Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Catholic Defender: The Catholic Hall of Fame

When I was growing up I use to have my favorite heroes on the screen, those who fought for right and who dispelled the evil in their midst.

The past 26 years, I have been fortunate to have served with many heroes some of them who gave the highest sacrifice for their Country.

I held some of them in my own hands at the last moment praying the Divine Mercy.

I was raised with heroes and I have been blessed to have served with many of them.

I was raised with sports heroes who had an impact shaping who I am.

I am very thankful for the athletics I participated in school and college. I played with some of the best. I have been very fortunate to have met some of the best.

We have our favorite teams and players, we recognize them in their particular Hall of Fame. The Baseball Hall of Fame is in Cooperstown, New York. There you can see Babe Ruth, Roger Marris and others who made the game what it is.

The Football Hall of Fame is in Canton Ohio, I loved my 1969 Superbowl Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.

It has been a long drought in Kansas City since then.

The Basketball Hall of Fame is located in Springfield Massachusetts. Who can forget those key match ups between Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russel?

These are some of the sports heroes I grew up with. Today, I wonder where did Joe Dimaggio go?

Where have all the great ones gone? Today, with all the supplements, with all the advanced training, with all the strength being added to the average player, what has happened to the moral character?

Despite the advances in technology, the human heart has not changed. It only changes when the Lord is able to transfigure the heart with the gospel.

Christian Soldiers make great Soldiers because their faith inspires commitment. Christian Athletes make great players because they have discipline.

God gives people talent, it's always best when we see the fruit of their labor manifested in their lives. Today, we are in search of heroes that use their ability to inspire young people to excel for good.

Many of the musicians are preaching the world telling everyone they can go for all the lures and temptations of the world. Young people will imitate whom they admire and grow into those they imitate.

I have found another great Hall of Fame that has the best examples possible. The Catholic Hall of Fame! We celebrate our heros on 1 November each year. Here is but a small sample:

St. Sebastian is the Patron Saint of Athletes who gave his life for those suffering persecution.

St. Anthony is the Hammer of Heretics, a Saint after my own heart! He is mostly known as the Patron of lost and found articles.

St. Francis of Assisi I took for my Confirmation name many years ago. He is a true hero of the Faith.

I love the stories of the Early Church Fathers such as St. Ignatius of Antioch who was a follower of St. John. He would be thrown to wild beasts in Rome between 107 and 110 A.D.

The Catholic Church has many Saints who make up Heavens Hall of Fame. These are the ones who lived the Commandments of God.

They loved God above all else many of them paying the highest price of martyrdom. Heaven is our highest goal, salvation has come to the world. I encourage you to reach out to Christ finding that his yoke is not burdensome, he gives us such heroes to imitate!

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Halloween- the high, holy day of Satanism and birthdate of protestantism.

In his recent article, the Catholic Defender gave a great historical presentation of the historical origins of Halloween. Drawing on pagan influences, Halloween has come to be the high, holy day of Satan worship, which always draws a contrast to Catholicism. Whatever Catholics do, Satanists do the opposite.

This is very instructive. You see, the demons know who Jesus really is and where He really is. (Mark 1:21-28, James 2:19)

That is why Satan choose October 31st- the eve of all hallows- as the pinnacle day of Satan worship. It is also why he chose that same day to create the counterfeit religion of Protestantism with it's purpose to first divide and weaken the Christian flock, then unite the entire world under the Jewish Antichrist. Martin Lucifer founded the protestant cult by nailing his 95 thesis on a church door on October 31st.

It is very frustrating for informed Catholics who see this and want desperately to warn others and save them from this diabolical plan that is moving forward and into place, right before our eyes.

The Book of Revelation shows, with frightening clarity, the imminence of John's warning of Judgement on the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish religion.

Revelation 1:7BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.
Those words were an urgent warning that Jerusalem was about to fall and soon. John wrote those words during the reign of the 6th king (Galba) (Revelation 17:10-11). This was in 68 AD. About 2 years later, on the 9th of AV in 70 AD, Babylon the Great, the city that crucified Our Lord (Rev 11:8), the city that killed the prophets (Rev 18:24, Matthew 23:37, Luke 13:33) fell. The Jewish nation and the Jewish religion fell, never to be heard from again.

Today, a counterfeit Jewish nation that is really a synagogue of Satan (Revelation 2:9, 3:9) stands in it's place. The Religion of anti-christ, heralded by the false prophet who looks like a lamb and speaks like a dragon (Revelation 13:11). This is Luther and his religion of Protestantism, created by sinful men, on the devil's day, to herald worship of the beast and his number (Revelation 13:18).

Today, millions of dispensationalists, who call themselves Christians, proudly fly the mark of the beast, on their own websites.

There is nothing holy about the hexagram. It is a symbol of the occult and it is actually condemned in Scripture. It is the mark of the beast and sure proof that protestants who embrace it are, by no means, Christians.

That fact is spookier than Dracula or Frankenstein ever could be.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Catholic Defender: Halloween

Trick or treat or not to trick or treat? That is the question!

There are many people who feel that Halloween is a demonic celebration, others believe that today Halloween is more of a secular holiday loaded with harmless fun for the family.

Some church groups use the occasion to have celebrations of harvest, while others use the occasion to conduct Judgement House which is a christian example of a haunted house.

Still,some churches put on some of the best "Haunted Houses" in the town.

Originally, Halloween was part of a Celtic festival based from a Celtic celebration known as "Sanhain", meaning "for the harvest". This was a period after summer and before winter.

The Pagan belief that at this time, the barrier between the living and the dead narrowed and opened.

This opening peaked on October 31, the spirits of the dead would come back and cause mischief destroying crops or haunting family members.

These superstitions may of had a basis from droughts or terrible hunger due to bad harvest seasons.

In time and space, the Catholic Church would branch out throughout the world. Many customs and traditions of the people were transformed to the gospel message as Christ light delivered them from darkness.

The Catholic Church institutes "All Saints Day" on November 1 to honor all the martyrs and Saints.

Because of the Christians veneration and honor of the Saints, October 31 became known as "All Hallows Eve".

The Catholic Church continues to seek to promote Christ to a Pagan world where superstition and legends give way to the light of truth.

Christ is the Light of the World. By the 12th century, this celebration, "All Saints Day", became very popular throughout Europe.

The intent of this major Feast Day, was to counter the Pagan practices of the Celtics and the "worship of the spirits".

By the 16th century, with the advent of the Protestant Revolution, Halloween was attacked because of their opposition to the teaching on Purgatory.

In the 19th century, because of the Puritan influence, Halloween was viewed similarly like other Christian celebrations such as Christmas and Easter as Pagan.

Anti-Catholics particularly hold to this view. In America, Halloween was originally celebrated by Scottish and Irish immigrants that would host dinners and parties.

In the early going, because of the Protestant opposition in America, these celebrations were attacked by those who viewed these celebrations as evil.

Sometimes there were violence committed by the Protestants. Households would have their own celebrations where children would have games, pranks, and mischief.

By 1915, post cards began to feature hundreds of designs popularizing Halloween, the Dennison Manufacturing Company published the first Halloween catalog in 1909.

Soon afterward, Halloween began to emerge in America as a national Holiday. In our times, the practice of "Trick or Treat" is said to come from the old Pagan beliefs of offering gifts to the spirits so they would not harass the living or their crops.

English Christians began a custom on "All Souls Day", November 2, where the faithful would take "soul" cakes and give them to the hungry, many suffering from starvation.

Out of gratitude, the poor would offer prayers for the family heritage of those offering the blessing of the cakes.

What a wonderful tradition to foster aid to the poor and to develop prayer for the poor souls of Purgatory. Just this past two weeks, I was helping my college club "sife" raise 2500 lbs of food for the hungry in our area. What a blessing it is to help those in need!

The tradition of dressing up in costumes seems to originate in England, it was based from a Pagan belief that the spirits would haunt and torment living family members.

The people began the tradition of dressing up in costumes to hide from these spirits. For the Christian, we recognize Christ judges our hearts and will not be fooled by masks.

From the Christian experience, there is no connection to the earlier Pagan practice. The Jack-o-Lantern, originally seen with a tulip, originates in the United States due to the influx of Irish Immigrants in the latter 1840's.

The pumpkins became popular because of their size and availability.

The legend begins with a wager between "Stingy Jack" and the Devil. Through a trick, the Devil had no rights for Jack's soul, but Jack had to wonder aimlessly in Purgatory until that day when the Lord returns to judge the living and the dead.

Until that time, Jack travels endlessly in darkness.

The Devil gives him a chunk of burning coal from hell to provide Jack light. On October 31, Jack joins the other spirits to torment mankind.

It seems that witchcraft originally becomes associated with Halloween sometime before 1900, witches for a long time have been viewed like other fictitious characters such as Dracula, warewolves, Frankenstein, the Mummy, and hundreds of other monsters.

I'm a bit more apprehensive towards witchcraft because of the rise of the Wiccan movement today.

Harry Potter and company seems to have aided in peoples facination with the Occult and witchcraft. Many dress up in all kinds of costumes from movie characters, games, even Saints. All Christians would certainly oppose anything that involves the Devil or evil.

I remember in the 1980's as I paid close attention to one of my favorite bands, "Petra", it took a while for Christians to accept Christian Rock.

Some thought that the music was evil and from the Devil. The Catholic Faith has always been about taking Christ to the world where they can see him!

Halloween, even though there might be a demonic reality to October 31st, this has nothing to do with the harmless fun people give to Halloween. (Editors note) My point I am making here is that in no way are the vast majority of American who participate in Halloween activities taking part in any Pagan, or Occultic rituals as some have proclaimed. The major concern continues to be that families go where it is safe to do so and follow the guidelines of their local establishments.

Because there are deranged individuals who prey upon the innocence, it is best to "trick or treat" in safe neighborhoods, church sponsored events, school lead events, even shopping malls that offer a safe environment for children.

Parents must be with their children at all times as they go house to house. Mom and Dad, as you plan to take your children out to have a good time, please give them the foundation of our holy Catholic Faith. If you do, you will be giving them a firm foundation.

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Catholic Defender: The Queen of Heaven Debate

This past debate between John Benko and Brian Ketterer was a good debate.

John Benko won the debate for many reasons, he provided far more background on the topic at hand.

Brian demonstrated passion, but in the end he had no foundation.

I will show what I mean using two doctrines that Brian used to make his basic point of deifying Mary.

Doctrine number 1:

Brian rightfully pointed to Pope Pius IX who proclaimed the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 1854, in his papal bull Ineffabilis Deus.

This is historically accurate but it is not a correct assumption, pardon the pun.

When you listen to Brian's point, he speaks as if this doctrine was dreamed up from thin air.

Brian makes the same mistake as others have made in attacking such teachings because they point to either the Pope or a Council that addresses the doctrine.

John was able to give biblical reference and then the historical foundation of the Immaculate Conception which gives far more an explanation than simply attacking it and calling it "pagan".

John Benko was able to point to Luke 1:28 showing that the Angel Gabriel recognized Mary with perfected grace.

Who has the stongest point? John Benko has the strongest point! The Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was known by the Early Church Fathers. It did not begin in 1854.

Brian can refer to Pope Pius IX as a matter of fact, but where his argument falls is that historically, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception goes back to the Apostolic Tradition.

Pope Pius IX did not invent this doctrine as Brian asserts. John was able to lay the biblical foundation for the doctrine and history confirms it.

Doctrine II

The Second Doctrine that Brian pointed too was the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Brian, again, rightly pointed to Pope Pius XII, in 1950, proclaimed the doctrine of the Assumption as dogma.

Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption of Mary a dogma of the Catholic Church in these words: "The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven."

Brian asserts that the Pope invented this dogma from thin air.

John Benko refered to several biblical text, the most important being Revelation 12 giving attention to the Woman crowned with twelve stars. St. John had personal knowledge of the Assumption of Mary as he had witnessed it.

Revelation 12 is expressed by St. John to identify Mary with the Genesis 3:15 account where you had the woman, the offspring, and the serpant.

With the biblical foundation added to the weight of the Apostolic Tradition, the teaching on the Assumption of Mary most certainly precedes 1950.

The Catholic Church is the voice of Christ and all the doctrines of the Catholic Faith come from that foundation.

It is interesting to note that Brian rejected the doctrine of Original Sin, another doctrine taught by the Catholic Church.

Anyone can go back and review the debate and it was a good debate, but Brian could not prove his case. Catholics do not worship Mary.

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*BEST OF DTB #224* The Catholic Defender: True Religion

In the world of apologetics, it is easy to stay motivated responding to the attacks of the Anti-Catholics which is most important.
James 1:27 tells us, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world".
Certainly this includes being unstained by false doctrines and false philosophy.
The acceptance of worldly humanistic values. We are to stay faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Faith.
St. James does recognize this importance, but he also sees importance to care for those who can not help themselves.

The orphans and widows represent the poor.
Jesus reminded Judas that the Church would always have the poor to support (John 12:8) but that he would not always be with us.
At least not in the normal presence, as Jesus is with us in and through his Catholic Church. Mother Theresa recognized Jesus in the poor she cared for so diligently.
Recently, I learned that there are hundreds of thousands of Senior Citizens who live without family in homes where they are left alone.
They no longer are part of their family structure as they become conveniently laid aside. Many of them barely get a picture of loved ones let alone a phone call or personal visit.

There are millions of children abused and neglected in the greatest country of the world.
There have been nearly 60,000,000 abortions in America since 1973. When we see people hurting, Jesus is reflected in their lives. The Lord's word soon come to life, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me (Matthew 25:40).
The Catholic Church as an institution has done far more good to help the poor maintaining hospitals for the sick, orphanages for orphans, safe houses for runaways, soup kitchens for the hungry, and many other important causes in our day.

The pro-life cause is one of the most important battles of our time, the care of the Mothers, the helping the sinner who has lost their way because they were caught stained by the world.
Jesus, through his Church cures the sick and restores the prodigals.
There is still much to be done. Catholics, let's not become complacent and lose ground in the battle for souls. Get involved in your Parish, support your Priest and help out your Diocese.
Money is not always the most important thing, sometimes your time and effort goes along way.
Let's not be caught looking through "Rose Colored Stain Glass Windows" and may we be found serving our Lord in the needs of serving his people.

Is Notre Dame finally 'relevant' again?

Notre Dame has 4 wins against Top 25 teams including 2 road wins against teams in the Top 10. This is a team that will be part of the National championship conversation on an annual basis. There are those who say that we cannot beat the three teams that will be ranked ahead of us.

We don't have to. We will only have to beat one of them.

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Catholic Defender: A Day At Fort Hood

Today began as any other day, I was able to sleep in a little until I needed to get ready to go to Fort Hood as they were honoring retirees.

I was able to get my annual flu shot and was able to speak with a number of people at Thomas Moore health Clinic. I really enjoyed speaking with the Chaplain and his assistant while I was there.

He was a member of the Church of the Nazarean, which began in Pilot Point Texas in 1908 with the merger of three holiness Methodist groups.

The Chaplain's Assistant was a Southern Baptist and I really enjoyed the opportunity to speak with them. They were handing out Rosaries which I was very happy, people were taking them home and that is a good sign.

Later, there was a Soldier with the 1st Cav Horse Detachment that was reenlisting in the Army.

I was honored to be there to celebrate with the Soldiers keeping alive some of our great Military Traditions.

My Wife, Gigi bought me one of those awesome Cav swords which I have mounted over my fireplace.

We need to pray for our Soldiers especially in this dangerous time in human history.

We need to keep our Military strong as the world continues to be a dangerous place.

Here I am pictured with a young Soldier who was one of the Soldiers reenlisting, he has a young family, striving to make a good living for his family.

His name is Joshua which I can't help but think how special this is. What a great tradition we have as Catholics for naming our sons and daughters after the Saints, those in heaven.

I named my second Son Joshua! Every one of these young Soldiers have a family who cares and prays for them.

Many times they are sent into harms way defending our freedoms. Please keep Joshua and his family in your prayers.

I really enjoy riding horses as a past time, I grew up around horses and other farm animals.

What I liked about watching and observing the presentation of the horse Cav detachemnt was the teamwork involved.

We see this in a lot of things like sports, but this has a special place in my heart. These Soldiers depend on each other working as a team.

That is something the Church does well in reaching the world for Christ. I like to thing of the Bishops and Priests like the Field Generals leading our troops into battle.

They help us prepare for the main event. I like to think of our religious orders like the Special Forces, the Rangers who go out to be our hands in helping others, reaching out to others for Christ.

I was so thankful to be able to meet several of the active duty Soldiers today as well as some of the retirees I had the chance to meet.

I meet some Viet Nam Veterans as well as Korean War Vets who were just as proud of their service as I am mine! It was truly a great day.

I want to offer here at this time a Soldiers Prayer:
A Prayer for Soldiers

Brave warriors,
should fate find us in battle,
May our cause be just.
May our leaders have clear vision.
May our courage not falter.
May we be triumphant an earn victory
as we show mercy to our enemies.
May our efforts bring lasting peace.
May our sacrifice be always
appreciated by those we serve.
May we return to our loved ones unharmed.
Should we be harmed, may our wounds heal.
Should we perish in the struggle,
may God embrace us and find for us
a place in His Kingdom.

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An oldie but a goodie

Polytheist nutjob George Lujack making an utter fool of himself.

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Wrap-up of last night's debate

There is no question that Deeper Truth Blog won last night's debate, improving our overall record to 18-0. How close the debate was, however, depends very much on the view of the premise(s) which we were debating.  In this sense, one could take the micro view or the macro view.

If we are taking the micro view, that is, examining each piece of Catholic Marian devotion and theology and measuring it's value, I think anyone listening would argue that it was a very spirited and competitive debate. There were more than a few overreaches by Ketterer but also a few arguments that I failed to capitalize on as sharply as I might have in the past. (The fact that I was exhausted from all the overtime was surely a factor in that).

Overall, I successfully countered most-but not all- of his points and out-pointed him on both style and substance, in the range of about a 55-45 victory. Honestly, I thought Brian made very effective use of the rules and the clock to get as many arguments into a tight space as possible. He failed to respond to a large number of my points but, as I have already conceded, so did I. If we view this debate in this focus "Catholics are incorrect on a number of Marian doctrines", Ketterer held his own, losing a narrow 55-45 victory or perhaps even a few points tighter than that. This would make this, without question, the closest debate we have had yet. He lost it because he failed to counter my Biblical arguments and prove any of his own by anything more than innuendo and empty juxtaposition of Catholicism on pagan religions of the past.

If, however, the debate premise was a macro one, in keeping with the bravado he posted on his own facebook, he lost this debate in a rout of titanic proportions. Never once did Ketterer approach demonstrating that the Catholic Mary is a goddess nor that any Catholic engages in any idolatrous or pagan practice, whatsoever. This is the type of wild-eyed conspiratorial over reach that we have come to know and expect from cultists like George Lujack and Debra JM Smith. In fact, during this very debate, Brian actually denounced the cult of Calvinism that the loopy Debra Smith adheres to.

There is little doubt that Brian sincerely believes that Catholic doctrine about Mary- the Assumption, the Immaculate conception, Intercessory prayer etc- constitutes material worship, as illogical as this position is. However, debates are about winning on the merits of the arguments. When pressed repeatedly, Brian could not scriptural support the bulwark argument of his entire case of worship, the argument that a simple, intercessory prayer constitutes worship. Again, he is free to believe that but, if a debate is built on proof, he whiffed and he whiffed badly.

Even more damaging to his case (in fact, fatally so) is the unsupported and unsupportable position that Mary, who we call "blessed among women" and merely ask to pray for us, is a goddess in our theology.

My guess is that Brian uses unnecessary rhetoric and hyperbole such as this because of some personal animus towards Catholics. Of course, I would never claim I could prove that. Over-reach is not my style.

Brian caught me at the weakest point he likely ever will in this debate and still lost clearly, if closely. He would be well served to brush up on how to construct cogent, well-formed, logically sound and Biblical arguments going forward, and check the inflammatory hyperbole at the door. I suspect the audience would rather hear sound, reasoned, scholarly debates going forward rather than venomous polemics.

In Brian's case, he does not want to play into my hands too much and find himself on the losing end of a rout. Jes' sayin'. He can heed or not at his own peril.

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Friday, October 26, 2012

*BEST OF DTB #223* Queen of Heaven debate show notes

These show notes coincide with this blogtalkradio debate
The show notes for this debate can be found at

Today's debate is all about what worship is and what it is not. defines worship as follows;

reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.
They define Sacred as;

devoted or dedicated to a deity or to some religious purpose; consecrated.
2.entitled to veneration or religious respect by association with divinity or divine things; holy.

In British English, the word 'worship' covers all definitions of honor, with a distiction between Latria- the honor due God alone and Dulia, that which is due created beings or things. In fact, the British refer to judges as 'Your worship'.

In American English, this Dulia, or even Hyper-Dulia, is referred to as honor or veneration while Latria is referred to as Worship or Adoration.

 Yes, British English is used in the Catholic Encyclopedia and does say that Mary and Saints are due a level of worship but the same British English says the same about judges. Let's not be silly here. The British do not consider their judges to be gods. In our discussion tonight, we are defining words like honor, veneration, worship and adoration as American Christians do. Honor and veneration can be due a person- such as a soldier, a place- such as Arlington Cemetery or a thing-such as the Flag, the Cross or a statue or icon. Worship, or Adoration, on the other hand is due only to the Holy Trinity- Father, Son and Holy Spirit and only to it is offered Worship by a Catholic.

Worship, as we define it in American English, starts when the honor given to a person exceeds that which would be appropriate for a created being or thing and the person or thing is recognized and honored, and sacrificed to, as a Divine person-a god or goddess-, rather than a created person or object. This worship cannot be offered by accident or without consent. Therefore, my opponents claim that Catholics worship Mary even if they are unaware of it is completely untenable.

The commandment of God says;

 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
“You shall have no other gods before Me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.

False Worship is about gods. That is, ascribing divinity to someone and submitting to their lordship, is the key and central part of worship. In Exodus 32, we read the sin of the golden calf.

And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
So, as you can see, the first element of worship is an assent to the object as divine. The person or thing has to be recognized as a god or goddess, with an assent of the will, to it holding to the attributes of god- omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, and eternal. This assent cannot be accidental, that is an impossibility.

This aspect of worship is never offered, in a Catholic church, to anyone or anything but God. However, an assent to Divinity is not the completion of worship. James admonishes us in his epistle;

You believe God is one? you do well. Even the demons believe this and they tremble.

The real difference between Protestants and Catholics is not that we worship Mary and they don't. The real difference is that we worship God and they don't. The only completegenuine, Christian worship of God- Father, Son and Holy Spirit- occurs in a Catholic church.

 When one examines Scripture judiciously, one sees God quite clearly, with intricate precision, articulate exactly what worship should look like. He also makes it quite clear that the principle elements of that worship are not to ever change. In the books of the law, Genesis to Deuteronomy,  the word 'perpetual' appears 40 times, the word 'everlasting' 19 times and the word covenant 114 times. Jesus, Himself said that He did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). In fact, the word fulfill or fulfilled appears more than 50 times in the 27 books of the New Testament.

Yes, Protestants do claim to assent to the Divinity of the Trinity and, yes, that is a first step towards worship. However, they fail to see the communal nature of genuine worship in contrast to the un-Biblical 'Christ alone', 'Faith alone', 'Bible alone' model of the reformation. Christ established a particular church with a particular authority and a particular liturgy centered around seven very particular sacraments. One Lord-One Faith-One Baptism (Ephesians 4:5)

Nowhere is that more clear than their failure to see that the sacrifice of the Mass is the conduit by which we are connected to Calvary.

The protestant concept of worship is one that is wholly alien to the Bible. From the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation, we see a worship involving a sacrifice, an altar, priests and a liturgy. The idea of a self anointed pastor-centered worship, devoid of an altar and sacrifice is completely absent from Scripture. Catholics understand clearly that Biblical worship is far more than the simple offering of honor, praise and prayer. Of course, we could do an entire debate on what worship really looks like and I will extend that invitation to my opponent now.

In 1 Corinthians 1, chapters 10 and 11, Paul tells us that the bread we eat and the cup we drink is a real participation in the body and blood of Our Lord and to do so unworthily brings judgement. In Hebrews, we are told that we go before an altar. In Revelation Chapter 5, we are told that God has made a Kingdom of Priests to reign on earth. 

Protestants do not understand the New Testament because they fail to understand the Old Testament Blueprint of the New Testament Church. When Jesus instituted the New Covenant in His blood, He did not abolish the ministerial Priesthood and the offering of the sacrifice. On the contrary, He perfected it. He took the imperfect typological and repetitious sacrifice and replaced it with one perfect sacrifice and he replaced that offering with a perfect and perpetual offering just as Malachi 1 prophesies. Jewish worship centered around the Passover. We see, in the Gospels, that the beginning of Jesus ministry coincides with the Passover and the end of His ministry and start of His Passion, likewise, coincides with the Passover. The Passover was not a meaningless gesture. It points to something. Jesus was not just to be the Passover sacrifice but the Passover meal, offered in perpetuity.

 While protestants accuse Catholics of elevating Mary to the level of worship, what is really at work is that protestants have lowered worship to the level of Mary by removing the sacrifice and removing the sense of us all being a part of the communion of saints. In fact, with respect to Mary, they actually accuse us of worshiping Mary as Divine even though we fully recognize her as human! Offering honor and praise and prayer is not worship, assenting to Divinity and offering the sacrifice is worship. Protestants have created a new, un-historical and un-Biblical definition of what worship is and, based on this novel view of worship, accuse Catholics of the worship of Mary. It is not that our Mary is too high, it is that their worship is not high enough.

Catholics do not recognize Mary as having any of the attributes of God. In fact, Catholics acknowledge that Mary should have absolutely no ability whatsoever if not for God acting through her. This makes Mary the same as any other human being who has ever lived.

The entire accusation of Mary-worship is a protestant invention, a feeble attempt to juxtapose Biblical objects of idolatrous worship onto the Catholic Mary. No where is this clearer than in the so-called Queen of Heaven canard.

Protestants often juxtapose the worship of Ishtar, which is being condemned in Jeremiah, with the rightful honor given to the Mother of Our Lord, Mary, who was born centuries later. Their evidence? The title 'Queen of Heaven'. I will deal with this in depth, in my close.

For now, consider the following;

In Ezra Chapter 7, verse 12, King Artaxerxes of Persia is referred to as the 'King of Kings', in Ezekiel 26, the same title is given to Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Yet, we all know who the true 'King of Kings' is, don't we? The impostor does not invalidate the real deal. The 'Queen of Heaven' condemned in Jeremiah 7 and 44 was a false goddess named Ishtar that has absolutely nothing to do with Mary, a human being, who fulfilled the Biblical role of the Queen Mother as seen in 1 Kings 15:13, 2 Kings 10:13, 2 Chronicles 15:16, Jeremiah 13:18, and Jeremiah 29:2.

In the Davidic kingdom, the Queen Mother was the mother of the King. In the case of Solomon, it was Bathsheba  Now, listen to this exchange from 1 Kings, Chapter 2;

12 Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly.  13 And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, Comest thou peaceably?And he said, Peaceably.  14 He said moreover, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And she said, Say on.  15 And he said, Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel set their faces on me,  that I should reign: howbeit the kingdom is turned about, and is become my brother's: for it was his from the LORD. 16 And now I ask one petition of thee, deny me not. And she said unto him, Say on.  17 And he said, Speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the king, (for he will not say thee nay,) that he give  me Abishag the Shunammite to wife.  18 And Bathsheba said, Well; I will speak for thee unto the king.  19 Bathsheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose  up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king's mother; and she sat on his right hand.  20 Then she said, I desire one small petition of thee; I pray thee, say me not nay. And the king said unto her,  Ask on, my mother: for I will not say thee nay. 
There are several things to note here.  Notice that the word 'pray' is used in reference to a petition. That is, after-all what a prayer is. It simply means to ask. Adonijah is not worshiping Bathsheba by offering a prayer of petition, neither is Bathsheba worshiping Solomon by doing the same. Simple prayer is not worship and anyone who claims it is cannot support that notion. The second thing is that Solomon bows to his mother. Again, bowing in honor, is not worship. Falling at one's feet and prostrating oneself in adoration is not the same as kneeling or bowing out of respect. Third, Solomon seats her on a throne, at his right hand. This, again, is not worship, he is merely honoring her position in the court of the King, as the Queen Mother. Finally, the clincher. The passage opens by saying the following; 12 Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father;

In Luke chapter 1, the Angel Gabriel says exactly the same thing about Jesus;

31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne 
of his father David:  

The Jews of Jesus time, as soon as they recognized Jesus as the King of the Jews, would have recognized His mother as the Queen Mother. This is why we see the Mother of Jesus, shown in Revelation chapter 12 with a crown of stars and why the Angel Gabriel greets her with the royal salutation of Chaire or "Hail". The same salutation by which Christ is greeted twice in the gospels.

What Protestants fail to see is that we are all co-mediators. 'co' means 'with'. It does not mean equal. It does not even mean less. There is one mediator between God and man but we all COoperate with that plan of mediation. We bring Christ to the world, we bring the world to Christ. Nowhere is that more literally and profoundly true than with our blessed Mother. That is why Revelation 12:17 says that she is the mother of all the true believers. She is the Queen Mother and She is the Ark of the Covenant. Scriptures shows us this clearly in Revelation 11 and 12.

Mary is not Divine but She helps us understand God by Her unique relationship to the Holy trinity. Daughter of the Father, spouse of the Holy Spirit, Mother of the Son.
Here are some points that I think are likely to be raised during the course of this debate. The argument will be in BLUE with my Response in GOLD.

Argument: If Catholics do not worship Mary, why do they call her Theotokos- the Mother of God? Is this not putting her above God? 

Answer: Not at all. To call Mary the Mother of God is only to confirm what Scripture says about her.Elizabeth, in Luke 1 says what is it to me that the Mother of My Lord should come to me. 'My Lord' is translated from the Greek Kyrios which is equivalent to the Hebrew Adonai, a name used for God. To call Mary the Mother of God, is simply confirming the Biblical reality that is the Incarnation.
It is a simple logical syllogism. Jesus is God, Mary is His Mother, therefore, Mary is the Mother of God.

Argument: Catholics call Mary a co-redemtrix and co-mediatrix. The Bible clearly says that there is only one mediator between God and man. Are you not elevating Mary to the level of God?

Answer: You are comparing apples to oranges. A Redeemer and a co-redemptrix are two totally different things. Likewise, a co-mediatrix and a mediator between God and Man are not even close to the same thing.

The key word is 'co' which means 'with', not 'equal'. In calling Mary a co-redemtrix and co-mediatrix, the Catholic church is simply affirming a fundamental reality- that Mary co-operated with the plan of redemption by bring Jesus to us.

Argument: Catholics claim that Mary has appeared all over the world. At Fatima, Catholics claim that Mary said: The soul which recommends itself to Me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall not perish. Isn't this elevating Mary to a level of Savior?
Answer: First of all, no Catholic is bound to believing in private revelations. However, Jesus did say that there would be signs by which many would believe and the documented miraculous events at places like Lourdes and Fatima are undeniable. At the heart of Mary's statement- properly context-ed, is one of the most fundamental divisions between Catholics and Protestants, the notion of intercessory prayer. Yet, Mary never claims to be a Savior, she claims to be an Advocate. In the Rosary are the Apostles Creed and the Our Father as well as the Hail Mary. Mary's entire message at Fatima is one of prayer, fasting and penance and returning to her Son. Mary is offering her assistance in leading souls to her son. Her messages at these events always point to Jesus. True, one may reject these events as inauthentic if they so chose but to call them worship is quite a stretch. 

Argument: Doesn't the Bible warn against believing signs and wonders?

Revelation 13:  11: Then I saw another beast which rose out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon.

12: It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its
 inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed.
13: It works great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of men;

14: and by the signs which it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast, it deceives those who dwell on earth, bidding them make an image for the beast which was wounded by the sword and yet lived;

Answer: Signs and wonders are not at all what is being condemned here, unbelief and apostasy are what is being condemned.

Let's take the quotes one by one. The quote in Matthew 16 did not mean Jesus didn't perform any signs  in the Gospels, we know better than that. In fact, just 5 verses later, Jesus reminds the disciples of the miracle of the fish and loaves. Jesus did not condemn the signs themselves, he condemned the evil and adulterous pharisees who sought to put him to the test because of their lack of belief.

In 2 Corinthians, we are warned that Satan disguises himself as a being of light. There would be no need for him to do this if it were not for the fact that actual beings of light have appeared to people. 

It is the same with the proof text from Revelation 13 . When the anti-christ brings fire down from heaven, he is merely doing a cheap imitation of what Elijah did in 2 Kings.

It is nonsense to suggest that the Bible tells us to unilaterally reject all miracles. Both the Prophet Joel and Peter told us that in the last days young men would see visions and old men would dream dreams. The key is knowing how to discern.

1 John 4 
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from Godbecausemany false prophets have gone out into the world2 By this you know the Spirit of God : every spirit thatconfesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God ; 3 and every spirit that does not confessJesus is not from God ; this is the spirit of the antichrist
It may well be noted that every approved apparition of Mary passes this Biblical test.

  1. The Bible shows us the Angel Gabriel communicating with Daniel the Prophet, Zechariah and Mary. Another Angel spoke to Joseph. Moses and Elijah conversed with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration and Abraham spoke to the rich man in hell. Jesus says that God is the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, the God of the living and not of the dead. Finally, in the book of Revelation, chapters 5 and 8, we see both Angels and Saints receiving our prayers and offering them to God. Despite all of this compelling evidence to the contrary, why do protestants continue to insist that the Angels and Saints cannot hear our prayers?
  2. Who are the 24 elders in Revelation chapter 4 and why are they wearing Robes and golden crowns and sitting on thrones?
  3. The Woman who appears in Revelation 11:19-12:17 is shown as the Ark of the Covenant, the Mother of Jesus, a woman in heaven with a physical body, a Queen wearing a crown, the Woman who is the enemy of the dragon (Genesis 3:15), the woman who fled to the desert, and the mother of all true Christians. How can you seriously argue that anyone but Mary can fulfill all these characteristics?
  4. Jehovah Witnesses, Jews and Muslims all recognize the historical person of Jesus Christ but refuse to acknowledge Him as God. If I asked you if any of these groups worship Jesus, you would say no. Yet, I do not recognize Mary as Divine and you accuse me of worshipping her. Why the double standard?
Protestants like to point out two passages relating to the Queen of Heaven in the book of Jeremiah and desperately try to superimpose them on 21st century Catholicism. Here is one, from Jeremiah 44:

15 Then all the men that knew that their wives sacrificed to other gods: and all the women of whom there stood by a great multitude, and all the people of them that dwelt in the land of Egypt in Phatures, answered Jeremias, saying:   16 As for the word which thou hast spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken to thee:  17 But we will certainly do every word that shall proceed out of our own mouth, to sacrifice to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings to her, as we and our fathers have done, our kings, and our princes in the cities of Juda, and in the streets of Jerusalem: and we were filled with bread, and it was well with us, and we saw no evil.  

18 But since we left off to offer sacrifice to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings to her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword, and by famine.  19 And if we offer sacrifice to the queen of heaven, and pour out drink offerings to her: did we make cakes to worship her, to pour out drink offerings to her, without our husbands?  

The assertion that Catholics worship Mary is completely baseless and without merit. Actually, it is the human Mary that Scripture calls blessed among all women, blessed among all generations, blessed because Jesus lived in her womb and nursed at her breast, blessed because She believed, blessed because She heard the word of God and obeyed. All of those accolades are right there in Luke's Gospel.

Mary, whose soul magnifies the Lord, and whose spirit rejoices in God, Her Savior, is the penultimate example to all of us. She who is addressed by Gabriel with the salutation Kecharitomene- full of grace.

We Catholics find ourselves astounded when we are accused of uttering the prayer that is taken virtually verbatim from Luke 1 and 2.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

Finally, we simply ask a favor of the Queen Mother.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death.

What kind of a goddess would we ask to pray for us? For protestants to accept the notion that God has all the Angels and Saints locked away in a broom closet betrays a staggering lack of faith. It also proves they don't know scripture. Hebrews 12:1 talks about the great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. God commands us to pray with each other and for each other. That that extends past earth is clear and that makes our Awesome God just that much bigger, not smaller.

Often used as a gotcha claim that Catholics worship Mary, anti-catholics sometimes quote the catholic Encyclopedia using the British use of the word worship. Even when they do so, the full context proves them wrong. Also, isn't it ironic that proponents of the King James Bible would try and impose the Saxon dialect on us?

The word worship (Saxon weorthscipe, "honour"; from worth, meaning "value", "dignity", "price", and the termination, shipLatin cultus) in its most general sense is homage paid to aperson or a thing. In this sense we may speak of hero-worship, worship of the emperor, of demons, of the angels, even of relics, and especially of the Cross. This article will deal with Christian worship according to the following definition: homage paid to God, to Jesus Christ, to His saints, to the beings or even to the objects which have a special relation to God.
There are several degrees of this worship:
  • if it is addressed directly to God, it is superior, absolute, supreme worship, or worship of adoration, or, according to the consecrated theological term, a worship of latria. This sovereign worship is due to God alone; addressed to a creature it would become idolatry.
  • When worship is addressed only indirectly to God, that is, when its object is the veneration of martyrs, of angels, or of saints, it is a subordinate worship dependent on the first, and relative, in so far as it honours the creatures of Godfor their peculiar relations with Him; it is designated by theologians as the worship of dulia, a term denoting servitude, and implying, when used to signify our worship of distinguished servants of God, that their service to Him is their title to our veneration (cf. Chollet, loc. cit., col. 2407, and BouquillonTractatus de virtute religionis, I, Bruges, 1880, 22 sq.).
  • As the Blessed Virgin has a separate and absolutely supereminent rank among the saints, the worship paid to her is called hyperdulia (for the meaning and history of these terms see Suicer, Thesaurus ecclesiasticus, 1728).

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Catholic Defender: Happy Birthday Joshua

October 24 is my Son, Joshua's birthday and so I want to send a very happy birthday to Joshua, whom I am very proud. He was born one day after his Uncle Randy survived a terrorist blast in Beirut Lebanon on 23 October 1983.

He was baptized Catholic after the Feast of All Saints Day on November 1, 1983.

He was Confirmed in the Catholic Church shortly after I returned from the Gulf War in 1991.

By the time he was six years old he was able to run a six minute mile.

He had always been a great athlete, he certainly takes much from his Father's side of the Family!

Joshua was born in Barryville Arkansas and when I joined the Army, he was old enough to remember some of my early Military travels.

We moved to Hinesville George when I was stationed at Fort Stewart Georgia in 1985.

In 1986, we moved to Germany for three years and so much of Joshua's early childhood was in Germany.

He was always wanting to play soccer when his older Brother, Nathan had games.

It was a joy to see Joshua playing with a ball almost as big as he was!

Isaiah 40:28-31 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary,and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

I am so proud of you Joshua, your doing well in College and will not be that far from accomplishing a most important goal in your life.

As always I will encourage you to discover and root yourself in your holy Catholic Faith.

I love you Joshua, happy Birthday.

The following scene is taken as Joshua was celebrating the Lord Jesus Birthday.

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