Could the Soul “Evolve” from Inferior Animals? – 16 Questions on Adam and Eve

The Garden of Paradise was a large and beautiful place prepared for man’s habitation upon earth. It was supplied with every species of plant and animal and with everything that could contribute to man’s happiness.

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions. All the lists taken from the Baltimore Catechism may be found here.

 

Baltimore Catechism No. 3 – Lesson 5

LESSON FIFTH
On our First Parents and the Fall – Part I

 

Q. 233. Who were the first man and woman?

A. The first man and woman were Adam and Eve.

 

Q. 234. Are there any persons in the world who are not the descendants of Adam and Eve?

A. There are no persons in the world now, and there never have been any, who are not the descendants of Adam and Eve, because the whole human race had but one origin.

 

Q. 235. Do not the differences in color, figure, etc., which we find in distinct races indicate a difference in first parents?

A. The differences in color, figure, etc., which we find in distinct races do not indicate a difference in first parents, for these differences have been brought about in the lapse of time by other causes, such as climate, habits, etc.

 

Q. 236. Were Adam and Eve innocent and holy when they came from the hand of God?

A. Adam and Eve were innocent and holy when they came from the hand of God.

 

Q. 237. What do we mean by saying Adam and Eve “were innocent” when they came from the hand of God?

A. When we say Adam and Eve “were innocent” when they came from the hand of God we mean they were in the state of original justice; that is, they were gifted with every virtue and free from every sin.

 

Q. 238. How was Adam’s body formed?

A. God formed Adam’s body out of the clay of the earth and then breathed into it a living soul.

 

Q. 239. How was Eve’s body formed?

A. Eve’s body was formed from a rib taken from Adam’s side during a deep sleep which God caused to come upon him.

 

Q. 240. Why did God make Eve from one of Adam’s ribs?

A. God made Eve from one of Adam’s ribs to show the close relationship existing between husband and wife in their marriage union which God then instituted.

 

Q. 241. Could man’s body be developed from the body of an inferior animal?

A. Man’s body could be developed from the body of an inferior animal if God so willed; but science does not prove that man’s body was thus formed, while revelation teaches that it was formed directly by God from the clay of the earth.1

 

Q. 242. Could man’s soul and intelligence be formed by the development of animal life and instinct?

A. Man’s soul could not be formed by the development of animal instinct; for, being entirely spiritual, it must be created by God, and it is united to the body as soon as the body is prepared to receive it.2

 

Q. 243. Did God give any command to Adam and Eve?

A. To try their obedience, God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of a certain fruit which grew in the garden of Paradise.

 

Q. 244. What was the Garden of Paradise?

A. The Garden of Paradise was a large and beautiful place prepared for man’s habitation upon earth. It was supplied with every species of plant and animal and with everything that could contribute to man’s happiness.

 

Q. 245. Where was the Garden of Paradise situated?

A. The exact place in which the Garden of Paradise — called also the Garden of Eden — was situated is not known, for the deluge may have so changed the surface of the earth that old landmarks were wiped out. It was probably some place in Asia, not far from the river Euphrates.

 

Q. 246. What was the tree bearing the forbidden fruit called?

A. The tree bearing the forbidden fruit was called “the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”

 

Q. 247. Do we know the name of any other tree in the garden?

A. We know the name of another tree in the Garden called the “tree of life.” Its fruit kept the bodies of our first parents in a state of perfect health.

 

Q. 248. Which were the chief blessings intended for Adam and Eve had they remained faithful to God?

A. The chief blessings intended for Adam and Eve, had they remained faithful to God, were a constant state of happiness in this life and everlasting glory in the next.

  1. SPL Note on Evolution: It should be remembered that the Baltimore Catechism was published in 1885 – science has made significant headway in the area of evolution since then. []
  2. SPL Note on Evolution II: Assume that evolution is an undeniable scientific fact, even with that granted the soul cannot “evolve;” thus, there would have to be a moment in time where God went from guiding evolution via nature to divinely intervening to create man with an immortal soul capable of free will – for holiness or sin. This moment in time and the story surrounding it is most certainly the Adam and Eve story. []

11 Reasons the Authority of Christianity Is Centered on St. Peter and Rome

The importance of establishing St. Peter’s ministry in Rome may be boiled down to authority and more specifically the historic existence and continuance of the Office of Vicar held by St. Peter.

Listers, Bl. John Henry Newman said it best: “To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.” History paints an overwhelming picture of St. Peter’s apostolic ministry in Rome and this is confirmed by a multitude of different sources within the Early Church. Catholic Encyclopedia states, “In opposition to this distinct and unanimous testimony of early Christendom, some few Protestant historians have attempted in recent times to set aside the residence and death of Peter at Rome as legendary. These attempts have resulted in complete failure.” Protestantism as a whole seeks to divorce Christianity from history by rending Gospel message out of its historical context as captured by our Early Church Fathers. One such target of these heresies is to devalue St. Peter and to twist the authority of Rome into a historical mishap within Christianity. To wit, the belief has as its end the ultimate end of all Catholic and Protestant dialogue – who has authority in Christianity?

 

Why is it important to defend the tradition of St. Peter and Rome?
The importance of establishing St. Peter’s ministry in Rome may be boiled down to authority and more specifically the historic existence and continuance of the Office of Vicar held by St. Peter. To understand why St. Peter was important and what authority was given to him by Christ SPL has composed two lists – 10 Biblical Reasons Christ Founded the Papacy and 13 Reasons St. Peter Was the Prince of the Apostles.

The rest of the list is cited from the Catholic Encyclopedia on St. Peter and represents only a small fraction of the evidence set therein.

 

The Apostolic Primacy of St. Peter and Rome

It is an indisputably established historical fact that St. Peter laboured in Rome during the last portion of his life, and there ended his earthly course by martyrdom. As to the duration of his Apostolic activity in the Roman capital, the continuity or otherwise of his residence there, the details and success of his labours, and the chronology of his arrival and death, all these questions are uncertain, and can be solved only on hypotheses more or less well-founded. The essential fact is that Peter died at Rome: this constitutes the historical foundation of the claim of the Bishops of Rome to the Apostolic Primacy of Peter.

St. Peter’s residence and death in Rome are established beyond contention as historical facts by a series of distinct testimonies extending from the end of the first to the end of the second centuries, and issuing from several lands.

 

1. The Gospel of St. John

That the manner, and therefore the place of his death, must have been known in widely extended Christian circles at the end of the first century is clear from the remark introduced into the Gospel of St. John concerning Christ’s prophecy that Peter was bound to Him and would be led whither he would not — “And this he said, signifying by what death he should glorify God” (John 21:18-19, see above). Such a remark presupposes in the readers of the Fourth Gospel a knowledge of the death of Peter.

 

2. Salutations, from Babylon

St. Peter’s First Epistle was written almost undoubtedly from Rome, since the salutation at the end reads: “The church that is in Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you: and so doth my son Mark” (5:13). Babylon must here be identified with the Roman capital; since Babylon on the Euphrates, which lay in ruins, or New Babylon (Seleucia) on the Tigris, or the Egyptian Babylon near Memphis, or Jerusalem cannot be meant, the reference must be to Rome, the only city which is called Babylon elsewhere in ancient Christian literature (Revelation 17:5; 18:10; “Oracula Sibyl.”, V, verses 143 and 159, ed. Geffcken, Leipzig, 1902, 111).

 

3. Gospel of St. Mark

From Bishop Papias of Hierapolis and Clement of Alexandria, who both appeal to the testimony of the old presbyters (i.e., the disciples of the Apostles), we learn that Mark wrote his Gospel in Rome at the request of the Roman Christians, who desired a written memorial of the doctrine preached to them by St. Peter and his disciples (Eusebius, Church History II.15, 3.40, 6.14); this is confirmed by Irenaeus (Against Heresies 3.1). In connection with this information concerning the Gospel of St. Mark, Eusebius, relying perhaps on an earlier source, says that Peter described Rome figuratively as Babylon in his First Epistle.

 

4. Testimony of Pope St. Clement I

Another testimony concerning the martyrdom of Peter and Paul is supplied by Clement of Rome in his Epistle to the Corinthians (written about A.D. 95-97), wherein he says (chapter 5):

“Through zeal and cunning the greatest and most righteous supports [of the Church] have suffered persecution and been warred to death. Let us place before our eyes the good Apostles — St. Peter, who in consequence of unjust zeal, suffered not one or two, but numerous miseries, and, having thus given testimony (martyresas), has entered the merited place of glory”.

He then mentions Paul and a number of elect, who were assembled with the others and suffered martyrdom “among us” (en hemin, i.e., among the Romans, the meaning that the expression also bears in chapter 4). He is speaking undoubtedly, as the whole passage proves, of the Neronian persecution, and thus refers the martyrdom of Peter and Paul to that epoch.

 

5. Testimony of St. Ignatius of Antioch

In his letter written at the beginning of the second century (before 117), while being brought to Rome for martyrdom, the venerable Bishop Ignatius of Antioch endeavours by every means to restrain the Roman Christians from striving for his pardon, remarking: “I issue you no commands, like Peter and Paul: they were Apostles, while I am but a captive” (Epistle to the Romans 4). The meaning of this remark must be that the two Apostles laboured personally in Rome, and with Apostolic authority preached the Gospel there.

 

6. Taught in the Same Place in Italy

Bishop Dionysius of Corinth, in his letter to the Roman Church in the time of Pope Soter (165-74), says:

“You have therefore by your urgent exhortation bound close together the sowing of Peter and Paul at Rome and Corinth. For both planted the seed of the Gospel also in Corinth, and together instructed us, just as they likewise taught in the same place in Italy and at the same time suffered martyrdom” (in Eusebius, Church History II.25).

 

 

7. Rome: Founded by Sts. Peter and Paul

Irenaeus of Lyons, a native of Asia Minor and a disciple of Polycarp of Smyrna (a disciple of St. John), passed a considerable time in Rome shortly after the middle of the second century, and then proceeded to Lyons, where he became bishop in 177; he described the Roman Church as the most prominent and chief preserver of the Apostolic tradition, as “the greatest and most ancient church, known by all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul” (Against Heresies 3.3; cf. 3.1). He thus makes use of the universally known and recognized fact of the Apostolic activity of Peter and Paul in Rome, to find therein a proof from tradition against the heretics.

 

8. St. Peter Announced the Word of God in Rome

In his “Hypotyposes” (Eusebius, Church History IV.14), Clement of Alexandria, teacher in the catechetical school of that city from about 190, says on the strength of the tradition of the presbyters: “After Peter had announced the Word of God in Rome and preached the Gospel in the spirit of God, the multitude of hearers requested Mark, who had long accompanied Peter on all his journeys, to write down what the Apostles had preached to them” (see above).

 

9. Rome: Where Authority is Ever Within Reach

Like Irenaeus, Tertullian appeals, in his writings against heretics, to the proof afforded by the Apostolic labours of Peter and Paul in Rome of the truth of ecclesiastical tradition. In De Præscriptione 36, he says:

“If thou art near Italy, thou hast Rome where authority is ever within reach. How fortunate is this Church for which the Apostles have poured out their whole teaching with their blood, where Peter has emulated the Passion of the Lord, where Paul was crowned with the death of John.”

In Scorpiace 15, he also speaks of Peter’s crucifixion. “The budding faith Nero first made bloody in Rome. There Peter was girded by another, since he was bound to the cross”. As an illustration that it was immaterial with what water baptism is administered, he states in his book (On Baptism 5) that there is “no difference between that with which John baptized in the Jordan and that with which Peter baptized in the Tiber”; and against Marcion he appeals to the testimony of the Roman Christians, “to whom Peter and Paul have bequeathed the Gospel sealed with their blood” (Against Marcion 4.5).

 

10. Come to the Vatican and See for Yourself

The Roman, Caius, who lived in Rome in the time of Pope Zephyrinus (198-217), wrote in his “Dialogue with Proclus” (in Eusebius, Church History II.25) directed against the Montanists: “But I can show the trophies of the Apostles. If you care to go to the Vatican or to the road to Ostia, thou shalt find the trophies of those who have founded this Church”.

By the trophies (tropaia) Eusebius understands the graves of the Apostles, but his view is opposed by modern investigators who believe that the place of execution is meant. For our purpose it is immaterial which opinion is correct, as the testimony retains its full value in either case. At any rate the place of execution and burial of both were close together; St. Peter, who was executed on the Vatican, received also his burial there. Eusebius also refers to “the inscription of the names of Peter and Paul, which have been preserved to the present day on the burial-places there” (i.e. at Rome).

 

11. Ancient Epigraphic Memorial

There thus existed in Rome an ancient epigraphic memorial commemorating the death of the Apostles. The obscure notice in the Muratorian Fragment (“Lucas optime theofile conprindit quia sub praesentia eius singula gerebantur sicuti et semote passionem petri evidenter declarat”, ed. Preuschen, Tübingen, 1910, p. 29) also presupposes an ancient definite tradition concerning Peter’s death in Rome.

The apocryphal Acts of St. Peter and the Acts of Sts. Peter and Paul likewise belong to the series of testimonies of the death of the two Apostles in Rome.

The First 10 Popes of the Catholic Church

Listers, we’ve catalogued the first ten Vicars of Christ for the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. Save the information on our first pope – St. Peter – all the information presented is taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia and links for further reading are provided.

 

Painting of Saint Peter by Peter Paul Rubens depicting the saint as Pope (1611-1612) – Wikipedia

1. Pope St. Peter (32-67)

St. Peter held a primacy amongst the twelve disciples that earned him the title “Prince of the Apostles.” This primacy of St. Peter was solidified when he was appointed by Jesus to the Office of the Vicar – demonstrated by Christ giving St. Peter the Keys to the Kingdom. To understand St. Peter, one must first understand Christ and the Church Christ came to establish. Jesus is the “Son of David” and his life and ministry fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of the New Davidic Kingdom and New Jerusalem; hence, we look to the historic kingdom of King David as a guide to the New Davidic Kingdom. King David had a vicar that ruled his kingdom when David was absent  and the sign of authority for this vicar was the keys of the kingdom. In the New Davidic Kingdom, Christ the Son of David gave the keys to his Vicar to guide the Kingdom until the return of Christ – we now refer to this vicar as “the pope.”  SPL has written extensively on these issue in 10 Biblical Reasons Christ Founded the Papacy and 13 Reasons St. Peter Was the Prince of the Apostles.

2. Pope St. Linus (67-76)

All the ancient records of the Roman bishops which have been handed down to us by St. Irenaeus, Julius Africanus, St. Hippolytus, Eusebius, also the Liberian catalogue of 354, place the name of Linus directly after that of the Prince of the Apostles, St. Peter. These records are traced back to a list of the Roman bishops which existed in the time of Pope Eleutherus (about 174-189), when Irenaeus wrote his book “Adversus haereses”. As opposed to this testimony, we cannot accept as more reliable Tertullian’s assertion, which unquestionably places St. Clement (De praescriptione, xxii) after the Apostle Peter, as was also done later by other Latin scholars (Jerome, Illustrious Men 15). The Roman list in Irenaeus has undoubtedly greater claims to historical authority. This author claims that Pope Linus is the Linus mentioned by St. Paul in his 2 Timothy 4:21. The passage by Irenaeus (Against Heresies III.3.3) reads:

After the Holy Apostles (Peter and Paul) had founded and set the Church in order (in Rome) they gave over the exercise of the episcopal office to Linus. The same Linus is mentioned by St. Paul in his Epistle to Timothy. His successor was Anacletus.

We cannot be positive whether this identification of the pope as being the Linus mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:21 goes back to an ancient and reliable source, or originated later on account of the similarity of the name. [Read More]

3. Pope St. Anacletus (Cletus) (76-88)

The second successor of St. Peter. Whether he was the same as Cletus, who is also called Anencletus as well as Anacletus, has been the subject of endless discussion. Irenaeus, Eusebius, Augustine, Optatus, use both names indifferently as of one person. Tertullian omits him altogether. To add to the confusion, the order is different. Thus Irenaeus has Linus, Anacletus, Clement; whereas Augustine and Optatus put Clement before Anacletus. On the other hand, the “Catalogus Liberianus”, the “Carmen contra Marcionem” and the “Liber Pontificalis”, all most respectable for their antiquity, make Cletus and Anacletus distinct from each other; while the “Catalogus Felicianus” even sets the latter down as a Greek, the former as a Roman. [Read More]

4. Pope St. Clement I (88-97)

Pope Clement I (called CLEMENS ROMANUS to distinguish him from the Alexandrian), is the first of the successors of St. Peter of whom anything definite is known, and he is the first of the “Apostolic Fathers”. His feast is celebrated 23 November. He has left one genuine writing, a letter to the Church of Corinth, and many others have been attributed to him.

According to Tertullian, writing c. 199, the Roman Church claimed that Clement was ordained by St. Peter (De Praescript., xxxii), and St. Jerome tells us that in his time “most of the Latins” held that Clement was the immediate successor of the Apostle (Illustrious Men 15). St. Jerome himself in several other places follows this opinion, but here he correctly states that Clement was the fourth pope. [Read More]

In defense of the historical fact that the “Early Church” was also the Catholic Church, SPL composed a list entitled The Apostles Appointed Bishops: 9 Teachings from St. Clement AD 97. The list shows a very early snapshot of the Early Church and its Catholicity.

5. Pope St. Evaristus (97-105)

Date of birth unknown; died about 107. In the Liberian Catalogue his name is given as Aristus. In papal catalogues of the second century used by Irenaeus and Hippolytus, he appears as the fourth successor of St. Peter, immediately after St Clement. The same lists allow him eight years of reign, covering the end of the first and the beginning of the second century (from about 98 or 99 to about 106 or 107). The earliest historical sources offer no authentic data about him. In his “Ecclesiastical History” Eusebius says merely that he succeeded Clement in the episcopate of the Roman Church which fact was already known from St. Irenæus. This order of succession is undoubtedly correct. [Read More]

6. Pope St. Alexander I (105-115)

St. Irenaeus of Lyons, writing in the latter quarter of the second century, reckons him as the fifth pope in succession from the Apostles, though he says nothing of his martyrdom.

His pontificate is variously dated by critics, e.g. 106-115 (Duchesne) or 109-116 (Lightfoot). In Christian antiquity he was credited with a pontificate of about ten years (Eusebius, Church History IV.1) and there is no reason to doubt that he was on the “catalogue of bishops” drawn up at Rome by Hegesippus (Eusebius, IV, xxii, 3) before the death of Pope Eleutherius (c. 189). According to a tradition extant in the Roman Church at the end of the fifth century, and recorded in the Liber Pontificalis he suffered a martyr’s death by decapitation on the Via Nomentana in Rome, 3 May. [Read More]

Detail of Saint Sixtus from Sistine Madonna, painting by Raphael c.1513.

7. Pope St. Sixtus I (115-125)

Pope St. Sixtus I (in the oldest documents, Xystus is the spelling used for the first three popes of that name), succeeded St. Alexander and was followed by St. Telesphorus. According to the “Liberian Catalogue” of popes, he ruled the Church during the reign of Adrian “a conulatu Nigri et Aproniani usque Vero III et Ambibulo”, that is, from 117 to 126. Eusebius, who in his “Chronicon” made use of a catalogue of popes different from the one he used in his “Historia ecclesiastica”, states in his “Chronicon” that Sixtus I was pope from 114 to 124, while in his “History” he makes him rule from 114 to 128. All authorities agree that he reigned about ten years. He was a Roman by birth, and his father’s name was Pastor. [Read More]

8. Pope St. Telesphorus (125-136)

St. Telesphorus was the seventh Roman bishop in succession from the Apostles, and, according to the testimony of St. Irenæus (Against Heresies III.3.3), suffered a glorious martyrdom. Eusebius (Church History IV.7, IV.14) places the beginning of his pontificate in the twelfth of Hadrian’s reign (128-129), his death in the first year of the reign of Antoninus Pius (138-139). [Read More]

9. Pope St. Hyginus (136-140)

Reigned about 138-142; succeeded Pope Telesphorus, who, according to Eusebius (Church History IV.15), died during the first year of the reign of the Emperor Antonius Pius — in 138 or 139, therefore. But the chronology of these bishops of Rome cannot be determined with any degree of exactitude by the help of the authorities at our disposal today. According to the “Liber Pontificalis”, Hyginus was a Greek by birth. The further statement that he was previously a philosopher is probably founded on the similarity of his name with that of two Latin authors. [Read More]

10. Pope St. Pius I (140-155)

Date of birth unknown; pope from about 140 to about 154. According to the earliest list of the popes, given by Irenaeus (Against Heresies II.31; cf. Eusebius, Church History V.6), Pius was the ninth successor of St. Peter. The dates given in the Liberian Catalogue for his pontificate (146-61) rest on a false calculation of earlier chroniclers, and cannot be accepted. The only chronological datum we possess is supplied by the year of St. Polycarp of Smyrna’s death, which may be referred with great certainty to 155-6.

During the pontificate of Pius the Roman Church was visited by various heretics, who sought to propagate their false doctrine among the faithful of the capital. The Gnostic Valentinus, who had made his appearance under Pope Hyginus, continued to sow his heresy, apparently not without success. The Gnostic Cerdon was also active in Rome at this period, during which Marcion arrived in the capital (see MARCIONITES). Excluded from communion by Pius, the latter founded his heretical body (Irenaeus, Against Heresies III.3). But Catholic teachers also visited the Roman Church, the most important being St. Justin, who expounded the Christian teachings during the pontificate of Pius and that of his successor. A great activity thus marks the Christian community in Rome, which stands clearly conspicuous as the centre of the Church. [Read More]

EUCHARIST: 46 Basic Questions on the Source and Summit of the Catholic Life

When we say the Sacrament which contains the Body and Blood, we mean the Sacrament which is the Body and Blood, for after the Consecration there is no other substance present in the Eucharist.

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions.

 

The following list is composed of four previous SPL lists on the Eucharist:
This Is My Body: 10 Questions to Help Explain the Holy Eucharist
Transubstantiation: 10 Questions on the Substance of the Holy Eucharist
Do This in Memory of Me: 7 Questions on the Eucharist
21 Questions on Why the Eucharist Was Given to Man

 

Baltimore Catechism No. 3

LESSON TWENTY-SECOND
On the Holy Eucharist

 

Q. 869. What does the word Eucharist strictly mean?

A. The word Eucharist strictly means pleasing, and this Sacrament is so called because it renders us most pleasing to God by the grace it imparts, and it gives us the best means of thanking Him for all His blessings.

 

Q. 870. What is the Holy Eucharist?

A. The Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament which contains the body and blood, soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearances of bread and wine.

 

Q. 871. What do we mean when we say the Sacrament which contains the Body and Blood?

A. When we say the Sacrament which contains the Body and Blood, we mean the Sacrament which is the Body and Blood, for after the Consecration there is no other substance present in the Eucharist.

 

Q. 872. When is the Holy Eucharist a Sacrament, and when is it a sacrifice?

A. The Holy Eucharist is a Sacrament when we receive it in Holy Communion and when it remains in the Tabernacle of the Altar. It is a sacrifice when it is offered up at Mass by the separate Consecration of the bread and wine, which signifies the separation of Our Lord’s blood from His body when He died on the Cross.

 

Q. 873. When did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist?

A. Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, the night before He died.

 

Q. 874. Who were present when our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist?

A. When Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist, the twelve Apostles were present.

 

Q. 875. How did our Lord institute the Holy Eucharist?

A. Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist by taking bread, blessing, breaking, and giving to His Apostles, saying: “Take ye and eat. This is my body”; and then, by taking the cup of wine, blessing and giving it, saying to them: “Drink ye all of this. This is my blood which shall be shed for the remission of sins. Do this for a commemoration of me.”

 

Q. 876. What happened when our Lord said, “This is my body; this is my blood”?

A. When Our Lord said, “This is my body,” the substance of the bread was changed into the substance of His body; when He said, “This is my blood,” the substance of the wine was changed into the substance of His blood.

 

Q. 877. How do we prove the Real Presence, that is, that Our Lord is really and truly present in the Holy Eucharist?

A. We prove the Real Presence — that is, that Our Lord is really and truly present in the Holy Eucharist:

By showing that it is possible to change one substance into another;
By showing that Christ did change the substance of bread and wine into the substance of His body and blood;
By showing that He gave this power also to His Apostles and to the priests of His Church.

 

Q. 878. How do we know that it is possible to change one substance into another?

A. We know that it is possible to change one substance into another, because:

God changed water into blood during the plagues of Egypt.
Christ changed water into wine at the marriage of Cana.
Our own food is daily changed into the substance of our flesh and blood; and what God does gradually, He can also do instantly by an act of His will.

 

Q. 879. Are these changes exactly the same as the changes that take place in the Holy Eucharist?

A. These changes are not exactly the same as the changes that take place in the Holy Eucharist, for in these changes the appearance also is changed, but in the Holy Eucharist only the substance is changed while the appearance remains the same.

 

Q. 880. How do we show that Christ did change bread and wine into the substance of His body and blood?

A. We show that Christ did change bread and wine into the substance of His body and blood:

From the words by which He promised the Holy Eucharist;
From the words by which He instituted the Holy Eucharist;
From the constant use of the Holy Eucharist in the Church since the time of the Apostles;
From the impossibility of denying the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist, without likewise denying all that Christ has taught and done; for we have stronger proofs for the Holy Eucharist than for any other Christian truth.

 

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has been an advocate of returning to a kneeling posture while receiving the Holy Eucharist.

 

Q. 881. Is Jesus Christ whole and entire both under the form of bread and under the form of wine?

A. Jesus Christ is whole and entire both under the form of bread and under the form of wine.

 

Q. 882. How do we know that under the appearance of bread we receive also Christ’s blood; and under the appearance of wine we receive also Christ’s body?

A. We know that under the appearance of bread we receive also Christ’s blood, and under the appearance of wine we receive also Christ’s body; because in the Holy Eucharist we receive the living body of Our Lord, and a living body cannot exist without blood, nor can living blood exist without a body.

 

Q. 883. Is Jesus Christ present whole and entire in the smallest portion of the Holy Eucharist, under the form of either bread or wine?

A. Jesus Christ is present whole and entire in the smallest portion of the Holy Eucharist under the form of either bread or wine; for His body in the Eucharist is in a glorified state, and as it partakes of the character of a spiritual substance, it requires no definite size or shape.

 

Q. 884. Did anything remain of the bread and wine after their substance had been changed into the substance of the body and blood of our Lord?

A. After the substance of the bread and wine had been changed into the substance of the body and blood of Our Lord, there remained only the appearances of bread and wine.

 

Q. 885. What do you mean by the appearances of bread and wine?

A. By the appearances of bread and wine I mean the figure, the color, the taste, and whatever appears to the senses.

 

Q. 886. What is this change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of our Lord called?

A. This change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Our Lord is called Transubstantiation.

 

Q. 887. What is the second great miracle in the Holy Eucharist?

A. The second great miracle in the Holy Eucharist is the multiplication of the presence of Our Lord’s body in so many places at the same time, while the body itself is not multiplied — for there is but one body of Christ.

 

Q. 888. Are there not, then, as many bodies of Christ as there are tabernacles in the world, or as there are Masses being said at the same time?

A. There are not as many bodies of Christ as there are tabernacles in the world, or as there are Masses being said at the same time; but only one body of Christ, which is everywhere present whole and entire in the Holy Eucharist, as God is everywhere present, while He is but one God.

 

Q. 889. How was the substance of the bread and wine changed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ?

A. The substance of the bread and wine was changed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ by His almighty power.

 

Q. 890. Does this change of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ continue to be made in the Church?

A. This change of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ continues to be made in the Church by Jesus Christ through the ministry of His priests.

 

Adoration

 

Q. 891. When did Christ give His priests the power to change bread and wine into His body and blood?

A. Christ gave His priests the power to change bread and wine into His body and blood when He said to the Apostles, “Do this in commemoration of Me.”

 

Q. 892. What do the words “Do this in commemoration of Me” mean?

A. The words “Do this in commemoration of Me” mean: Do what I, Christ, am doing at My last supper, namely, changing the substance of bread and wine into the substance of My body and blood; and do it in remembrance of Me.

 

Q. 893. How do the priests exercise this power of changing bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ?

A. The priests exercise this power of changing bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ through the words of consecration in the Mass, which are words of Christ: “This is my body; this is my blood.”

 

Q. 894. At what part of the Mass does the Consecration take place?

A. The Consecration in the Mass takes place immediately before the elevation of the Host and Chalice, which are raised above the head of the priest that the people may adore Our Lord who has just come to the altar at the words of Consecration.

 

LESSON TWENTY-THIRD
On the Ends for Which the Holy Eucharist Was Instituted

 

Q. 895. Why did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist?

A. Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist:

To unite us to Himself and to nourish our soul with His divine life.
To increase sanctifying grace and all virtues in our soul.
To lessen our evil inclinations.
To be a pledge of everlasting life.
To fit our bodies for a glorious resurrection.
To continue the sacrifice of the Cross in His Church.

 

Q. 896. Has the Holy Eucharist any other effect?

A. The Holy Eucharist remits venial sins by disposing us to perform acts of love and contrition. It preserves us from mortal sin by exciting us to greater fervor and strengthening us against temptation.

 

Q. 897. How are we united to Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist?

A. We are united to Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist by means of Holy Communion.

 

Q. 898. What is Holy Communion?

A. Holy Communion is the receiving of the body and blood of Christ.

 

Q. 899. Is it not beneath the dignity of Our Lord to enter our bodies under the appearance of ordinary food?

A. It is not beneath the dignity of Our Lord to enter our bodies under the appearance of ordinary food any more than it was beneath His dignity to enter the body of His Blessed Mother and remain there as an ordinary child for nine months. Christ’s dignity, being infinite, can never be diminished by any act on His own or on our part.

 

Q. 900. Why does not the Church give Holy Communion to the people as it does to the priest under the appearance of wine also?

A. The Church does not give Holy Communion to the people as it does to the priest under the appearance of wine also, to avoid the danger of spilling the Precious Blood; to prevent the irreverence some might show if compelled to drink out of a chalice used by all, and lastly, to refute those who denied that Our Lord’s blood is present under the appearance of bread also.

 

Q. 901. What is necessary to make a good Communion?

A. To make a good Communion it is necessary to be in the state of sanctifying grace and to fast according to the laws of the Church.

 

Q. 902. What should a person do who, through forgetfulness or any other cause, has broken the fast necessary for Holy Communion?

A. A person who through forgetfulness or any other cause has broken the fast necessary for Holy Communion, should again fast and receive Holy Communion the following morning if possible, without returning to confession. It is not a sin to break one’s fast, but it would be a mortal sin to receive Holy Communion after knowingly breaking the fast necessary for it.

 

Q. 903. Does he who receives Communion in mortal sin receive the body and blood of Christ?

A. He who receives Communion in mortal sin receives the body and blood of Christ, but does not receive His grace, and he commits a great sacrilege.

 

Q. 904. Is it enough to be free from mortal sin to receive plentifully the graces of Holy Communion?

A. To receive plentifully the graces of Holy Communion it is not enough to be free from mortal sin, but we should be free from all affection to venial sin, and should make acts of lively faith, of firm hope, and ardent love.

 

Q. 905. What is the fast necessary for Holy Communion?

A. The fast necessary for Holy Communion is the abstaining from food, alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic drinks for one hour before Holy Communion. Water does not break the fast.

 

 

Q. 906. Does medicine taken by necessity or food taken by accident break the fast for Holy Communion?

A. Medicine does not break the fast; food taken by accident within one hour before Communion breaks the fast.

 

Q. 907. Is any one ever allowed to receive Holy Communion when not fasting?

A. To protect the Blessed Sacrament from insult or injury, or when in danger of death, Holy Communion may be received without fasting.

 

Q. 908. Is the Holy Communion called by any other name when given to one in danger of death?

A. When the Holy Communion is given to one in danger of death, it is called Viaticum, and is given with its own form of prayer. In giving Holy Communion the priest says: “May the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ guard your soul to eternal life.” In giving Holy Viaticum he says: “Receive, brother (or sister), the Viaticum of the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which will guard you from the wicked enemy and lead you into eternal life.”

 

Q. 909. When are we bound to receive Holy Communion?

A. We are bound to receive Holy Communion, under pain of mortal sin, during the Easter time and when in danger of death.

 

Q. 910. Is it well to receive Holy Communion often?

A. It is well to receive Holy Communion often, as nothing is a greater aid to a holy life than often to receive the Author of all grace and the Source of all good.

 

Q. 911. How shall we know how often we should receive Holy Communion?

A. We shall know how often we shall receive Holy Communion only from the advice of our confessor, by whom we must be guided, and whom we must strictly obey in this as well as in all matters concerning the state of our soul.

 

Q. 912. What is a spiritual Communion?

A. A spiritual communion is an earnest desire to receive Communion in reality, by which desire we make all preparations and thanksgivings that we would make in case we really received the Holy Eucharist. Spiritual Communion is an act of devotion that must be pleasing to God and bring us blessings from Him.

 

Q. 913. What should we do after Holy Communion?

A. After Holy Communion we should spend some time in adoring Our Lord, in thanking Him for the grace we have received, and in asking Him for the blessings we need.

 

Q. 914. What length of time should we spend in thanksgiving after Holy Communion?

A. We should spend sufficient time in Thanksgiving after Holy Communion to show due reverence to the Blessed Sacrament; for Our Lord is personally with us as long as the appearance of bread and wine remains.

 

Q. 915. What should we be particular about when receiving Holy Communion?

A. When receiving Holy Communion we should be particular:

About the respectful manner in which we approach and return from the altar;
About our personal appearance, especially neatness and cleanliness;
About raising our head, opening our mouth and putting forth the tongue in the proper manner;
About swallowing the Sacred Host;
About removing it carefully with the tongue, in case it should stick to the mouth, but never with the finger under any circumstances.

18 Questions on Angels Answered by the Church

Angels could appear by taking bodies to render themselves visible for a time; just as the Holy Ghost took the form of a dove and the devil took the form of a serpent.

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions. SPL has reproduced 29 Questions Explaining Indulgences, 46 Questions to Help Explain the Sacraments,and What Is Meant By the “End of Man” and 10 other Questions.

SPL recently published four lists with questions explaining the Eucharist:

The following is the second part of the Creation section. The first pertains to Creation as a whole and the second pertains to angels.

 

Baltimore Catechism No. 3

LESSON FOUR
On Creation – Part II

 

Q. 215. How may God’s creatures on earth be divided?

A. God’s creatures on earth may be divided into four classes:

Things that exist, as air;
Things that exist, grow and live, as plants and trees;
Things that exist, grow, live and feel, as animals;
Things that exist, grow, live, feel and understand, as man.

 

Q. 216. What are angels?

A. Angels are pure spirits without a body, created to adore and enjoy God in heaven.

 

Q. 217. If Angels have no bodies, how could they appear?

A. Angels could appear by taking bodies to render themselves visible for a time; just as the Holy Ghost took the form of a dove and the devil took the form of a serpent.

 

Q. 218. Name some persons to whom Angels appeared.

A. Angels appeared to the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph; also to Abraham, Lot, Jacob, Tobias and others.

 

Q. 219. Were the angels created for any other purpose?

A. The angels were also created to assist before the throne of God and to minister unto Him; they have often been sent as messengers from God to man; and are also appointed our guardians.

 

Q. 220. Are all the Angels equal in dignity?

A. All the Angels are not equal in dignity. There are nine choirs or classes mentioned in the Holy Scripture. The highest are called Seraphim and the lowest simply Angels. The Archangels are one class higher than ordinary Angels.

 

Q. 221. Mention some Archangels and tell what they did.

A. The Archangel Michael drove Satan out of heaven; the Archangel Gabriel announced to the Blessed Virgin that she was to become the Mother of God. The Archangel Raphael guided and protected Tobias.

 

Q. 222. Were Angels ever sent to punish men?

A. Angels were sometimes sent to punish men. An Angel killed 185,000 men in the army of a wicked king who had blasphemed God; an Angel also slew the first-born in the families of the Egyptians who had persecuted God’s people.

 

Q. 223. What do our guardian Angels do for us?

A. Our guardian Angels pray for us, protect and guide us, and offer our prayers, good works and desires to God.

Cheat Satan and Drink Coffee! Click the picture to view the mug in the SPL Store.

Q. 224. How do we know that Angels offer our prayers and good works to God?

A. We know that Angels offer our prayers and good works to God because it is so stated in Holy Scripture, and Holy Scripture is the Word of God.

 

Q. 225. Why did God appoint guardian Angels if He watches over us Himself?

A. God appointed guardian Angels to secure for us their help and prayers, and also to show His great love for us in giving us these special servants and faithful friends.

 

Q. 226. Were the angels, as God created them, good and happy?

A. The angels, as God created them, were good and happy.

 

Q. 227. Did all the angels remain good and happy?

A. All the angels did not remain good and happy; many of them sinned and were cast into hell, and these are called devils or bad angels.

 

Q. 228. Do we know the number of good and bad Angels?

A. We do not know the number of the good or bad Angels, but we know it is very great.

 

Q. 229. What was the devil’s name before he fell, and why was he cast out of heaven?

A. Before he fell, Satan, or the devil, was called Lucifer, or light-bearer, a name which indicates great beauty. He was cast out of heaven because through pride he rebelled against God.

 

Q. 230. How do the bad Angels act toward us?

A. The bad Angels try by every means to lead us into sin. The efforts they make are called temptations of the devil.

 

Q. 231. Why does the devil tempt us?

A. The devil tempts us because he hates goodness, and does not wish us to enjoy the happiness which he himself has lost.

 

Q. 232. Can we by our own power overcome the temptations of the devil?

A. We cannot by our own power overcome the temptations of the devil, because the devil is wiser than we are; for, being an Angel, he is more intelligent, and he did not lose his intelligence by falling into sin any more than we do now. Therefore, to overcome his temptations we need the help of God.

10 Basic Questions on Creation

“The chief creatures of God are angels and men.”

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions. SPL has reproduced 29 Questions Explaining Indulgences, 46 Questions to Help Explain the Sacraments,and What Is Meant By the “End of Man” and 10 other Questions.

SPL also recently published four lists with questions explaining the Eucharist:
This Is My Body: 10 Questions to Help Explain the Holy Eucharist
Transubstantiation: 10 Questions on the Substance of the Holy Eucharist
Do This in Memory of Me: 7 Questions on the Eucharist 
21 Questions on Why the Eucharist Was Given to Humanity

 

Baltimore Catechism No. 3

LESSON FOUR
On Creation – Part I

 

Q. 206. What is the difference between making and creating?

A. “Making” means bringing forth or forming out of some material already existing, as workmen do. “Creating” means bringing forth out of nothing, as God alone can do.

 

Q. 207. Has everything that exists been created?

A. Everything that exists except God Himself has been created.

 

Q. 208. Who created heaven and earth, and all things?

A. God created heaven and earth, and all things.

 

Q. 209. From what do we learn that God created heaven and earth and all things?

A. We learn that God created heaven and earth and all things from the Bible or Holy Scripture, in which the account of the Creation is given.

 

Q. 210. Why did God create all things?

A. God created all things for His own glory and for their or our good.

 

Q. 211. Did God leave all things to themselves after He had created them?

A. God did not leave all things to themselves after He had created them; He continues to preserve and govern them.

 

Q. 212. What do we call the care by which God preserves and governs the world and all it contains?

A. We call the care by which God preserves and governs the world and all it contains His providence.

 

Q. 213. How did God create heaven and earth?

A. God created heaven and earth from nothing by His word only; that is, by a single act of His all-powerful will.

 

Q. 214. Which are the chief creatures of God?

A. The chief creatures of God are angels and men.

 

Q. 215. How may God’s creatures on earth be divided?

A. God’s creatures on earth may be divided into four classes:

Things that exist, as air;
Things that exist, grow and live, as plants and trees;
Things that exist, grow, live and feel, as animals;
Things that exist, grow, live, feel and understand, as man.

 

Drink coffee and cheat Satan. Click the picture to view the SPL Store.

21 Questions on Why the Holy Eucharist Was Given to Humanity

The Holy Eucharist remits venial sins by disposing us to perform acts of love and contrition. It preserves us from mortal sin by exciting us to greater fervor and strengthening us against temptation.

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions. SPL has also reproduced 29 Questions Explaining Indulgences, 46 Questions to Help Explain the Sacraments,and What Is Meant By the “End of Man” and 10 other Questions.

The following list is the fourth installment of questions explaining the Eucharist:
This Is My Body: 10 Questions to Help Explain the Holy Eucharist
Transubstantiation: 10 Questions on the Substance of the Holy Eucharist
Do This in Memory of Me: 7 Questions on the Eucharist

 

Baltimore Catechism No. 3

LESSON TWENTY-THIRD
On the Ends for Which the Holy Eucharist Was Instituted

 

Q. 895. Why did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist?

A. Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist:

To unite us to Himself and to nourish our soul with His divine life.
To increase sanctifying grace and all virtues in our soul.
To lessen our evil inclinations.
To be a pledge of everlasting life.
To fit our bodies for a glorious resurrection.
To continue the sacrifice of the Cross in His Church.

 

Q. 896. Has the Holy Eucharist any other effect?

A. The Holy Eucharist remits venial sins by disposing us to perform acts of love and contrition. It preserves us from mortal sin by exciting us to greater fervor and strengthening us against temptation.

 

Q. 897. How are we united to Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist?

A. We are united to Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist by means of Holy Communion.

 

Q. 898. What is Holy Communion?

A. Holy Communion is the receiving of the body and blood of Christ.

 

Q. 899. Is it not beneath the dignity of Our Lord to enter our bodies under the appearance of ordinary food?

A. It is not beneath the dignity of Our Lord to enter our bodies under the appearance of ordinary food any more than it was beneath His dignity to enter the body of His Blessed Mother and remain there as an ordinary child for nine months. Christ’s dignity, being infinite, can never be diminished by any act on His own or on our part.

 

Q. 900. Why does not the Church give Holy Communion to the people as it does to the priest under the appearance of wine also?

A. The Church does not give Holy Communion to the people as it does to the priest under the appearance of wine also, to avoid the danger of spilling the Precious Blood; to prevent the irreverence some might show if compelled to drink out of a chalice used by all, and lastly, to refute those who denied that Our Lord’s blood is present under the appearance of bread also.

 

Q. 901. What is necessary to make a good Communion?

A. To make a good Communion it is necessary to be in the state of sanctifying grace and to fast according to the laws of the Church.

 

Q. 902. What should a person do who, through forgetfulness or any other cause, has broken the fast necessary for Holy Communion?

A. A person who through forgetfulness or any other cause has broken the fast necessary for Holy Communion, should again fast and receive Holy Communion the following morning if possible, without returning to confession. It is not a sin to break one’s fast, but it would be a mortal sin to receive Holy Communion after knowingly breaking the fast necessary for it.

 

Q. 903. Does he who receives Communion in mortal sin receive the body and blood of Christ?

A. He who receives Communion in mortal sin receives the body and blood of Christ, but does not receive His grace, and he commits a great sacrilege.

 

Q. 904. Is it enough to be free from mortal sin to receive plentifully the graces of Holy Communion?

A. To receive plentifully the graces of Holy Communion it is not enough to be free from mortal sin, but we should be free from all affection to venial sin, and should make acts of lively faith, of firm hope, and ardent love.

 

Q. 905. What is the fast necessary for Holy Communion?

A. The fast necessary for Holy Communion is the abstaining from food, alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic drinks for one hour before Holy Communion. Water does not break the fast.

Cheat Satan and drink coffee. Click the picture to view the mug in the SPL Store.

Q. 906. Does medicine taken by necessity or food taken by accident break the fast for Holy Communion?

A. Medicine does not break the fast; food taken by accident within one hour before Communion breaks the fast.

 

Q. 907. Is any one ever allowed to receive Holy Communion when not fasting?

A. To protect the Blessed Sacrament from insult or injury, or when in danger of death, Holy Communion may be received without fasting.

 

Q. 908. Is the Holy Communion called by any other name when given to one in danger of death?

A. When the Holy Communion is given to one in danger of death, it is called Viaticum, and is given with its own form of prayer. In giving Holy Communion the priest says: “May the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ guard your soul to eternal life.” In giving Holy Viaticum he says: “Receive, brother (or sister), the Viaticum of the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which will guard you from the wicked enemy and lead you into eternal life.”

 

Q. 909. When are we bound to receive Holy Communion?

A. We are bound to receive Holy Communion, under pain of mortal sin, during the Easter time and when in danger of death.

 

Q. 910. Is it well to receive Holy Communion often?

A. It is well to receive Holy Communion often, as nothing is a greater aid to a holy life than often to receive the Author of all grace and the Source of all good.

 

Q. 911. How shall we know how often we should receive Holy Communion?

A. We shall know how often we shall receive Holy Communion only from the advice of our confessor, by whom we must be guided, and whom we must strictly obey in this as well as in all matters concerning the state of our soul.

 

Q. 912. What is a spiritual Communion?

A. A spiritual communion is an earnest desire to receive Communion in reality, by which desire we make all preparations and thanksgivings that we would make in case we really received the Holy Eucharist. Spiritual Communion is an act of devotion that must be pleasing to God and bring us blessings from Him.

 

Q. 913. What should we do after Holy Communion?

A. After Holy Communion we should spend some time in adoring Our Lord, in thanking Him for the grace we have received, and in asking Him for the blessings we need.

 

Q. 914. What length of time should we spend in thanksgiving after Holy Communion?

A. We should spend sufficient time in Thanksgiving after Holy Communion to show due reverence to the Blessed Sacrament; for Our Lord is personally with us as long as the appearance of bread and wine remains.

 

Q. 915. What should we be particular about when receiving Holy Communion?

A. When receiving Holy Communion we should be particular:

About the respectful manner in which we approach and return from the altar;
About our personal appearance, especially neatness and cleanliness;
About raising our head, opening our mouth and putting forth the tongue in the proper manner;
About swallowing the Sacred Host;
About removing it carefully with the tongue, in case it should stick to the mouth, but never with the finger under any circumstances.

Do This in Memory of Me: 7 Questions on the Eucharist and Consecration

Christ gave His priests the power to change bread and wine into His body and blood when He said to the Apostles, “Do this in commemoration of Me.”

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions. SPL has also reproduced 29 Questions Explaining Indulgences, 46 Questions to Help Explain the Sacraments,and What Is Meant By the “End of Man” and 10 other Questions.

The following list is the third installment of questions explaining the Eucharist. The first collection of questions can be found in the list This Is My Body: 10 Questions to Help Explain the Holy Eucharist and the second list is Transubstantiation: 10 Questions on the Substance of the Holy Eucharist.

 

Baltimore Catechism No. 3

LESSON TWENTY-SECOND
On the Holy Eucharist 888-894

 

Q. 888. Are there not, then, as many bodies of Christ as there are tabernacles in the world, or as there are Masses being said at the same time?

A. There are not as many bodies of Christ as there are tabernacles in the world, or as there are Masses being said at the same time; but only one body of Christ, which is everywhere present whole and entire in the Holy Eucharist, as God is everywhere present, while He is but one God.

 

Q. 889. How was the substance of the bread and wine changed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ?

A. The substance of the bread and wine was changed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ by His almighty power.

 

Q. 890. Does this change of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ continue to be made in the Church?

A. This change of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ continues to be made in the Church by Jesus Christ through the ministry of His priests.

 

Q. 891. When did Christ give His priests the power to change bread and wine into His body and blood?

A. Christ gave His priests the power to change bread and wine into His body and blood when He said to the Apostles, “Do this in commemoration of Me.”

 

Q. 892. What do the words “Do this in commemoration of Me” mean?

A. The words “Do this in commemoration of Me” mean: Do what I, Christ, am doing at My last supper, namely, changing the substance of bread and wine into the substance of My body and blood; and do it in remembrance of Me.

 

Q. 893. How do the priests exercise this power of changing bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ?

A. The priests exercise this power of changing bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ through the words of consecration in the Mass, which are words of Christ: “This is my body; this is my blood.”

 

Q. 894. At what part of the Mass does the Consecration take place?

A. The Consecration in the Mass takes place immediately before the elevation of the Host and Chalice, which are raised above the head of the priest that the people may adore Our Lord who has just come to the altar at the words of Consecration.

The Path to Hell is Paved with the Skulls of Bishops: 8 Quotes and Sources

“The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.” – St. Athanasius, Council of Nicaea, AD 325 attributed.

Listers, priests and bishops having been erring as long as humans have occupied those offices. However, the quotes that most strongly articulate this truth are shrouded in ambiguity regarding their primary sources. SPL has complied the most common germane quotes shared on Catholic blogs and given a citation for each one – often clarifying a misquote or giving context for an attributed quote. Please feel free to add any other quotes that complement this list or help articulate the sources.

 

“The road to Hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lamp posts that light the path.”

– or –

“The road to hell is paved with the skulls of erring priests, with bishops as their signposts.”
St. John Chrysostom attributed.1

 

“I do not think there are many among Bishops that will be saved, but many more that perish.”
St. John Chrysostom, Extract from St. John Chrysostom, Homily III on Acts 1:12.2

 

“The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.”
St. Athanasius, Council of Nicaea, AD 325 attributed.3

 

“The road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.”
Saint John Eudes, attributed.4

 

“It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly.”
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II, II, q. 33, a. 45

 

“Augustine says in his Rule: ‘Show mercy not only to yourselves, but also to him who, being in the higher position among you, is therefore in greater danger.’ But fraternal correction is a work of mercy. Therefore even prelates ought to be corrected.”
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II, II, q. 33, a. 4, Sed Contra.

 

“It is better that scandals arise than the truth be suppressed.”
Pope St. Gregory the Great 6

 

“But, when necessity compels, not those only who are invested with power of rule are bound to safeguard the integrity of faith, but, as St. Thomas maintains: ‘Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers.'”
Pope Leo XIII7

  1. Chrysostom Quote: Ole “Golden-mouth” is the primary recipient of the attributed quote. The origin of the actual quote is obscure, but several theories abound. The most interesting are that the flourishing rhetoric of St. Chrysostom and Dantean imagery came together in the Middle Ages or that the quote was actually a misrepresentation of Chrysostom’s words from the protestant leader John Wesley. SOURCE []
  2. Chrysostom 2nd Quote: Homily III on Acts 1:12 []
  3. Athanasius Quote: Attributing the quote to Athanasius is a natural connection given the fact the man fought against the heresy of Arianism – a heresy that is estimated to have swallowed almost 80% of the Catholic bishops. []
  4. Eudes Quote: It is believed that St. Eudes is referencing the quote in the belief it was said by St. Athanasius []
  5. Aquinas Quote: The quote is also often cited as,”When there is an imminent danger for the Faith, Prelates must be questioned, even publicly, by their subjects.” The entire fourth article of the cited question addresses the issue of “Whether a man is bound to correct his prelate?” []
  6. Gregory Quote: While prolifically quoted amongst blogs and Catholic debates, a source for this quote is elusive. If any listers can furnish a source and a citation, SPL would appreciate it. []
  7. Pope Leo Quote: The quote is taken from SAPIENTIAE CHRISTIANAE and is often quoted on Catholic blogs as: “when circumstances make it necessary, it is not prelates alone who have to watch over the integrity of the faith.” []

Transubstantiation: 10 Questions on the Substance of the Holy Eucharist

“Jesus Christ is whole and entire both under the form of bread and under the form of wine.”

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions. SPL has also reproduced 29 Questions Explaining Indulgences, 46 Questions to Help Explain the Sacraments,and What Is Meant By the “End of Man” and 10 other Questions.

The following list is the second installment of questions explaining the Eucharist. The first collection of questions can be found in the list: This Is My Body: 10 Questions to Help Explain the Holy Eucharist.

 

Baltimore Catechism No. 3

LESSON TWENTY-SECOND
On the Holy Eucharist 878-887

 

Q. 878. How do we know that it is possible to change one substance into another?

A. We know that it is possible to change one substance into another, because:

God changed water into blood during the plagues of Egypt.
Christ changed water into wine at the marriage of Cana.
Our own food is daily changed into the substance of our flesh and blood; and what God does gradually, He can also do instantly by an act of His will.

 

Q. 879. Are these changes exactly the same as the changes that take place in the Holy Eucharist?

A. These changes are not exactly the same as the changes that take place in the Holy Eucharist, for in these changes the appearance also is changed, but in the Holy Eucharist only the substance is changed while the appearance remains the same.

 

Q. 880. How do we show that Christ did change bread and wine into the substance of His body and blood?

A. We show that Christ did change bread and wine into the substance of His body and blood:

From the words by which He promised the Holy Eucharist;
From the words by which He instituted the Holy Eucharist;
From the constant use of the Holy Eucharist in the Church since the time of the Apostles;
From the impossibility of denying the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist, without likewise denying all that Christ has taught and done; for we have stronger proofs for the Holy Eucharist than for any other Christian truth.

 

Q. 881. Is Jesus Christ whole and entire both under the form of bread and under the form of wine?

A. Jesus Christ is whole and entire both under the form of bread and under the form of wine.

 

Q. 882. How do we know that under the appearance of bread we receive also Christ’s blood; and under the appearance of wine we receive also Christ’s body?

A. We know that under the appearance of bread we receive also Christ’s blood, and under the appearance of wine we receive also Christ’s body; because in the Holy Eucharist we receive the living body of Our Lord, and a living body cannot exist without blood, nor can living blood exist without a body.

 

Q. 883. Is Jesus Christ present whole and entire in the smallest portion of the Holy Eucharist, under the form of either bread or wine?

A. Jesus Christ is present whole and entire in the smallest portion of the Holy Eucharist under the form of either bread or wine; for His body in the Eucharist is in a glorified state, and as it partakes of the character of a spiritual substance, it requires no definite size or shape.

 

Q. 884. Did anything remain of the bread and wine after their substance had been changed into the substance of the body and blood of our Lord?

A. After the substance of the bread and wine had been changed into the substance of the body and blood of Our Lord, there remained only the appearances of bread and wine.

 

Q. 885. What do you mean by the appearances of bread and wine?

A. By the appearances of bread and wine I mean the figure, the color, the taste, and whatever appears to the senses.

 

Q. 886. What is this change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of our Lord called?

A. This change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Our Lord is called Transubstantiation.

 

Q. 887. What is the second great miracle in the Holy Eucharist?

A. The second great miracle in the Holy Eucharist is the multiplication of the presence of Our Lord’s body in so many places at the same time, while the body itself is not multiplied — for there is but one body of Christ.

This Is My Body: 10 Questions to Help Explain the Holy Eucharist

The word Eucharist strictly means pleasing, and this Sacrament is so called because it renders us most pleasing to God by the grace it imparts, and it gives us the best means of thanking Him for all His blessings.

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions. SPL has also reproduced 29 Questions Explaining Indulgences, 46 Questions to Help Explain the Sacraments, and What Is Meant By the “End of Man” and 10 other Questions.

 

Baltimore Catechism No. 3

LESSON TWENTY-SECOND
On the Holy Eucharist 869-878

 

Q. 869. What does the word Eucharist strictly mean?

A. The word Eucharist strictly means pleasing, and this Sacrament is so called because it renders us most pleasing to God by the grace it imparts, and it gives us the best means of thanking Him for all His blessings.

 

Q. 870. What is the Holy Eucharist?

A. The Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament which contains the body and blood, soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearances of bread and wine.

 

Q. 871. What do we mean when we say the Sacrament which contains the Body and Blood?

A. When we say the Sacrament which contains the Body and Blood, we mean the Sacrament which is the Body and Blood, for after the Consecration there is no other substance present in the Eucharist.

 

Q. 872. When is the Holy Eucharist a Sacrament, and when is it a sacrifice?

A. The Holy Eucharist is a Sacrament when we receive it in Holy Communion and when it remains in the Tabernacle of the Altar. It is a sacrifice when it is offered up at Mass by the separate Consecration of the bread and wine, which signifies the separation of Our Lord’s blood from His body when He died on the Cross.

 

Q. 873. When did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist?

A. Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, the night before He died.

 

Q. 874. Who were present when our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist?

A. When Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist, the twelve Apostles were present.

 

Q. 875. How did our Lord institute the Holy Eucharist?

A. Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist by taking bread, blessing, breaking, and giving to His Apostles, saying: “Take ye and eat. This is my body”; and then, by taking the cup of wine, blessing and giving it, saying to them: “Drink ye all of this. This is my blood which shall be shed for the remission of sins. Do this for a commemoration of me.”

 

Q. 876. What happened when our Lord said, “This is my body; this is my blood”?

A. When Our Lord said, “This is my body,” the substance of the bread was changed into the substance of His body; when He said, “This is my blood,” the substance of the wine was changed into the substance of His blood.

 

Q. 877. How do we prove the Real Presence, that is, that Our Lord is really and truly present in the Holy Eucharist?

A. We prove the Real Presence — that is, that Our Lord is really and truly present in the Holy Eucharist:

By showing that it is possible to change one substance into another;
By showing that Christ did change the substance of bread and wine into the substance of His body and blood;
By showing that He gave this power also to His Apostles and to the priests of His Church.

 

Q. 878. How do we know that it is possible to change one substance into another?

A. We know that it is possible to change one substance into another, because:

God changed water into blood during the plagues of Egypt.
Christ changed water into wine at the marriage of Cana.
Our own food is daily changed into the substance of our flesh and blood; and what God does gradually, He can also do instantly by an act of His will.

Spiritual Things in Material Things: 5 Quotes from St. John Chyrsostom on the Sacraments

The sacraments are an essential element to the birth, growth, and transformation of every Catholic believer. We are in some way affected by each of these sacraments every day of our lives.

Listers, the sacraments are an essential element to the birth, growth, and transformation of every Catholic believer. We are in some way affected by each of these sacraments every day of our lives. We are reborn in baptism, we are overshadowed by the Holy Spirit at confirmation, we are fed by our Lord in the Eucharist, we are made into one flesh by marriage, we are given the sacraments by Christ through the hands of our priests, we are made well by the chrism, and we are forgiven in confession. In St. John Chyrsostom’s day, the theology of the sacraments were not so clearly defined as they are now, but these sacraments even then existed more or less in the lives of the early Christians.

Let us now look at how St. John Chrysostom described these essential elements of the Christian life. The following quotes are how Chyrsostom perceived those spiritual things given to us through material means:

1. Baptism / Confirmation¹

“For Christ has given nothing sensible, but though in things sensible yet all to be perceived by the mind. So also in baptism, the gift is bestowed by a sensible thing, that is, by water; but that which is done is perceived by the mind, the birth, I mean, and the renewal. For if you had been incorporeal, He would have delivered you the incorporeal gifts bare; but because the soul has been locked up in a body, He delivers you the things that the mind perceives, in things sensible.” —Homily 82 from Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew 

2. Eucharist

How shall we receive this with so great insolence? Let us not, I pray you, let us not slay ourselves by our irreverence, but with all awfulness and purity draw near to It; and when you see It set before you, say thou to yourself, Because of this Body am I no longer earth and ashes, no longer a prisoner, but free: because of this I hope for heaven, and to receive the good things therein, immortal life, the portion of angels, converse with Christ; this Body, nailed and scourged, was more than death could stand against; this Body the very sun saw sacrificed, and turned aside his beams; for this both the veil was rent in that moment, and rocks were burst asunder, and all the earth was shaken. This is even that Body, the blood-stained, the pierced, and that out of which gushed the saving fountains, the one of blood, the other of water, for all the world […] This Body has He given to us both to hold and to eat; a thing appropriate to intense love. For those whom we kiss vehemently, we oft-times even bite with our teeth. Wherefore also Job, indicating the love of his servants towards him, said, that they ofttimes, out of their great affection towards him, said, Oh! That we were filled with his flesh! Job 31:31 Even so Christ has given to us to be filled with His flesh, drawing us on to greater love. — Homily 24 On First Corinthians

3. Holy Orders

Observe how he avoids all that is superfluous: he does not tell in what way it was done, but that they were ordained (ἐ χειροτονήθησαν) with prayer: for this is the meaning of χειροτονία, (i.e. putting forth the hand,) or ordination: the hand of the man is laid upon (the person,) but the whole work is of God, and it is His hand which touches the head of the one ordained, if he be duly ordained. —Homily 14 in Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles

4. Reconciliation²

For they who inhabit the earth and make their abode there are entrusted with the administration of things which are in Heaven, and have received an authority which God has not given to angels or archangels. For it has not been said to them, Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven. They who rule on earth have indeed authority to bind, but only the body: whereas this binding lays hold of the soul and penetrates the heavens; and what priests do here below God ratifies above, and the Master confirms the sentence of his servants. For indeed what is it but all manner of heavenly authority which He has given them when He says, Whose sins ye remit they are remitted, and whose sins ye retain they are retained? What authority could be greater than this? The Father has committed all judgment to the Son? But I see it all put into the hands of these men by the Son. —On the Priesthood 3:5

5. Marriage

Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning, made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they two shall be one flesh? So that they are no more two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder. Matthew 19:4-6

See a teacher’s wisdom. I mean, that being asked, Is it lawful? He did not at once say, It is not lawful, lest they should be disturbed and put in disorder, but before the decision by His argument He rendered this manifest, showing that it is itself too the commandment of His Father, and that not in opposition to Moses did He enjoin these things, but in full agreement with him.

But mark Him arguing strongly not from the creation only, but also from His command. For He said not, that He made one man and one woman only, but that He also gave this command that the one man should be joined to the one woman. But if it had been His will that he should put this one away, and bring in another, when He had made one man, He would have formed many women.

But now both by the manner of the creation, and by the manner of lawgiving, He showed that one man must dwell with one woman continually, and never break off from her. —Homily 62 in the Homilies of the Gospel of St. Matthew

St. John Chrysostom, Pray for us!

¹In the early Church Baptism and Confirmation took place at the same event. The catechumen was baptized and then when they came out of the water, they would be anointed with the oil.

²Confession was totally different back in Chyrsostom’s time. It was a public event. It was not behind closed doors, but before the public.

7 Blogs by Traditional Catholic Priests

We continue to bring you the best Catholic minds and resources on the internet.

Listers, we continue to bring you the best Catholic minds and resources on the internet. In response to our original 12 Catholic Blogs Worth Your Time list, we received an outpouring of reader recommendations for other Catholic blogs to be noted and shared. We then released 25 Reader Recommended Catholic Blogs and published a list of the Top 10 Catholic News Sites. Now we turn to a more narrow scope: Catholic blogs written by traditional Catholic priests.1

 

1. Offerimus Tibi Domine

Operated by Fr. Simon Henry of St Catherine Labouré, Stanifield Lane, Farington Leyland.

Full, conscious and actual participation does not mean people clamouring to take part in the performance of the rites, rather, they are fully to participate in the Paschal Mystery they signify.

Fr. Henry recently composed an article entitled Martini – Bitter and Stirred in which he opines the following: “Instead the Holy Spirit kept Blessed Pope John Paul on the Throne of St Peter for long enough for Cardinal Martini to be passed over by the time of the last conclave (his health was already poor by then) and for Joseph Ratzinger’s time to have come.” He complements his observation with a quote by Bl. John Paul, “I am convinced that a priest should have no fear of being “behind the times” because the human “today” of every priest is included in the “today” of Christ the Redeemer.”2

 

2. Sense of the Sacred

Operated by Fr. Jojo Zerrudo.

Do we still need sacred space, sacred time, mediating symbols? Yes, we do need them, precisely so that, through the “image,” through the sign, we learn to see the openness of heaven. We need them to give us the capacity to know the mystery of God in the pierced heart of the Crucified.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Spirit of the Liturgy

Fr. Jojo Zerrudo has recently posted an article on the Reproductive Health debate in the Philippines entitled Unstained by the World. He concludes with an acute paragraph on dissent: “Dissenters enjoy much popular support because they say what the world says. They say what everybody says. They say what everybody wants to hear. And the bishops who uphold the clear commandments of God are labeled as narrow minded and outdated. But that is to be expected. For the thoughts of God are so different from the thoughts of man: “My thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways. For I am God and not man.” (Isaiah 55:8) Let us keep our religion pure as God is pure. Let us keep ourselves unstained by the world.”

 

3. The Hermeneutic of Continuity

“This blog is written by Fr Tim Finigan, Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark, parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen, visiting tutor in Sacramental Theology at St John’s Seminary Wonersh, and tutor in Dogmatic Theology at St Hugh’s Charterhouse, Parkminster. I was ordained priest in 1984.”

The Hermeneutic of Continuity is probably one of the more well-known blogs featured on this list. Fr. Finigan has recently posted an encouragement for us to remember our subjugated and suffering brothers and sisters in Pakistan and has touched on the bizarre story of Muslim groups calling for their followers to abstain from “Christian” tomatoes. In his Eating Tomatoes and the Problem of Avoiding Crosses, the good father states, “I am delighted to know that my tomato consumption now counts as an act of Christian witness.”

 

4. Meeting Christ in the Liturgy

“Father Kevin M. Cusick, from the Washington, D.C., area, writes a weekly column for The Wanderer, the oldest US Catholic weekly published in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He also authors “Meeting Christ in the Liturgy”, weekly reflections on the Scriptures of the sacred Liturgy and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, an on-line resource for over ten years with over one half million visitors, and is a long-standing contributor to Homilies.net. Cusick is a Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy chaplain corps (RC) who served most recently in Iraq, before that for two years in Italy, three years on board the carrier USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, in Florida and North Carolina. He is also published in The Catholic Standard of the Archdiocese of Washington and the magazine Homiletic and Pastoral Review. His photographs have also appeared in The Wanderer. A Detroit native, Cusick attended Fordham University, from which he earned the Bachelor of Arts in English and Mount Saint Mary’s for an M.A. in sacred theology.”

“…liturgy is truly the apex of the Church’s life, the time and place of a profound relationship with God.”
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

The MCIL has a focus on Scripture Readings and most recently posted a cogent piece on abortion and justice entitled “Have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil designs?” Covering everything from Cardinal Dolan’s pro-life DNC 2012 speech to sacramental theology, he candidly states, “Justice was violated by using the outer periphery of a woman’s body to decide that the right to life of some human beings could be denied by the whim of another human being if the victim happens to be found on the wrong side of that periphery: the preborn side.”

 

5. Fr. Blake’s Blog

The good Father Blake’s blog is one that has appeared time and time again on respected blog-rolls and suggested links. His post are characterized by brevity and acumen and come together to form an informative and well-written outlet for Catholic thought.

Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia, et ubi ecclesia vita eterna

It is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate.

The good priest has several notable blog posts including a commentary on the mass  – Hope Which Is in You – in which he says, “The Mass is not about us, it always has been about Jesus and giving us glimpse of heaven, ‘and so with Angels and Saints we sing…’, it is a vision of the triumph of the Lamb, it is about our ultimate re-orientation, the end of  our earthly pilgrimage.” Other notables include a clip from a Russian film demonstrating Prayer in Adversity, a brief commentary on Germany’s judicial push against circumcision – In Praise of the Diversity and the Irrational, and in Primacy of Liturgical Law he turns to one of our favorite princes of the Church, Cardinal Burke.

 

6. Forest Murmurs

Operated by Fr. Michael Brown a parish priest in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.

Ego vero Evangelio non crederem, nisi me catholicae Ecclesiae commoveret auctoritas.

Truly, I would not believe the Gospel unless the authority of the Catholic Church impressed me.
St Augustine: Contra epistolam Manichaei 5.6

Forest Murmurs is another blog often cited on traditionalist Catholic blog-rolls and appears to be primarily categorized by news clippings of traditional interests. A good example would be the happy news of the Institute of Christ the King purchasing a historically Jesuit – and unused – Church in Ireland.

 

7. What Does the Prayer Really Say?

The seemingly ubiquitous blog of Father Z is one often shared and cited by St. Peter’s List and one found on almost every blog-roll of the aforementioned traditionalist sites. His incredibly popular WDTPRS has been featured on SPL’s 12 Catholic Blogs Worth Your Time and is most certainly ranked amongst the overall best traditionalist resources online. Brimming with liturgical wisdom intermixed with bird-feeder pictures and step-by-step historical records of gourmet meals, Father Z stands as one of the most notable and unique Catholic online personalities.

Slavishly accurate liturgical translations & frank commentary on Catholic issues – by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf o{]:¬)

This blog is rather like a fusion of the Baroque ‘salon’ with its well-tuned harpsichord around which polite society gathered for entertainment and edification and, on the other hand, a Wild West “saloon” with its out-of-tune piano and swinging doors, where everyone has a gun and something to say. Nevertheless, we try to point our discussions back to what it is to be Catholic in this increasingly difficult age, to love God, and how to get to heaven. – Fr. Z

It is not uncommon that the good Father Z will post several times in a single day, making him a timely source for news commentary, reader Q&A, and the beloved liturgical or political “rants.”

 


Listers, how’d we do?
If there are any blogs you think should be added to this list or ones you think should not have made this list let us know. Also feel free to mention any other type of internet lists you’d like to see. Thanks.

Traditionalist Websites – You Tell Us
During the course of scouring over these blogs and others, we noticed a common theme of often recommended sites within the traditionalist blogosphere – none of which were a surprise. The greatest recourse seemed to be given to Rorate Caeli, the New Liturgical Movement, and the Canterbury Tales. SPL would be in debt to any other traditionalist websites the listers would recommend.

  1. How were these blogs chosen? – The only listed blog that SPL has intimate knowledge of is Father Z’s WDTPRS. The others blogs were selected from Rorate Caeli’s blog-roll by looking at professionalism and frequency of posting; however, for content quality we openly rely on Caeli’s prudence. []
  2. Pope John Paul in his book “Gift and Mystery” []

Think Animals and Plants Do Not Have Souls? – 3 Lists to Make You Think Again

The soul is “the first principle of life in those things which live: for we call living things animate, and those things which have no life, inanimate.”

Listers, it is my experience that two immediate thoughts occur when a Catholic reads about Sacred Tradition holding animals and plants to have souls. The first is the thought of heresy or some modernist revision of a classic teaching is being submitted. Normally the quick acknowledgment that these teachings rests in St. Thomas Aquinas assuages such fears. The second and more difficult reaction is – “Why does it matter?” To wit, I think it falls to two considerations. The first is the immediate import for how we should treat animals and plants within the order of Creation and secondly – and more telling – the fact that Catholic catechesis on the soul has diminished to such a degree that even the most basic of questions regarding what is a soul? or what has a soul? can no longer be answered. It is one thing to think it is a waste of time to discuss a matter and quite another to lack the basic knowledge to have that discussion. In this stream of thought, we present the soul and the anima of animals and plants to animate the discussion of the soul that can have spectacular import for catechesis on indulgences, grace, purgatory, the sacraments, and more.

An Introduction to the Soul – 6 Questions

Listers, today we are going to take a look into Sacred Tradition and explore the reality of the soul. The following is a basic introduction, and will serve as a foundation for further discussions. All quotes – unless otherwise specified – are taken from our beloved Angelic Doctor and his Summa Prima Pars Q75A1.

What Is the Soul?

The soul is “the first principle of life in those things which live: for we call living things animate, and those things which have no life, inanimate.” In Latin, soul is anima, from which we derive our words animate and inanimate. Things that have life are animated; thus, they have an anima or soul.

Do Plants and Animals Have Souls?

Life “is shown principally by two actions: knowledge and movement.” Plants and animals are animated beings that respectively display knowledge and movement. Where there is life, there must be a soul; thus, yes, plants and animals have souls.

More basic questions on the soul.

 

Plants via Wikicommons Roland zh

Plants Have Souls: 5 Points of Inquiry

Listers, today we continue our study of the soul by delving deeper into the Vegetative Soul or Plant Soul. The following quotes are taken from Gilson’s Christian Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas. Gilson is primarily a historian and a philosopher second. He is adequate for certain Thomistic principles, but overall I would suggest Listers look into such giants as Ralph McInerny or Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange.

What Are the Different Types of Souls?

Vegetative: “At the bottom we find a power of the soul whose one object is the body to which it is united,” and “the vegetative soul only acts on its own body.” The Vegetative Soul is the soul of plants.

Sensitive: “There is another genus of powers of the soul corresponding to a more universal object, namely, to all sensible bodies, and not merely to the one sensible body with which the soul is united.” The Sensitive Soul is the soul of animals. They possess many powers that plants do not, e.g., the five senses and a type of memory.

Rational: “Above these, there is a power of the soul with a still more universal object; that is, not merely sensible bodies in general, but all being taken in its universality.” The Ration Soul is the soul of man. It alone is made in the Imago Dei, and has immortality and rationality.

More information on vegetative souls.

 

A Leopard in Ngala Game Reserve, Limpopo, South Africa. via Wikicommons Raphael Melnick

Animals Have Souls: 6 Inquiries Into Their Powers

Listers, we continue in our study of the soul. Today we focus on the Sensitive Soul or Animal Soul. The following quotes are taken from Gilson’s Christian Philosophy. I will once again voice my concern over Gilson, and state he is good for certain elementary concepts; however, students of our Angelic Doctor should turn to Ralph McInerny or Fr. Garrigou-Langrange.

Again to escape an accusation of Catholic-Druidism, I’d like to state that the belief that animals have souls dates back to Aristotle, and was maintained with the Scholastic tradition. Moreover, the Vegetative and Sensitive Souls are mortal, they will return to dust, and only the Rational Soul of man is made in the Imago Dei.

What is the Sensitive Soul?

The Sensitive Power “is the lowest degree of the knowledge to be encountered in the universe.” The Sensitive Soul – characterized by the Sensitive Power – brings with it that which is necessary for animal existence.

And we must state that the listed powers are those which the Sensitive Soul adds in conjunction with the powers listed in the Vegetative Soul. Animals, like Plants, have the ability to come into existence, move from a nascent creature to a mature one, and receive nourishment. Likewise, the Rational Soul takes up the powers of both the Sensitive and the Vegetative.

What is a Particular Sense?

The term Particular Sense denotes an individual power that corresponds with a particular object, and is able to inform the soul of various sensible realities. The Particular Sense most commonly has five powers, which we know as the five senses. For example, hearing is the power that corresponds with the object of sound, and it informs the soul of that particular sensible reality.

Particular Sense: “which is the first in the order of sensitive powers and corresponds to an immediate modification of the soul be sensible realities. But the particular sense is in turn subdivided into distinct powers according to the various kinds of sensible impressions it is equipped to receive. Sensible act upon the particular sense by the species which they impress upon it;” hence, “let us begin, then, from the principle that the senses receive sensible species denuded of matter.”

More on the discussion of animals and souls.

The 3 Part Catechesis on St. Thomas Aquinas by Pope Benedict XVI

“And thus it can be understood that in the 19th century, when the incompatibility of modern reason and faith was strongly declared, Pope Leo XIII pointed to St Thomas as a guide in the dialogue between them.”

Part I

Eucharistic Soul 9 Statements by Pope Benedict XVI on St. Thomas Aquinas

Listers, Pope Benedict XVI describes St. Thomas Aquinas as having an “exquisitely Eucharistic soul.” The following is taken from a talk delivered by the Holy Father on June 2nd, 2010 and he also delivered a follow up on June 16th of the same year. The former is focused more as a basic introduction to the life and virtue of the Angelic Doctor and the second is more theological in nature.

More Papal Adulation of St. Thomas Aquinas
Patrimony of Wisdom: St. Pius X’s Exhortation to study Aquinas
The Sun that Warms the World – St. Thomas Aquinas
What Vatican II Actually Said About St. Thomas Aquinas

Pope Urban IV, who held him in high esteem, commissioned him to compose liturgical texts for the Feast of Corpus Christi, which we are celebrating tomorrow, established subsequent to the Eucharistic miracle of Bolsena. Thomas had an exquisitely Eucharistic soul. The most beautiful hymns that the Liturgy of the Church sings to celebrate the mystery of the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of the Lord in the Eucharist are attributed to his faith and his theological wisdom.

Part II

Our Guide Through Modernism 12 Teachings from Pope Benedict XVI on Aquinas

Listers in his second lesson on the Angelic Doctor, Pope Benedict XVI moves past the basic biography of Aquinas and into the more fundamental theological and philosophical changes the saint brought to Holy Mother Church.

The Vicars of Christ beg us to study Aquinas:
Patrimony of Wisdom: St. Pius X’s Exhortation to study Aquinas
The Sun that Warms the World – St. Thomas Aquinas

And thus it can be understood that in the 19th century, when the incompatibility of modern reason and faith was strongly declared, Pope Leo XIII pointed to St Thomas as a guide in the dialogue between them. In his theological work, St Thomas supposes and concretizes this relationality. Faith consolidates, integrates and illumines the heritage of truth that human reason acquires. The trust with which St Thomas endows these two instruments of knowledge faith and reason may be traced back to the conviction that both stem from the one source of all truth, the divine Logos, which is active in both contexts, that of Creation and that of redemption.

Part III

Pope Benedict XVI’s 11 Introductory Steps to Understanding the Writings of Aquinas

Listers, Pope Benedict XVI closes his three-part catechesis over St. Thomas Aquinas by discussing the Angelic Doctor’s Summa Theologiae and catechetical sermons. The following is the entire homily given by His Holiness during the Wednesday General Audience of the 23th of June 2010. SPL has added the titles and subtitles.

My Predecessor, Pope Paul VI, also said this, in a Discourse he gave at Fossanova on 14 September 1974 on the occasion of the seventh centenary of St Thomas’ death. He asked himself: “Thomas, our Teacher, what lesson can you give us?”. And he answered with these words: “trust in the truth of Catholic religious thought, as defended, expounded and offered by him to the capacities of the human mind.”1 In Aquino moreover, on that same day, again with reference to St Thomas, Paul VI said, “all of us who are faithful sons and daughters of the Church can and must be his disciples, at least to some extent!

How I Met My Mother: 10 Reflections from the Book that Changed My Attitude Towards Mary

One of the most misunderstood aspects of our Catholic faith is our fascination and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Listers, one of the most misunderstood aspects of our Catholic faith is our fascination and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. I personally struggled against this concept before I joined the Church. After I converted, I still didn’t give our Blessed Mother the due that she deserved; however, that all changed. On my honeymoon I picked up Mary: The Church at the Source by Pope Benedict XVI (at the time of publishing, he was Cardinal Ratzinger) and Hans Urs von Balthasar (who happens to be my favorite modern theologian). By the time I finished it, I discovered a new love, respect, and awe for our Holy Mother. Mary: The Church at the Source is a collection of essays by Pope Benedict XVI and Hans Urs von Balthasar. As it is written by two of the greatest Catholic theologians of the modern era, this book is by no means a quick read. However, each essay teaches something new and something exquisitely beautiful about our Holy Mother. I would compare this book to a fine wine, which must be savored to be better appreciated. I highly recommend that every Catholic should read this book. Therefore, I have given 10 tastes to whet your mariological palate. Now on to the reflections…1

#1 Mary’s Maternity Is More than Just a Matter of Biology

We must avoid relegating Mary’s maternity to the sphere of mere biology. But we can do so only if our reading of Scripture can legitimately presuppose a hermeneutic that rules out just this kind of division and allows us instead to recognize the correlation of Christ and his Mother as a theological reality.” —Page 29 Pope Benedict XVI.

#2 The Necessity of Marian Piety

The organ for seeing God is the purified heart. It may just be the task of Marian piety to awaken the heart and purify it in faith. If the misery of contemporary man is his increasing disintegration into mere bios and mere rationality, Marian piety could work against this “decomposition” and help man to rediscover unity in the center, from the heart.” —Page 36 Pope Benedict XVI

#3 Mary, the Signpost of Hope

This is why Mary, who has given him birth is truly “full of grace” – she becomes a sign to history. The angel’s greeting makes it clear that the blessing is more powerful than the curse. The sign of woman has become the sign of hope; she is the signpost of hope.” — Page 53 Pope Benedict XVI

#4 Mary’s Openess to God’s Word

Mary’s divine maternity and her enduring attitude of openness to God’s word are seen as interpenetrating here: giving ear to the angel’s greeting. Mary welcomes the Holy Spirit into herself. Having become pure hearing, she receives the Word so totally it becomes flesh in her. — Page 72 Pope Benedict XVI

#5 The Incarnation as Hard to Imagine Without Mary

Thus the woman who called herself lowly, that is nameless (Luke1:48) stands at the core of the profession of faith in the living God, and it is impossible to imagine it without her. She is an indispensable, central component of our faith in the living, acting God. The Word becomes flesh – the eternal Meaning grounding the universe enters in her. It needed the Virgin for this to be possible, the Virgin who made available her whole person, that is her embodied existence, her very self, as the place of God’s dwelling place in the world. The Incarnation required consenting acceptance. Only in this way do Logos and flesh really become one. — Page 83 Pope Benedict XVI

#6 Mary as Jesus’s First Teacher

Now, this means that even Jesus himself has above all his Mother to thank for his human self-consciousness, unless we suppose that he was a supernatural wunderkind who should not have to owe this self-consciousness to anyone. But such a hypothesis would jeopardize Jesus’s humanity […] She must have introduced Jesus into the tradition and so enabled him to recognize his own mission in the mirror of the promise. True, Jesus’ personal prayer and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit disclosed this mission to him with increasing depth. Nevertheless, the human contribution – to this process must by no means be underestimated; this, too, would offend against the learning process of a normal child. — Page 103 Hans Urs von Balthasar

#7 Mary’s Naked Faith

The purpose of this constant training in the naked faith Mary will need under the cross is often insufficiently understood; people are astonished and embarrassed by the way in which Jesus treats his Mother, whom he addresses both in Cana and at the Cross only as “woman.” He himself is the first one to wield the sword that must pierce her. But how else would she have become ready to stand by the Cross, where not only her Son’s earthly failure, but also his abandonment by the God who sends him is revealed. She must finally say Yes to this, too, because she consented a priori to her child’s whole destiny. — Page 109 Hans Urs von Balthasar

#8 Mary and the Eucharist

First, the Mass. Does any Christian really know what a sacrifice it is to offer the Father the Son as the world’s redeemer after the Consecration? But those who contemplate Mary’s sacrificial gesture get a glimmer of why, despite all objection, we can and must describe the Eucharistic celebration as a sacrifice (not of Christ alone, but also of the Church). And does any one of us really receive the Son in Holy Communion as perfectly as he offers himself? We are right to pray, “Look not on our sins, but on the faith of our Church”: on that perfect act of faith that was nowhere as undivided as in Mary — Page 112 Hans Urs von Balthasar

#9 The Importance of the Veneration of Mary

The veneration of Mary is the surest and shortest way to get close to Christ in a concrete way. In meditating on her life in all its phases we can learn what it means to live for and with Christ – in the everyday, in an unsentimental matter-of-factness that nonetheless enjoys perfect inner intimacy, Contemplating Mary’s existence, we also submit to the darkness imposed on our faith, yet we learn how we must always be ready when Jesus suddenly asks something from us. — Page 117 Hans Urs von Balthasar

#10 Mary, Mother of the Church

If we are ready to do this, then even today we can see the face of the Church light up with the motherly look and expression that was so obvious to, and so enriching for, the first Christian centuries. It is because we Christians had long lost sight of this motherly aspect that the present Pope (Paul VI) expressed it by giving Mary the title “Mother of the Church.” This title is legitimate, so long as the Church, precisely as an assembly of individual believers, is also seen as the structured social organization that we customarily consider her to be today. If we could make up our minds to penetrate through this understanding of the Church to a deeper level, we could once more realize the “archetypal identity” between Mary and the Church and, from time to time at least, drop the “of the” between “Mother” and “Church.” —Page 143 Hans Urs Von Balthasar

Mother of the Church, pray for us!

 

More on Mother Mary from SPL
St. Peter’s List offers a wide range of lists on the Blessed Virgin. To those Catholics seeking a more biblical understanding of Mary’s roles within salvation and to any protestant readers we’d suggest 4 Biblical Reasons Mary is the New Ark of the Covenant and 6 Biblical Reasons Mother Mary is the New Eve. We also offer a wide range of quote banks concerning Mary, the Rosary, and other doctrinal issues. – HH Ambrose

  1. All reflections are taken from the following book: von Balthasar, Hans Urs and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Mary: The Church at the Source. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005. []

Why Did God Make You? – And 24 Other Basic Catholic Questions

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions.

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions. SPL has also reproduced 29 Questions Explaining Indulgences and 46 Questions to Help Explain the Sacraments. Those who missed Part I of The End of Man can visit What Is Meant By the “End of Man” and 10 other Questions.

 

LESSON FIRST
On the End of Man
Part II
137-161

 

Q. 137. How is the soul like to God?

A. The soul is like to God because it is a spirit that will never die, and has understanding and free will.

 

Q. 138. Is every invisible thing a spirit?

A. Every spirit is invisible — which means can not be seen; but every invisible thing is not a spirit. The wind is invisible, and it is not a spirit.

 

Q. 139. Has a spirit any other quality?

A. A spirit is also indivisible; that is, it can not be divided into parts, as we divide material things.

 

Q. 140. What do the words “will never die” mean?

A. By the words “will never die” we mean that the soul, when once created, will never cease to exist, whatever be its condition in the next world. Hence we say the soul is immortal or gifted with immortality.

 

Q. 141. Why then do we say a soul is dead while in a state of mortal sin?

A. We say a soul is dead while in a state of mortal sin, because in that state it is as helpless as a dead body, and can merit nothing for itself.

 

Q. 142. What does our “understanding” mean?

A. Our “understanding” means the “gift of reason,” by which man is distinguished from all other animals, and by which he is enabled to think and thus acquire knowledge and regulate his actions.

 

Q. 143. Can we learn all truths by our reason alone?

A. We can not learn all truths by our reason alone, for some truths are beyond the power of our reason and must be taught to us by God.

 

Q. 144. What do we call the truths God teaches us?

A. Taken together, we call the truths God teaches us revelation, and we call the manner by which He teaches them also revelation.

 

Q. 145. What is “Free Will”?

A. “Free Will” is that gift of God by which we are enabled to choose between one thing and another; and to do good or evil in spite of reward or punishment.

 

Q. 146. Have brute animals “understanding” and “free will”?

A. Brute animals have not “understanding” and “free will.” They have not “understanding” because they never change their habits or better their condition. They have not “free will” because they never show it in their actions.

 

 

Q. 147. What gift in animals supplies the place of reason?

A. In animals the gift of “instinct” supplies the place of reason in guiding their actions.

 

Q. 148. What is instinct?

A. “Instinct” is a gift by which all animals are impelled to follow the laws and habits that God has given to their nature.

 

Q. 149. Have men as well as brutes “instinct”?

A. Men have “instinct,” and they show it when placed in sudden danger, when they have not time to use their reason. A falling man instantly grasps for something to support him.

 

Q. 150. Why did God make you?

A. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.

 

Q. 151. Why is it necessary to know God?

A. It is necessary to know God because without knowing Him we cannot love Him; and without loving Him we cannot be saved. We should know Him because He is infinitely true; love Him because He is infinitely beautiful; and serve Him because He is infinitely good.

 

Q. 152. Of which must we take more care, our soul or our body?

A. We must take more care of our soul than of our body.

 

Q. 153. Why must we take more care of our soul than of our body?

A. We must take more care of our soul than of our body, because in losing our soul we lose God and everlasting happiness.

 

Q. 154. What must we do to save our souls?

A. To save our souls, we must worship God by faith, hope, and charity; that is, we must believe in Him, hope in Him, and love Him with all our heart.

 

Q. 155. What does “worship” mean?

A. “Worship” means to give divine honor by acts such as the offering of prayer or sacrifice.

 

Q. 156. How shall we know the things which we are to believe?

A. We shall know the things which we are to believe from the Catholic Church, through which God speaks to us.

 

Q. 157. What do we mean by the “Church, through which God speaks to us”?

A. By the “Church, through which God speaks to us,” we mean the “teaching Church”; that is, the Pope, Bishops, and priests, whose duty it is to instruct us in the truths and practices of our religion.

 

 

Q. 158. Where shall we find the chief truths which the Church teaches?

A. We shall find the chief truths which the Church teaches in the Apostles’ Creed.

 

Q. 159. If we shall find only the “chief truths” in the Apostles’ Creed, where shall we find the remaining truths?

A. We shall find the remaining truths of our Faith in the religious writings and preachings that have been sanctioned by the authority of the Church.

 

Q. 160. Name some sacred truths not mentioned in the Apostles’ Creed.

A. In the Apostles’ Creed there is no mention of the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, nor of the Infallibility of the Pope, nor of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, nor of some other truths that we are bound to believe.

 

Q. 161. Say the Apostles’ Creed.

A. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into hell: the third day He arose again from the dead: He ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty: from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

What Is Meant By the “End of Man” and 10 other Questions

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions. SPL has also reproduced 29 Questions Explaining Indulgences and 46 Questions to Help Explain the Sacraments.

 

LESSON FIRST
On the End of Man
126-136

 

Q. 126. What do we mean by the “end of man”?

A. By the “end of man” we mean the purpose for which he was created: namely, to know, love, and serve God.

 

Q. 127. How do you know that man was created for God alone?

A. I know that man was created for God alone because everything in the world was created for something more perfect than itself: but there is nothing in the world more perfect than man; therefore, he was created for something outside this world, and since he was not created for the Angels, he must have been created for God.

 

Q. 128. In what respect are all men equal?

A. All men are equal in whatever is necessary for their nature and end. They are all composed of a body and soul; they are all created to the image and likeness of God; they are all gifted with understanding and free will; and they have all been created for the same end — God.

 

Q. 129. Do not men differ in many things?

A. Men differ in many things, such as learning, wealth, power, etc.; but these things belong to the world and not man’s nature. He came into this world without them and he will leave it without them. Only the consequences of good or evil done in this world will accompany men to the next.

 

Q. 130. Who made the world?

A. God made the world.

 

Q. 131. What does “world” mean in this question?

A. In this question “world” means the universe; that is, the whole creation; all that we now see or may hereafter see.

 

Q. 132. Who is God?

A. God is the Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things.

 

Q. 133. What is man?

A. Man is a creature composed of body and soul, and made to the image and likeness of God.

 

Q. 134. Does “man” in the Catechism mean all human beings?

A. “Man” in the Catechism means all human beings, either men or women, boys, girls, or children.

 

Q. 135. What is a creature?

A. A creature is anything created, whether it has life or not; body or no body. Every being, person, or thing except God Himself may be called a creature.

 

Q. 136. Is this likeness in the body or in the soul?

A. This likeness is chiefly in the soul.

4 of the Most Controversial Lists on St. Peter’s List

Listers, brass is mistaken for gold more easily than clay.1 It is easy to say the heathens and Hitlers of the world need Christ and His Church, but what of the Protestants? Are they saved because they worship Christ or is their Christ more a personalized term than a person? Are we prepared to critique what is brass in the world, even if the Protestants, Orthodox or secular humanitarians share or emulate our virtues? There is One God, One Christ, One Groom and One Bride. There is One Kingdom with One King, One Vicar and One Queen.

All humans are in need of Jesus Christ and the Messiah commissioned St. Peter and the Apostles to care for his sheep and guard his Church. We cannot let our modernist upbringings dull the trenchant truth of Christ nor can we let some misplaced zeal blur the evangelistic nuances necessary to reach a protestant, an Orthodox or an atheist.

Know the faith listers. It is in Holy Mother Church that we find the unadulterated love and person of Jesus Christ.

Click the titles to go to the list.

St Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr, pray for us.

1. Those Who Start Their Own Church Follow the Voice of Satan: 11 Teachings from St. Cyprian AD 250

The unsettling words of St. Cyprian share their effect on Protestants and Catholics alike – primarily because we are all modernists accustomed to pluralism and inclusive speech. The Early Church writer clearly states there is One Savior and One Bride, His Church and that the One Church of Christ can only be the Church entrusted to the Apostles and to their disciples, the Bishops of the Church. Those who start their own “churches”  – breaking apostolic succession – sit in the “seat of pestilence, plagues, and spots of the faith, deceiving with serpent’s tongue, and artful in corrupting the truth, vomiting forth deadly poisons from pestilential tongues.” Complimenting the words of the saint are the similar words of our fourth Pope in the list The Apostles Appointed Bishops: 9 Teachings from St. Clement AD 97.

Listers, our Lord Jesus Christ is not returning to our world for a harem of “churches.”There is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and it was founded by Christ and charged by him to St. Peter and the Apostles. However, there are now and always have been those groups that attempt to rend Christ from his Church – to recreate that which God gave us, the Church. In AD 250, St. Cyprian wrote an outstanding work entitled On the Unity of the Church. The epistle focuses especially on the topic of schism and those who would set themselves up as Church leaders and/or start their own “churches.” Without question, these groups are proto-protestant groups and the saint’s arguments apply just as much to our modern schismatic and heretical groups as they did to his ancient schismatic groups.2

“He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother.”

“And this unity we ought firmly to hold and assert, especially those of us that are bishops who preside in the Church, that we may also prove the episcopate itself to be one and undivided. Let no one deceive the brotherhood by a falsehood: let no one corrupt the truth of the faith by perfidious prevarication. The episcopate is one, each part of which is held by each one for the whole.”

“What sacrifices do those who are rivals of the priests think that they celebrate? Do they deem that they have Christ with them when they are collected together, who are gathered together outside the Church of Christ?” – St. Cyprian, AD 250

2. All Human Creatures Are Subject to the Pope: 8 Papal Quotes On Salvation

God promised King David that a descendant of his would sit upon his throne forever. In the wake of this promise, the Old Testament prophets foretold of a “New Davidic Kingdom” and the Messiah – the Son of David – who would save God’s people. Undoubtedly, Christ is the Messiah – the Son of David – and his Kingdom is a Davidic Kingdom. In David’s Kingdom there was a Vicar who had the key of the kingdom and ruled in David’s stead whilst he was way. The Son of David is no different in his Kingdom – he gave St. Peter the keys of the Kingdom and St. Peter – the First Pope or Vicar of Christ – and his successors hold the Kingdom to the teachings of the King. The list All Human Creatures Are Subject to the Pope is built upon this biblical truth. Those looking for the scriptural evidence of the papacy may enjoy 10 Biblical Reasons Christ Founded the Papacy and the forerunner to that list: 13 Biblical Reasons St. Peter was “Prince of the Apostles.”

Listers, the following is a short compilation of quotes taken from previous Ecumenical Pontiffs of Rome: “Outside the Church there is no hope for salvation.” These quotes show us the confidence that our previous Bishops of Rome have had in their authority given by God Himself to be the Vicar of Christ here on Earth. As St. Augustine said, “Rome has spoken, the case is closed.” Cheers!

Those wishing to balance these quotes with a catechetical understanding of salvation outside the Church may turn to How Were Men Saved Before Christ and 10 Other Questions and Can Non-Catholics Be Saved and 21 Other Questions.

“The holy universal Church teaches that it is not possible to worship God truly except in Her and asserts that all who are outside of Her will not be saved.”

Pope Saint Gregory the Great (590-604)

“We declare, say , define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”
Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam (1302 AD)

3. 6 Things to Know About the “Miracle of the Holy Fire”

The “Miracle of the Holy Fire” is a longstanding event in the Orthodox Church that is often times used as proof the power of the Resurrection of Christ lies in his “true church,” the Orthodox. Of course, Catholics rebuttal that the fire is nothing more than a fraud. As one can imagine this devolves quite quickly into Catholic vs Orthodox polemics.

Listers, the following is a brief examination of the controversial “Miracle of the Holy Fire.” The Greek Orthodox Patriarch enters the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem on Holy Saturday – according to the Orthodox calendar. He proceeds into the Tomb of Christ and begins to pray. A fire is then miraculously enkindled by the Holy Spirit – supposedly the power of the resurrection – and is shared rapidly throughout the Church and all those who are waiting outside. To be clear, it is said that Pope Gregory the IX declared “Holy Fire” a fraud in AD 1238, but a primary source is needed to confirm this papal statement. Today, the miracle is not recognized by the Catholic Church, but is considered a pious tradition of certain Orthodox Churches.

Setting everything about the “holy fire” event aside, St. Peter’s List would like to remind listers that Pope Benedict XVI is building a legacy of being the “Pope of Christian Unity.” As Holy Mother Church staves off militant secularism on one side and militant Islam on the other, we should be praying for unity amongst those who call themselves followers of Christ. This is in no way a fanciful call to “just get along,” as any Orthodox/Catholic discussion on the role of the papacy, the crusades, St. Augustine and the filioque will leave blood on the floor. Regardless, pray and strive for unity.

4. 4 Sources to Understand and Even Defend the Catholic Inquisitions

Turning primarily to a video by Michael Voris and an academic article by Thomas F. Madden, St. Peter’s List wants to place the three historical inquisitions of the Church in historical context. It should be well noted that the list does not exonerate those who operated under the guise of the Catholic Church from all wrongdoing and crimes; however, what the list does do is defend what our culture has erroneously deemed indefensible by using historical facts and comparisons to whittle down the propaganda and engage in an actual conversation about the inquisitions.

Listers, most believe that the “Spanish Inquisition” was a dark and embarrassing era within the Catholic Church. The rhetoric is well known: thousands were imprisoned, non-Catholics were tortured, and a “convert-or-die” travesty swept over much of Europe. However, what if the Church’s three primary inquisitions – the Medieval, the Spanish, and the Roman – were created to harbor people from injustice, to grant the accused individuals more rights and legal representation than in secular courts, or to secure the concept of “due process,” which became a precursor to English law and eventually the American Constitution? Moreover, what if history shows that the common misperception of the Church’s Inquisitions are based on vulgar protestant propaganda wars? All these questions and more are addressed and answered in a well-documented fashion by the following sources.

Although the Spanish defeated Protestants on the battlefield, they would lose the propaganda war. These were the years when the famous “Black Legend” of Spain was forged. Innumerable books and pamphlets poured from northern presses accusing the Spanish Empire of inhuman depravity and horrible atrocities in the New World. Opulent Spain was cast as a place of darkness, ignorance, and evil. Although modern scholars have long ago discarded the Black Legend, it still remains very much alive today. Quick: Think of a good conquistador.

Like all courts in Europe, the Spanish Inquisition used torture. But it did so much less often than other courts. Modern researchers have discovered that the Spanish Inquisition applied torture in only 2 percent of its cases. Each instance of torture was limited to a maximum of 15 minutes. In only 1 percent of the cases was torture applied twice and never for a third time.

  1. Irony: The “brass is mistaken for gold more easily than clay” originates – as far as I know – with CS Lewis, whom converted to Anglicanism and not Catholicism, though it was Tolkien that led him to Christ. []
  2. Novatian: Another impetus of the epistle was the first “anti-pope” who attempted to claim he was holier than the rest of the Church and claimed moral superiority, especially in not wanting to ever extend forgiveness to sins post-baptism. []

4 Biblical Reasons Mary Is The New Ark of the Covenant

An in depth biblical approach to Mary as the “New Ark of the Convenant.”

Listers, as with all Marian doctrine, a better understanding of Mary only serves to illuminate Christ Our Lord, because every grace she received and every role she held within salvation history  is rooted in Christ. Her role as the New Ark of the Covenant serves to reveal the true nature of Jesus Christ – one person with two natures: divine and human – and illuminate the purpose of the Incarnation within salvation history. The Old Testament is perfected by the New, and Mother Mary is the perfection of the old Ark of the Covenant.

“We never give more honour to Jesus than when we honour his Mother, and we honour her simply and solely to honour him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek – Jesus, her Son.”
Saint Louis Marie de Montfort, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, #94

Credit & Notable Marian Works
Those looking for a deeper understanding of the Virgin Mary should consult the following works: for an academic but spiritual treatment within the dominican tradition SPL suggests Mother of the Saviour: And Our Interior Life by the keen mind of Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., and for a seminal Marian devotional we suggest The True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin by one of the most famous proponents of mariology, St. Louis de Montfort, and finally, for a biblical and basic introduction to the Blessed Virgin – and an excellent primer for protestants – SPL suggests Hail, Holy Queen:The Mother of God in the Word of God by Scott Hahn. Overall, Hahn’s works offer Catholics and non-Catholics alike a wide-range of excellent theological primers, and his Hail, Holy Queen text greatly contributed to the last two points of this list.1

“The ark is verily the holy Virgin, gilded within and without, who received the treasure of universal sanctification. Arise, O Lord, from the Father’s bosom, to raise up again the ruined race of our first parent” (Orat. in Deip. Annunciat. Int. Opp. S. Greg. Thaumaturg) (Blessed Virgin, p. 89). St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (c. 213-c. 270)

“As Christ our priest was not chosen by hand of man, so neither was His tabernacle framed by men, but was established by the Holy Ghost; and by the power of God is that tabernacle protected, to be had in everlasting remembrance, Mary, God’s Virgin Mother” (S. Dionysius of Alexandria, Respons. ad Quoest. v. Pauli Samos) (Blessed Virgin, p. 81). St. Dionysius (died 264)

Both the Old Ark and the New Ark were “overshadowed” by the Holy Spirit. “The Annunciation” – Andrea del Sarto

1. Hail, Full of Grace

The Old Ark Was the Physical Dwelling Place of the Shekinah Glory
The New Ark Was the Physical Dwelling Place of the Word Incarnate

The Ark of the Covenant was the point of contact for the presence of God within the Holy of Holies.2

And the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at all times into the holy place within the veil, before the mercy seat which is upon the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.

At the Annunciation, the Archangel Gabriel told Mother Mary she would be the Mater Dei, the Mother of God. In her womb God’s physical presence would dwell in a way never before seen: the second person of the Trinity was to take upon human nature, and become Incarnate.

And [the Archangel Gabriel] came to [Mary] and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greetings this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.

How is Mary a More Perfect Ark?
The New Testament perfects the Old, and whereas the old Ark of the Covenant had been lost, God provided a new and more perfect one – an immaculate woman. The Ark moves from being a human artifact of wood and gold, to a the highest honored and highest human creature3 The presence of God is perfected insofar as the Second Person of the Trinity becomes Incarnate, and his mission is the forgiveness and satisfaction of mankind.

Why does the Angel say “Full of Grace?”
Entire bulwarks of the Catholic tradition are built upon this phrase, but a brief sketch is necessary to understand Mary’s unique role in salvation history. Grace – as we know it – did not exist before the victory of Christ; moreover, the Old Testament sacrifices forgave sins, but they could not offer proper satisfaction for them – they left man in an infinite debt due to sin. The angel stating “full of grace” points to Mary as Immaculate, the pure vessel of Christ’s Incarnation, the virgin and sinless flesh from which Christ would draw his human nature. Mary was “full of grace” because the was born without original sin and had remained sinless in order to be the New Ark of the Covenant, the Mother of God. It is important to note that Mary’s grace is still rooted in Christ, and is orientated toward the mission of salvation. Both Mary’s biblical roles as the New Ark of the Covenant and of the New Eve articulate a need for her to be perfect in relationship to Christ, not to mention the greatest need of all – it was from her Christ drew his humanity.

Tabernacle and Sacred Vessels 1728, Gerard Hoet (1648-1733), Wikicommons

2. The Contents of the Arks

Ark Contained the Commandments, Manna, & Aaron’s Rod
New Ark Contained Christ Our Lord: Logos, Bread of Life, King/Priest

The Old Testament Ark was said to contain three things: the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments carved by the finger of God, the priestly rod of Moses’ brother Aaron, and the heavenly manna that sustained Israel in post-Egyptian wandering.

While the old Ark is acacia wood wrapped in gold, the New Ark of the Covenant is the Immaculate Woman Mary. Since being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, her womb became the dwelling place of God on Earth until the birth of Christ. As the New Testament is a perfection and fulfillment of the Old, so too is Christ’s Incarnation in the Virgin Mary a perfection of the Old Ark of the Covenant. The contents of the New Ark perfect the contents of the Old Ark insofar as Christ the Lord takes upon himself the roles of the former objects: Word of God, Bread of Life, & Eternal Priest.

Old & New Contents

The Word of God in the Stone Tablets 4
The Word of God Incarnate

And he took the [tablets of the] covenant and put it into the ark, and put the poles on the ark, and set the mercy seat above on the ark;

Christ’s perfection of the Tablets of the Covenant or more commonly called the Tablets of the Ten Commandments is multifaceted. The most complete perfection is the overall understanding the the primary “Word of God” is not Scripture, but Christ. Christ is the Living Word, the Logos.5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. […] And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.

Moreover, the Tablets of the Covenant represented the old convenant and its laws. Christ comes and perfects those laws, most notably during his Sermon on the Mount.6 Changing the Laws requires the proper authority, and to change divine laws requires divine authority. Christ, as the Logos, the Second Person of the Trinity, obviously had the divine authority and he demonstrated it both as the Eternal King in the lineage of King David and as the Eternal Priest in the lineage of Melchizedek.7

 

Manna, the Life-giving bread of Heaven
Jesus Christ, the “Bread of Life”

It is fitting that the Book of Hebrews, which has at its core the goal to demonstrate the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament – especially in articulating Christ as our High Priest – would highlight the contents of the Old Ark.8

Behind the second curtain stood a tent called the Holy of Holies, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, which contained a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant.

Concerning the Old Ark and manna, Christ our Lord is the perfect “Bread of Life.” In the Gospel of John, Christ gives his famous “Eucharistic Discourse.” The entire latter half of the chapter is an in depth discussion on the Eucharist and Christ’s body and blood as the life giving sacrament.9

I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh. […] 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.

Christ’s “Eucharistic Discourse” paves the way for the Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. In speaking to his disciples, Christ says the following:10

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”

Biblically, it is very clear that the manna of the OT is perfected by the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, which is for us today the source and summit of the Catholic life, the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

 

Aaron’s Rod, the Sign of the Ancestral Priesthood
Christ, the Eternal Priest in the Order of Melchizedek

As in the aforesaid Hebrew’s verse, Aaron’s rod was placed within the Ark of the Covenant. The rod of Aaron was a sign of the priesthood. The book of Hebrews takes up as a main focus the eternal priesthood of Christ Jesus.11

So also Christ did no exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him,

You are my Son, today I have begotten you;
As he says also in another place,

“You are a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”

The subject of Christ as the Eternal Priest is exhausted by the book of Hebrews, and it speaks directly to the argument of how Christ’s priesthood could have perfected the ancestral lineage of the Old Testament priesthood – especially since Christ was not born into that lineage. The author highlights the High Priest Melchizedek, and the legitimacy of Christ’s eternal priesthood being rooted in the Order of Melchizedek.

King David plays the Harp before the Ark of the Covenant, source unknown.

3. Joy Before the Ark

King David & the Ark
Elizabeth & the New Ark

One intriguing aspect of Hebrew literature is the fact it does not give unnecessary details. Understanding this facet can illuminate certain passages, especially when one notes that the Hebrews were not concerned with many of the attributes the modern western mind expects of stories and history. Along this note, the Catholic tradition observes several OT passages and NT passages that utilize the same details and phrases. The Early Church fathers were quick to extract many of these comparisons, especially in the more broad sense of parallel ideas, e.g., St. Augustine seeing the Creation in Genesis allegorically as the new birth of a Christian soul from “formless and void” to the abundant earth. Other comparisons are more nuanced and exist on noticing exact repetitions of words or phrases within similar circumstances. One such detailed pericope contains the story of when King David received the Ark of the Covenant.12

And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Ba’ale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the LORD of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim.

The passage then recounts the unfortunate story of Uzzah, the man who amongst the merriment put his hand on the Ark after an oxen stumbled. Uzzah was smitten by God, and David became afraid. However, Scripture records the detail of how much time David spent waiting after the death of Uzzah, and that time was three months.

And David was afraid of the LORD that day; and he said, “How can the ark of the LORD come to me?” So David was not willing to take the ark of the LORD into the city of David; but David took it aside to the house of O’bed-e’dom the Gittite. […] So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of O’bed-e’dom to the city of David with rejoicing; and when those who bore the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the horn. As the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.

In the Gospel of Luke, the evangelist records the story of when Mary went to visit Elizabeth. The passage utilizes some of the exact phrasing from the pericope in I Samuel, and even replaces the term “ark” with “mother of my Lord” when Elizabeth asks why Mary has come to her, as David did with the Ark.13 The similar language in both selections have been emboldened.

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechari’ah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.

After Mary delivers her famous Magnificat, the passage ends telling the reader how much time has elapsed.

And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.

The similarities between these two passages demand attention. Both begin with the same phrase “arose and went,” both dwelt in the hill country of Judah, David speaks of his unworthiness before the Old Ark as Elizabeth does before the New Ark (even replacing the work ark with “mother of my Lord”), David dances and leaps before the presence of the Lord and John the Baptist leaps in joy within Elizabeth’s womb (often seen as Christ’s presence anointing John to be a prophet), and both remain the same amount of time: three months.14 While comments on Mary as the New Ark abound in Early Church literature, the following quote by Ambrose is especially insightful.

“The prophet David danced before the Ark.  Now what else should we say the Ark was but holy Mary?  The Ark bore within it the tables of the Testament, but Mary bore the Heir of the same Testament itself.  The former contained in it the Law, the latter the Gospel.  The one had the voice of God, the other His Word.  The Ark, indeed, was radiant within and without with the glitter of gold, but holy Mary shone within and without with the splendor of virginity.  The one was adorned with earthly gold, the other with heavenly” (Serm. xlii. 6, Int. Opp., S. Ambrosii) (Blessed Virgin, p. 77). St. Ambrose (c. 339-397)

“Our Lady of the Sign-Ark of Mercy” offers no middle ground between protestant and Catholic theology. St. Stanislaus, Chicago.

4. The Apocalypse of St. John

The Old Was Lost
The New Ark is Found

Many are under the false impression that the Ark of the Covenant was in the Temple during the time of Christ. Commenting on this misunderstanding, biblical scholar and popular writer Scott Hahn states, “around 587 B.C., the prophet Jeremiah concealed the ark in order to preserve it from defilement when Babylonian invaders came to destroy the temple.15

And Jeremiah came and found a cave, and he brought there the tent and the ark and the altar of incense, and he sealed up the entrance. Some of those who followed him came up to mark the way, but could not find it. When Jeremiah learned of it, he rebuked them and declared: “The place shall be unknown until God gathers his people together again and shows his mercy. And then the Lord will disclose these things, and the glory of the Lord and the cloud will appear, as they were shown in the case of Moses, and as Solomon asked that the place should be specially consecrated.”

It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of the Ark within Old Testament Judaism. Given its central role in worship and the fact it was lost, any mention of the Ark of the Covenant during the time it was lost was sure to be noteworthy. In St. John’s Revelation, he mentions the ark at the end of chapter eleven.16

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

Scott Hahn delivers several astute observations regarding the mentioning of the Ark and the Jewish historical context in which St. John was writing. He says, “imagine you are a first -century reader, raised as a Jew. You have never seen the ark, but all your religious and cultural upbringing has taught you to long for its restoration in the temple… the dramatic tension [in John’s writing] becomes nearly unbearable. The reader wants to see the ark, as John sees it.”17 However as Hahn notes, St. John does not then go on to speak of the OT Ark (the switch in chapter from 11 to 12 should not import any concern, considering the original texts had no such distinctions). What John does begin to describe is a woman:

And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery.

As with all Marian doctrine, Christ is the center and he is the key to understanding Revelation 12. Christ is the child born unto the woman.

She brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne,

The child is brought to God and his throne, which must be Christ. Moreover, the child rules with a “rod of iron,” which is a reference to King David, and Christ is the “Son of David” that will sit upon the Davidic throne forever.

The “Our Lady of the Sign-Ark of Mercy” is the largest Monstrance in the World.

Could the Woman be Israel?
While there could be certain traits – even beneficial ones – to understanding the woman as Israel, the Marian readings harmonizes best with the text and would still remain the primary reading. The latter half of St. John’s Revelation chapter reveals more about the woman.

And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had borne the male child. […] Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus.

Revelation 12 is an exhaustive Marian text, because Mary is the New Ark of the Covenant, the New Eve, and the New Queen of the Davidic Kingdom – and all three of those roles are demonstrated within the chapter as a whole. Within the given pericope, a special enmity is seen between the woman and the dragon, which recalls the reader’s mind to God’s words in Genesis regarding the enmity between Eve and the serpent. A “Israel” reading becomes confusing; Israel could be seen as the mother of Christ – though Mary has historically held the role of Mater Dei, Theotokos, the Mother of God without question – but it is a stretch to see Israel as the mother of Christians. If it is the “New Israel,” the Church, that could present an option, but again, the Church has never been referred to as the Mother of God – she is the Bride of Christ. Biblically speaking, Mother Mary fits the roles within Revelation 12, and for our purposes here, shows herself to be the New Ark of the Covenant.

“Be mindful of us, most holy virgin, who after childbirth didst remain virgin; and grant to us for these small words great gifts from the riches of they graces, O thou full of grace. Accept them as though they were true and adequate praises in they honor; and if there is in them any virtue and any praise, we offer them as a hymn from ourselves and from all creatures to thee, full of grace, Lady, Queen, Mistress, Mother of God, and Ark of sanctification” (Orat. In Deip. Annuntiat, nn. 13, 14. Int. Opp. S. Athanasii) (Blessed Virgin, p. 80). St. Athanasius (c. 296-373)

Mother Mary, New Ark of the Covenant, pray for us.
HHAmbrose

  1. Early Church Quotes on Mary as the New Ark of the Covenent: SOURCE []
  2. The Old Ark: Lev 16:2, RSV; Ex 25:10-22 – dimensions, look of the ark []
  3. Mary as the Highest Created Human: Often times protestants will errnoneously reject this claim based on Christ as the highest created human – this view is a heresy. The personhood of Christ already existed as the Second Person of the Trinity, and he took upon himself human nature; moreover, Christ’s personhood was not created. []
  4. Ex 40:20 []
  5. John 1:1, 14a []
  6. Matthew 5, 6, 7 []
  7. Christ as “Son of David” – Matt 1:1-2; 9:27-29; Mk 10:47, 48; Promise to King David –  I Chron 17:14; Ps 89:35-36; Luke1:31; Christ in the order of Melchizedek – Heb 4:14-5:10; 7; The ability, as the new Priest, to change the law: Heb 7:12 []
  8. The Contents of the Ark: Hebrews 9:4 (Tablets, Aaron’s Rod, Manna), however, I Kings 8:9 says only the tablets were inside the Ark. Contradiction theories aside, the discrepancy is easily explained by the fact I Kings was written early in the history of the People of Israel, and the rod and manna were simply added later. []
  9. Eucharistic Discourse: John 6:22-71 – There are protestant objections to this passage, which primarily try to state why Christ was not being literal. Outside the irony that this is one of the only passages the protestant tradition does not advocate a literal reading, the insistence of Christ and his disciples’ reaction to it is clear enough for a literal reading. Every time the disciples misunderstood a teaching, Christ scolded them, but he did not let them leave confused. At the end of this passage, many disciples leave Christ, and Christ not only lets them leave unhindered, but further presses the issue on his disciples. []
  10. Matthew 26:26 []
  11. Christ the High Priest: Hebrews 5:5,6 – 7:1-28 []
  12. King David and the Ark: II Sam 6:2-16 []
  13. Mary Visits Elizabeth: Gospel of Luke 1:39-56 []
  14. Comparison Credit: the comparison between II Sam 6 and Luke 1 is described in Scott Hahn’s work Hail Holy Queen (p.63-64), which is an excellent introduction to understanding the biblical roles of Mary, especially for those of the protestant ecclesial communities. []
  15. The Ark is Hidden: 2 Mac 2:5-8 []
  16. The Ark & Mary as the New Ark in Revelation: Revelation 11:19 – 12:17 []
  17. Hahn, 54 []

Indulgences: 29 Questions On This Grace of Holy Mother Church

“An Indulgence is the remission in whole or in part of the temporal punishment due to sin.”

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions.

FIRST PART
Do Good Works Merit the Soul in Mortal Sin?
And 10 Others Questions on Indulgences

Q. 839. What is an Indulgence?

A. An Indulgence is the remission in whole or in part of the temporal punishment due to sin.

 

Q. 840. What does the word “indulgence” mean?

A. The word indulgence means a favor or concession. An indulgence obtains by a very slight penance the remission of penalties that would otherwise be severe.

 

Q. 841. Is an Indulgence a pardon of sin, or a license to commit sin?

A. An Indulgence is not a pardon of sin, nor a license to commit sin, and one who is in a state of mortal sin cannot gain an Indulgence.

Continue Reading…

 

Our Lord and King, Christ Jesus.

SECOND PART
To Deny Indulgences Is to Deny the Merit of Jesus Christ:
11 Questions on Merit and Grace

Q. 850. How do we know that these Indulgences have their effect?

A. We know that these Indulgences have their effect, because the Church, through her councils, declares Indulgences useful, and if they have no effect they would be useless, and the Church would teach error in spite of Christ’s promise to guide it.

 

Q. 851. Have there ever existed abuses among the faithful in the manner of using Indulgences?

A. There have existed, in past ages, some abuses among the faithful in the manner of using Indulgences, and the Church has always labored to correct such abuses as soon as possible. In the use of pious practices we must be always guided by our lawful superiors.

 

Q. 852. How have the enemies of the Church made use of the abuse of Indulgences?

A. The enemies of the Church have made use of the abuse of Indulgences to deny the doctrine of Indulgences, and to break down the teaching and limit the power of the Church. Not to be deceived in matters of faith, we must always distinguish very carefully between the abuses to which a devotion may lead and the truths upon which the devotion rests.

Continue Reading…

 

Domenico di Michelino, La Divina Commedia di Dante (Dante and the Divine Comedy). Fresco in the nave of the Duomo of Florence, Italy. H. 232 m (7 ft. 7 ¼ in.), W. 2.90 m (9 ft. 6 in.). via Wikipedia

THIRD PART
Move Past the Protestant Propaganda
8 More Questions on Indulgences

Q. 861. What works are generally enjoined for the gaining of Indulgences?

A. The works generally enjoined for the gaining of Indulgences are: The saying of certain prayers, fasting, and the use of certain articles of devotion; visits to Churches or altars, and the giving of alms. For the gaining of Plenary Indulgences it is generally required to go to confession and Holy Communion and pray for the intention of the Pope.

 

Q. 862. What does praying for a person’s intention mean?

A. Praying for a person’s intention means praying for whatever he prays for or desires to obtain through prayer — some spiritual or temporal favors.

 

Q. 863. What does an Indulgence of forty days mean?

A. An Indulgence of forty days means that for the prayer or work to which an Indulgence of forty days is attached, God remits as much of our temporal punishment as He remitted for forty days’ canonical penance. We do not know just how much temporal punishment God remitted for forty days’ public penance, but whatever it was, He remits the same now when we gain an Indulgence of forty days. The same rule applies to Indulgences of a year or any length of time.

Continue Reading…

The Apostles Appointed Bishops: 9 Teachings from St. Clement AD 97

“Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore… they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry.”

Listers, the Early Church was the Early Catholic Church. First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians is an orthodox window into the infancy of the Church (AD 97) and particularly into the structure of the Church.1 The Early Church is not an ambiguous or mysterious time. It is a well recorded period with a great number of writings from the Early Church Fathers. Clement lived in Rome only a stone throw away from the Coliseum. He is seen as a successor to St. Peter and is considered the fourth Pope of Rome, following St. Peter, St. Linus and St. Anacletus.2 Pope St. Clement I’s epistle has a well-paced catechetical tone and is quite mild compared to St. Cyprian’s On the Unity of the Church. St. Cyprian states, those who start their own “churches” are “deceiving with serpent’s tongue, and artful in corrupting the truth, vomiting forth deadly poisons from pestilential tongues” (AD 250).

Dear Protestants
St. Clement’s epistle to the faithful in Corinth is not a Catholic apologetics text or a work from the Counter-Reformation. The words come from a leader within the infancy of the Church of Christ – AD 97. One of the best hermeneutics when reading the Early Church Fathers is not only to pay attention to what they say, but to note well their assumptions about the faith. These assumptions are sometimes greater than their actual words, because the assumptions are the principles that are so ingrained into the Church that they are assumed truths, i.e., unquestioned and widely known. St. Clement’s epistle demonstrates this in a powerful way as he cannot envision “multiple churches” no more than he can imagine a Church outside the direct lineage of the apostles. An undercurrent in St. Clement’s writing and in all the Church Father’s is that perfect charity and perfect faith cannot exist in ecclesial and doctrinal disunity – there is only One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. At the very least, one should read this text and think to themselves: does my “church” sound like the Early Church – and if not, why?

Pope Clement I, Vicar of Christ and martyr, pray for us.

1. Virtue Thwarts Schism

Chapter II continues the epistle’s early theme of lauding the Corinthians in their virtues and prepares the discussion for the topic of schism.

Perfect Charity and Faith Demand Unity
“You were sincere and uncorrupted, and forgetful of injuries between one another. Every kind of faction and schism was abominable in your sight. You mourned over the transgressions of your neighbours: their deficiencies you deemed your own.”

 

2. Sts. Peter and Paul

In Chapter V, His Holiness Pope Clement I displays an important theme in early ecclesial thought: the remembrance of the Apostles. He turns first to his predecessor, St. Peter and his “numerous labours” in the faith until he “departed to the place of glory due to him.” Secondly, he calls to memory St. Paul who was “removed from the world, and went into the holy place, having proved himself a striking example of patience.” It is not surprising the saint chooses Sts. Peter and Paul. Rome itself was consecrated not only by St. Peter’s office as the Vicar of Christ, but also by St. Paul’s ministry and martyrdom. St. Clement also refers to the “extreme west” and maybe referring to St. Paul actually making it to Spain.

The whole first part of the letter is exhortation to overcome schism, sedition and factions through virtue. The saint exhorts his readers that if they are going to be true believers like Sts. Peter and Paul, then they must endure through envy, anger, pride and all other vices that lead to disunity.

More Ecclesial Lists
10 Biblical Reasons Christ Founded the Papacy
13 Biblical Reasons St. Peter Was the “Prince of the Apostles”
Those Who Start Their Own Church Follow the Voice of Satan: 11 Teachings from St. Cyprian AD 250

 

3. The Old Testament

After calling to memory Sts. Peter and Paul, His Holiness speaks in Chapter VIII about how repentance and penance are ecclesial and inseparable from the People of God. The history of Israel is riddled with times of sedition and schism, but through virtue and obedience the People of God would remain together. It is undeniable that in the Old Testament there could be no distinction between the structural and physical unity of Israel and their spiritual and doctrinal unity. So too did Christ charge his apostles in with the care and guidance of Holy Mother Church, in which true faith and charity cannot exist without true unity.3

The People of God Are Always United

“As I live, says the Lord, I desire not the death of the sinner, but rather his repentance;” adding, moreover, this gracious declaration, “Repent, O house of Israel, of your iniquity.” Say to the children of my people, Though your sins reach from earth to heaven, and though they be redder than scarlet, and blacker than sack-cloth, yet if you turn to me with your whole heart, and say, Father! I will listen to you, as to a holy people. And in another place He speaks thus: “Wash you and become clean; put away the wickedness of your souls from before my eyes; cease from your evil ways, and learn to do well; seek out judgment, deliver the oppressed, judge the fatherless, and see that justice is done to the widow; and come, and let us reason together.”

 

4. St. Paul’s Corinthians

Skipping forward to Chapter XXXVII, the Bishop of Rome delves into analogies to explain the hierarchy of the Church. Pope Clement is writing to many of the same Corinthians to whom St. Paul wrote. Notice that His Holiness draws upon St. Paul’s own analogy of the Body of Christ and how this fits his constant theme of apostolic authority and exemplars.4

The Church Is Hierarchal

“Let us then, men and brethren, with all energy act the part of soldiers, in accordance with His holy commandments. Let us consider those who serve under our generals, with what order, obedience, and submissiveness they perform the things which are commanded them. All are not prefects, nor commanders of a thousand, nor of a hundred, nor of fifty, nor the like, but each one in his own rank performs the things commanded by the king and the generals. The great cannot subsist without the small, nor the small without the great. There is a kind of mixture in all things, and thence arises mutual advantage. Let us take our body for an example. The head is nothing without the feet, and the feet are nothing without the head; yea, the very smallest members of our body are necessary and useful to the whole body. But all work harmoniously together, and are under one common rule for the preservation of the whole body.”

 

5. The Divine Order of the Church

Chapter XL begins a turn in the epistle. His Holiness argues that the Lord has given the Church an order and a proper way to do things. Worship of God and the roles therein are not done “thoughtlessly or irregular.” Moreover, the order of the Church is given by God, not man. The Church and the worship of God are not matters of opinion or individuality, but of obedience and uniformity.

No Man Has the Authority to Order the Church

“These things therefore being manifest to us, and since we look into the depths of the divine knowledge, it behooves us to do all things in [their proper] order, which the Lord has commanded us to perform at stated times. He has enjoined offerings [to be presented] and service to be performed [to Him], and that not thoughtlessly or irregularly, but at the appointed times and hours. Where and by whom He desires these things to be done, He Himself has fixed by His own supreme will, in order that all things, being piously done according to His good pleasure, may be acceptable unto Him. Those, therefore, who present their offerings at the appointed times, are accepted and blessed; for inasmuch as they follow the laws of the Lord, they sin not. For his own peculiar services are assigned to the high priest, and their own proper place is prescribed to the priests, and their own special ministrations devolve on the Levites. The layman is bound by the laws that pertain to laymen.”

 

6. A Ministry Is Given

Chapter XLI continues discussing the preservation of Church Order. Here Pope Clement I turns to the Jewish religion and their rituals and even their punishments if Jews deviated from their proper manner or role. He then pivots in this point and says, “that the greater the knowledge that has been vouchsafed to us, the greater also is the danger to which we are exposed.” Also, notice that a man’s role in the Church – his ministry – is given to him. A strong assumption within Early Church texts is the notion that the order of the Church was given by God to man; thus, no man has the authority or capability to start his own “church.”

Danger Outside God’s Ecclesial Order

“Let every one of you, brethren, give thanks to God in his own order, living in all good conscience, with becoming gravity, and not going beyond the rule of the ministry prescribed to him. Not in every place, brethren, are the daily sacrifices offered, or the peace-offerings, or the sin-offerings and the trespass-offerings, but in Jerusalem only. And even there they are not offered in any place, but only at the altar before the temple, that which is offered being first carefully examined by the high priest and the ministers already mentioned. Those, therefore, who do anything beyond that which is agreeable to His will, are punished with death. You see, brethren, that the greater the knowledge that has been vouchsafed to us, the greater also is the danger to which we are exposed.”

 

7. The Apostle’s Appointed Bishops

Chapter XLII outlines a clear theology of succession from Christ to the Apostles to the Bishops of the Church. As an early Christian, how do you know if you belonged to the true Church? Well, does your community have a bishop? Did your bishop come from the Apostles who came from Christ our Lord who came from God the Father? It should be stressed this epistle is dated AD 97.

From God to the Apostles to Us

“The apostles have preached the gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus says the Scripture in a certain place, I will appoint their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith.”

 

8. Undeniable Apostolic Succession

In Chapter XLIV, St. Clement shuts the book on any doubt that the apostles chose and declared men to lead as bishops after their death. It is apostolic succession in a clear and practical manner articulated in AD 97.

Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore… they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry.

One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church

“Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ, in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that you have removed some men of excellent behaviour from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honour.”

 

9. Rome Has Spoken

Chapter LIX reveals that Pope St. Clement I is not afraid to teach apostolic succession nor to utilize its authority as well. It is reminiscent of how St. Paul scolded the Churches he founded by an authority he traced to Christ and Sts. Peter and James.

Apostolic Authority

“If, however, any shall disobey the words spoken by Him through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and serious danger; but we shall be innocent of this sin, and, instant in prayer and supplication, shall desire that the Creator of all preserve unbroken the computed number of His elect in the whole world through His beloved Son Jesus Christ, through whom He called us from darkness to light.”

Notice His Holiness presupposes that the Corinthians must listen to him and if they do not they risk the penalty of transgression and serious danger. Corinth is a community founded by St. Paul who probably has a bishop in place, but notice that Clement as Bishop of Rome speaks with authority that comes with spiritual ramifications. Why is the Bishop of Rome sending a letter to the Church of Corinth if Rome has no spiritual authority over Corinth?

  1. What books made the Bible? – There is a misconception that the books that were included in the Bible were simply all of the early Christian texts. The actual canon for Holy Scripture was formed by a need for the Church to show what was and what was not actually taught by the apostles; thus, the Church included all the works of the apostles and their closest companions. Many other good Catholic epistles existed, as I Clement, but they were not what was needed to defend the teaching of the apostles against the gnostics. []
  2. List of Popes []
  3. Old Testament Scripture: Ezekiel 33:11, Ezekiel 18:30, Isaiah 1:18 []
  4. Nature, Grace and Hierarch: Those familiar with Aquinas will know that man is by nature a political and social animal. Men are political animals that are naturally inclined to organize into communities, and as such hierarchy is also natural to man. If hierarchy is natural to man then ever more so would it be in the Church since grace perfects nature. []

Those Who Start Their Own Church Follow the Voice of Satan: 11 Teachings from St. Cyprian AD 250

“He [Satan] has invented heresies and schisms, whereby he might subvert the faith, might corrupt the truth, might divide the unity.”

Listers, our Lord Jesus Christ is not returning to our world for a harem of “churches.” There is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and it was founded by Christ and charged by him to St. Peter and the Apostles. However, there are now and always have been those groups that attempt to rend Christ from his Church – to recreate that which God gave us, the Church. In AD 250, St. Cyprian wrote an outstanding work entitled On the Unity of the Church. The epistle focuses especially on the topic of schism and those who would set themselves up as Church leaders and/or start their own “churches.” Without question, these groups are proto-protestant groups and the saint’s arguments apply just as much to our modern schismatic and heretical groups as they did to his ancient schismatic groups.1

Dear Protestant Readers
I ask you to consider the following a call to dialogue. St. Cyprian’s text is not a Catholic apologetic tract or a work from the Counter-Reformation, but an epistle from the Early Church. Growing up protestant there are simply certain questions that are never asked concerning the Christian faith, because those questions are outside the deeply rooted assumptions that support protestantism. Amongst those questions are ones concerning Christ and his Church. Protestants wonder how does one discern whether they are called to start a church? but rarely ask by what biblical authority does one start a church? Again, a distinction can be seen in asking what kind of church should we start? and the Catholic question of what type of Church did Christ intend to start? Asking biblical questions regarding Christ and his intention for his Spouse, the Church is the beginning of wisdom in discerning how God intended his charity and his salvation to be communicated to the world.

West, Expulsion of Adam & Eve from Paradise 1791

1. The New Voice of Satan

Pulling from Chapter III of St. Cyprian’s text, the saint teaches that those who call themselves “Christians” but leave the Catholic Church for a Christian sect are following the voice of Satan. Paganism was crumbling under the growth of the Church; thus, Satan started a “new way” to deceive.

The New Way of Satan
“He [Satan] has invented heresies and schisms, whereby he might subvert the faith, might corrupt the truth, might divide the unity. Those whom he cannot keep in the darkness of the old way2, he circumvents and deceives by the error of a new way3. He snatches men from the Church itself; and while they seem to themselves to have already approached to the light, and to have escaped the night of the world, he pours over them again, in their unconsciousness, new darkness.”

Still Call Themselves Christian
“So that, although they do not stand firm with the Gospel of Christ, and with the observation and law of Christ, they still call themselves Christians, and, walking in darkness, they think that they have the light, while the adversary is flattering and deceiving, who, according to the apostle’s word, transforms himself into an angel of light, and equips his ministers as if they were the ministers of righteousness, who maintain night instead of day, death for salvation, despair under the offer of hope, perfidy under the pretext of faith, antichrist under the name of Christ; so that, while they feign things like the truth, they make void the truth by their subtlety. This happens, beloved brethren, so long as we do not return to the source of truth, as we do not seek the head nor keep the teaching of the heavenly Master.”

This “new way” of Satan is the modus operandi that extends back to the garden. Satan does not tempt Adam and Eve with rebellion, but with being “like God.” Satan’s “new way” is to sell an incomplete and heretical faith to those seeking God.

St. Peter is the first Vicar of Christ and was given the keys of the Kingdom by Christ.

2. Founded upon the Apostles

In Chapter IV the saint moves to speaking of the “easy proof for faith in a short summary of the truth.” He rests this proof upon Christ’s charge to St. Peter and the Apostles. Here a watershed issue enters between Catholic and Protestant thought. For protestantism to consider itself legitimate – not a schismatic heresy – it must interpret all these apostolic charges as general proclamations from to Christ to any believer at any time; therefore, any person who so deems could start a new “church” just as the Apostles founded the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

It should be sufficient to point out that Christianity believed in no such thing until the Protestant Reformation of the 1500s; thus, the concept is and was little more than rewriting biblical doctrine to serve and legitimate rebellious actions. Along with the biblical evidence and historical confirmation of Christ founding a structured apostolic Church, the protestant view hinges upon the idea that perfect faith and love can exist in disunity and dissent. Again, trying to navigate the incompatibility of love and faith with disunity, protestantism has – through centuries of in-fighting, splintering groups and cultural conformity – both boiled down the Christian faith to a fraction of apostolic and biblical existence and adopted the quasi-platonic stance that although all physical “ecclesiastical groups”4 exist in both hierarchical and doctrinal chaos they are unified by “Christ” in a mystical manner. In this scenario, Christ stops being a historical and divine person and become a malleable concept and/or term.

Upon This Rock
“There is easy proof for faith in a short summary of the truth. The Lord speaks to Peter, saying, “I say unto thee, that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” And again to the same He says, after His resurrection, “Feed my sheep.”

Apostolic Authority
“And although to all the apostles, after His resurrection, He gives an equal power, and says, “As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you: Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they shall be remitted unto him; and whose soever sins ye retain, they shall be retained;” yet, that He might set forth unity, He arranged by His authority the origin of that unity, as beginning from one. Assuredly the rest of the apostles were also the same as was Peter, endowed with a like partnership both of honour and power; but the beginning proceeds from unity.”

For St. Cyprian, the presence of St. Peter among the twelve provides a mark of ecclesial unity that safeguards the entire unity of the Church – where there is Peter, there is the Church. What schismatic groups fail to comprehend is that Christ founded a living breath physical Church. A study of Christ of the Son of David, the Old Testament motif of awaiting the New Davidic Kingdom, the Vicar role in the Kingdom of David and the Vicar of Christ as seen in St. Peter and other biblical realities help form the very core of understanding the Holy Catholic Church as the fulfillment of the Old Testament and the will of Christ Jesus.

Christ Founded the Church Upon St. Peter
10 Biblical Reasons Christ Founded the Papacy
13 Biblical Reasons St. Peter Was the “Prince of the Apostles”

 

St Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr, pray for us.

3. Bishops Protect the Church

Chapter V grants the reader both a practical and an analogous insight. The saint exhorts bishops of the Church to hold together the unity of the Church, and while this may not seem profound, it is a thwart to those who would try and state that the hierarchy of bishops did not exist in this time. The second insight is a well written analogy of the Sun and the Church.

Bishops
“And this unity we ought firmly to hold and assert, especially those of us that are bishops who preside in the Church, that we may also prove the episcopate itself to be one and undivided. Let no one deceive the brotherhood by a falsehood: let no one corrupt the truth of the faith by perfidious prevarication. The episcopate is one, each part of which is held by each one for the whole.”

The Analogy of the Sun
“The Church also is one, which is spread abroad far and wide into a multitude by an increase of fruitfulness. As there are many rays of the sun, but one light; and many branches of a tree, but one strength based in its tenacious root; and since from one spring flow many streams, although the multiplicity seems diffused in the liberality of an overflowing abundance, yet the unity is still preserved in the source. Separate a ray of the sun from its body of light, its unity does not allow a division of light; break a branch from a tree,—when broken, it will not be able to bud; cut off the stream from its fountain, and that which is cut off dries up. Thus also the Church, shone over with the light of the Lord, sheds forth her rays over the whole world, yet it is one light which is everywhere diffused, nor is the unity of the body separated. Her fruitful abundance spreads her branches over the whole world. She broadly expands her rivers, liberally flowing, yet her head is one, her source one; and she is one mother, plentiful in the results of fruitfulness: from her womb we are born, by her milk we are nourished, by her spirit we are animated.”

 

There can be only one Church as we have only one God.

4. Church as Mother

In Chapter VI, the saint discusses the Church herself and delivers one of his most famous lines:

“He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother.”

Can the Spouse of Christ Be Adulterous?
“The spouse of Christ cannot be adulterous; she is uncorrupted and pure. She knows one home; she guards with chaste modesty the sanctity of one couch. She keeps us for God. She appoints the sons whom she has born for the kingdom. Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is a stranger; he is profane; he is an enemy. He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother.”

The Holy Catholic Church cannot be reduced to a simple hierarchy that can historically trace its lineage to Christ, but it is centered and held together by a sacramental unity and the Holy Spirit. The Sacraments and the Holy Spirit further the truth that charity and faith cannot exist in disunity.

 

Michelangelo's "Moses," who yes, does have horns.

5. The People of God Always Had Unity

Chapter VII gives us the example of the undivided Church and Christ’s undivided garment. Chapter VIII can be characterized by a movement into Eucharistic Unity. The saint utilizes biblical examples from the New and Old Testament to demonstrate that God has always held his people to unity.

No Eucharist Outside the Church
“Also, the sacrament of the passover contains nothing else in the law of the Exodus than that the lamb which is slain in the figure of Christ should be eaten in one house. God speaks, saying, “In one house shall ye eat it; ye shall not send its flesh abroad from the house.”

St. Cyprian pulls from St. John, St. Paul, Exodus and Joshua to show that never before in the history of the People of God as there ever been a time where God did not hold the people to both a spiritual and physical unity. From Moses to St. Peter, the People of God have never been allowed to separate doctrinal unity from structural unity.

 

The Schismatics of Dante's Inferno by Gustave

6. Schism Creeps Like Cancer

Chapter X pulls no punches. After laying a foundation for understanding the true hierarchical and sacramental unity of the Church, the saint speaks candidly about those who decide – for any reason, even the infamous “God told me…” – to appoint themselves a pastor and/or start their own church.

Those Who Start Their Own Church Vomit Poison
“These are they who of their own accord, without any divine arrangement, set themselves to preside among the daring strangers assembled, who appoint themselves prelates without any law of ordination, who assume to themselves the name of bishop, although no one gives them the episcopate; whom the Holy Spirit points out in the Psalms as sitting in the seat of pestilence, plagues, and spots of the faith, deceiving with serpent’s tongue, and artful in corrupting the truth, vomiting forth deadly poisons from pestilential tongues; whose speech doth creep like a cancer, whose discourse forms a deadly poison in the heart and breast of every one.”

 

The Catholic Church is founded upon the person of Christ, the true Word of God.

7. The Person of Christ

Chapter XII address a mainstay argument of both ancient and modern schismatic groups: Isn’t the Church where two or three are gathered together in the name of Christ?

Gathered to One Christ
“For wheresoever two or three are gathered together in my name, I am with them;” showing that most is given, not to the multitude, but to the unanimity of those that pray. “If,” He says, “two of you shall agree on earth:” He placed agreement first; He has made the concord of peace a prerequisite; He taught that we should agree firmly and faithfully. But how can he agree with any one who does not agree with the body of the Church itself, and with the universal brotherhood? How can two or three be assembled together in Christ’s name, who, it is evident, are separated from Christ and from His Gospel? For we have not withdrawn from them, but they from us; and since heresies and schisms have risen subsequently, from their establishment for themselves of diverse places of worship, they have forsaken the Head and Source of the truth.”

Heretical and schismatic groups – which include protestantism – cannot be gathered together to the true Christ, because their doctrines, beliefs and actions all point to a pantheon of “Christs.” To wit, protestantism is gathered around the term “Jesus Christ,” not the person.5 The same theme can be seen in Chapter XII:

Priests and Sacrifice6
“What sacrifices do those who are rivals of the priests think that they celebrate? Do they deem that they have Christ with them when they are collected together, who are gathered together outside the Church of Christ?”

 

A section of the "Martyrdom of St. Peter" by Leonello Spada (1576–1622)

8. Non-Catholics Are Not Martyrs

Chapter XIV addresses a topic that our “modern sensibilities” find unsettling. The question at hand is whether or not schismatic or heretical individuals who die in the name of Christ are martyrs. Since we’ve seen that Christ is not amongst them because they gather around a term not a person, the answer of martyrdom will inevitably be no. The saint explains:

Blood Does Not Wash the Stain of Schism
“Even if such men were slain in confession of the Name, that stain is not even washed away by blood: the inexpiable and grave fault of discord is not even purged by suffering. He cannot be a martyr who is not in the Church; he cannot attain unto the kingdom who forsakes that which shall reign there.”

They Can Be Killed, Not Crowned
“They cannot dwell with God who would not be of one mind in God’s Church. Although they burn, given up to flames and fires, or lay down their lives, thrown to the wild beasts, that will not be the crown of faith, but the punishment of perfidy; nor will it be the glorious ending of religious valour, but the destruction of despair. Such a one may be slain; crowned he cannot be. He professes himself to be a Christian in such a way as the devil often feigns himself to be Christ, as the Lord Himself forewarns us, and says, “Many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many.” As he is not Christ, although he deceives in respect of the name; so neither can he appear as a Christian who does not abide in the truth of His Gospel and of faith.”

 

"Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding." - Martin Luther

9. Rebels Against Christ’s Sacrifice

Chapter XVII makes clear that there is no unity in Christ without unity with the Church. Again, notice that he speaks of priests in this paragraph and spoke of bishops, apostles and St. Peter previously. Any notion that the Catholic Church was a medieval invention or developed later in history is simply historically false.

Enemies of the Altar
“Does he think that he has Christ, who acts in opposition to Christ’s priests, who separates himself from the company of His clergy and people? He bears arms against the Church, he contends against God’s appointment. An enemy of the altar, a rebel against Christ’s sacrifice, for the faith faithless, for religion profane, a disobedient servant, an impious son, a hostile brother, despising the bishops, and forsaking God’s priests, he dares to set up another altar, to make another prayer with unauthorized words, to profane the truth of the Lord’s offering by false sacrifices, and not to know that he who strives against the appointment of God, is punished on account of the daring of his temerity by divine visitation.”

 

The Pope is the "Advocate of Christian Memory."

10. The Spouse of Christ Cannot be Torn

Chapter XXIII returns to the reality of the Church as Body of Christ, the Spouse of Christ and the Mother of All Who Live in Christ; therefore, how could this Sacred Body be torn apart via schism and heresy?

The Church is One
“God is one, and Christ is one, and His Church is one, and the faith is one, and the people is joined into a substantial unity of body by the cement of concord. Unity cannot be severed; nor can one body be separated by a division of its structure, nor torn into pieces, with its entrails wrenched asunder by laceration. Whatever has proceeded from the womb cannot live and breathe in its detached condition, but loses the substance of health.”

 

"The Last Judgment" - Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564)

11. Christ Comes Back for the Church

Chapter XXVII concludes the saints work On the Unity of the Church by asking: How will Christ know who to come back for? St. Cyprian’s answer is that He will come for his Bride, the Church.

Let Our Faith Be on Watch
“Let our light shine in good works, and glow in such wise as to lead us from the night of this world to the daylight of eternal brightness. Let us always with solicitude and caution wait for the sudden coming of the Lord, that when He shall knock, our faith may be on the watch, and receive from the Lord the reward of our vigilance. If these commands be observed, if these warnings and precepts be kept, we cannot be overtaken in slumber by the deceit of the devil; but we shall reign with Christ in His kingdom as servants that watch.”

  1. Novatian: Another impetus of the epistle was the first “anti-pope” who attempted to claim he was holier than the rest of the Church and claimed moral superiority, especially in not wanting to ever extend forgiveness to sins post-baptism. []
  2. Paganism []
  3. Christian Heresy and Schism []
  4. Are Protestant groups churches? As taught by tradition and Vatican II, protestant groups are not referred to as “churches” but “ecclesial communities.” []
  5. When Cyprian Was Wrong: Chapter XI – St. Cyprian’s faltered on the issue of whether or not people should be “re-baptized,” e.g., if a heretic baptized someone in the name of the Trinity, he advocated re-baptism. This was later seen as wrong – but was a legitimate point in the argument since doctrine had not been clarified yet – and the Pope issued that all Trinitarian baptisms are valid, but if done is schismatic groups, etc. then they must later reclaim their baptism via penance. []
  6. Reformation & Priests: The term Priest denotes Sacrifice. It is for this reason Catholic clergy are foremost referred to as priests above other titles, e.g., pastor, reverend, etc. However, since the schismatics and heretics of the Reformation denied the true presence of the Eucharist and as such stopped calling their clergy priests. []

6 Biblical Reasons Mary Is the “New Eve”

“The knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary.” – Bishop Irenaeus. Lyon, France. 2nd Century

Listers, Mother Mary is the New Eve. Through St. Paul, Holy Scripture tells us that Christ is the New Adam, and where all died in Adam, all may be made alive in Christ. The comparison between Adam and Christ revealed a parallel in salvation history between the story of humanity’s first parents and the story of humanity’s salvation. Within this parallel, the Virgin Mary plays a role that rightfully entitles her the New Eve.

4 Teachings: The Immaculate Conception
Rejoice Ye Angels: 19 More Rosary Quotes
All SPL Lists on Mother Mary

An SPL Introduction: The Necessity of a New Adam & New Eve

The New Adam and the New Eve are not poetic titles given to express a certain biblical view. They are necessary roles in salvation history that speak to the recreation of mankind and offering of salvation to all men.

Why did the sin of the First Parents affect humanity?
Many often ask why the seemingly simple sin of eating of a tree has condemned humanity to suffering in a fallen world. The truth is that humanity is one body, and Adam is the head of that body – and as the head goes, the body must follow. In being one body, all humans share the same human nature, and that human nature has been suffering a privation ushered in by the First Parents. Sin is nothing more than a privation of the good: it is a corruption, a lacking, a malformation of God’s good creation – and since the First Parents’ betrayal, humanity has had to deal with this privation in all human nature, this Original Sin.

What is recapitulation?
Here we arrive at St. Anselm’s Dilema: humanity is responsible to repay and satisfy the debt of sin, however, only God, as the Creator, has the power to pay the debt. In this light, the Incarnation of God as fully man and fully God was the perfect answer: Christ as a man was a valid sacrifice for the sin debt owed, and Christ as God granted him the perfection, power, and authority to do so. Still, the Incarnation of God did not immediately solve everything. What humanity needed was a “new head” or a recapitulation. Humanity needed to be brought out from under the original sin of Adam and placed under a new head with a new body. Here we see the “body of Christ” and Christ as the “New Adam.” Christ’s death offers forgiveness to humanity, satisfies the debt owed, allows humanity to become “new creatures,” baptism removes the stain/guilt of Original Sin, and the Church becomes the Body of Christ.

A simple comparison of Adam and Christ is incomplete. What is needed is a holistic comparison between the original creation and the recreation: Adam to Christ, Eve to Mary, Fall to Salvation, and Tree to Cross. The following list explores the role of Eve in the Fall to the role of Mother Mary – the New Eve – in the Salvation of the World.

The Creation of Eve – Michelangelo, The Sistine Chapel

1. An Intimate Relationship

Eve From Adam
New Adam from New Eve

In the story of Creation, Eve is pulled from the flesh of Adam.1

“So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the LORD God had taken from man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.”

In the story of the Recreation, the New Adam comes from the New Eve.2

“And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”

Why is the order reversed? 
The most logical answer is that it follows the natural progenitorial method of human reproduction. However, it is also noted that in the Jewish tradition women were often mistrusted due to the belief that Eve had sinned first and had tempted Adam to sin as well. Allowing Mary to come first and be the virgin vessel of God’s Incarnation removes that traditional mistrust. The Early Church thinker Tertullian (c. 160) comments on how Eve – a female – sinned and brought about the Fall; thus, there is a certain justice in God’s providence allowing someone of the same sex – Mary – usher in the salvation of humanity. In his own words:

Into a virgin’s soul, in like manner, must be introduced that Word of God which was to raise the fabric of life; so that what had been reduced to ruin by this sex might be the selfsame sex be recovered to salvation.

Moreover, Mother Mary did not simply undo the sin of Eve. In a full understanding of her biblical roles in salvation history – the New Eve, the New Ark of the Covenant, and the Queen of the Eternal Davidic Kingdom – Mary is seen as the highest created being. She was the pure and perfect vessel for Christ’s Incarnation, i.e., the Theotokos, the Mother of God. No other created human being will ever have such an elevated role.3

Why the difference in relations?
Another notable difference beside the progenitorial order is the difference in relation between Adam and Eve and Christ and Mary. A quick answer would be that Adam and Eve’s romantic/sexual relationship had nothing to do with the Fall. Most all Early Church commentators hold that sexual relations occurred after the Fall, and the biblical tradition – at least as far as bearing children – supports this claim; thus, the need for a recapitulation focuses the roles played in the overall context of the Fall and Recreation.

“The Annunciation” by Henry Ossawa Tanner, an early African American Artist, 1898

2. Recipients of Supernatural Messengers

A Virgin Listens to the Serpent
A Virgin Listen to the Angel

Leading up to the Fall of Mankind, Eve listens to the sordid words of the serpent.4

“But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.”

Paving the way for the Recreation and Salvation of Mankind, the New Eve is visited by the Angel Gabriel.5

“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greetings this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.”

Mary Untied the Knot of Eve’s Disobedience:
The Early Church Father and Bishop of Lyon, France, Irenaeus (d. 202) wrote the following famous phrase:

The knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. The knot of which the virgin Eve tied by her unbelief, the Virgin Mary opened by her belief.

The Virgin Mary is the Advocate of the Virgin Eve:
It was Bishop Irenaeus who more fully developed St. Paul’s concept of recapitulation. He goes on to say:

If the former [Eve] disobeyed God, the latter [Mary] was persuaded to obey God, so that the Virgin Mary became the advocate of the virgin Eve. And thus, as the human race fell into bondage to death by means of a virgin, so it is rescued by a virgin.

An Edifice of Death, An Edifice of Believing:
Further exploring the Early Church, the western thinker of North Africa, Tertullian (c. 160)  states:

For it was while Eve was yet a virgin that the ensnaring word had crept into her ear which was to build the edifice of death. Into a virgin’s soul, in like manner, must be introduced that Word of God which was to raise the fabric of life; so that what had been reduced to ruin by this sex might be the selfsame sex be recovered to salvation. As Eve believed the serpent, so Mary believed the angel. The delinquency which the one occasioned by believing, the other effaced by believing.

“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” – Gabriel, the Archangel

3. Bearers of Universal Change

Eve Gives Birth to Sin & Death
New Eve Gives Birth to Grace & Salvation

Eve listens the words of the serpent and sins against God: sin and death enter the world. It should be noted here that Eve’s sin did not immediately cause the Fall, but rather she was able to find Adam – who had presumably not been standing there the entire time – and offer him the fruit as well.

Mother Mary, the New Eve, literally gives birth to the Incarnate God, Jesus Christ, who is the grace and salvation of humanity. Again, the point of interest here is that Christ’s Incarnation did not immediately resolve the problem of a fallen humanity. Humanity was under the sinful head of Adam, and a recapitulation was needed to usher in grace and the New Creation.

The Words of a Serpent & of an Angel:
In AD 135, the Early Church Father Justin Martyr said the following in a diloague with a rabbi in Ephesus.6

For Eve, who was a virgin and undefiled, having conceived the world of the serpent, brought forth disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy when the angel Gabriel announced the good tidings to her that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her, and the power of the Highest would overshadow her: wherefore also the Holy Thing begotten of her is the Son of God.

Expulsion from the Garden. Milton’s Paradise Lost

4. Together They Change Creation

Eve & Adam Together Cause the Fall
New Eve and New Adam Together Cause Salvation

Creation does not fall until both Adam and Eve have taken of the fruit. Here, under the shadow of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Creation falls.7

“Then the eyes of both were opened, and they know that they were naked.”

The Recreation of the world, the recapitulation of mankind, also did not happen immediately, but rather happened when the New Eve, the New Adam, and the Tree – the Cross – were together. Though all the disciples eventually abandoned Christ, the New Eve did not. She remained at his side as he offered forgiveness and satisfaction for humanity. Christ, being the New Adam, became the head of a new humanity of a redeemed and recreated world.

Was Mary necessary? 
Still, Mary’s partnership in salvation goes beyond simply remaining by Christ’s side. As shown by Anselm’s dilema, the Savior of Mankind needed to be fully human and fully divine. Christ being born of a woman was a necessary step in his Incarnation and validity in being the Savior; thus, Mary, as the New Eve, as the Theotokos, the Mother of God, the Mater Dei, was the necessary perfect and pure vessel of Christ’s Incarnation. Just as the Ark of the Covenant was where God came down in the Old Testament to speak to his people, so too was Mother Mary the Ark of the New Convenant where God came down to his people.

The Pieta in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome

5. Universal Maternity

Eve Becomes the “Mother of All the Living”
New Eve Becomes the “Mother of All Who Live in Christ”

Before the Fall, Adam simply referred to Eve as Woman. However, after the Fall, Adam names his wife Eve, because she is the “mother of all living.”8

It follows that if Mary is the New Eve, then she would be the “Mother of All Who Live in Christ,” or the “Mother of All Who Truly Live.” There are however several biblical traits to support this logical assumption. The first is that like Adam, Christ does not refer to Mary as “Mary” or even “Mother,” but refers to her as “Woman.”9 The most important circumstance in which this title “Woman” was used was when Christ was on the Cross.

When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold you son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

It is extremely important to observe that when Christ refers to his relationship with Mary he says “Woman,” which invokes Adam’s pre-Fall title for Eve, but when he refers to the disciple’s relationship with Mary he uses the title “Mother.” Tradition tells us that St. John took Mother Mary into his home in Ephesus and cared for her until the Assumption. Christ called the disciples “brothers,” he told them that God was their “Father,” and he gave Mary to them as their “Mother.” Though popular, it is absurd to believe that Christ gave us a Father, gave himself as the Son or our Brother, and completely left out any maternal figure.10

Mary is often depicted with the Serpent under her right foot.

6. Enmity

Enmity Between Eve & the Serpent
Enmity between the New Eve and Satan

After the Fall, the first messianic promise is given to humanity:11

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

The latter part of the verse is certainly referring to the penultimate bruising of Christ upon the cross, and then the ultimate bruising of Satan and his roaming spirits by the Harrowing of Hell and the Resurrection. As the New Eve, Mary gains enmity between her and the serpent even more so than Eve, because she is the very vessel by which the victorious “seed” becomes Incarnate. While the enmity between Mary and Satan is certainly not an outrageous claim, it should be noted that Scripture is much clearer about the enmity between her “seed” and Satan. However in St. John’s book of Revelation12, a certain pericope grasps speaks to this special:

The Woman Bears a Son:

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery. And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought it forth; she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which to be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

Traditionally the “ark of the covenant” and the “woman” are considered the same portent. During Christ’s time on the earth, the Ark of the Covenant was not in the Temple; in fact, it had been missing for a few hundred years. As aforementioned, Mary was seen as the New Ark of the Covenant, because like the old ark, she was the vessel wherein heaven and earth met. The “woman” is obviously Mary, as she gives birth to the “male child” that is hostile to the “red dragon,” and that child “is to rule all nations with a rod of iron” – which is a allusion to King David who ruled with a “rod of iron.” At the end of this passage, the woman, Mary, is safeguarded from the dragon by God.13

Enmity Between the Woman and the Dragon:
The next passage describes a war in heaven between the Archangel Michael and the Dragon.14 The passage invokes the notion of Satan being thrown from heaven. However, it is the following passage that returns to the aforesaid woman:

And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had borne the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with the flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river which the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

After failing to conquer her son, the dragon then turns to the woman, Mary. The specifics of the hostility between Mary and Satan have always been a point of intrigue for biblical scholars, but it is clear the woman is protected by God. Foiled by God’s protection of Mary, the dragon then turns to her “offspring,” i.e., Christians.

Mother to All Christians: Why Mary Is Important to All Believers in Christ

Every single unique grace and role given to Mother Mary is anchored in Jesus Christ. All her honor and due veneration rests on understanding Jesus Christ as the Savior of Mankind. Due to this connection, the Marian doctrines of the Church help articulate the truths of Christ, e.g., the Theotokos or Mater Dei shows Christ to be God and Man, the New Eve shows Christ to be the New Adam, the New Ark of the Covenant proclaims Christ’s divinity, the Queen of Heaven title calls to mind Christ as the Son of David and his eternal Davidic throne, and much more. As the scholar and popular author Scott Hahn has intimates, Mary, like all good mothers, continually points to her Son.

  1. Gen 2:21, 22 []
  2. Luke 2:6, 7 []
  3. Christ not the “highest created being”? – Christ’s human nature was created, but Christ the person, the second person of the Trinity, certainly existed before the creation of his human nature; thus, his mother, Mary, the Mater Dei, is considered the highest created being. []
  4. Gen 3:4-6a []
  5. Luke 1:28-31 []
  6. Dialogue with Trypho; For further reading on this document, Hail Holy Queen by Scott Hahn, 40. []
  7. Gen 3:7a []
  8. Gen 3:20 []
  9. Mary as Woman: cf. the Wedding at Cana & Christ on the Cross, St. John 2:1, 19:26, 27 []
  10. Protestant Error on “Woman” – The fact that Christ calls his own mother “woman” is not common. In fact, it can be considered rude. However, it is beyond comprehension that Christ would dishonor his own mother while telling others to honor theirs. Protestant scholarship has attempt to use the title “woman” as a way of Christ belittling his own mother and thus belittling her role. Again, to assert Christ would diminish his own mother’s role in salvation history by criticizing her is absurd. In the greater context, the term “woman” is referring to her role as the “New Eve” in salvation history. []
  11. Gen 3:15 []
  12. Rev 11:19; 12 []
  13. The Woman as Israel: Interpreting the “woman” as a generic Israel is not necessarily wrong, but it is a more ambiguous interpretation that does not itself exclude a more specific reading of the woman as Mary; especially considering the dragon then goes after “her children” which are not the Jews, but the followers of her child, Christ. []
  14. The War of the Child and the Dragon: Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world — he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” []