Saturday, September 30, 2006

Grandma Update

So, as I explained here, my Grandma was put in a nursing home. My father had hoped that would help Grandpa to get out more (since before he had to stay with her or have someone stay with her.) He had hoped Grandpa would come to the shop with him, be able to get back in the habit of his early morning jog/walk, etc. Unfortunately, (and quite understandably) Grandpa refused to do anything but spend every possible moment with Grandma at the nursing home. He drove there every day first thing, ate every meal with her (refusing help from the staff in helping to feed Grandma), and only came home when visiting hours were over. Dad is already worried about his driving, but knowing that he was driving every day and every night back and forth was really worrying him.

So, this weekend Grandma came home. After looking around, my dad was able to find a group of live-in nurses who switch off every week. Grandpa is very happy to have her home again, and now everyone else doesn't have to worry about him needing help with Grandma and not having it immediately.

I think this is a great compromise, and I know I, personally, feel much more at ease living next door to them knowing there is constantly someone available who is trained to help!

Praise God!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Physical and Spiritual Unity in Baptism

A recent post on the ex-CoC board prompted a scriptural explanation of the necessity of physical baptism.

First, we can see a foreshadowing of baptism mentioned in the Old Testament...

There's Noah's ark, where they were saved through the use of water, the Israelites who walked through the Red Sea, Naaman who was cleansed by water...many prefigurations of salvation by some use of water. Also, Ezekiel 36:25–26: "I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you."

God made us physical AND spiritual creatures. It makes sense, then, that baptism is physical AND spritual. Remember that combination, water and spirit, physical and spiritual, as we look at other verses...

In John 3 verse 3, it says "Unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God." 2 verses down, in verse 5, we get an explanation of what being "born anew" means. "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." There's that necessary combination of water and spirit!

There's also Titus 3:5, "He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit." Again, washing (physical) and renewal in the Spirit (spiritual).

Also, in the often-used Acts 2:38, we see this combination: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." We see baptism (physical) and the reception of the gift of the Holy Spirit (spiritual.)

Now, are there times in scripture where only the physical or only the spiritual aspect is mentioned? Absolutely! But affirming one aspect of baptism doesn't indicate that the other aspect is unnecessary. It is clear from writings of early Church fathers that at the beginning of Christianity, both the physical and spiritual aspects of baptism were seen as equally important and completely intertwined, they were seen as united. It wasn't until relatively recently that the idea of symbolic baptism even gained popularity.

The bottom line is, when ALL scripture concerning baptism is considered and taken as a whole, we can easily see that water and the spirit are two aspects of one act, which are often mentioned together, and often mentioned seperately. Talking about the different aspects of baptism seperately, though, does not negate their necessary unity. We certainly could not have the physical without the spiritual and call it baptism - that would just be getting wet. Under normal circumstances*, we could not have the spiritual without the physical because, being physical creatures, God knew we would need the physical part of baptism to know that we have, in fact, received something spiritual since it is invisible. This is exactly why Christ gave us the sacraments, which are by definition outward signs of inward grace - the physical and spiritual united. This is what we're told to do over and over in the scriptures, and there's no reason to think they don't mean what they say.

Personally, I tend to take 1 Pet. 3:21 at face value when it says "Baptism now saves you."

*Certainly, extraordinary circumstances exist, such as baptism by blood and baptism by desire, where the physical aspect, water, is not used. But the existence of exceptions because of God's mercy does not change the normative way which Christ gave us to be added to His Church.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Holy Face of Jesus Christ as appeared on the Holy Eucharist

How cool is this? There are some great Eucharistic miracles (including this one)mentioned in this month's edition of This Rock. Having grown up in a church that didn't believe in modern miracles at all, I love hearing about them now, especially Eucharistic miracles!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Praying for New Life

Yesterday, Camille and I went to pray the rosary with a group of people from our parish in front of an abortion clinic.

I have to say, I've never been more aware of what a precious gift new life is, and what a horror abortion is, than I am now as someone who is trying to conceive and hoping and praying for children of our own. It's so hard to know others are destroying and throwing away what I am longing for. I suppose those are slightly selfish reasons to grieve the tragic destruction of human life...but it's what I feel.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The New Faithful

On the ex-CoC board, this article was posted that I felt described my generation of faithful Catholics (and other orthodox Christians) extremely well.

"...many of today’s young adults are not embracing the hippie ethos of their parents’ generation. Instead, they are embracing traditional morality and religion. Their choice arises not from fear, ignorance, or nostalgia. It springs from an intense and abiding hunger for God, and a deep disillusionment with what they view as the God-substitutes of our post-modern culture."


"The young adults I profiled ranged in age from 18 to 35, with a few exceptions on either end of the spectrum.... Their religious affiliations span the Christian spectrum but my focus – on the churches where this trend is most vibrant – tended to lead me to Catholics and evangelical Protestants."


"The Catholics in this group also strive to follow official Church teachings in their entirety, rather than just “picking and choosing” from among them."


"These new faithful base their morality on truth claims that they believe apply to everyone. That belief that flies in the face of the moral relativism that so many of them were weaned on as children, as well as the prevailing values of our culture."


"I also met many young adults who were raised by religious parents who encouraged their devotion. Though they had always believed in God, these new faithful also told me of powerful adult conversions that led them to integrate their faith more fully into the rest of their lives..."

Sounds familiar!

"Though many of the new faithful – and particularly many young evangelicals – favor contemporary worship, the attraction to tradition among young Protestants, Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox Christians is surprisingly strong. In the course of my interviews, I was struck by how many of the new faithful – including many evangelicals – expressed a deep longing for tradition and sacrament in their worship."

Amen to that!

"This generation wants to experience the mystery of God, and to feel His presence in ways that surpass the intellect. They are drawn to churches that worship with reverence and intention. For a great many of these young adults, the hunger for worship that offers a sense of otherworldliness has led them into the Catholic Church, and to a lesser degree, into Episcopalian and Eastern Orthodox churches. These new faithful – many of whom grew up in non-liturgical megachurches or estranged from the Church altogether – now rave about the beauty of high-church liturgies."

Rock on!

One student summed it up well when I interviewed her outside a Eucharistic adoration chapel on the eve of her 21st birthday, which she had decided to spend in prayer.

She said, “There’s something there. In our hearts, we know the truth. And this holds the truth. It’s not fluff. It’s real.”

Authenticity matters to today’s young adults, and many of the new faithful gravitate to the prayers and practices that their parents’ generation rejected – like the liturgy of the hours and even the Latin Mass. As one seminarian told me, “We’re rebelling against the rebellion. We want tradition.”

Yes, yes, and yes...exactly!

"To paraphrase author Romano Guardini, these young believers do not see religion as a question of old things or new things, but as a question of things eternal."


"Parents, pundits, and youth pastors have long assumed that the next generation wants to be entertained, not challenged; that today’s young adults loathe commitment, and like compromise; that the only way to reach the young with the Gospel is to strip it of its hard truths and preach Christ without the Cross.

As the rising devotion of the new faithful shows, nothing could be further from the truth."

*Wild applause*

"In fact, it is the countercultural quality of Christianity – not cultural accommodation – that is attracting today’s young converts. They want a faith that demands something, means something, changes something. And they favor religious leaders who articulate that faith with clarity and live it with sincerity."


The anti-abortion sentiment among these young Christians often perplexes their elders, who sometimes dismiss it as a result of ignorance or childhood brainwashing.

But the view from the inside is different. These young pro-lifers describe their stand against abortion as more countercultural than conservative, a rebellion against a culture that has failed to defend its weakest members. They wear “Protect Life” stickers on their backpacks and “Rock for Life” t-shirts. One shirt I spotted at the 2001 March for Life seemed to sum up the defiant character of today’s young pro-lifers. It said, “You will not silence my message. You will not mock my God. You will stop killing my generation.”

I especially loved that part, so true.

"But the new faithful are not synonymous with the young Republicans. Many of these young believers do not fall neatly into “liberal” or “conservative” political categories...Their political views often contradict the stereotype that pits conservative theology against concern for social justice.

The new faithful delight in breaking that mold. As one young man told me...“I’m not liberal or conservative. I’m just Catholic – like the Pope.” party should take these voters for granted. In my interviews with the new faithful, nearly all of them repeatedly affirmed one political sentiment: that their votes are cast out of loyalty to biblical morality and the teachings of their faith, not allegiance to any political party."

Hallelujah! Giant CHECK!

"...they are taking steps to center their marriages and families on what they see as the surest possible foundation: their mutual faith.

These young adults pray with spouses and make family worship a priority. Nearly all of the young Catholics in this group and a growing number of the young Protestants are rejecting artificial birth control. Instead, they are using Natural Family Planning to space their children naturally. Many told me that they want to give God more control over their fertility and to have larger families."


"...the rising religiosity of their peers indicates that these young adults may be the early adopters of a larger trend – a trend that has the potential to reshape American religion and culture in the years to come."

I certainly hope so! This article gives me hope, and makes me proud to be a part of this generation of the New Faithful.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Beauty is Truth

When I was a little girl, I always used to love dressing up in pretty dresses with lots of fabric and flowing skirts. I used to see pictures of times past, when women wore flowing dresses, and wish we could wear them today! My sisters used to joke that I was born in the wrong century. Even today, my tastes tend to lean toward the traditional, toward the classic. I used to wonder why I was so drawn to beautiful things...perhaps I was being too superficial? But I think there's more to it. I can't adequately express the difference I feel when listening to a beautiful piece of music written in the 1600s, and listening to a popular modern tune. Nor can I express the difference I feel when looking at a piece of modern art, and feasting on a classical masterpiece. It just seems there is something more there, in those pieces of visual, musical, and literary art created in times seems deeper, more complex, more beautiful, and, I think most importantly, more true to life, more real. And so I think my attraction to beauty, is really at its deepest level an attraction to truth. It's also partly to blame for my conversion, lol. I once read this article, I Was Converted by Mozart, and could completely relate!

A while back, I discovered an artist that moved me in such a profound way, I couldn't stop looking at his works of art! The painting in my title is from him, the painting above is from him as well. His name is William Bouguereau, and he's my favorite artist. I'd never heard of him in any art classes (not that I took many), and yet I find his work so moving, and so REAL. The largest online gallery of his work is here, and I also came to love this site itself for its philosophy and stance on modern art, etc. If you want great prints of beautiful art, check it out!

It seems today we're surrounded by superficiality, and it drives me crazy. I crave truth...deep, complex truth. So much of what is created in our modern world seems to be trying to escape reality, and to turn a blind eye to truth. It's shallow and superficial, it cheaply aims to shock, disgust, or sometimes to please, but with an only temporary saccharine sweetness, since it fails to truly move and inspire. But real and lasting beauty can only be found in reality, in truth. These are the pieces of art, of literature, of music that transcend time and touch everyone, regardless of time or place, art that is true, and grounded in reality. To quote Keats, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty. That is all ye know on Earth, and all ye need to know."

Monday, September 11, 2006


Mark Shea on 9/11.

Beautiful and profound.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithfully departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


I seem to have this odd attraction for bugs, especially roaches, and especially while I'm trying to sleep, which is really BAD because they creep me out. I also seem to have some kind of sixth sense that keeps me awake when they're around. It seems to have started with one particular incident...

Several years ago while living in Tyler, my husband worked overnight and so I usually slept alone. One morning, very early, I suddenly woke up and felt something crawling across my chest. I leapt up and just caught sight of a roach crawling down the side of the bed. I FREAKED out and could not go back to sleep the rest of the morning. For the next several weeks, I had to choose between being comfortably cool, and feeling protected from a roach that might wander onto the bed. Despite my deep hatred for being hot, the only way I could get to sleep was to cover myself head to toe with the covers and tuck them in all around me. After a while, I relaxed a bit, and was able to sleep normally again.

Since that time, though, I don't seem to sleep as deeply as I used to. It used to be nothing could wake me up short of a siren next to my ear...and while that's still true for most mornings, I've often woken up to the smallest sounds, paranoid that it was a bug of some kind. And the scary part is, I've often been right.

For instance, one morning, after we had moved to Austin and Cam was first starting his job, I lay in bed asleep, still extremely tired, but I suddenly woke up. My eyes opened wide and looked around the room in search for anything dark...I didn't see anything. I closed my eyes, exhausted, and tried to return back to sleep. I kept hearing the smallest sounds and then telling myself it was just the creakiness of the house, or a bird outside, etc. I opened my eyes once again, unable to drift back to sleep despite my exhaustion, and saw nearly directly above me, a HUGE roach climbing up the window behind the bed. I shrieked and volted out of the bed. It took me probably half an hour to finally get up the nerve to get close enough to kill it. Once again, I couldn't sleep after that!

Another example is one Saturday morning that Cam and I were lazily lounging in bed after a late night up. The same thing happened...I was tired, I wanted to sleep, but I couldn't. I kept feeling like I was hearing things, but not really hearing things. I kept searching the room, hoping to convince myself there was nothing there. I was halfway between being awake and asleep when I felt compelled to open my eyes again, and just as I did, I saw a roach on the wall, which then fell and half flew, half jumped directly onto the bed!! I screamed and kicked the covers, which fortunately propelled the roach onto the floor. I nearly gave Cam a heart attack by screaming, and we both scrambled out of bed. Another roach hunt ensued (and my dear husband is just as afraid of the nasty critters as I am). We finally found it and killed it, and again my nerves made it hard for me to go back to sleep.

Then, there was this morning. It was early enough in the morning that it was still dark. In fact, I didn't even realize it was morning until later. I was sleeping peacefully when suddenly I awoke for no apparent reason. When this happens to me now, I'm automatically paranoid that there's a bug somewhere, but since it was pitch black, I couldn't even look around to see. I covered my head with the covers, hoped I was wrong, and tried to go back to sleep. I was extremely tired!! But again, a nagging feeling kept me awake and made me extra sensitive to every tiny little noise I heard. I was just starting to drift off when I felt, through the sheet over my head, something crawling. I sat up straight in bed, hoping I had imagined it. My husband had just asked me what was wrong, when I definitely felt something crawling over my hand. I said "roach!" Once again we both jumped out of bed, and Cam went to get the big spotlight. It was still pitch black, and neither of us wanted to venture near the bed to trun the light on there. As soon as he turned on the spotlight, I saw the roach on the side of the bed. Once again, both of us scared out of our wits, we hunted down the roach and killed it. Once again, it took me a long time to go back to sleep.

Why, why, why do I have this annoying bug sense that keeps me awake? If there have to be bugs crawling on me at all, I'd rather I didn't even know about it!!! I'm so tired of the paranoia I get when I wake up for no apparent reason and can't get back to sleep, and even more I'm tired of being right to be paranoid!

I'm not sure why, but apparently St. Dominic of Silos is the patron saint against insects, and saint Gratus of Aosta is the patron saint of insectophobia!

St. Dominic of Silos and St. Gratus of Aosta, pray for us!!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Christmas Stockings!!!

Ok, I'm ashamed to admit I bought a stocking kit for DH...4 or 5 years ago? And STILL haven't finished it!! I've finished the cross-stitching part, but I really need to finish sewing it up in time for next Christmas! I also have one that is almost finished for me, which I also need to assemble. I really, really, want to have both of them done by Christmas, so I'm blogging about it in hopes it will motivate me to get on top of things! Now that I have a sewing machine (birthday present from hubby!) I have no reason to put it off any longer. So...note to self, FINISH CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS!!!!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Back to (Home)School!

Well it was the first day back to homeschooling for my brother, and it went pretty well! We read some Greek Mythology and then practiced some French. The best part is, he was only here for about 3 1/2 hours, yay! Dad was on time, and he says he's trying hard to get in the habit of being on time to school since he'll definitely need to be on time next year when my bro goes to high school. We'll see if it lasts! So here I am with the whole afternoon to myself, and don't have to worry about school until next Monday, woohoo!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

St. Cecilia, Pray for Us

I love my parish, I really of my favorite things is the music. Yes, I'm admittedly a music snob. I just don't like the fluffy Haugen/Haas stuff, it doesn't elevate my thoughts heavenward, it usually just distracts me. This site about sums up my thoughts on the matter. (Disclaimer: this does not mean I think people who like it are evil or somehow less-than, it's just my preference.) At my parish, we're so lucky to have a beautiful professional choir, a talented organist, and a wonderful director of music. At the noon mass, we regularly hear gregorian chant, Haydn, Bach, Palestrina, and even some Mozart. *Blissful sigh* that is nothing less than divine. The hymns are traditional, accompanied by organ only, the congregation actually sings along with the choir, and sometimes I'm even able to break out in harmony, especially if it's a song we sung back in my CoC days. (That's one of the very few things I miss about the Church of Christ...four part harmony written in the hymnals!) It's definitely my cup of tea!

Today, we ended up going to the Sunday evening mass. We go every once in a while when we sleep in on Sunday morning. The music there is very nice too. There's a great classical guitarist who is very good, and usually one cantor who also sings some solos during mass. It's a quiet mass, and very peaceful. Unlike the noon mass, people tend to be a bit more shy about singing. After all, there's no choir and organ to back them up, so it's understandable. Which brings me to my small rant...

There we were, waiting to line up for communion, when the guitarist and the soloist suddenly start playing "On Eagle's Wings," a song that, in my opinion, is more suited for some cheesy broadway play than mass. But it's ok...I grin and bear it. After all, we've heard the guitarist and soloist do "Lord of the Dance" on more than one occasion before. The guitarist and soloist are not overwhelming, so I close my eyes and try to think about Christ with the broadway-sounding tune softly playing in the background, when suddenly I hear....people around me SINGING! "And He will liiiift you up, on eeeeagles' wings..." Wha?? People don't normally sing along with the soloist at this mass during communion, especially when the only hymnal page numbers on display were for the processional and recessional hymns...and on top of that, this song isn't even IN the hymnal we use at our parish!! Why are people singing now when they barely sing the other hymns at all at this mass? After that song was over, "Be Not Afraid" was up next. This one I don't like because of the lyrics, which are written in the first person perspective of God, so that we sing God's part. (See here for more about that.) Again, the song isn't even in our hymnals, and again, people around me were belting it out. I was baffled.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't think there's anything wrong with these people singing along, even though I don't particularly find the songs uplifting...what bothers me is that, in comparison, during the beautiful traditional hymns, for which we have hymnals right in front of us, they were nearly silent. Why? The lyrics from these old hymns are filled with words of such beauty and reverence and obviously Catholic beliefs. The melodies are simple and beautiful and one would think, familiar. is not so. Not to the current generation of mass-goers. Sadly, traditional hymns are rarely played at many parishes. Modern songs dominate the liturgy, songs which are fluffy and annoyingly catchy in the way that pop songs and broadway tunes can know, those songs that get stuck in your head whether you want them to or not. Some of these are songs which are not even always compatible with Catholic teaching, for instance, songs that speak of the Eucharist as if it's merely symbolic. (See here for more about that.) So, it seems the catchiness often overrides the content nowadays. In a word, it seems sadly superficial. And these are the only songs people seem to know well enough to sing by heart.

I suppose some of my angst on this matter comes from my CoC background. I grew up in a church that knew how to sing and sing well. Hymns were always sung in four part harmony, and so it was already hard for me to let go of my beloved alto line and stick to the Catholic unison melody. But I can stand that if at least the hymns are meaningful and thoughtful and lift my thoughts heavenward. If they're none of those things, though, it makes me wonder, what's the point? I can sing a content-light catchy tune anytime, while I'm driving down the road, while I'm cleaning my house. But hymns are supposed to be more than that...aren't they? They're supposed to praise the Lord our God and lift our minds heavenward. Perhaps the modern tunes can acheive that for some...but admittedly, I have a hard time understanding how. Nevertheless, I don't blame the people in the pews for liking the catchy tunes, that's understandable. I do blame liturgical directors and music directors, though, who refuse to consider playing anything that might not "entertain" the masses enough. People will never learn to appreciate what they are never exposed to, and by dismissing all the music from the long history of the Catholic Church, save catchy tunes from the last 40 years or so, they are depriving Catholics of so much.

Well, I suppose that's enough blabbing about that. I must say again that I feel extremely blessed to be a part of such a wonderful parish, which provides beautiful, content-rich and divinely inspiring liturgical music that often moves me to tears. Thanks be to God!

Why Am I Not Surprised?

Well it's official, I've been banned from posting on the Preacher's Files. (Not that I had been planning on engaging in more neverending discussions.) I wasn't even told I had been banned, no explanation why or anything. It certainly couldn't have been for rudeness or insults, as I tried very hard to avoid both. Perhaps they just don't like people explaining their real beliefs and trying to correct misconceptions, as those misconceptions are easily refuted, and the real teachings...not so much. Whatever the reason...I feel like it's rather a compliment coming from them!

Update: Well...I'm not sure if I'm banned or not. There've been some quirky things going on...if I click on a link to PF, it shows me as logged in. If I try to log in sometimes I can and sometimes I can't. When I first noticed I couldn't private message, I tried to see if I could post and it said not authorized...but I just tried again and it let me. I do know all my private messages are gone and I'm not authorized to send or receive PMs.

So, I have no idea what's going on. It would be nice to have some kind of explanation, but until then I can only guess!

Another update: With much thanks to one of the PF mods, the mystery has been solved. There has been a change in who can use PMs in general, and the other stuff must have been computer quirkiness. I'm glad to hear it!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Private Interpretation - Part 2

Continued from Part 1...

I would like to know where the doctrine of infallibility is taught separate and distinct from the doctrine of inspiration. I don't see in any of the evidence that you have presented that such passages are speaking about the doctrine of infallibility only, but rather, infallibility by virtue of inspiration. In other words, what passage says, "Infallibility may be obtained separate and apart from being inspired of the Holy Spirit."

I think we're running into a problem here. I believe that pretty much any time the scriptures mention the Holy Spirit, a CoC person will attach "inspiration" to it, without necessarily being aware of it. So while I'm presenting scriptures that mention the Holy Spirit, and aren't necessarily talking about inspiration, the CoC person is mentally attaching "inspiration" to that scripture, and is then thinking, "But all these are talking about inspiration!" because they have read their interpretation into the text.

Another problem is, again, the Catholic Church doesn't claim that the scriptures explicitly explain every teaching...that's why we have the Church! But because the bible is the only authority for the CoC member, they expect to have BCV (Bible/Chapter/Verse) for any and every doctrine, not only supporting the doctrine or mentioning it in passing, but explaining it specifically. Unfortunately, since the bible was not meant to be an encyclopedia of doctrinal practices and beliefs, that's not always possible. But that's the point, that's why we have the Church.

Now, onto some of the verses mentioned...

Matthew 28:18-20 doesn't teach that.

'Kay, let me simplify...Christ said all authority was His, He then passed on some of that authority, giving his apostles the authority to make disciples of all nations and teach that which He had told them, promising He would be with them even until the end of the world, presumably to protect them from error in this teaching. Now...if he were just saying this to the apostles and not to their successors, I'm not sure why He would mention the "end of the world" part, as He surely knew they'd be gone long before the end of the world. So, infallibly is implied in this verse.

Matthew 16:18 doesn't teach that.

The gates of hell will not prevail. If Christians are led into anything but "all truth," the gates of hell will have prevailed.

John 14-16 certainly don't teach that as those are chapters that clearly discuss inspiration.

It doesn't have to be a dichotomy, you know, inspiration and infallibility are related by the Holy Spirit, so it makes sense they would both be talked about. Certainly he explains the Comfortor (the Holy Spirit) will come and teach them truth, but He also says that Comfortor, the Spirit of TRUTH will be with them FOREVER. If it weren't for that, certainly we could say He was speaking of initial inspiration and revelation, but it seems this would also include infallibility, as this too is an act of the Holy Spirit. How could we say the Spirit of Truth was with the Church forever and maintain that the truth of God's Word is left in the hands of fallible interpreters? That would be completely contradictory.

1 Timothy 3:14-15 we've already discussed don't have anything to do with infallibility

Hmm...the Church is the pillar and ground of truth. I don't know how much clearer it can get. If the Church can't promise to produce infallible truth (through the protection of the Holy Spirit), how in the world could this claim be made? The very FOUNDATION of truth, it says She is! That's something quite remarkable, and certainly quite unattainable by humans alone.

and Acts 15:28 is speaking of inspiration of the apostles by the Holy Spirit.

Here they're deciding matters of discipline, and implying these decisions are as much the Holy Spirit's as they are theirs. So, granted, this one may be more easily taken as referring simply to infallibility attached to inspiration (as the CoC understands it) rather than showing that infallibility will continue through the ages.

Let me put it another way. I see plenty of passages that speak of inspiration. But I don't see any passages that speak of infallibility apart from inspiration.

Well, let me put it another way. I know CoC members don't believe in modern day inspiration. How, then, can such promises be made unto the end of the world and forever? Certainly, this is not a reference to the bible alone, as he is speaking to persons here, indicating the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, will be with them forever, not the scriptures.

By the way, it's not going to do to suggest that we can't know which scriptures are inspired without the authority of the church. The internal evidences of the scriptures speak to their own inspiration.

It's interesting to me that you say this, and follow it up with an attempt at showing a logical fallacy on my part.

Here's a good explanation of why this won't work:
Internal evidence is not enough

(a) Because the Scriptures themselves assert that they are incomplete, and send us to the Church. "Many other signs also did Jesus…which are not written" (John 20:30). "Thinkest thou that thou understandest what thou readest?"…"How can I, unless some man show me" (Acts 8:30-31).
(d) No internal evidence could prove inspiration, because inspiration is essentially a supernatural fact. It is objective, not subjective. It is simply that God said this thing in this way. It may not appeal to me personally - parts of it may not be meant especially for me - but God wished to say it for some person or time.

(e) Therefore, the inspiration can only be known upon some authority sent from God: the only possible competent authority would be either Christ or his apostles or the successors of the apostles - that is to say, Christ's Church.

(f) All Christians appeal in fact to some authority behind the Bible (e.g. Luther claimed to alter the canon of Scripture, and Lutherans accepted this on his authority).
Here is another argument that begs the question. "How do you know the scriptures are inspired? The church says so. How do you know the church is right? The church is infallible. How do you know the church is infallible? Because the inspired scriptures say so. How do you know the scriptures are inspired again?" You must see the fallacy in this circular reasoning.

If this was indeed the reasoning used to prove the infallibility of the Church and the inspiration of the scriptures, Mr. Cauley would be quite right. However, as the Church recognizes the problems with this reasoning, She does not use it, and is careful to explain as such. From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
In order to prevent misconception and thereby to anticipate a common popular objection which is wholly based on a misconception it should be premised that when we appeal to the Scriptures for proof of the Church's infallible authority we appeal to them merely as reliable historical sources, and abstract altogether from their inspiration. Even considered as purely human documents they furnish us, we maintain, with a trustworthy report of Christ's sayings and promises; and, taking it to be a fact that Christ said what is attributed to Him in the Gospels, we further maintain that Christ's promises to the Apostles and their successors in the teaching office include the promise of such guidance and assistance as clearly implies infallibility. Having thus used the Scriptures as mere historical sources to prove that Christ endowed the Church with infallible teaching authority it is no vicious circle, but a perfectly legitimate iogical procedure, to rely on the Church's authority for proof of what writings are inspired.
Some small side issues:
See Indulgences: History It is a historical fact that indulgences were authorized by the Pope to raise money to build cathedrals. That is what I am referring to when I talk about selling indulgences. If there were abuses, those abuses were authorized by the Pope.

No, you misunderstand. The Church authorized, among many other things, that charitable donations, since they were a charitable act, could receive an indulgence. (That is, it could act as a penance to take away temporal punishment for our sins.) However, some people in the Church abused this idea, and acted as if one could "buy" an indulgence. It has to do with the intention of the act. As it was easy to confuse, the Church decided to stop that to prevent further abuse.
Nonetheless, the Pope authorized indulgences for "donations." You can call it what you will, but it is historically what it is. All I got to say about that is read Acts 8:18-23. By the way, why didn't that infallibility thing kick in and prevent the Pope from doing that to begin with? I mean, if it caused so many problems that the Pope had to put a stop to it, why didn't his infallibility prevent it to begin with?

Again, there is a difference between "selling" indulgences, and allowing charitable contributions to the Church to count as an act worthy of an indulgence. Yes, when abused, it becomes simony.

The "infallibility thing" didn't "kick in" because this is not a matter of faith and morals, nor was there any official infallible teaching being proclaimed, nor was the practice itself even wrong when done was just easily abused. Humans make mistakes in actions, in practice. Where we claim infallibility "kicks in" is on official teachings, not actions.

The implication of this is that individuals are not responsible for properly interpreting and applying God's word to their lives and such cannot be true given the fact that each individual will be judged by God as an individual (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Of course we are judged individually, we all choose whether or not to follow God's word. That has nothing to do with how we receive that word.
This doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Perhaps you could elaborate upon the difference between what it means to follow God's word versus what it means to receive that word.

I think we're using the word "receive" differently. I just mean that if we receive the Word from a source that is fallible and we receive an imperfect variation of it, if we believe it is God's Word completely and followed it, our intentions will be taken into consideration on judgement day. I also meant that while I don't believe it's up to individuals to interpret the Word, I do believe it's up to them to follow it. Those are two separate and distinct things.

If we are to be judged based upon what we do, and if we act based upon what we believe (Matthew 12:35), and if we believe based upon God's word (Romans 10:17),

Notice this verse says faith comes by "hearing," not by "reading."
So I must hear the word orally taught in order to believe? I can't just believe the word of God by reading the Bible alone?

I just said this because so many people don't even realize what the verse says. I know I didn't! They are so used to thinking "Bible only!!" that they don't even stop and think that if someone is "hearing" they aren't "reading." This implies a teacher who is passing on the teachings orally. And this is true even for non-Catholic Christians...after all, before children can read, they are taught orally. People learn from the preachers and teachers orally, it's rare anyone picks up a bible without any outside influences already having told them what it means, interpreting it for them. Of course I'm not saying one can't learn from reading the scriptures, but we always need an interpreter to make sure we are being truly guided into "all truth" when reading them. Of course, while Catholics (and even many Protestants) readily admit they look to an authority to interpret for them, the CoC often remains in denial, and acts as if there's no need for an interpreter, and that the scriptures are so "plain and simple" that any child can understand them fully. Quite a claim!! It also tends to result in an air of arrogance.

then it is necessary that we interpret God's word for ourselves as individuals and not allow someone else to tell us what we are supposed to believe about God's word (Acts 17:11).

I agree with all your ifs, it's the "then" I disagree with, and in fact I believe the scriptures directly refute this when they say they are not to be interpreted privately. Certainly I don't believe we should just allow "someone else" to tell us what to believe, that's why I believe God gave us the Church, the pillar and ground of truth, who is authorized to hand down God's Word, both oral and written (as I've tried to show), and that Christ promised He would protect them from error when doing so.
Acts 17:11 says that the Beroeans didn't accept Paul's inspired teaching without first searching the word. That suggests that they had to interpret it for themselves.

No, not exactly, quite the opposite. See here:

Why did the Bereans search the Scriptures? Because they were the sole source of revelation and authority? No, but to see if Paul was in line with what they already knew—to confirm additional revelation. They would not submit blindly to his apostolic teaching and oral tradition, but, once they accepted the credibility of Paul’s teaching as the oral word of God, they put it on a par with Scripture and recognized its binding authority. After that, like the converts who believed in Thessalonica, they espoused apostolic Tradition and the Old Testament equally as God’s word (see 2 Thess. 2:15, 3:16). Therefore they accepted apostolic authority, which means that the determinations of Peter in the first Church council, reported in Acts 15, would have been binding on these new Gentile converts.

By contrast, the Jews of Thessalonica would have condemned Peter’s biblical exegesis at the Council of Jerusalem. They would have scoffed at the Church’s having authority over them—the Torah was all they needed. Those who held to sola scriptura rejected Paul because he claimed to be the voice of "additional revelation."

Luke makes it plain that those who were willing to accept apostolic Tradition as binding were more noble-minded. The Bereans passage, therefore, is hardly a proof text for those who espouse sola scriptura. This text proves too much for Fundamentalists. Anti-Catholics love to associate themselves with the Bereans, but the example of the Bereans actually condemns their exegesis. Luke’s praise of the Bereans cannot be applied to Fundamentalist Protestants, who resemble rather the Thessalonians, who held to sola scriptura and rejected the oral word of God contained in Tradition and in the teaching authority of the Church.
1 John 4:1 tells us that we are to "try the spirits" to see whether the things that they teach (orally) are actually from God. How do we do this? We have to interpret the written word for ourselves.

It's a bit of a leap to go from testing the spirits, to see if people are of God or not, to privately interpreting scripture. I don't see anywhere that mentions scripture in that passage. In fact, the passage itself tells us HOW to "test the spirits." It says, "This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God,and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God." Simple enough, and no mention of interpreting scripture.

2 Timothy 3:15-17 teach that the scriptures are profitable that the man of God may be completely furnished to every good work. How can he be completely furnished to every good work without interpreting the scriptures for himself?

The fact that it says scripture is profitable doesn't mean we don't need an infallible interpreter of scripture to properly understand it.

2 Timothy 2:15 says "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." What are we to study to show ourselves approved to God if not the written word of God? And how can we "rightly divide" the word if we can't interpret it?

First I'd like to point out the fact that if a the Word can be "rightly" divided, it must also be able to be "wrongly" divided. And how are we to know if we have rightly or wrongly divided it? Well...we have an infallible interpreter. And we can study Church teaching, along with the scriptures, to ensure that we understand the scriptures correctly.

Now...the question that needs an answer is, are the scriptures really "plain and simple" like the CoC teaches? Enough so that any number of people could read them sincerely looking for truth and all come to the same conclusions? Well, why don't we look to the scriptures again to see what they have to say...

Acts 8:30-31:
And Philip running thither, heard him reading the prophet Isaias. And he said: Thinkest thou that thou understandest what thou readest? Who said: And how can I, unless some man shew me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
Here, we have an example of someone saying he can't understand what he reads unless someone explains, or interprets, for him. This shows exactly the point, that scripture is not always "plain and simple," that it does, indeed, need an interpreter.

Taken from this site.
2 Peter 3:15-17 warns of those who misinterpret the Scriptures:

And account the longsuffering of our Lord, salvation: as also our most dear brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, hath written to you: as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, brethren, knowing these things before, take heed, lest being led aside by the error of the unwise, you fall from your own steadfastness.
Let's make sure we understand what's being said here: the Sacred Scriptures contain some things hard to understand. Those who are not learned and who are unstable twist these things, as they do the other Scriptures, and they do so to their own destruction. What are Christians to do? Are they to listen to these self-appointed, unlearned men? No, instead, St. Peter warns them not to do so, but to instead hold fast the Gospel (cf. 2 Thess 2:15) received from the Apostles, who have a mandate from Christ to do so (Matthew 28:19-20), and who therefore hold authority in these matters, "let being led aside by the error of the unwise, you fall from your own steadfastness."

Obviously, God knew how we humans would mess things up, as we inevitably do, and sent us a safeguard. He sent us His Church to be our interpreter, to be our teacher, and promised He would guide Her infallibly by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Another one bites the dust...

I'm one more pound down, 6.2 lbs gone. Gotta keep up the exercise, even though next week I have to start back teaching my brother. I also need to make sure I don't overindulge on this long weekend. I'll indulge, of course, I'll just try to indulge in moderation! :-D

Private Interpretation - Part 1

Ok, I'm down to the last post directed at me from the Preacher's Files.

I hope you don't mind if I set aside the issue of miracles for now, in consideration of saving time, as I think it's rather a side issue, and I'd like to try to focus on the main point.

That's fine, but I don't believe it to be a side issue. It is, in fact, a critical issue. The Bible teaches in several places that the purpose of miracles was to confirm the spoken word. If that's the case, then miracles ought to confirm oral tradition as well. This makes miraculous confirmation of the word indispensable to your case, for if it was done for orally inspired teaching, why would it not be done for orally preserved teaching?

Well, it is a side issue because I don't agree that we need miracles today to confirm oral tradition. That was done in the first centuries, and then people accepted the Church's authority, and simply followed Church teaching. But that's not to say miracles don't still happen, I just don't believe they are needed to confirm teaching today as they were at the beginning of Christianity. So I'll move on.

When we look at scripture, it's clear that when God wanted to communicate His will, He did so by inspiration (i.e. "Thus saith the Lord"), not tradition (2 Peter 1:20-21).

This verse [technically] only discusses prophecy in the Old Testament [though I could be wrong on that, it's not all that important to my point anyway], and says that it is not for private interpretation, and that it came from God. This does not negate the possibility of there being ways for God to protect His Truth once given, because it is not speaking of that.

I'm going to address the issue of "private interpretation" later on. Consider, however, that in verse 19, Peter says that we (that is, Christians) have a more sure word of prophecy. So the passage doesn't just discuss prophecy in the Old Testament. Instead, Peter's argument is this: If prophecy in the Old Testament came by inspiration of the Holy Spirit and we have a more sure word of prophecy, then the word of prophecy that we have today is in some way more sure than inspiration of the Holy Spirit. How can that be so? It is as Peter discusses in previous verses, namely, through the confirmatory works of God in the life of Jesus and in particular, the transfiguration of Jesus that Peter references in verse 16-17. So, God communicates by inspiration, and when he wants it to be more sure, He confirms with miraculous signs such as the transfiguration.

Let me just say here, I disagree with that...(wait for it)...interpretation of these verses.

Anything less, however, can't be said to be the word of God because it is neither 1) confirmed by sign or 2) inspired of the Holy Spirit.

Well, I think #2 is exactly the dispute we've been discussing, and #1 is something I disagree with.

Now as to "private interpretation" Peter isn't discussing the interpretation of the reader, but rather, the origination of the message by the prophet, for so he says in the next verse. No prophecy of scripture is, therefore, of private origination. Or it may be understood, "No prophecy of scripture originates with private interpretation." That's the meaning of this verse, not that no one has the right to interpret scripture privately for themselves. That's certainly not what is being said in the context.

Once again, I disagree. And by now...if I didn't read closely...I would have completely forgotten the point I was making, because it was completely sidestepped! How clever! Let's see again what I said...but first let's review the argument that was being made. Mr. Cauley was trying to make the point that God transmits His Will through inspiration, not through Tradition. Then he provided some verses in an attempt to back that up...and while those verses may show God certainly initially revealed His Will through inspiration, my point was that this doesn't negate the idea that He sent the Holy Spirit to continue to protect His Word through the Church. That's the point...the two are not mutually exclusive, in fact we see them as completely complementary.

This sets directly inspired scripture above any effort that uninspired men make to teach and preach the gospel.

Certainly, however, I believe there's another category you're leaving out. (Infallibility)
That would be fine if we found in the New Testament the association of the doctrine of infallibility with the preservation of oral tradition. But what scripture teaches that? Several scriptures you've given teach that Christians need to obey the inspired teachings of the apostles. But what do they say about guaranteeing that the church would infallibly preserve the oral traditions? There are none.

I believe I've covered this issue, in my last post. But just to recap, Christ promised the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth. If that didn't mean infallible truth, what's the point? That certainly wouldn't be "all" truth, then. Further, He didn't promise this to us individually, He promised it to His Church, since without that visible institution we couldn't know who had the truth and who didn't when disputes arose. Everyone would claim individual infallibility, and split upon split would happen...oh wait, that's already happened. So no, there's not a verse explicitly explaining infallibility and how it works, but that's ok, because Catholics don't see the bible as a manual or a rule book. We have the Church to be explicit about the teachings, but we can see this teaching implicitly in the scriptures as well.

Hence, anything less than inspiration is simply originated by man.

And this is where I believe you're missing infallibility. To a point, you must believe in infallibility yourself...otherwise, you would never trust that you knew God's truth better than a Baptist or a Methodist or any flavor of Protestant. (I use Protestantism as they, like you, claim the Bible as their only authority.) How do you know your interpretation is any more correct than theirs? Certainly you earnestly search the word and study it diligently, but so, too, do many Protestants. On some level, you must believe that you have somehow been guided into truth, while they have other words, you must believe your interpretation is correct, inerrant, and infallible.
No, I don't believe that I am infallible. But I do believe that I can be correct without being guaranteed to be infallible. The Catholic church teaches the doctrine of the Trinity. I also teach the doctrine of the Trinity.

Right...but if I had to choose between believing a Church who claims the authority to teach this doctrine infallibly, and believing some guy who admits he is completely fallible, why would I listen to one guy's admittedly fallible interpretation? That's not very reassuring! And it certainly doesn't sound like I'm guaranteed to be led into "all truth" this way, when at least with the Catholic claim it makes sense that there will be no doubt of what is truth and what isn't (if it's true the Church is lead infallibly.)

So we agree on this doctrine. However, do I have to be infallible to teach the truth on the doctrine of the Trinity? No. I simply have to support the things that I say on that subject with both reason and revelation. Truth can be adduced via both and as such can be known to be true even without the doctrine of infallibility.
Well, this is a nice idea, and one that's necessary for the CoC house of cards to stand, but it's not very practical, and certainly not biblical. Again, we're getting into the idea that scripture does not need an interpreter, that any person can look at the bible and "reason" their way into the correct interpretation. Certainly our reason is a valuable tool, but I don't believe it's sufficient. If we could rely completely on reason, we would not need faith, and even more dangerously, we start to rely on ourselves rather than God to find truth. Here's an excellent quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia explaining how reliance on our own reason can undermine faith in God:

Again, it is illogical to base faith upon the private interpretation of a book. For faith consists in submitting; private interpretation consists in judging. In faith by hearing the last word rests with the teacher; in private judgment it rests with the reader, who submits the dead text of Scripture to a kind of post-mortem examination and delivers a verdict without appeal: he believes in himself rather than in any higher authority. But such trust in one's own light is not faith.Private judgment is fatal to the theological virtue of faith.
Where absolute reliance on God's word, proclaimed by his accredited ambassadors, is wanting, i.e. where there is not the virtue of faith, there can be no unity of Church. It stands to reason, and Protestant history confirms it. The "unhappy divisions", not only between sect and sect but within the same sect, have become a byword. They are due to the pride of private intellect, and they can only be healed by humble submission to a Divine authority.

Back to the discussion at hand...

Again, you seem to have the understanding that because the Catholic Church says men in the Church today are not inspired, then the Holy Spirit must not be involved. But you're forgetting that we believe in a separate and distinct function of the Holy Spirit, and that is the charism of infallibility.

And what scriptures teach "the charism of infallibility" aside from either a miraculous measure of the Holy Spirit or inspiration?