Friday, October 21, 2011

The Eucharist in the Early Church, Through Non-Christian Eyes

One of the things I've pointed out before is that the writings of the Church Fathers are devoid of (1) Church Fathers teaching something contrary to Transubstantiation on the Eucharist, and (2) Christian objections to Transubstantiation by taught by certain Church Fathers.  That is, all of the Church Fathers can be lumped into “clearly Catholic,” or “hard to tell” on this topic, without anyone apparently denouncing the Catholic view as incorrect, much less idolatry.

I referred to these as the “dogs that didn't bark,” in reference to the Sherlock Holmes' novel Silver Blaze (Tony Lane informed that Msgr. Ronald Knox called this form of argument “Sherlockismus”).  If the early Church really was Protestant in their Eucharistic theology, we should find them teaching obviously-Protestant things about the Eucharist, or at least objecting when prominent Church members proclaim obviously-Catholic things.

A Protestant reader turned this question on its head, and asked: if the early Church took Jesus' words here literally, where was the Jewish outcry?  After all, it was contrary to the Law to drink blood, and the whole practice seems barbaric from the outside. That's a great question. And fortunately, Catholics can point to plenty of places where we do see this outcry.

Jewish Outcry

A few things to remember. The first is that there's no question that the early Christians didn't keep kosher, and that this was a major cause of controversy.  We see the debates over this (called “the Judaizer controversy”)  in places like Acts 10-11, Acts 15, Paul's writings, etc.

Second, it's not clear that the Eucharist is a violation of the Law. Certainly, it's not against the Spirit of the Law. The Eucharist isn't consumption of Blood in the normal sense. Otherwise, we'd be cannibals. Although it's literally Jesus' Body and Blood, we aren't destroying Jesus in the process (more on this in the next section). So it's no more against Jewish kosher laws than it is against the Christian prohibition against cannibalism. For example, Origen argued that the Eucharist didn't count as breaking a fast, because it's not ordinarily eating and drinking.  Similar logic would seem to apply here.  Besides that, non-Christian Jews would have believed the Eucharist to be just bread and wine.  So they were likely less scandalized by it then they were by the Christian practice of eating pork, for example.


Third, we actually see this outrage in John 6. In particular, read John 6:52-58:
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.”
Note that Jesus doesn't correct the Jewish objection as a misunderstanding.  He reinforces it, instead.  After this, many of His disciples denounce it as a “hard saying,” and stop following Him (John 6:60, John 6:66).  In other words, this is exactly the sort of outrage we'd expect to find... and we find it from the very beginning.   

Roman Outcry

This dog also barked for the Romans, who accused the Christians of being cannibals, for covering baby Jesus with grain, then tearing His Flesh apart and drinking His Blood. See, for example, the reference in Minucius Felix's Octavius (which was written sometime between 150-270 A.D.):
Now the story about the initiation of young novices is as much to be detested as it is well known. An infant covered over with meal, that it may deceive the unwary, is placed before him who is to be stained with their rites: this infant is slain by the young pupil, who has been urged on as if to harmless blows on the surface of the meal, with dark and secret wounds. Thirstily - O horror! they lick up its blood; eagerly they divide its limbs. By this victim they are pledged together; with this consciousness of wickedness they are covenanted to mutual silence.
The Roman critic appears to have gotten the details of the Nativity and the Eucharist all mixed together. Which is itself significant. The Nativity story involves a journey to Bethlehem (which means “House of Bread” in Hebrew, and “House of Meat” in Arabic), and placing Jesus in a manger, that is, a food trough. Jesus' Flesh is the Bread upon which Christians feed. So the Romans were inadvertently right in seeing a connection to the two, even if they screwed the details up badly.

Conclusion

An English Lutheran put it simply:  “If what you believe and teach concerning the Supper couldn’t be misinterpreted by some people as sounding like cannibalism, then your understanding and/or teaching of the Supper is deficient.”  The early Christians believed something about the Eucharist that sounded like cannibalism to outsiders.  If we don't believe that today, we've lost their faith. And when Jesus' Jewish critics accused Him of teaching that He was going to give us His Flesh to eat, He didn't deny it, but reinforced their point.  The Catholic Church would respond the same way today.  Would you?

32 comments:

  1. I like your approach to this entry. From the Jewish and Roman view, the Christians were seen as cannibals. I really do love the quote at the bottom from an English Lutheran.

    Have you read J. N. D. Kelly's standard "Early Christian Doctrines"? It does not disagree with your basic point of some early fathers being very Catholic, especially with the Cappadocian fathers onward (pg. 442-443). He makes a great argument that the earliest church fathers might fall into your category of "hard to tell." (pg. 211-216) These earliest church fathers were the fathers that Martin Luther looked at to argue against the ridged Scholastic scholars of his day. From the outside, Lutherans and Catholics seem very similar. We can revel in the splitting of hairs, but we both worship and eat our "Zombie Jesus" (as one atheist has described it to me) every week at the Eucharist. Grace and Peace to you!

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  2. "Do nothing without the bishop!" - St. Ignatius of Antioch.

    I wish Luther had paid a little bit more attention to that bit...

    Joe gave the quote earlier in the week from Calvin's view of St. Ignatius:

    http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2011/10/st-ignatius-of-antioch-and-eucharist.html

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  3. The reference in the Octavius gave me the chills. Could it not be that some heretical Christians did indeed use infants during such rites?

    I can't imagine that the Romans would get this wrong, unless they were consciously trying to spread propaganda.

    How do you mistake a loaf of bread (leavened or unleavened) for a live infant???

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  4. What I've noticed is that some Protestants pick "fathers" whom WE would consider to be heretics or schismatics and say "here's a father who rejected transubstantiation." I think the idea is that we rejected those with whom we disagree, calling Fathers only those who agree with us. It's a bit hard to argue against that since they essentially reject what we call Tradition. Even so, it doesn't seem that there were many such heretics in the age of the Fathers.

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  5. "Do nothing without the bishop!" - St. Ignatius of Antioch.

    Those words sound like the worst quote from a church father for Kansas City right now. Do nothing without the bishop? Blind obedience is never a good thing. Jesus came to take your sins...not your brain.

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  6. Dear Sir,

    The do nothing without a bishop is a liturgical reference. Stay outside the box of Western legalism and in the box of ritual, and these things are read more properly. The rites are the lens by which we read.

    It is akin to the demons telling the non-apostolic Christians in the Bible that they have no authority.

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  7. @Joe:
    1) 'Church Fathers are devoid of...'
    Isn't it possible that the "father's" writings chosen by the RCC are those that confirm their doctrine and may not be their writings at all or they were touched up in some way or another? Either/or, look to the Scriptures. THEY are nigh.
    2) "John 6:52-58"
    What about His saying, "The words I have spoken to you are Spirit," shortly after. Plus, He called himself a vine and a door. Is that literal?
    3) "The early Christians believed something about the Eucharist that sounded like cannibalism to outsiders..."
    The Lord's Supper, whether taken literally or as a memorial, sounds like cannibalism. So I guess we haven't lost "their" faith.

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  8. The thing is, Georg, that pagans were not permitted to attend a Communion rite. Even catechumens were sent out after the liturgy of the word. They were going by hearsay anyway.

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  9. @Michael, On "the words ..are Spirit". Here is what St John Chrysostom says :

    "It is the Spirit that quickens, the flesh profits nothing."

    His meaning is, "You must hear spiritually what relates to Me, for he who hears carnally is not profited, nor gathers any advantage." It was carnal to question how He came down from heaven, to deem that He was the son of Joseph, to ask, "How can he give us His flesh to eat?" All this was carnal, when they ought to have understood the matter in a mystical and spiritual sense. "But," says some one, "how could they understand what the 'eating flesh' might mean?" Then it was their duty to wait for the proper time and enquire, and not to abandon Him.

    "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life."

    That is, they are divine and spiritual, have nothing carnal about them, are not subject to the laws of physical consequence, but are free from any such necessity, are even set above the laws appointed for this world, and have also another and a different meaning. Now as in this passage He said "spirit," instead of "spiritual," so when He speaks of "flesh," He meant not "carnal things," but "carnally hearing," and alluding at the same time to them, because they ever desired carnal things when they ought to have desired spiritual. For if a man receives them carnally, he profits nothing. "What then, is not His flesh, flesh?" Most certainly. "How then says He, that the flesh profits nothing?" He speaks not of His own flesh, (God forbid!) but of those who received His words in a carnal manner. But what is "understanding carnally"? It is looking merely to what is before our eyes, without imagining anything beyond. This is understanding carnally. But we must not judge thus by sight, but must look into all mysteries with the eyes within. This is seeing spiritually. He that eats not His flesh, and drinks not His blood, has no life in him. How then does "the flesh profit nothing," if without it we cannot live? Do you see that the words, "the flesh profits nothing," are spoken not of His own flesh, but of carnal hearing?"

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  10. Joe,

    Very interesting article! Nothing before convinced me about the real presence (still not sure about the language of transubstantiation).

    Now I am convinced that, for anyone who desires to believe like the early Christians something like transubstantiation must be accepted.

    The Jews and Romans at the time of the early church were always worried about this cannibalism with Christianity. At first I just passed it over as an historical anomaly. Your explanation makes the best sense and seems to be a good theory for why Jews and Romans thought this.

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  11. @Michaeladdison -- "Isn't it possible that the "father's" writings chosen by the RCC are those that confirm their doctrine and may not be their writings at all or they were touched up in some way or another? Either/or, look to the Scriptures. THEY are nigh."

    Right, so then why even trust the BIBLE which these SAME CHURCH FATHERS preserved and canonized?

    Your arguments are the same Dan Brown and other enemies of God use to prove that Christianity is all a doctored-up sham.

    But the Catholic Church always declared openly its doctrines. Aphraats wrote also against the accusations of cannibalism. If there had been a movement other than the orthodox Church authority with any merit, or if there had been a way to disprove Christianity, you can be sure the pagans would have used those resources back in the day.

    The earliest known copies of Ignatius of Antioch's works were found in the 1970s or early 1980s, dating back to the early 3rd Century -- PREDATING most of the oldest known copies of the New Testament.

    I suggest you also read up on Justin Martyr's extant works, such as the "First Apology."

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  12. A question for you, Joe. (I still love that long last name of yours.)

    Do you feel the Protestant accusation of idolatry is directed against the doctrine of substantiation or against the practice of bowing and genuflecting before the tabernacle of the host that is kept on the altar. (Forgive me any incorrect terminology there. I was raised Catholic, but that was a long time ago.)

    I object to the bowing and genuflecting before the host, but I don't think I'd call the doctrine of transubstantiation idolatry in and of itself.

    Actually, one more question. I had a Catholic get very angry with me once when I said you won't find human meat under a microscope when you look at the consecrated host. He thought we would, and claimed it had happened. (An old claim, not reliable.)

    Would you go that far in your doctrine of transubstantiation? Because if you don't go that far, I'll be on your side acknowledging transubstantiation in the earliest fathers.

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  13. Paul,

    Your Catholic friend is severely confused. St. Ambrose, the man who converted Augustine of Hippo, was at some pains to emphasize that the Eucharist must be received in faith, precisely because there is no discernible change on a physical level: the atoms do not change. If you drill down into this doctrine, the Church teaches that Christ is literally present, but says it in a rather 'mystical' way.

    Check out my man Thomas Aquinas.

    “Christ’s body is here in a special way that is proper to the sacrament. For this reason we say that the body of Christ is on different altars, not as in different places, but as in the sacrament. In saying this we do not mean that Christ is only symbolically there, although it is true that every sacrament is a sign, but we understand that Christ’s body is there, as we have said, in a way that is proper to the sacrament.” (ST 3a.75.2)

    “Now, according to this mode of his being under the sacrament, Christ is not moved locally in any strict sense, but only after a fashion. Christ is not in this sacrament as if he were in a place, as we have already said; and what is not in a place is not moved locally, but is only said to be moved when that in which it is is moved. … Something after this fashion we say that Christ is moved indirectly, according to the mode of existence which is his in this sacrament, in which he does not exist as in a place.” (ST 3a.76.7)

    “Now [when the bread is broken] it cannot be that it is the actual body of Christ which is broken. First, it [the body] is outside all change and we can do nothing to it. Second, it is present in all its completeness under every part of the quantity, as we saw above, and that runs counter to the whole idea of being broken into parts. It remains then that the fraction takes place in the dimensive quantity of the bread, where all the other accidents also find their subject. … Whatever is eaten as under its natural form, is broken and chewed as under its natural form. But the body of Christ is not eaten as under its natural form, but as under the sacramental species.”

    See what I mean? Here we have Christ really present, but in in such a way that He is not moved when the Host is moved, that He is not divided among Hosts but remains one, that He is present in every part of the bread but not broken when the bread is broken, that He is present in every part of the bread but does not fill the space of the bread in the way all the atoms do, in such a way that He is eaten and not eaten, and in such a way that His presence is not divided into parts (blood for wine, body for bread). Further reading in other sources would tell us that we do not assimilate the Eucharist to us, but rather we are changed by the glorified body of Christ found in the Eucharist (Joe mentions this in his excellent post).

    No question, there's no human meat in that bread! Honestly, many Catholics don't understand their own faith. You really can't take what they tell you as Church teaching!

    However, if Christ is really present in the Eucharist - objectively and fully present - and if we should worship God with all our being, including our body, then it makes sense to genuflect before the Host. So believing in transubstantiation leads one to believe that genuflecting is not idolatry.

    Anyway, hope that helps!

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  14. Paul,

    Transubstantiation does not mean you will find meat under the microscope. It means the accidents of what you experience still remain bread and wine, while the substance underneath transits to that of the Body Blood Soul and Divinity of our Blessed Lord. The substance meaning its truest reality or essence. This is the Miracle of the Mass. Accidents naturally are a consequence of the underlying substance. In this miracle, they are not.

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  15. Yes, that does help, Tim and Irenaeus. It is exactly what I thought Catholics believe. I don't put stock in what just one person says, but he was so vehement, I knew I had to run it by Catholics one more time.

    I'm not with you on the genuflecting, but there's no sense beating that horse, because we'll make him dead. I'd guess we've both been around that bend a number of times (he said, mixing his metaphors and overdoing them).

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  16. @Timothee: "Right, so why even trust the BIBLE which these SAME CHURCH FATHERS preserved and canonized?"
    Timothy, like all members of the RCC and her daughters, quit giving man credit for what God, himself did, especially when it's wrong. See, if the Lord wouldn't overthrow Sodom and Gomorah for the sake of just ten righteous, He would allow a council with just a few that don't worship the dead preserve what needs to be preserved for the sake of the elect and also for what was foretold by the prophets. (Plus, the council at Carthage got it right the first time. The council the grave worshiper "St." Jerome must have believed. Yea, the same council The Harlot doesn't recognize.) Anyways, reasoning that because the bible was given by the RCC means it must be the right church is like saying that we should be diviners since Balaam was one and was still considered a prophet. The reasoning is unrealistic and baseless.

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  17. In my own life, being accused of cannibalism (because I was Catholic) was the shock therapy I needed to learn my faith. I was living down south and I was handed a Jack Chick brochure that outlined why Catholics were going to hell due to our belief in the Real Presence. Like many Catholics, I had no idea that it was not symbolic. Its ironic that the most important piece of catechism I never got in CCD came to me by way of an anti-catholic bigot.

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  18. "quit giving man credit for what God, himself did, especially when it's wrong."

    Quit making up charges. No one has claimed that it was the work of man.

    "See, if the Lord wouldn't overthrow Sodom and Gomorah for the sake of just ten righteous,"

    Big "If" there. You only know that if you already know that Bible contains inspired works.

    "He would allow a council with just a few that don't worship the dead preserve what needs to be preserved for the sake of the elect and also for what was foretold by the prophets."

    But He would allow the gates of hell to prevail against His church -- contrary to His promise.

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  19. An excerpt by John Salza which I found very compelling..

    When John 6 is prayerfully read, we see how Jesus gradually teaches the faithful about the life-giving bread from heaven that He will give to the world (through the multiplication of the loaves, the reference to the raining manna given to the Israelites, and finally to the bread that Jesus will give which is His flesh). When the Jews question Jesus about how he could possibly give them His flesh to eat, Jesus becomes more literal in His explanation. Jesus says several times that we must eat (in Greek, “phago”) His flesh to gain eternal life (which literally means “to chew”).


    When the Jews further question the strangeness of His teaching, Jesus uses an even more literal verb (in Greek, “trogo”) to describe how we must eat His flesh to have eternal life (which literally means “to gnaw or crunch”). The word “trogo” is only used two other times in the New Testament (Matt. 24:38; John 13:18) and it is always used literally (physically eating). Protestants are unable to provide a single example of where “trogo” is ever used in a symbolic sense. To drive His point home, Jesus says that His flesh is real food indeed, and His blood is real drink indeed (Jesus says nothing about the bread being a symbol of His body and blood).


    What is perhaps most compelling about the foregoing passages is what happens at the end of Jesus’ discourse. We know that the Jews understood Jesus as speaking literally. This is demonstrated by their question, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” They could not conceive of why consuming Jesus’ flesh was life-giving and how they could possibly do such a thing. We also know that Jesus responds to their question by being even more literal about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. But we learn at the end of Jesus’ discourse that many of His followers, because of the difficulty of His teaching, decided to no longer follow Him – and Jesus let them go. Then He turned to His apostles and asked them, “Will you also go away?”


    Would Jesus, the Incarnate Word of God who became man to save humanity, allow his followers to leave Him if they misunderstood His teaching? Of course not, especially when the teaching regarded how they were to obtain eternal life which was at the heart of Jesus’ mission. Jesus always explained the meaning of His teachings to His disciples. Mark 4:34. Jesus did not say, “Hey, guys, come back here, you got it all wrong.” He didn’t do this because they did not have it all wrong. They understood correctly – we must eat Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood, or we have no life within us. The Protestant who contends that the Catholic offering of bread and wine in the Mass is just a symbol (and does not miraculously become the body and blood of Christ through the actions of the priest acting “in persona Christi”) must address John 6:53-58, 66-67 – why Jesus used the words He did, and why Jesus allowed His followers to leave Him if they understood Him correctly (which is the only time in Scripture where Christ allows His disciples to leave Him based upon a doctrinal teaching).


    When we meditate upon this mystery with an open mind and heart, we come to believe and know that the Eucharist is the way the Father gives us His Son in the eternal covenant of love by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Eucharist is an extension of the Incarnation. If we can believe in the Incarnation (that God become a little baby), than believing that God makes Himself substantially present under the appearance of bread and wine is easy. The Church has thus taught for 2,000 years that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian faith – the consummation of the sacrificed Paschal lamb, by which we are restored to God and share in His divine life. Thus, Saint Paul says, “our Paschal lamb has been sacrificed; therefore, let us celebrate the feast.” 1 Corinthians 5:7-8

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  20. @marycatelli:
    "Quit making..."
    The RCC's false doctrine of 'apostolic succession' makes almost all your stances man-made. Paul warned the elders that wolves would come in from among them and also said that there must be divisions to see who has God's approval. So, what's 'apostolic succession'?
    "Big "If" there. You..."
    What, you don't think the bible is inspired?
    "But He would allow..."
    The 'rock' is the profession of faith that Jesus is the Son of the Living God. If you'd quit listening to man and would realize that the Word says that He is the rock, then you'd not believe this blasphemy that Peter was the rock Jesus was referring to. Go to a bible site and type: rock. Look at all the references and how they talk about God. See, if you see Peter as the rock, then the gates of hell prevailed (even if for a short time) when Paul had to rebuke him.

    [Paul says, "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!" Preached is past tense. So have you directly heard in Scripture anything concerning transubstantiation or prayers to the saints, to name just a few? No, you haven't. Therefore, where do you stand come judgement day if you preach these doctrines? "Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it."]

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  21. michaela,
    Sounds like you've replaced the authoritative teachers in the Church that Jesus gave you in favor of being your own little Pope.

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  22. @john: The fact that you people of the RCC need a pope, you admit Mat 20:20-28 (especially Mat 20:25-26) applies to you. Also, Jesus didn't say that the RCC was the church he gave us. But, through John, He DID say that the RCC is The Harlot.

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  23. michaela,
    Mat 20:25-27 "But Jesus summoned them and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.'" Is it your point that this quote aptly describes the position of the Pope, i.e the servant of the servants of God? Look beyond the trappings of the office and this is what he his.

    As for The Harlot comment, the blindness to your self appointed papacy also extends to your understanding of Scripture. It appears to be a blindness that is bound in fear and hatred, whereas Jesus would say, "Fear not."

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  24. michaela,
    If Jesus personally walked up to you and told you that Catholic Church is His Church and all that it teaches is true, you'd waive your Bible at Him and pronounce Him to be the Son of the Harlot...sad commentary.

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  25. Why would the RCC choose to put Revelations into the Bible if the text intended "the Harlot" to be the RCC. Seems a bit self-defeating.

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  26. Why do we even bother... We've been pointing out Protestant errors and heresies for the last 500 years or so with no luck... Unfortunately, I can't in good conscience give up on them, I used to be one of them...

    "So, what's 'apostolic succession'?"

    It is the belief that the current batch of Roman Catholic Bishops today are the rightful successors to the Twelve Apostles chosen by Jesus Christ. Only they, in communion with the Pope in Rome, have the authority to correctly interpret Sacred Scripture.

    "What, you don't think the bible is inspired?"

    No we know the Bible is inspired because our Church, founded by God Almighty, tells us so. How do you know that the deuterocanonical books are NOT inspired? How do you know that the koran or the book of mormon isn't inspired as well?

    In fact, what's stopping a Protestant from saying "I think, after a lot of spiritual prayer, that the Gospel of Mark presents a too human image of Jesus. That Gospel is good for historical reference, but we won't include it in our scripture." What's wrong with that? They've taken Sola Scriptura to it's logical conclusion: If scripture doesn't say what you want it to say, then add or subtract books until it does.

    "The 'rock' is the profession of faith that Jesus is the Son of the Living God..."

    First, basic Koine Greek grammar disagrees with that premise: The Greek word "ταύτῃ" in Matt. 16:18 refers back to the the word or phrase that is closest to the "ταύτῃ", namely, "Πέτρος" or "Peter" himself. Two, Jesus also calls Simon the Rock, or Petrus again in John 1:42. Three, Paul himself calls Peter Cephas, Aramaic for "Peter" several times in his letters. The Church Fathers also profess that Rome where Paul and Peter were martyred, holds a special place in Christendom.

    Fear not, lost brethren in Christ, our Blessed Virgin Mother and I, along with all of the Saints in Heaven are praying for your soul!

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  27. Going back to the original post for a moment, what do you think of the book by Brant Pitre, "Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist?"

    He raised many points which indicated that faithful Jews might readily accept the Eucharist and all the claims about it, for it was consistent with their beliefs about the Messiah. The book resonated with me. I have read, however, a review or two of the book which note that some of the Jewish scholars quoted therein were a tad out of the mainstream.

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  28. @Rob. Your sarcasm and condesension(sp?) are not helpful. If you're attempting to bring us Evangelicals 'back to the church' you're doing a terrible job. Why is it necessary for you to pray for our soouls. Are we going to hell?

    @michaela. To call the Catholic Church the harlot is ridiculous. It is logically impossible for them to be the whore. At least it seems that way to me. Maybe you see something I don't.

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  29. waterloo, thanks for acknowledging the ridiculousness of @michaela calling the Catholic Church a Harlot. To us Catholics, it's more than ridiculous. It's downright offensive. I would find it extremely difficult to be charitable to someone who is calling my mother a whore. That's essentially what @michaela is doing.
    And I would definitely be praying for him since he did call the Bride of Christ a whore. I pray that I myself won't offend God and I welcome the prayers of my evangelical brothers and sisters.

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  30. @waterlooregionafrican: "The beast and the ten will hate the Whore." (Rev 17:16) If the anti-Christ will hate the Harlot, then she MUST exist when he comes. You know he hasn't been revealed yet, right? (2Thes 2:1-4, especially 2Thes 2:3)

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  31. michaela,
    It's ironic that you cite 2Thes where Paul says "We ask you, brothers, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling with him, not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly, or to be alarmed either by a "spirit," or by an oral statement, or by a letter allegedly from us to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand." 2Thes 1-2 You fit the description nicely. Paul concludes with "Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours." 2Thes 15. The entire chapter is a warning against those such as yourself, freelance interpreters of Scripture cut off from the vine of authoritative teachers/teachings of the Catholic Church, i.e. the "of ours" in Paul's time. As a loose canon, you extract meanings from your own imagination contradictory to those intended or understood by the author, by God or by His Church.

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  32. When we begin to delve into the writings of the Church Fathers we gain appreciation of the Wisdom of the Ages. By hearing St. Ambrose speak "On the Mysteries" we witness a true gem of a reflection. I guess I could have recorded it myself but I decided to use technology (Xtranormal) to provide an audio track to the text. I find it quite compelling. I use President George Bush as the actor and the Lincoln Memorial as the set. It is a rough cut, but by just listening to the logic, one can understand why St. Augustine was converted after "hearing" St. Ambrose.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjZmn41Wj4U&feature=player_embedded

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