Tuesday, 3 September 2013

More Complex Comments

Readers who are easily bored may wish to look away now

If there's anyone out there who knows what they're talking about on the following, your comments would be very welcome indeed. I'm very much an amateur in all areas of Christianity, so what I've cobbled together from bits and bobs of knowlege may actually be a bit wayward.


I've had too much time on my hands of late so have continued to write excessively long comments on a protestant website. My latest offering was in response to this
Francesco, you do need to read Hebrews 4:12 where we are told that the bible is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword……..discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. The bible is God-breathed. It is HIS word left to us and is fully able to train up the man of God in all his ways. Study the word, Francesco. You can read the bible backward and forward and come away with no understanding if you are not seeking God’s heart and truth. Even the devil knows the bible completely yet he is not surrendered to Christ. If you are a true believer, the bible is all that you need. As for traditions, Jesus spoke against tradition. He said in Matthew 15 “For the sake of your tradition, you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites!” I have no idea what your verse from a Christmas carol was supposed to prove? Mary was used to bring the incarnate Christ into this world but she has no more a relationship to Christ than does any believer! God is not a respecter of persons. In Scripture, when Mary and her sons showed up where Jesus was, Jesus said, “Who is my mother, my brother or my sister? ANYONE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER is my mother,my brother and my sister.” Jesus HIMSELF said that. Can it get any clearer?
and read as follows.
A couple of very basic points to get us going.

First. Perhaps the most obvious. When Hebrews 4:12 was written, there was no Bible. The Bible (as I've already said once on this tread) was compiled by Pope Damasus I in 382AD. The epistle to the Hebrews was written in 63-64AD. How could the author, a human, possibly know a) that his work would be included in this compilation, b) what else would be in this compilation, and most obviously of all c) that there would be a compilation. If God had taken the trouble to write it out Himself then I would willingly believe his omniscience would have encompassed his knowlege of Pope Damasus's doings, but since He didn't, I don't believe that the author of Hebrews did foresee the events of the Council of Rome.

Second. If you would like to throw around Bible quotations with no context and therefore almost no meaning, two can play at that game. I might even feel the need, being a Catholic, to understand what they say on a deeper level. Who knows.

On the cross Jesus told Mary "woman, behold your son", indicating the beloved disciple (who when referred to as such represents not only the Church herself, but all her members) and then to the beloved He said "Behold your mother". Now clearly they are not talking in literal terms since it goes on to say that from that time forth the disciple took her into his home. The custom of the time was that a man lived with his parents until their deaths so there is no question of a son taking his mother into his home since he would already have been living in her home. What Jesus is telling us, in a way so beautiful as to indicate His possession of the fulness of that quality, is that Mary is mother of the Church and that we are her children but not only that, but that we are to love her and take her into our lives. With a little context, suddenly a much maligned passage becomes not only clear but starkly relevant and challenging to those who object to marian devotion. Jesus himself said that, can I make it any clearer?

Third. You misunderstand what Catholics mean by "tradition". We don't mean how many tassles on a maniple or the colour of pom poms on a biretta as modern day Catholic pharisees do. The Church's use of the word refers to the intellectual tradition, the purifying of doctrine to what Christ intended in what He taught and the application of that doctrine.

Fourth. The verse from the carol does not prove anything, it illustrates the difference in relationship that she does have with her son. As I have previously explained this difference does not come about by the mere fact she birthed him, but because she was without sin.

Now that prosaic and most obvious bit is out of the way I'll have to take a gamble that the Greek and Hebrew characters in the following make it through the "post comment" button: [it did]

Lets look at that greek word "λόγος" that you translated as "the Bible". It's one of the most used words in the New tastament (Strong's Concordance notes 316 mentions) and roughly equivalent to the word "אֵמֶר" in Hebrew which crops up (according to Strong again) 53 times in the Old Testament. Strong (a hearty American protestant) gives the following definition for the word "λόγος" something said (including the thought); by implication a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension a computation" but the important bit is how strong follows these translations. He writes: "specifically, with the article in John, the Divine Expression (that is, Christ)".

Let's have a look at why he felt so confident in this assertion: that the word λόγος had little to do with literal "words" in the biblical context.

Philo Judaeus's contact with Greek philosophy allowed him to first coalesce the hebrew concept of "חכמה" with the hellenstic concept of "Σοφíα" which Philo termed "λόγος" by roughly 50AD. This Σοφíα was the mediator between God the Creator and man, a concept which Hebrews knew as "מלאך יהוה", that is "messenger of the Lord". Suddenly this whole "λόγος" is looking increasingly like it's actually talking about Our Lord Himself rather than the pages of a compilation of documents put together by some fourth century pope. If you were to quibble with this I need to look no further that John 1 for the perfect rebuke for your idea. He writes in that epic hymn to λόγος that it "became flesh and dwelt amongst us". Last time I checked, no copies of the Bible had a pulse. The author of the Hebrews was aware of the philonian philosophy and so it seems obvious that he and pseudo-John are in accord. It has been speculated that this hymn may have been lifted or adapted from an earlier source, so John 1 and Hebrews may be closer to each other chronologically than the rough estimate of completion of John's Gospel thirty years later suggests. Regardless, nethier have any interest in the Bible, they are talking about Christ. Christ is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword. The Bible is an inanimate object and can give you a paper cut. The Christ which it describes pierces the soul with his loving gaze.

I suggest that you not only go back and study the words in the Bible, Marianne, because that can only ever give you part of the picture. I suggest you look at their context and maybe then you might find some more profound meaning in them.
Asides from that it lacks of charity and so cannot be from God, does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Protestant Fantasies

So I stumbled upon this web page this evening and have posted the following comment, though I imagine it will never make it onto that particular website.
Rarely have I read such drivel. I’m amazed at the ignorance of this post.
Here’s how it actually is. From the Bible you yourself idolise.
First, Catholics don’t worship Mary, we worship her son, but we remember that when another person recognised his as Christ for the first time, He he inspired the person closest to Him to shout “for behold all generations shall call me blessed”.
Have you ever stopped to wonder how amazing a woman would have to be to be the tabernacle of the most holy thing in existence? Even the angel was stunned by it: “hail Mary! Full of Grace!” That was the first thing his pure eyes saw: that she was replete with holiness. It’s like Our Lord said himself: “no good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.”
Mary interceded for other humans at the wedding at Cana, why would she not be able to do so now?
She’s discussed extensively in Revelation: St John sees her after the assumption in heaven in her continued corporal form, still at enmity with satan who hates not only her holy offspring, Christ, but also the rest of her offspring, us.
So yes, we love Mary because one of Christ’s last commands was that we hold her as our mother, but we don’t worship her.
No more do we worship statues: we use images to focus the mind because we are fleshy creatures with fleshy psychology. We use the prompts to be able to engage in prayer as fully as we can. If we were angels we wouldn’t need them, but we’re no so we do.
I would invite you to get in touch with me to see if I can put right any of your other misguided thoughts on what Catholics believe and do. Once you actually have some information on the subject you might find yourself less hostile to us, maybe even see the beauty, goodness and truth of how the Church faithfully passes on Christ’s doctrine.
Ever so frustrating. I myself would tend to draw more on the relationship I have with Mary and how that has improved my relationship with her son rather than resort to the Protestant line of quoting texts from two millenia ago. Our faith is alive, not confined to the words of humans or the pages of a book.

And what did he say about my mum?

Is having a flutter on a boxing match immoral if it's a dead cert?
Update: He did in fact publish my comment, somewhat surprisingly. He also replied to it, in the sense that he wrote words and pressed "reply" rather than said anything that actually challenged what I'd said.
Dear Francesco Forgione
Shalom, and love in Jesus.
You wrote:
First, Catholics don’t worship Mary, we worship her son, but we remember that when another person recognised his as Christ for the first time.
My comment:
First: It is a gross error of Catholicism, to claim that the Messiah came into existence, when His mother birthed him in the flesh. Jesus the Messiah is eternal God, not created, but begotten by God the Father.
God Him self came down from Heaven, and took on flesh. The Jewish virgin Miriam was chosen by God to give Him flesh, born like all men. The Son of men. Fully God, and fully man, the one and only.
Second: Its a gross error to claim that the mother of Jesus was a goddess, born without sin, never sinned, and was “ever virgin”. You do not have to be a Christian to understand this. You simply have to be able to read, and open your Bible. Please do so.
Obvious I wasn't going to stand for that.

First. Catholicism simply does not say that. It says that the word became flesh at the incarnation. You are just wrong. Get your facts right. At some point you may find yourself reciting the apostles or nicene creed. Both of those documents were written by the Catholic Church. Both of those state this belief very clearly. The Angelus, that beautiful prayer for Mary's intercession, does so even more pointedly, quoting John 1 "and the word was made flesh and dwellt amongst us".
Second. Catholicism simply does not say that Mary is a goddess. I have already dealt with her being sinless. Unless you think that Jesus sinned, Mary too was without original sin: “no good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.”

You will note that I have based my answer entirely on the Bible. It is a book I know fairly well. That said, I believe you fasion an idol out of the Bible. My faith is alive: an interpersonal relationship between myself and my creator, redeemer and sanctifier. Yours is stultified by its confinement to a text that is only inspired by God with the a large dose of human corruption. You reject our (biblical) belief in papal infallability but you do so having applied infallability not to a person (who by virtue of his personhood can communicate with God like the rest of us) but to the cold dead pages of a book.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013


I simply do not have the words to express my anger at these monks. The idea of using a holy thing like a cincture to beat a child makes me ill to think about. The idea that a man would use Christ's mandate to forgive sins as an opportunity to degrade a child's innocence is gut wrenchingly vile. That a man would parody the beauty of proffesing the Benedictine Rule in order that he might have children vulnerable to his perversion.

They did not care about the children in their care. They did not care about their order or their Church. They spat in the eye of Christ and battered His body and mind to the same extent they battered those of the children for whose care they were ordained. At one point the presenter said that some of these monks would never see justice because they were already dead. I trust that is not the case.


Monday, 29 July 2013

News Flash! Pope Reads Catechsim!

The British media have picked up on the press conference on the Pope's plane in which he said "Who am I to judge him [a gay priest]?".

This is nothing new or radical. This is sound, orthodox Catholic teaching. Any journalist, anywhere in the world could have picked up a Catechism and read what it says there. Pope Francis has just repeated it.

If only the Pope's next supportive gesture to gay people was to explore a closet with more tasteful vestments in it.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Little glorious here

I'm always disturbed when I hear Catholics (or for that matter adherents of any religion or philosophy) talking about martyrdom in terms of glory. This is what twenty first century martyrdom looks like and if you live as sheltered a life as me and therefore don't want to see it, don't click this link.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Sharia Law

Having a parallel system of justice is wicked. Awful. Making people live up to a moral code is awful. We should definitely close down every single Sharia court simply for existing because it isn't British law.

Oh. Wait.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Face of Islam in the UK

Reasonable, Calm, Collected, Loving, Socially Responsible

Thank heavens that this is what Islam looks and sounds like in the United Kingdom.

Thank heavens that this is not what the United Kingdom looks like. I know who I'd rather have running my country.