Friday, June 24, 2011

Biblical Evidence for Worship of God Via an Image (Pillar of Cloud, Burning Bush)



Sometimes we miss things in the Bible, though they are right in front of us. Some of our Protestant brethren (mainly Calvinists but some other denominations as well) have an almost obsessive fear of any image associated with worship at all, thinking that all such manifestations are examples of idolatry and undue exaltation of a "graven image". This has led some fanatical elements to oppose even crucifixes and statues of Christ as idols. In other words, all images whatsoever are collapsed in this wrongheaded mentality into the category of the "graven image" in the Ten Commandments.  But the Bible doesn't take this view at all. Here is one striking example:

Exodus 33:8-10 (RSV) Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose up, and every man stood at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he had gone into the tent. [9] When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the door of the tent, and the LORD would speak with Moses. [10] And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the door of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, every man at his tent door. 

Note that the pillar of cloud is:

1) a creation (water, if a literal cloud);

2) visual, hence an image;

and

3) thought to directly represent God Himself. 

It's also a supernatural manifestation, which is a major difference compared to any true idol made by the hands of men; but that would make no difference for those who mistakenly hold that any image whatsoever associated with God is impermissible. The problem comes when God Himself expressly sanctions such images, and worship in conjunction with them, as here.

The same iconoclasts (opposers of images) have to explain away things like the burning bush (Ex 3:2-6), which is not only fire, but also called an "angel of the Lord" (Ex 3:2), yet also "God" (3:4, 6, 11, 13-16, 18; 4:5, 7-8) and "the LORD" (3:7, 16, 18; 4:2, 4-6, 10-11, 14) interchangeably. An angel is a creation (as is fire and cloud); yet God chose to use a created being and inanimate objects to visibly represent Him. Several similar instances occur in the Old Testament. Moreover, the Jews "worshiped" fire as representative of God in the following passage:

2 Chronicles 7:1-4 When Solomon had ended his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. [2] And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD filled the LORD's house. [3] When all the children of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the LORD upon the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the earth on the pavement, and worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, "For he is good, for his steadfast love endures for ever." [4] Then the king and all the people offered sacrifice before the LORD.

***

More Biblical Evidence for One Species In Holy Communion


 See my earlier paper, Biblical Evidence for the Distribution of One Species in Holy Communion. Credit for these further examples, goes to Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman: see his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, (1845; revised 1878), Part I, ch. 4, sec. 1, sub-section 4.

* * * * *

Eucharistic or Proto-Eucharistic Examples of "Bread" Only 

Matthew 14:19-21 (RSV) Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. [20] And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. [21] And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. (cf. Mk 6:41-44; Lk 9:13-17)

Luke 24:30-31, 35 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. [31] And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight.. . . [35] Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. (cf. Acts 2:42; 20:7; 27:35)

John 6:11-12 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. [12] And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, "Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost."

John 6:27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal.

John 6:31-35 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, `He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" [32] Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. [33] For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world." [34] They said to him, "Lord, give us this bread always." [35] Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.

John 6:48-51 I am the bread of life. [49] Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. [50] This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. [51] 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."


John 6:57-58 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. [58] This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever."

[John 6 is very interesting in this regard, insofar as it gives examples of both flesh and blood being partaken of (6:53-56), yet only body / flesh is spoken of singularly and repeatedly as giving spiritual life, and Jesus never describes Himself as the "living wine" from heaven. Hence, the analogy directly holds to Catholic communion without both species, where consecrated hosts only are distributed. The full eucharistic doctrine comes together in 1 Corinthians 11:27, where Paul's careful use of "or" and "and" prove that the entire Jesus: Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, as Catholics say, is contained in each species (see previous related paper above). In any event, both the biblical and Catholic models allow for distribution of both species, or one only (usually consecrated hosts)]


Eucharistic Types or Shadows: Examples of "Bread" or Flesh (Minus Blood) Only  


Exodus 25:30 And you shall set the bread of the Presence [KJV: "shewbread"] on the table before me always. (cf. 35:13; 39:36)

Leviticus 14:25 And he shall kill the lamb of the guilt offering; and the priest shall take some of the blood of the guilt offering, and put it on the tip of the right ear of him who is to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the great toe of his right foot.

[the Jews separated the blood from meat to be eaten, and were forbidden to partake of blood: Gen 9:4; Lev 3:17; 7:26-27; 17:10-14; 19:26; . Therefore, the paschal lamb and bulls sacrificed : prototypes of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, and of the Eucharist (since they were eaten and since the Last Supper, where the Holy Eucharist was instituted, was a Passover meal), were "meat only" with no blood]

Deuteronomy 8:3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but that man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD. (cf. Num 11:7-9; Ps 78:24-29)

1 Samuel 21:6 So the priest gave him the holy bread; for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the LORD, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away.

1 Kings 7:48 So Solomon made all the vessels that were in the house of the LORD: the golden altar, the golden table for the bread of the Presence,

1 Chronicles 9:32 Also some of their kinsmen of the Ko'hathites had charge of the showbread, to prepare it every sabbath. (cf. 23:29; 28:16)

2 Chronicles 2:4 Behold, I am about to build a house for the name of the LORD my God and dedicate it to him for the burning of incense of sweet spices before him, and for the continual offering of the showbread, and for burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths and the new moons and the appointed feasts of the LORD our God, as ordained for ever for Israel. (cf. 4:19; 13:11; 29:18; Neh 10:33)

2 Chronicles 29:22 So they killed the bulls, and the priests received the blood and threw it against the altar; and they killed the rams and their blood was thrown against the altar; and they killed the lambs and their blood was thrown against the altar.

2 Chronicles 35:11 And they killed the passover lamb, and the priests sprinkled the blood which they received. . .

Matthew 12:3-4 He said to them, "Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him: [4] how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? (cf. Mk 2:26; Lk 6:4)

John 1:29, 36 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! . . . and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"


1 Corinthians 5:7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed.

Hebrews 9:2-4 For a tent was prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence; it is called the Holy Place. [3] Behind the second curtain stood a tent called the Holy of Holies, [4] 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;

Revelation 2:17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna,. . .

Revelation 5:6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain,. . . (cf. 5:8, 12-13; 6:1, 16; 7:9-10, 14, 17; 8:1; 12:11; 13:8, etc.)

***

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Set List for U2 in East Lansing, Michigan (Spartan Stadium): 26 June 2011


 [source 1: setlist.fm]
[source 2, with fan reviews, and one from Detroit Free Press]
[review #2: Detroit Free Press]
[review #3: Detroit Free Press]
[review: Detroit News]
[review #2: Detroit News]

Yep; I was there, with two sons: three of 65,000 plus! It's the highest-grossing tour in rock music history (expected $700 million gross), with the biggest set ever (179 foot high "claw"). I posted a whole album of photos (27) on my Facebook page. All album titles below are linked to Wikipedia descriptive pages.

* * * * *

1. Even Better Than The Real Thing [from Achtung Baby, 1991]

2. The Fly [from Achtung Baby, 1991]

3. Mysterious Ways [from Achtung Baby, 1991]

4. Until The End Of The World [from Achtung Baby, 1991]

5. I Will Follow [from Boy, 1980]

6. Get On Your Boots [from No Line on the Horizon, 2009]

7. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (with "The Promised Land" snippet) [from The Joshua Tree, 1987]

8. Stay (Faraway, So Close!) [from Zooropa, 1993]

9. Beautiful Day (with "Space Oddity" snippet) [from All That You Can't Leave Behind, 2000]

10. Elevation [from All That You Can't Leave Behind, 2000]

11. Pride (In The Name Of Love) [from The Unforgettable Fire, 1984]

12.Miss Sarajevo [from Original Soundtracks 1, 1995]

13. Zooropa [from Zooropa, 1993]

14. City Of Blinding Lights [from How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004]

15. Vertigo (with "TV Eye" snippet) [from How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004]

16. I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight (Remix Version, with "Discotheque", "Life During Wartime" and "Psycho Killer" snippets) [from No Line on the Horizon, 2009, and Pop, 1997; last two are Talking Heads songs]

17. Sunday Bloody Sunday [from War, 1983]

18. Scarlet [from October, 1981]

19. Walk On (with "You'll Never Walk Alone" snippet) [from All That You Can't Leave Behind, 2000]

Encore:

20. One [from Achtung Baby, 1991]

21. Where The Streets Have No Name (with "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" snippet) [from The Joshua Tree, 1987]

Encore 2:

22. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me [from Batman Forever soundtrack, 1995]

23. With Or Without You [from The Joshua Tree, 1987]

24. Moment of Surrender (with "Jungleland" snippet) [from No Line on the Horizon, 2009]

Biblical Evidence for True Apostolic Tradition vs. "Traditions of Men"


 I discovered (as a set) several of the following passages in Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman's sermon, "The Principle of Continuity Between the Jewish and Christian Churches," from 20 November 1842 (when he was still Anglican). It is Sermon 15 in his collection, Sermons Bearing on Subjects of the Day (1843). I then looked up (by word searches) several other similar passages to expand upon his point. All verses are RSV. Good, apostolic, biblical traditions will be highlighted in green; false traditions of men in red.

* * * * *

Matthew 15:3 He answered them, "And why do you transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?"

Matthew 15:6 So, for the sake of your tradition, you have made void the word of God.

Matthew 15:9 "in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men."

Matthew 15:13 He answered, "Every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up."

Matthew 16:23 But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men."(cf. Mk 8:33)

Mark 7:8-9, 13 You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men." [9] And he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition! . . . [13] thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on. And many such things you do."

John 12:43  for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

1 Corinthians 2:5 that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

1 Corinthians 2:13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit.


Galatians 1:9-12 As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed. [10] Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ. [11] For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man's gospel.[12] For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 4:14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles.


Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ.

Colossians 2:20-22 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations, [21] "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch" [22] (referring to things which all perish as they are used), according to human precepts and doctrines?

1 Thessalonians 2:13  And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

1 Timothy 4:1, 6-7 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, . . . [6] If you put these instructions before the brethren, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the good doctrine which you have followed. [7] Have nothing to do with godless and silly myths. Train yourself in godliness;

Titus 1:14 instead of giving heed to Jewish myths or to commands of men who reject the truth.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Books by Dave Armstrong: Biblical Catholic Eucharistic Theology


[completed and published at Lulu on 22 February 2011: 222 pages]

--- to purchase, go to the bottom of the page ---


TABLE OF CONTENTS



Dedication (p. 3)

Introduction (p. 5)

1. Biblical Analogical Evidence for the Special Presence of God in Physical Objects Prior to the Incarnation (p. 9) [70 Bible passages]

2. Is the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit Intrinsically Opposed to the Real, Physical Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist? (p. 21) [21 Bible passages]

3. Sacraments: Moral Responsibility and Spiritual Benefits (p. 29) [read online]

4. John 6 and Lack of Faith in the Physical Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist as a Parallel to Doubting Disciples (p. 33) [read online]

5. Questions and Answers on the Holy Eucharist (p. 45)

6. The Philosophical Theology Behind the Eucharist (p. 55)

7. Biblical Evidence for One Species in Holy Communion (p. 59)

8. Exclusion of Non-Catholic Christians from Communion (p. 65)

9. Protestant Use of Grape Juice in Holy Communion (p. 75)

10. Catholic-Lutheran Dialogue on Corpus Christi: Eucharistic Processions and Adoration (p. 79)

11. Catholic-Protestant Disputes Regarding Transubstantiation and Church History (p. 83)

12. The Protestant Sacramentarian Controversies: Calvin vs. Luther vs. Zwingli (p. 95)

13. John Calvin’s Mystical Eucharist vs. Logic, the Church Fathers, and Holy Scripture (p. 101)

14. The Simultaneous Assertion of Realism and Symbolism in St. Augustine’s Eucharistic Doctrine (p. 121) [read online]

15. The Church Fathers and the Sacrifice of the Mass (p. 133)

16. St. Paul’s Reference to Himself as a Priest and Use of Sacerdotal Categories (p. 153) [16 Bible passages]

17. The Timeless, Miraculous, Transcendent Nature of the Sacrifice of the Mass (p. 161) [35 Bible passages]

18. Biblical Analogies Related to Eucharistic Adoration and the Sacrifice of the Mass (p. 171) [54 Bible passages]

19. Arguments for the Permissibility and Plausibility of the Sacrifice of the Mass from Scripture Alone and Analogy (p. 183) [34 Bible passages]

20. Biblical Evidence for Congregational Participation in Offering and Re-Presenting Jesus’ Sacrifice on the Cross (p. 191)

21. The Mass: Is It Idolatry Like That of Jeroboam? (p. 195)

22. Biblical Evidence for Wholehearted Formal Worship (p. 207) [read online: part one / part two] [23 Bible passages]

23. Biblical Evidence for Holy Days (p. 215) [13 Bible passages]

Bibliography (p. 219)


INTRODUCTION


This volume consists of a collection of articles originally posted on my website and blog (both named Biblical Evidence for Catholicism): written between 1996 and 2010, oftentimes as a result of questions received, or debate challenges. These have been edited, revised, and combined in various ways, in order to crystallize the thought and to maximize the impact of the arguments.

Most of the queries came from our Protestant brethren in Christ. These occurrences afforded me the opportunity to defend and clarify what Catholics believe with regard to the Holy Eucharist, and to demonstrate that Catholic beliefs are – as we believe -- in line with both Holy Scripture and the eucharistic doctrine of the early Church. It is my sincere hope and prayer that my own ruminations along these lines may be of some benefit to others.

I have written extensively on the “basics” of Catholic eucharistic doctrine and its grounding in the Bible in several of my books: A Biblical Defense of Catholicism (pp. 77-100), The Catholic Verses (pp. 113-126), The One-Minute Apologist (pp. 58-65), and Bible Proofs for Catholic Truths (pp. 255-270).

I won’t be reiterating those aspects; this work can, therefore, be considered a slightly higher-level course, so to speak (Catholic Eucharist 0201, if you will).

Chapters 3 and 12 are reminiscent of the format of earlier books, since they were originally intended to be included, but were casualties of the editor’s red pen. Chapter One, written shortly after Bible Proofs for Catholic Truths, would have fit very well into its structure and goal of showing how Catholic doctrine is entirely harmonious with the Bible.

BACK COVER DESCRIPTION

Catholic apologist and prolific author Dave Armstrong has compiled his writing on the Eucharist and the Sacrifice of the Mass, from 15 years of Internet dialogues, into a Scripture-packed 23 chapters and 222 pages.

Among the topics covered are: 1) the special presence of God in physical objects prior to the incarnation, 2) comparison of the indwelling and the Real Presence, 3) doubting disciples in the eucharistic discourse of John 6, 4) exclusion of non-Catholics from Catholic communion, 5) St. Augustine's and John Calvin's views, 6) the Church fathers on the Sacrifice of the Mass, 7) St. Paul's "priestly" references, 8) biblical, analogical arguments for the Sacrifice of the Mass, 9) the Protestant "idolatry" accusation, and 10) biblical evidence for wholehearted formal, liturgical worship.

The facts of Church history are also examined in depth, with much corroboration from Protestant scholarly sources.

Armstrong's explanations help to make Catholic teachings on the Holy Eucharist and the Mass understandable, plausible, and easily harmonized with the teaching of the Bible.

Cover painting: Christ of St. John of the Cross, by Salvador Dali (1951). Retrieved from the Salvador Dali Society website:

http://www.dali.com/blog/2010/12/page/3/

Back cover photograph: Detail from the Last Supper: stained glass at Church of the Incarnation, New York City; retrieved from the website, Stained Glass Photography:

http://www.stainedglassphotography.com/

The front and back covers were designed by Dave and Judy Armstrong.
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-LkXMwrnTqag/TWQTsUi2HUI/AAAAAAAADRA/ORJBkmu2MTk/s1600/BiblicalCatholicEucharisticTheologyBackCover%2528550x834%2529.jpg

* * * * * * * * * *

Purchase Options:




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Part of a ten-book package deal: able to be incorporated into Logos Software search capabilities


Last updated on 17 April 2014.


***

42 of My 45 Books Are Available at Amazon Kindle (Including Audio Capability). Most Only $6.99

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-UkVjMxpcgwQ/TXl_UojJvQI/AAAAAAAADVg/ioDKDEVtClM/s400/Kindle.jpg


All of these are also text-to-voice enabled, so this means that all of these books can now be listened to in a good state-of-the-art computer voice.

You can view all titles at my amazon "Kindle Store," but here they are for your convenience. The written titles go to the amazon Kindle book page for each volume. The "[Info-Page]" brackets go to each title's book page (contents, introductions, excerpts, links for all sorts of purchases, etc.).

 
Catholic Apologetics Bestsellers (Numerous Topics) [3]


A Biblical Defense of Catholicism (1996 / 2003, 297 pages) $9.95 [Info-Page]

The Catholic Verses: 95 Bible Passages That Confound Protestants (2004, 235 pages) $9.99 [Info-Page]

The One-Minute Apologist (2007, 143 pages) $9.47 [Info-Page]


Bible Reference Works [3]


Bible Proofs for Catholic Truths (2009, 445 pages) $9.95 [Info-Page]

Victorian King James Version of the New Testament: A “Selection” for Lovers of Elizabethan and Victorian Literature (2014, 590 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]

Revelation! 1001 Bible Answers to Theological Questions (2013, 250 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]



Church Fathers / Patristics / Patrology [3]


Catholic Church Fathers: Patristic and Scholarly Proofs (2007 / rev. 2013, 286 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]

 
The Quotable Augustine: Distinctively Catholic Elements in His Theology (2012, 245 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page] 

The Quotable Eastern Church Fathers: Distinctively Catholic Elements in Their Theology (2013, 303 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]  



Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman and G. K. Chesterton [3]
 

The Quotable Newman (2012, 415 pages) $9.95 [Info-Page]

The Quotable Newman, Vol. II (2013, 290 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]



Catholic Conversion and Converts (2013, 237 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]

Theology of God: Biblical, Chalcedonian Trinitarianism and Christology (2012, 156 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]

Biblical Evidence for the Communion of Saints (2012, 152 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]

Biblical Catholic Eucharistic Theology (2011, 222 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]


"The Catholic Mary": Quite Contrary to the Bible? (2010, 193 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]


Biblical Catholic Salvation: “Faith Working Through Love” (2010, 187 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]


Family Matters: Catholic Theology of the Family (2002, 159 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]


Catholic Theology and Apologetics: Multiple Topics [2]


More Biblical Evidence for Catholicism (2002, 181 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]

Biblical Catholic Apologetics: A Collection of Essays (2013, 236 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]


History of Christian Theology and Doctrine [4]





Radical Catholic Reactionaries vs. Mainstream Catholic "Traditionalists" [2]


Reflections on Radical Catholic Reactionaries (2002 / rev. 2013, 145 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]




Protestantism (History and Analysis) [4]

Martin Luther: Catholic Critical Analysis and Praise (2008, 264 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]


Biblical Catholic Answers for John Calvin (2010, 388 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]


A Biblical Critique of Calvinism (2012, 178 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page] 


Protestantism: Critical Reflections of an Ecumenical Catholic (2003, 188 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]


 Anti-Catholic Protestantism and Theological Liberalism [2]


Debating James White: Shocking Failures of the "Undefeatable" Anti-Catholic Champion (Nov. 2013, 395p) $6.99 [Info-Page]


Twin Scourges: Thoughts on Anti-Catholicism and Theological Liberalism (2003, 167 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]




General Christian Apologetics / Atheists and Agnostics [3] 
[For General Readers; Contain No Distinctively Catholic Material; Theology of God, above, is also of this nature] 


Mere Christian Apologetics (2002, 289 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]


Christian Worldview vs. Postmodernism (2002, 218 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]


Science and Christianity: Close Partners or Mortal Enemies? (2010, 301 pages)  $6.99 [Info-Page]


Music [1]

Beatles, Motown, Beach Boys, Etc.: Classic Rock Discographies, Commentary, and Mono vs. Stereo Analysis (2012, 213 pages) $6.99 [Info-Page]


Updated on 12 August 2014.


*****



Cardinal Newman on Galileo and the Alleged Dogmatic Status of Geocentrism


So again Galileo, supposing he began (I have no reason for implying or thinking he did, but supposing he began) with doubting the received doctrine about the centrality of the earth, I think he would have been defective in religiousness; but not defective in faith, (unless indeed by chance he erroneously thought that the centrality had been defined). On the other hand, when he saw good reasons for doubting it, it was very fair to ask, and implied no irreligiousness,—"After all, is it defined?" and then, on inquiry, he would have found liberty of thought "in possession," and would both by right and with piety doubt of the earth's centrality.

(Letter to Edward B. Pusey, 23 March 1867; cited in Wilfred Ward, The Life of John Henry Cardinal Newman [two volumes: London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1912], vol. 2, 221)

The Catholic Cardinal Newman's Opinion of Anglicanism


The following excerpts are from my upcoming book of quotations from Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman: The Quotable Newman: Theology and Church History. Note especially the remarkable letter of 3 July 1848.

* * * * *

If I must specify what I mean by ‘Anglican principles,’ I should say e.g. taking Antiquity, not the existing Church, as the oracle of truth; and holding that the Apostolical Succession is a sufficient guarantee of sacramental Grace, without union with the Christian Church throughout the world. I think them the firmest, strongest bulwark against Rome – that is if they can be held. They have been held by many, and are far more difficult to refute than those of any other religious body. For myself, I found I could not hold them. I left them. From the time I began to suspect their unsoundness, I ceased to put them forward – when I was fairly sure of their unsoundness, I gave up my Living. When I was fully confident that the Church of Rome was the only true Church, I joined it. I have felt all along that Bishop Bull’s theology was the only theology on which the English Church could stand – I have felt that opposition to the Church of Rome was part of that theology; and that he who could not protest against the Church of Rome was no true divine in the English Church. I have never said, nor attempted to say, that any one in office in the English Church, whether Bishop or incumbent, could be otherwise than in hostility to the Church of Rome.

(LD xi, 27-28; Letter to Samuel Wilks, 8 November 1845)

Again in what sense are Rome and England one body in which the Church of England and Methodism may not be proved one body? . . . I hold it impossible that you should remain in this half and half position, believing one thing on the same ground, on which you reject another. . . . when I admit that the English Church is in schism, I see a mass of facts confirmatory of it – its disorganized state of belief – its feebleness to resist heretics – its many changes – its freezing coldness. And on the other hand I have the portentous, the awful vitality of Rome. That is an overpowering confirmatory argument.

(LD xi, 175; Letter to Henry Wilberforce, 8 June 1846)

. . . as a whole, he [Pusey] is not reviving any thing that ever was any where for 1800 years. There is a tradition of High Church and of Low Church – but none of what now is justly called Puseyism.

(LD xii, 157; Letter to Henry Wilberforce, 19 January 1848)

. . . disunion in the Anglican Church is just what prejudices men of the world against it and makes it contemptible. They do not take hold of the possibility that one party in it may be contending for a truth against the other. The disunion is its condemnation . . .

(LD xii, 159-160; Letter to Frederick Lucas, 20 January 1848)

The thought of Anglicanism with nothing fixed or settled, with Bishop contradicting Bishops within, and the whole world against it, without, is something so dreary and wretched, that I cannot speak of it without the chance of offence to those who still hold it.

(LD xii, 168; Letter to A. J. Hanmer, 10 February 1848)

. . . the hollowness of High Churchism (or whatever it is called) is to me so very clear that it surpises me, (not that persons should not see it at once), but that any should not see it at last, and, alas, I must add that I do not think it safe for any one who does see it, not to act on his conviction of it at once. . . . I do not disguise that Catholicism is a different religion from Anglicanism . . . that religion which the Apostles introduced and which was in the world long before the Reformation was dreamed of . . .

(LD xii, 223-225; Letter to Mrs. William Froude, 16 June 1848)

. . . the Anglican and the Catholic are two religions. I have professed both, and must know better than those who have professed one only . . . This being so, it is a mere deceit, I fully think, to suppose that the difference between Catholics and Anglicans is, that one believes a little more, and the other a little less; and therefore that they could unite. The religions never could unite; they never could be reconciled together . . . because they proceed on different ideas; and, if they look in certain external aspects alike, or have doctrines in common, yet the way in which those doctrines are held, and the whole internal structure in the two religions is different; so that, even what a person has before he is a Catholic, being grafted on a new stiock, becomes new, and he is like a Jew become Christian. . . . the Anglo-catholic scarcely exists out of books, or in a hundred parsonages scattered through the land, and has had no continuous life or succession. Next, consider the vast difference between believing in a living authority, unerring because divine, in matters of doctrine, and believing none; -- between believing what an external authority defines, and believing what we ourselves happen to define as contained in Scripture and the Fathers, where no two individuals define quite the same set of doctrines . . . In the one case, the living authority, deciding in controversies of faith, is the Church, in the other (whatever men pretend,) it is we ourselves who are the ultimate authority.

(LD xii, 234-235; Letter to E. J. Phipps, 3 July 1848)

I am much obliged to you for giving me the opportunity of setting right the misconception which is in circulation of the light in which I view the Anglican Church. . . . I respect and love the good men who belong to it; I have no wish to speak of it, but if I am forced to speak, by being misrepresented, I cannot help saying that I do not think the established Church is better off, as regards the Sacraments, than other non-Catholic bodies which have not renounced baptism. God’s grace doubtless may be vouchsafed at his will both th Anglicans and to Protestants; and that I certainly may have said; but vouchsafed in order to bring them towards the Catholic Church; in this way it is doubtless given to one and the other; but in each case in order to draw them off from what they are; and if it does not do this to Anglicans as well as Protestants, it does not answer the purpose for which it is given. No wonder I say this, considering I have the greatest misgivings of the validity of Anglican orders . . . If the Anglican Church has not orders, it has no Eucharist . . .

(LD xii, 249; Second Letter to Robert Monteith, 21 July 1848)

. . . Dr Pusey . . . cannot name the individual for 1800 years who has ever held his circle of doctrines; he cannot first put down his own creed, and then refer it to doctor, or school before him. . . . I want to know what single individual that ever belonged to the Anglican Church does he follow. Not Laud, for Laud on the scaffold avowed himself an honest Protestant; not Hooker, for he gives up the Real Presence; not Taylor for he blames both the Athanasian and Nicene Creeds; not Bull for he considers that Transubstantiation ‘bids defiance to all the reason and sense of mankind;’ not Ussher, for he was a Calvinist; not Jewell, for he gave up the Priesthood; nor the Articles, for Dr P. puts an interpretation on them; nor the Prayer book, for he believes about twice as much as the Prayer Book contains. Who before him ever joined the circle of Roman doctrine to the Anglican ritual and polity? . . . converts smile at confession in the Anglican Church; -- they smile, not at those who religiously take part in the ordinance, but at those who out of their own heads invent rites or ceremonies, or again, who borrow the rites, while they disown the authority of the Catholic Church.

(LD xii, 273-274; Letter to Catherine Ward, 25 September 1848)

Now, if we are advocates of doctrines, however true, with no authority to back us, it is the story of the Oxford Tracts over again – we shall be in a false position . . .

(LD xii, 278; Letter to Frederick W. Faber, 4 October 1848)

. . . nor do I think he nor any other anglo-catholic would submit to put down his entire creed on paper, and lay it before the world.

(LD xii, 290; Letter to Catherine Ward, 12 October 1848)

. . . those of its members who are what is called Evangelical, and those who are Liberals, cause a re-action in favour of Catholicism, and those, who take the high line of Dr Pusey, are but educating souls for a communion holier and truer than their own.

(LD xxxii, 277; Letter to C. C. Catcliffe, 6 January 1867)

Be sure there is as much chance of my turning an Anglican again as of my being . . . the King of Clubs. . . . the Anglican Church is . . . a mere collection of men, a mere national body, a human society. . . . [I would be] the most asinine, as well as the most ungrateful of men, if I left that Gracious Lord who manifests Himself in the Catholic Church, for those wearisome Protestant shadows, out of which of His mercy he has delivered me.

(LD xxv, 200; Letter to an Anglo-Catholic friend in August [?] 1870; cited in Ker, 656-657)

It is undeniable that the Anglican Church has retained large portions of the Catholic doctrine and ritual; so far forth as it has done so, of course it will be called anti-Christian by those who call Rome pure Antichrist.

(Ess. ii, sec. XI, footnote 2 from 1871)

I have said that these Lectures are "more or less" directed against points in Catholic teaching, and that I should consider "how far," because it must be borne in mind that the formal purpose of the Volume was, not an attack upon that teaching, but the establishment of a doctrine of its own, the Anglican Via Media. It only indirectly comes into collision with the theology of Rome. That theology lay in the very threshold of the author's experiment; he came across it, whether he would or no, and, while he attacked it at considerable length in its details, he adopted its main principles and many of its conclusions; and, as obliterating thereby or ignoring the very rudiments of Protestantism, he acted far more as an assailant of the religion of the Reformation than of what he called "Popery." . . . large portions of these Lectures are expositions, nay, recommendations of principles and doctrines, recognized in the Catholic Church . . . the Via Media, . . . a doctrine, wanting in simplicity, hard to master, indeterminate in its provisions, and without a substantive existence in any age or country. . . . I readily grant in particular that there is much truth in Anglican teaching, and that, so far, it does and will, while it lasts, powerfully affect the multitude of men, to whom it comes; but I cannot allow to the Church of England itself what is true of much of its teaching and many of its teachers, for that teaching and those teachers, who are so effective, know nothing of the Via Media.

(VM i, Preface to the Third Edition, 1877)

. . . he found in early history a veritable Via Media in both the Semi-Arian and the Monophysite parties, and they, as being heretical, broke his attachment to middle paths.

(VM i, Introduction; footnote 3 from 1877)

Baptism marks individuals with an indelible character; but what spiritual promises have been made from heaven to the Anglican Church, as such? . . . The Almighty chose the race of Abraham to be His people, in a sense in which He has not chosen the Anglo-Saxons. We cannot argue from Jerusalem to Canterbury and York. . . . where is any promise of divine Providence to the Anglican communion, when visibly separated from the visible Catholic Church?

(VM i, Lecture 14; footnotes 4, 7, and 12 from 1877)

It is a body altogether cut off from the Church. It not only denounces the Holy See, but it has allied itself with Protestantism. Its highest Churchmen have looked favourably on the Nestorians and Monophysites. It allows its Clergy to preach all manner of false doctrines, to deny the grace of baptism, to treat the Holy Eucharist as a mere outward rite, and to make light of the necessity of ordination. It cannot interpret its own formulas and definitions, and it cannot say what it holds and what it does not hold. Therefore I cannot concern myself with the question of the validity of its orders.

(LD xxxii, 385; Letter to an Unknown Correspondent; undated, but thought [by the editors] to be from either December 1878 or January 1879)

A barrister, a dear friend of mine was converted to the Catholic Church, because, he said, the Church of England had taken the step of leaving the great Catholic body, and its first duty was to come back again. So I say now – the move toward union, must first be taken by the party who committed the schism. When some Anglican ecclesiastic of name can be found to come to us and say he wishes, and is empowered, to lay before the Holy Father the repentant feelings existing and growing in the Church of England for the deeds of the 16th century, I shall receive the tidings with great joy and thankfulness.

(LD xxxii, 468; Letter to an Unknown Correspondent, 18 September 1885)

SOURCES

Ess. ii Essays Critical and Historical, vol. 2 (1840-1842, 1846 / 1871; London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1907)

Ker [Ian Ker]: John Henry Newman: A Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988)

LD xi The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, Vol. XI: Littlemore to Rome: October 1845 to December 1846 (edited by Charles Stephen Dessain, London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1961)

LD xii The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, Vol. XII: Rome to Birmingham: January 1847 to December 1848 (edited by Charles Stephen Dessain, London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1962)

LD xxv The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, Vol. XXV: The Vatican Council, January 1870 to December 1871 (edited by Charles Stephen Dessain, Oxford University Press, USA, 1974)

LD xxxii The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, Vol. XXXII: Supplement (edited by Francis J. McGrath, Oxford University Press, USA, 2008)

VM i The Via Media of the Anglican Church: Illustrated in Lectures, Letters and Tracts Written Between 1830 and 1841, vol. 1; aka Lectures on the Prophetical Office of the Church (1837 / 1877; London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 3rd edition, 1901)

My Book, Orthodoxy and Catholicism: A Comparison, to be Read by Bishops and Priests in the Czech Republic

 
I received a letter from Bishop Ladislav Hučko: Bishop - Apostolic Exarch of the Greek-Catholic Church, in Prague (Byzantine Rite). He asked for permission to reprint up to 200 copies of my book, Orthodoxy and Catholicism: A Comparison (already translated into Czech) for his priests and fellow Czech bishops.

There are eight Bohemian bishops in the Czech Republic and five Moravian bishops. The country has eight dioceses and an Apostolic Exarchate. In the Archdiocese of Prague alone there are 378 parishes with 216 priests, serving 370,000 Catholics. It's not clear exactly who will receive copies of my book, but it appears to be all priests and bishops.

This is extremely exciting news. I don't receive one cent, but that is quite beside the point. I never began this apostolate with the motive to make a lot of money. I just need to pay my bills and support my family of six. God has always provided our needs, since I've been doing this full-time (beginning in December 2001). My goal and purpose is to spread the word of the gospel and of the fullness of faith to be found in the Catholic Church. Various of my books or papers have also been translated into Spanish, Portugese, French, and probably some other languages, too. Therefore, I was more than happy to grant permission, free of any charge or royalties.

All I asked Bishop Ladislav in return, was for his prayers for my apostolate, and the prayers of anyone receiving my book. God's grace and prayer are ultimately the causes of any fruits achieved in this work. I simply need to be obedient to my calling. As Jesus said: "the harvest is ready . . ."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

On Credibility, Conspiracies, and Caution (Guest Post by David Palm Re: Robert Sungenis)

As I had begun to write this piece, word went out from the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity about evidence they have found regarding significant wrong-doing by their member, Fr. John Corapi.  I had been told about this breaking scandal a few weeks ago by a friend, who was absolutely convinced that Fr. Corapi had done nothing wrong and that the whole thing is a set-up.  Indeed, there are hundreds, if not thousands of Catholics who, at least right now, believe that "They" are out to get Fr. Corapi.

It's a theme that plays out again and again on the Internet.  "They" are all lying to you.  "They" are all trying to lead you astray.  "They" are all corrupt.  Now, let me tell you the "Real Truth" that "They" don't want you to know.  (And oh, by the way, won't you buy my book and send me a generous donation so that I can continue my important work of exposing "Them"?)

Watch out.

Fr. Corapi had a reputation for "telling it like it is", for being blunt and bold in his teaching.  People like that, they gravitate toward it.  And now, with allegations breaking out about his personal conduct, some refuse to look at any evidence that might call Father's credibility into question.  It is all about him.  "They" are out to get him.

And yet, the evidence is coming in and with it serious questions about his credibility.  Phil Lawler has an excellent piece on this—"Corapi: Why were warning signs ignored?"—which can serve as a paradigm for other such situations.

An Emerging Pattern

What other such situations?  Well let's say someone claims to be a "prophet" and insists that "They" is an entire ethnic group.  Maybe "They" are the Jews, who are alleged to be the "slave masters" and somehow responsible for more or less anything bad that happens.  Let's say that someone claims that "They" represents pretty much every scientist for the past three hundred years, including eminent Catholic and other Christian scientists, who, with respect to the true nature of the universe "Know It, But They're Hiding It" from ordinary people.  Or let's say that someone claims that "They" are all the popes of the last three hundred years and all the bishops in communion with them, who should have been teaching against what is claimed to be a "formal heresy" but who have been inept or cowardly, duped by conspiracy and subterfuge or purposely subversive.

With claims like those, wouldn't you say that this "prophet's" personal character and credibility might just be an important factor in evaluating how seriously to take such claims?

I've been bemused in the ongoing debate over neo-geocentrism that whenever the general credibility of its main proponent, Bob Sungenis, is called into question the hue and cry goes up from his supporters that it's a fallacious ad hominem attack.  Here's just the latest example:

It never fails to amaze me how when the subject of geocentrism is discussed on the Internet on forums such as this you will almost invariably find people engaging in immediate ad hominem attacks against those individuals who have expressed a belief in geocentrism.  This is especially true in the case of Robert Sungenis (posted by James B. Philips).

What makes this complaint particularly amusing is that it's deployed in defense of a person who has an entire appendix in his book Galileo Was Wrong entitled, "The Personal Lives of: Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Einstein".  And not just there, but throughout the pages of both volumes of GWW, Bob accuses those men and others of a whole panoply of moral failings including lying, subterfuge, homosexuality/pederasty, adultery, occult practices, plagiarism (oh, what irony!—see below), theft, and murder.  He seems to have no problem with weaving these observations into his public talks.  Bob clearly believes that these alleged moral failings are germane to the discussion of whether their scientific views are correct. But his own behavior is somehow off-limits when it comes to these discussions.  This is just one more example of "one standard for me and another for thee" when it comes to Bob Sungenis.

Wikipedia notes on the argumentum ad hominem that:

The ad hominem is normally described as a logical fallacy, but it is not always fallacious; in some instances, questions of personal conduct, character, motives, etc., are legitimate and relevant to the issue. (my emphasis)

Now, a genuinely fallacious ad hominem attack would be something like, "Fr. Corapi must be guilty because you know how those Italians are," or "You can't believe a word Bob says because he's Italian." (Which is in practice what Bob does with Jews, by the way—if you're a Jew or he even suspects that you might be a Jew, you're suspect.)

But there is no logical fallacy in saying that the views of someone who regularly proves himself to be sloppy, inaccurate, and at times downright malicious ought to be taken cum grano salis, with a hefty grain of salt.


What About Bob?

So what about Bob?  It seems clear that Bob loves to stir up dissension, animosity and controversy because he's been doing it for the better part of 35 years. In Surprised by Truth, he fittingly entitled his autobiographical account, "From Controversy to Consolation." According to Sungenis himself, he left the Catholic faith in early adulthood and spent the next 18 years embroiling himself in one controversy after another. In his conversion story, Bob reveals something significant about his temperament and his manner of searching for truth. For example, here's his account of a conversation with a friend named Gerry Hoffman who disagreed with him in regard to religion:

"My conversation with Gerry [Hoffman] was different. Even though I gave him a few of the standard objections to Catholic doctrines, for some reason, his answers did not make me feel combative. In fact, his explanations made me feel like listening instead of attacking. As those who knew me at that time would have attested, this was not my normal response to a conversation about politics or religion -- especially religion."
There are numerous other examples in his autobiographical conversion story that illustrate his penchant for creating dissension, animosity and controversy (see e.g. here).

The time of "consolation" to which he refers occurred immediately after his reversion to the Catholic faith. At that time, he had a season of grace and relative peace that allowed him to produce his fine “Not by” series. Sadly, that season passed and he's returned to his old ways.

For the past decade, he's returned to extreme controversialism – attacking and slandering Jews, his own bishop, and many others.  We have recently taken the opportunity to yet again defend Bishop Kevin Rhoades against Bob's unjust attacks.  In this vein I wrote:

Given the seriousness of the charge and the office of the one against whom it is leveled, I think it’s very fair to ask, is this the sort of man to bring a charge against a successor of the Apostles?  Has he been fair and just in his dealings with others?  Has he comported himself well with those who are outside our Faith?  Has he been responsible and accurate in his handling of his sources?  Does he have the marks of a “prophet”, as he self-styles himself?

Does Bob have the credibility to support such serious accusations?  The record indicates not.  Although this incident with Bishop Rhoades is the most egregious example, unfortunately there is a long-standing pattern of this sort of behavior from Bob.

Long-standing indeed.  A partial list of additional individuals to whom Bob has attributed inaccurate or fraudulent quotes include: Pope John Paul II, Gen. Tommy Franks, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Congressman John Rarick, mathematician Clifford Truesdell, Benjamin Ginsberg, Gen. Ariel Sharon, Carl Sagan, David Brooks, Jerry Falwell, Bill Cork, Leon Suprenant and Mike Sullivan of CUF, Roy Schoeman, Michael Forrest, Mark Shea, Christopher Blosser, Michael Lopez, and David Palm.

These are fully documented here:  Sungenis and the Jews--Fraudulent Quotes

But the most egregious example by far is Bob's continued accusations against Bishop Rhoades, which the bishop himself has called "slanderous and erroneous".  Bob has accused His Excellency of promoting a pro-Jewish heresy to “unsuspecting Catholics” because he has greater “allegiances” to Jewish causes than to the Catholic faith.  The charges themselves are absolutely false, but to make matters worse Bob has attempted to prop up those accusations with a narrative that is shot through with demonstrable falsehoods and self-contradictions.  This has been documented here:

Bishop Rhoades and the Dual Covenant Theory

An Open Invitation to Bob Sungenis

A Defense of Bishop Rhoades from More False Accusations by Robert Sungenis

Sungenis' Own Standards of Heresy: Why Don't They Apply to Bishop Rhoades?

He's back to attacking popes (see here). When he's confronted about his behavior, he typically lashes out and blames everyone else. He even accuses his critics of secretly being Jews (for but the latest case of this click here - go down to the last comment posted by Jared Olar).

I alluded above to the rich irony of Bob Sungenis, of all people, accusing Albert Einstein of plagiarism.  It cannot be put more delicately than to say that Bob is a habitual plagiarist.  According to the definition given by Bob's own alma mater, plagiarism is, "intentionally representing the words, ideas, or sequence of ideas of another as one's own in any academic exercise; failure to attribute any of the following: quotations, paraphrases, or borrowed information."  A large body of evidence for his literary theft been marshaled here, but I would urge the reader at the very least to read two pieces that document the most egregious examples: Dr. Bill Cork's "Antisemitism and the Catholic Right" (section 3) and my own "Sungenis Comes Full Circle".  There Bob's words are placed side-by-side with the sources from which he plagiarized them.  He has recently reproduced the essay critiqued in "Sungenis Comes Full Circle" in his most recent "book" The Catholic/Jewish Dialogue and put it on sale—particularly ironic considering the fact that Bob previously sought to redefine "plagiarism" by restricting it solely to those materials which one steals and then sells for personal gain.  Even by Bob's own self-servingly restricted (and false) definition he's certainly committed plagiarism now.

Bob now owns a phony "Ph.D." from a New Age diploma mill.  He self-styles himself as a "prophet" in the tradition of Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Jeremiah.  He claims that, for centuries, the popes have submerged and obscured what is really the official teaching of the Catholic Church on geocentrism.  And on the scientific front he sets his personal views of cosmology against the studied consensus of the entire scientific community for the past three hundred years.

Bob regularly peddles a whole panoply of conspiracy theories including, but not nearly limited to: NASA faked the lunar landings, the attacks of 9/11 were an "inside job" and the Jewish owner of WTC Building 7 purposely leveled that building with pre-set explosives, NASA creates crop circles to "get our minds off the Bible and Christ", the Jews sent Monica Lewinski in to take Bill Clinton down because they didn't like his foreign policy toward Israel, and so on....

And this kind of thinking even muddles his biblical commentary, which he and most people consider his greatest strength. For example, he has insisted in multiple places that the “context” for Romans 11 and St. Paul’s teaching on the Jews is the destruction of Jerusalem in A. D. 70, which took place at least twelve years after Romans was written and 3 years after St. Paul was dead! On this and other related issues see “The Theology of Prejudice”, “The Pope’s ‘Blunder’ or Sungenis’ Prejudice?”, and “Sungenis on Romans 11: Theological Bias in Biblical Exegesis”. Notice too that Bob hasn't been able to get an imprimatur on any of his works for many years now, having been turned down multiple times (see here.)

Returning to the topic of neo-geocentrism, it seems to me that Galileo Was Wrong is just more controversialism and sensationalism brought forth by someone trying to make a name for himself. He’s repeatedly misused the name “Catholic” to give him an appearance of authority that he doesn’t rightly possess – harming the Church in the process – and that’s exactly why he was told by his bishop to stop calling his organization “Catholic.”

Why Don't They See It?

One thing that has long puzzled me is how certain individuals continue to cling to Bob as credible long after they should have known better.  In part this can be explained by a phenomenon that we noted long ago, namely, that the more Bob's apostolate comes to be defined by fringe conspiracy theories the more he will draw his supporters from like-minded crackpots and cranks.  Crackpots and cranks are, by definition, seriously lacking in common sense.

But this is not to suggest that Sungenis' small group of followers is comprised exclusively of dimwits and social misfits.  For example, the Media Director at Robert Sungenis' website, Laurence Gonzaga, has a master's degree in child psychology and will soon be working to earn his doctorate in psychology.  He has a nice conversion story, is a catechist at several parishes in the Diocese of San Bernardino, and seems like a bright young man.  But, especially in light of his training in psychology, it's particularly odd that Gonzaga doesn't seem to see the problems with Bob, his behavior and the content of his teachings.

I know this is a lot of information. But in light of the sad, unfolding Fr. Corapi debacle, I thought it important to bring forth. Everybody likes a straight shooter. But when there are warning signs that something is seriously amiss, prudence says you'd better watch out. The warning signs are all over this. Don't let your loyalties be blind.

The upshot of all of this is that matters of character and credibility are highly important, especially if someone is claiming to be a "prophet" while peddling sweeping conspiracy theories.  As we continue to explore the various aspects of neo-geocentrism and its supporters' claims to be in possession of the "true" teaching of the Catholic Church and the "real" scientific truth, it makes a lot of sense to consider the source.