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December 3, 2009

Cardinal draws Vatican rebuke for anti-gay talk

A Roman Catholic cardinal has drawn on an unusual rebuke from the Vatican for saying that homosexuality is “an insult to God” and “transsexuals and homosexuals will never enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, the retired head of the Vatican’s Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, made the comments Wednesday to a conservative Web site, the British newspaper The Telegraph reports.

“People are not born homosexual, they become homosexual, for different reasons: education issues or because they did not develop their own identity during adolescence.

“Perhaps they aren’t guilty but by acting against the dignity of the body they will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

The comments prompted a response from Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi, who said the Web site to which Lozano Barragan spoke should not be considered an authority on Catholic thinking “on complex and delicate issues such as homosexuality.”

Current Catholic teaching acknowledges that some people have innate homosexual tendencies but that homosexual acts are “disordered.”

The Telegraph also quotes a reaction from the Italian rights group Arcigay.

“It’s true, we won’t ever get into your heaven, which is a murky and unjust place.”

Read the story at telegraph.uk.co.

Posted by Matthew Hay Brown at 1:10 PM | | Comments (63)
        

Comments

People are not born Roman Catholic. They become Catholic for different reasons: usually because their parents indoctrinate them, or because have mortality issues and believe that participating in a faith that practices ritual cannibalism will allow them to circumvent death and get them into the so-called "Kingdom of Heaven," a common mythological place featured in many faiths - all of which believe they, and only they, hold the key to this "Kingdom," for which no evidence at all exists.

Proving yet again, there is simply NO love quite like Catholic hate.

If this is the caliber of person I would share eternity with in heaven, I am HAPPY to accept an eternity in hell as my fate.

Futhermore, what do these 'people of god' think they are accomplishing here? Besides making themselves look like uneducated, hateful men that steal money from the poor and uneducated by way of a weekly 'stupid tax' dropped into a collection plate so that these 'people of god' can continue to build their city of Gold in Rome.

Even further, why is the majority of the general public willing to believe this absolute rubbish????????

God does not condone this kind of hateful, immoral behavior from the Catholic Church and you all know it.

Now, run along and give them some more of your hard earned money so that they can continue committing their crimes against humanity in the name of God. Also, the want to bulid a solid-gold media room at the Vatican. God said no, but will WE??????????

This only shows, once again, how out of touch and backwards the Vatican is.

Myth: people are not born gay, they are conditioned to be gay.

Fact: people are not born Catholic, they are conditioned to be Catholic.

Tom – Why attack the Vatican? The comments came from a retired Cardinal and were rebuked by the Vatican as not an authority on Catholic thinking.

Well, I will suggest you to read the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, Chapter 6:

[...]
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,
10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.
[...]

So, please address your comments to St. Paul...

Jack, I guess there will be a lot of Christian leaders and Christians in general refused entry to the kingdom of God based on this criteria.

How many religious leaders swindle their flocks to raise up large churches, while the hungry and poor are still among us? What about the many Catholic priests and pastors that I know that are unfortunately 'drunkards'? Don't we all fall short of the glory of God?

And where is the grace of God? Does Jesus really want us isolating people for sin? Where and who did He associate with when He walked on the earth? How do we represent St. Paul's thoughts on love in 1 Corinthians 13?

I just can't imagine Jesus lobbying for life-long imprisonment and death, especially when I recall His admonition to the religious leaders of His day: Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

When will we take the 'log' out of our own eyes before pointing out the 'splinters' in others?

As you can see I have many questions, and am looking for answers. I'll hold on to the belief that it is the goodness and grace of God that leads to repentance and salvation.

Derek, my point is that the words "homosexuals ... will not inherit the kingdom of God" belongs to St. Paul, the Apostle.

Regarding your questions: no one can give you the answers - you will have to find them by yourself.

I agree with you that there will be a lot of Christian leaders and Christians in general refused entry to the kingdom of God based on the Gospel.

But knowing that "for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leads to life: and few there are that find it!" - let us be on that strait way leading to Life - not on the wide one.

Keep in mind that in addition to be the Love, Jesus is the "way, and the TRUTH, and the LIFE". So, He is not lobbying for death, because He is the One "who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth".
We are the ones who break communion with Him - by "rather choosing to ... have the pleasure of sin for a time".

And if these words belong to Paul and are in the bible and they also dont belong to us then we arent doing our duty as we are called by God, no matter what the denomination. It goes to show you how liberal and like the world some churches and parts of some churches have become.

Drip..drip..drip..goes more enrollment from the Catholic pews each Sunday..Of course the Catholic Church has a direct phoneline to GOD. lol. God must have also told them that their priests over the last 100 yrs that we "know about" had gay sex with our poor children and they covered up/denied it. But hey, they're still going to Heaven, right? Hypocrites.

Homosexualism is indeed a hate crime against Nature.

Only by putting ideology over science can any one state that homosexuals, or adulterers, cannibals or polygamists for that matter, are “born that way.” Scientific research has never demonstrated that there is any location on any human chromosome and/or any combination of amino acids that is "responsible" for so-called sexual "orientation" or disorientation, as in the case of those who prefer to engage in abnormal sexual practices.

Genetically speaking, humans are heterosexual mammals by design and orientation. Nature never forces any one to engage in sexual behaviors or practices against their will or their choosing.

Scientifically speaking, homosexualism and all other sex-related behaviors or practices are freely engaged in. They are never tyrannically imposed upon us by Nature. For example, Nature does not compel any one to insert anything into any of the orifices of their body. Those that do, do so by choice, freely and voluntarily. Gender identity, i.e., a person's view of his or her own gender, is a developmental process that occurs after a person is born, not before.

It is ignorant, unjust and anti-scientific for homosexualists, those who advance the ideology of homosexualism, to dogmatically deny people their basic right to sexual self-determination, i.e., to freely choose their sexual practices and preferences. Because homosexualism, as an ideology, advances the anti human reproductive agenda of the Cult of Death followers, it is considered by many, regardless of their religious affiliations or none, the suicide of Humanity and the extermination of the Future. Indeed, as currently being forced upon society by a well-financed and astutely-led Homosexualist movement, many are forced to consider homosexualism, a hate crime against Nature. In this, it is wrong to single out the Catholic Church, for we will find that atheists as well as believers, Christians as well as Communists, are in agreement that homosexualism is injurious to health and basically bad all around.

Sorry Mr. Brown, but you've got the story wrong. Father Lombardi did not say that Cardinal Lozano Barragan should not be considered an authority on Church teaching, but the website. This website has misquoted a high-ranking Vatican official before and is not exactly trustworthy, hence Father Lombardi spoke of the website, not the Cardinal. Please, get your facts straight before you report on something as sensitive as this.

CATHOLIC CHURCH TEACHES PRACTICING HOMSEXUALS ARE OREIENTED TO HELL AND CANNOT RECEIVE THE EUCHARIST

The Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is 'intrinsically evil' (CCC) and that sodomy is a mortal sin which leads to Hell. So a practising homosexual needs to go for Confession and give up the sin. If he does he can go to Heaven. If he does not he is oriented to Hell.
Catholics who are active members of homosexual groups and live this dioriented sexuality are oriented to Hell fires after the Last Judgement.They rejected Jesus' Mercy on earth and will now have to accept God's Justice for eternity.
So the Vatican spokesman is referring to the exceptions. The norm according to the Bible and the Church is going to Hell for those from Sodom and Gomorrah.

Actually, a lot of men are born adulterers too, where just one woman in their lives can never satisfy them. But that does not mean they all should follow their innate inclinations. Humans are unique in that they can overcome innate disabilities through willpower, unlike the beasts that crawl the earth. Not acting on homosexual urges is a matter of willpower, made possible through prayer and the grace of the Lord.

Yes, but, what do these Sodomites really think!

Yes, I became Catholic because it possesses the fullness of truth, and does not depend on whimsical fashions of a particular era.

The previous poster should actually try and study what the Catholic Church teaches. Guess that would require one to possess an ounce of intellectual curiosity. Who said that anti-catholic bigotry is the anti-semitism of the left?

First of all, when I read some of the responces, i'm convinced Blogs are becoming just another vehical for spreading more error against the Catholic faith. However, to answer the Vaticans rebuke: since the Vatican published that 20-40% of the priesthood is homosexual, wouldn't they qualify for the rebuke this Cardinal posted on his website? So is the rebuke charity or selfish damage control?

Let's not confuse the sin and the sinner.

Catholics, following an epistle of Saint John, recognize two categories of sin, venial and mortal. A mortal sin is one where the effect of the sin is so serious that it takes one on a path totally away from God and what He intended the human race to be. The Church recognizes that engaging in homosexual activity is such a sin.

However, for a person to be considered to actually be in the state of mortal sin, two additional things must be true. Besides having committed a serious act, the person must be fully aware that the act is serious in the eyes of the Church. Finally, the person who commits the act must be fully free in choosing to do it.

The Church can and does say that homosexual activity is a serious sin. Only the sinner himself or herself, maybe after talking to a confessor, can determine the other two states.

Because of these last two considerations, the Catholic Church has never definitively declared anyone to be in hell (complete separation from God). The Church cannot know the personal situation of each sinner at the time of their death.

The Church has the right and the obligation to warn its members against activity that would put their souls in danger. The Church cannot allow those people who call themselves Catholic to publicly proclaim or advocate that activity that the Church has proclaimed as seriously wrong for centuries is somehow now right and acceptable. If they don't believe what the Church believes, they have placed themselves outside of communion with the Church. The Churc h has the right to declare that and to deny them the sacraments that indicate the presence of communion.

While the Church has the right and obligation to teach its own faith, it cannot not, and should not, outside of the conessional, make comments on the states of individual souls.

Regardless of the substantial comments from both sides of the question, the facts are that assent to homosexual acts is sinful, according to direct biblical teaching, and without forgiveness such sinners will not reach eternal life with God when they pass this earth...

...and that the Son of God has sacrificed His own earthly life to personally assure each one of us that we can and will find the Heavenly Father in the end, but only provided we believe and follow the One, Holy and Apostolic Church personally founded by Jesus on earth... and, most important, that we personally confess our sins to a priest of that Church, not just once, but as many times as necessary (Jesus' 7 X 70 times). So, regardless of the arguments put forth, all of us need to continually practice the study of the bible, and the Church's continuous historical doctrinal assertions, and in particular pray constantly that wisdom and truth reach us by the grace of God.

Yet remembering that "practice makes perfect" is incomplete advice... but "practice under correct supervision," which in this case is done in collaboration with a faithful priest, will bring the reward of true understanding, which is necessary to save our immortal souls.

A few quotes from the Saints:

Saint Catherine of Siena, a religious mystic of the 14th century, relays words of Our Lord Jesus Christ about the vice against nature, which contaminated part of the clergy in her time. Referring to sacred ministers, He says: “They not only fail from resisting this frailty [of fallen human nature] . . . but do even worse as they commit the cursed sin against nature. Like the blind and stupid, having dimmed the light of their understanding, they do not recognize the disease and misery in which they find themselves. For this not only causes Me nausea, but displeases even the demons themselves, whom these miserable creatures have chosen as their lords. For Me, this sin against nature is so abominable that, for it alone, five cities were submersed, by virtue of the judgment of My Divine Justice, which could no longer bear them. . . . It is disagreeable to the demons, not because evil displeases them and they find pleasure in good, but because their nature is angelic and thus is repulsed upon seeing such an enormous sin being committed. It is true that it is the demon who hits the sinner with the poisoned arrow of lust, but when a man carries out such a sinful act, the demon leaves.”

Saint Augustine is categorical in the combat against sodomy and similar vices. The great Bishop of Hippo writes: “Sins against nature, therefore, like the sin of Sodom, are abominable and deserve punishment whenever and wherever they are committed. If all nations committed them, all alike would be held guilty of the same charge in God’s law, for our Maker did not prescribe that we should use each other in this way. In fact, the relationship that we ought to have with God is itself violated when our nature, of which He is Author, is desecrated by perverted lust.”

You have to keep in mind that individual people are not THE Church. They are people. And as people, they sin. Hatred toward homosexuals is not permitted by the Catholic faith. The Church teaches that only love can save humanity from itself.

Please . . . the previous Pope had already stated there was no heaven or hell. (Though the Catholic Church tried to hide this ditty). Come on people. I bet gays & lesbians won't get gifts from Santa either. Boo hoo. Oh, yeah, there is no . . .

St Paul...Augustine...St Catherine of Sienna (who?)...Funny how no one quotes their supposed god (Jesus) condemning homosexuality. Wonder why?

And BTW, if human homosexuals are perverts, so are a lot of animals (see: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/07/0722_040722_gayanimal.html)


For those who continue to quote a biblical passage which includes the word 'homosexual'--

The idea of homosexuality did not exist in biblical times. The word, the very concept, has only existed for a couple centuries.

Prior to that time, according to historical record, there were many cultures across the world and time, in which it was perfectly acceptable for men to have sex with men and even have a long-term loving relationship with another man. It was not, however, thought of as homosexuality. It was, in ancient Greece, considered the highest form of love and friendship. In many ancient cultures, it was perfectly acceptable to have relationships with other men, so long as you also did your duty to your people and produced children... What sensible people now refer to as "living the lie."

The Bibles you quote have translations marred by modern conceptions of what these ideas meant. It's impossible, ingenuous and ignorant to assume that people living two millennia ago, when preservation of the species was top priority, could or should have had the same perceptions we do today.

As for you folks who insist we must go through priests to reach Heaven, Christ himself is quoted more than once in the Bible teaching us that we are never to let another human direct our entry into Heaven, but must build that connection on our own, ignoring the outdated rules of the Jewish testament, and living as He lived. Pretending to be Christian while ignoring Christ's central teachings-- living a life true to ourselves and in His reverence, not another person's -- is in itself sinful, according to the biblical Christ.

This is scary. Just read these comments...wow....this cult really has most of you totally brainwashed.

Some saint heard Jesus speak to her? Based on what the invented Jesus supposedly said you are going to live your life wringing your hands about a fairy tale cloud in the sky?

Its crazy people, splitting hairs over whether your god intended nature to be the way it is or not.

There is only our natural world and the laws of science should be observed and studied for answers you all seek.

Looking to an ancient book written by ignorant nomads to explain meteors, fire and so many other things they did not understand is, basically, crazy.

Paul did not say "Homosexual's". That was added later. Paul said "Sodomites". When the Gays proved in the Bible that Sodomites had nothing to do with Homosexual the Bible was changed, er I mean 're-translated' to read homosexuals.

Paul's letter to the Romans (Rom 1:24-28) was pretty specific in describing homosexual relations.

Why do religionists give so much weight to the rantings of early church charlatans, who incorporated their homophobic attitudes into doctrine? An idiot back then, was every bit of an idiot, nonetheless.

Lionel Andrades is wrong. The Catechism says homosexual sex (as opposed to being SSA - same sex attracted) is "intrinsically disordered," and "contrary to natural law." (CCC 2357) The same paragraph says the cause of SSA is "largely unexplained."

In the next paragraph, the CCC says "They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in that regard should be avoided."

The Catholic church welcomes those with SSA. She just wants them to practice chastity, as is expected from the rest of us.

I'm quite happy to throw those paragraphs in the face of any Catholic that shows bigotry to SSA persons.

I'm not sure the Cardinal was being bigoted. He was being blunt, and using the word "homosexual" to mean a sexually active one. I'd have to hear his tone of voie to know if hew was being a bigot.

Committing grave sin is, indeed, turning towards Hell; there are only two directions: towards God or towards Hell.

Anytime the word homosexual appears in the Bible it is a mis-translation. Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of his day for keeping people from Heaven by their impossible rules and regulations. Sadly, I see this same thing happening today by all the churches that turn gay people away from their fellowship. The warning of false teachings leading people astray applies to the conservative religious leaders of today, not the welcoming churches.

So where are you going when you die Mishi?

Because I sure as shit don't want to be wherever that place is...some level of hell I'd wager, and by your own decision. Don't go blaming your hatred for God and truly natural things on Catholics.

It's not our fault homosexuality is unnatural.

I think we're missing the point...

Should a murderer be set free because he was "born that way"? Or if "he learned it"? Or "turned that way at some point"?

No!

Your actions are what they are. Just because you really want to be ok with them does not turn them natural.

Just because a pedophile has fantasies about him or her self with the innocent child in pure bliss does not all of a sudden turn pedophilia into true love...although it may have started with a natural nonsexual love for the inherent beauty of the child, or not. Either way it's pedophilia!

The Bible and Catholic teaching are an inconvenient Truth to those who wish to equate acts of grave depravity to normalcy. How may one who remains obstinate in committing sin, one of four sins which cry to Heaven for vengeance, be saved? The cardinal is offering tough love for those who cannot see it: what profit a person to gain the world yet lose their immortal soul? The cardinal is warning you out of love, not hate. It is your sin and hate prevents you from seeing the inconvenient Truth.

Richard - I'm sure your statement makes perfect sense to you, but to those who do not share your unsupportable contention that homosexuality is ,"one of four sins which cry to Heaven for vengeance", it is just so much more religious bigotry. In as much the idea is flawed because it contravenes the fact that there is not now, nor has there ever been the slightest amount of verifiable proof that a god,or gods, exist, or have EVER existed , then your assertion that , "The Bible and Catholic teaching are an inconvenient Truth ", are absurd. When you can produce proof that your god exists, that its nature is exactly what you purport it to be and the there exists an "immortal soul", then your statement can stand without challenge. Until that time, it is not "Truth", it is nothing but institutionalized doctrinaire delusional rubbish.

The Doctor (Dr. Carlos Diaz Lujan) had a marvelous point earlier based in natural reasoning. It is not a "dogmatic" teaching which makes homosexuality abnormal. It is the science and principle of it. Whether we (rational beings that we are) like it or not, we are faced with this reality. Just because a behavior is not scientifically proven to be inherited or genetically caused does not give humanity the right to discriminate and promote hatred for that behavior. The fact that this behavior could compromise and counter the natural law of the biological family unit -- which every human has their origins in -- gives reason to the questioning of the appropriateness of the behavior questioned. You do not have to be religious to acknowledge this as we see today.

This Cardinal comes across as "old school" and I agree that these comments were not in the best interest of the greater good. Furthermore, they do not reflect modern church teachings on the subject. They create a gap between parties -- with emotions at a high -- leading to misunderstandings and subjective dialogue.

the practice of sodomy has to be the sickest and most debauched practice known to mankind. No wonder why both the Old AND New Testaments condemn it so severly. Like the great Saint Paul says, sodomites deserve to die. Anyone with eyes to see can see that AIDS is a punishment for such an unnatural and twisted use of our God-given sexuality

pierre - Spoken like a true brainless Taliban type Bible-Nazi Christian. It is no wonder that Atheists are coming to these forums, because crap like you just spouted, cannot be allowed to stand without identifying exactly what it is, religiously sanctioned bigotry.

What hatred some people have expressed. Folks have to very bitter to write some of the things that I've read here. Get a life!!!! People need to examine their own lives before they start throwing rocks at others.

Yes. They are NOT born gay. They are raised disordered.

Regarding the argument that homosexuality has been practiced and sometimes an accepted custom throughout human history; would you defend every other frailty of our fallen human nature, also? Are we dumb animals? No, for the Christian is not of this world.

The Catholics are massive homophobes--they hate that which is an integral part of their church--there is much self loathing her--much confusion--sex is sex brothers--if there is a god, which, as Robert Littel, time and again has asserted, you have no proof for, you insult this god you worship by suggesting that He cares about the type of hole humans use for sexual pleasure--yours is a god with picayune concerns, a voyeur, a cheap thrill seeker, a peep hole artist and you want the rest of humanity that discards all god notions as archaic and irrelevant to submit to your insane assertions--you want public policy to bow to the anachronisms in a book called the bible that has been perverted by oral tradition numerous times, to please the prejudiced and ignorant among you. I hope the doctor who has commented is not a physician. If he is, he is a shocker. He is incapable of treating his gay and transgendered patients fairly with the kinds of views he holds. Gender identity occurs before birth. The human brain is sexualized in utero--a simple concept, well studied and documented repeatedly by Endocrinologists. In fact plastics like bisphenol A, to which modern fetuses are exposed, place a female imprint on male brains in utero because they are low level estrogens. This is a rapidly evolving science and the people on this board are total ignoramuses, the doctor leading the pack of wolves. Pattycakes, as usual you pretend to have scientific erudition and spout your gobbledygook--I am not surprised you support this pseudo scientist doc because that is what you are yourself--a superstitionist desperately seeking scientific explanations for your fables.
Ravensfan Anon

Ravensfan Anon - A-men

Catholics are not homophobes - they do NOT fear homosexuals. Being nauseated with the behaviour of some people is not the same thing as being scared of them.

Rather it is the homosexual community that are heterophobes.

I have never seen such outright hatred expressed by homosexuals when their actions and inclinations are labelled as disordered. And, until the American Psychiatric Association decided to remove sodomy from their books as a deviation about 40 years, it was widely recognised by everyone as such - not just Catholics or Christians.

Let's face it, if it had been up to homosexuals thousands of years ago, there would be no modern day civilisations at all - becasue that relationship is inherently sterile.

Ok here are a few things. The bible teaches that scripture has authority over the church. 'All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteoussness." 2 Tim 3:16. Catholicism teaches that the church has authority over scripture. "The manner of interpreting scripture is ultimately subject to the judgement of the church....to the Pope and to the Bishops." 100 119. The bible teaches that man is saved for good works. "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Eph 2:10. Catholicism teaches that man is saved by good works. "In this way they attain their own salvation and cooperate in saving their brothers." 1477. The bible teaches that salvation is offered to those outside the church. "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors as though God were making His appeal through us, be reconciled to God." 2 Cor. 5:20. Catholicism teaches that salvation is offered through the church. "Basing itself on scripture and tradition, the church is necessary for salvation. Anyone refusing to enter it or remain in it cannot be saved." 846. Anyone have any thoughts on these quotations and ideas?

Clay - In the face of the fact that there is not now, nor has there ever been the tiniest shred of evidence that a god, or gods, exist or have EVER existed, the above quoted admonitions can be viewed as nothing but rubbish, just like ALL religious drivel.

Clay – First let me say that you did make a sincere effort to actually try and research Catholic doctrine and raised some good questions. You misinterpret the first two CCC 100 & 119. 100 is actually a summary. You really should read the entire sections and not just search for sections to quote. The interpreting of scripture refers primarily to putting it in the various languages from the original ones the documents were written in. Keep in mind after Christ the New Testament didn’t even exist yet. Timothy’s letter would be referencing the Old Testament. The Gospels weren’t even generally accepted until 130AD and was much later for many of the other books. The purpose here is to avoid everyone translating and developing their own versions of the Bible? If you read 86 you will have seen this “ Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God , but its servant” I’m not sure what point you are tying to make in the second item since what you said is essentially the same. “The bible teaches that man is saved for good works” “Catholicism teaches that man is saved by good works.” They sound the same to me. If you are trying to argue that the Church teaching is that one is saved by works that is not correct. You are taking on sentence form one section which has to do with the communion of saints. But if we look Eph 2:10 at the end “for us to do” would indicate that works are important. Keep in mind that the Bible stresses that faith without works is empty. That is the essence of the Church teaching. Matt 7:16-27, Matt 16:27,John 3:36, Acts 10:35 among others all would indicate that works have a role in being saved. As for salvation being offered in the Church. CCC 846 states “all salvation comes from Christ through the Church.” You may also want to read CCC 817 through 820 as well. 818 states “in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church” I applaud your efforts to find out more about the Catholic Church. I think you will find there is far more we agree on than you think.

Robert - That something has not been proven true doesn't make it untrue. It’s a logical fallacy. All you can truly say is you don’t believe God exists. To say more arrogant and foolish on your part.

The only reason faith without works is dead is that if you have faith the works will come. With no works, you have no faith. But we are saved through faith, not through the works. If someone comes to Christ on their deathbed and hasnt had a chance to have works, they may still be saved. Except for someone in their last moments, faith without works is impossible. Thanks.

ravensfan - It is my opinion that you do not have enough evidence to justify making the rest of us hear your opinion. That you can believe so much on the off chance that your illiterate, uninformed, uneducated , superstitious ancestors made up a scenario that somehow represents ultimate truth, only shows how shallow and vacuous your thought processes actually are. Because I can't prove your god does not exist does not mean that it does. The burden of proof in on your head, not mine and as long as religion insists on interfering in world affairs (very negatively for the most part) I insist you make your case in a verifiable way, or get off the damn pot.

Robert – I do not require your approval to voice my opinion. That’s a right guaranteed to me by the Constitution. One big difference between us is while you would silence those whose views and opinions don’t agree with yours I respect others rights to voice theirs even if I find them ignorant and repulsive. I guess I need to give you a lesson in logic. My failure to prove God exists doesn’t mean he doesn’t and your failure to prove He the negative doesn’t mean he does. Where exactly did I claim that your failure was proof of existence? All I did was show you the logical error in your statement. Your opinions on religion even though wrong are yours and you are entitled to it. Unlike you I don’t have a problem with people expressing their views and opinions even narrow minded and foolish ones like yours. If you don’t like what I say I suggest you find another blog or ignore it because I am going nowhere.

Clay - If it were true that if you had faith works come then why does the Bible even mention faith without works? There would be no need to even mention works would there. Since both are mentioned it stands to reason that you can have faith without works.

ravensfan - I believe I have the right to the opinion that what you spout is rubbish and that I have the right to find it not only inane, but in its constant and repetitive espousal by so many, so often, and so intently, especially every year about this time, that it is an effrontery to those who are not so easily entertained by fairy-tales and mindless kowtowing to make-believe entities. You have the right to believe any silly stupid thing you wish and the rest of us have the right to bitch about it when it is rammed down our throat. Freedom of religion must be balanced with the right to freedom FROM religion in a secular pluralistic society.

Lastly, if you are going to insist that we, who do not share your curious and totally unsupportable beliefs, are in fact wrong, then you are going to have to prove it, or shut up about it.

Robert – What part of you have a right to your opinion don’t you get. How many times do I have to say you have a right to your opinion? How many times do you need to be reminded that your opinion is not fact unless you can support it with proof. Simply saying I can’t prove my beliefs doesn’t prove yours is fact. I agree with your comments on freedom of, and from religion. You’re the one who keeps telling me to shut up because you don’t like my opinion. If you want to complain be my guest. Whine all you want about Christians, Christmas and any other beliefs you don’t agree with. If you want to state your view as fact then prove it or don’t cry when I point out the logical flaws with it. I’ve never asked you to accept my beliefs at any time. You want me to shut up then prove my beliefs wrong. Keep this in mind before you or anyone else responds. I’m not saying that proves mine. Since it’s my opinion you and other nonbelievers are wrong I have just as much right to say it as you do to belittle and insult people who do believe in God. You can’t have it both ways even though you appear to be too dense to comprehend it.

I think the bible is saying that faith without works really isnt faith. Faith means more than just believing in God. It also means believing that when He tells us to go out and preach the word or whatever that we believe Him to be true when He says that our works will be judged. So if we have faith in this we will fear what will happen if we dont obey His commands. I suppose someone can say that they believe in God but dont love Him enough to do anything for Him. Is this really faith? As far as the Catholic church goes, you cant be that much astray from what the bible teaches and expect to gain favor with God. You cant believe both the words of God and the words of men. The bible condemns anyone who perverts the gospel, including Roman Catholic clergy. "If we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned." Gal. 1:6-9. Catholicism condemns with over 100 anathemas those who believe the bible instead of the Canons of the Council of Trent. These condemnations are still in effect today. Sure sounds like old satan to me. Thanks.

Clay – “I think the bible is saying” That sounds like a personal interpretation not a biblical statement of doctrine. Nowhere does anything in the Bible support that idea.
“whatever that we believe Him to be true” That sounds like your are saying we can all make our own interpretation. Shouldn’t God’s message be the same to us all? You have yet to actually produce anything that the Church does that in contradiction or violation of the bible. “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” 2 Thessalonians 2:15. “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.” 2 Thessalonians 3:6. You misinterpret Gal 1:6-9 that was intended to prevent everyone coming up with their own doctrine, kind of like you are doing, which was common at times in the early Church. That was why the Church by the power of the Holy Spirit claimed authority over the translation of the ancient texts. It was God working through the Catholic and Orthodox Church that created and assembled the New Testament books that are in the Bible. The written Bible wasn’t even the principal means of spreading God’s message until at least about 13 to 14 centuries after Christ. I also noticed you only mention preaching as a work of faith. In fact the greatest work of faith is love. How mant times does Christ mention love. What did he say was the greatest commandment? Paul in his letter to the Romans (Rom 12:4-8) list many different works. You seem stuck on only one work. I can’t comment on the Council of Trent unless you give me some specifics. It’s rather long and I don’t have the time to go through all of it. Give me a reference to something in the Council that you think contradicts the Bible and be happy to look at it. You really ought to worry about your own faith and spend less time criticizing others. Remember what Christ said about judging others?

I would never say that we should all make our own interpretation, and there are certainly more works of faith than preaching. That is why I said "tells us to go out and preach the word or whatever." Whatever includes a lot of other things besides preaching. The Catholic church has many traditions that contradict scripture. Paul and Peter both became upset at those who bowed down to or prayed to them. This certainly doesnt tell us to pray to deceased saints. Christ de-emphasized His mother in scripture, and yet the church prays to her for intercession. Where does the bible say that the church has authority over scripture? The bible teaches that man is regenerated at the baptism of the Spirit. "For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body" 1 Cor 12:13. "From the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth" 2 Thes 2:13. Catholicism teaches that baptism of water is the sacrament of regeneration 1213. The water of baptism truly signifies our birth into the divine life 694. The bible teaches that all sins are purified by the blood of Jesus 1 John 1:7. Catholicism teaches that some sins are purified by the fires of purgatory. 1030-31. Purgatory isnt even mentioned in the bible, only references that can vaguely be interpreted as such. The bible teaches that a man becomes a saint when the Spirit baptizes him into the body of Christ. Eph 4:11-12. Catholicism teaches that a man becomes a saint only when the Pope canonizes him. This occurs when the pope solemnly proclaims that they practiced a heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God's grace. 828. There are perhaps more things that this church does in contradiction to the bible than in agreement with it, at least on a daily basis. Why do I criticize it? Because I care about the people in this church and where they go when they die. Thanks.

why does anyone bother to argue on the internet? it does no good at all. if you are trying to help the stubborn atheists understand the illogical fallacies they are committing, just stop for goodness sakes, and don't waste good words commenting on a blog. we all have better things to do with our time than argue with hateful people on here.

"Robert – What part of you have a right to your opinion don’t you get. How many times do I have to say you have a right to your opinion? How many times do you need to be reminded that your opinion is not fact unless you can support it with proof. Simply saying I can’t prove my beliefs doesn’t prove yours is fact. I agree with your comments on freedom of, and from religion. You’re the one who keeps telling me to shut up because you don’t like my opinion. If you want to complain be my guest. Whine all you want about Christians, Christmas and any other beliefs you don’t agree with. If you want to state your view as fact then prove it or don’t cry when I point out the logical flaws with it. I’ve never asked you to accept my beliefs at any time. You want me to shut up then prove my beliefs wrong. Keep this in mind before you or anyone else responds. I’m not saying that proves mine. Since it’s my opinion you and other nonbelievers are wrong I have just as much right to say it as you do to belittle and insult people who do believe in God. You can’t have it both ways even though you appear to be too dense to comprehend it."
lets leave it at this

Clay – The Church does not teach praying to saints. I will acknowledge some Catholics mistakenly do it. One of the bigger problems we have is too many Catholic who don’t fully understand their own faith. Christ remarks were meant to show that all who follow him are part of His family. Luke 1:28 “And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” It also says later “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.” The Church existed before the Bible, at least the New Testament. It was the oral traditions of the Church which were the first passing on of the faith. When the first Christians had a significant disagreement they didn’t open their Bible which didn’t exist yet they held a council. The first is actually mentioned in the Bible, The Council of Jerusalem. The water is a symbol Clay. You took one sentence from one section. If you want to comment on Baptism read CCC 1213 through 1284. I’ve already given you quotes in the past on purgatory and since you ignored them then I see no reason to do it again. Lot’s of things aren’t mentioned in the Bible Clay that’s why your “Bible Only” doctrine is in error. You simplify the process for sainthood so I’m not going to try and explain it since you haven’t in the past bothered to read or reflect when I show you your errors. In fact you didn’t even quote the whole sentence on that one I don’t doubt your intentions. You just don’t have a complete understanding of the Catholic Church. You appear to be searching for things to support your views. You never did respond to what I asked about the Canons from the Council of Trent which makes me wonder do you know what they are or did someone else tell you this. . Clay if I were to take Baptists doctrine & practice and cherry pick sentences and phrases out of context I could make them look like Satan’s minions just as you appear to be trying to do with the Catholic Church.

Well I dont mean to keep picking on the Catholic church but I am trying to help them. I was at a wedding and the priest prayed to St. Peter and St. Paul in his prayer. That seems to be pretty strong evidence of what the church appears to be teaching. I understand that the church existed before the new testament. I suppose my main disagreement is that now that this new testament is there for us to follow, even being helped in it's construction by the Catholic church, why does the church hold to traditions which sometimes contradict it? I think the answer is pride. For gosh sakes stop being prideful and get rid of some of these traditions, which the church often sees as being as important as scripture and sometimes more important. How are Catholics supposed to be truly on fire for God if they keep getting hung up on things? Rome is a huge problem for this church. Go to the bible for answers to questions, pray about it and see where God leads. We dont need Rome telling us what to do. It should be taken apart and made a museum or something. Yes there should be leaders in the church, but Catholics have gone way too far with it. Why should I go to the Pope to ask for something like forgiveness or whatever? It hasnt changed that much since the days of Martin Luther. It is time for Catholics to get up, clap and shake their bodies for God and get a little excited. Take communion once a month. It is symbolic. Get rid of some of these statues. Let priests get married. Thanks.

Clay – I honestly believe you are doing what you sincerely think is helpful. I can’t comment on what one priest may have done since I wasn’t there. But one action at one service is hardly evidence to attack the entire Church. All I can tell you is I go to Church every week and although I belong to one I occasional go to others because I enjoy experiences the differences and I have never heard a priest pray to a saint. The closest thing I’ve seen is in some of the more conservative, traditional churches were a priests asks for a saint to pray to God on our behalf. We can argue over and over on the what the benefit if any is in that. What it is not is praying to that saint. Again none of the Church traditions contradict anything in the Bible. I’ve been through many of your misconceptions of the Church and you just seem to ignore what I say. Actually my friend you are the prideful one by insisting that somehow your faith is somehow superior to the Catholic Church. That if the Church doesn’t worship the way you think is correct it is somehow as you put it not on fire for God. You are the one hung up on the Church. I don’t know if it’s something you came up with on your own or are being fed by your own Church. The statues are art and symbols Clay nothing more. A lot has changed since Luther my friend you just don’t want to accept it because you are holding onto an incorrect idea. The only requirement for communion in the Church is to receive at least once a year during Easter time. It sounds like you are one of those evangelical types who place far too much emphasis on physical actions like shaking as a sign of faith. Something which the Bible doesn’t say is required to be saved. It also doesn’t say that it is the sole source of answers. Your “Bible Only” concept is one of the biggest flaws of many evangelicals and Baptists. I’ve already shown you quotes which mention traditions. It was traditions that spread the faith for at least 13 centuries after Christ not the Bible. Let me conclude by suggesting you ask yourself honestly if the prideful one isn’t you? Go back and reread your posts and my responses and meditate and pray on that Clay.

I am not saying that everyone has to worship the way I see it. I just want these people to be on fire for God, not ceremony that they feel has to be carried out. Maybe communion is only required once a year, but do you think that this is what is encouraged? And I am certainly not saying that communion hurts anyone and that we shouldnt do it. Catholics need to break free from the bonds holding them back. That is all I am saying. If a priest wants to wear a jacket and tie he should be allowed to. Why does it have to be the traditional clothing? There has to be some pride in there somewhere, or at least a feeling that if we dont follow these traditions, we will be farther from what God wants. It isnt true. In some cases with some traditions, it may bring them closer to what God wants. Are there any Catholics out there who have any comments? Thanks.

Clay – The traditions flow from a love and for God. Why wouldn’t the priest putting what he wants first be prideful? Keep in mind when someone joins the priesthood he does it of his own free will and aware of what that means. Wouldn’t then turning around and putting his desires over his vows be prideful? Actually you seem to be the one stick on traditions more than most Catholics. Before Vatican II in the early 1960’s your allegations might have had some validity to them. However, the Church has come a long way since then including participating in ecumenical services with other denominations. My wife isn’t Catholic when the Priest at my Church offered and invitation for my wife to have a minister from her denomination their and do the ceremony jointly. Honestly Clay you have many misconceptions about the Catholic Church. While I believe you mean well you should worry more about those who are outside of the Christian faith than those in it who are part of a different denomination. We’ve already both agreed a long time ago that no one faith is assured of salvation. CS Lewis in the introduction of “Mere Christianity” made the following statement about what he was trying to do

“I hope no reader will suppose that "mere" Christianity is here put forward as an alternative to the creeds of the existing communions-as if a man could adopt it in preference to Congregationalism or Greek Orthodoxy or anything else. It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall I shall have done what I attempted. But it is in the rooms, not in the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals. The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in. For that purpose the worst of the rooms (whichever that may be) is, I think, preferable.”

Clay might I suggest you do as CS Lewis did and spend more time trying to get people into the hall as opposed to worrying about those who are in a different room from yours.

Sure. The problem is there are many who think they are in one of the rooms but who are still outside of the hall. Sometimes rooms do things that lead people to go back to the outside, including beer at the crab feast at Catholic churches and gossip at non Catholic ones. Thanks.

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About Matthew Hay Brown
Matthew Hay Brown writes and blogs about faith and values in public and private life for The Baltimore Sun. A former Washington correspondent for the newspaper, he has long written about the intersection of religion and politics. He has reported from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, traveling most recently to Syria and Jordan to write about the Iraqi refugee crisis.
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