Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Refutation of Robert Sungenis' Charge That Blessed Pope John Paul II Denied the Reality of Hell and/or Taught Universalism

Psalm 50:20 (RSV) You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother's son.

Wisdom 1:11 Beware then of useless murmuring, and keep your tongue from slander; because no secret word is without result, and a lying mouth destroys the soul.

Sirach 5:14 Do not be called a slanderer, and do not lie in ambush with your tongue; for shame comes to the thief, and severe condemnation to the double-tongued.

Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, 

Colossians 3:8 But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. 

1 Peter 2:1 So put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander

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From recent disgraceful radical Catholic reactionary polemical rantings of barely-an-apologist-anymore Robert Sungenis:

. . . ambiguous statements in certain encyclicals that seem to lean toward universal salvation . . .

(from: Santo Non Ancora! Saint John Paul II: published in the notorious RadCathR rag, The Remnant on 5 February 2011)

. . . the universal salvation that John Paul II so often promoted in his addresses and encyclicals.

. . . making ambiguous statements that could be interpreted such that all men will be saved or that humans may not be involved with hell . . . In fact, he suggested that hell may not even exist. That was “the faith” of John Paul II.

Blessed Pope John Paul II

A second characteristic of St Leonard Murialdo was pedagogical concern. He was unquestionably a great educator, like Don Bosco, and dedicated his whole life to the education of children and young people, convinced of the value of the preventive method and of Christocentric guidance.

Let us meditate together on what he wrote to confreres gathered in the Spiritual Exercises of 1898: "May love of God bring forth zeal for the salvation of the young: "ne perdantur", St John Chrysostom says, "so that they may not be lost", not be damned, and therefore ... real zeal to save them, to instruct them well in religion, to instil in them love of God, of Jesus Christ, and of Mary, and zeal to save themselves. But all this will not be obtained unless one has humility of heart". 

It is an exhortation which the Pope wishes to echo this morning. let this be your spur: educate to save! From the "pedagogy of eternal salvation" there springs logically the "pedagogy of love". Commit your lives completely to edifying, to forming children and young people, behaving in such a way that your life will be a continual example of virtue for them: it is necessary to become a child with children and everything to everyone in order to win all to Christ!

(ADDRESS TO THE CONGREGATION OF ST JOSEPH; 1 December 1978; section 2)

And this we must all remember: that it is not lawful for any of us to deserve the name of "hireling", that is to say, the name of one "to whom the sheep do not belong", one who, "since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him, abandons the sheep and runs away as soon as he sees the wolf coming, and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep; this is because he is only a hired man and has no concern for the sheep" (Jn 10:12-13). The solicitude of every good shepherd is that all people "may have life and have it to the full", (Jn 10:10) so that none of them may be lost, (cf. Jn 17:12) but should have eternal life.

(Letter to All Priests on the Occasion of Holy Thursday, 8 April 1979; section 7)

Nor can the church omit, without serious mutilation of her essential message, a constant catechesis on what the traditional Christian language calls the four last things of man: death, judgment (universal and particular), hell and heaven. In a culture which tends to imprison man in the earthly life at which he is more or less successful, the pastors of the church are asked to provide a catechesis which will reveal and illustrate with the certainties of faith what comes after the present life: beyond the mysterious gates of death, an eternity of joy in communion with God or the punishment of separation from him. Only in this eschatological vision can one realize the exact nature of sin and feel decisively moved to penance and reconciliation.


In her motherly concern, the Blessed Virgin came here to Fátima to ask men and women "to stop offending God, Our Lord, who is already very offended". It is a mother's sorrow that compels her to speak; the destiny of her children is at stake. For this reason she asks the little shepherds:  "Pray, pray much and make sacrifices for sinners; many souls go to hell because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them".  . . .

And when the time came for Francisco to leave, the little girl tells him:  "Give my greetings to Our Lord and to Our Lady and tell them that I am enduring everything they want for the conversion of sinners". Jacinta had been so deeply moved by the vision of hell during the apparition of 13 July that no mortification or penance seemed too great to save sinners.


May this appeal of mine not go unheard! At the start of the twenty-fifth year of my Pontificate, I entrust this Apostolic Letter to the loving hands of the Virgin Mary, prostrating myself in spirit before her image in the splendid Shrine built for her by Blessed Bartolo Longo, the apostle of the Rosary. I willingly make my own the touching words with which he concluded his well-known Supplication to the Queen of the Holy Rosary: “O Blessed Rosary of Mary, sweet chain which unites us to God, bond of love which unites us to the angels, tower of salvation against the assaults of Hell, safe port in our universal shipwreck, we will never abandon you.   

(APOSTOLIC LETTER ROSARIUM VIRGINIS MARIAE; 16 October 2002; section 43 [concluding paragraph] )

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Moreover, as my friend Paul Hoffer noted in this combox (and as I also mentioned on my Facebook page), the reality of hell for the devil and his demons and for damned human beings is expressly taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (produced during Pope John Paul II's pontificate)


1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren. To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell."

1034 Jesus often speaks of "Gehenna" of "the unquenchable fire" reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost. Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire," and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!"

1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire." The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few."

Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth."

1037 God predestines no one to go to hell for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want "any to perish, but all to come to repentance"

Father, accept this offering
from your whole family.
Grant us your peace in this life,
save us from final damnation,
and count us among those you have chosen.

1861 Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.

Blessed Pope John Paul II expressly "ratified" and approved of the Catechism in his Apostolic Letter, Laetamur Magnopere on (15 August 1997). Here are some excerpts:

. . . it faithfully repeats the doctrinal content which I officially presented to the Church and to the world in December 1992. . . . 
The Church now has at her disposal this new, authoritative exposition of the one and perennial apostolic faith, and it will serve as a "valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion" and as a "sure norm for teaching the faith," as well as a "sure and authentic reference text" for preparing local catechisms (cf. Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum, no. 4).

Catechesis will find in this genuine, systematic presentation of the faith and of Catholic doctrine a totally reliable way to present, with renewed fervor, each and every part of the Christian message to the people of our time. This text will provide every catechist with sound help for communicating the one, perennial deposit of faith within the local Church, while seeking, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to link the wondrous unity of the Christian mystery with the varied needs and conditions of those to whom this message is addressed.

[see also his earlier Apostolic Constitution, Fidei Depositum, of 11 October 1992]

* * * * *

Critics of the late pope have produced a list of supposed statements of his that teach (so they say) "universal salvation" (i.e., all men actually being saved and none going to hell). Upon looking over all these, it is clear that they refer to 1) universal atonement (as opposed to the Calvinist limited atonement), and 2) God's desire that all men be saved. Neither thing is the same thing as all men actually being saved in the end (or universalism: the denial of all reprobation and the existence of hell for human beings). The pope was merely using the language that Scripture often uses.

Robert Sungenis -- using the cynical and ultra-uncharitable supposed "logic" that he applies to Blessed Pope John Paul II -- would have to consistently regard as "universalistic" the following Bible passages:

Wisdom 16:12 (RSV) For neither herb nor poultice cured them, but it was thy word, O Lord, which heals all men.

Luke 3:6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
John 3:17 For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
John 4:42 ". . . we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world."
John 6:33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world. (cf. 6:51 and 8:12 / 9:5: "light of the world")
John 12:32 and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.
John 12:47 . . . I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
Romans 5:18 Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men.
2 Corinthians 5:19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
Ephesians 1:9-10 For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ [10] as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
Ephesians 3:9 and to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things;
1 Timothy 2:3-6 . . . God our Savior, [4] who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, [6] who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time.
1 Timothy 4:10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men,
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
1 John 4:14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world.

If we adopt Sungenis' relentless fundamentalistic woodenly literal interpretation, then the Bible is clearly as outrageous as he thinks Blessed Pope John Paul II was. We might as well throw out Holy Scripture along with Pope John Paul II's beatification, and be done with it. Maybe Bob can deliver us a new, better revelation, and play Moses as well as Jeremiah (and Elijah: calling fire down on all the false prophets of "neo-Catholicism").

It's quite clear that Blessed Pope John Paul II intended his statements to be understood in this light of "God desires all to be saved" / universal atonement sufficient but not efficient for the salvation for all, once we examine several of his statements in context, and how he presents them in the context of some of the biblical passages noted above:

"we are obliged to hold that the Holy Spirit offers everyone the possibility of sharing in the Paschal Mystery in a manner known to God." God's plan is "to unite all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth" (Eph 1:10) [Encyclical, Redemptoris Missio]
as St. Paul explains when he writes: "One died for all" (2 Cor 5:14; cf. Rom 5:18). Christ won universal salvation with the gift of his own life. [General Audience of 31 May 1995]
Paul himself expresses and fulfils the Church’s universal mission in a particular way. On the road to Damascus Christ associates him with the divine plan of universal salvation: “The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will ... for you will be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard” (Acts 22:14-16).” [Homily During Mass With His Holiness Aram I as Part Of Week Of Prayer For Christian Unity; Saturday, 25 January 1997]
All are invited to "be reconciled to God" (2 Cor 5:20), to be saved and to work together for universal salvation, because God "wants all to be saved" (1 Tim 2:4).  [Jesus' Earthly Life Is a Model for the Laity; General Audience — November 10, 1993]

Etc., etc.

Therefore, it is yet another case of citing someone out of context and arriving at an incorrect conclusion as to what he actually believed and taught. Shame on Pope Bob-o-Link I and on anyone else who "prooftexts" in this shabby, ultimately dishonest, unscrupulous fashion.

* * * 

Update of 27 May 2011: Sungenis has now responded to this post and also to my earlier related one. His replies are far too absurd to waste any more time on: more of the same: yet more shameless and shameful, despicable, relentless attacks on Blessed Pope John Paul II (the Great) and on the current Holy Father as well . . . Pray for Bob. He is no longer functioning as a Catholic apologist; sad to say.  His most manifest and dominant mentality now hardly differs from that of Martin Luther and Catholic dissidents. He would rather attack Holy Mother Church with lies and falsehoods and distorted polemics, rather than defend her, as Catholic apologists and priests and religious and bishops and various other Catholics do on a daily basis.

Monday, April 25, 2011

St. Peter the Scoundrel vs. St. Paul? No (Catholic) Church in the Book of Acts? A Day in the Life of Apologetic "Discussion" (vs. Anti-Trinitarian Tony Lehr)

Peter and Paul (by El Greco)

The following is an exchange I had on Facebook with one Tony Lehr (who turned out -- I discovered afterwards -- to be an anti-trinitarian heretic). His words will be in blue. Craig Fruth's words will be in green.

* * * * *

People have been teaching for generations that Peter is the rock that the church is built on. The Catholic Church goes further out to pasture by making him the founder of the church and the first Pope. (Even though according to scripture Peter was never in Rome. They just made that up.)  The context is about who Christ is:

Matthew 16
[13] Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" [14] And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." [15] He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" [16] Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." [17] And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
(The truth of Jesus being the Christ and Son of God was not being made public, though some suspected it or had it revealed to them) [18] "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. (The Rock is the revelation of who Christ is. That is the foundation of the Church. Without the revelation of who Christ is, it would be impossible to have any church. This is why Jesus changed Peter’s name. It was because of this revelation that Peter had.) [19] "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven." [20] Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ. (Again it is the context of who Jesus is that is the subject of these scriptures. He is the Rock and this also fits in with all of the typology contained in the Old Testament. ie: The rock that is struck and water flows out, the corner stone onto which the temple is built, etc.)

Beautifully said Craig. . . .did you know another thing about Peter? He had a wife.

As for Peter being the "rock" upon which Christ built His Church (a thing our Lord expressly stated), this is not just Catholic bias. There is a growing consensus of Protestant Scripture scholars that this is the case. I have documented a ton of stuff in this paper:

The Biblical, Primitive Papacy: St. Peter the "Rock": Scholarly Opinion (Mostly Protestant).

Many more also:

Protestant Scholars on Mt 16:16-19 (Nicholas Hardesty)

Peter was slicing off the ear of someone one second, then the next second vehemently, even cursing, and swearing, he never knew the saviour Christ. One minute he was at Jerusalem at the day of pentecost, the next, Paul was in his face in Galatia. Peter was hot and cold. Christ the rock is constant. peter tried to walk on water and sank, Jesus walked on water and calmed the wind and seas. Wonderful Mary, here's what I believe, if earthquakes shook down all the walls of all the man-made denomonations in the world, I would still have the peace and joy in the salvation of my saviour, Christ Jesus.

So what? This proves nothing one way or the other; all it shows is that Peter was a sinner like all of us. It doesn't tell us one whit about his status as a leader of the twelve disciples. Scripture does that all over the place:

50 New Testament Proofs for Petrine Primacy and the Papacy

The "sin argument" is plain stupid. Why, then, did God choose David to be not only king of Israel, but the one He made an eternal covenant with? It wasn't broken even after David committed adultery and murdered. It was still in place. David was a forerunner of the Messiah (Jesus).

God chose murderer and persecutor of Christians Paul to be His leading evangelist in the young Church. Was Paul perfect afterwards?: never wavered; never sinned? Hardly. Let's hear him describe himself:

Romans 7:14-25 (RSV): We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. [15] I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. [16] Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. [17] So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. [18] For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. [19] For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. [20] Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. [21] So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. [22] For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, [23] but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. [24] Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? [25] Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

See, even we lowly Catholics can cite a lot of the Bible, too!!! We're just not super-selective; we actually believe all of what the Bible teaches. See also:

Paul was not above hypocrisy, either. He rightly rebuked Peter, but there was no doctrinal disagreement. Peter was simply being a sinful human being again, worried about the opinions of the Jews. But of course Paul did virtually the exact same thing (if not worse) in at least one instance. He had Timothy circumcised after (quite arguably) worrying what men would think, even after preaching that it was no longer necessarily in the slightest degree:

1 Corinthians 7:18 Was any one at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was any one at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. 

Galatians 6:12-13 It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that would compel you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. [13] For even those who receive circumcision do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may glory in your flesh.
Acts 16:3 Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews that were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

So both Paul and Peter were at times overly concerned with the opinion of the Jews or Judaizers. No big dif there . . .

Peter had a wife . . . ho hum, big wow. Catholic celibacy is not an unchanging dogma, but a disciplinary requirement (based on Paul's recommendations in 1 Corinthians 7), not even in force among Eastern Catholics. So it's absolutely irrelevant whether he had a wife or not. See my paper:

Dialogue on Peter's Marriage, and Why it Doesn't Disprove Catholicism

Dave let me clear things up , LOL!!! I have no use for any denomination!!!!! I am no respecter of denomination!!!! Nazarene, Pentecostal, Baptist, Church of Grace, Church of Christ, First Christian Church, 7th Day Adventist, Jehovah Witnesses, Latter Day Saints. Did I leave any out? I did, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, whew, that's all I can think of now. What is this guys actual belief you might say? Here are my beliefs about denominations..... Cor1:12-13 Now this I say, that everyone of you saith, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ. 13 IS CHRIST DIVIDED??????????1cor 2:2 For I determined not to now anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. I am with Paul on this. Dave I don't like denominations, but I like the heart of the people in the denominations, bless you. . . . Jesus is my Lord and Saviour, as they said in the movie, " I don't need no stinkin badge" aka (denomination)!

Being in a denomination other than the one true Church or pretending not to be, and remaining apart from the historic, apostolic Church, are both roundly condemned in Scripture. You have to be under authority and it has to be legitimate authority, which means apostolic succession through history. The Bible says Christians are to be of one mind, with one set of doctrinal beliefs, period. End of story. It's made clear over and over.
You need the Church that was instituted by Jesus Christ as His authority and guarantor of correct, true doctrine. There is no such thing as a Christian in the Bible who is under no authority of a bishop. You can play all the games with Scripture that you want to play but you'll never change that plain fact. There is a Church and it has authority: infallible authority: such as what it exercised in the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15). Paul even went around proclaiming the decisions of the Council (Acts 16:4). See: Denominationalism and Sectarianism.

Peter had a wife and a mother in-law, how many other "popes" had a wife? . . . Dave if there wasn't a pope, or Roman Catholic Church, just you and the salvation that Christ accomplished for you, would you be saved?

Alright. Obviously you are incapable of rational argument with someone who differs from you. I don't play ring-around-the-rosey. People can read the two sides and see which is the better biblical case. 

is there any other message(teaching) other than God sending his only begotten son to die for us? And us having salvation by what Christ accomplished for us? [goofy grammar and lack of capitals corrected, as throughout]

Oh yes, there are all kinds of teachings in the New Testament. You should read it sometime. I think you would learn a ton of stuff.

Isn't Christ the head of the church?

He is the ultimate head, of course. But he also delegates authority. He told His disciples, "he who hears you hears me."

You state there's a real church with binding authority? Really? Which one?

The one holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church. In the Bible it is simply called "the Church." It's visible and institutional and has apostolic succession (as we saw when Matthias replaced Judas).

The church in acts didn't have a name.

The Church!

Paul said in 2nd Tim 4:16 before he was executed that all men forsook him.

Really? Why, then, does he mention 9 people by name, and also "all the brethren" in 4:19-21? You are a very odd exegete. I would strongly recommend taking Logic 0101 somewhere. It would do you a world of good.

So much for the church in Acts 15.

That's sheer nonsense. The Church doesn't disappear simply because you want it to. There was a thing called the Jerusalem Council. In his first letter to Timothy Paul mentioned "the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth." (3:15). He talked about bishops in 3:1-7 and deacons in 3:8-13. Who is your bishop?

I don't want to be part of a church that forsook Apostle Paul.

It didn't. Only in your head . . . Scripture says about the end of St. Paul's life:

Acts 28:30-31 And he lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, [31] preaching the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ quite openly and unhindered.

Where was that church in acts 15 located again?

I'm sorry you have such a difficult time reading. Dust off your Bible and take a look at Acts 15:1-29. In 15:28 it is stated that the Holy Spirit was guiding the Council. Paul liked it quite a bit, since he took part in it, and because it says in Acts 16:4 (RSV): "As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions which had been reached by the apostles and elders who were at Jerusalem."

Dave I know you are feverishly trying to connect the church in acts to the Pagan Roman Catholics . Sorry, as hard as you try there's no connection. Christ is the head of the body, the true church. Your collective group of clown, murderous, whoring, money stealing popes who you idolize will never foot the bill , sorry.

Dave, in the dark ages, the RCC tried to "make people an offer they couldn't refuse". Would have made Vito Corleone proud, don't you think? Unfortunately when they did refused, millions were tortured, mutilated. and murdered. 

Really now? Try real hard, put on your thinking cap for a minute (taking off your dunce cap) and give me a single reputable historian who says "millions" were killed and tortured. You think we're ridiculous enough to take your word for your outrageous claims?

Dave, read the history books, you do know how to Google don't you? Thats G-O-O-G-L-E, then hit search. See for yourself, then maybe you won't be so eager to kiss the popes ring or his butt. Smoooch, smoooch. Oh your royal phoniness, I eagerly await your command, Oh yes, I believe mary is co- mediator with jesus, anything you say master.! Yes, I believe in praying to dead saints! Who was the dead saint for my dog again? Woof Woof! Where is purgatory? Between venus and chicago? Unbelievable. Gotta go Dave, theres no profit in this disputing. Say hello to all the faithful in Limbo. Wheeew. 

. . . The blood of the saints is on the RCC hands. Mother church? Mother church of murderers.Thankfully America is a country where were not persecuted for opposing that pagan idolatry.

All Christian groups have persecuted others. I have an entire web page on Protestant intolerance and persecution. Luther and Calvin both believed in capital punishment for the Anabaptists: folks who believed as today's Baptists do. Henry VIII, of course, and following kings and queens slaughtered Catholics by the many hundreds: often by drawing and quartering: one of the most brutal of punishments. Caught being in a Mass or saying one as a priest: drawing and quartering. Ever seen Braveheart? That kind of showed that punishment, but nothing like the real thing was. They would rip out the guy's heart, then pull out all his intestines, cut off all four limbs and do other things besides.

Heres another historical account Dave before signing off. There was a man namen john tetzel appointed to sell indulgences in germany to help raise funds for construction work for St. peters church in rome. He would carry a picture of satan tormenting souls in purgatory. when someone would buy an indulgence tetezel would say, "sobald der pfenning im kasten klingt die seel aus demfegfeuer springt, which means, as the money in you pop, the souls from purgatory hop. What a true blessing to someone who just lost a loved one huh? Like i said dave, these things are easy to google, God hath not given you the spirit of fear, but of a sound mind. Are you so afraid to see the history of the roman catholic church?

All explained in my paper: Explicit Biblical Evidence for Indulgences + Some Important Historical Considerations. See also:

Sins and Sinners in the Catholic Church

What do you think about the Holy Trinity, Tony?  

Seeing that one of Tony's listed "Activities and Interests" is First Pentecostal Apostolic Church of Hilliard, Fla.: a cultic group that expressly denies the Trinity . . .  Tony also is "interested" in a site called Truth or Tradition.com. It, too, denies the Holy Trinity: "I recently purchased the CD Seminar on 'Errors of the Trinity,' and I can't tell you how awesome it has been to experience this seminar that sheds so much light on the so-called 'mystery of the Trinity.'" --- Tariq Shakoor. Yet another link under his "Interests" is "HOW TO ...... Speak in tongues". It has a featured post: "On the Errors of the Trinity" (by Jann Mills). Tony links to yet another heretical, blasphemous group in his "Activities and Interests" section: Reno Spirit and Truth Biblical Studies. Guess what it denies? You got it!: "Do You Have to Believe in the Trinity to be Saved?"

Looks like Tony is not a Christian at all. He apparently denies the deity or divinity of Jesus Christ and also denies that the Holy Spirit is God. Explains a lot, doesn't it? I should have known, from the way he was talking. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Robert Sungenis Embraces Radical Catholic Reactionary Thinking and Sadly Edges Closer to Outright Schism in His Blistering Attacks and Slanders on the Church, and Popes Blessed John Paul the Great and Benedict XVI

 Canon Law 212 and 229 state quite clearly that I do have the right to be a prophet.

(Robert Sungenis, Papolatry is a Sin: A Response to John Dejak of The Wanderer -- 18 April 2011) 

[I don't see anything in canon law 212 or canon law 229 about prophets: nothing that would remotely justify Sungenis directly and repeatedly comparing himself (much like Martin Luther) to Jeremiah. Perhaps I missed something]

A few years back, Robert Sungenis (with whom I have had cordial relations by and large) at my strong urging, agreed to remove several derogatory remarks about Blessed Pope John Paul II from his website. But now he is back to his blistering criticisms: apparently due to the shock of the late great pope's beatification. 

Other recent statements of his are to the effect that the Catholic Church today is not the same as the Catholic Church of the ages. It has, so he pontificates, entered into profound heresy or apostasy. That, of course, denies (or comes dangerously close to denying) the doctrine of the indefectibility of the Church, and if carried to its logical conclusion, entails a Protestant- or liberal dissenter-like schism from Holy Mother Church. I'll let Robert speak for himself (all further words below are his own: I've added some italics for titles).

* * * * *

Attacks on Blessed Pope John Paul II

I’m sorry to have to say this, but from all my knowledge and experience, I would have to say that the last few pontificates have been an almost total disaster for the Catholic Church, especially the pontificate of John Paul II. (If you want a thoroughly detailed and comprehensive critical view of John Paul II’s pontificate that is not influenced by all the flowery assessments of his life and doctrine, I suggest you read Andrew McCauley’s new book, Crossing the Threshold of Confusion. McCauley was an attorney and former writer for The Wanderer.

You might also want to read the 100-page paper by Fr. Luigi Villa Ph.T., titled “KarolWojtyla Beatified? Never!” (Sept. 2010). You can also read my paper “Santo Non Ancora!” from our website. Of course, you can also hide your head in the sand like everyone else and pretend that there is nothing to be concerned about. Contrary to popular opinion, you may conclude with me that John Paul II was probably the worst pope we have ever had and the closest pope to outright heresy and apostasy). The fact that the crowds want to beatify him and call him “John Paul the Great” is just another indication of an overwhelming problem of spiritual blindness we have in the Church of today.

Why can’t many people see this? Why are millions clamoring for his beatification? Our Scripture and Tradition answer that question quite poignantly. Scripture says that the time will come in which “God is sending them a deceiving power so that they may believe the lie” (2Th 2:11 NAB). God is not neutral when men depart from Him. This was also true in the Old Testament (cf. 1Kgs 22:23). God actually reinforces their apostasy by sending them “a deceiving power.” We were already warned about this in our modern day from the Fatima visions of Sr. Lucia in which she said that there would be a “diabolical disorientation” upon the Church and that it would seep into the very hierarchy itself, “at the highest levels.” It’s the same reason that Paul VI said that the “smoke of Satan has entered into the Church” (only he was also “disoriented” to the point that he didn’t see that his own actions were part of the “smoke”). The “disorientation” didn’t disappear in the pontificate of John Paul II. It only increased.

(from: Response to Jimmy Akin's blog re preaching to the Jews -- April 2011)

The sadder fact is there exists circumstantial evidence that he is personally culpable, either in allowing his bishops to shuffle incriminated priests from diocese to diocese or in the whisking away of these same bishops to the Vatican for safe haven (e.g., Cardinal Bernard Law who was given sanctuary at the Vatican before he could be prosecuted by the civil authorities in Boston). By and large, John Paul II seems to have turned a blind eye to the heinous sins occurring against little Catholic boys. The recent case of Fr. Marciel Maciel Degollado, patron of the Legionaires, speaks for itself. Maciel was a personal friend of the Holy Father, but had been molesting little boys for decades as well as fathering children from several different women. . . . While the homosexual/pedophile scandal was taking place on John Paul II’s moral doorstep, the promotion of what seemed to be raw paganism was occurring at his Assisi interreligious prayer meetings.

[ . . . ]

[conclusion] I could say more but it would only be redundant. There are problems and excesses in almost every area John Paul II touched (his appointing of liberal and doctrinally suspect bishops; his novel Theology of the Body; his ambiguous statements in certain encyclicals that seem to lean toward universal salvation; his tendency toward collegiality; his campaign against capital punishment by confusing it with the abortion issue; his promotion of the excesses of the charismatic movement; the perennial problems with World Youth Day, etc.). In the end, the only good things I am proud to say John Paul II accomplished was his resistance toward Liberation theology in the early 1980s; his stand against communism; and the writing of his apostolic letter in 1994, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, which barred women from being priests. The world loved John Paul II, but it was not because he was heroically faithful to the Church’s tradition. They loved him because of his captivating charisma, but they know nothing about the moral and doctrinal problems that plagued the Church during his pontificate. They are kept in the dark so that the powers-that-be can have their way. The neo-catholic regime will probably make John Paul II a saint, but if they do it will be because they, like him, have turned a blind eye to the state of the Church today. The only solace I can offer is that if you check the Catholic Encyclopedia you will see that there is still a debate on whether canonizations are infallible, and I believe John Paul II’s case will make the question even more controversial than it has ever been. For me it will settle the issue permanently.

(from: Santo Non Ancora! Saint John Paul II: published in the notorious radtrad rag, The Remnant on 5 February 2011)

St Paul tells us in several passages (e.g., 1 Cor 10:1-12; 1 Tim 4:1; 2 Thess 2:1-11) that the same apostasy that occurred in Israel could and will happen in our day. How bad might it be? So bad, according to Jesus, that “even the elect would be deceived, if that were possible” (Mt 24:24). This may be especially applicable in our day since John Paul II did precisely what St. Pope Pius X warned about – leading the Church, at its very highest levels, to the “synthesis of all heresies” – Modernism. It is the same thing about which the visions of Fatima warned us – corruption and apostasy occurring at the highest levels of the Vatican, including the pope, due to the “diabolical disorientation” perpetrated by no one less than the Devil himself. . . . The Wanderer is only encouraging modernist popes to continue their departure from Catholic tradition. . . . The Wanderer, and almost every other Catholic institution today, looks the other way. But as long as I’m breathing I cannot look the other way. I’ll be Jeremiah, even if I’m outnumbered 2 million to one. . . . read the 400 page book, Crossing the Threshold of Confusion by Andrew McCauley – ironically, a former writer for The Wanderer. There you will find out who Karol Wojtyla really was and how he severally [sic] undermined our Catholic faith. . . . There was no investigation into the potential heresies uttered and fomented by John Paul II that I listed in my essay.

[ . . . ]

If Dr. DeMarco can read my essay and its list of doctrinal aberrations and departures from accepted Tradition coming from the mouth and writings of John Paul II and not be alarmed by them in the slightest, then it only verifies the spiritual malaise of many Catholics and their apologists today. They deserve a pope like John Paul II. These kinds of people are ripe for deception – the same deception that the Fatima visions said would seep right into the highest levels of the Catholic hierarchy and then fall upon its parishioners. . . . I suggest that Dr. DeMarco read the history of Israel in the Old Testament, for the same things that happened then are happening now. He should pay particular attention to the life of Solomon who, although Israel’s greatest king and man of God, eventually turned out to be her greatest shame and a man of sin as he began to give credence to the pagan gods of the nations around him (1 Kings 11; cf. 1 Cor 10:1-12; 1 Cor 1:12). But you say “It can’t happen here”! I suggest all of us read the history of the papacy and the bad popes that occupied the chair of Peter, especially in the second millennium. . . . the universal salvation that John Paul II so often promoted in his addresses and encyclicals.

But I’ve been pointing out John Paul II’s problems for more than a decade, and my Catholic faith is stronger now than it was at the beginning. The reason? The pope is not the basis for my Catholic religion. Jesus Christ is. As long as the pope follows Jesus there will be no problem, and the only real guarantee we have that the pope is following Jesus is when he speaks ex cathedra or when he follows the tradition laid down before him. Assisi is neither of Jesus nor of tradition. It is strictly out of the confused mind of the Phenomenological/Tielhardian/Rahnerian theology of Karol Wojtyla. . . . If you grasp all the deviant theological and moral aberrations of John Paul II listed above and end up calling me a “false prophet” for pointing them out, then the delusion is yours, not mine. I find it amusing that Mr. Dejak goes to “St. Paul” as his authority to condemn me, but wasn’t it St. Paul who upbraided Pope Peter for hypocrisy and perverting the Gospel (Galatians 2:11‐21)? Wasn’t it St. Paul who warned the leaders of the Church not to fall into idol worship and apostasy from the faith (1 Cor 10:1‐12; 3:1‐17; 2Thess 2:1‐11)? St. Paul is my model, not Mr. Dejak’s. In fact, every book of the New Testament warns against apostasy; and it tells us that the very leaders of the Church may, and often are, the perpetrators of the apostasy. No one is immune. Just because you wear cleric cloth does not mean you have a dispensation from sin and apostasy. . . . According to Mr. Dejak, we are only “humble” when we give blind obedience to the pope, even if the pope shows himself to be derelict in his duty as protector of the Faith. . . . If Mr. Dejak can show us how to defend Assisi and the other acts of John Paul II so that they do not capitulate to modernism, I’m listening. . . . So good was Karol Wotyla in mesmerizing his audiences with his ambiguous language; papal apologies; pagan retreats and worldly views that Mr. Dejak can’t see the forest for the trees. How sad. But I expect this kind of reaction. Since the “diabolical disorientation” of Satan will be so great that even the elect could be deceived (Mt 24:24); and so great because “God himself will give them strong delusion to believe a lie” (2 Thess 2:11), then I feel very sorry for anyone who is not well‐grounded in the Catholic faith of tradition. You are open to anything. . . . That’s the part of the equation Mr.Dejak and The Wanderer have ignored. They think that God is somehow going to excuse them from sin if they blindly follow a pope who has been derelict in his duty. Uh uh. God will judge you for your sin, and he will doubly judge the one who led you there. Go read Matthew 18:7‐11.

(Papolatry is a Sin: A Response to John Dejak of The Wanderer -- 18 April 2011)

I think Mr. [Mark] Shea knows, in his heart of hearts, that Assisi is wrong, but being a typical modern Catholic apologist who has more or less sworn allegiance to the powers-that-be to continually produce positive messages of John Paul II, he has to seek for some escape along the lines of taking the focus off the real problem – the promotion of idol worship. God forbid that “St.” John Paul II would be accused of promoting idol worship. That would crumble the whole Neo-Catholic regime in a matter of seconds.

[ . . . ]

Unfortunately, from what we know of the modernistic tendencies in the theology of Karol Wojtyla, it is not unimaginable that he did accept the contents of the Koran as another means to God. . . . It’s not often that a person overtly denies the essentials of the faith, (provided we are agreed on what those “essentials” are). John Paul II did not come out and say “I deny the existence of God” or “I deny that Christ was God and man,” or anything of that material nature. Instead, he couched his language so that the meaning could often go either way. . . . This is just one small example of the same kinds of problems in many statements from John Paul II (e.g., making ambiguous statements that could be interpreted such that all men will be saved or that humans may not be involved with hell; suggesting that the resurrection and return of Christ are merely symbolic; implying that Original Sin is not a fact; suggesting that non-Christians need not convert to Christianity). . . . the moral and doctrinal aberrations of John Paul II were far graver than most of the other bad popes. . . . Not once in 26 years of speaking and writing did John Paul II tell these non-Christian adherents that they would be judged and sent to hell if they did not convert to Christianity. In fact, he suggested that hell may not even exist. That was “the faith” of John Paul II. . . . John Paul II was certainly a “great threat” but it wasn’t against the forces of evil and unbelief. More immorality and doctrinal confusion was unleashed in the pontificate of John Paul II than any other pope in history. . . . The reality is, John Paul II was one of the worst popes we’ve ever had. Immorality is a terrible offense against God, but when that is compounded by a perversion of the Gospel, then the sins cry out to high heaven for judgment, and that judgment is coming very soon.

(Another Failed Attempt to Defend Assisi and Other Scandalous Events in the Pontificate of John Paul II -- 25 April 2011)

Attacks on the "Modern" Church as Allegedly Theologically or Institutionally Distinct from the Historic Catholic Church

I, being an independent Catholic theologian, am able to penetrate a little more deeply and be much more critical, as I have always done in this apostolate. Although some still regard me as a “Catholic apologist,” unlike Jimmy Akin and Catholic Answers I no longer consider myself an apologist for the modern Catholic Church. When compared to the Catholic Church of tradition, I have resolved that the modern Catholic Church will be required to stand on its own, for I simply cannot defend it any longer. There are simply too many doctrinal aberrations and moral laxities in today’s Catholic Church that are indefensible. In light of these problems, I have assumed what I believe is the more appropriate position – that of being a prophet of warning rather than one an apologist seeking to exonerate the Church from false accusations. Today many accusations against the Church are quite legitimate and I certainly will not be a party to sweeping them under the rug. Hence, I presently take my model from that of Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel and all the other prophets who spoke out against similar doctrinal aberrations and moral laxities that occurred in Israel before God finally judged them. I believe that if the modern Catholic Church stays on the course it has chosen, it also will be judged by God as Israel was, and, in fact, it is already being judged as we have seen the deterioration in the Church for the last few decades.

(from: Response to Jimmy Akin's blog re preaching to the Jews -- April 2011)

This is just another sign that the modern papal regime has thrown out the tradition and is making a new Catholicism in its own image and likeness. . . . This is just another sham perpetrated upon us by the modernists today who run the new church they have made into their own image. . . . Yes, I guess it [Pope John Paul II's beatification] is a great day for the “church” – at least the one that John Paul II made into his own image and likeness.

(Response to Dr. Donald DeMarco re the article in the Remnant titled “Santo Non Ancora: St John Paul II?” -- 4 April 2011)

When Israel’s kings and prophets set up idol worship in Dan and Bethel, most of the common folk resolved in their minds that since their leaders were put in place by God, then who were the people to protest? So the whole nation eventually worshiped idols. The people should have protested, and if they did God would have blessed them and judged the leaders. But that is in the past, you say, and doesn’t apply to us since Jesus promised the gates of hell will not prevail!

(Papolatry is a Sin: A Response to John Dejak of The Wanderer -- 18 April 2011)

Attacks on Pope Benedict XVI

The fact that Benedict XVI has chosen to endorse the doctrinal aberrations and deterioration of the Church caused by John Paul II by beatifying him in May; and then continuing the apostasy of the Assisi tradition in October, means that he is following the same “diabolical disorientation” of his predecessors. He isn’t immune to this devilish influence just because he is a pope. In fact, the devil will bring his fiercest attack on the pope. . . . JON [the pope's book Jesus of Nazareth] puts nothing less than 20 centuries of Catholic tradition on the chopping block, but that is not unusual for post-Vatican II popes. John Paul II did it constantly. It seems they have a need to silence the haunting voices of the past in order to give credence to their continuing novelties.

(from: Response to Jimmy Akin's blog re preaching to the Jews -- April 2011)

I am merely telling Pope Benedict that I think his attempt to beatify John Paul II is wrong, period. I have that right according to canon law, and I also have the right to tell my opinion to “the rest of the Christian faithful.” . . . We are using the canon law he approved to “sincerely” tell him that he shouldn’t be beatifying John Paul II.

(Papolatry is a Sin: A Response to John Dejak of The Wanderer -- 18 April 2011)

Although Benedict XVI is not as ostentatious as John Paul II, at the beatification in May and the Assisi in October, Benedict will be accepting the torch from the grave of John Paul II. I wonder how far he will travel with it until he realizes that it has incinerated much of the Church.

(Another Failed Attempt to Defend Assisi and Other Scandalous Events in the Pontificate of John Paul II -- 25 April 2011)

* * * * *

Quibble About Lutheran Dislike of the Term Consubstantiation and the Absence of a More Descriptive Word

 [ source ]

A former Lutheran, not-sure-what-he-believes-now-but-attends-Mass friend of mine stated in my comboxes:

Catholics have this bad tendency to try to label other people. E.g., Catholics call the Lutheran view of the presence of Christ in the sacrament "consubstantiation," but Lutherans just call it "real presence."

This is a reasonable point, since it is largely true (though Catholics aren't the only ones who do this: other Protestants do, too).

In this instance, however,  it is mostly a matter of semantics. Lutherans believe Christ is "in, with, and under" the bread and wine. This is precisely what non-Lutherans usually mean by "consubstantiation" (bread and wine are present and so is Christ at the same time). It's just substituting one word for a phrase, where they mean the same. Lutherans don't like the term, as far as I can tell, because of its association with both Aristotelian metaphysics and the linguistic connection with the Catholic transubstantiation.

Martin Luther didn't care for the term "Lutherans" either, and I doubt that Wesley would have appreciated "Wesleyans" or Calvin, "Calvinists", but that didn't stop their followers from adopting those terms, anyway, since Protestantism often suffers from overly man-centered tendencies. To me it is more offensive to go against the wishes of your own founder than it is to use the description "consubstantiation."

The larger problem of terminology with regard to the Eucharist is use of the same words in different ways. Thus an Anglican (or Lutheran) may say "real presence" but they don't mean by that what the Church historically believed for 1500 years (in this regard, see the excellent article, What Do We Mean by ‘The Real Presence’?, by Fr. Dwight Longenecker).

This raises a conundrum when a Catholic refers to it, because in order to properly educate and to accurately note proper distinctions, we have to point out that meanings are different. "Consubstantiation" seems to be accurate enough for that purpose. If Lutherans don't like it, then I suggest that they give us some term to use other than the vague, wax-nose "real presence." The problem is the absence of another similarly descriptive word. "Real presence" is insufficient, since several denominations use it, and mean different things by it. Perhaps I could describe the Lutheran eucharistic view as "in, with, and underism". But would that be preferable? Of course it would be a silly terminology.

This (humorously) illustrates the problem: the need for accurate description of various theological views. No one has any doubt as to where Catholics stand: transubstantiation means, literally, "change of substance." No ambiguity, no confusion or unclearness. A person may disagree with that, but they know exactly what it is, by the term, and looking up what the term literally means. Lutherans don't like consubstantiation, but they haven't offered us anything else besides "real presence" -- a description tat doesn't convey in the slightest the distinctive Lutheran take on the Eucharist. Descriptive terms and labels are used precisely as "technical terms": in order to avoid the need for a paragraph explanation of concepts, when a word can suffice (and a dictionary as well, if one wants to get the precise definition).

Nor is consubstantiation nearly as offensive, in my opinion, as the usual "Romanists" and "papists" that we are habitually called by the more anti-Catholic wing of Lutheranism. For example, here is Rev. Paul T. McCain, writing on his very prominent Lutheran website, Cyberbrethren:

Seems I have touched a bit of a nerve with my remarks about the "Corpus Christi" festival, which I regard as Romanist bunk and tomfoolery,. . . (6-16-06)

It is not we who call ourselves Lutherans. Rather, our adversaries call us that. We allow this to the extent that this title is an indication of the consensus that our churches have with the orthodox and catholic doctrine that Luther set forth from Holy Writ. Therefore we allow ourselves to be named after Luther, not as the inventor of a new faith but as the asserter of the old faith and the cleanser of the church from the stains of Papist dogmas. (10-31-10)

The second paragraph is quite remarkable, in that it uses papist: a term that any idiot knows is not what Catholics call themselves, while at the same time claiming that Lutherans have adopted their name because of the use of "adversaries."  But no one has forced them at gunpoint to use this name. It's a voluntary matter. They chose it and use it. So they have no right now to protest that it derived from their "adversaries".

I am unaware of a book called The Catechism of the Papist Church or a self-described category of "Romanist apologetics." Plenty of our adversaries use those terms but it doesn't follow that we do ourselves. Yet I am supposed to believe that Lutherans had no choice but to use a term they themselves object to? It's beyond ludicrous and it strikes one as after-the-fact spin and rationalizing.

I should also note in passing that this notion that Luther "reformed" the Catholic Church and took it back to some supposed "old faith" (McCain's words above) is factually untrue. It's the fundamental "Protestant Myth." The fact of the matter is that Luther was for the most part a revolutionary (one who overthrows and introduces brand-new elements), not a reformer (one who restores former things that have been lost or corrupted). For the proof of this, see my papers:

Lutherans (and other Protestants) know we don't call ourselves by those terms (papist, Romanist) but no matter, they are used, anyway. And that is a question of preferred title (an ethical issue of rudimentary courtesy universally acknowledged), whereas the other involves complicated metaphysical-theological distinctions, and so, by virtue of that, is not nearly as straightforward or simple a matter compared to the alternate names Catholics are called.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman on the Nature and Pursuit of Truth

 . . . it is obvious that to be in earnest in seeking the truth is an indispensable requisite for finding it. Indeed, it would not be necessary to notice so evident a proposition, had it not been for the strange conduct of the ancient philosophers in their theories concerning nature and man. It seems as though only one or two of them were serious and sincere in their inquiries and teaching. Most of them considered speculations on philosophical subjects rather in the light of an amusement than of a grave employment,— as an exercise for ingenuity, or an indulgence of fancy,—to display their powers, to collect followers, or for the sake of gain. . . . truth is too sacred and religious a thing to be sacrificed to the mere gratification of the fancy, or amusement of the mind, or party spirit, or the prejudices of education, or attachment (however amiable) to the opinions of human teachers, . . . 

(Oxford University Sermons, Sermon 1: “The Philosophical Temper, First Enjoined by the Gospel,” 2 July 1826)

That Truth, which St. Paul preached, addresses itself to our spiritual nature: it will be rightly understood, valued, accepted, by none but lovers of truth, virtue, purity, humility, and peace. Wisdom will be justified of her children. Those, indeed, who are thus endowed may and will go on to use their powers of mind, whatever they are, in the service of religion; none but they can use them aright. Those who reject revealed truth wilfully, are such as do not love moral and religious truth. . . . If men turn unto fables of their own will, they do it on account of their pride, or their love of indolence and self-indulgence. . . . Is it not plain that earnestness is necessary for gaining religious truth? . . . let us consider for an instant how eagerly men in general pursue objects of this world; now with what portion of this eagerness do they exert themselves to know the truth of God's word? Undeniable, then, as is the doctrine that God does not reveal Himself to those who do not seek Him, it is certain that its truth is not really felt by us, or we should seek Him more earnestly than we do. Nothing is more common than to think that we shall gain religious knowledge as a thing of course, without express trouble on our part. Though there is no art or business of this world which is learned without time and exertion, yet it is commonly conceived that the knowledge of God and our duty will come as if by accident or by a natural process. Men go by their feelings and likings; they take up what is popular, or what comes first to hand. They think it much if they now and then have serious thoughts, if they now and then open the Bible; and their minds recur with satisfaction to such seasons, as if they had done some very great thing, never remembering that to seek and gain religious truth is a long and systematic work. And others think that education will do every thing for them, and that if they learn to read, and use religious words, they understand religion itself. And others again go so far as to maintain that exertion is not necessary for discovering the truth. 

(Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VIII, Sermon 13: “Truth Hidden When Not Sought After,” 17 October 1830)

. . . it has been upheld in the world not as a system, not by books, not by argument, nor by temporal power, but by the personal influence of such men as have already been described, who are at once the teachers and the patterns of it . . . 

(Oxford University Sermons, Sermon 5: “Personal Influence, the Means of Propagating the Truth,” 22 January 1832)

I fear it must be confessed, that our kindness, instead of being directed and braced by principle, too often becomes languid and unmeaning; that it is exerted on improper objects, and out of season, and thereby is uncharitable in two ways, indulging those who should be chastised, and preferring their comfort to those who are really deserving. We are over-tender in dealing with sin and sinners. We are deficient in jealous custody of the revealed Truths which Christ has left us. We allow men to speak against the Church, its ordinances, or its teaching, without remonstrating with them. 

(Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. II, Sermon 23: “Tolerance of Religious Error,” Dec. 1834)

. . . an attempt to make numbers, and not the Truth, the ground of maintaining, or not maintaining, this or that creed, as if we had any reason whatever in Scripture for thinking that the many will be in the right, and the few in the wrong? 

(Tracts for the Times #83, 1838)

What is right and what is happy cannot in the long run and on a large scale be disjoined. To follow after truth can never be a subject of regret; . . . I say, then, that never to have been troubled with a doubt about the truth of what has been taught us, is the happiest state of mind . . . 

(Tracts for the Times #85, Sep. 1838)

There are ten thousand ways of looking at this world, but only one right way. The man of pleasure has his way, the man of gain his, and the man of intellect his. Poor men and rich men, governors and governed, prosperous and discontented, learned and unlearned, each has his own way of looking at the things which come before him, and each has a wrong way. There is but one right way; it is the way in which God looks at the world. Aim at looking at it in God's way. Aim at seeing things as God sees them. Aim at forming judgments about persons, events, ranks, fortunes, changes, objects, such as God forms. Aim at looking at this life as God looks at it. Aim at looking at the life to come, and the world unseen, as God does. Aim at "seeing the King in his beauty." All things that we see are but shadows to us and delusions, unless we enter into what they really mean. . . . That a thing is true, is no reason that it should be said, but that it should be done; that it should be acted upon; that it should be made our own inwardly. 

(Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. V, Sermon 3: “Unreal Words,” 2 June 1839)

Only one is the truth and the perfect truth; and which that is, none know but those who are in possession of it, if even they. But God knows which it is; and towards that one and only Truth He is leading us forward. He is leading forward His redeemed, He is training His elect, one and all, to the one perfect knowledge and obedience of Christ; not, however, without their cooperation, but by means of calls which they are to obey, and which if they do not obey, they lose place, and fall behind in their heavenly course. 

(Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VIII, Sermon 2: “Divine Calls,” 1843)

Truth is the principle on which all intellectual, and therefore all theological inquiries proceed, and is the motive power which gives them effect; but the principle of popular edification, quickened by a keen sensitiveness of the chance of scandals, is as powerful as Truth, when the province is Religion. 

(Via Media, Vol. I, Preface to the Third Edition, 1877)