Did Christ Establish a Church with an Expiration Date?

LAST supper

There is a popular and recurrent theme amongst many non-Catholic Christians that the promises given to Peter and Christ’s gift to him of the keys (to bind and loose), is not indicative of an office per se but a one time gift to Peter and that when Peter died so did the keys vanish with him. Likewise, using the same logic, the powers given to the Apostles after Christ breathed on them and gave them the power to forgive sins was also buried with them at their deaths. Thereby, any Christian Church is no better than any other as nobody has a special gift of the Holy Spirit to lead them to all truths. It died when the apostles died and its a great way to avoid any notion of there being any reliable and lasting authority in the practice and teaching of Christianity no matter the claims.

I like to be logical about these things so here is what bothers me about such notions.

If that is the case then all churches have become corrupted in their belief, teachings and their practices; as fallen creatures, men have a habit of doing that. There is thereby no inerrant authority to pronounce on a doctrine and there is no authority to stop the next generation from altering or actually opposing what was taught previously. There is neither a way to evaluate one church against another nor the changes that are on-going that may and do overturn previous teaching. It is simply ‘growth’ and ‘development’ due to the times and each church has a right to do as it sees fit. Even if people sit up and claim that they are not syncretists or believers in relativism it is all that is left unless an authority is still alive and working in this world.

If we believe that Christ sent us the Holy Spirit to dwell in the Church and to lead it to all Truth then Christ let us down or the Holy Spirit decided to lead a large variety of separate beliefs even though they hold contrary doctrines and teachings. That would make the Holy Spirit capable of blessing the notion that 2+2=4 in one church and 2+2=5 in another church or any other novel answer that a church might come up with. Now that kind of authority is not authority at all but permissiveness which claims that error is on a par with truth. And I doubt that is what Christ had in mind when He said that He would not leave us as orphans; can it really mean that he’ll support whatever anybody wants to believe in their own version of Christianity?

Sadly, if these gifts died with the Apostles, then the Nicene Creed and the Canon of Scripture were simply unauthorized man-made decisions that have no actual authority to compel one to believe them. And if we do somehow believe these for some personal reason, there is no authoritative reason that each of us should understand and interpret their meaning in the same way. A free for all ensues religiously and we are really no better off than the personal preferences that the pagans had for the gods of their choice. We are free to do as we like and nobody is right and nobody is wrong. Its only defensible in as good as are the apologists of each particular church or individual if they think that a personal belief, without a church, is all that is needed. In fact, if the church has no authority, then these people without a church are the most honest of all Christians.

Furthermore, is there then an expiration date on the necessity of Baptism, or of Belief and is it enough to say that God is Love and Mercy and that nobody will suffer loss and that all will find heavenly beatitude? For we can refer to Scripture and interpret our new form of Christianity based upon our personal preferences. For me; I think I very much like the idea that we all go to heaven and nobody will suffer. But others are free to make up their own minds and who is to say that they are wrong. Certainly not an authority that had a very short expiration date which died with the apostles. So, Who am I to judge?

It is very alluring to think that because we hold certain truths in common that the churches are basically the same. And without a clear authority that is the only conclusion one could rationally come up with if we are to believe that Christianity is not a hoax even though Christ did renege on His promises to the apostles and to the Church He founded.

So I chose the Catholic Church and think that it is still the Church that continues to have the authority that was vested in Peter and the apostles. For if it no longer exists then Christianity in my mind no longer is believable and is totally devoid of any veracity that it may once have had. In fact it is proven logically to have been a sham.

Thank God, however, the dogmas and teachings of the Catholic faith are never overturned and continue to operate from their inclusion into our body of faith, until the end of time as we know it. We do not one day wake up and decide that contraception is now OK, or that same sex marriage is now acceptable. We argue these issues and there are some who would love to change our teachings; but alas, they can’t. It is the protection of the authoritative nature that I would have expected the Church founded by Christ to have built into Her very DNA. And that is why I am Catholic. For without this assurance I am not sure that I would believe anything at all.

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Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Archives: Catechism & Catechesis

The following is from the easily followed book by Father John A. Hardon, S.J.  I would like to present a few of the articles that have been troubling a number of folks recently concerning, grace, love, the moral law, the Old Law and the New Law etc. Depending on the response I shall reproduce a few of these to see if we can open a dialogue concerning these principles. The entire section I am working from Part Three: The Life in Christ, can be found here.

Article 1: The Moral Law

The moral law is the work of divine wisdom. It is at once a paternal instruction and a divine pedagogy. It prescribes for man the ways and rules of conduct that lead to the promised beatitude.

(1950)

843. What is law?

Law is a rule of conduct decreed by the competent authority in view of the common good.

(1951)

844. What does the moral law presuppose?

It presupposes the rational order established among creatures for their good and in view of their destiny by the power, wisdom, and goodness of the Creator.

(1951)

845. Where does all law find its truth?

All law finds its first and last truth in the eternal law.

(1951)

846. What are the expressions of the moral law?

They are varied and yet all interrelated. Thus, there are:

  • the eternal law, the source in God of all laws;
  • the natural law;
  • the revealed law, which includes the Old Law and the New Law of the Gospel;
  • the civil and ecclesiastical laws.

(1952)

847. Where does the moral law find its fullness and unity?

In the person of Jesus Christ. He is at once the end or purpose of the law and the way of perfection. He alone teaches and confers the justice of God.

(1953)

848. What is the natural law?

It is the law written in the soul of all men because our human reason orders us to do good and forbids sin. Its binding power comes from a higher Reason, which we are to obey.

(1954)

849. Where do we find the principle commandments of the natural law?

We find them in the Decalogue, or the Ten Commandments, given to Moses and elevated by Christ in His Sermon on the Mount.

(1955)

850. What are some notable features of the natural law?

The natural law is universal; its authority extends to all human beings. Its applications vary, but its basic principles unify the whole human race. It is unchangeable over the centuries of history, and even when denied or rejected, its basic principles cannot be destroyed.

(1956-1958)

851. What are the benefits of the natural law?

The natural law provides a solid foundation for guiding the human community in moral living. It gives the necessary grounds for civil laws and wise judicial decisions.

(1959)

852. Are the precepts of the natural law perceived clearly and immediately by everyone?

No, because of the darkening of man’s intellect by sin. That is why God provided revelation and grace, so that the basic truths of religion and morality would “be known by everyone, with facility, with firm certitude, and with no admixture of error” (First Vatican Council, Dei Filius, 2).

(1960)

853. What is the first stage of the revealed law?

It is the Old Law summed up in the Ten Commandments, given to Moses on Mount Sinai.

(1961-1962)

854. How is the Old Law imperfect?

It is imperfect because already before the coming of Christ it had to be completed by the prophetic and wisdom revelation of the Old Testament. But it is mainly imperfect because it had to be fulfilled by the teaching and life of Jesus Christ.

(1963)

855. How is the Law of Moses a preparation for the Gospel?

It foretells the work of redemption of the Savior, and provides the New Testament with images, types, and symbols for expressing the life of the Spirit.

(1964)

856. What is the New Law of the Gospel?

The New Law of the Gospel is the perfection here below of the natural and revealed divine law. Moreover:

  • It is the grace of the Holy Spirit given to believers by their faith in Christ.
  • It surpasses the Old Law, as seen in the Beatitudes, which direct God’s promises beyond this world to the kingdom of Heaven.
  • In the Sermon on the Mount, it does not add new external precepts but reforms our actions in the heart.
  • It directs our acts of religion to the Father, who sees in secret. Its prayer is the Our Father.
  • It is summed up in Christ’s teaching to do everything to others as we would have them do to us.
  • It is expressed in Christ’s new commandment that we should love one another as He has loved us.

(1965-1970)

857. How is Christ’s Sermon on the Mount amplified?

By the moral catechesis of the apostolic teaching, for example, the letters of St. Paul to the Romans, Corinthians, Colossians, and Ephesians. This catechesis shows that we are to treat cases of conscience in the light of our relation to Christ and the Church.

(1971)

858. Why is the New Law called the law of love, grace, and freedom?

  • It is called the law of love because it is animated by the love infused by the Holy Spirit, rather than by fear.
  • It is called the law of grace because it confers the supernatural power of grace to observe the New Law by means of faith and the sacraments.
  • It is called the law of freedom because it frees us from the ritual and juridical observances of the Old Law; it inclines us to act spontaneously under the impulse of charity; and it leads us from the state of servants to that of Christ’s friends.

(1972)

859. What are the evangelical counsels?

They are invitations extended by Christ to His followers not only to avoid sin, or whatever is incompatible with love, but to choose ways that are more direct and means that are more effective expressions of love. The counsels seek to remove whatever would impede the development of charity.

(1973-1974)

860. Are the followers of Christ to practice the counsels?

Yes, but according to each person’s grace from God and vocation in life. In the words of St. Francis de Sales, God wants us to observe “only those appropriate to the diversity of persons, times, opportunities, and strengths, as love requires” (Love, 8,6).

(1974)

A Review of Common Fallacies that Weaken Arguments. | Archdiocese of Washington

 

It occurs that our capacity to converse and to set forth arguments for the truth are often hindered today on account of many factors. One of those factors is a paradoxical relationship between a kind of skepticism and and exaggerated insistence on absolute proof that results. The fact is, absolute certitude in our human condition is rare, and to insist on it is usually unreasonable. This of course does not mean that firm certitude cannot be had in many matters as well as lesser degrees that remain a firm confidence as to the facts in a matter.

On Monday there was posted a reflection on the nature of thinking (Here)and argumentation and there was a promise of a follow-up. Herein is an attempt at that follow-through. First a quick review of Monday’s post:

We can distinguish two types of argumentation: Deductive and inductive.

via A Review of Common Fallacies that Weaken Arguments. | Archdiocese of Washington.

Barnhardt.biz – On The Immaculate Conception & Science

Posted by Ann Barnhardt – December 8, AD 2012 6:28 PM MST

This piece was very popular last year, and since there are a lot more eyes here than a year ago, it is worth a repost today, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Here’s your Christian catechesis for the weekend. First, who exactly is the Immaculate Conception? Most Catholics today are so incredibly ignorant and poorly catechized in their faith that a sickening number would say that Jesus is who the term Immaculate Conception is referring to. That would be wrong. Mary is the Immaculate Conception.

And here is where all of the non-Catholics begin to feel a distinct tightening in the solar plexus, a rush of blood to the face, a clenching of the jaw and a grinding of the teeth. Why? Because any mention of Mary other than as a human brood mare, and only around Christmastime – engenders RAGE amongst the Protesters. Why? Because, apparently, Mary draws people’s attention away from Jesus instead of pointing people TOWARD Him. Because, apparently, Jesus takes absolutely no delight in any of us, most especially His own mother, is insanely jealous of His own creation and thus hates His own mother, and demands that nobody EVER so much as LOOK at her, much less LOVE her, because Jesus is extremely insecure and just can’t handle people observing, loving and appreciating beauty in HIS OWN CREATION, even though everything in the universe was made by Him and through Him.

So every time a parent looks at their child in love, Jesus gets all mad. And every time a man looks at his wife in love, Jesus gets all mad. And every time a son looks at his mother in love, Jesus gets all mad. And every time a man looks at the mountains, or a sunset, or up at the stars in loving wonder and appreciation, Jesus gets all mad. And every time a person looks in loving appreciation at a beautiful painting, or building, or reads a beautiful bit of prose or poetry, or gazes upon a particularly elegant bit of mathematics or even computer programming code . . . JESUS GETS ALL MAD.

Do I have that about right, y’all? Snorf.

Anywho, back to the Immaculate Conception. This doctrine and non-negotiable tenet of Christianity teaches that Mary was, by the grace of God, prevented from carrying the stain of Original Sin from the moment of her conception. Mary was saved from sin by her Son, like all of the other faithful, it is just that the timing of her salvation was different from everyone else. This is why Mary calls God “my Savior” in her Magnificat in Luke 1:46-55. Instead of letting Mary fall in the mud puddle of sin like the rest of us, God stuck out His Arm back through time from the Cross and kept her from falling in the mud puddle – but if it wasn’t for God’s positive action of reaching out across time from the Cross and holding her from falling, she would have fallen. This is called “grace”, and is what the Angel Gabriel was referring to when he greeted Mary at the Annunciation with the words, “Hail! Full of grace! The LORD is with thee. Blessed art thou among women.” Luke 1:28

Full of grace means FULL. OF. GRACE.

How full is full? Full is totally full. To the brim. Full does not mean half-full or mostly-full. Full means full. Mary was FULL OF GRACE. And because Mary was FULL of grace, there was absolutely no room for sin. Mary didn’t sin because God her Savior had filled her with grace and therefore she just COULDN’T sin. Most of us reading this have a tiny taste of what this is like. For example, I^m guessing that everyone reading this, if handed a baby would be incapable of killing that baby. We just COULDN’T do it. No matter what threat was made against us, no matter what the adverse consequences to our own lives might be, we would take any adverse consequence before killing that baby. We are simply incapable of performing that act. Why? What is that internal force of energy that prevents us from committing acts of evil even when under intense duress and threat? It is grace. Pure and simple.

2012 editorial update: Apparently this example is somewhat iffy today, as almost every one of you would happily kill a baby with your tax dollars, as long as your tax dollars pay someone else to actually do the limb-ripping and decapitation of said baby behind closed doors. But I digress.

Sadly, most of us have a little grace, but are not in any way FULL of grace. I am personally much closer to being full of crap than of grace (which many of you have already pointed out to me, thank you very much), hence the daily, persistent, repeated sinning on my part. And I suspect it is a similar situation with you, dear reader, with the grace-to-crap ratio being much higher for you than for me. I really am quite full of crap.

With Mary there was no crap because God her Savior had FILLED her with grace, and thus there was no room for crap, and thus there was no sin. It’s really just 2nd grade math if you think about it. But WHY? Why was it essential for Mary to be sinless and sinless from the moment of her conception?

That’s where the science comes in.

There are two phases to Mary’s existence. The first phase was from the moment of her conception until the Annunciation, which is when Jesus was conceived in her womb. The second phase was from that moment of conception forward for all eternity. Each phase has its own physiological delight attached to it which required Mary to be a sinless vessel for Our Lord.

First, the pre-Annunciation period. As it turns out, all baby girls have all of the eggs that are ever going to be in their ovaries fully formed not just at birth, but fairly early in their fetal development phase. Unlike men who are continuously producing new sperm, a woman’s eggs aren’t created and formed with each menstrual cycle. All that is happening during a cycle is that an egg, which has been fully formed in a woman’s body since she was a pre-born fetus, is released into the reproductive tract. What this means theologically is that the egg containing the 23 chromosomes that God would miraculously fertilize with 23 chromosomes that He miraculously supplied (including a Y chromosome) to become the Word Made Flesh, Jesus Christ, was physically present inside Mary’s body from the time that Mary was inside of her mother’s womb.

That egg, and those chromosomes, that physical constituent of Our Blessed Lord was present inside of Mary’s body, waiting to be . . . if I may use the word . . . consecrated. The word consecrate, when broken into its Latin components means:

Con: With

Secr: Holy

Ate: Territory of a Ruler

And so, Mary was, from the time she was inside St. Ann’s womb, already carrying a portion of Our Lord’s physicality, namely 23 of His chromosomes. And thus Mary was, from her very beginning, already a tabernacle, already the Ark of the New Covenant, carrying within her what would be consecrated into The Law Incarnate, The High Priest, and The Bread of Life, directly analogous to the Old Ark, except perfected and fully fulfilled as God Incarnate. And as we know from the book of Exodus, the Old Ark had to be “pure within and without” (Exodus 25:11). And thus, the Ark of the New Covenant was truly pure within and without, except this purity was a purity that only God Himself could accomplish: the purity of Mary, full of grace and thus saved from all sin.

The second phase is actually broken into two sub-phases. The first sub-phase is when Mary was pregnant with Jesus and His entire body was inside of hers. The second phase is that phase from the time of Jesus’ birth forward into all eternity.

Jesus is STILL physically inside of Mary in a unique way. It was discovered just a few short years ago that immune cells pass from a pre-born child to the mother across the placenta. Not only do these immune cells, which are the child’s and thus carry the exclusive DNA of the child, pass across the placenta, but they persist in the mother’s body for the rest of her life. A woman who has carried a son has immune cells with Y-chromosomes in her bloodstream that can now be filtered out of her blood and observed. Female children also pass cells to their mothers. Thus, a woman truly does carry her children around inside of her, with their DNA coursing through her heart, for the rest of her life. That isn’t just a sentiment, it is a physiological fact.

Thus, Mary continued and continues to this day to be a perpetual, living tabernacle of her Son, as she carries cells with His DNA in her bloodstream. And so now we see why Mary had to be filled with grace and thus saved from the stain of sin from the moment of her conception eternally forward, because she was and is a perpetual Ark of the New Covenant.

This also explains why Mary’s body was assumed into heaven, body and soul, immediately at the end of her earthly life, because her body literally contained living cells of Our Lord and thus her body could not remain on earth in physical death to decay in any way. She simply was afforded the same physical resurrection that all of the faithful will receive, albeit instantaneously for her, given her very special state, both spiritually and physically. This is what is doctrinally referred to as “The Assumption”. The Feast of the Assumption is August 15th.

Finally, if you are reading this and it has made you the least bit angry, you need to sit down and ask yourself one excruciatingly simple question: WHY?

(This is in German – beautiful.)

via Barnhardt.biz – Commodity Brokerage.

Catholic In The Ozarks: Converting Protestants – A Secret Method

The Blessed Sacrament exposed

Catholic In The Ozarks: Converting Protestants – A Secret Method.

Get back to Real Catholicism and jettison the watered-down, protestant-like Catholic Lite that is so popular today.

Anglican Convert: Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Anglican Convert: Fr. Dwight Longenecker.

A conversion story: A journey from Methodist, to Anglican, to Catholic.