� That is to say, the former regard the constant awareness of God�s presence as a goal to be striven for, but difficult to attain; hence they exert themselves in recalling over and over that God is here, and in frequently renewing their intention to turn their thoughts to Him.�



The latter, on the contrary, seem to start with the experiential awareness of God�s presence as the root which enlivens and gives its characteristic notes to all their prayer, love and spirituality.



It is not too much to call this �instant mysticism�.� And if some charismatic do not succeed as well (or as soon) as others in this sudden experience of God which dispenses with the labourious process of cultivating recollection, it must be put down to a lack of sufficient docility to the Spirit or, more simply, to the fact that the Holy Spirit remains master of His gifts and breathes when (and where He wills).



But the essential dictum stands: those who charismatically experience God, and they are now numbered in thousands, came by the phenomenon without having to go through the hard school of mental and ascetical discipline still taught by an outmoded spirituality.



����� e) Aggressive Defensiveness.� Having postulated what they call the �Pentecostal Spirituality,� its proponents defend it not only against present-day critics of such �cheap grace,� but they anticipate unspoken objections from the masters of mystical theology.� Among their silent critics, whom they criticize, is St. John of the Cross.



As elsewhere, so here is offered a contraposition, the classical doctrine on the charism (or extraordinary gifts of the Spirit) and the new doctrine of Pentecostalism.� Again direct quotation will bring out the full confrontation:



On the practical level, the classical doctrine on the charism has been formed chiefly by St. John of the Cross.



The stand that he takes is predominantly negative: i.e., a warning against the harm that comes from rejoicing excessively in the possession of such gifts.� The one who does so, he says, leaves himself open to deception, either by the devil or by his own imagination: in relying on these charism, he� loses some of the merit of faith; and finally, he is tempted to vainglory.



Similarly when St. John discusses supernatural communications that come by way of visions or words, particularly those that are perceived by the imagination or the bodily senses, he is mainly concerned to warn against the dangers of deception and excessive attachment.� He condemns the practice of seeking to obtain information from God through persons favoured with such communications. Even when God answers the queries that are thus addressed to Him, He does so out of condescension for our weakness, and not because he is pleased to be thus questioned.



If there is anywhere that Pentecostal spirituality seem to conflict with the classical it is here. Then follow pages of a strong defence of the new positive approach to charismatic experience, admitting that where conflict exists between this and the teaching of such mystics as John of the Cross, the main reason is obvious.� Men like John and women like Theresa of Avila lived in a former age, when charism were rare and then given only to individuals.� In our age they are literally an inundation and their recipients are countless multitudes.



����� f) Religious Communities.� Not surprisingly, the Pentecostal movement has made some of its deepest effects of religious communities, of men, but especially of women.



All problems facing the Church at large affected the lives of those who, by prior commitment, dedicated themselves to the pursuit of holiness.



When the charismatic experience offered them release from anxiety and the hope of a strong sense of God�s presence----in spite of the turmoil all around----religious took to the movement on a scale that no one actually knows.� But all estimates indicated that the number is large.



We are still on our final analysis and our approach has been to point up the ideology of Pentecostal leadership, to see whether (and if) it is at variance with historic Catholicism.



A recently, privately-bound study of a religious who took to Pentecostalism reveals many things about convents and cloisters that is common knowledge among the initiated but still unknown among the faithful at large.



Thematic to this study is the firm belief that the betenoire of religious life is structure and institutionalism; that openness to the Spirit along Pentecostal lines gives best promise for religious in the future.� A few sample statements indicated the general tenor:



����� We must remember that in order to choose religious life, you must be a misfit.



����� The danger is that a sacred institution tends to isolate man so he can stand back and deal with God.� The institution tends to come between man and God.



����� Religious life is a human institution which God merely tolerates.� God�s pleasure is the one thing necessary, and God�s good pleasure is man�s total openness.� It is in this openness that we find our true identity, but this takes courage.



����� Total openness takes faith.� Awareness of our true identity implies a life of faith.� But faith implies doubt.� You can�t have faith without doubt.� Doubt and faith are two sides of the same thing.� We don�t pray right because we evade doubt.� And we evade it by regularity and by activism.� It is in these two ways...by which we justify the self-perpetuation of our institutions.



While other factors have also been operative, it was sentiments like these that contributed to the growing tide in some communities with impatience at the slowness of the institutional Church to up-date religious life, make it truly open to the Spirit, and experience the rich depth of internal peace and joy that seemed to be lacking in �structured community routine.�



It is not a coincidence that some spokesmen for the charismatic approach to a life of the evangelical counsels have been most critical of such symbols of institutionalism as the Sacred Congregation for Religious.� It is not surprising that some who feel that Rome is archaic or out of touch with the times should also be most enthusiastic about Pentecostalism.�



Epilogue:



There are those who say we should just allow the Pentecostal movement to go and then see what happens.� But that is not in the best tradition of Christian prudence.� If, as I personally believe, latter-day Pentecostalism is in the same essential stream with Gnosticism, Montanism, and Illuminism, we do not pass moral judgment on people but prudential judgment on an ideology if we say all that I have said in this lecture.



There are gave needs in the Church today--of which the gravest is the urgent recovery of prayer across the spectrum of Catholic living--among bishops, priests, religious and the laity.� But if prayer and the experience of God�s presence are so ungently needed, we must use the means that centuries of Christian wisdom have shown are securely effective to satisfy this need. Pentecostalism is not one of these means.









Why Be Catholic







Hello I’m Brian Showalter and this talk is called Why Be Catholic? When I was asked to give a talk on apologetics I thought “hey I can video it and hand it out to people who can’t believe I want to be Catholic.” So if you like this talk and want to give it to a friend who can’t understand why anyone would want to be a Catholic then let me know. If you don’t like it then it is still good for a coaster or for a sleep insomnia cure.

Of all the things you could be, why be Catholic? GK Chesterton said “the difficulty of explaining why I am Catholic is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true.”

I’m not going to be giving reasons that God exists like the fine tuning argument, Aquinas’ 5 ways, CS Lewis’ trilema, ndes, or the other arguments. You can ask about that later if you want to.

This is mainly going to be a comparison between Catholic Christianity and Non Catholic Christianity. If I call non Catholic Christians protestants it is by habit. Technically they are not all protestant but they all derive their doctrine from the protestant reformation. Right now you may be thinking what’s the big deal we’re all Christians. As long as we believe and have warm and fuzzy feelings about God then we’re alright. This is called relativism. Other wise known as the “I’m ok, your ok, we’re all ok syndrome. A really smart guy said that relativism is the greatest problem of our time. His name is something like pope Benedict XVI maybe it rings a bell. You have heard it before. What’s true for you is true for you and what is true for me is true to me. But why does this only ever apply to a person’s faith? Suppose a math teacher told their students 2+2=4 for me but it could equal 3 for you. I don’t want to impose my beliefs about math on you. How long do you think that teacher would have a job? Math is temporal. In the presence of God in heaven no one is going to care that 2+2=4. No one is going to care in hell either. If you want a week investment invest in penny stocks. If you want a 20 year investment plant trees. If you want an eternal investment invest in the truths of our faith. Jesus said in Mt 24:35 that heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away. What we know about Jesus and about salvation affects our relationship with God. Suppose your friend set you up on a blind date. They described the person to you but when you met them in person they were not how you pictured them. There are groups that say Jesus was man and not God, God and not man, that there isn’t a trinity, that the Holy Spirit is not a person but an energy force. Just within Calvinism itself concerning the operation of grace there are 5 point Calvinists, 4 point, 3 point, 2 point, Hyper Calvinism, Neo Calvinism, Superlapsarian, Infralapsarian, Etc. Each of these groups like your friend setting you up on a blind date have their own perspective on who your date is. There are over 30000 non Catholic Christian denominations according the Oxford World Christian encyclopedia. Each of these claim to be led by the Holy Spirit but we know that the Holy Spirit is not the author of confusion.

In Jn 18:37 “Jesus told Pontius Pilot before he was condemned to death that the reason he came was to bear witness to the truth.” We don’t believe in the tooth fairy or the easter bunny anymore because we know it is not true. Jesus founded one church. He said in Mt 16:18 you are Peter and on this Rock I will build my church, singular. 1st Timothy 3:15 says that the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth. This was my dilemma about 6 years ago. Which of the 30000 was the Church that Jesus founded? My self growing up Mennonite I didn’t care about the other 29999 churches started by pastor Bob or whoever. I wanted to be in Jesus’ church. I like over a hundred thousand others who convert each year found what I found. No it wasn’t because the Catholic Church had such a good young adult group or because the mass was exciting or because purgatory and indulgences sounded like a good deal. We converted because its teachings are true.

Tonight out of those ten thousand reasons I want to highlight 9 basic reasons to show that it is the Catholic Church founded by Jesus so that you won’t be mislead by what these other groups are teaching. Don’t get me wrong there is a lot of good in these non Catholic Christian groups but they don’t have the fullness of the faith. These 9 reasons come from 9 aspects of truth each of which can stand on their own. What do I mean by aspects of truth? We have for example mathematical truth. 2+2 is always 4. We have historical truth. Everyone recognizes George Washington to be the first president. We have chemical truth. Two hydrogen atoms plus an oxygen atom will make water consistently. The truths about the Catholic faith:



Reason # 1 is tradition.

Tradition is the means in which God’s revealed truth has been transmitted from Jesus to the apostles and on to their successors (the bishops) throughout the centuries. If we go back to the blind date analogy. The non Catholic Christians are reading your blind date’s diary interpreting what it means and telling you what they think it means. Their sole source is the diary alone, or the bible alone. Tradition is like your date is telling your friend what they want you to know about themselves and writing it down so you don’t forget. The source isn’t the bible alone it is Jesus telling us about himself and passing it on. So basically tradition is both written and oral. Paul says 2 Thess 2:15 stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter. 1 Cor 11:2 I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you. 1 Thess 1:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. Every Church has tradition whether they say they do or not. So the question is: how can you tell the difference between the traditions of the apostles and the other traditions? The answer is really simple. Jesus founded one Church and those traditions that were taught by the apostles were also taught by the Christians in the first centuries of Christianity. All it takes is reading the writings of the early Church to prove it.

This is where reason number 2 (history) comes in. A look at history can easily show at what point in time any given doctrine first appeared. I came from the Mennonite tradition and its forefathers were the first ones to say that baptism was completely symbolic, that nothing supernatural happens to a person baptized. They were also among the first ones to say that bread and wine do not become the body and blood of Christ. These come into Christian history 1500 years after Jesus instituted them. This aspect of history was huge for me in my conversion. I never even thought of seeing what the Church Fathers said. In fact I didn’t know they existed. There are 38 volumes of the writings of the early Church Fathers. So picture a set of encyclopedias. Then add 12 books to that and that is how much we have of the writings of the early church. I have gotten through the first half of that and I want to give some examples. St Ignatius of Antioch was a disciple of John the apostle and he writes not 10 years after the death of John in 107 AD and in his writings he calls the Church Catholic as if it is common knowledge. In his Epistle to the Smyraeans he says.

“Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church...” We didn’t even have bishops in the church that I grew up in even though episcopos (bishop) is in the bible but this quote hit me like a sledge hammer. It didn’t say there is the mennonite church it didn’t say the lutheran church, the methodist church, presbyterian church. Those all came after the 16th century. You can look it up in secular encyclopedias. Encyclopedia Britanica is the only encyclopedia allowed to be cited in a court of law and it recognizes the Catholic church has its origin in the first century. Our doctrines like the eucharist where very explicitly taught in the early church. The teaching on the eucharist is a hard teaching. You know that after the consecration at mass there is not longer bread on the altar it is the body, blood, soul and divinty of Jesus just under the appearance of bread. Jn 6:66 shows that the only time the disciples of Jesus left over a doctrinal teaching was the doctrine of the real presence. Of all the protestant denominations there are only 2 that teach something like the docrtine of the real presence. We again see in the writing of Ignatius he mentions the gnostics and he says that “They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins” This is what we teach today. We see the papacy in Irenaeus in Against Heresies book 3 ch 3 around 180ad . He lists 13 popes after St Peter and says this is how we are to know the spirit of truth from the spirit of error. We see Tertullian describing confession at the end of the second century comparing sin to a disease of the private parts and the priest as a doctor. The people who are shy and don’t go to the doctor die with their disease.

It’s all there but what is so convincing about the historical argument is the history of how we got the bible. We take the bible for granted. If we want a bible you can go any book store and get a bible but you couldn’t do that in the second century. Often times Catholics get an earful of bible verses saying that they contradict the bible. I’m sure you have already thought of one. I’ll get to some of those later but what the protestant does not realize is they are biting the hand that feeds them. They wouldn’t have a bible if the Catholic Church would not have met in the late 4th and early 5th centuries in councils. There was the council of Rome in 382, In Hippo in 393, in Carthage in 397 and again in 419. Prior to this time there were people who were saying some books like Clement’s letter to the Corinthians or the Shephard of Hermas, or the didache were inspired scripture which are not in our bibles. On the flip side there were people who were saying James, Jude, 2nd Peter, 2nd and 3rd John, Hebrews and the book of Revelation were not inspired scripture which we have in our bibles now. Eusbius mentions this in his Church history book 3 in the fourth century. Don’t you think if anything in the bible contradicted Catholic teaching those Catholic councils would have edited it out? They didn’t because nothing in the bible contradicts Catholic Teaching. Remember that. Now basically there are two groups. There is the Catholic church who has scripture, tradition and the authoritative teaching magisterium and then there is every other Christian group that goes by the bible alone. The problem with the bible alone is if you believe in the bible alone then you wouldn’t believe in the bible alone because the bible alone isn’t taught in the bible. That is a very basic answer when someone asks you were is that in the bible. All you need to say is where is the verse in the bible that says everything has to be in the bible. Question: How do you go by the bible alone if you don’t know what books make up the bible? Think about it. There has to be an authority outside the bible to first tell us what makes up the bible. We know that Jesus gave his authority to the Church to do such things. What happens if you don’t have this authority then you have a tautology. You know tautology. A squirrel is a squirrel because it’s a squirrel. A hamster is a hamster, a dog a dog, Cleveland Brown’s stink. You know tautology. The Koran makes the same claim. The Koran isn’t inspired because the Koran says that it is. That doesn’t prove anything. We have to have the teaching authority if we are to have the bible.



Number 3 Apostolic Succession

Apostolic succession is the passing of the authority that Jesus gave to the apostles who passed this on through the “laying on of hands” at ordination to their successors the bishops who passed this to bishops to the present day. Why is this important? Lets step back a second and see what kind of authority Jesus gave. Jesus gave the apostles authority in Mt 16:18, Mt 18:18 (what ever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loose in heaven), Jn 20:21-23 (who ever sins you forgive they are forgiven and who ever sins you retain they are retained), Luke 10:16 and 1 John 4:6 He gave them the authority to speak for him (who ever hears you hears me and whoever rejects you rejects me). The authority to do these things needed to be passed on to the next generation. In order for someone to go and preach the gospel they had to receive authority and be sent (Rom 10:15). If someone did not get the authority through laying on of hands and started teaching things on their own and ordaining people the link is then broken and they have no authority of Jesus to be preaching. This is what is really cool about apostolic succession. Pope Benedict’s office of the bishop of Rome can be traced back to St Peter. You can do a quick google search on the list of popes and see a list of all 266 popes with the year that they were pope. No other church can come close.



Number 4 unchanging truth

Truth cannot change. We are not going to have to worry that 2+2 will equal 5 in the future.

Jesus promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against his church (Mt 16:18) so if truth changed then the gates of hell would have prevailed. So any church that has changed concerning truth is not the church Jesus started. A few examples truth being changed are the seven Deuterocanonical books in the old testament that protestants call apocrypha. These seven books Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch 1 Maccabees, and 2 Maccabees along with parts of Esther and Daniel in our canon were considered inspired before the time of Jesus, at the time of Jesus and afterward. These books were in the Greek Septuagint which was the old testament that Jesus and the apostles used. When the apostles quoted the Old Testament 300 out 350 times were from the Septuagint. These books cannot be inspired for 2000 years and then in the 19th century they are not inspired. This was when they finally took them out. If you have a protestant bible printed before the 1820s they would have these books. Non Catholic Christians universally reject these books as uninspired writings. Some times they argue that these books are not in jewish bibles but it depends which jews we are talking about. Ethiopian jews have these books in their bibles. Other jews attempted to close the Jewish canon at a gathering in Jamnia around 90ad and they rejected these Deuterocanonical books. Should we be looking to Jews as being an authority of telling us what books are inspired when they rejected Jesus. I don’t think so. I look to the Church who Jesus gave his authority to speak for him like in Lk 10:16 He who hears you hears me and he who rejects you rejects me. So this would be an example of truth being changed

Another example is contraception. Before the Anglican Lambeth conference in 1930 all Christian denominations taught that contraception is a grave moral evil. Now the Catholic Church is the only one that still teaches that. The original protestant reformers like Luther and Calvin in the 16th century wrote condemning the practice referring to Genesis 38 and the sin of Onan. They even said it was more atrocious than incest and adultery. Bring this up in the q and a and we can talk about this more because it is really a beautiful teaching not an oppressive one.

So those are some examples of truths being changed which are pretty universal in all non catholic denominations. But don’t get doctrines confused with disciplines. Disciplines can change. It was a discipline to not eat meat on Friday for a long time. We are still obligated to do some type of penance on Friday but we can now choose what type that is. I personally fast on Friday.



Number 5 time

The church is nearly 2000 years and is still teaching the same things that it was at the beginning. No institution in history has been able to come close to that long not just teaching the same thing but even being in existence that long. Only an institution that was started by God and maintained by God can be able to do this. If you look at Protestantism it started in the 16th century with 2 schisms and has split into over 30000 schisms. Some say that the Catholic Church can’t be founded by Jesus because it has such a bad history of scandal such as bad popes who had mistresses or the sex abuse scandal we have seen in the last couple decades. Every denomination has sinners. Out of Jesus’ 12 hand picked disciples 1 denied him, 1 betrayed him, and 9 left him during his passion. In Jn 4:22 we read that Salvation is from the jews yet they were sacrificing children to Molec in Lev 18. In Jn 11:49-53 we read that Caiaphas was receiving prophesy from God as the high priest about Jesus dying instead of the nation and Caiaphas was one that was plotting against Jesus. We can’t leave Peter because of Judas. Despite all the scandal and bad popes the doctrine of the Church as never changed.

In the 14th century work Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio we read in day 1 tale 2 a story about a rich Jewish merchant named Abraham who lived in Paris. Abraham’s priest friend kept trying to persuade him to convert to Christianity and finally Abraham said I will journey to Rome, to see the pope and the cardinals. If they seem as you say and their religion is better than mine then I will convert but if not I will stay a jew. The priest was like oh no when he sees the wicked lives of the priests he will surely not convert. So Abraham went and when he came back he surprised him because he wanted to be baptized despite seeing the scandals going on. He mentioned (me paraphrasing) no institution this corrupt could have lasted 14 weeks let alone 14 centuries it’s a miracle. So Abraham was baptized in Notre Dame Cathedral.

Like Abraham concluded in a time of severe corruption, God had to be protecting the Church otherwise it would have destroyed itself.

In Acts 5:33-39 we read about that the Pharisees were furious and wanting to put Peter and the apostles to death but the Rabbi Gamaliel stood up and mentioned 2 other people who were false claim it messiahs. After the death of these 2 their followers scattered and their religion died. So Gamaliel’s advice was to let the apostles go and if their faith was of human origin it will fail but if it is from God you will not be able to stop these men and you will only be fighting against God.

Indeed, there have been many who have tried to exterminate the Catholic Church. There were many Roman Emperors in the first couple centuries who tried very hard. More than half of the first 24 popes were martyrs. The Catholic Church has out lived every major empire because God has been protecting it and it isn’t going anywhere.



Reason # 6 Scripture

I already mentioned without the Catholic Councils to speak authoritative on the canon of scripture we wouldn’t be sure if we had all the inspired books. The Catholic Church loves scripture. 26% of the Mass is scripture. The next highest denomination only has 6%. You don’t even have to be able to read. If you attend mass for 3 years you will have most of the bible read to you.

In this section on scripture I want show that scripture harmonizes the most with Catholic teaching. One of the ways that it harmonizes is with what is called Typology. Typology is seeing things in the old testament as figures or shadows of their fulfillment in the new testament. Jesus says in Mt 5:17 that he did not come to abolish the law and the prophets but to fulfill them. Typology really helped me understand how the old and new testaments fit together. I want to look at 3 sacraments to show how typology works.

The main thing that kept me out of Catholic Church was confession. I thought there is nothing in the bible to support it. When I heard Jn 20:21-23 I was shocked. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." Then I see in Acts 19:18 people were coming and confessing their sins. Not only where they confessing there sins to priests in the new testament but they were doing it in the old testament too. Lev 5:5-6 says if someone sins they are to confess and the priest would offer a sacrifice and make atonement for them. This is typology. The confession they were doing in the old testament was only a shadow of the confession we have now. The confession in the old testament they had to sacrifice of an animal in addition and it only temporarily covered their sins. This prefigures our confession because we have the perfect sacrifice of Jesus that washes our sins away. You see the old testament type was imperfect and pointed towards the new testament fulfillment. Now you may be thinking what’s the point I just confess the same things every time. So you want new sins to confess? Confession doesn’t just forgive sin, it gives you grace to avoid committing future sins. When you were in diapers did you parents say what’s the point of changing diapers? I mean they are just going to poop it up again? What a horrible thing to do so why would we do that our own soul? Confession is a gift and it isn’t the kind of gift you can exchange for store credit.

Baptism can be seen typologically also. To me growing up baptism was just a public profession of faith that one makes when they have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. Infants couldn‘t be baptized because they can‘t know of their need for a savior. Yet I wondered what really was the point of baptism if it didn’t do anything. Paul makes the typological connection between old testament circumcision and baptism saying in Col 2:12 that “baptism is the circumcision of Christ.” To help understand New testament baptism we can go back and look at Old Testament Circumcision. Circumcision was the sign of the people in the old testament who were in covenant relationship God. Circumcision was done on the 8th day after birth. It turns out that Jewish babies couldn’t have knowledge of sin either or know the need to be in covenant with God. This is another aspect of typology. The fulfillment or archetype is always greater than the shadow or type. So I realized if baptism is greater than circumcision why is it that Jewish babies could be in covenant with God and Christians babies had to wait until they were teenagers or later to be baptized. We find in the new testament that baptism doesn’t just signify the covenant, it does what it signifies.

Titus 3:5 says “you were saved by the washing and renewal of the spirit.” 1 Pt 3:21 “Baptism now saves you” and it goes on to explain how it is so and it says “through the resurrection of Christ”. Through baptism we are buried with Christ so that we to may rise with Christ. That is how Rom 6:3-5 puts it. Being in covenant with God is important. Jesus feels that baptism is so important that in order to be born again, one must be born of water and spirit to enter the kingdom of heaven in Jn 3:3-5. Now there are things like invisible ignorance and baptism of desire that give people who have not been baptism a chance to get to heaven.

Typology really helped me understand the Eucharist. If we go back to Exodus 12 we read about how the Isrealites were still in captivity in Egypt. Pharaoh would not let the people go and God did many signs to convince him to let them go but he resisted. The last thing God would do was to strike down every first born male. To protect Israel from this God had them sacrifice a lamb with out defect. They would take the blood of the lamb and put it on the door posts and when the Lord saw the blood he would Passover the house. They also had to eat the lamb and unleavened bread. Eating the lamb was not optional they couldn’t eat lamb shaped cookies if they didn’t like lamb. These things parallel so closely with its new testament fulfillment in the Mass. They had to have a lamb without blemish and we have the lamb of God, the only perfect sacrifice. The priest says at mass behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. This comes from John the Baptist in Jn 1:29. They had to eat the lamb to live and we have to eat the lamb to live. Jesus says over and over in Jn 6:48-58 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. At Mass we offer the one sacrifice of Jesus on the cross which is re presented to us, not repeated. In Malachi 1:11 we read a prophecy about a pure future sacrifice that is offered continuously around the world. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; The only pure sacrifice is that of Jesus. This is the sacrifice of the mass. Mass is continually being said around the world just like Malachi prophecies. It is estimated 350000 masses are said a day around the world. That means every second 4 masses start somewhere in the world. We also the have the typology of Jesus and Melchizedek. Melchizedek only appears for 3 verses in the old testament. He was a king of Salem, a priest of the most high God, and he offered a sacrifice of bread and wine. We read in Heb 6:20 that Jesus is a priest forever after the order of melchizadech. Jesus is the king of the heavenly Jerusalem, he is our high priest, and he offered bread and wine at the last supper saying this is my body. It’s amazing how Jesus pulls together all the loose ends of the Old Testament.





Now I also want to take this opportunity to go through some of the topics that the Catholic Church gets accused of for not following the scriptures and provide a couple verses that would be hard to explain if one didn’t take the Catholic understanding. You know when they say you worship Mary. After you hit them over the head you can explain these things. No don’t hit them over the head. If you are worshiping Mary quit it. That is a mortal sin. Fr hears confessions from 3:30- 4:30 on Saturdays. They see us praying to Mary and just automatically think it is worship. Actually Revelation 5:8 and 8:4 both show what is happening in heaven. What we see is that the prayers of the people on earth are rising like bowls of incense which are going to angels and elders and they are presenting the prayers to God. They say yeah but what about the Hail Mary. The Hail Mary prayer comes right from scripture Lk 1:28 And the angel, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, Lk 1:42 And Elizabeth cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. Did Elizabeth think Mary hard of hearing or did she really mean it. What other denomination calls Mary the Blessed Virgin Mary? None that I know of.



Calling Priests Father

We constantly hear about this one because Mt 23:9 says And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. They say see it says it right here. Don’t you read the bible? What part of call no man father don’t you get. All you have to do is say um did you read what the verse just before it says. They don’t realized that Mt 23:8 says call no one teacher but they don’t have a problem calling someone teacher or a professor with a phd, doctor which can mean teacher of the highest degree. Obviously Jesus isn’t speaking literally other wise Paul frequently breaks this command while under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Rom 4:16 says that Abraham is the father of us all. In Acts 22:1 he says brothers and fathers listen now to my defense. 1 Cor 4:14-15 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Acts 7:2 Stephen says brethren and fathers listen.



What about that Priestly Celibacy thing.

They quote 1 Tim 4:2-3 which mentions forbidding to marry is a doctrine of demons. There is just one problem with that. Catholic Church doesn’t forbid marriage. Priests willfully give it up to better serve the church. Jesus was celibate and he taught that it was good to imitate him. In Mt 19:10-12: he talks about men making themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it." Paul taught that being celibate was a good thing. 1 Cor 7:32. talks about how the unmarried care for the things of the Lord-how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world-how he may please his wife. Where are the non catholic Christians following these verses about being celibate. Very very rare to non existent.

There are many other topics that could be discussed but I’m going to move on to.



Reason # 7 the Miraculous

Heb 2:3-5 says “how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”

God does miracles through his Church. Throughout history many miracles have been preformed through Jesus’ Church such as Saints who were so close to Jesus who died did not corrupt. After the fall of Adam and Eve death was the result and from dust we were created to dust we return. It is these saints who to this day after centuries of being dead still look as if they are sleeping. It was by a special grace that these people who were so close to God and far from sin who now remain incorruptible. There are over 250 saints who are incorrupt and here are some of them

St. Cecilia 2nd century

Saint Silvan, 5th century

Saint Clare of Assisi, Saint Zita. 13th century

Saint Rita of Cascia. 14th century

Saint Vincent De Paul. 16th century

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. 17th century

This is an amazing phenomena and it only happens in the Catholic Church. What about stigmata? Stigmata are wounds that appear on hands, feet, side, or brow that are marks of the passion of Christ with corresponding sufferings. To better love Jesus they share in his sufferings in also bearing these wounds. These are called visible stigmata. Others only have the sufferings, without any outward marks, and these phenomena are called invisible stigmata. Physicians do not succeed in curing these wounds with remedies. On the other hand, unlike natural wounds of a certain duration, those of stigmatics do not give forth a rotten odor. To this there is known but one exception: St. Rita of Cassia had received on her brow a supernatural wound produced by a thorn detached from the crown of the crucifix. Though this emitted an unbearable odor, there was never any pus or morbid alteration of the tissues. Sometimes these wounds give forth perfumes, for example Juana of the Cross.

To prove that these wounds were not self inflicted sometimes the patient was watched night and day, sometimes the limbs have been enveloped in sealed bandages. Mr. Pierre Janet placed on one foot of a stigmatic a copper shoe with a window in it through which the development of the wound might be watched, while it was impossible for anyone to touch it.

There are 62 saints of both sexes known to have stigmata. Hear are some of the best known.

 St. Francis of Assisi (13th century) is the first know to have the stigmata. He was praying on the mountainside when he beheld the marvelous vision of the seraph. Afterwards appearing on his body where the visible marks of the five wounds of the Crucified. The saint's right side is described as bearing on open wound which looked as if made by a lance, while through his hands and feet were black nails of flesh, the points of which were bent backward

 St. Catherine of Siena (14th century)

 St. Colette (15th century)

 St. Rita of Cassia (15th century)

St. Pio of Pietrelcina better known as Padre Pio who lived from 1887-1968. He is the most recent stigmatic and his stigmata was even on video. He bore the stigmata for 50 years and healed just prior to his death. What an awesome saint Padre Pio was. People would go to confession to him and he would tell them the sins that they were holding back. He was known to bilocate (be in two places at once). When the Americans were bombing Italy in WWII Padre Pio appeared in the clouds waving his hands which prevented the bombers from dropping bombs on a non military target. He could see the angels and would converse with his guardian angel daily. He fought with Satan himself on numerous occasions. This kind of stuff happens no where but in the Catholic Church.



Eucharistic Miracles

are miracles pertaining to Jesus’ real presence under the appearance of bread and wine after concecration. At Mass we believe that at the words of Consecration the bread and wine cease to exist and there is only Jesus’ body, blood, soul and divinity though the outside appearances still look like bread and wine.

The first recorded Eucharistic miracle (other than the miracle that happens at every mass) occurred in the 8th Century in Lanciano, Italy. The name Lanciano means lance and it was tradition that the centurion Longinus who pierced the side of Jesus with the lance came from this town which is off the coast of the Adriatic Sea. In this town there was a monk who had begun to have real doubts about Jesus' real presence in the Eucharist. When celebrating Mass, as he spoke the words of the consecration the host changed into a circle of "flesh" surrounding the remaining Eucharist and the wine transformed into visible "blood". The "flesh" remained intact but the "blood" subsequently divided into five separate globules correlating to Jesus‘ 5 wounds. The monk was reinvigorated in his faith as he witnessed this transformation. The "flesh" and "blood" have been maintained in special containers housed in the monastery and its successors ever since. In a modern evaluation of this "flesh" and "blood" conducted by several Italian university professors in 1970 under rigorous conditions, they found that the container that held the "flesh" was not hermetically sealed so that the Eucharistic host at the center of the "flesh" was no longer present and the "blood" globules had hardened. Samples were taken of both the "flesh" and the "blood" and were sent to a number of laboratories for microscopic, biochemical and other scientific evaluation. The "flesh" was found to be striated muscular tissue of the myocardium (the wall of the heart), of human origin and contained absolutely no trace of any substances that could have been used to preserve it. It was real Flesh! The "blood" sample was found to be human blood, type AB which is the same blood type found on the Shroud of Turin (the burial cloth of Christ). This blood type is not common the area of Lanciano only .5 - 1% and only 14 - 15% in Palestine and the middle east. The flesh was found to be of the same type as well. It was truly Blood! The proteins found in the blood sample were consistent with proteins found in fresh human blood despite the fact that the container housing the flesh and blood from the Eucharist was not hermetically sealed. These proteins are usually gone within 20-30 minutes after death yet they are still present 1250 years later. The Higher Council of the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed these findings in a 15 month examination period with 500 examinations. Thus, for more than 1200 years the physical reality of Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist has been preserved for all to observe and renew their faith. There are more than two dozen documented reports of similar Eucharistic miracles occurring throughout Europe between the 10th and 15th centuries and dozens more since then with many of them having enclosed the flesh and blood samples in special containers where they can still be seen today.

Bolsena, Italy

In 1263 Peter of Prague, a German priest, was celebrating Mass at the Church of Saint Christina in Bolsena. He had been entertaining serious doubts about the reality of Christ's presence in the consecrated Host. As he completed the words of Consecration blood started to seep from the Consecrated Host and run down over his hands onto the altar and the altar communion linen (corporal). Seeing this, he interrupted the Mass and traveled quickly to Orvieto, where Pope Urban IV was then residing. On hearing his story, the Pope forgave him for having doubts and sent representatives to Bolsena to investigate. Parishioners and others confirmed the priest's story and the host and stained linens were there for all to see. Their investigation, when completed, confirmed all that the priest had related. One year later, in August 1264 Pope Urban instituted the feast of Corpus Christi (Body of Christ).

Methuen, Massachusetts was the site of another inexplicable Eucharistic phenomenon in 1995. In preparing to distribute Communion, a Eucharistic minister at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church opened the tabernacle to discover a Consecrated Host "bleeding" inside. The host was transferred to a container, apparently still bleeding, and retained there for further examination. Aside from a number of witnesses who observed the bleeding Host, the Host itself was sent to Dr. B. Lipinski, a biochemist, for non-invasive examination. He ascertained that the reddish substance was human blood. With this determination, a small sample of the crusted blood was sent to the California Laboratory of Forensic Sciences. After several preliminary tests confirmed the presence of blood, on August 30, 1995, a crossover electrophoresis was conducted on the sample which unequivocally identified the reddish substance as human blood.



There have been saints who have lived on the Eucharist alone for many years.

Bl. Angela of Foligno (d. 1309) remained 12 years without taking any nourishment.

Bl. Catherine of Racconigi (d. 1547), also a stigmatist, lived on the Holy Eucharist alone for 10 years.

Bl. Elizabeth the Good (d. 1420) was known not to have eaten for nearly three years with exception of Holy Communion.

St Alexandrina Maria da Costa

She was born in April 1904. in 1918 men broke into her house. Alexandrina wanting to preserve her chastity jumped from an upstairs window. The men fled but her spine had been irreparably injured. Six years later she had to remain in bed for the rest of her life. The slightest movement caused her intense pain. In one of her ecstasies Jesus said to her, “Keep me company in the Blessed Sacrament. I remain in the tabernacle night and day, waiting to give my love and grace to all who would visit me. But so few come. I am so abandoned, so lonely, so offended. Many do not believe in my existence; they do not believe that I live in the tabernacle. They curse me. Others believe, but do not love me and do not visit me; they live as if I were not there… I am truly present there as in Heaven, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.” During Holy Week Jesus said to her, “You will not take food again on earth. Your food will be my Flesh; your drink will be my Divine Blood …”So on Good Friday 1942 she began an absolute fast which lasted for more than thirteen years until her death. Under medical observation her report reads as follows: “Her abstinence from solids and liquids was absolute during all that time. We testify also that she retained her weight, and her temperature, breathing, blood pressure, pulse and blood were normal while her mental faculties were constant and lucid and she had not, during these forty days, any natural necessities…The laws of physiology and biochemistry cannot account for the survival of this sick woman. She died on 13th October 1955, having received nourishment only from Holy Communion for more than thirteen years.

The saints had amazing experiences didn’t they? These miracles are testimonies that only happen in the Catholic Church.



Reason # 8 The Target of Satan’s Followers

Who is the primary target of the followers of Satan and why would this be a reason to be Catholic? Satanists in order to mock God the most they take God’s revealed truth and do the opposite when it comes to their worship services. Satanists don’t do the opposite of a Hindu, Buddhist, or even a protestant worship service because those are not how Jesus set up worship. Jesus gave us the Mass and Satanists know the value of the sacraments. Every satanic ritual in higher echelon is a take off of the sacramental right in the Catholic Church. Satanism was structured specifically as the opposite of the Catholic Church and it performs dark rites with the Black Mass being its primary. The Black Mass’ main objective is the profanation of a consecrated host that has been stolen from a Catholic Mass. Isn’t it interesting that Satanist believe in the doctrine of the Real Presence.

Betty Brennan is one witness of what went on in black masses. She was raised a Catholic, became a Satanist but later returned to the Church. What drove her away was the loss of a child who was slowly dying for the first 2 years of its life due to a terminal brain illness. With this loss she wanted revenge on God. She was a member of a musical orchestra and it was there that she met a few members who were satanic priests. She would vent her feelings to them and for the first time she wasn’t told that she shouldn’t have this anger towards God. This is how she got involved in Satanism. When she recalls her story she tells that she use to act Catholic by going to Mass for her husband and children. She would stay for the first half of Mass (liturgy of the word) but she ran out of mass before the Liturgy of the Eucharist because of her fear of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. This went on for a while until she quit going. Later on she had an elderly friend who needed to be driving a hundred miles to a healing mass. Betty would wait outside while the healing mass was going and would supernaturally turn the lights off and do other things to cause trouble. Betty took her friend to these healing masses several times. Her friend told Betty that she has been to services at this church before but only when Betty was there was when weird things happened. She was invited to go in on one of these trips but as soon as she entered the sanctuary she froze in fear of Jesus’ presence in the tabernacle. She physically couldn’t move. When she regained motor functions she ran out and down the stairs to the exit. She was moving so fast that she knocked over an elderly priest who was going up the stairs. Betty was in a sweat and in a state of nervous panic. When the priest got up he asked Betty “Who are you in the name of Jesus come out”. It was at that time when she began a healing process which led to her conversion back to the church.

You remember in the Gospel about the demoniac who was isolated and lived among the tombs and no one could bind him because he kept breaking the chains in Mk 5:2-8. He knew exactly who Jesus was though he never met Jesus.

Most Satanists and real Witches can discern a Consecrated Host among thousands of unconsecrated hosts. When another former Satanist was asked how they could tell the difference he replied “Because of the hate,” “Because of the burning hate I would feel toward that host, apart from all the others.” Some of the saints also had this mystical knowledge of the Lord’s Eucharistic presence, but this knowledge flowed from their deep union with Christ. Satanists, on the other hand, knew Christ’s presence because his worship of Satan had worked the opposite mystical connection to the Eucharist—he knew Jesus was there not because of his love for Jesus, but because of his deep hate.



Another former Satanist Deborah Lipsky has a similar story to Betty. She went to Catholic school where she got bullied for being autistic. She blamed the Catholic Church for her pain and her goal was to destroy the Catholic Church. She had made a pact with the devil and the demons she was associated with knew the Catholic Church was their nemesis. She says:

"I used to take pleasure bringing born-again Christians to their knees if they tried either 'exorcising' my demons or speaking to me of Jesus' love. Protestants of all denominations were also 'sport' as they quickly buckled under my power when they tried to convert me. However even back then I feared the Catholic priest as I knew, as did my demons, that I was no match for the power that came through him from God."

The greatest enemy in the world knows what was revealed by God. They know who Jesus put in charge and they point there whole fury at the Catholic Church and yet they fear it. They fear the priest, they fear what looks like a piece of bread. These witnesses testify to the truth in the Catholic church from those who aren’t in the Church. We can’t even comprehend the spiritual battle we are in right now but Jesus promised the gates of Hell would not prevail.



Reason # 9 is Logic

Logic builds on everything I have mentioned. Let’s go back and look at it logically. The protestants that study their faith say there isn’t salvation in the Catholic Church. From what I have shown from tradition, history and from apostolic succession then if the Catholic Church is wrong that would mean that the very generation taught by the apostles messed the faith up so badly that there would be no salvation from that time until the 16th century. In light of this then that makes Jesus a liar because he promised the gates of hell would not prevail against his Church in Mt 16:18. Doesn’t it make sense that if the early church was called catholic, taught all of the current catholic doctrines, has a continuous link of authority from the apostles, has not changed truth, defined what the bible was, has manifested miracles that can only come from the power of God, and is the primary target of Satan’s followers end up being the only possibility as to being the Church that Jesus founded? I think so. That is why I’m Catholic. Don’t let them trick you into anything otherwise. We have answered every objection before and we’ll do it again. If you don’t know the answer you can go to Catholic.com. I know it is a really hard website to remember but they have a search bar at the top where you can put in anything and you’ll get a lot of information. Like the St Agnes PSR page and post your questions there. I’ll get you an answer within 24 hrs. Confirmation isn’t the end of learning your faith. It is so rich and deep you will be able to spend your entire life digging its bottomless treasure chest.

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